When the enhanced remake of the Mass Effect trilogy arrives, it won’t include multiplayer. According to longtime Mass Effect developer Mac Walters, the team would have had to put in an immense amount of effort to bring the feature to the Legendary Edition. “At some point we had to draw a line,” the project director said in a briefing about the game. “We’ve talked about doing the remaster for some time now, and at least at one point in time everything was on the table.”
BioWare introduced multiplayer to the final installment of the trilogy, Mass Effect 3. Although “these aren’t insurmountable challenges,” Walters said, they would have required focus on features outside of the single-player experience: how to incorporate crossplay or what to do with people who still play Mass Effect’s multiplayer today. “How do we honor that, how do we bring them in, can we somehow bridge that gap,” he said.
When the game launched in 2012, multiplayer served a narrative purpose as well. The game’s ending is partly dependent on the player’s “galactic readiness,” a combination of factors like player choice, resources, and success in competitive matches; a high readiness level helps usher in the game’s top-tier endings.
Speaking with The Verge, Walters said the game has been rebalanced. Not only is multiplayer removed as a factor, but players who choose to skip directly to Mass Effect 3 without playing previous games won’t be penalized. “It is intended to get those best endings, or the higher tier endings — I won’t say which one is best or worst — but obviously playing will be easier,” he said. “We just basically took that section out and redistributed.”
Although some players might be disappointed by the game’s missing multiplayer, Walters said that, ultimately, it came down to creating the best-possible cohesive story experience. “The overall Mass Effect Legendary Edition is a better representation of the original trilogy because we’re able to focus on those single-player moments.”
Mass Effect: Legendary Edition will launch May 14th on PC, PS4, and Xbox One.