Casey Hudson: Should ME4 Be Prequel Or Sequel?

Assuming that you’ve accepted the inevitability of Mass Effect 4, what kind of game would you like it to be? It’s a question that is obviously looming large for BioWare, no doubt still smarting from the Mass Effect 3 backlash and eager to do everything possible to avoid a take two.

That’s surely why Casey Hudson recently took to Twitter to ask what fans would like to see in Mass Effect 4. That question was, to put it mildly, a bit open ended, but presumably whatever responses he received were helpful, because he’s back to do it again, and this time he’s making the request very, very specific. Yesterday, he asked “Parsing through your thoughts on the next #ME game. Would you be more interested in a game that takes place before the trilogy, or after?”

The overwhelming response from twitter followers is somewhat reassuring. Almost all of them argue vociferously against making a prequel. “Let’s see the galaxies outside of the Milky Way. How does the civilizations work post Reaper invasions,” offered one respondent, while another said “before would sadly become the Star Wars prequels and we all know how that went,” possibly the truest statement ever made. So what do you think, Game Front? Let us know in comments, and if you’re opposed to making a prequel, please also go to Hudson’s twitter feed and let him know too.

Of course, we have our own suggestions for how Mass Effect 4 can be great. They definitely do not include a prequel.

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23 Comments on Casey Hudson: Should ME4 Be Prequel Or Sequel?

R.J.

On November 20, 2012 at 12:49 pm

I’m not interested in a prequel. We all know what is coming, so they can’t even claim, “your choices matter” because prequel material will have already happened. I suppose they might have some room if they don’t use already known events like the First Contact War, but there hasn’t been much suggestion that they will be bringing an entirely unknown scenario into it if it is a prequel. The problem with a sequel, though, is it has to work with the atrocity that is the ME3 ending, and they seem dead set on keeping those and not making any one of them “canon” so I have my doubts about whether it would be a sequel in the traditional sense, and more akin to a spinoff. Of course, I generally have my doubts about how much any suggestions matter to Hudson, given what transpired over the last several months.

Roy Batty

On November 20, 2012 at 1:30 pm

I wonder why they are doing this. To gain back fans?…fat chance dude you flipped me off so flip you too, I’ll wait until ME4 is in the $10 bin.

The ending in ME3 should be changed to a clip from “Charlie in the Chocolate Factory” – “You lose! You get nothing! Good day sir!”

Hudson not only looks like a harda55 but now he looks like a wuss – “What do you want us to do?” How about giving us the performance you gave in other titles like Jade Empire or did you simply lose your mind? Did you have a mind to begin with? You are the freaking “artist” do your freaking job you 9ussy! Sorry Casey…I know EA has put a gun to your head and made you do this…please stop you degrade us both.

DireWare

On November 20, 2012 at 2:29 pm

Irrelevant now. The series is nothing more than a soulless cash-cow at this stage. All it has left is the diehard and casual market who will either simply reject the idea that BioWare can do anything wrong or who are either apathetic or uneducated on their dishonesty and incompetence to begin with. BioWare has shot itself in the foot too many times, the series cannot be salvaged for most of those who were there from the start. It’s nothing more than another dime-a-dozen money-spinner from a greedy, myopic developing/publishing conglomerate.

Kevin

On November 20, 2012 at 4:46 pm

Do it on the power vaccum that develops following not only the obliteration of the Reapers, but of most Alliance military capacity. Galactic Order breaks down. Galactic Tribalism becomes rampant, as races begin to have their own Terra Firma parties becoming dominant. Entire species begin to leave the Alliance.

You begin with the Alliance, and you work to prevent furhter fracturing, or, in a Witcher 2 esque way, you look to cause even more fracturing, and side with some interest looking to establish their own power in the galaxy.

Have it be a “dark” dystopia not just in the colors, but in there being no true “right” or “wrong” choice, a lot of situations like in ME1 where you had to choose who lived and who died, and make those decisions have far reaching consequences throughout the game.

Have a villain who took the way wrong lesson from Shepherd’s story, whatever that story was. (Think Kreia and Revan from KOTOR2)

Sachel

On November 20, 2012 at 7:51 pm

I don’t understand why he’s even asking questions.
BioWare isn’t making “Mass Effect: Contact” DICE is making it.

Sachel

On November 20, 2012 at 7:53 pm

Sorry, I misspoke, it’s not DICE it’s BioWare Montreal.

gasmaskangel

On November 20, 2012 at 9:08 pm

Considering that I currently have no interest in returning to the Mass Effect universe (and to be honest, I wouldn’t even if the ending hadn’t sucked, because I was just too emotionally drained to continue investing myself in the fiction), ME4 is irrelevant to me, however I do want to talk about how prequels are almost always a terrible idea.

Part of the reason is that prequels are almost always unnecessary, especially in a series like Mass Effect where virtually every relevant bit of back story has been referenced in dialogue and given an expansive explanation in the codex. Put simply, there is no real mystery or tension to a prequel because you already know how the story ends.

This leaves only profoundly uniteresting stuff that no one would bother to catalouge and pulling stuff straight out of your backside as the only options.

Secondly, if the story involves already existing characters, then all you get to see is them before they were awesome (Star Wars prequels anyone? also X-Men Origins: Wolverine).

There are of course exceptions to this, if the backstory is left mostly unknown, such as in the Godfatherm and can be built upon.

With Mass Effect, the only way to tell a compelling prequel story would be to set it insanely far back in time, like say when the various species have only just met up on the citadel and before humanity even learned to stop trying to eat rocks. They won’t do this of course, because I doubt that Bioware (or any other major gaming company for that matter) has the chutzpah to make a serious game where you can’t play as a human, and never interact with humans.

Also honestly the possibilities for a sequel are much more interesting. Imagine a game set a 100 years after the devestation of the Reaper War, where the various galactic powers are only just starting to get back on their feet, and are now trying to figure who is going to be on top. You play as a soldier who get’s used as an unwitting pawn in some scheme or another, and thus get framed for… let’s say assassinating an Asarie Matriarch and have to go rogue on a mission to prove your innocence while the specters hunt you down…

Or imagine a game where you start as a pirate or scavenger, and accidentally stumble onto some kind of big mystical prothean thingy that literally everyone wants, but you have no idea what it is and have to find the answers before in summons Cthulhu or something like that.

Hmmm… I think I just became interested in Mass Effect again.

Dratkin

On November 20, 2012 at 10:26 pm

ME3 ending just ruined the whole damn thing for me. Ughhh I can’t even think about any of the Mass Effect games without cringing about the ending. I do not understand how a gaming company can create a story so awesomely epic and engaging and personally touching through all three games and then end it with basically an FU to the fans. Whatever EA whatever. I am just so done with both Mass Effect and Dragon Age. So Sad.

Ebalosus

On November 21, 2012 at 3:43 am

Good to see that Sachel hasn’t been scared off (I mean that sincerely), and they have a good point…though I think Hudson is, or will be, ME4′s executive producer.

As for ME4 itself…I’ll say that I do have room in my heart to forgive bioware for ruining the series, but in oder for me to forgive them, ME4 will have to be both phenominal and ground-breaking. Not another by-the-numbers shooter (either fps, or tps cover-based), but an actual hybrid RPG. It can be done, but not if they are as cynical as they were regarding ME3. Seriously, go to hold the line dot com, and search for “datamining the trilogy” to see how much that was cut from ME3. It could’ve been a good game, but they decided to release to too soon to appease their corporate masters.

Let’s hope the same doesn’t befall the 4th game…and make sure it is NOT a prequel.

Jonas

On November 21, 2012 at 3:58 am

Ebalosus – dream on. As long as the same corporate-minded hacks that ruined the third game are in charge of the fourth, and as long as they’re still taking direct orders from their EA money-masters, Mass Effect 4 will never be anything more than a cash cow that should never have existed in the first place. BioWare has some talented staff, but the soul of the company is long gone. I know it’s hard to accept, but it’s undeniable. They don’t care about anything more than appeasing EA.

Sachel

On November 21, 2012 at 7:20 am

@Jonas Actually we really do want to make good games and put a lot of heart and soul into our work.

Also EA hasn’t sent in any demands or ideas to influence the creative decisions that go into BioWare’s games; they literally just give us money to make the games.

I don’t know how many times it’s going to have to be said but not everyone at BioWare likes the ending; but since we weren’t Mac Walters or Casey Hudson we had no say in what the end of the story was going to be.

Jonas

On November 21, 2012 at 8:00 am

Sachel – I’m not suggesting that everyone agreed with Hudson and Walters, and I’m also not denying that there’s genuine talent and passion in elements of the team. I’m saying that as long the same guys who so arrogantly ruined Mass Effect 3 and led a PR disaster immediately afterwards are at the top of the chain, there will never be any leeway because they’ve already pledged their allegiance to EA. You must know now that you can’t possibly hope to actually deliver even half of what you’d like to in Mass Effect 4 as long as you’re working underneath EA/Hudson/Walters. If you’re really that upset with what they’ve done, the absolute best thing you and everyone else who disagrees with it could do is to leave and start a newco, beginning an entirely new IP with the same standards and integrity as the original game had, and allow Mass Effect and BioWare to lose their relevance. I realise it’s not as easy as I’m making it sound, on an emotional level or on a practical one, but I also think it’s totally insincere for you to make out you’re full of regret while still accepting cheques from the same company. Speak with your feet, otherwise they’ll continue to do this again and again. You’re clearly better than them since you’re actually taking the time to converse directly with disenfranchised former fans.

lee

On November 21, 2012 at 8:02 am

It is obvious they are trying to redeem themselves. If they want to win me back then need to do two things. One it needs to be a sequel. Second it has to blow my mind. They do that then all is forgiven, for me at least.

TheDog

On November 21, 2012 at 8:39 am

Sachel@ What you have to realize is that the damage is done and it was massive. Top that with the arrogance and rudeness that those in charge displayed to there fans, and the damage just tripled. Casey Hudson has absolutely no clue on how to do damage control. Instead of using the proper tools to fix things, he goes in with a sledge hammer and goes in swinging.
Fans are angry, hurt, and completely disillusioned. Compound that with those that have left your little group, and it looks like Bioware is becoming a company torn apart, from both within and from it chosen surroundings. Just like a ship, a captain may guide it, but the whole crew takes the blame if they run it aground. It will take alot to get it’s former fans to even listen, let alone to forgive. The middle finger Bioware gave the fans with it’s expanded ending with live in our minds for a long time.

Jonas

On November 21, 2012 at 8:57 am

To further my point about jumping ship, I recommend watching MrBTongue’s video ‘A Tale of Two Companies’ on Youtube, as he makes an excellent case for rejecting the conglomerates and becoming your own boss. It’s not just theoretical either, it’s evidential. Again, it’s probably a lot more complex in reality, but it’s certainly not impossible.

On a similar note, anyone know what the hell happened to MrBTongue? At the end of his last video he said it “may take two weeks” to complete his next one. That was several months ago now. I know GameFront interviewed him a while back so I wondered if they may have any idea where he is. A lot of people are worried about him.

Wesker1984

On November 21, 2012 at 1:00 pm

No prequel about the first contact war, the rachni war or the krogans. What we need is a sequel who doesn’t repeat the same error as Mass Effect 3. The only prequel i would be interested in is a story about the rise of the reapers a billion years ago and see how the galaxy species of that time lived under the reign of the Leviathans and without the Mass Relays.

Wesker1984

On November 21, 2012 at 1:52 pm

Also, please make sure there’s less RPG elements and more plot holes for the babies to cry over, as well as more first-day DLC that should have been on the disk and a higher price point.

Wesker1984

On November 21, 2012 at 5:02 pm

Do you think you are inteligent by pretending to be me and trying to insult me on every Mass Effect article? Because you act like a retarded kid who just want attention.

Read that troll i’m here to stay and is not your immature personification of me will cause my departure.

Wesker1984

On November 21, 2012 at 5:26 pm

Sorry, that wasn’t me just then. You can tell because I didn’t say anything about “not having time” for something I’m spending time writing a comment about. Can’t wait for Mass Effect 5!

Wesker1984

On November 21, 2012 at 5:47 pm

For your information the true Wesker1984(Me) have a bad english and the ones who really know me know how much mistakes i can do in my posts.

Again stop pretending to be me. You waste your time and the time of others.

Wesker1984

On November 21, 2012 at 6:00 pm

And also some facts about me the true Wesker1984 the one who have a bad english:
I want Mass Effect to keep the RPG-element in future games.

I hated the original endings of Mass Effect 3 but since release of the extended cuts i’m accept them.

I stopped being a troll because Bioware announced and confirmed a Mass Effect 4 and so i moved on and i doesn’t care anymore about all the hates on Mass Effect 3.

I dont give a damn about day one DLC. If i can pay for it i will pay for it.

Ebalosus

On November 22, 2012 at 3:29 am

What Jonas said: Where the hell is Mr B Tongue? If you see the comments wall on his youtube page, it’s full of desparate and hopefull pleas for him to return. We do sorely miss him
:’(

Anyway, more to the point. The detractors have a good point regarding how the fallout from the ending was handled. At some point, one of the people whom speaks to the media will need to come forward and acknowledge the problems of the ending, and the fan reaction. All they’ve done up to this point is weasel their way out of acknowledging the issues at hand, saying things like “there was a strong fan reaction to the ending.”

The thing is, this is the easiest thing to fix. They don’t need to spend any time or money doing it either. All they have to do is acknowledge the reaction to the third game, and especially the ending, in frank terms (none of this weasel-word BS). That would show the detractors that bioware is willing to acknowledge how the fanbase felt about the ending and all the surrounding malarky, and lead up to the fourth entry with a lot less cynacism.

GarrusRullz

On December 8, 2012 at 5:15 am

The best outcome, in my oppinion, for ME4 would be the appearance of a new hero character – more specific: Commander Sheppard’s son/daughter (depends on romance option). Lots of action, drama and romance could be formed from this point. Reminiscence of his late father, following in his footsteps, saving colonies, search and destroy a new race of aliens who seek nothing but destruction and death. Whatever the case, i hope new game will be awesome. Cheers! and thank you Bioware for such a great ME gaming experience so far.