UPDATED: Mass Effect May Get Multiplayer After All, But Do We Really Want It?

Fueling the rumor flames even further this morning is an Australian gaming magazine, who proclaims that Mass Effect 3 will in fact include multiplayer content when it hits shelves next year. The website for PC Power Play gives a brief description:

“That’s right – Mass Effect 3 is getting multiplayer! We travel to BioWare’s office in Edmonton for hands-on time with the series’ first foray into online gameplay, and chat with Mass Effect Series Producer and Mass Effect 3 Project Director Casey Hudson about the decision to go multiplayer in the epic battle for the galaxy.”

This seems to be the most convincing evidence yet that multplayer will come to BioWare’s epic, but I can’t help but wonder…why? Mass Effect has built a franchise on an excellent single-player experience, with storytelling and character development that is unmatched. There are a legion of ME fans that became so without needing to play alongside or against other human opponents, so why include it?

One thing is for certain: the only way that this will be accepted is if it has absolutely no bearing on the story set up by the first two games. Perhaps it’s a Portal 2-type of co-op where friends can play a side story separate from the main arc, but even Portal 2’s co-op laid a foundation for future games, and I wouldn’t want that. Furthermore, I want no freakin’ parts of competitive multiplayer UNLESS it’s a arcade-style score-based co-op experience. Deathmatch does NOT belong in Mass Effect, I’m sorry.

Here’s a scenario I think will work: During Mass Effect 3’s single-player, Shepherd gets status reports of other battles against the Reapers fought by the Alliance or other factions working with Shepherd. As the game progresses and more reports come in, those battles unlock in the co-op mode, and THAT’S what you play. After completing the battle and returning to the story mode, Shepherd will hear of your efforts and either be pleased with your victory or curse your defeat, the outcome influenced by the choices you make.

That right there is the only way any type of multiplayer will work. It has to be co-op, and it has to not influence the main story arc at all, other than at the most reaction from Shepherd. With NYCC at the end of the week, perhaps BioWare will shed some light on their new initiative, but until then all we can do is wait and wonder..

UPDATE: Casey Hudson, one of the top dogs on Mass Effect 3, just tweeted:

“Yes, co-op MP missions for #ME3: they’re real, and they’re spectacular. Rest assured it’s nothing of what you’ve feared. More soon…”



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