Note: They've previously mentioned "many alien races, a huge galaxy to explore", so presumably it isn't the First Contact War.
Originally Posted by Complex
Complex: So with Commander Shepard gone, are you starting anew, or are you going to continue any of that story?
Mac Walter: Well, I canít get into details, but the idea is that we have agreed to tell a story that doesnít relate necessarily to any of the Shepard events at all, whatsoever. Beyond that, thatís what weíve been deciding for awhile. But throughout it all, one of the key things is that it has to be Mass Effect. It canít just feel like a spin-off. It has to feel like a Mass Effect game at its heart, at its core. Just without the Shepard character or the Shepard specific companions.