Bioware has offered the first details of Mass Effect 3's multiplayer component following the confirmation of such a feature early yesterday.
The announcement confirms previous rumours that the multiplayer will take the form of a four player co-operative campaign which stands apart from the singleplayer game.
The co-op campaign will have a 'direct impact on the outcome of the single-player campaign', says Bioware, as well as that the co-op game will offer an 'alternate method of achieving ultimate victory against the greatest threat mankind...has ever faced.'
Players will be able to choose between a range of classes and race who collectively constitute a new Special Forces squad that stands distinct from Shepherd's own squad. The team then embarks on a series of missions to liberate enemy territory.
Co-op will still feature the usual RPG systems - weapon upgrades, levelling and character progression will all prove vital.
The multiplayer component will tie into singleplayer through an overarching mode called Galaxy at War, where your performance in co-op is used to determine the 'Galactic Readiness' of the singleplayer universe. Galactic Readiness will impact on singleplayer heavily, affecting people, weapons, resources, armies and fleets.
'It is important to note that the 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,' BioWare noted.
'Being able to explore and fight alongside your friends in the Mass Effect universe has always been something we thought would be fun and compelling, and many players have asked for it for a long time as well,' BioWare explained.
The trailer below offers more information on Mass Effect 3, but you can also pick up the latest issue of Custom PC Magazine if you want to read our print-exclusive, hands-on preview. Let us know your thoughts in the forums.