Whatever it is, over the weekend it reared its head again: once in the form of an upcoming feature for Xbox World magazine in the UK that promises to unveil BioWare's "killer new feature" for the franchise, the other as an advertisement for the game in South Africa that says Mass Effect 3's collector's edition includes an "online multiplayer pass".
Now, these could mean anything! The killer new feature might be new hair styles for the revamped female Shepard. The multiplayer pass might be a retailer's way of not really getting what EA's online passes (which were used in Mass Effect 2) are all about.
Or they could be totally spot-on, and Mass Effect 3 will include some type of multiplayer component (including co-op), that it absolutely does not need but which EA will make us have regardless.
We've contacted EA for command and will update if we hear back.