WARNING: Mild Mass Effect 2 spoilers after the jump.
BioWare have suggested that they didn't do a particularly good job of helping newcomers to the Mass Effect series get their bearings after firing up Mass Effect 2, and that this is an area that the studio hopes to rectify with the third instalment in the saga this spring.
"In all honesty, we didn't do a really good job of new player orientation," admitted Mass Effect 3 product marketer Nick Clifford. "If you didn't play the first game then 2 was pretty jarring for the first half hour."
The second game opened up in spectacular fashion with the Normandy obliterated by Reapers and Shepard brought back from the edge of death, those around him treating him with a mixture of awe and respect following the events of the first game. But that might not have been the best experience if you hadn't played the first game, says Clifford.
"If I'm a new player and some guy walks up to me and is like 'Ohhhh Shepard! Remember that one time?' I would be like 'No. I don't remember that one time,'" he said. "So we wanted to make sure that there aren't those moments that the player is like, 'Who is this? What's going on? What are they talking about?'"
Clifford told IGN that there would be a "story so far narrative", perhaps akin to the comic-style recap that PS3 players could use to flesh out the backstory, although there weren't further details.
We, on the other hand, wholeheartedly advocate using the next eight weeks until the game drops to ensure you've played the first two. A choose-your-own comic doesn't even come close. We'll always have Virmire.