There’s no one word capable of sizing up the Mass Effect franchise. Calling it robust or large would be like calling the Normandy fast or speedy. Mythos and magnitude run rampant, sprawled out over a universe of console games, novels, comic books and mobile apps. Fortunately, however, BioWare intends to place a lid over the foremost category as the holiday season draws near.

The Mass Effect Trilogy was announced and detailed this September and October for the Xbox 360 and PC, and compiles the entire Shepard Trilogy into a five-disc set for a standard $60 – including varying DLC add-ons. While an initial caveat saw PlayStation 3 owners left out of the discussion until further notice, BioWare has announced full details regarding the platform today. Not only will the compilation be on shelves before the year-end holidays – December 4, 2012  – it will also be out-dueling its counterparts on account of DLC.

Here’s how Ryan Warden, an External Producer at BioWare with a hand in developing the Mass Effect Trilogy, described the PlayStation 3 version’s offerings in the original announcement on the BioWare blog:

The PlayStation 3 version of Mass Effect Trilogy will have the original Mass Effect with Bring Down the Sky integrated into the game, both on-disc and on the PSN download. Mass Effect 2 will still have the same DLC on-disc that it was originally shipped with: Cerberus Network; Kasumi; Overlord; and Lair of the Shadow Broker. Finally, Mass Effect 3 will also be exactly as it originally shipped.

Weighing that tally against the PC and Xbox 360 variants of the trilogy, the PS3 version is by far the more copious offering. Xbox 360 and PC MET eschews the entire trio of Mass Effect 2 story-based DLC (Kasumi, Overlord, and Lair of the Shadow Broker), and only the PC version includes ME 1’s Bring Down the Sky (though it does also toss in its scrutinized training facility add-on, Pinnacle Station) The three platforms are identical regarding Mass Effect 3 – only the game and online pass are included – but with the same price and packaging, it’s still odd to see the content vary so drastically.

Mass Effect Trilogy PS3 Release Date

But DLC and embellished classics aren’t entirety of Bioware’s new Mass Effect dispatches. It appears that for players partial to Mass Effect 3’s well-supported multiplayer component, All Hallows’ Eve will be lasting all week.

Again courtesy of the BioWare blog, official details have been announced for the “Mass Effect 3 Multiplayer Halloween Challenge,” the latest of the game’s event weeks running from October 31 to 9 a.m. PST on November 5th. The Collector’s – undoubtedly among Mass Effect’s more ghoulish progeny – continue to incite fear across the Alliance’s forward firebases, and so naturally new challenges have been designed around their removal:

  • Halloween Challenge — Complete the three Halloween challenges to earn the Halloween Challenge Banner.
  • Ghostbuster: Requires 5 extractions on Firebase Ghost or Firebase Ghost Hazard
  • Zombie Hunter: Requires 7500 points against husks/abominations.
  • Monster Killer: Requires 10000 points against brutes/scions/praetorians/banshees.

Mass Effect 3 Halloween Challenge

Even with its notable struggles in 2012, developer BioWare has commendably kept Mass Effect as relevant as ever. Their tentpole trilogy might ended in unprecedented (for the games industry) controversy; a recent spate of key personnel departures, including co-founders Ray Muzyka and Greg Zeschuk, might have many questioning the company’s future as a powerhouse; but with the upcoming Mass Effect Trilogy compilation, continued support for ME 3’s newly-overhauled multiplayer, and the promising scope Mass Effect 3’s Omega DLC, there’s no question some form of the series will be a hot ticket for the holiday season.

How Mass Effect factor into your gaming plans as the year winds down?

The Mass Effect Trilogy arrives November 6, 2012 for Xbox 360 and PC, and December 4, 2012 for PlayStation 3.

Follow Brian on Twitter @Brian_Sipple.

Sources: BioWare Blog (Mass Effect Trilogy, Halloween Challenge)