Following yesterday's reveal of a multiplayer mode to Mass Effect 3, BioWare has detailed some of the specifics.
Mass Effect 3's multiplayer mode is a four-player co-op mode that exists separately to the single-player campaign, though it will have a "direct impact" on Shepard's story.
In an extensive post on the BioWare forums, community coordinator Chris Priestly said "success in multi-player will have a direct impact on the outcome of the single player campaign, giving players an alternative method of achieving ultimate victory against the greatest threat mankind - and the entire galaxy - has ever faced."
It's all part of Mass Effect 3's 'Galaxy at War' system. "The key to saving the galaxy is the 'Galactic Readiness' level, measured by Commander Shepard's ability to apply every possible asset - people, weapons, resources, armies, fleets - in the final battle against the Reapers."
While Galaxy at War's "other platforms and interfaces will be announced in the coming months", and players can "impact their game's Galactic Readiness level in multiple ways via the Mass Effect 3: Galaxy at War system, including multiplayer."
Other platforms? Might BioWare tie a Facebook or iPhone game into the Galaxy at War mechanic?
Priestly was quick to assert that Mass Effect 3's multiplayer mode is optional. "It is important to note that the [multiplayer] system is entirely optional and just another way players can have control over your game experience - it is still possible to achieve the optimal, complete ending of the game in Mass Effect 3 through single-player alone."
In a further effort to calm players concerned by the addition of a multiplayer mode to Mass Effect 3, executive producer Casey Hudson took to Twitter to say "yes, co-op MP missions for ME3: they're real, and they're spectacular. Rest assured it's nothing of what you've feared. More soon...".
Mass Effect 3 will be released for Xbox 360, PS3, and PC on March 9 2012.