Last week, Bioware spilled some of its beans regarding the multiplayer mode of Mass Effect Andromeda to GameSpot. While we have been seeing teaser trailers, launch trailers, in-depth behind the scenes videos and more regarding the game’s story, there’s still a lot to be said and told about the multiplayer portion of it.
Mass Effect Andromeda will feature a multiplayer online co-op game mode, similar to what you would have encountered in Mass Effect 3. Players would select a character and class along with a weapons and skills/powers loadout and work together to fight off a horde of enemies. At the end of the game, you would be awarded with credits, which you could use to buy crates that offered RNG gear and new skins.
However, Mass Effect Andromeda does things a little differently, while retaining the same kind of game mechanics.
Lead designer Ian Frazier told GameSpot that you can simply select multiplayer from the main menu, but if you so choose, “There’s a tie that can exist between single-player and multiplayer–that’s the Strike Teams.”
Frazier continued, “At a certain point fairly early in the plot, we say, ‘Hey, there’s this militia [that is] waking up from the cryopods from the Milky Way.’ They can do missions where the Pathfinder isn’t. When Ryder has more important things to do, you get the ability to assign AI Strike Teams to go do these missions. It’s all set in real-time, so it’s going to take an hour, five hours, or whatever for one of these missions to happen. Your teams have a different percent chance to succeed based on their stats and equipment and everything. You can gear them up, you can train them up, you can send them to do these missions, but they’re going to take a while to do it.”
As someone who is currently addicted to Fallout Shelter, I can picture a similar scenario in the form of Fallout’s ‘Quests’, sending a number of your inhabitants out to complete missions, with you upgrading their gear and loadouts ahead of their mission, while also risking their own lives.
‘Apex missions’ will crop up now and again, and are considered much harder than these Strike missions. Unless your AI squadmates are leveled up highly, they may not return to the Ark. Therefore, it’s probably a good idea for you to take these on yourself, with or without the help of other players.
Transitioning between single player missions and online multiplayer missions is said to be ‘seamless’, in that you can quickly save your adventure and hop into the multiplayer arena to take part in these missions. The game will also adapt the surroundings based on where you are in the game’s narrative. So for example, you’re on ‘x’ planet, and it’s night time, then the Apex mission will also be set with those variables. Interesting.
“If it says it’s a night mission on a certain map against Kett for this objective, that’s what the mission will actually be,” said Frazier. “When you finish it, you get all the normal multiplayer rewards as if you had picked [multiplayer] from the main menu, but you’ll also get the rewards associated with the mission back in single-player.”
But don’t be concerned. You don’t have to play multiplayer if you don’t want to. While it will help you progress through the story, acquiring more loot and funding for your single player experience, it is not essential. Look at it as an added bonus, or spend all of your time teaming up with others if that’s what takes your fancy.
Mass Effect Andromeda releases on March 21st in the US, and on the 23rd everywhere else. EA Access members can play the game for 10 hours, 5 days before the game’s launch.