Whisper It: Mass Effect 3 Multiplayer “Co-Op”

By Jim Rossignol on June 16th, 2011 at 4:11 pm.

Waiting for player 4? Me too. The twat.
The rumours are strong. That is like a strong smell, only on the level of ideas. Does that makes sense? No. But still our chums Eurogamer report: “Mass Effect 3 is strongly rumoured to feature a four-player co-op mode. Eurogamer understands this four-player, online-enabled co-op mode is “standalone” and features “competitive elements”.”

This co-op portion of the game is “said” not comprise a portion of “the” single-player campaign, and will be its own thing. But who is doing the rumouring? And why are they rumouring so hard? Is it because they are compensating for something? Eh? Stay tuned for more overheard fragments of data as they happen, Internet fans!

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96 Comments »

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  1. abremms says:

    I am skeptical. I guess it would be alright if its done well, but somehow I doubt it can be done well without comprimising the single player portion in the realatively short time they’ve been working on ME3.

    PS. i had also heard that John Walker secretly eats feathers in the bathroom. isn’t that wierd?

    • Springy says:

      Mass Effect came out in November 2007, the sequel in January 2010. That’s roughly two years, two months. The time between 2 and 3 will be the same, give or take a week or two (assuming it doesn’t slip again).

      Not that that really means anything, but ME2 didn’t feel rushed to me.

    • RP says:

      As long as it’s a totally separate thing it might be OK. People can fight each other on ME maps all they want and I can play the single player campaign all I want and we’ll all be happy!

    • abremms says:

      @Springy – Right, its the same amount of time. that’s kinda what worries me. that would obviously be enough time for another great single player game, but is it enough time for a great single player game AND a great co-op game?

      we shall see.

    • Zelius says:

      @abremms,

      I’ll still be happy if we get a great single player campain, alongside a not-so-great co-op campaign.

    • OddsAgainst says:

      Valve managed Portal 2 in roughly 2.5 years. If they can do it, almost anyone can… oh how much I wish that statement was true. If Bioware has become adept at their engine and can manage to pull together both would be incredible. As the saying goes, if Gabe Newell can do it 2 (adjust for valvetime), everyone else can do half as well.

  2. Monkey says:

    Rumoured to be awesome

    • McDan says:

      Damn right, the coop could be fun, as playing it on your own is fun as well. They’d probably have to do something strange with the conversation system though. Unless it’s all combat.

  3. thegooseking says:

    I know they’ve promised enemy AI improvements, but while that’ll be great for the SP game if it lives up to that promise, I’m not sure I can see those improvements being on the scale of making co-op interesting.

    Then again, is enemy AI ever really good enough to make co-op interesting?

  4. Jumwa says:

    Strange thought, but I’m always in favour of co-op. But I still need to, y’know, get into the first Mass Effect. I keep getting bored and going to play something else after a while.

  5. Kaira- says:

    What? John Walker eats feathers in bathroom? I KNEW IT.

    • fiddlesticks says:

      Robin Walker controls the weather from the staff room? Somehow I’m not surprised.

    • westyfield says:

      Johnnie Walker embezzled money from Gaddafi? The whisky-swilling dog!

    • Magnetude says:

      John Walker beats mothers under a half moon? I should tell twitter immediately

    • Premium User Badge

      Daiv says:

      John Walker wears leather in the bathroom? Eh?

  6. Teddy Leach says:

    “I” like “rumours” and “inferences”.

  7. weego says:

    I guess I could be the first one to go for the elephant in the room and say something like “Maybe it’ll be DLC”

  8. Premium User Badge

    Zephro says:

    Who gets to control the dialogue? Or is it co-op of just the shooting elements? No offence but Mass Effect with just shooting isn’t appealing.

    • 4026 says:

      The shooting is co-op, but the dialogue is competitive. Each player much race down the dialogue tree to seduce the hot alien first.

    • Premium User Badge

      Zephro says:

      Co-op “romance” scenes!

    • westyfield says:

      There should be a renagade interrupt that when activated, the character puts their hand up to stop the conversation, raises one eyebrow, then simply says:
      “Threesome?”

    • Ross Angus says:

      I likes me the sound of that trash-talk: “I’m going to romance you so hard…”

    • golden_worm says:

      Edit: totally balls’d up my to hit with this reply.

    • Premium User Badge

      hexapodium says:

      Actually, it’d be interesting to have a closest-score-without-going-over mechanic for conversations: so everyone gets a random +/- 20 score, which is then added to their Paragon/Renegade score, and each option has a certain paragon/renegade-ness score as well. You pick your option, which is (hopefully) closest to the way you’re playing your character, and so does everyone else, then the person with the lowest difference between the target score and their “roll” wins. Like SWTOR, but with more incentive to roleplay rather than max out your Persuade stat if you want to dominate a conversation.

  9. Tei says:

    In principle… good. But this will turn the game more into a arcade, less like a rpg.

    • sassy says:

      Mass Effect isn’t an rpg, no matter what Bioware claim. It is a shooter with rpg elements.

      Adding co-op in theory should make it more of an RPG since it gives a real opportunity to create a character and roleplay with others to make a story. In practice the game will still be just a shooter.

    • phosgene says:

      Because everything that isn’t an RPG is an arcade game.

    • Pani says:

      I think it’s an RPG. I play the character how I want to and make the decisions to fit the character. Surely that’s the definition of a role playing game?

      What IS a role playing game then?

    • phosgene says:

      If it requires any skill other than ability selection and dice rolling, it is not an RPG.

    • woodsey says:

      I agree, its an RPG (there’s allowed to be more than one type). As for this addition, I don’t get it. I don’t remember anyone asking for it.

    • Milky1985 says:

      Its not an RPG , its a shooter with Dialog choices and a basic level select.

      If saying having dialog choices makes a game an RPG then that makes Monkey Island an RPG as well as Day Of The Tentacle (I think most people would say they are adventure games or point and click, not RPG)

      It has a turret section in ME 3 for gods sake, its kinda a giveaway!

    • Raiyan 1.0 says:

      RTS games are the ultimate RPGs.

      You can choose what direction your narrative goes in RPGs? RTS gamers create their own narratives in the battlefield.

    • thegooseking says:

      It’s a role-playing shooter, which is a subgenre of action RPG, which is a subgenre of RPG.

      Therefore it is an RPG.

      Anyone who says otherwise is being a stubborn ass or a purist fool. Or, more likely, both.

    • theleif says:

      I’ve been playing PNPRPG:s since -85, CRPG:s since -88 and LARP since -93 and I say ME2 is an RPG.
      That makes you wrong and me old. I’m at least very sure it makes me old
      But I’ll agree to call ME2 a story teller action game, if you agree to call D&D a tactical skirmish system with RPG elements.

    • Vinraith says:

      This conversation always misses the fundamental point, which is that ME2 may be an RPG but it’s a terrible one judged by the standards of RPG’s. The RPG mechanics are the weakest parts of the game, from the minimalist skill system to the near total lack of weapon options to the god-awful mineral scanning. As a shooter with dialogue it’s a pretty great game, as an RPG it’s a shallow mess.

    • Chris D says:

      I don’t know, I think it depends on how we’re measuring RPG’ness. If it’s purely on mechanics then I’ll grant Vinraith’s point, but if we’re measuring creating a believable universe that you want to spend time in and explore, characters you want to spend time with and a plot you want to explore then I don’t thin k many games have done that better.

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      Zephro says:

      Defining RPG purely as mechanics for levelling etc. Is a seriously wonky way of viewing the genre. Would be a pretty odd way of doing things with Pen and Paper RPGs.

      ME2 is an RPG just one with a particular kind of mechanics.

    • Vinraith says:

      Computer game genres are defined by mechanics, RPG is no exception. Any other definition (something like “creating a believable world”) encompasses a wide variety of games that are clearly not RPG’s, rendering the genre label useless.

    • Raiyan 1.0 says:

      @Vinraith: So basically, the people who claim Mass Effect is not an RPG are actually the biggest fans of the franchise, who would rather call it a good shooter than a terrible RPG? :)

      Oh wait, seeing sassy’s reply to jti, I actually might be onto something…

    • Vinraith says:

      @Raiyan

      On the contrary, people that think it’s a good RPG are clearly its biggest fans, as they’re the only ones I can think of who are including the mineral scanning amongst its good qualities. ;)

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      Zephro says:

      If games are purely by mechanics then how come Company of Heroes is an RTS and Sid Meier’s Gettysburg is a Wargame? Or is it an RTS Wargame, or is one the sub genre of the other?

      Or maybe genre definitions are a bit more nuanced than that.

    • Chris D says:

      If we’re defining genre’s purely by mechanics then I’d argue RPG is already useless, given it covers Torchlight, Disciples, Fallout, Final Fantasy, WOW, Wizardry, Dragon Age… I could go on but you get the point.

      We can either seize on one definition and decry all others as pretenders to the name, or we can just accept that RPG is a catch-all term which means whatever your pointing to at the time, much like Sci-Fi does.

    • Tei says:

      I have learned to avoid definition discussions, because reality is not based on definitions, definitions are based on reality. So your definition can be right, but reality can disagree, that make you a fool.
      What I was tryiing to say is that I fear the multiplayerification of Mass Effect may result in less Role Play elements removed in favor of pew pew pew pew. Maybe I sould have said that I fear the diablotification of Mass Effect.

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      Zephro says:

      Well I’d say most genre definitions in most mediums are just simple catch alls to try and communicate meaning to the other party, so are vague, imprecise, context dependent. What they are not is a reductive categorisation system.

      Sort of like when someone says they like “Grunge”.

    • TillEulenspiegel says:

      If I say “RPG elements”, what do you think of?

      Character development, yes? Like in GTA:SA. A focus on character abilities over the player’s abilities. There you go.

      It’s very very simple and not at all fuzzy.

    • Vinraith says:

      We can either seize on one definition and decry all others as pretenders to the name, or we can just accept that RPG is a catch-all term which means whatever your pointing to at the time

      If the term is meaningless, they why are you here arguing over its meaning?

    • Chris D says:

      Vinraith

      I didn’t say it was meaningless. I said to define it purely mechanically isn’t particularly useful and that it covers a broad spectrum not a narrow one.

      I’m here because:

      1) Tei’s point was valid and doesn’t deserve to be deflected by “Mass Effect isn’t an RPG”
      2) “RPG is a broad term but still a useful one” is a point I thought was worth making.
      3) Arguments can be fun

    • golden_worm says:

      The official RPS definition is “Guns & Conversation” game.
      To quote the source:
      “Jom: There are times where traditional points of reference break down and clever men are forced to invent clever descriptions to decide what is going on. This is happening to the shooter and RPG genres. Neither is really relevant to Mass Effect 2 in their traditional form, and yet this game is still made up from elements of both of them. This realisation caused us to propose a new genre: Guns & Conversation. G&C! – you can see it catching on? Right? Oh. Well, we are not clever men. But anyway, if you are playing this kind of game there’s going to be some shooting, and there’s going to be some talking. And that’s about it. There might be a bit of time in menu screens, but most of the stat and inventory tinkering is gone. I’m okay with that, I think. The Guns & Conversation genre has been too long coming, frankly. Now that it’s here, it’s good to see Bioware leading the way in melding both hiding behind waist-high scenery and saying either nice or nasty things to people with heads made of plastic into a single game.”
      http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2010/12/23/the-games-of-christmas-%E2%80%9910-day-23/

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    HermitUK says:

    Sounds like something separate from the main game. Co-op missions with some sort of story running through them, L4D style, could be interesting. Though they’d need some way of making the conversation side work in a multiplayer environment. Without that, it’s just a “Guns and” game, and ME’s combat isn’t strong enough to hold up the experience on its own.

  11. ShadowBlade says:

    Co-op? Might play and enjoy it then :)

  12. Bornemannen says:

    Am I the only one going WTF here?

  13. Splynter says:

    I’m a huge fan of co-op in general, but to me this just seems like ticking a box on the modern gaming features checklist.

    • jealouspirate says:

      Agreed. Seems like every high profile single player game these days feels like need to tack on some kind of multiplayer, and I don’t see how co-op would enhance the Mass Effect experience at all.

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    Anthile says:

    I guess this is the point where someone has to point out that even the very first Baldur’s Gate had coop multiplayer. So I did.

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      Zephro says:

      Did you ever play it? It wasn’t really as good because only 1 person got to control the dialogue then skipped it all and you missed all the fun NPCs like Minsc.

      Icewind Dale/Neverwinter Nights worked much better because they were more shells for tactical team combat experiences.

    • Zenicetus says:

      I played Baldur’s Gate as LAN co-op with my wife. It was a blast. It was a long time ago, so I’m not sure I’m remembering this right, but I don’t think we missed any NPC interactions. The two players just divided up control of the NPC party members. And yes, the person on the host computer did control all the dialogue, but with two computers in the same room, it wasn’t hard to discuss the situation before making a dialogue choice.

      I have zero interest in co-op for Mass Effect though.. Wrong game for it;, especially if it’s just a combat-heavy side mission unconnected to the main game. The combat just isn’t that tactical or challenging.

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      Zephro says:

      Ah we played it 4 or 5 player back in the day. So we sucked up all the NPC slots with our custom characters if I remember that right.

      Though it was fun to play with the more eccentric class packages. We had a Kensai, Wild Magic Wizard, some specialist monk, Shapeshifter Druid etc.

    • JFS says:

      Baldur’s Gate with all-selfmade characters was very fun. Although you did miss out on Minsc, I’ll admit that.

    • Zenicetus says:

      @JKjoker: Yeah, I remember a few broken bits, but we still made it through the first game and sequels. Also Icewind Dale, which was simpler and therefore smoother. Co-op play in Neverwinter Nights wasn’t bad, either.

      This was back in the dim dark pre-online-gaming days when it was amazing that LAN co-op or PvP worked at all. When it did work in certain games, like playing co-op through System Shock 2 (which was fun), it felt more like a happy accident than deliberate programming.

    • Quirk says:

      Hah, I’m actually playing through BG1 multiplayer with my girlfriend right now.

      To clear up a few inaccuracies in posts above:
      Whoever speaks to an NPC or gets spoken to controls the dialogue.
      NPC control is divided up among the players – my girlfriend has her character, Branwen and Kivan at present, I have my character and Imoen.
      Character development works exactly as you’d expect. You level up your own NPCs.
      Inventory stuff all works just fine provided the host sets everyone to have leadership permissions. Without them, you can only see stuff on the NPCs you control.

      Haven’t tried moving map with the non-host player so far.

      In short, it works really well with one minor glitch – charmed/summoned creatures default to the host’s control, not the control of the player controlling the charmer or summoner. Also, getting the PCs to see one another can be tricky, I use LogMeIn Hamachi to make the networking a bit more reliable.

      Perhaps at some historic unpatched point it was flakier, but BG1 multiplayer is very solid and works well, and none of the complaints made of it above are true. I would recommend it still as a LAN game.

    • Zenicetus says:

      moving on to different maps was also a constant headache because there was always someone that wanted to keep exploring and someone that wanted to just get on with it

      That’s a criticism of the group you were playing with, not a problem with the game mechanics. When I played all those old Bioware games in co-op with my wife, we didn’t have those problems.

      Okay… well… she was always running off and opening chests, which got us into constant trouble in MP. But she was a Rogue, after all.

  15. westyfield says:

    Maybe they’re doing the conversation as a test run for The Old Republic, to see how well the system for deciding what gets said works.

  16. jti says:

    Mass Effect 3 will be a shooter like the hugely succesfull Call of Duty franchise. There will be cutscenes for the roleplaying fans, but the main focus will be in multiplayer experience and kicking some alien ass!

    • sassy says:

      I will not defend ME is an rpg because I think it is a blight on the name which will overall damage the genre. I will however defend ME on it not being able to be compare to Call of Duty, the only semblance of each other is that they both involve shooting people.

  17. CaspianRoach says:

    No. Just NO.

  18. chiroben says:

    ME34D! I love it!

  19. piderman says:

    Whyyyy? What’s wrong with single player games? Please just focus on that and make it double awesome instead of always tacking on coop.

  20. Raiyan 1.0 says:

    Local co-op for the PC?

    Of course not.

    *Sigh*

    Do we’ve have any news on any Split Second sequel?

  21. keith.lamothe says:

    This sounds like it’d be fun but I don’t know if it’d really change how I played. In ME2 there were two different experiences for me: “running around and talking to people in places where people weren’t shooting at me” and “zoomed in on my gun scope with the time-slowing adrenaline buff on”. In neither case did my other party members really factor in.

    But maybe that would change in a co-op mission.

  22. Premium User Badge

    mpk says:

    Something akin to ye olde AvP multiplayer mode where it’s the players versus swarms of bugs could work. I guess they’d have to remove the pause effect, or at least allow you to move the gorram camera while in the action menu.

  23. Alexander Norris says:

    That’s a bit daft.

    ME is fun, but not really because of the shooter bits – they were good enough in ME2 but nothing amazing. By contrast, playing ME with friends being able to drop-in co-op the squadmates would have been neat.

  24. Premium User Badge

    Big Murray says:

    So … co-op, and Kinect?

    Can’t they just focus on making a good single-player game, ffs?

    • Lilliput King says:

      Multiplayer and kinect has even more disturbing implications for the sex scenes.

  25. Doesntmeananything says:

    I suppose if it’s true, then it will be something like Mass Effect’s Pinnacle Station DLC, where you had to complete certain objectives on a given map, namely kill all the enemies or take hold of control points, but with other people this time. If so, don’t really see the point of that.

  26. Highstorm says:

    I miss the co-op of oldschool RPGs on the SNES where it wasn’t so much a touted “feature” as an option you could turn on if you wanted, ala FF6 or Secret of Mana. You know, assigning different controllers to different characters in the party. It had no bearing on the exploration or story bits, but in battle your friend could help out.

    An option like that in ME would be fun, but a completely separate 4-player shoot ‘em up? Why? Aren’t we all here for Commander Shepherd’s tale?

    • Splynter says:

      Secret of mana’s co-op implementation is one of my absolute favourites. That game was clearly designed with co-op in mind, as such having another player not only complemented but accentuated the already solid game mechanics. A co-op game should be a co-op game. A single player game should be a single player game.

  27. Turin Turambar says:

    What speculation? We already now about the 4 coop multiplayer. Two words:

    Horde mode.

  28. Robert says:

    Go ahead I’d say, I’m not interested in it. Games like these should be alone, immersed.

    PS: I heard J.W. likes feathers.

  29. bwion says:

    I hope there’s co-op mineral scanning!

  30. Kdansky says:

    The screenshot on top makes me sick! Why can’t we see the sexy asses?!

  31. schnydz says:

    I would like to see them finish off the series with ME3 “single player campaign” then produce a MMO after.

  32. bluebottle says:

    I dunno. This is a Bioware game here, so with the inevitable romance I can see playing this with friends going down some awkward roads.

    Like that stag do we don’t talk about.

  33. Branthog says:

    Who are all these people playing co-op games? Are they school children? I just have to ask, because I don’t know anyone, as an adult, who sits around playing co-op games. Even in the rare case that the few friends you know who play videogames have the same platform and interest in the same genre of games, they’re unlikely to be available at and for the same times that everyone else is, because — you know — work, relationships, family, and other bullshit. When I see “co-op” advertised for a game, it just says to me “game content you’ll pay for but never use”.

    • Lilliput King says:

      WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE PLAYING BOARD GAMES AND SPORTS

      ARE THEY CHILDREN

  34. empty_other says:

    By Co-Op i hope they doesnt mean “Co-Op” survival?

  35. laddyman says:

    Why in the name of Cthulu’s tentaclebeard are they putting multiplayer in a series intended for singleplayer only? The combat is fun, sure, but not THAT fun. I doubt it will work if at all in a multiplayer setting.

  36. jameskond says:

    Horde mode.

  37. rozpocet1 says:

    Why can’t I play alone? Play alone in my dark room? Totally separated from everyone? Secretly at the dead of night?
    Why don’t they get, that playing games is like reading books for me? And reading together with others at the same time SUCKS!

    • Splynter says:

      Co-op reading is going to be huge once e-readers get their own social networks.

    • Mana_Garmr says:

      It’ll be like reading script reading. One person will be the narrator, reading all the descriptive stuff, and everyone else will be assigned a character or two to read aloud.

      Even if everyone is in different buildings you have to read your section audibly.

  38. Hoaxfish says:

    Multiplayer Wrex Sheparding

  39. Shodex says:

    When I romance a character, I don’t have to share, do I?

  40. FunkyBadger3 says:

    PLEASE CHRIST, NOT THIS CONVERSATION AGAIN!

  41. poop says:

    LETS GET CYNICAL MOTHERFUCKERRRR

  42. Stick says:

    PSA:

    There’s a rather thorough and very useful thread on the official forums titled ME3: Known Features.

    Carry on.