BioWare feels that calling the next Mass Effect game Mass Effect 4 does a disservice to the game as it will not be a direct sequel to the original trilogy. BioWare community manager Chris Priestly in a message to fans on the BioWare forums said that calling the next game Mass Effect 4 causes a lot of confusion and indicates that it might be a continuation of Commander Shepard’s story. Even though it has been confirmed that Shepard will not be the main character of the next game, which is the only thing we know for certain about the next Mass Effect game.
Priestly went on to say that people think the next Mass Effect game has to be tied to the ending of Mass Effect 3 and he said: “No, because the game does not have to come after. Or before. Or off to the side. Or with characters you know. Or yaddayaddayadda.”
BioWare Montreal who is head of the next Mass Effect game boss Yanick Roy came out and clarified Priestly’s statement by saying that calling the game Mass Effect 4 indicates there is some linearity between the trilogy and the new game. According to Roy, the next game might “recognize” your previous Mass Effect saves, but it will not be the focus of the game.
Roy makes the analogy to writing a story about soldiers during World War I and then a second story about different soldiers during World War II. In other words, the next Mass Effect game will probably have little if any references to the original trilogy as it will be a story that needs to stand on its’ own.