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Mass Effect 3 will be the end of Shepard

"Correct," says BioWare.

Mass Effect 3 will be the end of Commander Shepard, BioWare has confirmed.

"After this, Commander Shepard's story is complete," producer Michael Gamble told PC Gamer.

No more Shepard?

"Correct," answered Gamble.

The universe of Mass Effect, however, will live on. "This is not the end of the Mass Effect franchise by any means," BioWare boss Ray Muzyka told Eurogamer at E3 this summer.

Muzyka elaborated to PC Gamer: "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."

Mass Effect is the first series of games BioWare has re-used a hero for since Baldur's Gate/BG2. Part of the allure has been importing save files from previous Mass Effect games in order to continue your bespoke story.

BioWare offered the same save-import ability in Dragon Age 2, but this had only a marginal impact on the world that surrounded new hero Hawke.

Has following a recurring hero alienated newcomers from the Mass Effect series? BioWare has already added Kinect support to Mass Effect 3 as well as adjusted the formula to "essentially address a much larger market opportunity" with its new sci-fi action RPG.

Eurogamer has also heard that a standalone, four-player co-op mode will available for Mass Effect 3.

Eurogamer played Mass Effect 3 at E3 this summer.