Right now, all signs point toward Mass Effect 4 canonizing the Destroy Ending. This is because marketing material released for it thus far showcases dead Geth, who were sacrificed alongside the destruction of the Reapers and all synthetic life. Combine this with Mass Effect 4 dealing with both the Milky Way and Andromeda Galaxies, as it seems, and a big, new narrative seems to be building.

However, how the Reapers were defeated is just one of many big choices players had to deal with in the original Mass Effect trilogy. One of the biggest, of course, is dealing with the Genophage and the Krogan; as Commander Shepard, players were able to either cure it or destroy the cure. This is a huge split in what could come of the future for Krogan, and this split makes their fate in Mass Effect 4 more complicated than other races.

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Krogan – Life and the Genophage Before Mass Effect 4

The first thing to keep in mind with this is why the Genophage was created in the first place. That’s not to justify it, of course, as it was an act of genocide, but this act was also the result of a couple of conflicts. The council turned to the Krogan in the Rachni Wars, who managed to push back this enemy. As a reward for their role in ending this war, the Citadel Council gave the Krogan the Rachni planets and several others too.

The thing is: Krogan breed fast and don’t die easy. Wrex is roughly 1400 years old in Mass Effect, while many who don’t fall in battle can live for 1000 years easily. A single female Krogan, pre-Genophage, could produce 1000 fertilized eggs in a year. On Tuchanka, the rough conditions ensured the strongest survived and kept Krogan reproduction in check naturally. When spreading to other, more hospitable planets, this led to a boom in the population of a warrior race who lives a long time.

The Krogan continued expanding, beginning the Krogan Rebellions with the Citadel Council when they began expanding into Citadel race territories. In the end, the Turians would get the Genophage from the Salarians and deploy it, earning their seat on the council and dooming the Krogan race to a perpetual cycle of near extinction, unless broken by Commander Shepard in Mass Effect 3. The simple fact remains, though: without the Genophage, they live long, breed fast, and hit hard.

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Mass Effect 4 – How It Could Deal With The Krogan and Genophage

It would seem that there are roughly a few options related to Mass Effect 4 and the Krogan. The biggest is whether or not it honors player choice; Mass Effect 4 seems to canonize the Destroy Ending and so canonizing the Genophage one way or the other is a huge logical leap. It would, however, potentially be more upsetting for fans of the Krogan. This would make the storytelling come Mass Effect 4 a little more precise at least, one way or the other.

The second option is the hardest: honoring player agency. If Mass Effect 4 were to try to tell a story where players could ‘import’ decisions, then it would essentially need two different world states. This is tricky because the non-Genophage Krogan and the Genophage Krogan are so different. Without it, and with there seemingly being a time skip (Liara seems older in the Mass Effect 4 trailer), the Krogan likely have a much bigger role in the galaxy.

Hopefully, that role isn’t defined by warmongering come Mass Effect 4, but it’s hard to deny how much more prominent they could be without the Genophage. It would be so prominent, however, that balancing that narratively with a second-world state that has much less Krogan—who are likely still angry about it—is a completely different ball game. There would be little wiggle room to tell a story, in which the Krogan are involved but exist in different states of civilization.

Finally, it could change the Krogan and/or use the time skip to suggest some form of “evolution.” For example, while the Genophage could be cured, there’s no telling how the Krogan anatomy will treat that after not being able to reproduce for so long. That is to say that, while Krogan could breed, it’s not a jump in logic to say that prolonged spans without reproduction have led to Krogan not reproducing as much as they originally could. Krogan would likely just be happy they weren’t going extinct; this could balance out as a more “standard-sized” civilization. Narratively, this could also work if the Krogan just eventually “evolved” out of the Genophage.

The latter is the most interesting because this could impact how Krogan see other Mass Effect races still, with one making them more involved and positive while the other could lead to some isolationism. At the same time, it changes but doesn’t necessarily void any choices made in Mass Effect 3. Nonetheless, it’ll be interesting to see how BioWare juggles all the balls currently in the air for Mass Effect 4.

Mass Effect 4 is in development.

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