Source: Gaming blog Kotaku.
What we heard: Yesterday, BioWare began teasing a new mystery game via a series of cryptic clues. Besides a screenshot of a man in futuristic armor leaning out a window, the Canadian developer released two barcodes. The first converted into a binary code, which added up to the atomic weight of iron, sparking speculation of a Shattered Steel remake. The second translated into the coldest temperature on earth, which was recorded in the Antarctic settlement of Vostok--a name shared by a star system in the original Mass Effect.
Now it appears the latter clue may be the most telling. According to a development source that contacted Kotaku, the game being teased is not Mass Effect 3, but a new multiplayer-focused spin-off of the series. Reportedly in the works at BioWare's Montreal studio--which was hiring multiplayer developers in June--the game is apparently targeted at the online shooter market dominated by Call of Duty.
Whether the game will be a first-person shooter like the Call of Duty games is unclear. However, like Activision's shooter series, the rumored Mass Effect is said to have a single-player campaign but will retain an emphasis on competitive multiplayer.
The official story: "We don't comment on rumors or speculation. Stay tuned on December 11." -- BioWare rep, referring to the game's unveiling at the Video Game Awards next month.
Bogus or not bogus?: Too little to make a determination. That said, the premise sounds plausible. Mass Effect 2 was a solid hit, selling over 1.6 million units as of May. Throw in the sequel's Gears of War-like emphasis on running and gunning from cover, and the jump to straight action doesn't sound so implausible.