BioWare hasn't announced the title of the next Mass Effect. However, they'd really appreciate it if you don't call it Mass Effect 4. Community manager Chris Priestly says that calling it ME4 is doing the game a "disservice."
"To call the next game Mass Effect 4 or ME4 is doing it a disservice and seems to cause a lot of confusion here. We have already said that the Commander Shepard trilogy is over and that the next game will not feature him/her," Priestly said on the BioWare Social Network forums. "That is the only detail you have on the game. I see people saying 'well, they'll have to pick a canon ending.' No, because the game does not have to come after. Or before. Or off to the side. Or with characters you know. Or yaddayaddayadda."
"Wherever, whenever, whoever, etc will all be revealed years down the road when we actually start talking about it."
Very little about the fourth Mass Effect has been revealed thus far. Development is being led by BioWare Montreal instead of series creators BioWare Edmonton. Furthermore, it utilizes the Frostbite 2 engine seen in Battlefield 3. Last November, executive producer Casey Hudson asked fans whether they wanted it to be a prequel or sequel.
Yanick Roy, the head of BioWare Montreal, hopped onto the forums later to further clarify Priestly's points. The problem with calling the game Mass Effect 4, he says, it that it implies there's a direct connection between the story and gameplay of the trilogy and this new game. However, the switch to a different engine has led them to rethink a lot of gameplay. Furthermore, the next Mass Effect is a "new story set in the Mass Effect universe."
"That doesn’t mean that events of the first three games and the choices you made won’t get recognized, but they likely won’t be what this new story will focus on. In other words, because the game takes place before of after the first trilogy does not mean it necessarily is a straight prequel or sequel."
That's all well and good, but what are we supposed to call the fourth Mass Effect in the meantime? Mass Effect: The Phantom Menace? Mass Effect: The New Class? If you don't want us to call it Mass Effect 4, tell us what the title is. Get a focus group together and figure it out. Until then: Mass Effect 4, Mass Effect 4, Mass Effect 4.