With Mass Effect 3 multiplayer being left behind in Mass Effect: Legendary Edition, a designer from the original game has shed new light on the surprisingly successful online mode's origins.
Former Mass Effect 3 multiplayer senior gameplay designer Patrick Moran spoke to TheGamer about the project, which was called Mass Effect: Team Assault. Moran said it was meant to be a downloadable multiplayer FPS "similar in scope to Battlefield 1943," a partial remake of Battlefield 1942 that came out in 2009. Moran explained that Mass Effect: Team Assault was largely created at BioWare's then-new Montreal studio, while work on the series had previously centered in Edmonton.
“EA really wanted to see a multiplayer experience in the Mass Effect world," Moran said. "Once it had momentum as a standalone title, the design team in Edmonton advocated for and was able to pull multiplayer back to Edmonton, effectively cancelling Mass Effect: Team Assault.”
Moran cited internal tension between the two BioWare locations as a source of difficulty during the development of Mass Effect: Team Assault, and also a driving reason for his departure before work on Mass Effect 3 was finished. However, he says the final product proves "EA was right to push BioWare for multiplayer in Mass Effect 3", and it's most important that Mass Effect fans won out in the end.
“Mass Effect 3 multiplayer turned out really well, given it wasn't part of the original scope of the title,” Moran said. “Often, marketing mandates from parent companies can result in tacked on features. [Mass Effect 3 director Casey Hudson's] relentless commitment to quality ensured the final multiplayer feature set and execution exceeded expectations. BioWare supported it in live service for years, and I believe it surprised many of the skeptics."
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