NEWS - Friday, April 6, 2012

ME3 Ending Gets Expanded in Upcoming DLC

Following an incredible backlash over the ending of Mass Effect 3, BioWare promised last month that it would address the complaints of those who were displeased with the way Commander Shepard’s story came to an end. The way in which it plans to do that was briefly outlined today, although we won’t be getting our hands on the solution for another few months.
Put simply, there were two sides that most people could fall on in this debate: Those who are upset with the ending and want a new one (or at least more content) and those who believe BioWare should be free to do what they want with their game’s story (and therefore don’t want a new ending). As intimated last month, BioWare is going for a middle ground between the two. It today announced plans to release a downloadable content pack called Mass Effect 3: Extended Cut. The goal of it is to provide additional closure for fans who are seeking it after pouring in dozens of hours across the Mass Effect games.
It’s important to make clear that this is not a new ending for the game. Instead, the DLC is described as being comprised of "additional cinematic sequences and epilogue scenes" meant to "give fans seeking further clarity to the ending of Mass Effect 3 deeper insights into how their personal journey concludes." That’s as specific as BioWare would get, and that is probably for the best as saying any more could potentially spoil the game for those who have yet to finish it or could be cause for further complaints. The best way to evaluate this solution is undoubtedly going to be experiencing it for yourself.
"We are all incredibly proud of Mass Effect 3 and the work done by Casey Hudson and team," said BioWare co-founder Dr. Ray Muzyka in a press release sent out today. "Since launch, we have had time to listen to the feedback from our most passionate fans and we are responding. With the Mass Effect 3: Extended Cut we think we have struck a good balance in delivering the answers players are looking for while maintaining the team’s artistic vision for the end of this story arc in the Mass Effect universe."

"Are we proud of the game we made and the team that made it?" reads part of an FAQ on BioWare’s website. "Hell yes. Are we going to change the ending of the game? No. Do we appreciate the passion and listen to the feedback delivered to us by our fans? Very much so and we are responding."
Checking out the new content won’t cost you a dime; the DLC is going to be made available for free upon release this summer. There were cynics who believed publisher Electronic Arts (you know, the Worst Company in America) deliberately released an incomplete ending so that the real deal could be sold to gamers as DLC later. This would appear to shoot down that notion, although there is one unfortunate group that will be unable to take in the Extended Cut even with it being free, and that is those who are without an Internet console.
As far as we know, the only way this DLC will be distributed is through Origin/Xbox Live/PlayStation Network, something that not everyone who purchased Mass Effect 3 has access to. And since the game’s story is not especially linear, simply looking up video of the DLC on YouTube would prove to be an ineffective way of consuming it. Besides how jarring it would be to do so given how the other 100-plus hours of Mass Effect’s story unfolded for that player, a video on YouTube would more than likely not reflect the decisions that person’s Shepard made over the course of the series.
Unfortunate as that may be, would it be preferable that no one gets the new content? In previous console generations, doing something like this would not have been possible outside the release of an expansion pack, and even that would have been less effective due to the cost and inability to transfer your save game. At least now a significant chunk of the audience can be catered to (for free) in a way meant to address fan complaints. Chances are there will still be those who are unsatisfied with the answers provided in the Extended Cut, but once again, surely this is better than nothing?



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