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For you lore hounds in the audience, the big events leading up to the divisive conclusion of the Mass Effect trilogy took place in the year 2186 CE. A whole heck of a lot went down that year, much of which the player had a hand in during Mass Effect 3. It was a particularly insane year, so a whole bunch of comics, books, etc. also tackle the events of these all-important 12 months of time. We're not going to spoil the ending, since we imagine some people are finally playing the series in anticipation of Andromeda but, suffice it to say, the upcoming sequel left a lot of folks scratching their heads as to where in the timeline this new tale could actually fit in.
Over on the Mass Effect website, they've finally answered our questions in the form of a handy timeline.
While the timeline for the Andromeda Initiative hits on some key points in the Mass Effect history, the main one you'll want to pay attention to is at the very bottom. In the year 2185, it reports that the Initiative is scheduled for launch. That bad boy will make a measly 600-year journey to the Andromeda galaxy with the "hopes of establishing a new home world." The item goes on to call this the most ambitious undertaking by any race living in the Milky Way.
In case those dates aren't sending up a red flag on their own, the significance here is that the Andromeda Initiative, which was part of an independently-funded program, heads into the stars a full year before the events of Mass Effect 3.
Since the timeline ends pre-launch, we imagine the game will take place in 2185 before jumping super far into the future, allowing the player to take part in the launch of a vessel that's making a huge journey across the stars. From there, we figure the whole shebang will take place out of reach, and maybe even out of consequence, of the events that took place in Mass Effect 3.
Again, this is a huge series with a lot of dates, places, races, etc. revolving around it, so you'll have to forgive us if we've overlooked something here. But as it stands, it sounds like Mass Effect Andromeda was carefully thought out in the narrative department to craftily sidestep the conclusion of the existing trilogy.