While the addition of multiplayer game modes to Mass Effect 3 has rankled some long-time fans of the series, BioWare's creative director Casey Hudson has revealed that it's been on the drawing board for a long, long time.
"Well, to us it was always a fun, intriguing idea to partake in the Mass Effect universe with friends, to look around, kind of see it from inside with others rather than just taking part in this solo experience", Hudson told Official Xbox Magazine. "In general, that's the direction that videogames are heading; they're more social, more online, and we've been trying to find a way ever since Mass Effect 1 to integrate some kind of multiplayer."
What's interesting about that statement is how it differs so greatly from what's actually being offered with Mass Effect 3. What Hudson is saying with "looking around and seeing it from the inside" sounds like the kind of co-op people will have wanted from Mass Effect. The kind of active spectator mode you find in games like the Fable series.
It's a shame BioWare then went with more "traditional" forms of multiplayer for Mass Effect 3. But then, that may have been EA's call, not theirs!