Read it. Slowly.
I'd like to think I've been nice up to now, I've criticised their decisions regarding Miss Shephard and their overly action focused game design and above all their desire to be all things to all gamers; a Gears of War shooter with a deep role-playing experience tied in (which is nigh on impossible frankly). The words that I have ended most of my arguments with the Mass Effect faithful have been "oh well, at least it doesn't have multiplayer" and BioWare must have heard this on the grapevine and thought "YES, finally a way to send one of our most devoted fans packing in disgust. Casey my man you are a genius".
WHO. Who played Mass Effect 1 and 2 and thought what those games needed most of all was the ability to have someone else intrude on their epic space opera of a game? Please let me know because I'd like to rip his balls off and sell them to a krogan. Of all the things BioWare could have fixed or included, a better narrative perhaps? Maybe more side missions? How about the most polished RPG on the market? Nope, what we need is someone else in our fantastic adventures.
Apparently this blatant middle-finger raised in the direction of the BioWare fans along with all the other ludicrious pandering they have been doing will tie into the main story campaign. How is that going to work? Either your co-op partner plays as their own Shephard (which is sacrelige), you play as another character (which is pointless considering the fact that no one goes to Mass Effect for pure action) or you play as one of the characters inside someone else's game (which would ruin those characters' personalities if you heard Miranda speaking with a broad Texas accent). This is a ROLE PLAYING GAME BioWare, with characters and atmosphere and people you actually care about going through terrible events as one of the most immersive and dramatic sci-fi sagas draws to a close. In no way should the average gamer have the opportunity to think "stuff this epic drama, I'm going to shoot Krogans with my bros". I have several friends who I converted into gamers of quality tastes with Mass Effect 2 and if that game had co-op that would have been all they would have played because it would look like a poor man's Horde Mode or a pointless version of Uncharted 2's fantastic co-op missions.
I have nothing against co-op, the aforementioned Horde Mode is amazing, Portal 2 online is the best co-op experience a savvy gamer can have and even Resistance 2 had a fantastic tie-in co-op mode that managed to make up for some of the game's myriad blunders. Is this the reason ME3 has been delayed to 2012? Did BioWare decide that its name alone was not enough to sell the most iconic modern RPG series to date? I know this probably has something to do with EA's multiplayer policy but if BioWare wanted to they could have put their foot down on the subject of multiplayer as they did with the disappointing and obviously focus-tested Dragon Age 2. But it is so very obvious that BioWare likes its focus groups, recently they asked them "So braindead neanderthals whom we will market our sophisticated, dramatic and thoughtful RPG to, what do you want in your game?"
Recently the answer was "Uhh Big boobs and red hair please, like on the girl". Today it's "like shooting stuff online, co-op like in CoD y'know? It's called Spec-ops right?" Even if this mode turns out to be decent, it means a group of people who should be putting every ounce of their concentration and mental stamina into making the single-player game as refined and well-designed as possible have been pulled out in order for BioWare to attempt to compete with Gears and Uncharted. Resources are being diverted into fruitless exercises in attempting to create some mass appeal when they should be doing everything they can to make the game a worthy successor to Mass Effect 2, a game that I have sunk nearly 200 hours into because I enjoyed it so much.
Co-op. That's exactly what I want out of my story-focused shooter! Oh and could we have a CoD game every year and Ratchet and Clank turned into a crap Little Big Planet with kiddy visuals and a lack of cool guns? OH OH and YES, I certainly want killstreaks and emblems in Uncharted 3 guys, thanks. This decision comes from the same school of thought as all of these genius gaming choices and hammers in the final nail in a coffin containing my adoration of the one RPG developer that could get me excited.
What about me BioWare? Did I vote on what I wanted the Female Shephard to look like? Did I write at length on forums across the internet that what I wanted was to have someone else populate my fantasy of a sci-fi tale that I have followed since day one and dismissed all its many shortcomings? F*ck no BioWare I did not, I said "do what you do best, devote every drop of blood, sweat and tear into making this game the culmination of all the games that came before it. Make this game the new KOTOR, break some ground like you did back in 2007 with Mass Effect and write us a story that makes us care about the events you have been leading up to for the past 4 years"
Neurotic. I called BioWare that before, and frankly it's not that bad of an insult considering the terms that I usually throw at developers for their brazen profiteering and slothfulness. What I would call BioWare now is "sellout", perhaps "a disappointment" and definitely "a failure". I do believe EA's sponsorship is the going exchange rate for 30 pieces of silver Casey, and this time I won't be fooled by the line "we've listened to the fans". I'm a fan, I've been one ever since KOTOR and you sure as hell didn't listen to me.
this was an incandescent adam1808, who will be sending BioWare a shipment of trees and rope by the end of March 2012