If Commander Shepard Is In The Next Mass Effect Game, I Will Become The Joker

I mean it. If the mysterious Mass Effect project that BioWare is currently working on alongside Legendary Edition even so much as dreams of bringing Commander Shepard back into the fray, I will buy some clown makeup, I will dye my hair green, and I will become The Joker.

You might be thinking, “Well, obviously BioWare isn’t going to bring Shepard back, that would make no sense.” If so, thank you. But guess what? Lots of other people have been begging for the galaxy’s worst dancer to return for almost a decade. I’ve mentioned this before, but if you visit the Mass Effect subreddit on any given day, you’ll probably see dozens of posts stating that the series can only be saved if Shepard is alive, travelling around space with his best buds, Garrus and Wrex.

I reiterate: if anything remotely similar to this happens, I will buy a green shirt, an orange waistcoat, and a red suit, and I will smoke my silly little cigarette while I do my silly little dance on the silly little steps of a silly little public staircase.

Hey! Did you know that the idea of Commander Shepard coming back in a future Mass Effect game makes me want to become The Joker?

In all seriousness, it’s just a really stupid idea. Ignoring the fact that Andromeda is far better than people give it credit for – and the first game in an expected trilogy, meaning that it laid foundations for future payoffs as opposed to telling a story with its own conclusive arcs – Shepard’s story is over. Shepard, in most versions of the ending, is dead. And no, Cerberus paying $1 trillion to perform some cutting edge surgery to make him an immortal robot man is not a good plot device. The Mass Effect universe is incredibly vast, teeming with billions upon trillions of potential fragments of unique lore, from little mole men with funny helmets to tall jellyfish who piss their pants when they hear someone say “arse.” There are shady space hubs steeped in notoriety like Omega, secret underground corporatocratic labs devoted to facilitating illegal experiments on Noveria, and an unquantifiable number of other unique settings, filled with unique people.

So why do you want your favourite space soldier, who already has a beginning, middle, and end to their story, to come back? Do you not want to learn about anything else in this massive, sprawling, unexplored universe with completely untapped potential? You’d rather walk around the same ship over and over again? I mean, I know I want to do that, but I’m happy to do it in Legendary Edition, because I love those games and think they already tell a perfectly coherent story. I’ve never been mad about the ending, but that doesn’t mean I want another game where, lo and behold, Shepard is alive and well! And, actually, the Reapers are back, so you need to fight them again, except this time Shepard does a Superman punch to King Reaper and yay! It’s all over, party in Shepard’s place, let’s fly around the galaxy for the next 100 hours shooting aliens for no reason. I don’t think anyone asking for Shepard to come back actually has an idea for him to come back other than, like, a Guardians of the Galaxy story. And hey, I recently spoke to a bunch of ex-BioWare devs who said they’d love to make a game like Elite Dangerous in the Mass Effect universe – but that doesn’t really apply to Shepard, does it? A war hero who saved the galaxy from an ancient army of sentient starships doesn’t quite have the same opportunities for becoming a space pirate as a smuggler nobody.

So yeah, please. Pipe down on “bring Shepard back for Mass Effect 4!” I’d personally love Andromeda 2, and wouldn’t be opposed to a brand new adventure, or some sort of spin-off where you got to play as Garrus during his Archangel days, or maybe a young Nakmor Drack. But Shepard? Listen, Shepard’s story is great, but it’s finished. Please. Don’t make me become The Joker.

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Cian Maher is the Lead Features Editor at TheGamer. He’s also had work published in The Guardian, The Washington Post, The Verge, Vice, Wired, and more. You can find him on Twitter @cianmaher0.

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