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Has EA accidentally revealed a major character's return in Mass Effect 4?

Mass Effect Legendary Edition art showing Shepard, Liara, Garus, Tali and more
(Image credit: EA)

A now-deleted description for a new Mass Effect 4 lithograph originally stated that the game will feature a returning Commander Shepard. 

The lithograph is of an image of four figures coming out of a ship to a Geth-shaped crater. The poster was released on N7 Day last year, however, while it’s an older image, new details about Mass Effect 4 were seemingly revealed through the product description for the printed version.

The details were spotted by YouTuber MrHulthen (opens in new tab)(via GamingBolt (opens in new tab)), where the listing (opens in new tab) teased the return of Commander Shepard. It originally read: “Shepard’s final quest may have ended the threat of the Reapers but at great cost, including Earth itself. While Shepard and the survivors are left to pick up the pieces, fans are left wondering what’s next.”

While Mass Effect 3’s ending has multiple outcomes, most of them end with Shepard no longer alive. Except in the ‘perfect ending’ where Shepard is seen taking a breath. However, if this description is to be believed, it seems like Shepard will be back. 

Interestingly, the description does mention that defeating the Reapers was also at the cost of Earth. This could suggest that the game is going down the ‘Destroy’ ending route, which sees all synthetic life in the Galaxy killed as well as portions of Earth. It’s not clear if Earth is entirely destroyed, but if it is, and the ‘Destroy’ ending becomes canon, the universe is going to be in a rough place at the start of Mass Effect 4.

However, take this all with a pinch of salt. The description was changed very quickly to remove any mention of Shepard. It’s hard to know what this could mean. It could suggest that whoever posted this was mistaken when posting the description, or, it could suggest that this was information that wasn’t meant to be revealed yet and has since been deleted to try and cover it up.

Or, if you are especially suspicious, maybe it was written and then taken out on purpose to get the community and press speculating. 

Whatever the case, it’s an interesting tidbit, especially when details about the game and its story have been very scarce. A return of Shepard would be a huge step for a lot of Mass Effect fans, and a real commitment from Bioware to return to what made the series work in its initial trilogy, and away from the likes of Mass Effect Andromeda

Patrick Dane is TechRadar Gaming's Guides Editor. With nearly a decade in the games press, he's been a consistent voice in the industry. He's written for a plethora of major publications and travelled the world doing it. He also has a deep passion for games as a service and their potential to tell evolving stories. To wit, he has over 2000 hours in Destiny 2, over 1000 in Overwatch and is now deeply into Valorant.