Where Does ‘Mass Effect Andromeda’ Fit in the Timeline?

Samantha Loveridge

With Mass Effect: Andromeda nearly upon us, there are questions surrounding where the new game fits into the existing Mass Effect trilogy – if at all. Well, Commander Shepard might be gone, but that doesn’t mean Andromeda is a totally separate timeline to the original games.

Developer BioWare has said that Andromeda is a separate story, but is connected to and will reference the existing trilogy. Back in 2014, the developer said the new game would “give a bunch of nods to fans who enjoyed the trilogy in the past”. It won’t, however, incorporate any of the decisions you made in the original trilogy, including the ending of Mass Effect 3.

That’s because the game is actually set 600 years in the future, thanks to the Andromeda Initiative sending members of different Sol species on a one-way trip to the Andromeda Galaxy in 2185.

‘Mass Effect Andromeda’ takes place after ‘Mass Effect 2’

The Andromeda Initiative is set up in 2176 with the task of finding humanity a brand new home in the Andromeda Galaxy, which is a mere 600-year journey away from Earth. The Initiative is a privately funded, multi-species endeavour to colonise the Andromeda Galaxy, with seven planets known as Habitat 1 – 7 identified as potential locations.

“The Initiative’s ultimate goal is to establish a permanent presence on the seemingly resource-rich frontier of Andromeda, and eventually create a reliable route between it and the Milky Way Galaxy,” explains the official Andromeda website.

Mass Effect Andromeda - Andromeda Initiative
The seven Habitats marked out as potential new Earth locations

The four Ark ships carrying various Sol species including salarians, asari, turians and krogans, along with the Pathfinder ship, the Hyperion, leave for the 600-year one-way trip in 2185. That timing puts the start of the Andromeda Initiative after the events of Mass Effect 2.

All the events in Mass Effect 2, from Shepard’s work with Cerberus to the fight against the Collectors, happen in the year 2185, which is exactly the point when the Andromeda Initiative departs.

Until the game is released at the end of March, it’s unclear whether the members of the Andromeda Initiative are aware of the events of Mass Effect 3.

Mass Effect Andromeda
You'll be following the Ryder twins on their journey to discover Andromeda

The ‘Mass Effect’ Timeline

To give you a sense of how the Mass Effect Andromeda timeline slots into the main events in the first three Mass Effect games, here’s a limited Mass Effect timeline. You can check out the seriously impressive full Mass Effect timeline on the Mass Effect Wikia page.


  • First human settlement on the moon


  • First human settlement on Mars


Alec Ryder Mass Effect Andromeda
Alec is Sara and Scott's daddy dearest and the original Pathfinder




  • Prothean Ruins discovered on Mars
  • Prothean tech leads to major technological advancements for human race, including mass effect fields
Mass Effect relays
The Mass Effect relays are first discovered in the original trilogy


  • System Alliance charter signed
  • Mass Relay discovered near Pluto
  • Jon Grissom, Alec Ryder and their team pass through the Mass Relay



Mass Effect Commander Shepard
Commander Shepard – Gone but not forgotten



  • Humans learn the potential of biotics


  • System Alliance Parliament formed


  • Sara and Scott Ryder are born
Sara Ryder Mass Effect Andromeda
Sara and her twin brother Scott will both play a part in the story, no matter who you choose to be


  • The Council grants humanity an embassy on the Citadel


  • Batarians attack Human colony on Mindoir


  • Shepard enlists in the Systems Alliance Navy


  • Andromeda Initiative founded by Jien Garsen
  • Batarians attack Elysium
  • Shepard graduated from the N7 program
Andromeda Initiative
Time to sign up for the one-way, 600-year trip to Andromeda?

2183 – Mass Effect 1 events

  • Shepard assigned to SSV Normandy SR-1
  • Battle of the Citadel
  • Humanity was given a seat on the Citadel Council


  • The last Geth Defeated on Eden Prime
  • Andromeda Initiative starts recruiting for candidates
  • Human colonists start being abducted

2185 – Mass Effect 2 & Mass Effect Andromeda events

  • Project Lazarus is successful
  • Shepard investigates colony abductions
  • Collector Base suicide mission
  • Four Arks and the Nexus depart for the Andromeda Galaxy
  • Alec Ryder assigned as Pathfinder aboard the Hyperion ship as part of the Andromeda Initiative
Mass Effect Andromeda timeline
The Pathfinder on board the Hyperion

2186 – ‘Mass Effect 3’ events

  • Reapers attack Earth
  • The Reaper War begins
  • Shepard ends the Reaper Wars (one potential ‘Mass Effect 3’ ending)

2386 – Alternate ‘Mass Effect 3’ ending

  • Shepard failed to stop Reapers (one potential ‘Mass Effect 3’ ending)
  • All Milky Way civilisations are destroyed (one potential ‘Mass Effect 3’ ending)
Scott Ryder Mass Effect Andromeda
Scott Ryder is the male protagonist from Mass Effect Andromeda

2785 – ‘Mass Effect Andromeda’ events

  • The Arks arrive at the Andromeda Galaxy
  • Scott and Sara Ryder named as new Pathfinders

‘Mass Effect Andromeda’ is launching on March 21, 2017 on Xbox One, PS4 and PC.

Want more Mass Effect: Andromeda?

Samantha Loveridge
Sam is the UK Gaming Editor at Fandom. She's been addicted to games since she first got her paws on a GameBoy and hasn't looked back.
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