Thursday, April 26, 2007

Mass Effect delayed until September?

What we heard: There's little question that Mass Effect is among the most anticipated role-playing games of the year. The Xbox 360-exclusive title is the first sci-fi game from legendary Canadian BioWare since its celebrated Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic. (KOTOR II was developed by Obsidian Entertainment.)

Though totally Jedi-free, the reportedly 40-hour-long outer space adventure has a party-based combat system and Forcelike powers, similar to KOTOR. Its aesthetic is reminiscent of the classic pen-and-paper RPG Star Frontiers, and its homicidal machine-race storyline is a cross between author Fred Saberhagen's Berserker novels and the Cylons from Battlestar Galactica. In other words, it's nerd catnip.

Given its various elements and detailed next-gen graphics, Mass Effect has had gaming sci-fi fans salivating since it was first announced in 2005. That enthusiasm reached a crescendo in February, when the Australian edition of the official Xbox Web site listed the game as shipping on May 18. Though the listing was quickly pulled down, the general assumption has been that BioWare would try to replicate KOTOR's success by releasing the game months before the annual fall release avalanche.

Unfortunately, today came signs that Mass Effect may be cooling its jets until late in the year. A report on Computer & Video Games claims that during a Microsoft event in the UK today, word emerged that the RPG won't be released until September. This date was further backed up by the Mass Effect product page on, which now has the game shipping on September 3.

The official story: Mass Effect publisher Microsoft Games Studios' response was swift...and not particularly helpful. "We have not made any official announcements regarding release timing for Mass Effect," a rep said. "At this time, any information about the game's release date is purely rumor and speculation."

Bogus or not bogus?: Bogus that it's been delayed, since it technically never had an official release date. However, the listing indicates a September release is now likely.

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