Rumors! Tweets! Foreign Websites! People quoting non-developers! This is how internet news works these days folks. For months now there have been rumors of a possible Mass Effect 3: multiplayer component. I would go out on limb and say that most die-hard Mass Effect fans don’t really feel that a multiplayer component is necessary; and that’s putting it very nicely. Here are some of the rumors I’ve come across in the past few days that are starting to lead me to believe that these rumors may in fact be true…*maybe*
X-Box 360 World Cover – The October cover of this European magazine boasts “new levels (does ME even have levels?) and multiplayer“. While this magazine may simply be an elaborate internet hoax, I have to say that it looks fairly legitimate. Click HERE to see the full cover.
The Gamescom Rumor – Also floating around the net for the past few days is the rumor that Mass Effect 3: Multiplayer will be revealed at Gamescom in Europe at the end of August and would be playable at other European conventions beginning in September. In the past 24 hours I’ve read this Gamescom rumor no less then 10 times.
Middle Eastern Gamers List – Middle Eastern Gamers posted a long list of features gathered from a “secret source“. I don’t really feel as though this list is factual or accurate, but if you’re hungry for some information on the multi-player drop by their site and check it out. . HERE
Multiplayer and Money – We all agree that video games are art, but get this… they’re also created to make money. Publishers need their games to sell well because they cost a whole lot to produce. As video game fans we hate to see our favorite games change to become more financially viable. While accessibility is a big issue for publishers, its a word that gamers are starting to really hate. We don’t really care if new players jump on the bandwagon because we’re already there. Mass Effect is not a cheap franchise to produce; from what I hear its budget rivals that of a major Hollywood action film. In order for the franchise to continue beyond the current trilogy, Mass Effect 3 has to sell incredibly well (and beyond its core audience). Injecting Multiplayer into Mass Effect is the most surefire way to boost sales beyond the core. Why? Multiplayer gaming has the capacity to extend the life of a game beyond the single player campaign if not indefinitely. Like it our not, multi-player does help sell copies; just look at Dead Space 2 which sold more than twice as many copies as the original Dead-Space (source Destructiod). The video game industry is in fact an industry.
So there you have it, some rumors and some rambling. For the record I don’t really want multiplayer in my Mass Effect, but I sure as heck will play it.
Problem is multiplayer is a double-edged sword, not to mention the fact that there is an ARTIFICIAL TIME LIMIT involved. For example, I was wary of Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter 2 because I’m not sure if the campaign alone is worth $60, not to mention I’m not a hardcore multiplayer person. I bought GRAW 2 at $20, and just by checking X-Box Live, the game is deader than Elvis, leaving me with only a 5-hour campaign. Good call I made since I only spent $20. I’m also a veteran of an MMORPG (Matrix Online) and the other problem associated with multiplayer-only games is if the hosting company decides to shut down the servers, you’re looking at a $50-$60 paperweight. Not sure how many people are able to play SOCOM: Confrontation online NOW for example?
I bought Tom Clancy’s EndWar at launch at the price of $60, and only played online on the weekends. Sad part is, the game started dying out by December 2008 due to a countless number of factors (i.e. unit killing/not many people available for getting the “number of required victories for the day,” etc.). Unless the game happens to be titled Gears of War, Halo, or Call of Duty, any game that tries to shoe-horn in multiplayer on a game that is primarily single-player is known to be either piss-poor or outright mediocre. Seriously, how many people actually bothered with BioShock 2’s multiplayer, or better yet, Dead Space 2’s multiplayer? How many people are actually playing them NOW? F.E.A.R. 3? Died two months after release.
I’ve seen this happen with Resident Evil 5 up to the point that co-op is MANDATORY if you want to have a less-frustrating experience on the harder difficulties (i.e. Playing Professional solo is guaranteed to give you more heart-attacks than the entire U.S. population.). I’ve seen the same thing with the entire Gears of War series where I had to use my friends as crutches just to avoid getting bored or frustrated with the more difficult firefights capitalized by my squadmates being idiots. I even avoided Lost Planet 2 like the plague just because of a certain 20-minute boss-battle involving having to load a vehicle’s cannon.