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Thursday May 5, 2011 1:06 pm

Mass Effect 3 delayed until 2012

mass effect 3 delay

Gamers hoping to find Mass Effect 3 under the Christmas tree this year are out of luck. The latest installment of BioWare's popular mature-themed sci-fi franchise has been delayed until the first quarter of 2012, the company said Wednesday.

"Mass Effect 3 will be released in the first three months of 2012. 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," BioWare executive producer Casey Hudson posted on Facebook.

The follow-up to Mass Effect 2 was originally slated for release in time for the 2011 holiday season, according to various gaming websites, though some have already updated that information to reflect the delayed release of the RPG third-person shooter.

The ongoing adventures of Commander Shepard and his non-human compatriots have been the subject of backlash in some quarters over the inclusion of explicit content like an optional sex scene in the original Mass Effect video game.

According to previews, Mass Effect 3 begins with Shepard facing a trial on Earth following events that transpired in a Mass Effect 2 downloadable pack. When the Reapers attack the planet, he's forced to flee to space and attempt to build another ragtag band of aliens to save the day.

The first game, released in 2007, is available for Microsoft's Xbox 360 and Windows-based PCs. Mass Effect 2 was released in January 2010 for the Xbox 360 and Windows, and on Jan. 18 for Sony's PlayStation 3.

Mass Effect 3 will also be available as a PC game and for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.

This article, written by Damon Poeter, originally appeared on PCMag.com and is republished on Gear Live with the permission of Ziff Davis, Inc.

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