The Mass Effect franchise has traditionally been a single-player affair, but rumors that BioWare has plans to introduce a multiplayer component have swirled since November. Those rumblings became fact today, as BioWare has confirmed that the latest flagship installment in the franchise, Mass Effect 3, will have cooperative missions.
"There will be a multiplayer component for #ME3," BioWare said through its official Twitter feed. "Full details soon, so wait until then before making your decision. We think you'll like it!"
Mass Effect 3 will mark the first entry in the series to offer multiplayer of any kind. The exact nature of these co-op missions is still unknown. However, BioWare executive producer Casey Hudson also took to his Twitter account to confirm the mode, cryptically stating that "it's nothing of what you've feared."
Set for release on the PC, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360 on March 6, Mass Effect 3 sees planet Earth under siege. The attackers are the Reapers, a race of heavily armed sentient spacecraft that were central to the plot of the first Mass Effect. The return of the Reapers to the series was concretely revealed in Arrival, the last installment of downloadable content for Mass Effect 2.
[UPDATE] It hasn't taken long for BioWare to clarify what, exactly, gamers can expect from the promised cooperative multiplayer component in Mass Effect 3. In a post to its official forums, the Canadian company revealed details on the new mode called Galaxy at War.
Largely separate from the Mass Effect 3 single-player campaign, the new Galaxy at War mode will support up to four players. Multiplayer progress will alter the "galactic readiness" level of the final battle against the Reapers in the campaign, but BioWare emphasized that an "optimal, complete ending" is attainable through single-player alone.
In a short Q&A, Bioware filled in a few details surrounding the new mode and clarified that players will take custom characters into the Galaxy at War mode, with Commander Shepard and team relegated to the single-player campaign. Character progression, along with weapon upgrading and leveling, will be built into the Galaxy at War mode.
For more on the game, check out GameSpot's previous coverage of Mass Effect 3.