There’s little about Mass Effect 3’s optional multiplayer that suggests why BioWare and Electronic Arts have been so secretive about it. Cooperative mulitplayer is not exactly a new thing for video games.
In any case, Alex detailed much of what’s come to light in a piece yesterday, and EA has filled in some more details today.
Like Mass Effect 2, Mass Effect 3 will come with an Online Pass inside every new copy of the game. Anyone who picks up the game used will have to buy one--last time it was $10. Online Pass unlocks “Galaxy at War,” which includes the cooperative multiplayer and other features, such as access to downloadable content and news on the game post-release. There are “other components” to Galaxy at War as of yet unrevealed, but if EA’s past habits are any indication, it’ll include Facebook somehow.
The coop itself gives players a chance to choose between six races--Human, Krogan, Asari, Drell, Salarian, Turian--and are tasked “to protect resources and assets that can help the war effort against the Reapers.” It sounds like BioWare is aiming for a mode more objective-based than just a Horde variant.
It’s still unclear how your efforts in multiplayer tie back into the singleplayer campaign, but it’s been reported that participating won’t be a requirement to get the game’s best ending. Still, the press release says that it will “directly link back to the player’s main campaign.” Items, weapons? That’s my guess.
Mass Effect 3 was originally scheduled for a release this holiday but was pushed back until early next year. The fight against the Reapers ends on March 6.