Way back a million years ago, in videogame time, we went to the Penny Arcade Expo and talked with BioWare about the novelization of the Mass Effect series. In that talk, Mac Walters told us that expanding on the current universe was inevitable and, “if we wanted to, we could say ‘no, let’s go back in time, let’s go to another character who’s doing something at the same time Shepard going through this one experience.'”
A different character is exactly what BioWare has decided to go with in the next installment of the Mass Effect novels, this one entitled ‘Mass Effect: Retribution‘ (cover below). Set in the game’s universe, which is under threat of extinction by the Reapers, a race hellbent on eliminating all organic life, the Illusive Man is relentlessly focused on finding the Reaper’s secrets. As leader of Cerberus, an underground pro-human group, the Illusive Man has the perfect plan to study the enemy of mankind: implant a human with Reaper technology. The experiment also has an added benefit in that the test subject is an ex-Cerberus operative who betrayed the organization in order to save his daughter, making revenge even sweeter if it saves humanity.
No official release date has been given — though Amazon has it listed for a July 27, 2010 release — but this has been added to our required reading list. At least until Mass Effect 3 hits shelves.