Co-op effect

Mass Effect 3

So it’s finally official, Mass Effect 3 is to include a multiplayer mode. When the news first broke yesterday, no one quite knew what the details of this mode and naturally the fears of a compromised single player campaign floated to the top of the internet. After all, it has been said that ME3 will be the most accessible for newcomers or a wider gaming audience and tacking on a multiplayer mode would certainly help this. But before things got out of hand, BioWare forum aficionado Chris Priestly posted on the official site that the multiplayer component will actually be a co-operative mode, mostly separate from the campaign. I say mostly because, as Priestly stresses, the new addition is designed to compliment the campaign not withhold content to solo only players. The better you do in co-op, the higher Commander Shepard’s ‘galactic readiness’ stats go up but you can just as easily do this on your own in the campaign.

Good news then. If you want Mass Effect 3 to be a one player only game then you can have just that. And the development hasn’t been affected either. A new studio was formed in Montreal to take care of all things multiplayer while the folks at Edmonton got on with the main game. Remember that infamous job posting from June last year? This is the result.

The co-op mode will allow up to four players to, well, all that’s been said so far is fight in what’s being called the Galaxy at War System, influencing Shepard’s stats as they do so. Sounds like it could very well be a horde equivalent which would fit within the concept of Mass Effect. And if it is to be as minimally intrusive to single player as BioWare promises, a horde mode that doesn’t necessarily need much narrative feels right. What the co-op will also do is introduce a brand new set of characters to develop because Shepard is exclusive to the campaign and his story ends with Mass Effect 3. But the franchise will not. Bringing in new characters that players can directly interact with is a great way of bridging future Shepard-less titles. And why no deathmatch or usual multiplayer modes? Because that would be stupid.

More details will be coming soon but at least the will they won’t they saga of Mass Effect‘s multiplayer has come to an end that shouldn’t be offensive to anyone. Well, here’s hoping.

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Not so little ad campaign

Media Molecule’s craft-em-up treat, LittleBigPlanet 2 is currently on top of the UK charts and Sony intend to keep it that way with a huge marketing campaign reports MCV. Running for two weeks, channel Five and its subsidiaries will continue showing ads for the game with a two month sponsorship deal alongside. This is certainly a different approach from the first game. Not only were the ads fairly confusing to consumers but they started well after LittleBigPlanet came out. Having some guy explain a level he created in quite a random fashion did little to explain the brilliance of LBP, leaving out a robust single player mode. The new ads are not only better constructed but began before LittleBigPlanet 2 was released, while the hype remained high and plentiful.

Add to this a LittleBigPlanet online hub that Sony are launching giving every level its own web page and allowing users to queue up worlds for download. Every level gets its own page? Damn, that’s a lot of pages considering there’s about 3 million or so! The European PlayStation Blog and YouTube will host upcoming competitions, making sure LittleBigPlanet 2 stays in the limelight virally and competitively. Sony’s Marlene Fitzsimmons said LittleBigPlanet was and continues to be a massive success with the community consuming paid-for and free downloadable content. We anticipate the sequel to build on this past success and be bigger than ever.” With a superior marketing strategy, advanced level creation and improved story mode, I’m betting it will be.