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Mass Effect 3 PC requires initial internet check; no local co-op on all platforms

While an initial Online Pass Code is required to access Mass Effect 3’s “Galaxy at War” content, the PC version will require an initial internet-based verification before you can get to Sheperding all across the galaxy, a Bioware interview with producer Jesse Houston reveals. Relax, though — it’s not going to require a continuous internet connection like some of Ubisoft’s PC titles. It’ll be just a one-time thing, which, now that we think about it, were probably Sovereign’s exact words to Saren.

But we digress. The other big chunk of news to come out of this Q&A is a lack of local co-op support at the game’s launch. Houston doesn’t rule it out as a future addition to the game and says “it is definitely on the table as something we might add.” Finally, Houston explained that the new Kinect functionality demoed at E3 won’t be included in the multiplayer, assumedly because it’d be the noisiest thing ever.



Mass Effect 3 Private Beta live now for some Xbox Live users (Update: more pictures, more users)

According to a tipster, some Xbox Live users who received access to the Dashboard Preview Program today had another surprise waiting for them: early access to the Mass Effect 3 Beta. We haven’t gotten official confirmation from EA yet, so we can’t confirm with one hundred percent certainty whether or not this is really-real. The picture is, um, pretty convincing, though.

EA announced the Mass Effect 3 Beta/demo a short time ago, specifying that it would eventually be open to all, but available early to purchasers of Battlefield 3. We guess it didn’t mean available earlier-est.

Update: Well, that didn’t take long. Lightning fast posters over at NeoGAF have downloaded the client and have started posting pictures.

Posters also spotted these game options for the singleplayer campaign section of the beta:

“Action Mode: For those who want to emphasize action and combat and minimize story management. Action mode will set automatic replies in conversation and a normal difficulty.
Story Mode: For those who want to emphasize story immersion and minimize combat pressure. Story mode will set manually-selectable replies in conversation and a minimal combat difficulty.
RPG Mode: For those who want to explore both realms of story and combat. RPG mode will set manually-selectable replies in conversation and a normal combat difficulty.”

It’s worth mentioning that users are reporting broken animation, missing textures, and no sound in the beta, which clearly indicates that this was not meant for public consumption. We expect that it’ll be taken down shortly. Also, oops.

(All images courtesy of NeoGAF posters Wario64 and Timan.)


Mass Effect 3 New Single Player Details

BioWare has released a lot of details for Mass Effect 3 Single-Player. During a video with Scyllo Costo, development director of Mass Effect 3.


More Mass Effect 3 Multiplayer Details

When BioWare first confirmed that Mass Effect 3 was going to feature a multiplayer/co-op component, the news was met with some trepidation and skepticism by loyal fans, and with good cause. Mass Effect, over the course of two entries, has always been a single player only RPG/action game.

Speculation and accusations ran rampant for the genesis of the inclusion, from larger, mass appeal to the conspiracy theorists who insist Electronic Arts is solely behind the inclusion so as to push their controversial online pass system. Whatever the case may be, a co-op multiplayer function will exist in Mass Effect 3, regardless of how much weeping and gnashing of teeth is present in the gaming community over the decision.

Now that everyone has at least accepted that it exists, let’s dive into the details of how Mass Effect 3 multiplayer will work, what it will include, and what gamers should expect.

First, the multiplayer system in Mass Effect 3 is a co-operative, four player survival mode that is similar to Gears of War’s Horde or Halo’s Firefight. The player controls an elite special force comprised of races from all over the Mass Effect galaxy – Human, Asari, Krogan, Turian, Drell, and Salarian. The maps available to play represent locations that are also pivotal to Shepard’s war effort. Players visit the location in the single player campaign before ultimately handing the job over to the Special Forces.

BioWare producer Casey Hudson explains it further.

“It’s a way to see the same experience from different sides of the window. Shepard is out there making the important decisions. And from his perspective you can see these special forces guys, troops all over the galaxy fighting. Then in multiplayer you jump over to the other side of the window to be those people, and see Shepard having secured the location now leaving it to you. So it’s a different way of telling the story.”

The previously mentioned races will have 3 different “kits” which further define their chosen character. “Kits” are nothing more than character classes. For example, the human class allows the gamer to be a soldier (access to explosives), a vanguard biotic (spell caster who can pack a punch), or an engineer (tech powers). Turian and Salarians tend to favor the technology classes, with Salarians further favoring medics. The Asari and Drell are more closely tied to biotics, while Krogans are built to be tanks, charging into the fray with shotguns blazing and head-butting anything that gets in the way.

Players can customize each characters’ armor, and easily change between every race and kit, leveling up each separately. The setup encourages experimentation, as there is a relatively low level cap of 20. In addition to armor, players can customize their weapons as well, adding even further depth.

Teamwork is important to the end goal. The classes are distinct enough that a smart combination of different abilities will greatly improve one’s chances. Each character has special traits that make them better suited for specific tasks, and working together will increase the chances of success. Going “Lone Wolf” instead of working with one’s squad is not recommended, as all players equally split the rewarded experience points, regardless of which player achieved more “kills.” There is a scoring system of sorts that tracks statistics so these vital elements can be saved, but it is important to note that the system is just for the sake of trophies at this point.

Each map contains two “super objectives” – holding the position and getting out in the evacuation. There are side objectives as well that increase the chances of success, such as hacking terminals, and it will require one of the players to split off and do it while everyone else covers said player. Teamwork, teamwork, teamwork.

The biggest question many gamers have is how will Mass Effect’s intrinsic narrative and context hold the player’s interest? Performance in multiplayer can impact the single player campaign, expediting the building of the war resources. Tying into the whole “Galaxy at War” concept – which demonstrates how ready Shepard and his crew are before the final battle – players gain resources that can be used in the campaign. Hudson has been adamant, however, that the multiplayer mode is completely optional and should players choose to ignore it, it will have no bearing on the single player campaign.

Time will be the ultimate deciding factor in how this will all shape up. As a gamer who tends to focus more on single player than multiplayer, I get anxious when my favorite games start introducing more and more multiplayer elements. But hey, I’m slow to change. Perhaps adding a co-operative multiplayer element to the Mass Effect franchise is a way to increase the shelf life even further on what is sure to be a smashing success of a game.


BioWare announces details of upcoming Mass Effect 3 demo

Buyers of next week’s Battlefield 3 have a sci-fi surprise in store, as first run copies of EA’s shooter juggernaut also include a code to access Mass Effect 3’s recently announced cooperative multiplayer mode. The demo will launch in January, though the actual date is yet to be determined.

For the non-cooperatively inclined, don’t fret — the demo will also include a section of the single-player campaign. Users in every region in which Battlefield 3 is available will have access to the multiplayer portion of the demo, provided they buy Battlefield, that is. It sounds like the single-player portion just might be free to all, regardless of your Battlefield status. You can find more information at the official BioWare forums.


Mass Effect 3 multiplayer trailer released

Mass Effect 3′s multiplayer was finally announced earlier this week, and yesterday Bioware took to their forums to explain it in detail. Today, they have released a trailer that reiterates most of that same information in the form of a video interview.

Speaking in the trailer on Bioware TV, Executive Producer Casey Hudson said: “We realised multiplayer could be a compliment to Commander Shepard’s very rich and engaging singe player story experience. You’ll be able to join your friends for four-player co-op missions where you’re really fighting for control of locations throughout the galaxy.”

He also said: “We’re now at the point where developers who have been working on it all week, all day, will stay until the wee hours of the morning playing multiplayer and that to us is the biggest testament to the fact its a tremendous amount of fun- it continues to be fun day after day, and we’re just really excited for players to get their hands on it.”

Check out the full trailer below:


Online pass confirmed for Mass Effect 3

Well, what a surprise. No sooner is it confirmed that online multiplayer has been shoehorned into Mass Effect 3 do we get the real reason for the mode’s existence … an online pass. Yep, a redeemable code will be included with every new copy of the game. You can set your watch by this shit.

As always, used consumers will need to buy a code from EA if they want to play the tacked-on co-op mode that was detailed this week. I am going to hazard a guess and say that used consumers won’t even be missing much this time around. Just a guess.

On a personal note, I was accused of trolling when I had the gall to suggest that Mass Effect 3 would cram in an online mode in order to justify an online pass. Well … look what happened. I think I’ll cash those “I was right” chips in immediately and use them to buy a boat.


BioWare reveals Mass Effect 3’s 4-player co-op, teases ‘Galaxy at War’ mode

BioWare has simultaneously put the speculation about Mass Effect 3’s multiplayer to rest … and given us another aspect to speculate about. The developer officially announced co-op on its forums, and posted a FAQ featuring all the Q’s it was ready to A.

The new 4-player co-op missions take place outside of the single-player game, and aren’t affected by your Mass Effect 1 or 2 saves. “Players can choose from a variety of classes and races, form an elite Special Forces squad, and combine their weapons, powers and abilities to devastating effect as they fight together to liberate key territories from enemy control.” The multiplayer does tie into your single-player game in unspecified ways, offering “an alternative method” of achieving success in the main storyline.

The co-op is one aspect of something called “Galaxy at War,” a rather mysterious, and optional, system that uses multiple factors (including multiplayer) to augment Shepard’s “Galactic Readiness” level. “Other platforms and interfaces will be announced in the coming months,” BioWare said, also noting that it will be possible to obtain the “optimal” ending without doing anything in the Galaxy at War mode.

Whatever it is, we’re Galactically Ready to find out more.


Mass Effect 3 Has Multiplayer, Says PC Gaming Magazine

Australian magazine PC Powerplay is showing off the cover for its next issue on the publication’s official site, and it says as clear as you can get that the game features multiplayer.

In big writing, cross the middle of the front page, it says:


Note this isn’t a scan, or a fan site. This image is posted directly on the website of the magazine itself.

If that’s not enough, the description of the mag reads:

That’s right – Mass Effect 3 is getting multiplayer! We travel to BioWare’s office in Edmonton for hands-on time with the series’ first foray into online gameplay, and chat with Mass Effect Series Producer and Mass Effect 3 Project Director Casey Hudson about the decision to go multiplayer in the epic battle for the galaxy.

Whether the third game in the series features multiplayer or not has been talked about for months now, the most recent occasion being just last week. As it appears almost certain the game does include the feature—most likely some kind of co-op gaming—it’s time to start moving on from questioning whether it has multiplayer and accepting what it will mean.

If it’s just co-op (as the headline suggests), and somebody else can jump into my game and run around shooting Geth as one of my party, that’s fine. They’ll do a better job than the AI normally does, and we’ll all have fun. But if there’s anything with the word “deathmatch” in it, I won’t be the only person making a frowny face.


New Max Payne 3 Screenshots

Check out a sampling of new screens from Max Payne 3, coming March 2012.

Look for some exclusive previews of the game to hit tomorrow online and expect lots and lots more to come…

Click on screenshots for a large version.


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