Mass Effect: Andromeda Dev Explains How Multiplayer Ties Into The Story Campaign

Going on strike.

103 Comments

During last week's Penny Arcade Expo, developer BioWare finally unveiled the multiplayer component of its soon-to-be-released space RPG Mass Effect: Andromeda. Though my hands-on time was limited, the cooperative horde mode structure felt extremely similar to Mass Effect 3's multiplayer. While that could make for some enjoyable gameplay, those parallels might alarm players who remember Mass Effect 3's multiplayer for other, less positive reasons.

In order to achieve the "best" ending in Mass Effect 3's single-player campaign, players needed to raise their "Galactic Readiness" above a certain level, which inevitably forced them to participate in the game’s online multiplayer. Though Mass Effect 3's fast-paced, action-focused multiplayer proved surprisingly enjoyable, fans still balked at the idea of playing online to unlock story options in the single-player.

Thankfully, Andromeda doesn't repeat this format, but its multiplayer does tie into both the story and the mechanics of the campaign--or at least, it can. According to lead designer Ian Frazier, you can simply select multiplayer from the main menu, but if you so choose, "There's a tie that can exist between single-player and multiplayer--that's the Strike Teams."

Frazier continued, "At a certain point fairly early in the plot, we say, 'Hey, there's this militia [that is] waking up from the cryopods from the Milky Way.' They can do missions where the Pathfinder isn't. When Ryder has more important things to do, you get the ability to assign AI Strike Teams to go do these missions. It's all set in real-time, so it's going to take an hour, five hours, or whatever for one of these missions to happen. Your teams have a different percent chance to succeed based on their stats and equipment and everything. You can gear them up, you can train them up, you can send them to do these missions, but they're going to take a while to do it."

For the most part, these Strike Missions function as a sort of strategy meta-game that exists in parallel with but largely separate from the main storyline. But as Frazier explains, there are optional exceptions: ?Some of these missions are called 'Apex Missions.' They're generally a little harder. You can send your teams to do them, but it's going be really hard for them unless you've really leveled up your teams. Or you can do it yourself in multiplayer. You can just hit a button, it'll quick-save your single-player game [and] launch you directly into multiplayer where you can solo if you want, you can match-make with friends, [or] you can do a public game and match-match with strangers."

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According to Frazier, not only will the transition between your single-player experience and these special multiplayer Strike Missions be seamless, the missions themselves will feel appropriate to the context of your story. "If it says it's a night mission on a certain map against Kett for this objective, that's what the mission will actually be," said Frazier. "When you finish it, you get all the normal multiplayer rewards as if you had picked [multiplayer] from the main menu, but you'll also get the rewards associated with the mission back in single-player." These rewards include both "mission funds"--which you can use to buy items for your multiplayer characters--as well as Pathfinder rewards for Ryder ranging from crafting materials to firearms.

"The idea is, if you're really into multiplayer, you get all the things you already liked, plus it's benefiting your single-player campaign," said Frazier. "If you're only into multiplayer, cool. If you're only into single-player, cool. We tried to set it up in a way that there's nothing you can't get within the context of single-player. You don't have to play multiplayer at all if you don't want to."

Mass Effect: Andromeda launches on PC, PS4, and Xbox One on March 21. Be sure to check GameSpot and YouTube later this week to catch our mini-documentary series on the making of the game.

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Orokodot

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Here's my question. Why is there no co-op story? there is co-op grindy horde mode that was introduced in Mass Effect 3, but that gets old after a while. I really need to know why Bioware hasn't done a multiplayer campaign Mass Effect. (I was hoping that with the new "combo" system they have, that it would have been a possibility).

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MonkeyKing1969

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Who cares how Mass Effect: Andromeda's bad story connects to anything? That is like caring how a colostomy bag connects to you intestine.....WHO CARES it still full of shit!

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Keitha313

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I'd rather them address the fact they have an openly racist man working on this game, yet they seem to not want to talk about that or take action against this person, and why is that? It's because he is brown skinned, and the people he is shit talking are white people.

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EdwardNygma

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@Keitha313: Exactly.

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SingletreeAve

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@Keitha313: I'm much more concerned about USA's openly racist Attorney General. But I guess some random brown-skinned dude working on a video game is also a concern.

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Keitha313

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Edited By Keitha313

@SingletreeAve: This is a gaming site, not a political site.

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E-Major

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@Keitha313: If it is a gaming site then why are you bringing racism into it? Sounds political to me.

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Keitha313

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Edited By Keitha313

@E-Major: Because this person played a big part in the making of this game and he has injected his flavour of racism into it, you know with him creating a game it kind of keeps it on the topic of a gaming site. That was a pretty stupid question to ask, and worrying that you needed me to answer it for you.

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Deadmanhopping

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I don't really care, honestly. ME3's multiplayer was fine, if a little annoying to be forced into. The fact that this optional is nice, but the hour long timers aren't, so it kinda balances out.

My main main concern is the characters. Your squadmates are a big part of what has to carry the game. The problem? All the characters seem boring as hell and uninspired.

I really, really hope my first impression is wrong.

It just reminds me a lot of Dragon Age Inquisition right now. The characters were the worst part of that game by far.

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Riddick123

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@deadmanhopping: And they made the women characters fairly unattractive. Solas was pretty terrible looking too.

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Argle

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@deadmanhopping: Eh they weren't that bad, it was kinda 50/50. I thought half the cast was great and the other half was either annoying or just bleh and uninspired.

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bbq_R0ADK1LL

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Edited By bbq_R0ADK1LL

@deadmanhopping: I've put over 220 hours into Inquisition including a second playthrough on Nightmare difficulty & I'm part way through the DLC. I haven't felt compelled to touch the multiplayer mode in any way. ME3's multiplayer was OK, I ended up playing more than I expected.

I think Inquisition's characters were pretty decent, they just weren't very likeable. Origins did a far better job of making characters who you could have a real connection with & care about. Hopefully Andromeda will push forward while also incorporating some of their successes from the past.

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archav3n

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Edited By archav3n

LOL @bioware ...

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darkninja66613

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If only you would listen to me. This game is not worth buying so don't bother. I'm insisting that you guys should stop giving crappy devs support.

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Mogan

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@darkninja66613: Why would I listen to you? You're just a random nobody on the internet. I can wait for ME:A to come out and then read reviews and watch quick looks and judge for myself whether the game is worth buying. Listening to you would be about as sensible as pre-ordering from a place that doesn't offer refunds. : \

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JEF8484

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@Mogan: these super nerds have nothing to bitch about in their life besides EA and Bioware, its hilarious. Drama queens. They remind of the comic book guy in the Simpsons. They dont realize that the industry is changing and games aren't like they were 10-30 years ago.

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PrpleTrtleBuBum

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@Mogan: No look he's darkninja. He's destined to save us all

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JEF8484

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@PrpleTrtleBuBum: what a d-bag.

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PrpleTrtleBuBum

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@JEF8484: Every hero needs a villain

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KaptenHaddock

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Edited By KaptenHaddock

Inquisition's War Table Facebook-minigame with arbitrary waiting times confirmed. Just as I thought it would - it may have been known already but this is the first I've read of it. Playing multiplayer for singleplayer rewards is such a timesink, making it a chore, but now you can do it without doing it yourself, but it will take twice as long!

At least, that is what it's going to be like for me, 'cause I don't play RPG's for multiplayer. I haven't played a single minute of Inquisition's multiplayer, and I've got almost 200 hours in that game.

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bbq_R0ADK1LL

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@KaptenHaddock: I'm the same, I've put over 220 hours into Inquisition & not touched the multiplayer.

ME3's multiplayer wasn't actually necessary for Galactic Readiness if you were enough of a completionist. I did all the side missions & actually played a little multiplayer & I had far more than I needed for optimum outcomes.

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KaptenHaddock

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@bbq_R0ADK1LL:

Hm, either I must've missed stuff or ME3 it changed with an update, I have no memory that you could do it through side missions - and I've played that game pretty thoroughly. Haven't touched it in years though, so I don't really know.

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bbq_R0ADK1LL

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@KaptenHaddock: Yeah, you can pick up War Assets in the game which increases your Effective Military Strength. That's the measure that matters.

http://www.nohighscores.com/2012/03/09/bioware-clarifies-mass-effect-3s-galactic-readiness/

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JEF8484

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@KaptenHaddock: Its cool they add this option though. The seamless play from single to multi sounds intriguing. Whats cool is its completely optional so if it sucks- **** it.

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KaptenHaddock

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@JEF8484:

True.

I just hate the mechanic of prolonging your game with hour-long timers, but at least it isn't integral to the story to play multiplayer again.

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JEF8484

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@KaptenHaddock: agree- its a neutral thing really.

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Bedsidelee

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Looking forward to this game .

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Law2309

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Edited By Law2309

I actually enjoyed the Mp. As long as you have some friends to play with it's a blast...there were micro transactions in Me3 but one could get at least one premium pack a day and you didn't need to buy anything to have fun

But if you did no harm done.

I would give it a chance after finishing Me:A

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Mogan

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Mogan  Moderator

@nibbin1191: Well, you could always not recruit Sera, and always kick her out later if you did. Hopefully that's an option here too.

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Joupena

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@nibbin1191: Was there ever any doubt? xD

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Jasurim

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Edited By Jasurim

I still wish they'd leave it out the single player game completely.

If the MP is good enough and people do actually want to play it, they'll do just that, they'll play it. But we know exactly why they're doing this and this is why it sucks. It isn't to make the game better, it is an attempt to make people hooked to multiplayer/want to get through those missions faster so they spend money on micro-transactions.

I do hope they're true to their word though and the Strike Missions have no real impact on the overall story/game. Otherwise they seem like they may be a pain in the butt, similar to wartable missions in DA:I

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Mogan

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@Jasurim: If people are getting hooked on the mulitplayer, doesn't that mean they're having fun and want to play it? I mean, you still see a lot of love for ME3's co-op hoard mode, and it was pretty popular in its day. Outside of the whole tie-in to unlocking ending options, I think ME3's multiplayer DID actually make that game better. And it showed how microtransactions could be handled without actually hurting the game.

If ME:A handles multiplayer the same way, and it doesn't have any more impact on the single player than the Wartable in DA:I, then I think it'll be just fine.

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Jasurim

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Edited By Jasurim

@Mogan: I'm not saying that it's bad or not fun(for some), I'm saying it's obvious that's not why they're adding it in. Also no, not in all cases. Depending on what you get from these said missions and the timers, people could again just be playing them for the single player perks.

The way that it's being implemented makes it rather transparent. If people ant to play it, that's fine, but they should keep it completely out of the story mode. Like I said, if people want to play it, they'll play it. They shouldn't be trying to hook people in through the single player mode and interrupting that.

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Mogan

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@Jasurim: Does it really matter why they're adding it though? If people like it, and are getting hooked (and getting hooked kinda precludes the idea that they're only playing for the single player perks) isn't that the important part?

And from the sounds of things, it doesn't sound like not playing the multiplayer is actually going to impact your single player at all. It sounds like it'd be the same as the Wartable missions in Dragon Age having an addtional "Join Game" option on them.

I don't see the harm, or any reason to be upset about this.

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Jasurim

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@Mogan: In the grand scheme of things, I suppose it doesn't. But again, I still would rather see them keep it separate, because if they're really being truthful, they shouldn't need to combine them to begin with.

The Wartable missions in DA:I could be somewhat irksome, and it could be frustrating trying to juggle each one in order to make the most of things. But like I said, I suppose it depends on what these Strike Missions bring to the game. Hopefully they are just something extra, with some exp/money etc as a reward.

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Mogan

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@Jasurim: "they shouldn't need to combine them to begin with."

For anybody who enjoys the single and the multiplayer modes, I imagine tying them together is a good thing that improves the game.

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EdwardNygma

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This game is just a pathetic rip-off of Mass Effect. Microtransactions, bugs, and now this. Seriously don't support this garbage.

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IndySandbagTrik

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@edwardnygma: Have you played it? No? Oh, well then shut up until you have you spoil sport.

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EdwardNygma

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@IndySandbagTrik: Can you argue with facts? No? Oh well then shut up until you can you spoil sport.

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darkninja66613

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@edwardnygma: If only the sheep would listen to our orders. They know nothing and would insist on buying these things. Supoorting the wrong devs can have an impact on the gaming industry and they don' know it.

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Fedor

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Fedor  Online

@darkninja66613: "If only the sheep would listen to our orders."

Holy shit, the irony.

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blindbsnake

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Edited By blindbsnake

@edwardnygma: Wrong church to preach. The reaction only happens after the crash.

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Shadowyugi

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You guys complain about everything. Jheeze.

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darkninja66613

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Edited By darkninja66613

@shadowyugi: Because we have the freedom to speak. If we don't complain, nothing will live up to our expectations.

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PrpleTrtleBuBum

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@darkninja66613: With -500 levels of expectations everything should feel satisfactory. Problem is only when you expect games to be golden chocolate jesus.

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darkninja66613

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@PrpleTrtleBuBum: Nothing wrong with expecting a perfect game for me.

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Gomtor

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It is a shame to MP in this game.

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RadPro

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@Gomtor: Why? You don't have to play it and MP in ME3 was incredibly fun.

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