One of the developers from BioWare, Chris Wynn, took to Twitter to respond to a question of a fan, confirming that Mass Effect 4 won't be prequel, but he also mentioned that it won't necessarily be a sequel either.
@Thatlobsterman not a prequel, not necessarily a sequel either.
— Chris Wynn (@The1Wynn) June 1, 2015
Mass Effect 4 won't be a prequel, or maybe even a sequel, so what will it be then?
The survey that supposedly leaked potential details about the story may very well indeed be more accurate than we thought. The details therein pointed towards a separate story that's completely unrelated to the adventures of Commander Shepard. The timeline could be before chronicling the first attempts at deep space exploration in this very universe, or it could be far afterwards featuring a completely new apologue.
Prequels and sequels are only such if their stories tie into the original content, so because of the massive and rich universe that is Mass Effect created by BioWare and Drew Karpyshyn, it's possible to take advantage of the wide stage to have a familiar backdrop with distinct story elements. If they develop a story with the help of professional story tellers
Mass Effect 4 has been in development for quite some time and a lot of good work as supposedly been put into it. A lot of passionate work, in fact. Even though development is indeed their business, being passionate and enjoying the creation process can immensely help with the quality of the final product.
Mass Effect 4 is expected to be released sometime in 2016 for the PS4, Xbox One and the PC, and hopefully we'll hear some great news about it at E3 happening later this month. The expectation is that EA and BioWare will want to tease some gameplay, or at least show us some screenshots of the work they've done.
So stay tuned for any new and exciting information regarding Mass Effect 4. We're just as excited as you are.