Mass Effect 5: Everything we know so far about the new BioWare adventure

With a new Mass Effect game on the way, the question is now as to whether it'll show up at Summer Game Fest 2023 that's airing on June 8. The game originally made its debut at The Game Awards 2020, and without a dedicated EA showcase, it could make sense for Keighley's show to be the place for an update.

Although it's unclear whether it'll actually be called Mass Effect 5, we do know it's the fifth game in Bioware's sci-fi series. While it's looking like we're in for a bit of a wait for an eventual release, Bioware has said that although it's still in pre-production, "development has been proceeding very well" in a recent blog post.

We have had some concept art, but realistically details on what the new Mass Effect game will be are pretty light. What we do know is that the next Mass Effect game looks set to be a follow-up to the original Mass Effect trilogy - which are often counted among the best RPGs around. BioWare also recently committed to it being a single-player experience like those that came before it, and we have additional details like it will feature returning characters from the original trilogy.

With some of the best game stories around, the prospect of another entry in the series has us all excited. While we may be in for quite the wait to see the game arrive, read on below to get a rundown of everything we know so far about Mass Effect 5. 

Mass Effect 5 will be a single-player game

Mass Effect 5 poster

(Image credit: BioWare)

In the latest Alpha milestone update for Dragon Age: Dread Wolf, BioWare touched on the new Mass Effect game, and its commitment to making it a single-player experience. "We have a team hard at work envisioning what the future holds for a new single-player Mass Effect game," general manager Gary McKay noted towards the end of the post. 

The Mass Effect series has always been single-player for the most part, with the exception of a multiplayer experience in Mass Effect 3, which was actually pretty darn fun (and ended up being omitted from Mass Effect Legendary Edition release). Still, it's good to have single-player confirmed, especially in light of EA's push for live service games in the past. 

Mass Effect 5 art released so far

New Mass Effect poster released on N7 Day

(Image credit: BioWare)

Revealed as part of N7 Day 2021, this new Mass Effect poster teasing the next game. Not only does that crater look a heck of a lot like a Geth helmet, if you zoom in on those teenie space peeps, one appears to be wearing Krogan armor. 

Interestingly, in January 2022, BioWare GM Gary McKay revealed in a post on the BioWare blog that the poster contains "a handful of hidden treats", including "at least five surprises, all of which point to an amazing future in the Mass Effect universe". 

Of course, McKay doesn't go into detail about what any of those are, but does add that he's seeing "some incredible work from both teams", speaking of the Mass Effect and Dragon Age development crew. 

On N7 Day in 2022 (November 7), we then got a handful of new Mass Effect 5 images that obviously made fans start diving deep into theories as to what they could mean. Both images can be seen above, showing off a ships flying over futuristic cityscapes, with one featuring a turian in the bottom right corner. Most people are convinced that the cities have asari connections, as the lighting and architecture have definite vibes of the asari homeworld, Thessia, which we visited in Mass Effect 3. It also looks a lot like Illium, the asari corporate colony where we're reintroduced to Liara in Mass Effect 2.

Interestingly, those images were accompanied by the below video, which the community proceeded to decode:

See more

It very much sounds like the voice of Liara T'Soni, the asari from the original trilogy that has seemingly appeared in other teases for the next Mass Effect game. 

The next Mass Effect teaser trailer breakdown 

During The Game Awards 2020, BioWare dropped the very first teaser trailer for the next Mass Effect game… and holy Liara T'Soni was it quite the trailer. Running at just under two minutes, fans were quick to dig into every second of footage shown to try and piece together what it might mean for the future of the franchise. BioWare project director Michael Gamble caused a lot of excitement when he said "there's a lot to unpack" on Twitter, and the Mass Effect fan base erupted with interesting theories and thoughts about what the trailer may be hinting at. 

Firstly, you can hear the very recognizable horn of a Reaper ring out during the opening sequence. Later on, eagle-eyed fans also noticed you can spot the silhouette of a Reaper in the background as a mysterious figure (who turns out to be Liara) walks through a snowy landscape. Gamble confirmed you do in fact see Reapers in the trailer, so we're likely seeing the remnants of what was left behind after the final showdown with Shepard in Mass Effect 3. 

Mass Effect 4

(Image credit: BioWare)

The presence of Liara is also very interesting. There is a lot of speculation surrounding whether the area we see Liara in is in fact in the Milky Way, given that she uncovers some N7 armor. Some have even been speculating that she's in fact on Earth, which may suggest that the next adventure is likely a direct sequel

There's also a lot of substantial theories around the possibility that the next is in some way tied to Mass Effect: Andromeda. If it is, it could give us an idea of the timeframe the next adventure will take place in.  Andromeda is set some 600 years after Mass Effect 3, and interestingly you can even listen to voice recordings from Liara in Andromeda - given her long life span, it would also make sense for her to still be knocking around long after Shepard. 

The very first time Ryder takes off in the Tempest ship, "godspeed" is said to be over comms, which can be heard in the trailer. Gamble also confirmed on Twitter this was "intentional", which has also added more credence to the idea that the next adventure will be linked to Andromeda. 

Prior to the release of the trailer, many believed it was connected to Andromeda because of the official artwork that was released on N7 Day in the blog post announcement. The concept art titled "Mud Skipper" shows the silhouette of four figures, one of which has the same build as the Angara, which is a race we first encounter in Andromeda. Could it actually be Jaal? There also appears to be a Salarian and Drell, but who they are is currently unknown. The very same image can be seen for just a moment when we see Liara turn and smile in the trailer, which suggests she could have been the fourth figure on the far left of the original image.  

Who's making the new Mass Effect game?  

Mass Effect 5 teaser trailer screenshot featuring a character holding a N7 logo on some metal

(Image credit: BioWare)

The new Mass Effect game is being made by a "veteran team" at BioWare. Shortly after the release of the teaser trailer, BioWare project director Michael Gamble highlighted some of the names returning to help create the next step in the franchise on Twitter.

For starters, Dusty Everman has rejoined the development team as a principal narrative designer. Gamble mentions that Everman was one of the key contributors when it came to bringing the Normandy ship to life and was previously a senior level designer at BioWare. Parrish Ley, who previously worked as a cinematic director for the Mass Effect Trilogy, is also returning to bring "his vision" to the new adventure, along with longtime BioWare programmer and technical designer Brenon Holmes and original Mass Effect art director, Derek Watts.

Mass Effect 5 release date - When will the new Mass Effect game be released?  

Mass Effect 5 screenshot from the teaser trailer featuring a ship and small group of character silouhettes

(Image credit: BioWare)

The question we all want an answer to is of course 'when we can expect to see the next Mass Effect adventure arrive?' Well, we probably won't be seeing an official release date for quite some time, especially considering BioWare is still in the early stages of development. However, it's going to be a bit of a long wait for this one. Mass Effect 5 development reportedly won't begin in full until 2023, so it's going to be quite the wait. What we can bet on is that we'll see it land on the Xbox Series X and PS5; just the thought of knowing we have a new-gen Mass Effect game in the pipeline is exciting, to say the least. 

In the official BioWare blog post, it states that the team is "looking forward to sharing our vision for where we'll be going next." While we probably won't be seeing any big updates about the next game anytime soon, we'll certainly be keeping an eye out for any more news about Mass Effect 5's development going forward. 

Mass Effect 5 wishlist: here are the features we’re looking for

Until we officially know more about Mass Effect 5, here's what we'd love to see from the next step in the franchise:

A more linear mission design

As so many games of recent years, Mass Effect Andromeda made the jump to an open-world structure. While you always had the option to travel around the galaxy and solve several side quests at your own pace, the entire story of ME Andromeda requires you to first go to a planet in the Heleus cluster and finish enough quests to raise the viability level of a planet before you can proceed with the plot. These tasks can get repetitive, and both planets and their settlements looked and felt mostly empty. By comparison, gathering your forces in Mass Effect 2 and 3 was an endgame activity, preceded by interesting plot developments. Mass Effect Andromeda has you doing the same things over and over before it lets you get on with the plot, draining the game of suspense. A less open word in the style of previous Mass Effect games would help tighten the plot, which would in turn allow for more interesting missions.

Make it Andromeda 2

(Image credit: BioWare)

This one’s dividing the fanbase: about half of them want the next game to use Andromeda’s setting, the other half hanker for a return to the Milky Way. But acting as if Andromeda never happened would do all the work that went into it a disservice. While the story wasn’t different enough from the original Mass Effect trilogy to win most players over,  it did leave open questions. A second part could explore conflicts between the different races after finally settling, or take a closer look at the Ryder family. Andromeda had interesting new alien races, and where the trilogy had several games to allow Shephard’s team mates to grow onto players, the Andromeda crew deserves a similar chance.

An overhauled morality system

(Image credit: BioWare)

Andromeda did away with the Paragon/Renegade system of past games. Generally, we don’t think it a great loss, as the dialogue options always divided into good, rude and vaguely sarcastic even before the system was scrapped, but it would be nice to see a stronger emphasis on consequences. While Mass Effect 3 didn’t make the most of all the decisions you made throughout the series, as far as the games themselves were concerned, you felt the consequences of what you did in some situations quite keenly, for example whether or not you rescued the general of the Quarian flotilla. When it comes to meaningful decisions,  there’s still a lot of room for Mass Effect to grow, and we’d like for Bioware to explore such options further.

The ability to control squad powers

(Image credit: BioWare)

Mass Effect Andromeda has fun combat. Easily accessible to those who played a Mass Effect game before, it’s well comfortable in being a cover shooter, and thus didn’t look to innovate, but with the it added some interesting variety with the different combat profiles. Good enemy AI behaviour kept things sufficiently challenging, which can’t be said for your squad mates. Mass Effect team mates have never behaved optimally, but in prior games you make up for that by commanding them to use their powers. This feature is missing in Andromeda. Getting it back would round out the otherwise already great gameplay.

A fan of all things BioWare? Be sure to check out everything we know so far about Dragon Age 4

Sam Loveridge
Global Editor-in-Chief, GamesRadar+

Sam Loveridge is the Global Editor-in-Chief of GamesRadar, and joined the team in August 2017. Sam came to GamesRadar after working at TrustedReviews, Digital Spy, and Fandom, following the completion of an MA in Journalism. In her time, she's also had appearances on The Guardian, BBC, and more. Her experience has seen her cover console and PC games, along with gaming hardware, for a decade, and for GamesRadar, she's in charge of the site's overall direction, managing the team, and making sure it's the best it can be. Her gaming passions lie with weird simulation games, big open-world RPGs, and beautifully crafted indies. She plays across all platforms, and specializes in titles like Pokemon, Assassin's Creed, The Sims, and more. Basically, she loves all games that aren't sports or fighting titles! In her spare time, Sam likes to live like Stardew Valley by cooking and baking, growing vegetables, and enjoying life in the countryside.

With contributions from