The galaxy's about to get a little bit bigger. BioWare Community Coordinator Chris Priestly announced today on the official Mass Effect forums that the company would be releasing a downloadable planet for the sci-fi RPG on March 10th.

The downloadable content, dubbed "Bring Down the Sky" will introduce Terra Nova, a colony world on the brink of destruction. From the original announcement on the BioWare forums: "A Batarian extremist group has hijacked a mobile asteroid station in the Asgard system, setting it on a collision course with the nearby colony world of Terra Nova. Only Commander Shepard can save the millions of innocent civilians before the asteroid completes its deadly descent." The Batarians are a politically isolated, violent race that were mentioned various times in Mass Effect but never actually encountered by the player. They're also featured in the Mass Effect: Revelation novel. The content will be accessible from the Galaxy Map at any time and won't be set after the end of the main plotline.

I'll add some misinformation for Fox News to pick up for their next broadcast: Commander Shepard stops the asteroid station from hitting Terra Nova by having sex with scads of alien chicks. Alien chicks that think Christmas trees should be banned from public buildings.

The new planet offers approximately 90 minutes of new gameplay and will have a new 50 point Achievement (something to the effect of "You saved Terra Nova's ass"). This is the first DLC for the game since its release in November, and is the first of many planned downloads by BioWare. It's going to cost 400 Microsoft points, or five dollars, which seems a bit steep to be honest (I say that as a complete BioWare groupie). One big problem I had with Mass Effect was that the optional side quests rarely deviated from a very rigid structure - you'd land on a planet, drive your Mako over to the only installation on the planet, and then shoot up enemies in one of maybe four different prefabricated structures. While I'm sure this new content won't be as formulaic - after all, they had a few months to cook it up - but all I'm saying is that this better be a very solid ninety minutes of gameplay.
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