Next Mass Effect teased with new concept art that could have big plot implications

It’s November 7th, which means it’s also N7 Day, the holiday when EA and BioWare celebrate all things Mass Effect. As is now an annual tradition, it’s also when we get a new piece of concept art to analyze for clues about the still-untitled Mass Effect sequel currently in development—and this year’s image is pointing to something huge for the fictional universe.

The artwork, which you can see below, shows what appears to be a brand new design of a mass relay being built in orbit over a planet. The mass relays, as you may or may not recall, are the network of jump gates in the series used to travel around the galaxy at faster than light speeds, built by the ancient aliens known as Protheans. In most of the endings of Mass Effect 3, your efforts to defeat the Reapers ended up destroying all the relays, leaving the survivors to attempt to rebuild them and enable long-distance space travel once again.

Well, judging by this picture, not only has humanity and its allied species figured out how to repair the existing mass relays, they’ve also learned enough about how they work to come up with their own original design.

With EA and BioWare choosing to reveal this artwork for N7 Day, it’s a safe bet that they’re teasing the state of the universe in the next Mass Effect—but there’s a bit of room for interpretation here. Does the fact that this relay is under construction mean that we won’t be able to jump between galaxies, since the relay network isn’t fully rebuilt yet? Or does the fact that this labeled “MR 7” mean at least six new relays have already been constructed, in addition to repairs to some older ones. If we’re really throwing out theories, it’s possible we may unlock new areas of the galaxy throughout the game as additional relays are finished.

There’s a bit more, less specific info to dig into in the image, too. The fine print on the bottom right confirms it’s a “Vacuum-dock Relay,” and includes what seem to be two names of companies involved in the construction: “Green Dagger Ltd.” and “Deepspace Dhow SAV.”

There’s also a captain listed, “Sub-Navarch Soa’Rhal Zhillian-Jones.” Most of the name fits with Quarian naming conventions, but the hyphenated “Jones” at the end points towards an interspecies marriage with a human. Looks like maybe all that “research” Shepard and Tali did on the Normandy paved the way for new romance options galaxy-wide.

If you really want to put on your tinfoil hat, the string of numbers at the bottom also ends with “23,” which may mean there’s some kind of coded 2023 date buried in the digits preceding it, though nothing obvious comes to mind. Still, maybe internet codebreakers can uncover some tease for a reveal next year.

For more on this year’s N7 Day festivities—including bios for a few developers working on the new game, Mass Effect outfits coming to The Sims 4, and new merch—check out the official blog post.

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