BioWare says the new Mass Effect trailer “has much to unpack”, prompting interesting fan theories

Mass Effect 5
(Image credit: BioWare)

BioWare project director Michael Gamble has dropped some hints about the new Mass Effect game, which has led to some very illuminating fan theories. 

A shiny new trailer dropped for the next Mass Effect title in the franchise during last night's Game Awards. Gamble said in a tweet that there's "much to unpack" in the trailer, and suggested fans "Look. And listen closely". What a tease. Gamble has also made some very intriguing comments in response to eagle-eyed fans, who have been discovering some key details that may point towards the game's setting, and where it will sit on the timeline of events in the series. 

Firstly, towards the end of the trailer, we see a figure climbs up a snowy path. As someone pointed out on Twitter, you can spot the silhouette of a Reaper in the background - the big bad machines that threatened the universe and wiped out several galaxies. Gamble confirmed that we are in fact seeing a Reaper, which suggests the snippet in the trailer may take place in the Milky Way on Earth. 

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The fact that we also seemingly see Liara T'Soni, who finds a piece of N7 armor, also adds more credence to this idea. Shepard's final showdown took place on Earth, which is of course in the Milky Way Galaxy. Many have also pointed out that Liara appears to look older, which could suggest the events of the next adventure will be set many years after Mass Effect 3. 

Gamble's responses also seem to hint that the upcoming Mass Effect game is in some way connected to Mass Effect: Andromeda. As a player highlighted, you can hear someone say "godspeed" during the trailer, which is said to Ryder through comms the very first time they take off in the Tempest ship. Gamble confirms that this was "intentional." While this could just be a nod to Andromeda, it has led to some speculation that the upcoming game may take place after the events of Andromeda, or around a similar time. 

The adventures of Ryder are set 600 years after the events of Mass Effect 2 and 3, long after Shepard has defeated the Reapers. During Andromeda, you can even listen to voice recordings from Liara, and it makes sense that she'd still be around given the long life-spans of Asari. 

Another tantalizing little tidbit is that the very first line of the trailer is a direct reference to War of the Worlds. It's impressive to see just how deep fans have been diving into this short trailer, and Gamble's comments have given us a lot of food for thought. 

With the many endings of Mass Effect 3, I'm very interested to see just how those endings may affect the next adventure. 

In other news, the Mass Effect Legendary Edition was also announced alongside the new game

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.