Kraig Taylor-Bryant looks forward to September and the release of the collected Mass Effect comics from Dark Horse...
For those of you who haven’t read my rather lengthy Mass Effect article [find it here - Ed], the Mass Effect universe is a sci fi gaming franchise developed by Bioware, the developers of the Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic franchise. The very fact that Knights of the Old Republic, a franchise that was very clearly in a Star Wars setting, was able to stay familiar and yet feel original, was a perfect example of how Bioware could go on to create their own Sci Fi universe entirely, (Casey Hudson mentions in an interview that Mass Effect was inspired by Knights of the Old Republic).
The similarities are still there though, but don’t make themselves glaringly obvious, originally it was obvious the franchise was intended to be simply just a trilogy of Mass Effect games (before a fourth one was developed four years after the third instalment), with the first two setting up for a final battle in the third act (or third game).
If we look at the Star Wars original trilogy this is also very much the case, which also meant they had to include time jumps between the films, to feel as if this war had been going on for a while, which is again the same for Mass effect. With Mass Effect however, the developers chose the interesting approach of developing its characters in the first act (or game) should the player choose to do specific missions and then changing to a whole new set of characters/crew mates in the second games, perhaps leaving considerable room for developing the characters through other means.
Just like with Star Wars, the time jump between instalments also left a lot of unanswered questions surrounding the Mass Effect universe; in Star Wars, questions arose such as “what were Luke and Leia doing in the years Han was in carbonite” and there were also questions in Mass Effect, like “what happened to Commander Shepard’s crew?”, after their ship the Normandy gets torn apart by the collectors early on in the second game.
The people asking these questions now don’t need to look any further than the many books or comics for such answers, the description of the graphic novel on Amazon.co.uk is as follows…
“The champions of BioWare's award winning series embark on thrilling interstellar expeditions through alien war and existential crisis, struggling for peace and fighting for the right to survive. Mass Effect's vibrant world is teeming with conflict, and always on the edge of tipping into despair - but there are some who still struggle to maintain order in the chaos and secure the future of the galaxy. Join Liara as she teams up with the Drell Feron to recover the body of Commander Shepard from the Shadow Broker, uncover the origins of the Illusive Man in an epic tale of betrayal and discovery, and witness Aria defend the space station Omega from Cerberus forces, as well as the internal conflicts at Cerberus and the lives of the agents who serve it. Also included in this volume are collected stories of characters you love like Garrus, Tali'Zorah, and Wrex, and the series Discovery which follows the Turian soldier Tiran Kandros. This book compiles all of the Mass Effect comic book series in one affordable, accessible, and comprehensive format - a must buy for fans of the Mass Effect universe and BioWare. Collects Mass Effect: Redemption #1-4, Mass Effect: Evolution #1-4, Mass Effect: Invasion #1-4, Mass Effect: Homeworlds #1-4, Mass Effect: Foundation #1-13, and Mass Effect: Discovery #1-4.”
Whilst it is clear that there are pre-existing comic book series contained in this novel it is unclear whether some of these are also new stories that are perhaps exclusive to the graphic novel. Nevertheless, the 800-page story (By Dark Horse Comics) certainly seems to be worth the price, as currently it’s selling for £20.89 for pre order (with of course a cheaper (£17.65 option for kindle).
Between the seemingly belated release of this comic collection and Bioware’s sudden activity surrounding Mass Effect posts, one can only hope that this is a hint at more Mass Effect content through perhaps games, or maybe a return through a new platform such as television streaming (as more and more games seem to be doing) similar to The Witcher and The Last of Us. Perhaps this could become the future for many gaming franchises, or perhaps Mass Effect will make a comeback in comics or cinema, or maybe the Mass Effect remake/remaster rumours are true, and we’ll be getting the original three games with more realistic looking graphics (as opposed to the release of the 2007 style of the first instalment or the 2010 style of the second game).
Regardless, I for one am glad that I can use this Mass Effect graphic novel for reference, in answering my burning questions upon its release on the 22nd of September.
Follow Kraig on Twitter @Kraigandhismac
Images - Amazon