New details about Mass Effect 3′s co-op mode and the Mass Effect 3: Galaxy at War system have been posted on Bioware’s forums.

According to Bioware, co-op missions will be seperate from the main campaign; up to 4 players can pick different classes and work together to  ”fight together to liberate key territories from enemy control.” The company chose not to include competitive multiplayer because they felt that banding together with other people to take down your enemy makes more sense than fighting each other within the Mass Effect universe, and I couldn’t agree more.

Also announced was the Mass Effect 3: Galaxy at War system, which measures your standing in the war against the Reapers. Details are admittedly light; players wille be able to increse their “Galactic Readiness” level through the single player and co-op modes, but how exactly that’s accomplished or the benefits of doing so weren’t disclosed just yet. Will players get access to more weapons, missions, abilities? Will there be other ways to increse your Galactic Readiness level beyond the single player and multiplayer?

Take a look at the full annoucement below for full details followed by a short FAQ:

Hi Everyone

Today BioWare and the Mass Effect 3 team are very pleased to
announce 4 player co-op multiplayer missions and the Mass Effect 3: Galaxy at
War system for Mass Effect 3 on the PC, Xbox 360 and Playstation
3.

4 player co-op
multiplayer

Join your friends in the all-out galactic war
to take Earth back. The universe of Mass Effect expands with the addition of new
co-op multiplayer missions, playable over Xbox Live, PSN and PC internet.
Players can choose from a variety of classes and races, form an elite Special
Forces squad, and combine their weapons, powers and abilities to devastating
effect as they fight together to liberate key territories from enemy control.
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.

Mass Effect 3: Galaxy at
War

As a bonus to the campaign, BioWare is introducing the
Mass Effect 3: Galaxy at War system, a new way for players to manage and
experience the galactic war from multiple fronts, including a new 4-player co-op
mode. 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.
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
and interfaces will be announced in the coming months. 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.

F.A.Q.

Why include 4 player Co-op multiplayer in Mass Effect
3?

  • 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. Mass
    Effect 3 is the best place for us to introduce multiplayer through co-op because
    of the premise of the game – all out galactic war.

Why only 4 player co-op? What not a versus
mode?

  • We have always maintained that we would only add
    multiplayer into the Mass Effect series if it made sense and did not compromise
    the power of the single player campaign. Fighting together against a common
    threat was the multiplayer experience that made the most sense for Mass Effect
    3. The way we have designed co-op as a wayto take control of key conflict zones
    in the galaxy is a natural extension of the premise of Mass Effect
    3.

Why did you decide not to include it as a part
of the main campaign?

  • Our priority and focus with Mass Effect 3 has and always
    will be to deliver a complete and satisfying single player experience

Does the addition
of co-op multiplayer missions impact the scope or quality of the single-player
experience?

  • No. A dedicated team from our recently formed BioWare
    Montreal studio has been focused on creating the multiplayer game features while
    the main game continued to be developed by the team in BioWare Edmonton. Both
    teams are integrated under the same leadership group that produced Mass Effect 1
    and 2, led by Casey Hudson. BioWare remains dedicated to delivering one of the
    most amazing single-player campaigns gamers have ever
    experienced.

How did developing
multiplayer impact the single player game?

  • BioWare is dedicated and focused on delivering an
    engaging, fun, and action-packed experience for Mass Effect 3, one that lives up
    the BioWare standard. To reach that level of quality, last year BioWare opened a
    studio in Montreal that is home to designers, programmers, engineers, and other
    developers. Both studios work together as partners, lead by the core Mass Effect
    team, unified in a single vision. Under the direction of Casey Hudson and other
    team veterans, both studios make contributions to both the single player and
    multiplayer modes in Mass Effect 3. Rest assured that no compromises were made
    to either of these modes in the development of Mass Effect
    3.

Which characters can I play
in co-op multiplayer? Can I play as Commander Shepard?

  • Commander Shepard’s part in the war will take place in the
    single-player campaign, as will that of other beloved characters in the
    franchise such as Garrus, Ashley, and Liara…these characters do not appear in
    the multiplayer missions. In multiplayer, players will create custom characters
    to fight on different and unique fronts in the war. This will include the
    ability to play as favorites like Turians, Krogans, Asari and more… each with
    their own unique set of abilities.

What if I don’t like multiplayer – will my experience
be negatively impacted?

  • Mass Effect 3 is a complete, standalone game that will
    deliver a satisfying story experience, even if you choose not to try
    multiplayer. The Mass Effect 3: Galaxy at War system and all of the individual
    components are meant to complement that amazing game and can be enjoyed on their
    own or as part of the Galaxy at War experience.

What if I am not good at / do not like multiplayer?
Will my readiness rating go down?

  • ME3 is a story about a war against overwhelming force
    where the most you can hope for us survival. The more you do to fight that war,
    the more you can change that story into a more optimistic one. You can reach the
    highest levels of success in the single player experience alone, but Galaxy at
    War gives you alternative ways to get there. It’s about choice, and allowing
    players to find their own ways to stay immersed in the Mass Effect
    universe.

Will you be adding
any additional maps or modes through DLC?

  • We can’t comment on specifics right now, but can confirm
    that we are planning on having DLC for Mass Effect 3.

Do save games from ME1 or ME2 impact the co-op
multiplayer missions?

  • No.

Do
characters level up in co-op multiplayer? What is the progression
system?

  • Character progression, weapon upgrading and leveling up is
    present in co-op. We’ll release more information on this topic in the months
    leading up to launch.

 

Is there more info about the other platforms of
Mass Effect 3: Galaxy at War?

  • We are not going into details about the other components
    of the Galaxy at War at this time except to say we are designing each to make
    sense for that platform. Each component will be able to affect a player’s
    “Galactic Readiness” level in a different way. Again, participation in any or
    all ME3:GaW elements is entirely optional

So what do you guys think of the new co-op and Galaxy at War system? Post your thoughts below.