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What's with the name?

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Assuming Direct Control

It’s Official: BioWare Will Be Releasing Free Ending DLC for Mass Effect 3

It’s been one hell of a month for Mass Effect fans. Since early March, the fanbase has been seething over the widely reviled ending to Mass Effect 3, with many actively calling for BioWare to change it via DLC. Two weeks later, BioWare announced that it was working on “game content initiatives” that would address issues of clarity and narrative. Today, fresh on the heels of The Consumerist naming EA as 2012′s Worst Company in America, and just in time for BioWare to potentially avoid a bloodbath at PAX East tomorrow, we have an answer.

Yes, there will be DLC that extends the ending. And yes, it will be free.

From the press release, posted to EA’s official news site:

BioWare, a Label of Electronic Arts Inc. announced Mass Effect™ 3: Extended Cut, a downloadable content pack that will expand upon the events at the end of the critically acclaimed Action RPG. Through additional cinematic sequences and epilogue scenes, the Mass Effect 3: Extended Cut will give fans seeking further clarity to the ending of Mass Effect 3 deeper insights into how their personal journey concludes. Coming this summer, the Mass Effect 3: Extended Cut will be available for download on the Xbox 360® videogame and entertainment system, PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system and PC for no extra charge.

The press release included a brief statement from Casey Hudson, the executive producer for the Mass Effect series.

We have reprioritized our post-launch development efforts to provide the fans who want more closure with even more context and clarity to the ending of the game, in a way that will feel more personalized for each player.

Okay, so “cinematic sequences and epilogue scenes” don’t sound like something that will provide much gameplay (and if Shepard died in your ending, as was the case for most players, that raises some serious questions as to how you’d be able to play at all). It’s also worth noting that just yesterday, Edge Magazine quoted Jennifer Hale, the voice of FemShep herself, as saying that BioWare had yet to contact her regarding any new recording sessions (there is a rumor circulating the BioWare Social Network forums that Mark Meer, who voices BroShep, has been scheduled for recording, but I have yet to find a credible source confirming that). Of course, recording can happen very late in the development process, so at this point, it’s anyone’s guess as to what the Extended Cut will actually contain.

A short while after the press release went out, a “mini FAQ” was posted to the official BioWare blog, which addressed the questions sure to be on most fans’ minds.

What can fans expect from the Extended Cut DLC?
For fans who want more closure in Mass Effect 3, the DLC will offer extended scenes that provide additional context and deeper insight to the conclusion of Commander Shepard’s journey.

Are there going to be more/different endings or ending DLCs in the future?

No. BioWare strongly believes in the team’s artistic vision for the end of this arc of the Mass Effect franchise. The extended cut DLC will expand on the existing endings, but no further ending DLC is planned.

What is BioWare adding to the ending with the Extended Cut DLC?

BioWare will expanding on the ending to Mass Effect 3 by creating additional cinematics and epilogue scenes to the existing ending sequences. The goal of these new scenes is to provide additional clarity and closure to Mass Effect 3.

So while the content of the DLC is still unknown, the ending will not be retconned out of existence, as some fans had hoped. This development is also sure to be fuel for the supporters of the Indoctrination Theory (spoilers), who have suggested almost from the get-go that the ending was not all that it seemed. In any case, while this news is tentatively good for the Mass Effect fanbase — and very noteworthy for the gaming industry at large — it does mean that unless BioWare reveals further details at PAX, fans will have to continue what they’ve been doing since March 8 or so: speculating madly.

Image source: BrinnyComic

Becky Chambers is a freelance writer and a full-time geek. She blogs over at Other Scribbles.

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  • Mark

    It’s one thing to hate an ending and it’s another to call a video game company the “worst company of 2012.” That is some of the most petty bullshit I have heard all year.

  • Mark Bailey

    I like the game franchise, but they need to change the ending and just listen to the fan base.

    They say they listen to us, but they obviously don’t listen that much.
    It is not the worst company, but their attitude towards us needs to change.

  • Kate Lorimer

    Not sure how to feel about the whole thing – the pic at the top of page kinda captured it tho, lol – and for those who thought it was “nerd-rage” – they need to realize that this game transcended what is the “norm” for both gaming and movies in terms of emotional investment.

    On the plus side TheMarySue, have a look at this other EA/mass effect related matter: the fact that EA is rebuking (quite rightly) another of these 1million Moms type BS things about the inclusion of LGBT characters in games: 

    So, I’m going to go with the Fry Face for Bioware, hopeful but wary: 

    and the cool but shifty fatcat looking Bender for EA: 

    :D o/

  • Kimberly

    The thing a lot of folks don’t get is that the fact that they’re releasing this ending DLC proves that they ARE listening. They’re always responding to fan comments on their twitter account, and are constantly asking for feedback from the TOR community. :)

    They’re doing something. They may not be doing exactly what me, Bob, the guy down the street or the girl at Dairy Queen may want, but they are doing SOMETHING. Surely that counts at least a bit?

  • Anonymous

    I seriously laughed yesterday at EA being named the worst company in the U.S. this year.  Their response was pretty damned funny, and considering the award is a once a year thing that has yet to change any company’s attitude toward it’s customers, or take more seriously the vast negative impacts they’re capable of, I have no problem with EA getting it pointed out to them just this once in a fairly unimportant way, that they’ve been a really shit company over the past few years.  Folks can rail on entitled gamers having shit priorities, or whatever, but I think those people are taking the WCIA award too seriously, or expecting the outcome to actually mean anything to these huge corporate entities.  I have yet to see more than a few asshats actually say they deserved the award strictly based on bad story telling re: ME3.  I’ve seen very few thoughtful, well-reasoned explanations for EA deserving some notoriety that even mentioned it.  EA is a shit company because they have a lot of power and influence in gaming, and the entertainment industry as  a whole.  The have really shady tactics in buying out other, smaller studios, they have purposely made sure that other game publishers don’t sell titles for cheaper than the current going rate, they’ve done a bunch of shenanigans with DLC’s and online passes and Origin bs, requiring customers who already payed for the game once, to fork over more money, and I’ve heard they don’t exactly treat their employees very well.  I’m just peachy with EA winning this award, and the attitude they displayed in the response is honest, at least.  Can’t imagine BofA responding with such an amusing and forthright “Eh, fuck if I care what y’all think’ if they’d won instead.

    EDIT: I should probably say something on-topic! :p I don’t know that BioWare can really fix the ending adequately with an added prologue. It depresses me to think where this series would have gone with Karpyshyn at the helm the entire time. I think this series is going to have to be written off as a great one-time play through series with an ending that’ll kill one’s desire to revisit the games. It’s too bad, really.

  • Anonymous

    What’s going to be in the new ending?

    My money’s on “orange”.

  • Ashley Sue

    All I wanted was my Broshep and Tali to be holding hands at the end.  Was that too much to ask for Bioware?! 
    That being said, now I have to figure out which colored ending is the best for the DLC….

  • Katie Marinelli

    Well it depends on what the ending dlc is like once it is released. Is it something that satisfies the fans, even a little bit? Or does it just expand on what the fans were so against? Because if they are releasing something just to get the fans to be quite and aren’t actually thinking about it then no they are not listening to the fans.

    While this announcement has given me some hope for Bioware/EA, I am saving judgement (good or bad) until the release of the dlc. Sadly, no matter what their reaction to fan response has left a bad taste in my mouth. (I’ve been watching the BSN)

  • Katie Marinelli

    I’m hoping for a ‘timberwolf’ option. My Shepard prefers her colors in crayola crayon shades

  • Maxwell LaChance

    Lame.  Bioware should not be bowing to the wishes of fan boys and girls.

  • Shannon Phillips

    For those looking for something to tide them over till the official ending DLC, there’s a fan-made epilogue generator at that’s getting good buzz on the Mass Effect forums.

  • Anonymous

    Ok, so I just read through what would have happened with the choices I would have made damn sure to make, had I played ME3, and yeah, that was closure right there.  Very nifty site.

  • Shannon Phillips

     Glad you liked it!

  • Janet Gatz

    According to Jessica Merizan’s twitter feed they will NOT be talking about the DLC at Pax.

    Expect either pre-screened questions or ringers in the crowd… I’m hoping for the lack of pitchforks and torches but as angry as I am it is completely possible.

  • Becky Topol

    This is really so irritating.  The entitlement of the people who actually complained to the company is utterly stunning to me.

    Sometimes things don’t end the way you like.  This is life.  If a book had ended some way other than what you’d hoped for, would ANYBODY in their right mind write to the author demanding that they write a new ending because you didn’t like it?  No.  Because that would be INSANE.  And for the author to actually go along with it would be even MORE insane.

    As much as EA is known for response to user feedback, and even as much as Mass Effect is famed for its freedom of choice, there are only so many endings that could have been built in – they could not possibly have accounted for every single possible decision tree contingency over the course of three games.  Not everybody gets s special snowflake ending, and I personally think it was the best way to go in this case to just hit the major options available in the games’ overall themes.

    The game is there for you to play (just as a book is there for you to read) but the story is there to be told by the teller.  If you don’t like the ending, life goes on.  Imagine if Voldemort had won in the end of Harry Potter and Mass Effect players had been in charge…

  • Kate Lorimer

    Sorry, this sounds like a generic response of someone who hasnt followed the story.  Its quite hard for those who havent followed it to understand fans being upset.  All I can tell you is that Mass effect’s ending was like an equation of 1+1+1= Zebra. Most people are left going “Wait, what?”  I fully expected the key character(s) to be sacrificed, but the leftfield nature of the resolution was frankly like something from a completely different tale.

    This is the nearest parallel I can find you: 

  • Kate Lorimer

    Quite fantastic, and may prove to be better than what we’ll get :)

  • Anonymous

    There are plenty of reasons to call EA “worst company of 2012″ without even mentioning Mass Effect 3.  The crippling and near-closure of Game & Gamestation in the UK being one.

  • Anonymous

    Read up on EA’s fall-out with Game and Gamestation.  THAT’S why they deserve to be considered worst company.

  • Anonymous

    “Sometimes things don’t end the way you like.  This is life.  If a book
    had ended some way other than what you’d hoped for, would ANYBODY in
    their right mind write to the author demanding that they write a new
    ending because you didn’t like it?  No.  Because that would be INSANE.
     And for the author to actually go along with it would be even MORE

    A lot of people did just exactly that when Arthur Conan Doyle killed off Sherlock Holmes – and ACD actually did resurrect Holmes for more adventures.  So if those readers weren’t in their right mind, and Conan Doyle was even more out of his mind, then Bioware and the Mass Effect fans are in good company.  This isn’t an isolated incident: pressure from the fanbase affected the ending of the third Hunger Games book, and Bethesda made an entire expansion pack which “fixed” the universally panned ending of Fallout 3.  And then you have J.R.R. TOLKIEN going back and re-writing The Hobbit so it tied-in with LotR better.

  • Anonymous

     Can someone please explain to me why we get more concrete info from Jessica “eyecandy” Merizan’s private twitter account than we do from  the official Mass Effect account?

    She’s also now said that it’s possible for Shepard to meet back up with the Normandy in the Extended Cut DLC.

  • Anonymous

     You are clearly not much of a Mass Effect follower.  BioWare came out and said that the fans were Mass Effect’s co-authors, before the ME3 launch.  They marketed the game that way, aggressively.  If they hadn’t done so, I’d grant you your argument.  But they did, so I don’t.

  • Mark

    For starters, why do they even have a “worst company of 2012″ award in fucking April? And second, it’s not like there were only game companies up for grabs. There were banks! As in, places where people get screwed out of a lot more than just a sixty dollar video game!

  • Kath

    It proves they’re listening, but it doesn’t prove they’re doing it for the right reasons.

    Is this BioWare backing down on their “artistic integrity”? (lol)
    Is this BioWare doing it to boost sales figures? (Possible)
    Is this BioWare truly wanting to help their fans? (No. Not at all)

    There’s a financial gain in this for them, potentially, and that is it will increase sales as they’ll have “fixed” the game, as it were.

  • Kath

    I’m going with the Bender look, but for different reasons.

    Whilst EA/BioWare can be considered good for their inclusion of LGB characters (yes, the ‘T’ is dropped for a reason – “female” dwarves, BioWare? Frak off), their portrayal of LGB characters actually leaves something to be desired.

    On top of that, EA and/or BioWare, in their collaborations with Dark Horse Comics, hired infamous outspoken homophobe and NOM-contributor Orson Scott Card to write the initial tie-in comic series. Yes, that’s right. A company with a track record of including LGB characters hired a rampant, extreme homophobe to write a comic for them.

    It’s good EA are standing up, but I can’t help but feel their hands aren’t as clean as they like to think they are.

  • Kate Lorimer

    I have a horrible feeling that either Jessica has been trolling us, or working to some mission stating that she should keep encouraging positive (if misleading) information.

  • Kate Lorimer

    Sad, but true. Its really most clear in the first 2 ME games. Lots of girl-on-girl action… because the boys like that too. Took an outcry for the third one to have boy-on-boy action.  But it also had some more subtle improvements – the random overheard conversation of the female soldier trying to find out about her wife, and trying to get their daughter to safety.

    Wasnt aware of Orson Scott Card, unfortunate.

  • Anonymous

    If you think they did poorly with LGB characters, perhaps you didn’t play 3, or talk to Traynor or Cortez, since they were both great. One of my favourite parts of 3 was helping Steve deal with the loss of his husband.

  • Kath

    One game does not erase their previous behaviour with LGB issues.

    And no, I haven’t played #3. Waiting for it to drop in price (and for my bank balance to increase).

  • Jerilyn

    Agree about the overreaction.  Oh, and relevant fact, the fantasy author Michael Moorcock wrote a new ending to his book “Gloriana” years later, due to the negative response, and his maturing experience.

  • Anonymous

    Well, look where it came from. It wasn’t named as a result of in-depth research from respected journalists and consumer advocates. It was a web-vote on a site that highlights companies that treats customers like crap. Given that, EA is a very qualified winner. They are constantly in the customers face trying to screw out some more money & they pretty much ruin beloved companies & franchises.

    People aren’t going to vote for companies that do evil things that don’t directly impact them. They are going to vote for what they understand.

    The whole thing has been incredibly overblown. It’s like a Cracked top 10 list becoming national news.

  • Adam Knott

    Everybody has missed the entire point of the article. All of you  have focused on E.A. being the “Worst company of 2012″ and have hardly mentioned the ending to one of the best narrative’s, not just of any videogame, but stories as a whole. On that note, the ending was moving and realistc, and your selfish to ask for more.

  • Kath

    If ME is one of the best narratives of “any video game”, then gaming is beyond hope.

  • Kate Lorimer

    Im pretty much done with the series, but this fine fellows analysis of the whole debacle sums it up for me: 

    (Scroll down to analysis if you want to skip his review of the game alone)

  • Anonymous

    But was it EA that hired him, or Bioware? I’m inclined to think it was the latter. As an outsider it sounds like EA’s pressure is mostly on dates and dollars, and not on creative matters such as who gets hired.

  • Kath

    Considering BioWare are fully owned by EA, I don’t think it particularly matters.

  • Anonymous

    People aren’t asking for more. Simplifying it like that just goes to show you haven’t paid attention to the arguments (or the ending). Plain and simple, it didn’t make sense. It wasn’t very realistic when (SPOLERS) my squadmates that had supposedly died on the battlefield magically reappeared on an Eden-like planet. Although plotholes like that are what I expect to be fixed in the DLC, and not the complete lack of continuity between the ending and the rest of the story.

  • FoxyBrown

    I agree. Kind of a mark of our cultural awareness. Its a little scary to me that EA won that title and not Goldman Sachs or B of A. Priorities people! Its really easy to NOT buy an EA product. I don’t get it. I hate what EA has become so I don’t buy EA games. Seems pretty simple to me!

  • Anonymous

    Surely it shows that they’re trying and improving, though? Gotta judge by the progress made, not entirely by the past, or we’d forever be condemning people for old stuff rather than praising them for catching up.

  • Kate Lorimer

    One… last… comment..

    Someone did a fabulous alt-fan edit of the ending, done beautifully, and is much better example of a bittersweet ending.  Suffice to say, there are spoilers: 

  • Anonymous

    Of course it does. You could be holding one accountable for the actions of another. If Bioware is making the decision without and input from EA, then this is a Bioware issue, not an EA issue.

    Otherwise you are just spewing accusations in a shotgun spatter, hoping to hit anything.

  • Kath

    As I said, BioWare are wholly owned by EA. If someone’s leg trips you, who do you blame, the leg or the person the leg is attached to? The latter, obviously.

    It’s licensed by EA, as far as I’m aware, but it’s a property developed within BioWare. Both are to blame because both are involved on some level.

  • Anonymous

     April is the end of the 20011-2012 financial year, its just the convention.

  • Anonymous

    (it won’t let me reply to your most recent comment, so I’m replying to this).

    The leg analogy is horrible, and I suspect you know that. A person is one entity, and two companies, are..well..two entities. You are creating a much stronger link than actually exists, and attributing the actions of one to another that may be completely uninvolved in creative decisions.

    Using your logic, we can keep going up the chain further and further until all actions are directly attributed to a few mega-corporations. And that’s just absurd.

  • Kath

    The leg analogy was pretty bad, but my point still stands.

    BioWare and EA are inseparable. BioWare is wholly owned by EA, and as such answers to them. All BioWare’s properties are, I believe, the properties of EA. There will have been discussions on both sides as to whom would be involved with the comics, although I doubt Dark Horse Comics would really have had much say.

    What I’m saying is this: BioWare and EA are part of the same company (i.e. EA), and as such they both share responsibility for the decisions that are made. It’s funny, isn’t it? If BioWare do something bad in a game, it’s EA’s fault, but if BioWare do something good then they get all of the praise.

    But as we don’t know the details of the contracts and licensing, workings and so forth, all we can do is say both EA and BioWare are at fault.

  • Eric Andrew

    You haven’t played any of the games have you? I thought not. If they couldn’t create a special snowflake ending, then why the heck did they say they could?

    That’s lying. And after all that deception, they still have the gall to call us “entitled”?

    Go away.

  • Eric Andrew

    You do know that “fan boys and girls” is just another term for CUSTOMER, don’t you?

  • Eric Andrew

     I laughed at the “realistic” part. There’s something so realistic about people who were just beside me moments ago magically reappearing in a jungle planet.

  • Ragnar TheRed

     Ok an equivalent analogy, Harry Potter, book 7.. he died.. oh and he stays dead.. book ends.. period. Think they would even finish it? Make any movies?

     From Game 1.. there was a direction that was consistent with the writers. It all made sense. It had continuity. 3 was a good start, work really hard then .. what? Something Alien, got mixed up in the mass effect design.

    I don’t care if they remake it till the cows come home.. Neither would the millions of people who at book 7 of Harry Potter said wtf?

    Something happened 6+ months ago, that caused this ending to come about.. Something went askew. I don’t know what happened but I do know that someone at bioware had to know people would freak.