BioWare is in a great position right now. They have a game coming out that they don’t really have to show anything for to get people excited about it. In fact, we’ve not seen a single screenshot or bit of gameplay footage of Mass Effect 3, yet it tops our list of most anticipated games of 2011.

The veil of secrecy – at least to some extend – is about to be lifted with the latest issue of Game Informer including a 12-page preview of the game. Earlier today, we talked about the weapon changes we can expect from Mass Effect 3 and now we’ll talk about characters and story.

A posting on the NeoGaf forums reveals information from someone who has the magazine and I’ve cut out the relevant story and character stuff. It contains spoilers so if you want go into Mass Effect 3 not knowing the beginning of the story, skip this first paragraph:

“Game starts with Shepard on Earth, effectively on trial in regard to the events of Arrival, and in the middle of the trial, the Reapers invade. Prologue involves Shepard’s escape to the Normandy, and off to start finding those allies, fighting Reaper troops (husks of all the different species) the whole way.”

[Ed. Note: Read our review of Mass Effect 2 – Arrival]

The reapers attacking earth was the backdrop to the Mass Effect 3 announcement trailer that played at the Spike VGAs. Some initial reaction from fans didn’t like the idea of forcing the story back to earth but I’m interested in seeing what it looks like in the Mass Effect universe so now qualms here.

As for what characters will be in the game, the Mass Effect 3 will draw from your rosters and decisions of both Mass Effect 1 and 2 and you’ll certainly be seeing some familiar faces of old who were not playable in Mass Effect 2.

“Confirmed squadmates: Liara, Ashley/Kaiden, Garrus (if he’s alive) and… James Sanders… That must be the guy from the trailer, I don’t remember. [Note: BioWare has confirmed that Sanders isn’t the sniper dude from the trailer.]”

The user updated the post, explaining that the preview states that these listed characters are “playable to some extent” so perhaps that’s something similar to the Joker sequence in Mass Effect 2. Either way, Garrus is essential.

Continue to Page 2 for details on which characters will show up in Mass Effect 3!

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