List of Mass Effect characters Mark Meer left and Jennifer Hale right provided the voices for the male and female protagonist of the game, Commander Shepard. Mass Effect is set within the Milky Way galaxy in the year where interstellar travel is possible through the use of mass transit devices called Mass Relays, a technology believed to have been built by an extinct alien race known as the Protheans.
Other alien races seen in the game include the reptilian krogan, the environmental suited quarians, and a hostile race of networked artificial intelligences called geth. Humanity is represented by the Systems Alliance, an organized body that joined the Citadel Council in They repel an attack by the geth, rescuing Ashley in the process.
Rogue turian Spectre, Saren Arterius, activates the beacon before escaping. Shepard reaches the beacon and receives a vision showing scenes of war and death.
Shepard meets Garrus and Wrex, and rescues Tali, who possesses a recording of a conversation between Saren and asari Matriarch, Benezia.
The two discuss their victory while also mentioning an artifact called the "Conduit" and the return of the Reapers, a highly advanced machine race of synthetic-organic starships believed to eradicate all organic civilization every 50, years. Shepard is also handed command of the Normandy by Anderson, and begins to follow several leads provided by him and Udina.
On the world of Therum, Shepard rescues Benezia's daughter Liara T'Soni, who joins Shepard's squad because of her biotic abilities and expertise of the Protheans.
On the colony of Feros, Shepard fights off Saren's forces and learns that his flagship, Sovereign, possesses unique mind-control capabilities. On the world of Noveria, Shepard tracks down and defeats Benezia, who reveals that she and Saren are being indoctrinated by Sovereign.
Meanwhile, the Council informs Shepard that a salarian infiltration unit has uncovered Saren's main base on Virmire. Upon arrival, Shepard learns that Saren has discovered a cure for the krogan genetic disease, the genophage, and plans to breed an army of unstoppable krogan warriors. Wrex clashes with Shepard over whether to destroy it, which results in him either standing down or being executed. After this conflict, Shepard assists the salarians in destroying the base by planting a bomb in it.
Inside, Shepard is confronted by Sovereign, who reveals itself to be an actual Reaper. Sovereign reveals that the Reapers remain outside the Milky Way waiting for organic life to develop and discover the Mass Relays, before harvesting them when they reach their peak. Afterwards, Shepard must choose between saving Ashley or Kaidan, who have both been pinned down with the bomb about to explode.
Shepard also finds Saren, who claims that his allegiance to Sovereign will save organic life forms by demonstrating their usefulness to the Reapers. Liara is then able to pinpoint the Conduit's location back on the Normandy: There, Shepard learns that the Citadel Station is actually a huge Mass Relay that the Reapers use to invade the galaxy. During the last extinction cycle, a few Protheans survived on Ilos via cryopreservation and then re-entered the Citadel Station via the Conduit, a reverse-engineered miniature Mass Relay disguised aboard the station as a statue.
The Protheans sabotaged the Citadel to prevent the Reapers from remotely activating the Citadel Mass Relay, which Saren plans to undo to allow Sovereign to trigger the Reaper invasion. After fighting through heavy geth forces at the Conduit, Shepard confronts Saren at the Citadel. Saren is either killed by Shepard or commits suicide if Shepard convinces him to rebel. The Destiny Ascension, the Citadel's flagship with the Council on board, then requests assistance; Shepard must either risk heavy human casualties to save them or sacrifice them to pursue Sovereign.
Sovereign then reanimates Saren's corpse to attack Shepard, while simultaneously fighting off the Alliance. Eventually, Saren's corpse is destroyed, and Sovereign is dispatched by the Normandy. For prevailing, Humanity is either invited to join the Council if it was saved, or becomes its new leader if it was left to perish.
Regardless, Shepard can nominate either Anderson or Udina to this new leadership position before leaving the proceedings, vowing to end the Reaper threat. Knights of the Old Republic. Developers wanted the game to feature an actual galaxy that could be explored beyond the core story locations. Drew Karpyshyn , who previously served as a senior writer for Knights of the Old Republic, was the lead writer for Mass Effect.
This process of collaborative feedback and individual effort is common at BioWare, and it behooved Karpyshyn to make sure the style was consistent across all different areas.
The Wrath of Khan , and Starship Troopers were significant influences on the atmosphere and artistic qualities of the game. The Limited Collector's Edition included a bonus disc of exclusive Mass Effect background material, a soundtrack, and design galleries featuring more than pieces of artwork with full audio commentaries. This version features optimized controls designed specifically for personal computers , high-resolution graphics, a new user interface, and other minor changes.
However, the company ultimately decided not to use it after listening to criticism from fans. The first pack, Bring Down the Sky, was released as a paid download for the Xbox on March 10, , and as a free download for Microsoft Windows on May 28, It also includes a new alien race and additional side-quest content.