Copies of Mass Effect 3's special edition, the Space Edition, will be launched into orbit for fans to track, find and keep, whereupon the high altitude weather balloons and brand new data-gathering equipment used will be donated to an American university.
The mission, set up in conjunction with an accessible space exploration program run by the University of Houston and the High Altitude Balloon Club of Texas A&M University, sees balloon launches take place in San Francisco, New York, Las Vegas, Berlin, London and Paris from February 23 onwards.
Their progress can then be tracked via the Mass Effect website. The lucky few who find a crash-landed copy first then get to play the PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 game before its general release during the week of March 6.
The sci-fi action adventure game promises to keep players occupied for some time to come, closing out a trilogy story arc that has regularly rubbed shoulders with entries to the BioShock, Assassin's Creed, Uncharted and Gears of War series at annual awards shows.