Back when Bioware confirmed multiplayer in Mass Effect 3, we got a lot of "NOOOOOOOO" and "WHYYYYYY" and people singing The Major-General's Song (okay, that didn't happen). It's somewhat understandable--Mass Effect has been from the beginning a very individual experience, with my Shepard and his experiences being distinctly different from other people's experiences. How could multiplayer work in such a dedicated single-player game?
In a recent interview with BioWare general manager Aaran Flynn, it was revealed that Mass Effect 3's multiplayer will be a four-player cooperative series of side stories, taking place parallel to the game's main plot. While you play as Commander Shepard in the main story and prepare the galaxy for war against the Reapers, the multiplayer component focuses on four-man squads chosen from six available races (asari, drell, human, krogan, salarian, and turian) and the classes we're all familiar with by now. You won't be able to use your Shepard, since he (or she) is kind of busy emulating Captain James T. Kirk in all the best ways.
What the multiplayer looks and sounds most like is Gears of War's Horde Mode, where your squad is dropped off in a battlefield to hold the line against increasingly more powerful waves of enemy attack. It's one thing to see chainsaw bayonets and orbital satellite attacks in Gears, but it's another to think of what chaos you and your team can unleash with Tech and Biotic powers flying all over the place.
Lastly, the interview brought up planet scanning, the upgrade mechanic that everybody seemed to hate from Mass Effect 2. Flynn didn't say any specifics, but he did mention that with the galaxy at war, players had more important things to do than scanning planets for minerals. That's too bad, I found it kind of relaxing, honestly. Check out the full interview:
My copy's pre-ordered and has been for some time. What about you? What are your thoughts now that details on the multiplayer are out?