Mass Effect 4 is a Given, But How Can the Series Improve?

No, Mass Effect isn't going anywhere after Shepard's story is wrapped up in . Why would EA throw away one of the most valuable franchises of this generation?

"We have ambitious plans to continue this franchise going forward. Mass Effect 3 is simultaneously a couple of different things; a thrilling and epic conclusion to the trilogy as we promised our fans we'd provide for Commander Shepard, but it's also a brand new beginning -- it's an entry point for new fans and it's also a brand new beginning," BioWare CEO Ray Muzyka told .

Does that mean that there will be a cliffhanger at the end of Mass Effect 3? Will BioWare introduce some sort of spinoff character who will take the reins for a new series? Who knows, but the Mass Effect universe is certainly big enough for more than just Shepard's story.

It speaks to the increasing value of franchises in this generation, particularly given the rising costs of HD development. More than ever, publishers crave "the sure thing," and Mass Effect is about as sure a thing as you'll find on a console these days.

My only request? Mass Effect has a well-developed universe, but the overall arc plays age-old fantasy and sci-fi tropes painfully straight. After Shepard's story is put to bed, I would love to see the team flex its creative muscles and play around with the genre a bit.

I know they have it in them. I played Knights of the Old Republic.