Mass Effect 3 will be the third and final part of Shepard's story, but don't worry if you've never played the series before - BioWare has come up with a couple of ideas to ease you in.

"In all honesty, we didn't do a really good job of new player orientation [in Mass Effect 2]," Mass Effect 3 producer Nick Clifford told IGN. "If you didn't play the first game then two was pretty jarring for the first half hour."

Mass Effect 2 begins with Shepard being pieced back together after his ship, The Normandy, was blasted to pieces. There are references to the events of Mass Effect 1, and characters interact with you with an appropriate level of regard for your previous-game adventures.

Not that you'd know any of that if you hadn't played Mass Effect 1.

"If I'm a new player and some guy walks up to me and is like, 'Oh Shepard! Remember that one time?' I would be like, 'No, I don't remember that one time,'" Clifford 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 said Mass Effect 3 will alter character's behaviour toward Shepard depending on whether you import a saved game from Mass Effect 2, or start an adventure from fresh.

BioWare will also integrate a "story so far narrative" to fill in the blanks. But Clifford wouldn't offer any more information on it.

Mass Effect 2 on PS3 came with an interactive comic-book charting the storyline and main choices of Mass Effect 1.

Mass Effect 1 isn't available on PS3.