BioWare have officially announced the long rumoured multiplayer component of Mass Effect 3, as well as providing a few details of the new mode. Multiplayer will take the form of four player co-operative missions that are separate from the main game, in which:
Players can choose from a variety of classes and races, form an elite Special Forces squad, and combine their weapons, powers and abilities to devastating effect as they fight together to liberate key territories from enemy control. Success in multi-player will have a direct impact on the outcome of the single player campaign, giving players an alternative method of achieving ultimate victory against the greatest threat mankind – and the entire galaxy – has ever faced.
In addition to this, BioWare has also announced the ‘Galaxy at War’ system, which monitors your “Galactic Readiness” based on your decisions and performance in both single and multiplayer.
They are also quick to emphasise that both of these new modes’ are optional additions to the single player campaign and that it is still possible to get the optimal story outcome through single player alone. Additionally the development of multiplayer options should not have impacted the main campaign, as their newly formed BioWare Montreal studio handled multiplayer duties, leaving the core team to focus on single player.
Personally I’m not sure that Mass Effect ever really needed multiplayer, but as long as it genuinely remains optional and doesn’t impact the main game I guess it’s no bad thing.