Does Mass Effect 3 Really Need Multiplayer?


Unnecessary. Tacked on. Against the spirit of the game. When BioWare announced that Mass Effect 3 would have cooperative multiplayer, franchise fans didn’t soft-pedal their criticism. They saw their beloved space opera RPG joining a long line of successful games whose sequels were marred by obligatory, unwanted multiplayer modes. In vain, they second-guessed the developers, wondering why Mass Effect even needed multiplayer.

When asked about multiplayer in Skyrim, Bethesda marketing VP Peter Hines raised the crucial question: “If you’re doing multiplayer, why are you doing multiplayer? What are you trying to accomplish?” Most gamers would agree with Hines’ verdict: “If that’s a singleplayer game that’s 15 to 20 hours, then make that! Don’t waste your time on features that don’t make the game better.”

So why do game developers and publishers add multiplayer modes to successful singleplayer games? Their track record is, at best, mixed. Bioshock 2, in many ways the originator of the trend, is widely regarded as a failure, and its multiplayer was singled out for particular criticism. Assassin’s Creed, on the other hand, was widely praised for the unique gameplay provided in Brotherhood. Multiplayer in games such as Dead Space 2 falls somewhere in the mediocre middle.

The answer is three-fold. First of all, more than any other entertainment medium, video games are obsessed with the new. This drive towards innovation has enabled them to attain heights of cultural saturation and technological achievement that the first generation of game designers would have thought impossible. The rapid, geometric improvement of gaming hardware and software has kept developers hungry for the cutting edge, eager to provide their customers with the most impressive graphics and the most sophisticated AI. After all, that’s what made video games so popular in the first place, so why stop now? Game and game designers have made millions by finding creative ways to turn modern technology into entertainment, pressing ever forward, from eight bits to sixteen to sixty-four. It’s not something that they can just turn off like a tap.

Nothing is more modern than multiplayer. It has been transformed, in what seems like a few short years, from finicky LAN connections into a streamlined, user-friendly, automated experience. Xbox LIVE, PSN, Steam, Origin, MMORPG servers connecting millions of players — all ubiquitous. A game without online multiplayer, viewed in a certain way, is like a relic from a bygone age. If multiplayer gameplay is available and easy to implement, why not use it? If designers are looking for a way to make a game sequel seem new, fresh, and up-to-the-minute, what better way to achieve that goal than by groundbreaking new tech? Nothing exemplifies this phenomenon better than BioWare’s much-derided decision to add Kinect controls to Mass Effect 3.

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8 Comments on Does Mass Effect 3 Really Need Multiplayer?


On February 24, 2012 at 11:34 pm

I have to disagree with you on this. Multiplayer is not the bleeding edge “technology” is something pretty old that’s just being more widely implemented. It of course adds some good value to games when implemented correctly, but now days what you see is a lack of, lets say, focus. ME3 with MP was something i always wanted since i played the first one, cooperative playing, online and offline, but what we get a “Horde mode” something that don’t fit in, some mediocre co-op, here’s a lack of focus if you ask me.
Is pretty easy to see when you can add MP to a game, ME3 as co-op, something else is unnecessary for it.

That MP is a way for publisher to make money from games selling DLC stuff, that’s the real fad right now.


On February 25, 2012 at 11:40 am

I personally can’t wait to play Co-Op with some friends. :)


On February 25, 2012 at 12:32 pm

If it doesn’t detract from the single-player, and its not required to finish the story I couldn’t care less about it.


On February 25, 2012 at 3:33 pm

What Heru said.

Also MP is awesome and fun for this game, I’m enjoying the hell out of it.

Also don’t forget Bioware likes to experiment with stuff for future games, if MP is a hit then they work more on it with whatever game comes out next.

Same with ME1 and ME2, DA1 and DA2, Kotor and Kotor2 (too bad Obsidian got it’s hands on it though).


On February 27, 2012 at 4:10 am

Heru’s right: If adding multiplayer doesn’t diminish the time, effort and resources developers devote to the single-player campaign, then what’s harm?


On February 27, 2012 at 6:33 am

me 2 is gears of effect

fable 3 was more of a role play

aaron mason

On February 29, 2012 at 6:45 am

Multiplayer is only going to divert memory and resources away that could truly make this game an epic finish to one of the best role playing franchises to come out in quite a while. It is unneccesary. It is tacked on. why would anyone play it over Gears of War or Halo? No reason at all. It’s a complete waste. Talking about publishers trying to make their money back. Does anyone honestly think this game will not sell well? It’s gonna sell a ton! There is no reason at all for a multiplayer option in this game period.


On March 1, 2012 at 5:51 am

I think author of this article is wrong. Many game developers make mp in their singleplayer game to counter pirating game, selling to second hand.
Beacuse of that we have network pass, mp in single player games. Mp also make game live longer then if its only sp game. People who want pirate, buy used must think twice beacuse they be not able to try mp in their game. So bottom line is all going to make more money from game. And dont fool yourself about xbox,ps3 games are not be pirating beacuse only pc gamers pirating games. Sorry for my english, but is not my native language.