In a recent interview with Complex, BioWare’s Mac Walters confirmed that Mass Effect 4 will not feature the character of Shepard, nor will it specifically relate to the events Shepard was at the heart of.
That shouldn’t really come as a huge surprise to those that completed the trilogy. The ending put a definite cap on Shepard’s battle with the Reapers, regardless of which version you played or what options you made. It may not have been loved by all, but it was a fairly definitive conclusion, even if it did leave a few threads dangling.
“Well, I can’t get into details, but the idea is that we have agreed to tell a story that doesn’t relate necessarily to any of the Shepard events at all, whatsoever,” Walters told Complex.
Walters helped to write the Mass Effect series, and is currently writing a 13 issue miniseries for Dark Horse titled Mass Effect: Foundation. He is also working on the fourth Mass Effect game, which sounds like it is still in the very early stages of development. Walters was able to confirm, however, that it won’t be a spin-off, but rather a completely new story.
He went on to discuss the ending of Mass Effect 3, so if you don’t want to be spoiled, this is a good point to stop reading.
After making your choice on how to deal with the Reapers in one of the endings of Mass Effect 3, Shepard is seen to still be breathing. It was the so-called “best ending,” but based on what Walters said, it is not the canon ending.
“It was set up, even from the get-go, that this was a character that was going to die,” he said.
So far, very little is known about Mass Effect 4 other than it will be designed for the next-gen consoles, and run the new Frostbite 3 Engine designed by DICE. A Mass Effect movie is also in the works, although it is said to be a long way from release.