Mass Effect 3 will arrive later than expected, BioWare has announced. A nebulous new release date is to be found somewhere within "the first three months of 2012."

Executive producer Casey Hudson addressed fans on the game's official forums, writing, "The development team is laser focused on making sure Mass Effect 3 is the biggest, boldest and best game in the series, ensuring that it exceeds everyone's expectations." A new Shepard team photo was sent out alongside the announcement, but don't take those heroic and steadfast poses as conciliation. (It's clear only one of them is Asari.)

Before you storm off to Twitter and document 2011's ruination, we ought to point out that there's some relief to be found in this news. When we last consulted the office's crystal ball and requested a peek at our prestigious Game of the Year 2011 award ceremonies, we were greeted by a gruesome portent: a bloodied, pockmarked urban battlefield littered with expired game critics, internet commenters, torn N7 hoodies and ... spongy cake detritus. Perhaps this is for the best.

This article was originally published on Joystiq.