Mass Effect Goes Multiplayer

Mass Effect 3 is getting a cooperative, horde-style multiplayer mode. Here's what we learned after trying it firsthand.

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"Rest assured, it's nothing of what you've feared." That's what Mass Effect 3 executive producer Casey Hudson said via Facebook when the game's cooperative online multiplayer mode was announced. This brought a sigh of relief to some, while others cringed at seeing "Mass Effect" and "multiplayer" so close together. At the Electronic Arts Vegas Game Show earlier this year, we got to try this mode for ourselves, as well as speak with BioWare general manager Aaryn Flynn about the game in general, which you can see in the video below.

From what we've gathered, the fate of pretty much everything in Mass Effect 3 will rest on the galaxy's readiness level. This is a representation of how well Shepard has prepared the entire galaxy for the coming battle. It can also be influenced in several ways, one of which is the new multiplayer mode. This cooperative, four-player online mode drops players into a horde-mode-style area where they must battle against increasingly difficult waves of enemies.

Your personal commander Shepard won't be available here; he (or she) is much too busy romancing aliens and punching reporters. Instead, a new character must be created from the game's most humanoid races--Asari, Turian, Drell, Krogan, Salarian, and human--and established classes. Your character's abilities are tied to his or her class (there are no racial abilities), and which weapons you bring is up to you. However, your class will determine firearm proficiency.

We were assigned a human infiltrator for our play session, which took place on the industrial-looking slums map. In multiplayer, the map you choose determines the set of enemies you will face. For this map, it was all Cerberus commandos; others may include the insectoid Collectors or a combination of different groups for a greater challenge. Back in the slums, we found that shooting people in multiplayer wasn't different from single-player. Some enemies carried massive shields that required one of our team to act as a distraction while the other sneaked up behind the foe. And when a massive Atlas mech suit landed, it was an all-hands-on-deck moment where we had to quickly bring the brute down.

Special objectives were interspersed throughout the match. During one wave, we had to run across the map and disable four enemy devices. Another required us to group up in an area and defend it while uploading data. Despite our best efforts, our character would get taken out after one-too-many space bullets to the face. When our character went down, we could frantically press a button to postpone death. Of course, this became more difficult, and by the time the second unit arrived, we simply couldn't maintain it any longer. Dying took us out of the current wave and into spectator mode. We could then return at the start of the next wave, assuming our teammates lived that long.

Killing enemies and completing objectives earn your character money and experience. Money is used to purchase and upgrade weapons, while experience increases your character's level. At a certain point in your character's progression, you will have the option to export him or her into your single-player. There, you can use your character as a war asset on the Galaxy at War map. How exactly these characters will function in your campaign remains to be seen.

Despite the fact that this is a cooperative mode, you're not required to have three friends to play. In fact, we could have played with two, one, or even zero teammates if we were so inclined. The game wouldn't have granted us any AI teammates, but it would have adjusted the enemy difficulty accordingly. Or you can just ignore the mode entirely. There will be other ways to raise your galaxy's readiness level, and the optimal ending is available without having to touch multiplayer. Mass Effect 3 will be released on March 6, 2012, on the PC, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3.

Discussion

265 comments
DAMSOG
DAMSOG

RPG's are generally selfish solo affairs so this will make a pleasant distraction...but that's about it.

isshiah
isshiah

it won't affect the ending, but it does affect the single player game. that's precisely what i feared.

Ahsan_ga
Ahsan_ga

is it going to be a offline multiplayer co-op also ?? plz reply

Sixshooter13
Sixshooter13

I'm a shooter fan and a RPG fan. Mass Effect 2 made some very welcome changes to the combat. It was more fluid, more responsive, and a lot of fun. But that wasn't all. It also added to narrative, interactivity, and even expanded the universe. ME3 is no different. It's just adding to what is already there. ME is way too expansive to show off in 4 minute videos. I don't think anyone should panic about it turning into an all out shooter, cause it wont be. It's a big budget game that is trying to appeal to a lot of people. As for the multiplayer, it has been requested since ME1. It's not a deathmatch or capture the hill, its co-op party quests that are seen in a lot of RPGs. This game will be a more polished Mass Effect with a bonus multiplayer component. I'm looking forward to this.

ZoTrAcK
ZoTrAcK

YOu know whats wrong with games nowaday? Games creators used to make game they love and then the people played their games. Nowaday, the game creators focus to make a game that they think the people will love... And it often fails miserably

berygoochance
berygoochance

Yup they're going more from RPG make choices element to a Gears wannabe when the skill tree has been expanded up from the 2nd, both in the fact that it is branching and has more opportunity to invest in it. Yeah, because be able to choose weapons you might not be able to use as well lessons the RPG elements, weird that sounds like the 1st one? Also, it was outsourced to a separate Bioware studio from the one that developed the singleplayer. I'm also glad you know better than the developers when they say "if you don't want to play it, you can still get the best ending." It's obvious that the point of the SinglePlayer will be building these assets until you're ready to take on the Reapers, play multiplayer just means you need to do less of that in singleplayer and in all likelihood will amount to the same amount of game-time.

1valiantknight
1valiantknight

everyone is so worried about the multiplayer but the truth is that even if it is EA forcing Biowares hand I think something truly amazing is going to come out of it. All I know is that me and my girl friend can't wait to jump into the Mass Effect universe together for the first time and kick some reaper butt. From what I've read so far the multiplayer sounds like a blast.

winter_knights
winter_knights

Maybe its just me. But if your REALLY a fan you don't just give up And shoo your "favorite game" into the corner. Sports fans are fans of they're team whether they win OR loose. Only traitors switch sides when things don't go as they would like it. Mass effect series is the best in my eyes. I hated the mineral mining in the second and the elevators in The first. But those annoying things did NOT stop me from Pre-ordering the collectors edition for the 3rd. No sir'ee. I will support my favorite game developers. And ima play multiplayer just because! Hmpf. *flips hair and stalks away*

anthonycg
anthonycg

@armydominican69

No strawman i didn't say that... You can make a game better without having to change the actual genre. I bought ME because I wanted an RPG with 3rd person shooter elements. Now ME is practically a shooter only and not what I signed up for. If I wanted a shooter I'd just buy gears of war... But I didn't want that game and so I didn't buy it. Gears is an awesome game, but it wasn't the game I wanted.

The only point of this change is to dip into the COD/BF3 fanbase and get more customers that way. The gun play is faster and better than ever before allowing you to use any weapon you want and now you get that sword thingy from Halo too so you can run up to baddies and shank them for their dogtags. Oh wait that's another game... Meanwhile ABSOLUTELY NOTHING has changed in the RPG elements other than a couple of tedious stats that you wonder how a space marine wouldn't be great in... If you haven't seen the preview videos then check it out because the only real change is the color of the menus.

I really don't care about multiplayer as long as it doesn't screw with the singleplayer. However they have already said that multiplayer will have affects on how you are able to progress through singleplayer. So people without internet connections are screwed and of course once the servers go down for next gen you'll never be able to play the singleplayer in such a way again.

dman123_1
dman123_1

you all act as if they are ignoring the single player, for all we know, the story mode could be complete, they are just adding this as a bonus. You can't forget that they also pushed this game back, so I'm sure they have worked meticulously on all components of the game.

anthonycg
anthonycg

@armydominican69 Demon Souls is a good game without having to change the entire genre...

TigerRifle1
TigerRifle1

Online play didn't do Dead Space any favors so I hope that won't be the case here, i.e. included as an afterthought because fans demanded it. Developers should feel free to make the game they want to make not, and include the modes they want to include and not make a game by committee by kowtowing to fanboys.

l777l
l777l

A multiplayer component diverts resources from the single player component. It's unclear to what extent, but it's definitely negative for those who only like single player. Futhermore, the there's a significant connection of the single and multiplayer elements. Those who only play single player won't benefit from it in any way. There's a good chance that the single player segment had to be adjusted to allow connecting single and multiplayer. And such adjustments are likely to have some negative aspect on the single player component in isolated form. I would've preferred ME staying a focused single player series. But EA (and Bioware) are very likely to include (invasive) online features in all of their future products, strengthening Origin. I don't like the prospect.

Runner_style
Runner_style

I was looking forward to ME3 until I heard it has multiplayer. I'm starting to think that Singel Player will pale in comparison to the previous two ME titles. They should just leave the main stream ME as single player and release a bastardized Mass Effect MMORPG for those who want multiplayer....

kennythomas26
kennythomas26

I was going to pre-order this but I think I'm going to pass now and now my game buys for the month of just got less for still debating weather or not re-pre-order Max Payne 3 again and now I'm definitely going to pre-order The Witcher 2, sorry Bioware I'm going to pass on this, I could have handled co-op with the story or something else other then a horde mode and I will point out that I like this mode put I only liked them in the Gears universe and in Halo with it's firefight mode and when I ever I do pick this game up I will not be playing this mode ever and I will only change my mind a bit on this game is if their is no on-line achievements.

dblock137
dblock137

I assume for the last installment in the series the developers at bioware want to incorporate all the things that gamers were asking for in the past inter-rations of the game. I hope that they beef up the RPG elements that they so happen to dumb down in the second game. I have seen some of the new features but let's hope everything is what we gamers want and not what they feel will sell games.

Exile781
Exile781

I see a great deal of anger on this board. Too many people focusing on the little things like a single feature here or there. All I know is, as bad as EA can seem for all their corporate BS and money-grubbing, Bioware is a company I fully trust to put out quality games that appeal to many different gamers. Have more faith in the team that did all this work to bring you the first two :)

FROSTYxxPENGUIN
FROSTYxxPENGUIN

Why waste your time making multiplayer for a game that is universally loved for its story and RPG elements. Instead of adding this online gameplay make the single player even better.

AuronAXE
AuronAXE

"Rest assured, it's nothing of what you've feared." I feared less focus on RPG elements and the Mass Effect series turning into a Gears of War wannabe. Guess what I'm getting. Well, I wish Bioware good luck. I know they need to make money and to do that they need to expand, but I don't like their methods.

MrBBQ56
MrBBQ56

Dear EA, Stop trying to make this game appeal to kids by giving it a CoD zombies-like survival mode and giving it Kinect compatibility. Sincerly, Someone who is pissed off at you.

Jackc8
Jackc8

That's a very big chunk of time and money taken straight out of developing the single player campaign, to add something nobody wants. Utterly brilliant.

kiopta1
kiopta1

I see more crying here than i get when i tell little girls that bieber is gay

DarthVeng_basic
DarthVeng_basic

@kenmanius : Achievements add further play value and give you more things to earn. I am not against Achievements/Trophies, but I am against alot of the MP based ones that force you to play part's of the online game you have no desire to play, like MP in ME3.

Dante0611
Dante0611

yet again another cheap move from EA to try and convince costumers of the biassed and crappy useless origin, while adding multiplayer to a game that obviously doesnt need it, hopefully it doesnt affect its quality.

Lytmare
Lytmare

I don't know about everyone else, but this sounds great! I didn't really want a coop mode for the campaign, but this sounds like a great way to meet up with other Mass Effecters, and try something new! And I trust Bioware to keep its standards, which in my oppinion, are epic!

Giarc1126
Giarc1126

You all are nuts, there's no reason to panic. Icewind Dale, Baldur's Gate and Neverwinter Nights, all had multiplayer alongside fantastic singleplayer campaigns. There's no reason for the two to be mutually exclusive. Have a little bit more faith in BioWare, they rarely do us wrong. And the multiplayer is a horde-type mode, it's like a bonus feature. You also have to imagine that this will increase replayability and appeal for the game on consoles. If BioWare doesn't make money, BioWare won't make games, it's a fact of life we have to deal with.

Temtamperu
Temtamperu

I dont think i want this game anymore.

b10nutz
b10nutz

if i can complete single player 100% whitout having to play even 1 minunte on multiplayer i don't really care, i'm just worried that the multiplayer will affect the single player in terms of quality

Dreamagus
Dreamagus

Okay, this is the first step. The next...you know...starts with MMO and ends with RPG...

dbene
dbene

I was a little worried about this until I realized it was a seperate mode altogether. I didn't want the regular story mode to be able to allow co-op within its structure.

fustahman24
fustahman24

@Nekromenos I couldn't agree more. The thing that scares me is, why throw multiplayer into a series where it isnt needed? If they truly wanted to make Mass Effect 3 the best it could be, they should have done this by putting in deeper mechanics, say more intriguing space exploration. I don't hate the idea of multiplayer, I just fear that EA is pushing them to make a more broadly anticipated game at the sake of losing some of the integrity of what it means to be a good RPG.

lsw3638
lsw3638

There are many famous franchises which got derailed as publishers simply wanted it other way. contrary to publisher owned developers, Independent developers like epic, valve, crytek, gear box software, cd project, more or less can make good games as they will. EA owns bioware and can disintergrate bioware studios at his will just like EA did with other EA owned studios. A bit extreme case, yet this fact alone explains much about current deliberate efforts by bioware.

Nishank93
Nishank93

I hope people who prefer single-player (me) can still complete the entire game without missing out on anything.

Nekromenos
Nekromenos

I'll be honest, Bioware WAS probably my favorite company for many years up until Dragon Age 2. EA's involvement was fatal and of course Bioware didn't do much to fight it as it seemed. I consider the Mass Effect series to be one of the greatest action-rpgs in gaming history and I really look forward to the finale but... damn, DA2 is a scary reminder of how easily you can turn gold into a black turd.

Calpalg
Calpalg

I am as massive a Mass Effect fan as you will find and this multiplayer doesn't bother me at all. Hell, it actually looks pretty damn cool - looking forward to creating my own Asari Commando or Drell assassin...

the-obiwan
the-obiwan

i dont know what to say after watching this interview sounds very iffy to me.. i dont know if i should be excited for the last part of the saga or worried :S

Ayato_Kamina_1
Ayato_Kamina_1

The only fear people have for this is that when introducing a multiplayer mode, they'll detract from the single player, or not spend as much time on it. These fears are falsely placed... Have some faith!! ME1+2 are two of my all time favourite games, and i believe that bioware will make sure the final installment is everything we've come to expect and more.

opinions2
opinions2

This has gone a fair way to calming me down after reading that there would be MP in this. I already have a mate who I can trust when playing co-op and knows how to work as a team. I'm starting to look forward to March again :-)

blinze
blinze

OK so I am not the biggest fan of multiplayer, when I heard the ME3 was getting multiplayer I was scared crazy. But seeing whats happening and how it is supposed to work, I approve. Bioware has built a reputation on having well written, story driven games and for them to make the decision to add multiplayer I belive it would have been executed after a well thought out process. Lastly, with this interview I think the multiplayer addition just raised the replayerbility of ME3 by a factor of 10. I have over 800 hours logged in on ME and ME2 so that is a heck of a lot of playtime.

ag_04
ag_04

I sincerely hope this multiplayer fails as hard as possible so BW stop doing stupid things and concentrate on doing what it is best at doing: solo rpgs.

grim0187
grim0187

Look at all the crybabies. "OH NOO!! THEIR GUNNA RUIN THE GAME BECAUSE ITS NOT JUST LIKE THE LAST GAME I LOVED!!! WAAAAH!" Really? I for one love horde mode. I like the objectives they have in it. I like the fact that you can put your character into the single player. So....whats the problem? Bioshock 2 had a fun multiplayer and epic single player. So did Assassins Creed 2. It CAN be done. I HAS been done. Why cry over it?

real_shengar
real_shengar

This multiplayer actually looks promising, since ME already a third person squad shooter. I hope they don't forget the story. I really pu my faith in this. I laready put my faith in ACAH for they are not take setting in Strangereal and hope for unique story, and fail. Prove me that you can do it right Bioware!

CPLDAN_aus
CPLDAN_aus

I'm a huge fan of the ME series and I really hope BioWare doesn't skimp on the story by focusing on the MP, that said I'm stoked for playing as a Drell, ever since Thane in ME2 I've been in love with them, pity you cant play as a Quarian marine

alpha-blade
alpha-blade

pointless and worthless, stop with the multiplayers obsession

miltpauris
miltpauris

What. The. Hell. People - seriously - no one's pushing you to play it multiplayer. They already said that multiplayer won't effect single player, at least, you don't lose anything if you don't play it. There will be those, who will want to play it, so, chill.

GameWaiter
GameWaiter

I don't... i mean, we don't need multiplayer

megakoresh
megakoresh

Well, my favourite game series is coming to an end. I guess this will be the most brilliant and amazing end ever (kinds like what ME is supposed to be). I noticed a LOT of gameplay elements copied from Dead Space 2, which is a REALLY good thing, I might add. MP is a great thing in theory, however I don't know how it will turn out because BioWare didn't yet make any exceptional MP titles as of now. We'll see how it goes, but there is nothing in this galaxy that would make ME3 a bad game.

Skargamer
Skargamer

I just want to play the Epic Single Player Campaign. I just hope it doesn't fall flat...

Ryderych
Ryderych

As long as ME3 concludes the epic story brilliantly (I hate to say "epic;" that word's almost meaningless now), I don't care if multiplayer uses Halo maps with MW3 weapons. The story's the thing. If BioWare blows that due to focusing too much effort on co-op, ME3 will be the last BioWare game I buy.