Years of anticipation finally became reality last night when a videogame company posted a video of somebody in a sharp trench coat and mirror visor walking down a dim hall, swivelling dramatically to eyeball the viewer, then casually drawing a pistol and walking into a roomful of unfocussed Potential. This is Mass Effect 5, actual title possibly Mass Effect: Epsilon – “epsilon” being the Top Secret Codename of this hidden page on the Mass Effect website. What does it all mean? I don’t know. It’s a nice coat, though, isn’t it? I like those padded red lapels.
The above teasers have surfaced as part of EA and BioWare’s “N7 Day” celebrations this week, which have given rise to much gossip and speculation in the fanbase. Take the “N7” logo on the character’s breast pocket – N7 is the special forces designation given to Commander Shepard, protagonist of the original Mass Effect trilogy, which suggests that this might be a direct follow-on to the events of Mass Effect 3.
The Epsilon website page, however, mentions Andromeda, the setting for the most recent Mass Effect game. “N7” also appears in BioWare’s announcement trailer for the game, published in 2020, which featured an older version of the first game’s Asari heart-throb/crimelord Liara T’soni plus Krogan, Salarian and human characters. Is it safe to say, then, that the fifth Mass Effect RPG will take place after Andromeda but feature characters from both games and weave their stories together?
As is his way, franchise producer and executive director Mike Gamble did little to clear things up in an accompanying blogpost. “We’ve asked ourselves many of the same questions you’ve asked us over the years!” he wrote, with faintly Iago-esque glee. “What happened to everyone you know and love in the games? Who really died? Who had kids with whom? What does a baby volus sound like? What about all the galaxies? The endings! What the heck is going on with our asari scientist-turned-Shadowbroker? What about S– nevermind…you get the idea.
“And of course, to those questions, there are answers, but you’ll have to wait to hear them. And anything we do say won’t be easy to find, just like you’ve come to expect from our #N7Day teases.”
As Eurogamer points out, one thing all these taunting questions suggest is that the game will try to gather up the many threads left dangling by Mass Effect 3’s endings, which players despised so much at first that BioWare went back and rewrote them – an epoch-making moment in the history of Player Knows Best community moderation.