The BioWare store listed and quickly deleted a product description that implies the original Mass Effect protagonist Commander Shepard is returning in the next game.
As reported by Video Games Chronicle, YouTube user MrHulthen noticed a plot synopsis in the description of a Mass Effect 5 poster, which indicates that Shepard would return.
Though it was quickly removed, the description originally read: “The show goes on. Shepard’s final quest may have ended the threat of the Reapers but at great cost including Earth itself. While Shepard and the survivors are left to pick up the pieces, fans are left wondering what’s next.”
The mention of Shepard was omitted later as the description was changed to: “The threat of the Reapers might have been ended, but at great cost including Earth itself. While the survivors are left to pick up the pieces, fans are left wondering what’s next .”
It’s unclear whether the original text was an inadvertent slip of information, or a simple mistake on the part of someone outside of the development team. Merchandise has been involved in accidental leaks before, but there’s also the chance that someone with no inside knowledge has written the description. We’ve contacted BioWare for comment.
Spoilers for the original Mass Effect trilogy will follow.
What makes the description and potential return of Shepard particularly interesting is the fact that, in seven out of eight potential endings to Mass Effect 3, they die.
Most players would see Shepard sacrifices themselves in order to stop the enemy Reapers, with only one ending, and a complicated one at that, resulting in living.
That being said, while nothing is official, fans have speculated based on the events of Mass Effect: Andromeda and the new Mass Effect’s reveal trailer that the ending where Shepard lives is actually the true canon.
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The poster itself (above) was revealed in November last year and BioWare general manager Gary McKay did say it includes “at least five surprises”, though it would be pretty hard to identify one of the four characters as Shepard from that distance.
BioWare has said practically nothing else about the new Mass Effect game following its reveal in December 2020, though we do know that multiple members of the original trilogy are working on the new installation.
IGN loved the first three games, saying Mass Effect 1, 2, and 3 were all amazing. While the fourth installment, Mass Effect: Andromeda, dipped a little, IGN still said it was good.
Ryan Dinsdale is an IGN freelancer who occasionally remembers to tweet @thelastdinsdale. He’ll talk about The Witcher all day.