BioWare has finally come clean: Mass Effect 3 has an online multiplayer component. The long-rumored possibility was seemingly confirmed yesterday when the cover of PC PowerPlay magazine's upcoming issue dropped the news. BioWare confirms it, with a newly posted FAQ to help you sort through your confusion.
Multiplayer in Mass Effect 3 supports up to four players, serving up a series of missions that exist separately from the core game's story, which continues to be the developer's "priority and focus." In online play, teams will come together as "an elite Special Forces squad," with players getting their pick of character class and race.
The FAQ goes on to note that success in this co-op mode "will have a direct impact on the outcome of the single player campaign, giving players an alternative method of achieving ultimate victory against the greatest threat mankind – and the entire galaxy – has ever faced." It sounds like this ties into the new Galaxy at War mode, which offers "a new way for players to manage and experience the galactic war from multiple fronts."
Each single player game will have its own, global Galactic Readiness stat which indicates how prepared the galaxy is for the looming threat posed by the Reapers. Multiplayer is listed as just one of the ways that players can influence this stat, with BioWare promising news for content on "other platforms and interfaces" in the coming months.
Fans should also take note that BioWare isn't requiring players to embrace the full scope of Galaxy at War in order to find success in the main game. The system is described as "entirely optional," and it is "still possible to achieve the optimal, complete ending of the game in Mass Effect 3 through single-player alone."