The Protheans

The idea: BioWare could make a pre-mankind story feel a little more familiar by using the time period of the Protheans, the race wiped out by the Reapers in the prior cycle. Mass Effect games covered the Protheans' backstory in detail. In ME3, players met Javik, the last surviving member of the race, and recruit him to their party. The player will serve on the front lines in the Prothean Empire's (unsuccessful war) against the Reapers.

Why it would work: We know enough about the Protheans and their war that a game about them would feel like true Mass Effect. The actions of Javik and the scientists on Ilos had a direct effect on the story of the original trilogy. BioWare wouldn't just be working with a clean slate; they'd be creating a prequel with firm ties to the other games.

Though the Protheans were the dominant race in their era, they were many other species within their Empire as well. It would still be possible, then, for players to assemble a diverse group of heroes for their journey.

Why it wouldn't work: While no one likes the Reapers, the Protheans aren't exactly likable either. They're arrogant, war-like pricks who finally found a race they couldn't subjugate. Are we supposed to feel bad for them?

I'm also not sure that BioWare would want to make a game about a successful harvest by the Reapers. It might be a little too dark for what EA considers one of their major franchises. It seems more likely that Mass Effect 4 would set up a brand-new set of games rather than simply lead back to the old ones.

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