Mass Effect 4 is expected to make some kind of appearance at this year's E3. Usually if the developers don't explicitly say it's not showing up then it's possible for it to show up. But before we get into what BioWare has planned to show us for the next iteration in the dramatic space saga, it seems like it would be cool to explore some of the changes the game should embrace in its next outing.
Fans of this particular sci-fi RPG are a dedicated bunch and they definitely have their own wants and needs out of the series, but we thought it might be fun to take a look at 5 exciting changes Mass Effect 4 should make.
RPG MicromanagementItem micromanagement and hardcore RPG elements were in the first Mass Effect but then the features were removed in the two sequels. I imagine EA really wants to keep the game as accessible as possible, but accessibility doesn't always make the game better. Allowing players to acquire armor, status items and weapons and modify, customize or upgrade them with complete stat tracking would be pretty awesome. That's not to mention that it would greatly increase the replayability factors for people who would like to try new ways to play the game.
At Comic Con last year a small team from BioWare hinted at the possibility of itemized customization. Of course, nothing was set in stone but even the feature being possibly making an appearance would be a huge thing. Of course, for gamers who want to keep things simple, there's always the possibility of BioWare adding in an option where players can just press a button and automate stat distribution and item assignment to avoid micromanagement.
Fewer Linear Mission EnvironmentsAs Mass Effect evolved the game seemed to move farther and farther away from traditional exploration and adventure and more toward linearity to help move the story along. Many parts of Mass Effect 3 seemed like scripted segments right out of a corridor shooter like Gears of War or Call of Duty. With the power of eighth-gen it would be nice to see BioWare use the extra horsepower to expand the game's mission environments, especially now that the game is running on the Frostbite 3 game engine.
With the Mako making a return and allowing players to drive around planets, hopefully this will also translate into the game allowing for the mission segments themselves to allow players to diverge from the linear-path and approach missions with a bit more freedom. The corridor shooting segments don't entirely have to go away but at least it could give gamers the option to tackle some missions without just running straightforward along a set path.
Procedural Quests On Random PlanetsAs mentioned, the Mako is making a return so players will be able to drive around and explore planets on the surface in the speedy and mobile vehicle. But what good is driving around on giant barren planets if there's nothing to do? Instead of having the random planets contain random things like Thresher Maws, a small base with a few things to kill or a few beacons to disable or retrieve, what if instead they contained quests that you had to discover?
Instead of just picking a side-quest it would be cool if procedural quests were scattered around the planets ranging from escort missions to defense missions to rescue missions to assassinations. What's more is if players would have to discover the quests to initiate them; a bit of a reward for curious minded gamers. It could also make exploring random planets a thrilling and mysterious adventure. I know procedural quests are usually relegated to open-world indie games on PC, but it would be really awesome to see this kind of feature make the leap into a game like Mass Effect 4. That's not to mention that it would greatly extend the replay value of the game by ten-fold.
Drop-In Multiplayer For The Story ModeThis is a really bold change but it could be a really exciting change if executed properly. But imagine if BioWare decided to include drop-in multiplayer in the story mode where other people could control your teammates? You could have a couple of friends join in on your single-player, galactic escapades. The drop-in multiplayer co-op could be limited to just exploration and combat, so you wouldn't have to worry about someone joining your game and screwing up the dialogue sequences.
The feature could be similar to the multiplayer cooperative modes in Mass Effect 3, just for the single-player mode. We do know that the game has some kind of multiplayer but we just don't know to what extent. Of course, playing as a sidekick is a rare occurrence in most games but it could be a unique feature in Mass Effect 4, especially for a group of friends who want to try something a little bit different and explore the galaxy together.
Perma-Death For TeammatesThis isn't something everyone will like but it's something I'm going to throw out there anyway. First up, it would be really cool if you could recruit random NPCs to your team, X-Com style – and some info out there suggests recruiting team members is a returning feature – but more than that if you had to deal with the fact that they could die while on your watch. And no, I don't mean die and then respawn when the fighting or the mission ends, I mean die as in staying dead.
Perma-death is not something used often in games because it means you have to be very wary of the choices you make and the consequences that come along with them. But in the same way that X-Com forces you to protect your squad at all costs, having the same level of importance and responsibility in Mass Effect 4 could really elevate the game's sense of character growth and squad attachment when you know that one wrong move could send a trusted teammate to a permanent death. And just in case this seems like too big change for Mass Effect, this could always be an optional feature for the harder difficulty settings.