Ahead of the Mass Effect trilogy wrapping up in March, fans will have a chance to try out Mass Effect 3's single-player and multiplayer in January.
Plans to launch a demo in January have been announced by BioWare. An exact date for its release is to be announced in late November according to an FAQ posted on the BioWare forums. The multiplayer portion will be available earlier to a select group of people, including those who redeem an online pass for Battlefield 3 (which comes free with new copies of the game).
Multiplayer support in ME3 was rumored for months before finally being confirmed earlier this month. It's an online co-op mode that can affect the outcome of the single-player game. It's completely optional, though, and single-player fans can still complete the story in the most ideal way possible without ever so much as looking in multiplayer's direction.
The most straightforward way to guarantee early access to the demo's multiplayer component is to activate a Battlefield 3 online pass on any of the game's three platforms. There will be no need for a code of any sort to get into the demo -- the early access is applied to the EA Account your online pass was redeemed on. One benefit of this setup is that you can, for example, buy Battlefield 3 on PC and then play ME3's multiplayer demo early on Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3.
Besides the online pass route, other ways to get into the multiplayer demo early will be announced in late November or early December.
Just how early the "early access" will be hasn't yet been outlined; we'll learn that detail at a later time. But before you consider purchasing Battlefield 3 purely out of a desire to get into the demo as soon as possible, keep in mind the sort of early access that Medal of Honor Limited Edition buyers were given to the Battlefield 3 beta: all of two days.
The single-player part of the demo isn't going to be made available to anyone early. Everyone will get to experience that for the first time when the demo is officially rolled out in January.