Mass Effect 4 is still a long way off but that hasn’t stopped people from speculating about what the future may hold for the beloved franchise. Ever since Bioware released the teaser trailer for the next Mass Effect, we’ve seen a lot of wild theories regarding the upcoming game’s timeline, protagonist, release date, and more. Potential squadmates are also a major point of debate and it’s easy to see why. But while most people are focusing on the possible return of fan favorites like Garrus, Tali or Wrex, I decided to turn my attention toward some of the unsung heroes of the series.
There’s no shortage of memorable squadmates in Mass Effect but there are just as many secondary characters that would have made a great addition to our team. We don’t know when Mass Effect 4 is taking place, but for the purposes of this article, I like to imagine it kicks off shortly after ME3. That lets us look at as many characters as possible. I know a lot of people are saying Mass Effect 4 will take place hundreds of years after the trilogy but I don’t think that’s the case. I’ll go over why in a separate article.
Here’s how this works
First, we’re only looking at side characters from Mass Effect Legendary Edition aka the original trilogy. Andromeda had some good things going for it but the squadmates weren’t one of them. For characters to be eligible they must not be available as permanent squadmates in MELE and there has to be a scenario where they can survive the events of all three games. Finally, the characters need to be useful in combat. Sadly, characters like Joker or Dr. Chakwas are off the table.
1. Major Kirrahe
We first meet Captain Kirrahe on Virmire where he and his team are investigating Saren’s Krogan breeding facility. The Captain and the rest of the STG 3rd Infiltration Regiment are crucial to the success of the mission, as they distract the Geth while Shepard and crew sneak into the facility. Even though Virmire features some of the tensest moments in the original Mass Effect, including a standoff with Wrex, the loss of a companion and a fight against Saren, Kirrahe is the real star of the show at the beginning of the mission. In no small part thanks to his speech.
Kirrahe can die on Virmire if Shepard doesn’t assist the STG team by completing various secondary objectives. However, that’s easy to avoid since the objectives are simple. If he survives the events of Virmire, Kirrahe will be promoted to Major by the time we meet him again in Mass Effect 3. Kirrahe is the one who brings the Krogan females to Sur’kesh and promises to help you retake Earth when the time comes. Regardless of what the Council thinks. Not only does he keep his promise, but Major Kirrahe holds another one of his famous speeches just before the final push.
A former commander of Mordin Solus, Kirrahe is the one who saves the Salarian Councilor during the Cerberus attack on the Citadel if Thane is already dead. Unfortunately, he has to sacrifice his own life in the process. Needless to say, that event should not be considered canon for Kirrahe to be available as a Mass Effect 4 squadmate.
Base Class: Infiltrator
Kirrahe best fits the Infiltrator class. We see him use a Scorpion pistol on Sur’kesh and Tactical Cloak during the assassination attempt on the Citadel. He’s also a high-ranking STG member, an organization known for solving problems via espionage and sabotage.
2. Ka’hairal Balak
There is no Batarian squadmate in Mass Effect Legendary Edition but that will hopefully change in Mass Effect 4. Most Batarians we encounter in the trilogy don’t have a lot of character development but there is one exception. Balak is the main antagonist of the Bring Down the Sky DLC and seems a bit smarter than most of his kin. While other Batarians are content with engaging in random acts of terrorism against humanity, Balak hatches a scheme aimed at destroying an entire human colony in one fell swoop. And he would have gotten away with it too, if it weren’t for that meddling Shepard.
During the final confrontation on Asteroid X57, we get to learn more about Balak’s motivations and his hatred of humanity. Shepard can sympathize with the Batarian and let him go or take the Renegade route and kill him. However, the second option will also result in the deaths of several innocent civilians. If Shepard spares him, Balak makes another appearance in Mass Effect 3.
Our second encounter with the Batarian starts with him pointing a gun at Shepard’s back and blaming them for his people’s misfortunes. Shepard can kill him during this scene but the best outcome is to reason with him. Doing so results in Balak pledging what remains of the Batarian fleet to the war effort. This outcome also gives him a chance to be alive during Mass Effect 4. At the end of ME3 Balak is said to be the highest-ranking military officer left in the Hegemony.
Base Class: Infiltrator
Balak primarily falls under the Infiltrator class, possessing abilities like Immunity, Assassination, Damping, and Sabotage in ME1. His “who’s the real terrorist here” line is an interesting piece of foreshadowing for the Mass Effect 2 DLC Arrival. Which sees Shepard destroy an entire Batarian colony. Balak may have been named after a biblical character.
Shiala is an Asari commando with interesting ties to several important characters in the original Mass Effect. These include Saren, Matriarch Benezia, and the Thorian. A former acolyte of Matriarch Benezia, Shiala was sacrificed by Saren to the Thorian in exchange for the Prothean Cipher. However, instead of simply killing her, the ancient plant creature absorbs and clones Shiala. Incapable of defending itself through conventional means, the Thorian uses the Asari’s clones against Shepard during their mission on Feros. Naturally, Shepard manages to overcome both the Thorian and the clones, freeing Shiala in the process.
Shepard can choose to either kill Shiala or let her go. She of course needs to be spared to have a chance of showing up as a Mass Effect 4 squadmate. If Shepard spares Shiala, she can be encountered on Illium in Mass Effect 2 during a side quest. Although free from the Thorian’s influence, Shiala’s prolonged exposure to the creature turned her skin green and enhanced her biotics. Albeit it also made them unstable. It is also hinted that Shiala now has some sort of symbiotic relationship with the Thorian’s spores and that she often has dreams about the creature.
In Mass Effect 3 we learn via an e-mail that Shiala manages to use the spores to her advantage against the Reapers. The Thorian’s influence over her, which she still feels, is akin to indoctrination and makes her resistant to the form of indoctrination used by the Reapers.
Base Class: Vanguard
Like every Asari commando, Shiala uses a combination of weapons and biotics, making her best suited for the Vanguard class. To me, the Thorian feels like one of those things Bioware may decide to explore again at some point, possibly even in Mass Effect 4. If that happens, you can bet Shiala will be involved in some way.
4. Admiral Daro’Xen vas Moreh
A member of the Quarian Admiralty Board, Admiral Xen is a calculated scientist with a somewhat unhealthy interest in the Geth. While a lot of Quarians dedicate their lives to learning as much as they can about their creations, her fascination borders on obsession. We learn during Tali’s loyalty mission in Mass Effect 2 that Daro’Xen used to perform surgery on her childhood toys. I’m sure she would love nothing more than to perform all sorts of unsavory experiments on active synthetics.
It would be interesting to learn how her obsession with the Geth plays out in Mass Effect 4 if Shepard manages to broker peace between them and the Quarians in ME3. Apparently, there was supposed to be a quest in Mass Effect 3 where she would request access to Spectre resources to perform experiments on synthetics if peace was achieved. The quest was eventually cut from the final version.
Admiral Xen’s role in Mass Effect 3 is fairly significant. If Tali dies in Mass Effect 2, Daro’Xen replaces her and aids Shepard during the Geth Dreadnought mission, though she doesn’t participate in combat directly. She also creates the Sync Laser that Shepard uses during the fight with the Reaper Destroyer on Rannoch. The Arc Pistol given to Shepard during the Geth Dreadnought mission was created by her as well. If Admiral Xen survives the events of Rannoch, she is sent to work on the Crucible. Admiral Xen is voiced by none other than Claudia Black (Morrigan from Dragon Age). That alone would make her an awesome ME4 squadmate.
Base Class: Engineer
Just like Tali, Daro’Xen is best suited for the Engineer class. While we never get to see her in a fight, Daro’Xen’s vast knowledge of weaponry and technology would make her a formidable opponent if she were to combine it with a little battlefield training. At the very least she would make short work of mechs by simply using her tech skills.
5. Kolyat Krios
If you only played Mass Effect 2 as a Paragon it may seem a bit strange to find Kolyat on this list. After Shepard and Thane stop him from assassinating Joram Talid on the Citadel, Kolyat reconciles with his father and decides to walk a more peaceful path. However, if Shepard fails Thane’s loyalty mission, Kolyat goes on to become an assassin just like his father.
As mentioned near the start of this article, we’re looking for characters useful in combat as potential Mass Effect 4 companions. Therefore, in this case we’re actually taking the worst outcome as canon. Doing so means that Kolyat doesn’t get to meet Shepard in Mass Effect 2 but we do encounter him in Mass Effect 3 if we visit Thane after his fight with Kai Leng.
Unfortunately, Kolyat doesn’t get a lot of character development in either Mass Effect 2 or 3 but we do get to meet him again in the Citadel DLC during Thane’s memorial service. There, we only learn that Kolyat plans to convince the Salarian councilor to invest in finding a cure for Kepral’s Syndrome.
Games aside, we do get a bit of background information on Kolyat in the Mass Effect Foundation comic series, though the information is largely similar to what Thane tells us aboard the Normandy. Namely, Kolyat became estranged from his father at a young age and lost his mother when he was 10 to a gang of Batarians. Who were later hunted down and killed by Thane.
Base Class: Infiltrator
If Kolyat continues to walk in his father’s footsteps, his class would be a combination of Infiltrator and Adept. However, Infiltrator seems more likely since we never see him use biotics. Having him be a conventional assassin would work in his favor by differentiating him from his father.
6. Oleg Petrovsky
Oleg Petrovsky is the main antagonist of Mass Effect 3’s Omega DLC. The character comes off as arrogant, ruthless, and opportunistic, possibly even a bit douchey at times. However, unlike Kai Leng for example, Petrovsky isn’t a one-dimensional villain who simply follows orders without asking any questions. In fact, the Mass Effect Invasion comic series reveals that Oleg Petrovsky doesn’t mind lying to the Illusive Man if it means completing his mission with as few victims as possible. He also expresses disgust at how little other Cerberus operatives care about civilian casualties.
A brilliant military strategist and veteran of the First Contact War, Petrovsky is the type of person who always thinks ten steps ahead and doesn’t act unless he’s certain of victory. He is also the first to admit when he is outplayed and isn’t above trying to find a peaceful compromise that would benefit all parties involved. The character isn’t explored nearly enough in Omega, but we do get to learn a bit about his personality during the DLC.
Like a few other characters on this list, Petrovsky’s fate is intertwined with that of Shepard. The Commander can intervene and save the general from Aria’s wrath at the end of the DLC or he can be left to die. While it is very tempting to let Aria have her revenge, canonically he would have to be spared to show up in Mass Effect 4. Ideally, by choosing the Paragon path. In that scenario Aria herself spares him and everybody is happy. More or less.
Base Class: Soldier
Oleg Petrovsky is a Soldier through and through. He may be more used to leading troops from a command center in Mass Effect 3, but he also strikes me as the type of person who wouldn’t mind getting down and dirty with us on the battlefield.
7. Adrien Victus
Speaking of brilliant generals who fought in the First Contact War, next up we have Adrien Victus. Having two generals on your squad who fought on opposite sides of the war would be pretty interesting. But that’s not the only reason I included Victus on this list. Victus isn’t your typical Turian who likes to do things by the book. The general is known for employing unorthodox tactics if it means losing as few soldiers as possible.
We are told in Mass Effect 3 that a lot of other members of the Turian military take issue with his tactics, yet few would question him openly since he always gets the job done. The way Victus takes up the mantle of Primarch and diplomat despite disliking politics is reminiscent of Captain Anderson stepping up to become Councilor at the end of ME1. Just like Anderson, Victus knows that sometimes serving your species means doing things you don’t enjoy.
After returning with Shepard on the Normandy, Primarch Victus comes off as a very rational character; someone who always sees the big picture. He quickly realizes that curing the Genophage would benefit the greater good and doesn’t hesitate to offer his aid in the battle for Earth as soon as Krogan aid for Palaven is secured. Unlike the leaders of some of the other species.
Despite mourning the loss of his son on Tuchanka, Victus continues to stand proud as he fulfills both his diplomatic and military duties. The Primarch is there alongside his men when the time comes to retake Earth. Though it’s too bad he doesn’t make an epic speech like Kirrahe.
Base Class: Soldier
Victus falls under the Soldier class and has no issues leading troops from the ground. Would he make a good Mass Effect 4 squadmate given his propensity to lead rather than follow? Debatable. But he would definitely be a great character to have around.
8. Aria T’Loak
Aria T’Loak is easily one of my favorite side characters in Mass Effect Legendary Edition. Unlike all the other characters on this list, we do get to have her as a companion, albeit only as a temporary one. That’s quite a shame because Aria is a very interesting character with a rich background and superb voice acting delivered by Carrie-Anne Moss. Plus, she is an extremely powerful biotic with centuries of experience. Fighting alongside her through the streets of Omega was just amazing. In fact, during certain chunks of the DLC you feel like she is the one in charge while Shepard is just her sidekick, which is true in a way.
We first encounter Aria on Omega during Mass Effect 2 where it is clear from the get-go that she runs the place. She helps Shepard out with some information but she doesn’t seem particularly impressed by the Commander’s exploits. Her attitude doesn’t change much in Mass Effect 3 but she does become more cooperative and pledges all the resources at her disposal to the war effort.
If you play as a Paragon you get to see a more compassionate side of Aria in the Omega DLC. But I honestly don’t think it fits her character very well. The queen of Omega is at her best when she’s a ruthless badass who doesn’t take crap from anyone and doesn’t show pity towards those who try to mess with her.
Base Class: Biotic Boss
Out of all the characters on this list, I think Aria is the most likely to show up in Mass Effect 4. Ideally as a squadmate but I’d be happy with her being present in any capacity. As far as her class is concerned, it’s a bit hard to pin down but let’s just go by her passive ability and call her a Biotic Boss. If anyone deserves to be in a class of her own it’s Aria T’Loak.
9. Urdnot Bakara (Eve)
It would make sense to see Urdnot Bakara aka Eve in Mass Effect 4. But as a squadmate? Seems pretty unlikely if we assume Bakara continues to be the voice of reason for the Krogan people. If something were to go terribly wrong, however, things could turn out very differently. Something like, let’s say, sabotaging the cure for the Genophage.
Some players might not know this but you can actually sabotage the cure while also keeping Eve alive and gaining the support of the Krogan. Doing so would require Shepard to go full asshole and kill both Wrex in ME1 and Mordin in ME3, among other things. But it is possible.
With Wrex dead, his brother Wreav takes control of Clan Urdnot. And with him in charge, the Krogans don’t find out about the sabotage in Mass Effect 3. However, one would assume they figure it out eventually and when that happens there will be hell to pay.
Similar to the infamous Shiagur, Bakara may use her power and influence with the clans to become a powerful warlord if such a scenario were to occur. Although still unlikely, in that scenario she could end up as a possible squadmate in the upcoming game. Though it would be pretty awkward if we play as Shepard in Mass Effect 4 and she finds out the Commander was the one who sabotaged the cure.
Base Class: Vanguard?
Of course, this is all wild speculation and fan fiction, but that’s kind of the point of this article. We don’t know too much about Eve’s combat capabilities but we did see her kill two Cerberus troops with a shotgun on Sur’kesh without batting an eye. She can clearly handle herself in a fight. It would make sense to have her as a Soldier but giving her some biotics and making her a Vanguard would be more interesting.
10. Armando Bailey
Bailey is a pretty inconspicuous character when you meet him in Mass Effect 2. He comes off as a cop who doesn’t mind bending the rules from time to time, especially if that helps him circumvent C-Sec’s infamous bureaucracy. In a way, he reminds me a bit of Garrus in ME1.
Bailey doesn’t play an important role in Mass Effect 2 but Bioware clearly saw potential in the character and decided to bring him back for the sequel. Not just that but Bailey’s personality was fleshed out a little and he was promoted to Commander in the meantime. The story of how he got that promotion is told in the Mass Effect Inquisition comic. Bailey isn’t too happy with his promotion since the new job involves a lot of politics, which he isn’t a big fan of. We also learn that Bailey is struggling to come to terms with the fall of Earth due to his family being there.
Despite his ever-increasing worries and frustration, Bailey does his best to remain strong and doesn’t hesitate to rise to the occasion when Cerberus assaults the Citadel. Amid the chaos, Bailey bumps into Shepard and aids them in repelling the invaders. He’s also the one who discovers Cerberus’ plot to assassinate the Council and helps Shepard get to them before Kai Leng arrives. Bailey gets seriously wounded during the fighting, but instead of whining like a Quarian with a tummy ache, he simply goes back to work the second day like nothing happened.
Base Class: Soldier/Infiltrator
In my opinion Bailey is an underrated character who would make a good squadmate in the next Mass Effect. He can clearly hold his on in a firefight even against superior numbers and he seems to have a bit of a knack for tech. Soldier or Infiltrator sounds like an appropriate class for him.
11. Matriarch Aethyta
Matriarch Aethyta has the distinction of being the only character in Mass Effect Legendary Edition with three face models. You first meet the Matriarch in Eternity, a bar on Illium, where you get to ‘save her’ from Conrad Verner’s incessant ramblings. Aethyta likes to rant and it doesn’t take long until we find out that her father was a Krogan, which explains her gruff voice and somewhat masculine facial features. If you’re brave enough to buy a mystery drink from the nearby kiosk, the Matriarch will look younger and more attractive the next time you talk to her.
The beer goggles moment in ME2 is pretty funny but things take a strange turn when you encounter Matriarch Aethyta again on the Citadel in Mass Effect 3. This time around, she looks different once again and it’s not because of the alcohol. It’s never really explained why her face model was changed. An odd oversight on Bioware’s part or undeniable proof that Asari make other races see them a certain way through some sort of hypnosis? You decide.
In any case, while talking to Aethyta on the Citadel we learn that she is actually Liara’s father. Which would make Liara one quarter Krogan. Maybe. We also learn that Aethyta’s job as bartender on Illium was only a front so she could be closer to Liara. Liara is the only squadmate from the trilogy confirmed to return in Mass Effect 4. And if Liara is there, there’s a good chance Matriarch Aethyta will not be far behind. Having them both on our crew would certainly be pretty interesting.
Base Class: Vanguard
We don’t know much about Aethyta’s combat prowess but given that she is around 1,000 and has commands at her disposal, we can assume she’s seen some action in her time. Probably as a Vanguard.
12. Maya Brooks
I’m going to be honest here, I don’t really like Brooks in Mass Effect 3. A few seconds into our first conversation and I already knew she was going to betray Shepard sooner or later. And her attempt at feigning an innocent attitude after you inevitably defeat her is one of the cringiest moments of the entire trilogy.
However, I do think Maya could have been a very interesting character if we got to meet her under different circumstances. The fact she was introduced in the Citadel DLC didn’t do her any favors since that meant using her primarily for comedic purposes when the character wasn’t necessarily designed to be funny. Maya’s origin story was told throughout the entirety of the Mass Effect Foundation comic series, which features no less than 13 issues. Of course, the series is not just about her but she does get a lot of backstory and character development in the comics.
Among other things, Brooks worked on the Lazarus Project during her time at Cerberus and was the one who put together the dossiers forwarded to you by the Illusive Man in Mass Effect 2. The comics also explain how Brooks found out about Shepard’s clone and why she decided to free it when she cut ties with Cerberus. Brooks is said to have used many aliases over the years, including Captain Channing, Rasa, and Hope Lilium. Maya Brooks is just another pseudonym.
Base Class: Infiltrator
Brooks is a bit of an enigma and could make for a great Mass Effect 4 squadmate if Bioware decides to take her a bit more seriously. While the scene where Shepard kills her is pretty funny, for the sake of this article we’ll assume the Commander spares her. If she does return in ME4 she will likely be an Infiltrator.
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