The ending of Mass Effect 2 was quite the climax. Tense. Dramatic. Good. And, depending on your choices, maybe just a little bit sad. But what next? Obviously we don't know. Nobody does. Apart from maybe some people at BioWare.
Of course the absence of any actual fact-based Mass Effect 3 facts leaves the shuttle doors wide open for us to throw out a few educated guesses and optimistic wishes about what we think/hope will be in the trilogy's final game. Let the guessing begin...
Note: Yes. There are Mass Effect spoilers in this article.
We'll get to see more of Earth
The Mass Effect codex gives a brief idea of what our home world is like in the 22nd Century, but the opportunity to take a trip to see what future Earth looks like would be awesome. BioWare knows it would be awesome, so we're anticipating a visit to the Sol System's most exciting planet.
Surviving squad members will be active from the start of the game
The vast majority of Mass Effect 2 was spent gathering troops and subsequently playing social worker by sorting out their personal problems. Doing that all over again would be undesirable madness. That said, we wouldn't be surprised to see Wrex, Liara and/or Ashley/Kaiden join Shepard's crew for the showdown with the Reapers.
It'll be possible to revive a dead squad member
Fallen comrades are conveniently stored on board the Normandy and Cerberus brought Shepard back from deadness at the start of Mass Effect 2, so what's stopping any dead squad members being similarly restored at the start of Mass Effect 3?
Admittedly, it took two years to rebuild Shepard and the Reaper threat seems pretty imminent... but we're desperately hoping someone invents an accelerated reanimation device between games. We don't want our Tali to be dead forever.
A cure will be found for the genophage. And Shepard will have the option to save or destroy it
It's been a strong thread throughout the Mass Effect story so far and it seems logical that BioWare will give closure to the genophage sub-plot in the final game. It depends purely on your own morality whether you think the krogan-culling biological weapon was a good or bad thing in the first place.
So if a cure is found, it's subsequent distribution or destruction would make for a pretty tough choice to call. Let the krogan continue along the path to extinction? Or risk the war-happy reptiles once again becoming an overwhelming force?
We'll get to see what a quarian face looks like
We've spent an unhealthy amount of our lives wondering what the bloody hell Jawas look like and, frankly, we don't want to go through it all again with the quarians. They have two eyes, lips and teeth. We know this. But we want to see a quarian face before Mass Effect 3 is done. If they die when stripped of their enviro-suit helmet... so be it. It's a sacrifice we're willing to make.
The Illusive Man will be... EVIL
Could go either way this one. But the steely robotic eyes, the constant smoking, heavy drinking and being an all-round secretive sort make us think that there's definitely something sinister about the Cerberus honcho. Mass Effect 2 really missed having a villain like Saren to go up against and Mr Illusive has all the makings of a proper evil bastard.
Whether it's the Illusive Man or not, we're sure Mass Effect 3 will have a main antagonist for Shepard to go up against. The Reapers may be the threat, but for all their galaxy-conquering bad-assery, a race of intelligent warships lack a little something in personality.
Joker will die
Undoubtedly some squad members will croak it based on a player's decisions, but we've got a gut feeling that Joker is going to meet his maker in the final act. Him and Shepard are pretty tight and - while he could be killed in his briefly playable ME2 segment - his survival has always seemed the most guaranteed of the whole Normandy crew. If BioWare's looking to spring a real unexpected death on us, then Joker has to be the prime candidate. So that's what we're expecting.
EDI will be given a body. Ideally a sexy robot one
As spherical, holographic artificial intelligences go, EDI was pretty hot. Probably something to do with her metallic yet sultry voice. We'd like her to play a more active role. All it would take is a quick upload into the frame of a sexy robot and Shepard would have a new squad member.
At the climax, Shepard will have to choose between saving the galaxy or selling humanity out to the Reapers
What better way to finish the trilogy than with the ultimate Paragon/Renegade choice-making humdinger? We know the Reapers are manipulative little monkeys and the Harbinger has a special, unexplained interest in Shepard (at points the Harbinger can be heard saying "Preserve Shepard's body if possible").
If the Reaper's made an attempt to recruit/indoctrinate Shepard (in the same way Sovereign took control of Saren) during the course of Mass Effect 3, then a 'save/destroy humanity' choice wouldn't be implausible. And it would literally be the best moral choice in a game ever.
And there we are. Some incredibly speculative and entirely made-up ideas of what we think will happen in Mass Effect 3. Are we way off track? Do you have your own ideas as to how ME3 will wrap things up. Let us know your thinkings in the comments.