The first Mass Effect 3 details have emerged, revealing which characters will return for the final part of the trilogy. There's also news of an upgraded RPG system, weapons mods and alternative endings. There are some minor spoilers for the prologue below, so avert your eyes now if you don't want to know how the game starts. Otherwise, here's all the latest on Mass Effect 3.
All the details come from Game Informer's first look at the game. Mass Effect 3 will start with Shepard on Earth, facing trial for the events that occur in The Arrival DLC for Mass Effect 2. The Reapers strike halfway through the trial, and the prologue covers Shepard's battle to reach the Normandy and escape the planet.
After that, it's a matter of getting another crew together to take on the Reaper menace and save Earth. A few old friends will be returning as squad mates, including Liara, Ashley/Kaiden and, if he's alive, Garrus.
Providing they survived the previous games, Wrex, Mordin, Legion, and Anderson will be in Mass Effect 3, though not as members of your team. The Illusive Man will also return. Cerberus have turned against you again in the third game, and will be hunting you across the galaxy as you try to stop the Reaper invasion.
Bioware say they've beefed up the levelling mechanics to offer a greater choice of abilities. Skill trees will be larger, and powers can be evolved several times.
There have been some tweaks to the weapons systems, too. All characters can use any weapon, but different classes will have a limited number of weapons slots. Only the soldier class will be able to carry all of them at once. Weapon mods will let you add scopes and different barrels to your weapons, changing the look and effectiveness of each gun.
Mass Effect 3 will have a number of alternative endings. Like Mass Effect 2, the ending you get will depend heavily on the team members you recruit
The expanded skill trees and deeper levelling elements sound intriguing. A promising start, don't you think? For more hopeful speculation, check out our list of 15 things we want to see in Mass Effect 3 .