Mass Effect

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This page is about the Mass Effect franchise. For information on fandom and the main titles set in the ME universe, please see the pages Mass Effect (Game), Mass Effect 2, Mass Effect 3, and Mass Effect: Andromeda.
Name: Mass Effect
Abbreviation(s): ME
Creator: BioWare
Date(s): November 2007 - present
Medium: video games (Xbox 360, Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, Wii U), novels, comics (print and digital), anime
Country of Origin: Canada
External Links: Official website, Wikipedia article
Mass Effect Wiki
Click here for related articles on Fanlore.

Mass Effect is a video game series that has been adapted into novels and comic books, with plans for a film and an anime. The games are third-person action RPG/shooter hybrids featuring the player character Commander Shepard alongside a memorable and colourful cast.

The Setting

The Mass Effect franchise is set in the future, with the first game taking place in 2183, 35 years after humans discovered faster-than-light travel and discovered that they were only the latest newcomers in a vast galactic community.

The "mass effect" itself is a reference to the physics phenomenon created when a fictional element, Element Zero (or "eezo") is subjected to electrical current. Mass effect fields can alter or lower the mass of objects, thus allowing faster-than-light travel, kinetic barriers, and other applications.

Some organics are able to create mass effect fields due to Element Zero nodules within their nervous systems. Individuals with this ability use implants and amps to allow themselves to synchronize nodules to perform larger-scale or specific feats. These may be offensive or defensive in nature, and generally require extensive training.

The Franchise


  • Mass Effect released 2007 on Xbox 360, 2008 on PC, the first installment in the franchise.
  • Mass Effect 2 released 2010 on Xbox 360 and PC, 2011 on PS3, set two years after Mass Effect
    • Mass Effect: Galaxy released 2009 on iOS, set between Mass Effect and Mass Effect 2.
  • Mass Effect 3 released on Xbox 360, PC and PS3 March 2012, set six months after Mass Effect 2.
    • Mass Effect: Infiltrator released 2012 on iOS
    • Mass Effect 3: Datapad released 2012 on iOS as a supplement to Mass Effect 3, featuring messages to Shepard from the characters in the game, which are sent based on the player's progress and choices in ME3; the app was taken offline on June 6, 2013, but the text messages are all available on the Mass Effect Wiki
  • Mass Effect: Andromeda released on Xbox One, PC and PS4 March 2017, set 600 years after Mass Effect 3.


  • Mass Effect: Revelation released 2007, a prequel to the first Mass Effect game.
  • Mass Effect: Ascension released 2008, set two months after Mass Effect
  • Mass Effect: Retribution released 2010, sequel to Mass Effect: Ascension
  • Mass Effect: Deception released 2012, notorious for numerous inconsistencies with lore and characterization.


  • Mass Effect: Redemption four-part series released 2010, set between Mass Effect and Mass Effect 2
  • Mass Effect: Incursion 8-page comic released 2010, set a week before Mass Effect 2
  • Mass Effect: Inquisition released 2010, set following the events of Mass Effect 2
  • Mass Effect: Evolution released 2011, set shortly after humanity makes first-contact with alien life
  • Mass Effect: Conviction released 2011, set prior to the events of Mass Effect 3
  • Mass Effect: Invasion released 2011-2012,
  • Mass Effect: Homeworlds released 2012, focuses on the main characters from Mass Effect 3
  • Mass Effect: Blasto: Eternity Is Forever single-issue parody comic released 2012, starring in-universe action hero Blasto the First Hanar Spectre
  • Mass Effect: He Who Laughs Best single-issue comic released on Free Comic Book Day 2013, set just before the first Mass Effect game
  • Mass Effect: Foundation released 2013, focuses on main characters from the whole game trilogy


Legendary Pictures and Warner Bros. have rights to a Mass Effect film. Conflicting information has been given as to whether this film will feature a new story set in the Mass Effect universe, or be based upon the plot of the first game.


The Fandom

Mass Effect fandom appears to be primarily spread across the following spaces:

BioWare Social Network

The BioWare Social Network, or the BSN, is BioWare's official forums, containing subforums for each individual game, as well as areas for fans to discuss specific aspects such as in-game romances, character development, and general universe lore.

Bioware developers themselves use this space to interact with the fans, responding to feedback or becoming involved in discussions, as well as using the forums to make announcements. These posters are identified by a BioWare banner beneath their avatars, and their posts are referred to as "dev posts".

The BSN has a reputation with some fans as being a rather inflammatory place, and is frequently the venue for conflicts regarding PC/console gaming, character bashing, and arguments about the inclusion or removal of RPG gameplay features.


There is an active presence of fan artists for the franchise on DeviantArt.

The Mass Effect fandom is active on, where gen and shipping fics, AUs, character studies, speculative fiction and various other works can be found.


Mass Effect fandom on LiveJournal appears to be mostly centred around these hubs:


Tumblr has an active community of Mass Effect fanartists, graphic and gif makers, as well as fanfiction, memes and meta.

Mass Effect-related Tumblr blogs include:



See also: List of Mass Effect Pairing Names

The Mass Effect fandom is one of the most active fic-writing gaming fandoms; as of August 2013, it is the third-largest video game fandom on AO3 (behind Dragon Age and Final Fantasy) and the sixth-largest game fandom on (behind Kingdom Hearts, Pokemon, Final Fantasy VII, Sonic the Hedgehog, and The Legend of Zelda).


Popular fandom-specific tropes:

  • ME3 fix-it fic: the backlash against the game's ending extended to fanfiction written about it. The extent of the "repairs" can range from as small as slightly altering the endgame to as extensive as completely rewriting the game's storyline.
  • Human-alien hybrid babies: While kidfic is universally popular in most fandoms, the fact that many of the most popular pairings are interspecies means that fans of human-alien pairings have to come up with "explanations" for their pairing having biological children. While this trope has always had a presence in the fandom, its popularity skyrocketed after the release of ME3, where Garrus makes an off-hand joke about "turian-human babies" while talking to Shepard about the possibility of adopting children. While this trope is most popular amongst FemShep/Garrus fans, there is also "hybrid babies" fic involving FemShep/Thane and MaleShep/Tali.
  • Adoption fic: the more scientifically plausible solution to the "interspecies kidfic" problem. Often the pairing will have at least two adopted children, one or more of each parent's species. Since the release of Mass Effect 3, it is common for FemShep/Garrus fics to have the couple adopting krogan children (either instead of or alongside human and turian children), thanks to another off-hand remark from Garrus during the above-mentioned conversation.
  • Cultural differences/cultural exchange: another trope popular with interspecies pairings, although also found in gen fic; this is a broad term referring to any fic which centers around the characters discovering differences between humans and aliens (e.g., an alien mistaking FemShep's makeup for war paint). One popular subtrope of this involves FemShep getting Garrus' clan markings tattooed on her face.
  • Dragon Age crossovers: The Mass Effect and Dragon Age fandoms overlap heavily as a result of both being BioWare franchises released roughly concurrently (Dragon Age: Origins was released between ME1 and ME2, Dragon Age II was released between ME2 and ME3). ME/DA crossover fics often revolve around the Normandy landing on an unexplored planet--which happens to be Thedas. Alternatively, a mishap with some magic artifact leads to one or more Dragon Age characters being transported onto the Normandy.
  • "Novelizations": direct retellings of the games with the author's custom Shepard, usually focusing on why Shepard made the decisions (s)he did. Often, the authors will make slight changes to the story and dialogue to avoid transcribing the game directly while still keeping to the basic framework.

Fan Films

Red Sand, set 35 years before the first game, is a fan-made film developed by students at the University of Advancing Technology. It was released on YouTube on 7 October 2012 and features Mark Meer, voice actor for the male Commander Shepard, in the lead role.


The Mass Effect trilogy is notoriously mod-unfriendly; it is extremely difficult for modders to make significant changes to the games. As such, most of the mods available are texture alterations and other small fixes, and there is no centralized location to find, download, and upload Mass Effect mods. Despite this, there are a few larger, more substantial mods, though not nearly as many and not as extensive as mods for a "friendlier" game (e.g., Dragon Age).

The most famous Mass Effect mod is the Mass Effect (3) Happy Ending Mod (MEHEM) by MrFob, which makes substantial alterations to the ending of ME3 addressing many fan complaints (most notably removing the encounter with the Catalyst and allowing Shepard to reunite with his/her love interest). This mod garnered attention from non-fannish gaming websites, including Kotaku and PC Gamer.