Electronic Arts and Bioware have officially announced Mass Effect 3, confirming information that slipped out in an EA Store update over the weekend.

The Mass Effect series was originally planned as a trilogy, but it remains to be seen if this will be the last game in the series or whether Bioware will seek to expand the franchise further. One thing is for sure; Commander Shepherd will return for the third game in the series.

'Earth is burning,' reads the official synopsis, 'Striking from beyond known space, a race of terrifying machines have begun their destruction of the human race.'

'As Commander Shepard, an Alliance Marine, your only hope for saving mankind is to rally the civilizations of the galaxy and launch one final mission to take back the Earth.'

Mass Effect 3 will be released on PC, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 in time for a Christmas 2011 release window, meaning this will be the first Mass Effect game to launch on PS3 and Xbox 360 at the same time. The PS3 version of Mass Effect 2 is due out January 2011.

Check out our Mass Effect 2 review for more information and learn how it earned itself a place in our Hall of Fame, then let us know your thoughts in the forums.

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