As snippets of information continue to trickle out in the run-up to the hotly anticipated release of BioWare's Mass Effect: Andromeda, series producer Mike Gamble has shed some light on the space-faring RPG's single player campaign and multiplayer mode. In an interview with Kotaku Australia, Gamble revealed that the title's multiplayer will tie in closely with its solo campaign and have a direct impact on the main story.
However, while players were encouraged to play multiplayer in Mass Effect 3 to improve their "Galactic Readiness" rating, multiplayer in Andromeda will be optional for players.
"There's a system that we use called the Strike Team system, and fundamentally it allows you to go between single-player and multiplayer within the game," Gamble explains. "And it's packaged around a meta-story of what's going on in Helios," referring to the cluster of Andromeda where the game begins.
While Andromeda's multiplayer will "feed into a deeper meta-story", players will be able to progress through and finish the meta-story without participating in multiplayer at all, Gamble said. He added that although switching between single player and multiplayer will be "pretty seamless", it won't be instantaneous.
"I can tell you that there's a loading screen - it's not entirely seamless - but it won't require you to stop your game and restart in a different mode. Because narratively it's all connected, it makes a lot of sense."
When asked why the development team decided to wait until the end of 2016 to unveil new information and footage of the upcoming game, Gamble told Kotaku that "it was a choice not to".
"We could have started talking about the game and showed a lot more earlier, but it was a choice not to," Gamble said. "And you mention games like Fallout, we really respect that way of showing things where you stay relatively quiet and then you're able to surprise and delight players with a whole bunch of information in a short time."
Recently, members of the team have shed light on various aspects of the game including its decision not to include a season pass, early access for Origin Access and EA Access members, polishing up its facial animations and more.
At Nvidia's CES keynote, BioWare also showed off some new Andromeda footage featuring swift combat with armed, robotic creatures, skill trees and a new, visually stunning volcanic world to explore.
Meanwhile, lead designer Ian Frazier revealed on Twitter that the odds of BioWare sharing more details about Mass Effect: Andromeda's multiplayer beta test before the end of January "are good". BioWare general manger Aaryn Flynn also tweeted that they will announce the game's PC specs sometime next month.
Mass Effect: Andromeda is set to release on 21 March in the United States and on 23 March in Europe for PS4, Xbox One and PC.