As Mass Effect 5 is steered in a "spectacular new way", it should learn from Dragon Age Origins

Mass Effect 5
(Image credit: BioWare)

With Mass Effect 5, I'm ready to move on from Commander Shepard. Believe me, as a diehard fan of the series, it takes a heck of a lot for me to actually write those words down, let alone admit it. But hear me out, okay? By following the iconic protagonist's journey across three games, we're given the chance to form a solid and endearing attachment. At this point, I feel like I've been through so much with the cast of Mass Effect – both in terms of the events of the trilogy, and the way the series has helped me through difficult times in my own life. My Shep will forever claim a corner of my heart, but with a new Mass Effect game on the way, recent news has once again got me thinking about the direction of the next installment. 

BioWare has given us a small update on Mass Effect 5 as part of a blog post about the development of Star Wars: The Old Republic. Alongside confirming that the next Mass Effect game is still in pre-production, there's also mention of the "core team of veteran storytellers who are bringing the deep franchise history forward in a spectacular new way". The "new way" it touches on could mean any number of things, but I can't get away from one particular idea I would love to see realized – and it just so happens to draw from Dragon Age: Origins and Dragon Age: Inquisition.  

I want to see Mass Effect 5 offer a new perspective by letting us create our own character from any one of the different races in BioWare's rich universe. 


Mass Effect 5

(Image credit: BioWare)

The return of Shepard in Mass Effect 5 has been a topic of debate and discussion since the teaser trailer reveal first dropped back in 2020. Liara picking up a piece of an N7 helmet set fan theories ablaze about Shepard's presence, and whether or not they'll be a playable protagonist. All we can do is speculate right now, but as time goes on, I find the idea of playing as someone new far more appealing. That's not to say I want to leave Shepard behind altogether. I desperately hope they have a part to play in some way, and factor into the storyline of the new entry. But the Mass Effect universe is home to so many interesting civilizations and alien species that could just as easily take center stage. 

Dragon Age Origins, for example, allows you to pick from three different races that all have separate origin stories to set up the adventure. People in the world will respond differently to you based on your choices, and it brings you closer to some of the cultures of Thedas by establishing them early on. Dragon Age: Inquisition also allows you to pick the race of your character which once again feeds into certain aspects of the story. Just imagine if the same applied to Mass Effect. With the likes of Turians, Krogans, Asari, Drell, Quarians, Salarians, Angara, and more, all of the races have distinctive abilities, features, and histories within the universe that could translate to interesting combat systems, story paths, and even dialogue choices. 

Mass Effect 2 - Garrus

(Image credit: BioWare)

Given that there are so many civilizations in Mass Effect, it might be asking too much to role-play as all of them, but it certainly would be a "spectacular new way" of allowing us to experience the next installment. Not only would it offer up so much choice to let us be who we want to be in the sci-fi setting, but it could also bring some added variety to the story by paving the way to different approaches and viewpoints. With Mass Effect Andromeda also putting us in the shoes of a human, I would relish the opportunity to take on a distinctly different kind of role, and get the chance to learn more about the different cultures of the galaxies. 

So much is unknown about Mass Effect 5 as of right now, but just like fans everywhere, I can't help getting lost in the possibilities. As much as I would love to reunite with Shepard, I've definitely warmed to the idea of experiencing something fresh. However the "spectacular new way" takes shape to bring the series forward, one thing's for sure: I can't wait for more Mass Effect.  

Starfield promises to fill the void in my RPG-loving heart as I wait for Dragon Age 4 and Mass Effect 5.

Heather Wald
Senior staff writer

I started out writing for the games section of a student-run website as an undergrad, and continued to write about games in my free time during retail and temp jobs for a number of years. Eventually, I earned an MA in magazine journalism at Cardiff University, and soon after got my first official role in the industry as a content editor for Stuff magazine. After writing about all things tech and games-related, I then did a brief stint as a freelancer before I landed my role as a staff writer here at GamesRadar+. Now I get to write features, previews, and reviews, and when I'm not doing that, you can usually find me lost in any one of the Dragon Age or Mass Effect games, tucking into another delightful indie, or drinking far too much tea for my own good.