BioWare confirmed the much speculated inclusion of multiplayer mode in Mass Effect 3 last month, and the studio has now revealed in an interview with CVG that the multiplayer option was considered since the first game.
Creative director Casey Hudson revealed that the idea was considered with Mass Effect 1 but dropped as the team “ultimately felt that the mode would infringe upon the solo experience.”
Hudson spoke of how the direction that videogames are heading to a “more social, more online” experience and so BioWare have been trying to find a way ever since Mass Effect 1 to integrate some kind of multiplayer. “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,” says Hudson.
“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). 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 realized 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.”
Hudson says the multiplayer was revisited for Mass Effect 2 but was again dropped because of a lot of factors that would have “compromised the single-player story.”
With Mass Effect 3, the team was finally able to find a balance and the multiplayer would ultimately serve to compliment the single-player campaign.
“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,” Hudson said. “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.”