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BioWare has asked fans whether Mass Effect 4 should be a sequel to the existing trilogy or take place before, Phantom Menace-style.

Mass Effect overlord Casey Hudson canvassed fans via his Twitter account last night.

"Parsing through your thoughts on the next #ME game. Would you be more interested in a game that takes place before the trilogy, or after?", he wrote.

A game set earlier in the series' history may come into conflict with already-established canon. We already know how the human race got to the start of the Mass Effect series (they found a mass relay inside Pluto's moon, fought the turians and got given a nice swanky office on the Citadel).

A game set later in the series' history would have to tackle Mass Effect 3's various ending choices, which leave the galaxy in varying states of repair.

It's not the first time BioWare has asked fans their thoughts on the next Mass Effect game, but word that the developer has yet to choose a time-setting is another sign that development is still in its infancy.

The next Mass Effect game is being developed by the current trilogy's B team at BioWare Montreal (instead of the main outfit, BioWare Edmonton). It will run on DICE's Frostbite engine and utilise systems in development for next year's Dragon Age 3.

"While [Mass Effect 4] will be very respectful of the heritage built over the course of the first three games, with the original trilogy now concluded and the switch over to a new engine, we are exploring new directions, both on the gameplay and story fronts," BioWare Montreal studio director Yanick Roy said earlier this month.

"You can still expect the pillars the franchise is known for to be fully intact though, including diverse alien races, a huge galaxy to explore, and of course rich, cinematic storytelling."

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Tom Phillips

Tom Phillips

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Tom is Eurogamer's news editor. He writes lots of news, some of the puns and all the stealth Destiny articles.

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