Does Mass Effect 3 Really Need Multiplayer?


The decision to add multiplayer to a popular singleplayer title is also driven by competition. Say you walk into a store with $60 bucks in your hand. You’re deciding between two games, both of which look really cool — so equally cool, in fact, that you’re having trouble deciding. You flip the boxes over and look at the descriptions — Game X is a pure singleplayer game; Game Y has a robust singleplayer campaign, but also the additional promise of hours of multiplayer competition. All other things being equal, the decision suddenly becomes easy.

Every game publisher dreams of publishing Game Y, and dreads publishing Game X. In recent years, this had led to a frenzy of copy-cat design, as games attempt to cancel out their competitors by offering an identical suite of features, plus that one extra enticement that’s the key to raking in another sixty bucks.

Competition is far from the only financial concern. Even more importantly, it’s worth remembering that game publishers are essentially conservative. As games become more and more sophisticated, they become more and more expensive to make. Because the corporations that fund game production are taking a huge financial risk, it’s in their interest to take as many steps as possible to guarantee a return on their investment.

Backing a game with unfamiliar mechanics, original source material, and visionary design is a gamble. In practice, the best way to make your money back is simple: give gamers what you already know they like. Better to fund projects that resemble other past successes, products that consumers will immediately recognize and understand. Even if these cookie-cutter titles don’t make a profit, it’s easy to retroactively explain the decision to a group of angry investors: “People loved God of War! How were we supposed to know they wouldn’t love Dante’s Inferno also!” For another example of this phenomenon, check out every action movie Hollywood has churned out in the last ten years.

So what does this have to do with multiplayer? While you’re busy poring over Michael Bay’s explosive back catalog, take a look at the most popular, blue-chip, best-selling video game franchises of the last decade or so. World of Warcraft. Call of Duty. Halo. Gears of War. Even Wii Sports. What do they have in common? An emphasis on multiplayer gameplay. Singleplayer games are saddled with multiplayer modes for one simple reason: multiplayer games, in general, make an unbelievably huge amount of money. Publishing, though it might be cynical to say, is the business of giving people what they want, and the numbers don’t lie: gamers want multiplayer. Until they stop paying for it, game publishers are going to continue to give it to them, regardless of how many die-hard Mass Effect fans they alienate in the process.

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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.