For months leading up to the official Mass Effect 3 multiplayer reveal, anxious franchise fans drummed up countless worst case scenarios for the added gameplay feature – worried that anything but a single player campaign would detract from the personal story they had spent two full games crafting. The concerns weren’t entirely unfounded – especially with more and more developers cramming half-baked multiplayer into single player games (we’re looking at you Dead Space 2).

That said, with the release of a new Mass Effect 3 trailer, “Special Forces,” focusing exclusively on multiplayer gameplay, BioWare has put their best foot forward in reassuring fans that the co-operative portions of the game might be just as fun and engrossing as the single-player story.

Of course we won’t know anything for sure until the servers are live and players actually test out the multiplayer; however, there’s no doubt that the “Special Forces” trailer makes good on a lot of our expectations. When Mass Effect 3 multiplayer was merely a rumor we had, on more than one occasion, mentioned how the Biotics, Tech, and Weaponry in BioWare’s universe would definitely lend itself to immersive and creative ways to take down enemies with a team.

Instead of a Gears of War 3 or Call of Duty type experience (no disrespect to either franchise), which rely mostly on co-operative shooting combat, Mass Effect 3 will allow gamers to contribute to the battle in much more diversified roles – i.e. Player 1 could throw out a singularity while Player 2 lights the levitating enemy up with Incendiary rounds from an assault rifle. We’ve enjoyed these scenarios in single player – why wouldn’t they be a blast with real-life teammates in multiplayer?

Check out the Mass Effect 3 “Special Forces” multiplayer trailer below:

It’s important to remember that Mass Effect 3 multiplayer is not mandatory for the best ending scenario – so players that have absolutely no interest in the feature, can’t play online, or just don’t have any gamer friends, will not be required to tackle added co-op missions. No doubt there will still be plenty of detractors who would have preferred that BioWare spend any and all available free time working on even more single player content.

However, unlike some tacked-on offerings, multiplayer does make sense in light of the over-arching themes and story beats in Mass Effect 3 – as Shepard rallies a major resistance force to fight-back against the Reaper invasion. The addition should also streamline some of the more “samey” gameplay elements of prior installments – i.e. remove many of the “arena defense” type side-missions from the main campaign and utilize them in multiplayer (while ratcheting up the odds).

Regardless of how fans might feel about multiplayer, Mass Effect 3 is set to offer one of the most robust video game packages of 2012. As the video asserts, make sure to get your pre-orders in soon – to take advantage of some truly wicked bonus tech.

Mass Effect 3 launches March 6, 2012 for the PS3, Xbox 360, and PC.

Follow me on Twitter @benkendrick for further updates

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