Mass Effect 3 and the “From Ashes” DLC predicament

I like to keep quiet on DLC issues usually.  To me if a publisher wants to potentially anger their customer base by including DLC on a disk and charging extra for it, then I guess that’s their prerogative (even if its kind of a dick move).  But really now, I’m a little concerned about this new turn of events with Bioware’s next game: Mass Effect 3.  I know the core game will be rich with content, just going off of the past games, but over the last week we have been learning that there will be potentially very story-important DLC content for Mass Effect 3 on release.

If you are interested in just what that DLC may be about and just why its so important, then please check out the thread on the Bioware forums about the issue.  However, since it is also potentially spoiler-ific, you may want to exercise caution.  Just trust me when I say: this content will be huge in terms of story and may even answer some of the biggest ME3 questions to date.

But that is the crux of the issue.  If the content is going to be so story-centric, then why are they packaging it separately? (I should mention that if you get the Collector’s Edition of the game, you will be covered, it comes with that).  Why not just include it in the game to begin with?

Bioware executive producer Casey Hudson defended the decision on Twitter:

It takes about 3 months from “content complete” to bug-fix, certify, manufacture, and ship game discs. In that time we work on DLC.

DLC has fast cert and no mfg., so if a team works very hard, they can get a DLC done in time to enjoy it with your 1st playthrough on day 1.

On #ME3, content creators completed the game in January & moved onto the “From Ashes” DLC, free w/ the CE or you can buy seperately.

-Casey Hudson, Mass Effect 3 Executive Producer

However, fans are still taken aback I think because it seems a little unbelievable that this important DLC was drafted and created in such a short span of time.  Its more likely to everyone that the content was partially fleshed out and pulled by marketing and product executives at the last minute in an attempt to monetize more pieces of the game.

Had this been a simpler time, this would have been unacceptable to most customers, but in a world where DLC comes in all sorts of sizes and shapes I think things will largely go unnoticed by the more mass gaming crowds.  What baffles me is why EA didn’t instead decide to make this either a pre-order exclusive or, better yet, an included DLC that only new copies of the game could unlock, similar to the Cerebus Network content in Mass Effect 2.

In any case, fans are understandably outraged over the situation, with a pretty great summary of why by frequent game industry critic CriticalBiscuit on his latest youtube video.  I hope that both fans and EA can find a middleground, but its unlikely.  EA does not seem very interested in giving leeway on its larger DLC plans, so this is probably just a vision of things to come.

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About Ryan Saul

Hailing from Portland, OR I work by day and blog by night. I like to consider myself a video game connoisseur, playing as many new things as I can get my hands on. Its hard to hold me down to one game for very long before I move on to the next big thing. Luckily, that works pretty well in terms of video game blogging.

8 responses to “Mass Effect 3 and the “From Ashes” DLC predicament”

  1. giantsbane says :

    I clicked the spoiler link. Although I’m sure this DLC will be interesting, it appears to have a comparable amount of content to what was available over the Cerebus Network for Mass Effect 2. That was a nice add-on, but nothing special. I don’t see why people are outraged about this. I imagine its just that reporters are muckraking Bioware’s actions to make an interesting story. I’m sure some publishers withhold content to make a profit on dlc, but I believe the bigger problem is that people in our society are very self-entitled and that’s what is causing the outrage by gamers over news like this. I believe this bonus content will have little or no impact on the main storyline.

    • Ryan Saul says :

      I have to disagree and at this point I won’t worry about spoiling things. Basically the entire DLC will be a playable character and mission set for a progenitor. The entire story being Mass Effect is based on the progenitors, so I have to think that this means there will be some potentially huge story details in here. The guys at EA know this and so they are restricting it knowing that people will want to buy it.

      I think in terms of what is happening in the immediate storyline, sure it probably won’t affect much, but in terms of the greater story arc and just questions that people want answered, this will likely be a necessary addition.

  2. giantsbane says :

    I will concede that there definately will be some nuggets of information that will make minor revelations about the greater story arc; however if you’re looking for satisfying answers I have a feeling that this DLC will sorely dissappoint you. I would not be the least bit surprised if the mission and character are incredibly sparing with the details they divulge and those being vague at best. I’m just remember the mercenary add-on character for ME2. He had very limited conversation options relative to the main crew and one ~15 minute mission where you had to fight other mercenaries or something? Maybe I’ll end up being completely off base about this, but I not afraid of missing anything by skiping this DLC until I’m told otherwise from a review of it.

  3. giantsbane says :

    It might be something stupid like the DLC with Morrigan for Dragon Age as well. I remember really wanting to know what happened with her after the end of the game. After ponying up the ~$5 for the DLC all I got to do was kill a few things, see her, and either walk through a portal with her or leave. It didn’t satisfy my curiousity or resolve anything whatsoever.

  4. giantsbane says :

    By the way, is it possible to edit posts in this? It always irks me when I post something and then see glarring punctuation and grammar errors and I am unable to fix them.

    • Ryan Saul says :

      You should see a tiny little edit button on the top-right next to the date, but that might just be because I’m an admin. I might look into some other hosting options here soon, WordPress is kinda limited on some stuff.

  5. giantsbane says :

    No edit buttons here…

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