Mass Effect Legendary Edition isn’t a truly complete collection when it lacks Mass Effect 3’s multiplayer mode. That cooperative multiplayer experience is still fairly popular on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 today, so its absence from the collection is noticeable.
While it wasn’t part of Mass Effect Legendary Edition at release, fans are hoping that the multiplayer will get added in the future. Unfortunately, we are getting conflicted messaging from BioWare on the matter.
Here’s everything we know about multiplayer possibly coming to Mass Effect Legendary Edition.
What is the Mass Effect 3 multiplayer mode?
“Galaxy at War” is Mass Effect 3’s cooperative multiplayer mode where players must work together to take down increasingly difficult hordes of enemies. Players can play as other alien species with a mix of familiar classes and abilities at their disposal.
There were a variety of unlocks and loot crates that could be earned through in-game currency as well (it was an early microtransaction-based success for publisher EA). The experience was well-received for the most part despite the pay-to-win approach. An interesting facet was how you had to play “Galaxy at War” to increase your Galactic Readiness score, which impacts the game’s ending.
Overall, it’s a pretty big chunk of what the original Mass Effect 3 has to offer, so it’s fairly surprising that it’s excluded from the remaster.
An official trailer for Mass Effect 3’s multiplayer mode.
Why is Mass Effect 3 multiplayer not in Legendary Edition?
As mentioned, multiplayer is nowhere to be seen when you boot up Mass Effect 3 in Legendary Edition. In February, Project Director Mac Walters explained to Game Informer that it wasn’t feasible to include during development.
“I think people underestimate what it's like to do this game, because — at every step — you are given an agonizing choice of 'is this the thing that we want to spend our time on and really try to improve it' and 'where will this lead us down the road?’” he said. "I feel strongly that we've chosen the things that are what the majority of our fans were most passionate about.”
To Walters, multiplayer was just too big of an undertaking for a team that was already focused on improving three single-player campaigns.
“Getting all of the online systems working and functionality would have been another large chunk to do but at the same time, there are a lot of other logistics involved,” he said. “The economy is built completely differently. Then questions came up like, ‘Do we support it post-launch? What about people who are still playing multiplayer today? Do we try to find a way to somehow do crossplay between the PS3 and PS4?’”
Apparently, the answer to all of these questions were no, as multiplayer is not currently part of Mass Effect Legendary Edition.
When is the Mass Effect Legendary Edition multiplayer release date?
Around the launch of Mass Effect Legendary Edition, Walters changed his tune about multiplayer. He actually seems more open to adding it if the demand is there, according to an interview posted by CNET the week of Legendary Edition’s launch.
“I would never say no to that — we want to see what kind of reception the Legendary Edition gets and what the demand for the multiplayer is,” Walters said. “And then we'll ask ourselves if we have the resources and time to bring it up to the quality level we and fans want.”
It doesn’t seem like a multiplayer remaster is in development currently, and it would likely take some time to produce, even with the Legendary Edition already released. For now, all we can really do is wait and send requests to BioWare and EA asking them to include the multiplayer.
It seems fairly unlikely to happen unless Mass Effect Legendary Edition does extremely well, retains players, and demand for multiplayer doesn’t stop. Still, we can hope that multiplayer will come to Mass Effect Legendary Edition one day, or at least be added to the next Mass Effect game. So without any further news, we can’t expect a multiplayer mode until sometime well into 2022 at the absolute earliest.
Mass Effect Legendary Edition is available now for PC, PS4, and Xbox One.