Don’t get too attached to that newly appointed default FemShep, people. According to PC Gamer, Mass Effect 3 is not only the end of Commander Shepard’s story, but will also mark the character’s final appearance. And this is a very good thing.
Rather than milk Shepard’s storyline into infinity – and god knows, there are plenty of ways BioWare could do that – the developers are wrapping up the series as a trilogy, ostensibly letting your Shepard’s choices stand as a complete narrative:
Ray Muzyka, BioWare CEO: “After this, Commander Shepard’s story is complete.”
PC Gamer: “So even if there are more games in the Mass Effect universe, he/she definitely won’t be in them?
Muzkya goes on to call future Mass Effect games a new “entry point” into the series, hinting that fans should expect different things from the franchise after 2012.
By giving the Shepard story a definitive beginning, middle, and end, BioWare raises the stakes for the series. Lovecraftian overlords, space marines, and covert organizations might not break any new storytelling ground, but if BioWare effectively retires Shepard in a way that adds meaning to over 90 hours of total content, the Mass Effect trilogy might end up being something really special.
So what will we call the original games five years from now? The Shepard Trilogy? The Normandy Files? Catbug: Origins? Maybe we can all vote on it.