Mass Effect 4 is on the horizon, and with it comes the opportunity to shift the spotlight from standard humans to the captivating aliens that populate the galaxy. This shift promises to inject new dynamics and richer storytelling into the franchise, as human companions have often been overshadowed by their extraterrestrial counterparts, lacking the depth and diversity that make them truly memorable.

While certain alien races like Batarians and Hanar have been underrepresented in the series, Mass Effect 4 has the potential to redefine its squad by giving them a prominent role. As we've been teased with glimpses of the game's development, it's clear that BioWare has been working on it for several years, aiming to forge a new path while paying homage to the past. However, there's one trope from the series that might not be worth carrying forward.

Each Mass Effect title has featured a unique narrative and conflict, but there have also been consistent elements that have persisted, for better or worse. The structure of a ship and its crew, with Shepard and Ryder at the helm, has become a staple of the franchise. However, the composition of the cast has sometimes fallen into predictable patterns. Returning faces like Garrus and Tali have had the luxury of building upon their characters throughout the trilogy, but the same cannot be said for the standard humans who have always found themselves in the player's party.

Mass Effect's cinematic presentation has always set it apart, with strong performances from all the companions. Nevertheless, the franchise's non-human party members have consistently garnered more popularity and recognition, thanks to their unique designs and lore. The rough charm of Krogan like Urdnot Wrex and Grunt, or the intrigue of Thane as a Drell and Tali as a Quarian, have all contributed to shaping Mass Effect's identity. However, their strengths also underscore a weakness in the series.

When Ashley and Kaidan made their appearance in the original Mass Effect, their most memorable impact was the player's ultimate decision to save only one of them. Yet, subsequent games continued to include similar pairings of human companions. While fans exist for human characters like Jacob, Cora, and Liam, it is widely agreed that some of them feel underdeveloped when compared to their extraterrestrial counterparts.

There have been forgettable faces among the obligatory human pairings in each Mass Effect game. However, the depth and complexity exhibited by party members like Miranda and Jack in Mass Effect 2 offer a glimpse of the potential for creating more memorable characters in the future. While interesting humans can certainly be crafted within the game's futuristic setting, there is an abundance of alien races that have yet to be fully realized as companions. The inclusion of male Quarians, female Salarians, or Krogan, for example, could bring an entirely new dynamic to the squad. It is crucial that this potential is not overlooked at the expense of yet another human addition.

It's safe to assume that many players would find the prospect of having another alien in Mass Effect 4's party more captivating than introducing a new set of humans. However, the real excitement lies in the possibility of featuring species that have not yet taken center stage as companions. The rawness of the Batarians and Vorcha, or the impractical nature of races like Hanar and Volus, may raise questions about how BioWare can implement them effectively. However, it is precisely these challenges that could shape the new identity of Mass Effect 4.

As we eagerly await the launch of Mass Effect 4, it's clear that the game has the potential to deliver an extraterrestrial extravaganza. By shifting the focus from humans to aliens, BioWare can breathe new life into the series, offering fresh dynamics and diverse storytelling. The galaxy awaits, filled with untapped potential for compelling companions from all corners of the cosmos. Get ready to embark on a thrilling interstellar adventure like no other in Mass Effect 4!

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