Mass Effect’s something of a sci-fi gumbo, a universe so big that BioWare has seemingly dropped in a bit of any futuristic property you care to name. The Quarian-Geth conflict? Battlestar Galactica. The Rachni Wars? A touch of Starship Troopers. A.I. banned by traumatised organics? Hello, Dune.
Some references are more explicit than others though. A lifetime of committed nerdery means writers, artists and developers are bound to unconsciously include elements of the things they like. Which is why, for this list, we’re only looking at the influences BioWare has specifically picked out in interviews, books, and in-game. From artistic starting points to the gaming classics it wanted to emulate, this is the sci-fi that made Mass Effect what it is today.