For those of you who just can't get enough of all things Mass Effect, and have already made your way through the three novels set in the game's universe, we've got some good news. BioWare is teaming up with Dark Horse Comics to release a four-issue mini-series titled Mass Effect Evolution, centering around the head of the pro-human terrorist group Cerberus, the Illusive Man.
The Illusive Man will be known to those who played through Mass Effect 2 as the clandestine mastermind in all things morally questionable, driven only by his desire to advance mankind on the intergalactic stage.
While some may have written off the shadowy figure as a simple-minded racist, the comic gives a much deeper glimpse into the events and decisions that turned the man into the monster. Mass Effect Evolution isn't going to be giving players any more ideas of what they can expect from Mass Effect 3, but it will give a clearer understanding of mankind's place in the Council of alien races.
In a post on BioWare's blog, the developer revealed some sample pages and a description of the new project:
"Mass Effect Evolution chronicles humanity’s first deadly days on the galactic stage and uncovers the pivotal role The Illusive Man played in it all! Available only in comics, this essential piece of Mass Effect canon offers new insights for existing fans, while the focus on humanity’s first steps into the wider Mass Effect universe provides a riveting story of action and intrigue."
The previous comic book series from the pair, Mass Effect Redemption was a massive hit with comic fans, and there definitely won't be any shortage of talent this time around. The writing will be handled by John Jackson Miller and Mac Walters, the Lead Writer for both Mass Effect 2 and Mass Effect 3.
Artist Omar Francia will be taking care of the bulk of the artwork, with covers by Joe Quinones and Y: The Last Man's Massimo Carnivale. To get an idea of how the early days of the Human-Turian First Contact War will look when the comic launches, take a peek at these samples:
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Clearly BioWare is a fan of the comic book medium, choosing it for more exposition on the motivations of the Illusive Man as well as the introduction to ME2 on the PS3. BioWare isn't revealing a release date yet, but avid ME fans will have plenty of new DLC to keep them occupied until then. Maybe even pick up Mass Effect: Retribution to see how the mysterious figure translates to the written word.
Whether he remains the bigoted alien-hater that he appears to be, or BioWare fleshes out his character in anticipation of Cerberus having a larger impact on the end of the trilogy is unknown. The blog post calls the story "essential," so we'll have to wait and see how much of a role the Illusive Man plays in future titles. For all we know, this story could help to lay the groundwork for other games in the franchise.
We'll have a better idea of where the story is headed when we can get our hands on Mass Effect Evolution, sometime soon (hopefully).