We know a lot of Mass Effect fans are either skeptical that the upcoming conclusion to the Commander Shepard trilogy will include a multiplayer component or are flat-out hoping that BioWare stuck to their story-focused, single player-only, formula.

However, despite BioWare routinely claiming that Mass Effect 3 will not include a multiplayer component, there has been a suspicious amount of evidence to the contrary – in the form of magazine leaks and job openings. Now, a South African retailer pre-order page for the Mass Effect 3 Collector’s Edition can be added to the list of either a) pre-announcement teases or b) misinformed retailers.

It certainly wouldn’t be the first time that a developer has concealed the truth about an unannounced multiplayer component – either to set-up for a big reveal or to be sure that the added game mode is ready to disprove passionate fans who might be especially vocal about, and put-off by, multiplayer. In prior articles Game Rant readers have even called us out for reporting on rumors of Mass Effect 3 multiplayer – since apparently, when a developer makes a statement about an upcoming game, we’re all expected to take it as irrefutable fact.

Check out the advertisement scan from South African retailer, BT Games:

Mass Effect 3 Multiplayer Pre-order

Admittedly, we’ve seen similar ads (for other games) that turned out to be typos or contain rumored, not verified info, but the other items bulleted in the list are very specific – so it’s not entirely fair to simply dismiss the ad altogether.

That said, it’s easy to understand why many fans are worried and don’t want to believe that Mass Effect 3 multiplayer is a possibility – no doubt BioWare games have been a welcome respite from the frantic and often times frustrating experience of online multiplayer.

But would optional online co-op in Mass Effect 3 truly ruin the experience? What about a horde-style co-op mode – similar to Gears of War 3? Given the supernatural abilities and various class-based weaponry in the Mass Effect universe, it’s certainly possible that even skeptical players might find some added enjoyment out of potential multiplayer modes.

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Mass Effect 3 releases for Xbox 360, PS3, and PC on March 6, 2012.

Source: [BioWare Forums via VG247]