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Mass Effect 4 might not be as far along as we think. BioWare Montreal studio director Yanick Roy says that the studio still hasn't determined its title.
Fortunately we don't need to spend too much time thinking about this flimsy rumor. Even if Mass Effect: Contact is the name for the project right now, it doesn't matter because BioWare's going to replace it with some other title.
Guessing the title is a bit difficult because we know essentially nothing about the game's story. All that BioWare has confirmed so far is that it doesn't star Commander Shepard. They won't even say whether it's a prequel or sequel. The story could really be anything.
"We have already said that the Commander Shepard trilogy is over and that the next game will not feature him/her," BioWare's Chris Priestly said last February. "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."
More than a few people are expecting/hoping Mass Effect 4 will be revealed at the E3 in June. That's partly because the weeks leading up to E3 are like the playoffs for troll rumors. I'm sure we'll hear all sorts of wacky bullshit soon about Fallout 4 being an Xbox One exclusive or Half-Life 3 being the first title to use PS4's new Smell-O-Vision and so on. A Mass Effect announcement isn't as ridiculous of a rumor but could be equally false.
Priestly's statement from 2013 that an announcement is "years down the road" is something worth emphasizing. BioWare may not be ready to show off Mass Effect 4 or whatever they're calling it. If they haven't even figured out a title by E3, what's the most we can really hope for during the convention? A teaser trailer with some footage of cosmos and the Mass Effect logo, with a few seconds of the soundtrack for good measure?
There's another reason we might not hear anything about the next Mass Effect during E3 2014: Dragon Age: Inquisition. BioWare is planning to release Inquisition this fall so the company will probably spend all of its stage time during EA's press conference discussing that game. An announcement about Mass Effect 4 would upstage whatever news they shared about Inquisition.