Development of a Mass Effect spinoff featuring a character like Star Wars’ Han Solo was explored, but was set aside for Mass Effect 2.
In many ways, Mass Effect and Star Wars share a lot of similarities. Both feature aliens, space travel, a threat looming over the galaxy, heroes, villains and a whole lot more. If that got you thinking that having a Han Solo-like figure in the leading role might be a great idea, apparently you’re not the only one.
In a recent interview with TheGamer, Mass Effect development director Dorian Kieken said that such a game was once in the works at BioWare. “We explored a game concept back in 2008, a bit after the shipping of [Mass Effect,] where you were playing a Han Solo type of character in a Star Control-inspired game in the Mass Effect universe,” said Kieken. “The game was intended to expand the Mass Effect universe and be done in parallel [with] the trilogy.”
Although Han Solo is remembered as a hero in the Star Wars universe, it is easy to forget that the smuggler has a checkered past. Before his adventures with Luke Skywalker and company, he was somewhere in between a good and bad guy. He wasn’t necessarily a bad person, but would do bad things if it meant he can get by. Apparently exploring this kind of character was something that BioWare’s developers were interested in.
“I like the idea of exploring a ‘grayer’ character, akin to a smuggler/pirate type in the [Mass Effect] universe,” said Kieken. He mentioned “it’s a bit like exploring the Star Wars universe without being a Jedi, or the Warhammer 40K universe without being a Space Marine.”
The concept is certainly intriguing and is one that, as a Mass Effect fan, I would love to see become a reality one day. However, with the success of the original game and the pressure to follow up big, Kieken explained that it was best for the development team to focus on Mass Effect 2, which ultimately ended up being the right decision given the sequel’s success.
In other Mass Effect news, a remaster of the original trilogy titled Mass Effect Legendary Edition was announced and will release on May 14, 2021 for PS4, Xbox One, and PC. A Nintendo Switch port has yet to be announced, but hasn’t been ruled out according to BioWare.