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Mass Effect: Legendary Edition cuts Mass Effect 3 multiplayer entirely

Shepherd confronts Shepherd
(Image credit: EA)

BioWare has revealed more details on Mass Effect: Legendary Edition, and one of them is sure to disappoint series fans: Mass Effect 3's excellent multiplayer mode is no longer part of the experience. This is a particular bummer as ME3's multiplayer was woven into the campaign itself.

Well, straight from the horse's mouth, it's not in the Legendary Edition. "We looked at what it would take to do that," says Mac Walters, the game's project director. "What do we do with cross-play, what do we do with people playing multiplayer now, how do we honor that, bring them in, bridge that gap, and of course these aren't insurmountable challenges [...] but when you looked at the amount of effort that it was gonna take to do that, it was easily commensurate if not greater than for example uplifting all of Mass Effect 1."

In an age when many story-driven singleplayer games had bolted-on multiplayer (the lead designer of Spec Ops: The Line later said the game's multiplayer was "another game rammed onto the disk like a cancerous growth"), Mass Effect 3's multiplayer was a surprisingly good transplantation of its space-magic-hurling character classes into a wave-based mode against different enemy compositions. A progression system had you grinding for rarer tiers of loot boxes, which contained more powerful character and weapon variants. It was something you could easily put 20 hours into with friends.

"I think our focus really was on the singleplayer experience and at some point we had to just draw the line," added Walters. "I love ME3 multiplayer, like I say people are still playing it today, but ultimately I think the product, the overall ME: LE is a better representation of the original trilogy because we're able to focus on those singleplayer elements."

Walters is probably right that for the majority of the audience, this is mostly a singleplayer experience. But it does seem slightly disappointing that, in a world where Mass Effect 3 multiplayer is still alive and kicking, this remaster of Mass Effect 3 isn't including one of its best features.