It was pretty much assumed as much but the new and currently dubbed Mass Effect 4 does look to be leaving behind the Andromeda galaxy.
BioWare finally shared a teaser trailer for “The Next Mass Effect” during The Game Awards 2020 last night. While the new installment remains untitled, the teaser trailer contained enough references to indicate that players will be returning to the Milky Way to continue the original trilogy instead of where Mass Effect: Andromeda left off. This essentially makes the new game a true Mass Effect 4 continuation but will have to wait to see what name Bioware goes with.
The trailer starts off in deep space to show a broken Mass Effect relay before ending on an unknown icy planet where an Asari picks up a broken N7 armor piece with a dead Reaper in the background. The said Asari is presumably Liara, one of the main characters from the original Mass Effect trilogy. She is also not alone. Three of her comrades can be seen alongside their parked starship.
Commander Shepard died in the events of Mass Effect 3. The Mass Effect relays were also destroyed. The broken N7 armor probably belongs to Shepard himself. BioWare hence is teasing a return to the Milky Way where all of the first three games took place. The developer after all also stated that “Mass Effect will continue.” Mass Effect 4 should explore a post-trilogy galaxy which was impacted by Shepard and the all-out war to retake Earth from the Reapers.
Mass Effect: Andromeda is technically the fourth installment in the franchise but which fell flat. The game was understandingly supposed to launch a brand new trilogy in the new Andromeda galaxy. Its mediocre and mostly negative reception even forced Electronic Arts to cancel all planned post-release content. Trying for a sequel would have carried additional concerns.
Commander Shepard left behind some big shoes to fill for the next protagonist. BioWare has confirmed Mass Effect 4 or whatever the game gets called to now be in pre-production. That clearly suggests the release window to be far off. The developer might perhaps start showing off the game somewhere in 2021.