Mass Effect: Annihilation is a tie-in novel that will reveal the fate of the Quarians and Elcor


Mass Effect Andromeda was so tremendously dull — just read John’s Andromeda review — that it appears to have killed off a whole franchise (or at least put it in a coma). While I absolutely don’t think it earned a sequel, it is a shame that there are so many story threads left hanging. Like what the hell happened to all the other aliens from the Milky Way? Well, we may not be finding out in a game, but Mass Effect: Annihilation, a spin-off novel, will fill in some gaps when it appears in June next year.

Half of the Milky Way races were left out of Andromeda, and we never really learned what happened to them. This was particularly tragic because the list of species included the wonderful Elcor, who are objectively the best race in the universe. Along with the Quarians, Batarians and Drell, their story will be told in Annihilation, penned by Hugo Award winner, Catherynne M. Valente.

The official tie-in charts journey of the Keelah Si’yah, a ship containing all of these species. 20,000 souls, hurtling towards an unknown galaxy. It would have made for an interesting game, no?

“A pathogen is discovered aboard the ark after many drell are found dead in their cryo pods,” reads the book’s synopsis. “As the pathogen jumps species, the ship’s systems begin to fail, making it clear this is no accident.” I love a good space mystery.

It’s due out on June 26. In the meantime, here’s the Elcor nailing Shakespeare.


  1. Don Reba says:

    Elcor must be quite easy to write.

  2. Booker says:

    I find the title choice quite odd. It’s like they are trying to break the fourth wall or something. Because obviously: The Mass Effect Annihilation is what already happened in Mass Effect Andromeda. :P

  3. wombat191 says:

    It just pisses me off. It should be told through the game but the whole thing has been wrote off

    • malkav11 says:

      All three tie-in novels were planned and commissioned before Andromeda flopped and DLC was cancelled. Valente can’t say whether they revised the plans to reflect the material that would have been DLC (one hopes the novel is a self-contained story) due to NDA, but they aren’t a post-failure band-aid for the story hooks that were left dangling.

  4. Phantom_Renegade says:

    It did deserve a sequel to do it again but right. But after that atrocity the last ME book was, it’s ridiculous that that is getting another shot.

    • ReluctantlyHuman says:

      I am curious which book you are referring to, specifically. The tie-in to Andromeda, Nexus Uprising was actually pretty decent. There was some disconnect between it and events as depicted in game, but that was understandable.
      I am curious if you mean Deception, which was the last of the books tying in to the original trilogy, which was riddled with errors.

      • malkav11 says:

        I imagine that’s what was being referred to, yes. The important difference being that in my experience with his original work, William C. Dietz is terrible, whereas Cat Valente is one of the best writers working today.

  5. Oasx says:

    In terms of gameplay Andromeda is easily the best Mass Effect game, the story may not have been great, but the Mass Effect games aren’t really known for that.
    I really think that the game will be looked at more positively in the future, just how people shit on Mass Effect 3 when it came out.

    • Hoot says:

      People didn’t shit on ME3 when it came out. They shat on the ending. The other 95% (or 38 hours, if 40 is the last two) is a superb game. Extended Cut DLC and Citadel, one of which was free, took care a lot of the issues as well.

      ME:A was a pure travesty, from both a gameplay and narrative perspective. The UI was absolutely horrendous and they managed to make exploring new worlds feel amazingly boring.

      The only thing it will be remembered for down the line is for being the silver bullet to the heart of the Mass Effect franchise.

      • Tritagonist says:

        There was plenty of criticism of other parts of ME3, even shortly after release. From again making Cerberus the main antagonists, to lack of conversations for side-quests (overhearing to get fetch quests), to increased amounts of automatic dialogue, to a removal of neutral or investigative dialogue choices.

      • PegasusOrgans says:

        Not being one to jump on bandwagons, I found ME:A quite enjoyable. None of the Mass Effect games are perfect, and they all have elements that the others lack and their own faults. We live in a black and white time, where extremism in language and thought is just accepted as normal. No, the Mass Effect trilogy was not a perfect jewel made by the gods. They all had faults, they all had issues that were ignored in favour of ad-fueled praise. ME:A had, by far, the best feeling of true exploration in any ME game. There is no competition. The trilogy was not very open, and besides the Mako exploration of ME 1, had limited planet discovery/exploration. You pretty much were funneled into whatever important artifact/building you were meant to find.

    • Iamnid says:

      Agreed. The story wasn’t as good as ME2 but it certainly wasn’t bad and I had a lot of fun playing the game. It got crapped on by reviewers and everyone piled on and it seems like the game was never given a chance.

      • Booker says:

        Of course it was given a chance. Games that aren’t given a chance are canceled before release.

        • malkav11 says:

          That was the publisher giving it a chance (and not that much of one TBH), not the gaming public or reviewers, who have been shitting all over it since before release. It has issues, but nothing like as severe as people make out.

    • Arcanon says:

      Mass Effect games aren’t known for that? U wot m8

      • Tritagonist says:

        It’s the character relations that set Mass Effect apart. The Mass Effect 2 storyline about being forced to work with a terrorist faction to stop the Collectors while the Reapers were about to invade anyway was dreadful and made no sense in the trilogy as a whole. Then in ME3 there is no way the Reapers can be defeated, so in pops a secret ancient weapon while Shepard spends the majority of the game fighting Cerberus again.

        The character relations tell their own stories, which are good or even great – but the main thread was pretty mediocre, if that.

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      Ninja Dodo says:

      Mass Effect not being known for story is a strange thing to claim. The combat of Andromeda is really good though and the Nomad is great, as are the landscapes of the various planets you visit, and some of the characters are pretty fun. The game has more to recommend it than people give it credit for but it does have serious problems.

    • Chaoslord AJ says:

      It was an abomination. ME was great, ME 2&3 were fair.
      I quit Andromeda out of boredom in the end despite having played DA:Inquisition two times with DLCs and the same MMO fetch quests. But DA:I had a decent script and a few interesting characters instead of space orcs and a story which had one or two novel points.

  6. Ghostwise says:

    And there’s *another* Mass Effect novel we were told would be rewritten from scratch…

  7. gi_ty says:

    “An Elcor nailing Shakespeare”!

    *scrolls down*

    Not what I expected to find……

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    Ninja Dodo says:

    I wish they’d continued patching the game and actually made a story DLC about this instead.

  9. sosolidshoe says:

    Genuinely don’t get the hate for ME:A. Not a perfect game by any means, but far truer to the first ME game than either of its direct sequels – I’d have preferred they went back and remastered ME2 & 3 by completely remaking them so they actually continued the original story rather than the trashy Illusive Man fanfiction we actually got the first time around, but Andromeda was a decent enough restart where the main complaint I had was there wasn’t enough of it.

    But hey, according to the reviews the whole game was completely trash because…I dunno, the eye shaders weren’t good enough and the main character had a bit of a smirky face?

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      geoffreyk says:

      I completed my playthrough of ME:A, and I did not regret playing it. The facial animation wasn’t great, but whatever. My main character’s face was… fine? (I think most people were bothered by how little the character creator’s face lined up with what was actually modeled in the game, but ymmv). The interface was a nightmare, but that was at least true to the spirit of the series.

      All that being said, this was the least ME game of them all. 2 and 3 may have been more combat-oriented in terms of the gameplay, but ME:A tore out the heart.


      Any game which has a side-quest in which you run across someone torturing a POW, and your Paragonish option is to kill the POW, while your Renegade option is to let them get back to their torture, has no right calling itself a Mass Effect game.

  10. JakeOfRavenclaw says:

    The big story here is that Catherynne Valente is writing a Mass Effect novel, which is such a wild pairing that I still can’t quite believe it’s happening. She’s a wonderful writer and a huge fan of the games, as evidenced in her comments here: link to

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      Ninja Dodo says:

      Well that does sound kind of nice. Maybe the book will be worth a look.

    • malkav11 says:

      Yeah, that’s the lede that’s being seriously buried here. Tie-in fiction is rarely all that great and it’s certainly no substitute for finishing things off in the game, but Valente is an incredible writer and hearing that she’d be involved (to say nothing of N.K. Jemisin writing the book before hers – they’re really pulling out all the stops here) pushed it from a “really, guys?” to an immediate must read in my book. I was also completely hornswoggled that she was picked since, good as she is, I would never once have thought to approach her for Mass Effect fiction given how wildly different her usual style and content are from ME’s action SF. And sure enough, she says in those comments that they never would have thought of her for it if she hadn’t gone to them.

  11. Kodaemon says:

    Note: the Quarians died on the way to their home planet.

  12. BathsaltxAddictx says:

    I’d rather they work on a some new content for Andromeda. I really enjoyed the game and am disappointed they dropped it the way they did. I never would have purchased it if I didn’t think it would have some eventually.

  13. Unsheep says:

    Andromeda was miles more fun than Mass Effect 2 … that dumbed-down cover-based shooter with a terrible storyline. People only like ME2 because it shows women’s asses all the time.

    A novel is OK I guess, but a stand-alone DLC where you get to play as a Quarians or Elcor would have been better.