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Mass Effect's Citadel "like Manhattan"

Ripe for thousands of stories, says BioWare.

BioWare's gargantuan science fiction Mass Effect universe was designed from the beginning to provide opportunities to tell spin-off tales in comics and novels – but one area in particular could be ripe for further investigation: the Citadel.

Mass Effect's Citadel is an ancient, gigantic space station that acts as the nexus of the galactic community and the home of the Citadel Council (those guys who wouldn't listen to Commander Shepard at the beginning of the first game).

While Shepard has seen plenty of action on the Citadel in both Mass Effect and Mass Effect 2, gamers have only caught a glimpse of its gargantuan innards – and that's why BioWare reckons it's a perfect setting for "expanded universe" projects.

"Building the Citadel, for example, it's huge," explained the Mass Effect franchise's executive producer Casey Hudson to Destructoid.

"It's like Manhattan. You could tell thousands of stories there. We have other races and civilisations. There's always more to learn about those characters."

Elcor, please.

Talking more generally on the beginnings of the Mass Effect, Hudson revealed that key to maintaining its appeal through the course of a trilogy and numerous spin-offs is making gamers care about the universe in which it's set.

"We wanted to create something that would be a very expansive setting that people wanted to live in," he said. "If you have a story that's scary and exciting, but outside of that is a universe you want to save, it's worth saving and you'd like to live there if you could, that's much of what we wanted to do with Mass Effect.

"We want a good reason why we can do comics and novels and expanded universe stuff, but in a way that ties in to the main story. We worked on that from the beginning. Where does the main story live and how do we tie in other things?"

However, Hudson insisted Mass Effect remains at its core an "action movie story".

"But first and foremost, we think about this as still, basically, an action movie story. So even though we put a lot of work into the setting that's wrapped around the story, your experience through it is very much like an action adventure movie. The plots and characters work on a high level."

The Mass Effect franchise makes its debut on PlayStation 3 next month with Mass Effect 2. Mass Effect 3 is due out on PC, PS3 and Xbox 360 next year.