Something occurred to me yesterday while goofing off with ME3. I’ve been struggling with the timeline – specifically, when to set this theoretical game – and was fluctuating between “during ME1″ and “prior to ME1″ which ultimately limits the amount of time available since ME1 begins in 2183 and ME3 ends in 2186. While reviewing the official timeline, I realized that I missed a perfect time period: 2176 – 2178, 6 to 8 years earlier. Why? The Skyllian Blitz and the attack on Torfan.
Specifically, in 2176, the “Skyllian Blitz” transpires. It is defined as “Batarian-funded pirates and criminals launch a surprise attack, later known as the Skyllian Blitz, on the human colony of Elysium. The assault is repulsed by the Alliance Navy and ground teams.” This is where the “War Hero” background for Shepard occurs.
This provides a golden opportunity as, logically, the PCs can be at Elysium in the opening chapters, then segue into hunting down the originator behind this attack (see the rogue, believed dead Spectre idea I had before) that culminates in the battle of Torfan in 2178, which is defined as “In retaliation for the Skyllian Blitz, the Alliance launches a major offensive against the moon of Torfan and destroys the criminal bases there, mostly populated by batarians. The threat against human colonies from batarian extremists is curtailed.” Ruthless Shepard background occurs here and he gains the reputation as the “Butcher of Torfan.”
Therefore, I first have to figure out this version of Shepard. I’m leaning toward Colonist Sole Survivor, which means he was on Akuz in 2177 and attacked by a thresher maw, which leaves open the reputation of “Butcher of Torfan” for a PC.