Thanks to leaked information and Microsoft’s publishing schedule, we already knew quite a bit about the forthcoming freebie Mass Effect 3 multiplayer DLC entitled ‘Earth’. Today, EA and BioWare have officially announced it, and the previously leaked details (the three new maps being Rio, Vancouver and London) are all confirmed as correct.

In spite of that, there are a couple of additional bits of information worth noting. Firstly, the DLC includes a new difficulty level (‘Platinum’) to test those people who sleepwalk through the ‘Gold’ standard. Second, the spectre of escort missions is looming large over this release. According to the announcement, an event will randomly occur during missions which will “challenge teams to keep a targeted agent alive by protecting and escorting them to a designated extraction zone.” Oh dear.

The DLC will be available through PC (Origin), Xbox Live and PlayStation Network on 17 July (18 July for PSN in Europe).

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