The Mass Effect 3 multiplayer is the hidden gem of the community. Being able to experience combat as an Asari, a Drell, a Turian, and more was thrilling and the mode quickly developed a very dedicated player base despite initial concerns. So why didn’t BioWare bring it back for the Mass Effect Legendary Edition? We sat down with the team to find out why this addition was deemed “too complicated” during the remaster’s development period.
When speaking with Kevin Meek, environment and character director, and project director Mac Walters, the topic of multiplayer came up and why the studio decided to nix its inclusion. When speaking with , he compared multiplayer to restoring a Porsche, and the analogy actually worked.
“I had all of these analogies early on to try to help people understand what this remaster is going to be about,” he said. “It’s one thing to take a 1982 Porsche that needs to be fully restored, but now I want you to imagine that it was actually buried in concrete. So you’ve got to chip away at all of that, and every time you go to try something it’s like ‘is this even going to work?’ Do I blow the engine turnover? You know, it’s just a lot of work. And I think people underestimate what it’s like to do this game, because – at every step – you are given an agonizing choice of ‘is this the thing that we want to spend our time on and really try to improve it’ and ‘where will this lead us down the road?'”
He added, “I feel strongly that we’ve chosen the things that are what the majority of our fans were most passionate about. On the topic of multiplayer, it was just really hard. Getting all of the online systems working and functionality would have been another large chunk to do but at the same time, there are a lot of other logistics involved. The economy is built completely differently. Then questions came up like, “Do we support it post-launch? What about people who are still playing multiplayer today? Do we try to find a way to somehow do crossplay between the PS3 and PS4?”
With the work that would have been put into those logistics, the bulk of the project would have suffered, time-wise, and ultimately it was decided that multiplayer was not the road bump this remaster needed, especially since the studio has been wanting to do this for a long time now.
Considering the mass majority of players are interested due to playing as Commander Shepard once more and their single-player experience, the decision to ax multiplayer was one done in consideration of development time. While I enjoyed the ME3 multiplayer experience immensely myself, the player base pales in comparison to those that loved the base story.
What do you think? Do you think it was a mistake to leave multiplayer out of the Mass Effect Legendary Edition, or did they make the right call? Sound off with your thoughts in the comment section below!