Cheats and Walkthroughs
Commander Shepard will be the main character in Mass Effect 3. Whether the Shepard you're controlling in the final act of BioWare's trilogy is the same Shepard you created in the original Mass Effect and brought into Mass Effect 2, however, isn't guaranteed. If you make the wrong choices, your Shepard will die (and it won't be a game over screen, this is for real) and won't make the journey to Mass Effect 3.
"If you do die in the ending of Mass Effect 2, it will not come as a surprise, nor will it be random," said executive producer Casey Hudson on an IGN developer blog. "It will be pretty obvious that you headed into the final mission knowing that Shepard probably wouldn’t make it out alive. Throughout the middle of the game you are building up information, resources, a team, and a ship that will be able to do the job, and although you can jump straight to the final mission at a certain point, you’ll have a good feel for whether you’re likely to survive it."
"Part of what makes the final mission dangerous in a more profound way is that each squad member could potentially die a real, story-based death during that mission as well," he continued. "You might have an ending where Shepard’s entire team survives, or where the entire mission is a bloodbath and everyone (including Shepard) is killed, or anything in between. And for all characters, death in Mass Effect 2 means they won’t show up in Mass Effect 3."
You have to credit BioWare for having the balls to create such drastically different endings, though I can't help but feel a bit cheated that one ending isn't the true conclusion. If Shepard dies, why can't someone else pick up the mantle and continue forward in Mass Effect 3? You're able to make choices about how Mass Effect's story plays out, but ultimately, you're still tied to the story BioWare wants to tell.