Bioware released a few more tidbits of information on the multiplayer experience for its space-themed role-playing game, Mass Effect 3. The new info comes to us via an interview with the game's producer, Jesse Houston, posted on the Bioware blog.
Mass Effect 3 will be the first game in the series to receive multiplayer. In the story, the mechanized menaces known as The Reapers have finally come to invade this side of the universe. The protagonist, Shepard, must rally the factions of the galaxy to prepare a defense. A major aspect of the game is the Galactic Readiness level in the Galaxy at War system. In the single-player campaign, players will be building their Galactic Readiness levels to prepare for the final battle, and gamers can contribute to this in the multiplayer. So players will not be forced to play multiplayer, it is just another way to up their readiness stats.
The multiplayer game will be a series of four player co-op missions. Unfortunately, Houston said there will be no split-screen available for the game. Players will be able to contribute to their Galactic Readiness levels by completing the various missions presented in the multiplayer. These missions are more like side quests and will not have any direct bearing on the single-player campaign other than affecting the readiness level. That also means that Commander Shepard will not be included in the co-op missions.
The multiplayer works similar to the single-player game, retaining many RPG elements. Players can keep the same character from mission to mission and level them up by completing objectives. They can also be different classes such as the Soldier, Engineer or Adept. Players can outfit their characters with armor and weapons similar to the single-player game, but it will be much more customizable. Players also keep a number of different characters to play through the multiplayer game, but must level them individually.
Gamers will be able to choose a number of characters to be in the multiplayer among the different races in the game. Some of the races players can be are the hulking lizard-like Krogans, the reptilian Drell or the mono-gender race of the Asari. Houston said Bioware will also be releasing more races as downloadable content.
The interview doesn't provide too many insights we didn't already know. It does include a few technical details. You will be able to talk to your teammates via voice chat, and there will be a matchmaking system, though Bioware encourages gamers to play with friends. Also there will be no friendly-fire option initially, but may be added later. The multiplayer will also come on the same disc as the single-player game, which some games have starting to break up.
We'll just have to wait for other multiplayer details as the game's March 6, 2012 release date nears.