BioWare is looking to Mass Effect fans to help make the decision as to whether the next Mass Effect should be set before or after the events of the recently completed trilogy.

Casey Hudson, Mass Effect’s exec producer, took to Twitter yesterday to gauge opinion on the matter from fans of the sci-fi epic.

"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?” said he.

Going for the prequel option would mean the writers will have to be very careful to make sure events tie in with everything that’s been established in the series’ rich story. The games have made reference to major events from the past such as the human race finding the mass relay in Pluto’s moon, its subsequent fight with the turians and acceptance in the Citadel.

If BioWare chooses to go ahead with a sequel, then there’s the matter of dealing with the various Mass Effect 3’s endings, which were wildly different on a pretty grand scale.

What we can probably assert from BioWare’s asking for tips on timeline is that the writing stage is at the earliest stage it could be right now. We’ve also heard from BioWare several times that this will not be a Shepard story. Judging by fan responses, it looks like a lot of people want to see an alien race protagonist.

Mass Effect 4 (or whatever it ends up being called) is currently in development over at BioWare Montreal. It’ll be made in DICE’s incredible Frostbite engine which you’ll have seen put to use in the Battlefield games and is planned to make use of various technologies used 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."

What would you like to see?