In their "Past, Present and Future" panel, the developers of Mass Effect offered an exciting look at the evolution of the franchise. Producer Mike Gamble, senior combat designer Corey Gaspur, writer Sylvia Feketekuty, writer Chris Helper and community manager Jessica Merizan met with the fans and discussed the history of the series, beloved characters, multiplayer gaming and even hinted at upcoming ME content.
The panel ended with a teaser shot of a look into the future. Bioware showed a single, mysterious image. I'd re-post it, but that's a Comic-Con faux-pas, so instead, I'll tell you that the image appeared (and it was very hard to make out) to show an Atlus underwater. What it means is anyone's guess.
Another "future" peak: When asked about the motivation behind the shot that ended the "perfect" runthrough of the trilogy, that famous single shot of Shepard breathing in a wrecked atmosphere, writer Feketekuty said:
"The motivation was, 'are these endings all too bleak?' You know what, for the fans who stuffed everything in the Normandy's hold, and did everything, we wanted to give them a little something. We did intentionally make it vague, so you can project your own gameplay experience on to it."
As for the "past" part of the panel, the Bioware devs showed off the flow-chart that planned what was seen in your "Extended Cut" ending to Mass Effect 3. While we didn't get an in-depth look at the chart, suffice to say, it was very complicated and really highlighted how individual each ending was for the Mass Effect trilogy. Decisions you made three games ago show up in your extended cut ending.
When asked by a fan which ending is "canon," producer Gamble said, "We don't have a canon. We've gone out of our way not have a canon. Your Shepard is your Shepard. If we planned to have a canon ending, it would have saved us so much work."
As for the present part of the panel, there was much discussion of multiplayer. The most interesting thing about it was a look into the evolution of the way ME3 multiplayer works. According to Gaspur, originally, all different races played exactly the same, but jumping and dodging as a Krogan just didn't feel right, so they gave them more hit points, more solid armor and took away the dodge. Eventually, the game "fractured" into the sort of class-based combat it features now.
While there weren't any "hard" answers on where the franchise is going (if anywhere) beyond the current DLC, I have a feeling we'll be playing as Shepard again. After all, dying and coming back isn't exactly new to old Shep.