Mass Effect 3 is the final installment of the much beloved trilogy. Though mainly established through revolutionary action RPG games, the universe spans comics, novels, film, and amime. It’s almost as pervasive as the Reapers themselves.
The story of Commander Shepard and crew is set in the far future where humans and other alien races have a tenuous balance of power and trust. Enter the mysterious Collectors and the wicked Reapers bent on taking over the entire universe.
In anticipation of the ME3 launch on March 6th 2012, let’s look at the major milestones (SPOILERS) in the the franchise in (in-universe) chronological order:
|Mass Effect series chronology[1. adapted from Wikipedia]
Mass Effect (game)
Galaxy (iOS game)
Mass Effect 2 (game)
Infiltrator (iOS game)
Mass Effect 3 (game)
Mass Effect (video game)[2. source]
The galaxy is trapped in an endless cycle of extinction. Every 50,000 years, an ancient machine race invades the galaxy. With ruthless efficiency, the machines wipe out all advanced organic civilization. They leave behind only the scattered ruins of technology, destroying all evidence of their own existence.
Few believe this ancient legend. You, however, know it to be true. The fight to stop this extinction event has become the most important mission in the galaxy.“You must act without remorse, without hesitation, and outside the limits of the law.”
It is your mission. As Commander Shepard of the SS Normandy, you will take your elite recon squad across a galaxy in turmoil, in a desperate race to stop the return of an enemy without mercy. To stop this enemy, you must act without remorse, without hesitation, and outside the limits of the law. Your only imperative is to preserve the safety of civilized life in the galaxy – at any cost. You must become the tip of the spear of humanity, for you alone know the full extent of what is at stake if you should fail.
Mass Effect 2 (video game)[3. source]
Two years after Commander Shepard repelled invading Reapers bent on the destruction of organic life, a mysterious new enemy has emerged. On the fringes of known space, something is silently abducting entire human colonies. Now Shepard must work with Cerberus, a ruthless organization devoted to human survival at any cost, to stop the most terrifying threat mankind has ever faced.
To even attempt this perilous mission, Shepard must assemble the galaxy’s most elite team and command the most powerful ship ever built. Even then, they say it would be suicide. Commander Shepard intends to prove them wrong.
Mass Effect 3 (video game)[4. source]
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. 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.
ME3 will be the first of the series to have a co-op element!
Also, check out these awesome Mass Effect resources:
The Mass Effect Wikia – The comprehensive encyclopedia for the Mass Effect universe
F’ Yeah Fem Shep – a blog dedicated to female Commander Shepards.