Mac Walters, lead writer for the franchise, was asked by Complex where BioWare plans to take the series' plot now that it's been revealed that Commander Shepard is no longer leading things. "... the idea is that we have agreed to tell a story that doesn't relate necessarily to any of the Shepard events at all, whatsoever," replied Walters. "But throughout it all, one of the key things is that it has to be Mass Effect. It can't just feel like a spin-off. It has to feel like a Mass Effect game at its heart, at its core."
"Just without the Shepard character or the Shepard-specific companions," added Walters.
The writer was then asked for his opinion on fan backlash toward the ending of Mass Effect 3, a response that gave Walters and his colleagues at BioWare a greater appreciation for just how much people care about the pixelated people he writes. "I think that's one of the things we really underestimated, which was how much ownership people would take over a character that they could do that," said Walters. "You know, you've been given free choice to make all these decisions with this character, with the fates of millions of people, and then, you don't get to choose your own fate."
"I'm not saying that our decision was wrong or right," said Walters. "I think we just underestimated the impact that would have on certain players."