There may be no Shepard in name, but I don't think much will change in terms of the mechanics of the player character (aside from some further streamlining probably). There will presumably still be a binary morality meter, (some) choice in dialogue, light RPG elements, and cover-based shooting. Both Hudson and Walters have moved to Montreal to head up the ME4 team, and I doubt they are going to radically change what they did on the last 3 games. I suspect you'll still be limited to a playing a human. You may not be a Spectre, you may not be military, but I would be surprised if you didn't join some powerful and exclusive organisation, travel to four cities/planets/locations, and turn out to be the next iteration of the chosen one that saves the galaxy.
And there will almost certainly be Asari. In fact I would be willing to bet your obviously favourite Asari in particular will show up for a cameo at some point.