On this week's Mass Effect 3-focused PWNCAST, which we recorded on Wednesday night, we discussed where on earth BioWare could take the series, flippantly joking that it'd probably devolve into a series of FPS spin-offs.
As it turns out, BioWare had already looked at doing just that.
Geoff Keighley's downloadable app that looks behind the scenes at BioWare - The Final Hours of Mass Effect 3 - turns up some interesting material, but this might just be the most curious.
It transpires that BioWare's Montreal studio was hard at work developing a competitive downloadable FPS called Mass Effect Team Assault back in 2010, before the project was changed and shifted into the current co-operative, third-person multiplayer mode we see in Mass Effect 3 today.
"The goal was simple," says Keighley, "to create a standalone multiplayer experience in the Mass Effect universe that would mix the play styles ofUnreal Tournament and Battlefield 1943 — and likely be released as a downloadable game."
According to Keighley's documentary, Mass Effect Team Assault was in development for four months, with a prototype build yielding a glimpse of what could have been, and an array of pictures and footage available on the app.
The idea was to have a wide-ranging multiplayer spin-off to convey the sense of scale in the war against the Reapers, but it slowly morphed into a separate co-op mode for the game, with the main story unable to really support complete co-operative play.
That doesn't mean we won't start seeing FPS spin-offs, mind. First Contact War: The FPS, anyone? [via Kotaku]