Multiplayer is coming to Mass Effect 3 whether you like it or not. The Galaxy is at War and BioWare are giving you the option to take on the Reapers with 3 of your buddies in 4-player online co-op for what they are advocating as an optional new way to experience the best of what Mass Effect has to offer. This is Mass Effect for the connected generation.
TGL caught up with BioWare Studio’s General Manager Arayn Flynn about all things ME MP, about why now is the right time to introduce multiplayer to the universe, why the single-player campaign is still the highest priority and why the studio is pleased with the feedback they’ve received on multi-player so far.
Here we go…………..
TGL: Was multiplayer always on the cards from the outset with Mass Effect 3 or was it merely a case of timing with now being the right time to introduce multiplayer to the Mass Effect Universe?
Aaryn Flynn: It was more the latter. Certainly when the team was imagining multiplayer back in the day, they went through all the feedback on Mass Effect 2 and then it was pretty early on in that process that we thought, given the setting that we have and the idea that an entire galaxy is at war, that maybe now is the time for us to do something that would be a respectable multiplayer option. It was important that it would have to be consistent with the franchise to this point.
TGL: Why is it important that it’s complimentary to the Mass Effect experience, without ever stepping on the toes of the core single-player experience?
AF: It’s important. The idea is that as you are going through the multiplayer and you choose to play it, you can take advantage of the benefits in there, but that’s completely optional to the single player experience. It’s another way of achieving things that you can do in the single player campaign.
TGL: So storyline and single-player is still getting the highest priority in ME3…
AF: Absolutely. We’ve been building up to the events of Mass Effect 3 for nearly a decade. The story has been building and growing and in many ways the first two games were just the openings to this amazing new adventure of this galaxy at war.
TGL: Did you ever think about integrating a more conventional competitive multiplayer option into the package?
AF: When we were thinking about multiplayer, we were thinking about the story we had built of this galaxy at war and Shepard going against the Reapers in this final battle and this really naturally flowed into the mode we have which is 4-player online co-op. It seemed to fit the bill very well from the very beginning.
TGL: We can play as the different species for the first time. How important is it that you create new experiences and allow players to see Mass Effect from different perspectives?
AF: It is important. We really wanted to drawn upon the fiction and the universe we’ve created and give people new ways to play.
TGL: In what way does multiplayer compliment single player? Are there any incentives to player both modes and is there any kind of crossover?
AF: With the galaxy at war system underpinning both these modes, the idea is that things that happen in one campaign can affect the other and this is consistent either way. Single-player certainly affects and opens up options in multiplayer. We haven’t fully pinned it down yet and we still have to finalise what we’re going to ship with but we do want to see that flow that allows you to do things in the single-player that will affect the multiplayer.
TGL: What about DLC for multiplayer?
AF: Yes. We are going to do DLC for both single-player and multiplayer. We haven’t yet defined or committed to the specifics just yet but you can expect that for sure.
TGL: Is there an element of caution when approaching Mass Effect multiplayer especially given how the franchise is built on an established single-player experience? It might be intimidating for some players….
AF: We’ve heard a lot of feedback from people since we’ve announced multiplayer on what they expect and one thing I’m really happy with is that since we’ve made the announcement people have been universally excited with what we’re doing. We’ve committed to not sacrificing the single-player in any way. Multiplayer is optional and it’s just another way of experiencing the gameplay in a different setting and a different environment in a new way with your friends. Yes there is a pressure on us and I think were beating this.
Mass Effect 3 launches in Ireland on Playstation 3, Xbox 360 (With Kinect Support) and PC this March 9th 2012