Wednesday BioWare's Mass Effect executive producer Casey Hudson said that the highly-anticipated third installment will not hit store shelves this holiday season. Instead, the release date has been pushed back to Q1 2012 for unknown reasons.
"Today we have confirmed that Mass Effect 3 will be released in the first three months of 2012," he stated on the BioWare forums. "The development team is laser focused on making sure Mass Effect 3 is the biggest, boldest and best game in the series, ensuring that it exceeds everyone’s expectations. We'll have more details about specific dates as we get closer to release."
Mass Effect 3 will arrive on the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and Windows PC when it launches next year, taking place immediately after the "Arrival" DLC for Mass Effect 2. Returning cast members include Liara T'soni, Kaidan Alenko, Ashley Williams, Garrus, Wrex, Mordin, Legion and Colnel Anderson.
According to BioWare, the story will begin with our hero Commander Shepard on Earth facing trial for the events that transpired during the DLC. Halfway during the hearing, Reapers attack the planet, thus forcing Shepard to flee in the Normandy and seek out support from other alien civilizations to mount a counter-attack. To make matters worse, the Illusive Man has hired Cerberus to assassinate Shepard as soon as possible.
Anticipating the disappointment of Mass Effect fans, Wednesday BioWare also released two new screenshots as seen below. It's not much for compensation, but at least it's something.