In this day and age, online multiplayer has become somewhat of a necessity for a game to be considered triple-A, regardless of how suited the property is to the mechanic. BioWare had done some serious work converting their space RPG Mass Effect into a competent and straightforward shooter for Mass Effect 2, which led many to believe that the fundamentals had been put into place to make online gameplay a real possibility. Unfortunately, it seems that hope for multiplayer of any kind for Mass Effect 3 can finally be put to rest once and for all. Our apologies, Shepards of the world; it seems we'll all be going this one alone.
The confirmation comes amidst the latest slew of Mass Effect 3 details, courtesy of Game Informer's 12-page exclusive preview. New hints at Mass Effect 3's story and characters is always welcome, but it seems that the developers weren't just being coy by keeping quiet on multiplayer for the third game. We'd already been told that the third and final chapter of Commander Shepard's story would be a completely singleplayer game, but hopes still remained that BioWare would surprise us.
Thanks to a post on the NeoGaf forums, we now know that apparently, the preview once again refutes the presence of any multiplayer, this time coming from the development team themselves. More than disappointing, the reveal has to come as somewhat of a surprise, given the recent trends in modern shooters towards including (and charging for) online activity of any kind.
We have serious problems with the streamlining of Mass Effect 2, but the improved and revamped combat systems did close the gap between dice rolls and marksmanship. It could have been argued that the new focus meant multiplayer was more possible than ever, and we even came up with a list of future Mass Effect titles we would like to see implement the modes.
Alas, Mass Effect 3 will continue to be a solo experience, with even co-op gameplay appearing to be off the table.
The post seems to also suggest that multiplayer is being considered for future titles in the series, a fact which was made clear when BioWare hired multiplayer programmers for the Mass Effect franchise. That could mean a much more shooter-oriented title with additional online game modes using the same mix of biotic and tech attacks, or a squad-based co-op game somewhere down the line. Either way, we like the sound of broader experiences set in the expansive fiction of Mass Effect.
There's no way of knowing how long it will be until we see that multiplayer content in a Mass Effect title, but the fact that BioWare has apparently already hired programmers to start development may mean that we could be seeing more titles sooner than we think.
Which would you prefer: a singleplayer experience with additional multiplayer, or a brand new take on Mass Effect that would allow your friends to join your crew?
Mass Effect 3 will be putting players into the boots of Commander Shepard - in the singleplayer campaign only - when it launches for the PC, Xbox 360 and PS3 this fall.
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