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Shepard’s return teased for the next Mass Effect

Liara may not be the only familiar face returning for Mass Effect 5.

Bioware released a new lithograph print for purchase this week of artwork for the next Mass Effect, sometimes referred to as Mass Effect 5. It was the promotional art shared on N7 day last year showing a Geth-shaped crater, a spacecraft, and various tiny aliens with the simple message of “Mass Effect will continue.” This new print today caused fans to wonder whether important plot points for Mass Effect 5 were accidentally — or intentionally — revealed in the print’s description.

As first spotted by YouTuber Mr Hulthen and reported by Video Games Chronicle, the original description for the print said, “While Shepard and the survivors are left to pick up the pieces, fans are left wondering what’s next.” The decription was quickly changed to exclude the reference to Shepard. If you’ll recall from the various endings of 2012’s Mass Effect 3, Commander Shepard wasn’t quite left in a state for people to expect much of a return.

If Shepard were to return in the next Mass Effect, a few assumptions could be made about the game: it would take place shortly thereafter Mass Effect 3, Normandy squadmates could be expected to return, and there would be no crossover with the events and characters of Mass Effect: Andromeda.

It’s fair to say fans thought the next entry in the franchise would move on from Shephard, even with fan-favorite Liara set to play a part in the franchise’s future. With the length of Asari lifespans and the assumption the game will take place in a rebuilding Milky Way, Mass Effect 5 could reasonably take place hundreds of years after Mass Effect 3, meaning Shepard would be dead and buried even if they survived the ending to the third game. The initial reveal trailer also included hints that the upcoming game could also be a sequel in some part to Mass Effect: Andromeda, which takes place some 600 years after the original games.

Are we reading way too much into what could have been an initially incorrect product description? Did Bioware accidentally reveal too much and tried to backtrack? Was this Bioware’s attempt to drum up excitement and press for the next Mass Effect? Maybe yes, maybe no to all of the above. We’ll just have to wait patiently until more Mass Effect 5 information is shared.

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