We're only a few months away from jumping into our most anticipated game of the year (for two years in a row actually) and jumping into the shoes of Commander Shepard in the galaxy's final stand against the Reaper invasion.
Mass Effect 3 will see Shepard and his/her crew journey the galaxy to unite the alien empires against the Reapers, but before setting out on this daring quest, Shepard must first survive the invasion of Earth and make one more pit stop in our Solar System before heading out: Mars.
GT.TV's Geoff Keighley headed to BioWare Edmonton to take a look at some new gameplay footage for Mass Effect 3 and chat with some of the staff about the final installment in the Commander Shepard trilogy. You can see the video below which shows brand new gameplay footage of Mars, along with details about how integral to the story of Mass Effect 3 this location is.
For fans of Mass Effect lore, in the future-based universe crafted by BioWare, Mars was colonized and in the year 2148, after experiencing odd magnetic disturbances, the source of these oddities was found in ancient ruins. The ruins were discovered to be an observation station for the Protheans, the advanced aliens responsible for the Mass Effect technology and relays around the galaxy - they had set this station up to observe life on Earth 50,000+ years prior. It is here, where in Mass Effect 3 a critical piece of the story is played out.
It is just after the Earth invasion where Shepard heads to Mars. It's one of the first locations players will traverse in ME3 it's where players will encounter an "old friend," as explained by Mass Effect's lead writer, Mac Walters:
"The old friend is Liara and she's our Protean expert - if people remember from Mass Effect 1 & 2 - and so she's there on Mars looking at the Prothean dig site looking for clues, looking for answers, but unfortunately the Illusive Man, Cerberus are there ahead of you."
From the gameplay footage, it appears that Liara rejoins Shepard's team in this segment of the game. We can only speculate as to what information is learned in the Prothean databases about the Reapers, but we imagine it's something that'll help to defeat them and something that forces Shepard to venture out on his mission to rally the galaxy together in opposition of them.
And we also wonder what Cerberus' intentions are. In the video above, Casey Hudson explains how they intentionally left the ending of Mass Effect 2 ambiguous in regards to the goals of The Illusive Man and whether or not he and his corporation are truly attempting to protect humanity against the Reapers or if they're simply playing the long-con to get something for themselves.
We'll find out soon - all of us in our own unique experience - with Mass Effect 3 finally releasing on March 6, 2012 for the PC, PS3 and Xbox 360.
Follow me on Twitter @rob_keyes.
Source: Game Trailers