Mass Effect

Mass Effect
Mass Effect
Mass Effect logo
Genres Role-playing game
Third-person shooter
Developers BioWare
Publishers Microsoft Game Studios, Electronic Arts
Platforms Xbox 360, Windows, PlayStation 3
First release Mass Effect
November 20, 2007
Latest release Mass Effect 2
January 26, 2010
Official website

Mass Effect is an award-winning, bestselling series of science fiction RPG third-person shooter video games developed by the Canadian company BioWare and released for the Xbox 360, Microsoft Windows and, from the second installment, for the PlayStation 3. The first game in the planned trilogy centers around a player created character named Commander Shepard and his/her mission to save the galaxy from a race of mechanical beings known as the Reapers, and its followers, including the brainwashed Saren Arterius. The first game sees Shepard facing Sovereign, a Reaper left as a vanguard, who plans to allow the Reaper fleet currently hibernating in extra-galactic dark space to invade the Milky Way and destroy all sapient organic life, continuing a mysterious cycle of destruction. The second game takes place two years later, and sees Shepard battling the Collectors, an alien race abducting entire human colonies in a plan to help the return of the Reapers. The third and final game will center on the final battle against the Reapers.

Since the beginning the series has been a major critical success. Both games have received critical acclaim for their storyline, characters, romances, voice acting, choices, tolerance of diversity, and the depth of the galaxy.[1][2][3] Video game website, GamesRadar, called Mass Effect the best new franchise of the generation, saying that the galaxy was so well-constructed that it felt like a decades-old franchise and that it represented "a high-water mark for video games as a story-telling medium."[4]



 Mass Effect series chronology 

Mass Effect
Mass Effect 2
Mass Effect 3

A trilogy of games is planned to be released, each continuing the game's story in chronological order. The second game in the trilogy was released in January 2010. The Mass Effect series combines sci-fi, action game and role-playing game elements, with the main series games being third-person shooters. The protagonist can use two AI-controlled squad members in battle; which usually consists of members he or she has recruited, from various places and for various reasons, and taken onto the Normandy, Shepard's starship. As of December 2010 the Mass Effect series has sold almost 7 million units.

Main trilogy

  • Mass Effect (2007): The first game in the series was originally created as an exclusive title for the Xbox 360 but was later ported to Microsoft Windows by Demiurge Studios. The game focuses on the protagonist, Commander Shepard, and his/her quest to stop the rogue 'Spectre' Saren Arterius from leading an army of Geth to conquer the galaxy. During pursuit of Saren, Shepard learns of a far greater threat in the form of the Reapers. Saren has been mentally enslaved by the Reaper 'Sovereign', a vanguard sent into Citadel Space to initiate the purge of all advanced sentient life in the galaxy, a cycle repeated by the Reapers every 50,000 years. Mass Effect was received with critical acclaim by many industry reviewers, and has garnered a large fan-following.
  • Mass Effect 2 (2010): The second main game in the series was released on January 26, 2010 in North America and January 29 in Europe.[5] A great deal of secrecy surrounded the game prior to launch, with few details emerging other than Casey Hudson, Project Director for BioWare, stating that "players should keep their save files, because decisions made by the player in the first game will continue to have influences on their character in the sequel."[6][7] The game takes place two years after the events of Mass Effect. Human colonies are being attacked, their colonists disappearing without a trace. The game's protagonist, Commander Shepard, is forced into an uneasy alliance with the pro-Human paramilitary organization, Cerberus, in an effort to discover the cause. Evidence emerges pointed to the 'Collectors', an advanced, enigmatic race of insect-like humanoids. Adding to the threat is the revelation that the Collectors are working for the Reapers. Shepard sets out on a "suicide mission" to stop the Collectors, accompanied by a hand-picked team of soldiers, assassins, mercenaries, and specialists. Mass Effect 2 has received overwhelming critical praise since its release, for its characters, storyline, voice acting, and refined combat and gameplay with many critics calling it a major improvement over the original and an easy Game of the Year contender despite its January release.[2] At Gamescom 2010, it was announced that a PlayStation 3 version would be available in January 2011. Although PlayStation 3 owners will be able to play the second installment, Microsoft still has publishing rights to the first.
  • Mass Effect 3 (2012): The third and final installment in the Mass Effect trilogy, the game is tentatively scheduled for release on March 6, 2012.[8] Casey Hudson commented that Mass Effect 3 "will be easier [to develop] because we don't have to worry about continuity into the next one."[9] However, decisions will still be imported from the two previous titles to Mass Effect 3, as to keep continuity within the series.[10] In the final chapter of the trilogy, the Reapers have returned in force, and have begun their purge of the galaxy, attacking the human homeworld of Earth. During this attack Commander Shepard is on Earth and forced to flee.[11] After fleeing Earth Commander Shepard must race against time to rally the advanced races of the galaxy to make one final stand, not only to save Earth, but also to break a cycle that has continued for millions of years. Casey Hudson stated in an interview at the Consumer Electronics Show that Mass Effect 3 will complete the story arc of Commander Shepard, and will pull in over 1,000 variables from Mass Effect and Mass Effect 2 to shape how players experience the final chapter. The first official trailer was unveiled on December 11, 2010 during the Spike TV Video Game Awards show.[12]


  • Mass Effect Galaxy (2009): This is backstory set between the events of Mass Effect 1 and Mass Effect 2 and exclusively on the iOS platform. The story is focused around two characters who appear as squad members in Mass Effect 2: Jacob Taylor and Miranda Lawson. When the passenger liner Arcturian Jade is attacked by Batarian raiders with Jacob on it, he takes on the task of defending the ship. After safely arriving at their destination on the Citadel, Jacob's former CO contacts him about an undercover Alliance operation in the Nemean Abyss to investigate the Batarians increasingly aggressive activities.



  • Mass Effect: Revelation (2007): The first novel based on Mass Effect, the plot is centered around then-Lieutenant David Anderson and tells the story of how he came to know Saren. It expands on the history of the Mass Effect universe and reveals in detail how Anderson failed to become the first human Spectre.
  • Mass Effect: Ascension (2008): The second novel based on Mass Effect, the plot centers around protagonist Paul Grayson, a member of Cerberus, who is in charge of raising a biotic girl named Gillian. It is set approximately two months after the ending events of the first game.[13]
  • Mass Effect: Retribution (2010): On July 27, 2010, Bioware released the third Mass Effect novel by Drew Karpyshyn, a sequel to Mass Effect 2 and Mass Effect: Ascension.[14][15]
  • Mass Effect: Deception (2012): The fourth Mass Effect novel, it centers on Gillian Grayson. The first book in the series to be written by William C. Dietz. The novel's story is: Gillian was once the subject of horrifying scientific experiments, but now, after her rescue, she is beginning to master her amazing powers. When she falls under the sway of a radical group who believe their powers make them superior to ordinary humans, she finds herself faced with a choice between her destiny and her humanity.


Writer Mac Walters in front of a Mass Effect poster at the Dark Horse Comics booth at the 2011 New York Comic Con.
  • Mass Effect: Redemption is a four-part comic book mini-series that was released between January and April 2010. The story, which revolves around Liara T'Soni, is set in the interim period between the prologue and main storyline of Mass Effect 2, and is related to the downloadable content "Lair of the Shadow Broker" that was released for the game.[16]
  • Mass Effect: Incursion is an eight-page mini-comic that follows Aria T'Loak's encounter with the Collectors one week prior to the opening events of Mass Effect 2. The events of Incursion link into the events of the comic mini-series Mass Effect: Redemption. It was made available on June 21, 2010 through IGN.[17]
  • Mass Effect: Inquisition is a short 8 page comic released on October 25, 2010, through USA Today.[18] Taking place after Mass Effect 2, the plot revolves around Captain Armando Bailey and his investigation of Executor Pallin and allegations of corruption within C-Sec.
  • Mass Effect: Evolution is a four-part comic book mini-series. The first issue was released in January 2011. The story focuses on the origin of the Illusive Man, whose real name is revealed to be Jack Harper, and is set during the First Contact War, shortly after the discovery of the Mass Relays.[19]
  • Mass Effect: Invasion is a four part comic book mini series that will be released between October 2011 and January 2012. It follows Aria T'Loak, Pirate Queen of Omega as her station comes under attack from a new threat unleashed by the human-survivalist organization Cerberus.


On May 24, 2010, EA announced that Legendary Pictures, Warner Bros. acquired the rights to a Mass Effect film, with Mass Effect's executive producer Casey Hudson as well as Ray Muzyka and Greg Zeschuck from BioWare serving as the movie's executive producers. Legendary Pictures plans to produce the film with Thomas Tull, Jon Jashni and Avi Arad.[20] The producers are in negotiations with screenwriter Mark Protosevich about penning the script. A Q&A Posted on Legendary Pictures website initially indicated that the film's story would follow that of the first game.[21] However, subsequent interviews with studio executives have revealed that, though Commander Shepard will be the central character, the film will feature "a completely new story."[22]


On April 7, 2011, EA announced that anime distributor Funimation Entertainment and Japanese studio T.O Entertainment will produce an anime film adaptation based on the series. The film will be released in the summer of 2012.[23]


Main game series characters

Note: Some characters may or may not appear in Mass Effect 3, depending on their fate in the previous games. Some of the characters in Mass Effect 2 only appear if the player has installed the relevant DLC.

Character Game
Mass Effect Mass Effect 2 Mass Effect 3
Commander Shepard Mark Meer (Male)
Jennifer Hale (Female)
Jeff "Joker" Moreau Seth Green
Liara T'Soni Ali Hillis
David Anderson Keith David
Ashley Williams Kimberly Brooks
Kaidan Alenko Raphael Sbarge
Garrus Vakarian / Archangel Brandon Keener
Tali'Zorah vas Normandy/nar Rayya Liz Sroka
Urdnot Wrex Steve Barr
Ambassador Donnel Udina Bill Ratner
Doctor Chakwas Carolyn Seymour
Navigator Pressly Dwight Schultz  
Admiral Steven Hackett Lance Henriksen
Councilor Tevos Jan Alexandra Smith
Salarian Councilor Armin Shimerman
Turian Councilor Alastair Duncan
Conrad Verner Jeff Page
Saren Arterius Fred Tatasciore  
Matriarch Benezia Marina Sirtis  
Sovereign Peter Jessop  
The Illusive Man   Martin Sheen
Miranda Lawson   Yvonne Strahovski
Jacob Taylor   Adam Lazarre-White
Mordin Solus   Michael Beattie
Jack / Subject Zero   Courtenay Taylor
Grunt   Steven Blum
Thane Krios   Keythe Farley
Legion   D.C. Douglas
Samara   Maggie Baird
Morinth   Natalia Cigliuti
Zaeed Massani   Robin Sachs
Kasumi Goto   Kym Hoy
EDI   Tricia Helfer
Yeoman Kelly Chambers   Cara Pifko
Aria T'Loak   Carrie-Anne Moss
Gatatog Uvenk   Michael Dorn
Kal'Reegar   Adam Baldwin
Admiral Shala'Raan vas Tonbay   Shoreh Aghdashloo
Harbinger   Keith Szarabajka
The Shadow Broker   Steven Blum  
James Vega   TBA
Kai Leng   TBA
Captain Gavorn   TBA

Spin-off game series characters

Character Game
Mass Effect Galaxy
Jacob Taylor Appeared
Miranda Lawson Appeared
Jath'Amon Appeared
Derek Izunami Appeared
Nax Appeared
Batha Appeared
Clint "Black Eye" Darragh Appeared
Illo Nazario Appeared

Novel/comic series characters

Character Novel/Comic
Mass Effect: Revelation Mass Effect: Ascension Mass Effect: Redemption Mass Effect: Retribution Mass Effect: Evolution Mass Effect: Conviction Mass Effect: Invasion Mass Effect: Deception
Illusive Man / Jack Harper   Appeared   Appeared
Kahlee Sanders Appeared   Appeared       Appeared
David Anderson Appeared Mentioned   Appeared       Appeared
Saren Arterius Appeared Mentioned   Mentioned Appeared      
Paul Grayson   Appeared   Appeared       Mentioned
Hendel Mitra   Appeared   Mentioned
Gillian Grayson   Appeared   Mentioned       Appeared
Kai Leng Appeared
Commander Shepard   Mentioned
Aria T'Loak Appeared     Appeared  
Liara T'Soni   Appeared  
Feron   Appeared  
Shadow Broker   Appeared  
Miranda Lawson   Appeared  
Tazzik   Appeared  
Harbinger   Appeared  
Eva Coré   Appeared  
General Williams   Appeared  
Desolas Arterius   Appeared  
Ben Hislop   Appeared  


Aggregate review scores
As of November 10, 2011.
Game GameRankings Metacritic
Mass Effect (X360) 91.15%[24]
(PC) 89.43%[25]
(X360) 91[26]
(PC) 89[27]
Mass Effect 2 (X360) 95.66%[28]
(PC) 94.48%[29]
(PS3) 93.17%[30]
(X360) 96[31]
(PC) 94[32]
(PS3) 94[33]
Mass Effect 3 (PC) -[34]
(PS3) -[35]
(X360) -[36]
(PC) -[37]
(PS3) -[38]
(X360) -[39]


  1. ^ - Mass Effect
  2. ^ a b - Mass Effect 2
  3. ^ The Border House Podcast Episode 1 Transcript
  4. ^ GamesRadar - Top 7 Best New Franchises of this Generation
  5. ^ Jim Reilly. "Mass Effect 2 Release Date Announced". 
  6. ^ GI Staff (March 2008). "Afterwards: Mass Effect". Game Informer (179): p. 24 
  7. ^ Brudvig, Erik (2009-02-23). "BioWare Suggests Hanging on to Mass Effect Saves". IGN. Retrieved 2009-03-08. 
  8. ^ Mike Fahey (4 March 2011). "Mass Effect 3 Thrusts Its Way into Early 2012". Kotaku. Retrieved 4 March 2011. 
  9. ^ "BioWare Already Looking Forward to Mass Effect 3". 
  10. ^ Choose Language | BioWare Social Network
  11. ^ "A Mass Effect 3 Gameplay Preview". 
  12. ^ "Interview: BioWare's Casey Hudson on the making of Mass Effect 2". 
  13. ^ Drew Karpyshyn Creative Works
  14. ^ "Mass Effect: Retribution Announced". 
  15. ^ Drew Karpyshyn Creative Works
  16. ^ Schedeen, Jesse (2009-07-21). "Mass Effect Comes to Comics". IGN. Retrieved 2009-07-21. 
  17. ^ George, Richard (2010-06-21). "Exclusive Mass Effect Short Story". IGN. Retrieved 2010-08-05. 
  18. ^ Geddes, John (2010-10-26). "'Mass Effect: Inquisition' is ready to blast off". USA Today. 
  19. ^ George, Richard (2010-07-15). "SDCC 10: Mass Effect: The Origin of the Illusive Man". IGN. Retrieved 2010-08-03. 
  20. ^ "'Mass Effect' video game on way to movie screen (exclusive)". 
  21. ^ Legendary Pictures. "Comic Con Q&A Mass Effect". Legendary Pictures. 
  22. ^ Benedetti, Winda. "'Mass Effect' movie won't be based on 'Mass Effect' games". MSNBC. 
  23. ^ "Funimation. T.O to Make Anime Movie of Mass Effect Games". Anime News Network. 2011-04-07. 
  24. ^ "Mass Effect Reviews". GameRankings. Retrieved November 10, 2011. 
  25. ^ "Mass Effect Reviews". GameRankings. Retrieved November 10, 2011. 
  26. ^ "Mass Effect Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved November 10, 2011. 
  27. ^ "Mass Effect Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved November 10, 2011. 
  28. ^ "Mass Effect 2 Reviews". GameRankings. Retrieved November 10, 2011. 
  29. ^ "Mass Effect 2 Reviews". GameRankings. Retrieved November 10, 2011. 
  30. ^ "Mass Effect 2 Reviews". GameRankings. Retrieved November 10, 2011. 
  31. ^ "Mass Effect 2 Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved November 10, 2011. 
  32. ^ "Mass Effect 2 Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved November 10, 2011. 
  33. ^ "Mass Effect 2 Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved November 10, 2011. 
  34. ^ "Mass Effect 3 Reviews". GameRankings. Retrieved November 10, 2011. 
  35. ^ "Mass Effect 3 Reviews". GameRankings. Retrieved November 10, 2011. 
  36. ^ "Mass Effect 3 Reviews". GameRankings. Retrieved November 10, 2011. 
  37. ^ "Mass Effect 3 Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved November 10, 2011. 
  38. ^ "Mass Effect 3 Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved November 10, 2011. 
  39. ^ "Mass Effect 3 Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved November 10, 2011. 

External links

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