Though confident Mass Effect 3's Galaxy at War multiplayer mode will find a following, BioWare isn't committing to multiplayer in all future Mass Effect titles just yet.
"It's a good question," hedged BioWare Edmonton's Aaryn Flynn at a recent EA showcase. "I'm not too sure about that." Consoling news, we're sure, if you're still all hot and bothered over the presence of Horde mode shenanigans in your favourite story-intensive RPG-shooter.
The new Mass Effect's online component (subject, like most EA games, to the Online Pass system) isn't just the obvious answer to the question "how the hell do we make our franchise feel fresh again, with two instalments in the wild?" It's also a storytelling crux, letting EA explore what's going on in the universe while Shepard's off saving it. According to Flynn, there are other things in store on that front.
"There's a lot more happening than just Commander Shepard going off to fight the Reapers - everyone else is fighting the Reapers too and all their minions," he explained. "So the idea is: what's going on there, what can we explore with that, what kind of gameplay can we have there? And multiplayer's just one way we're looking into that." Intriguing stuff.
"It's optional because we want people to play single player if their focus is just single player," Flynn added, toeing the BioWare party line. "But it's another way you can get some cool things happening in single player besides just playing lots of single player."
In other news,"I can't tell you whether the Krogan are dead or not." Awww. However, "we really want to make sure the third game is the best it can be, and if that means we have to deal with consequences to any future Mass Effect games, should they come to light - ah so be it, we'll live with that." Our interviewer translate-o-matic says this means you'll be able to really wreck things without scuppering Mass Effect 4's plot. So go ahead - kill off all the Krogan if you please.
"Some of the complexities that carry forward to Mass Effect 3 because of Mass Effect 1 and 2 are enormous, and the developers have worked hard on that," Flynn went on. "We really respect the choices people made, we really want them to do all that stuff, play different ways, and bring all that to Mass Effect 3, so yeah we'll solve it all, we'll work through it."
Here's CVG's interview with Flynn. What can you glean?