Not everyone was thrilled with the news that Mass Effect 3 will introduce a multiplayer component to the popular series, but developer BioWare says it has has been looking at implementing online play since the original game.
Speaking with Xbox World in a just-published interview, Mass Effect 3 creative director Casey Hudson said the team rejected various ideas about how multiplayer could work with the franchise before settling on Galaxy at War, which lets players group up to fight off waves of enemies and complete increasingly difficult objectives.
"To us it was always a fun, intriguing idea to partake in the Mass Effect universe with friends, to look around, kind of see it from inside with others rather than just taking part in this solo experience," he explained.
"In general, that's the direction that videogames are heading; they're more social, more online, and we've been trying to find a way ever since Mass Effect 1 to integrate some kind of multiplayer.
"In those early days we were trying to figure out what kind of a game it was going to be, and were thinking of ways that maybe the whole story experience might revolve around a co-op (structure)," Hudson said.
"That, instead of there being just one Commander Shepard, he's in fact kind of lots of different heroes that can jump in, meet each other and interact. And by embarking upon that route we realised there was just a lot of things we simply couldn't do, or had to compromise when ensuring the solo experience was as great as we wanted it to be, so we dropped that idea and proceeded to perfect single-player, to make it really solid."
"Then, with ME2 we revisited the idea, deliberating whether you could perhaps take control of one of the other characters for a while, but - again - there were a lot of factors that would have compromised the single-player story.
"So the difference really was that, with ME3, we adopted a fundamentally different approach to what the thing is about, which is that there is a whole intergalactic war going on, which wasn't the case in the previous entries... That provided us with a different idea; now in multiplayer you can play as that crew of special forces, journeying around and helping Shepard with the war effort."
Check out the full interview for more multiplayer details.