OPINION PIECE: BioWare’s gone too far with Mass Effect 3’s DLC

Posted By | On 25th, Feb. 2012 Under Editorials | Follow This Author @Shubhankar2508

As we all must know by now, a DLC for Mass Effect 3 was recently announced– the previously rumoured, “From Ashes” DLC. BioWare earlier said that they have a “really good DLC” planned for the game, and when the details were announced, it turned out that they were actually right. The downloadable content pack gives all players access to a full fledged mission that isn’t featured in the game itself, and also includes a main character- a Prothean squadmate. Everyone who’s played Mass Effect 1 or 2 knows how big a deal this is- a Prothean squadmate! 

Now here’s the catch- the DLC doesn’t come with the game itself, even though they’re both being released on the same day. Those who buy the Collector’s Edition of the game, which is significantly costlier than the Normal Edition, get the DLC for free, however, if you buy the Normal Edition — and most of you who buy the game will be getting the normal edition, not the CE — don’t get the DLC. You have to pay for it.

Usually, I’m the first person to jump to BioWare’s defense, being the blind, unreasonable Mass Effect fanboy that I am, but this time, I think BioWare has gone a little too far. Sure, hardcore Mass Effect fans will still pay for the DLC (I know I will, and I hate myself for that), but this is probably the stupidest thing the developer has done in years, and that includes Dragon Age II and making the last piece of DLC for ME2 so bad. You’re releasing the DLC and the game, both on the same day, and yet you’re asking us to pay for both of them? Seriously, BioWare?

Okay, sure, you say that the DLC’s development began after the full game was completed, but… seriously? The core ME3 team not developing the DLC is no justification, not when you do something like this. A DLC released on the same, day, and yet you ask us to pay for it, BioWare? What’s the point of getting it free if we have to buy the Collector’s Edition instead? We still have to pay extra, right?

As Casey Hudson said himself, DLC requires no manufacturing and compared to retail games, has quicker development time. Why not include the content in the game itself then? Is EA really so desperate to get more money out of the Mass Effect brand.

And yes, it ultimately boils down to EA. They may not be the mega-evil corporation that Activision is considered to be, but it is actions like these that make them lose their goodwill. I’m sure BioWare is at fault too, but it is ultimately EA who makes the decisions, since they’re the publishers, after all.

BioWare has lost a lot of goodwill in the last few years, and this certainly isn’t helping them undo any of that. Sure, Mass Effect 3 looks like an excellent game, and we have done nothing but praised it in all our previews so far, and I will buy the DLC for sure, but this is the stupidest, most outrageous thing BioWare has done in a long time.

What do you think? Tell us in the comments section below.

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  • Ralex

    Despite what Bioware stated about From Ashes DLC, the Protean squadmate is defined in main story! Just dig in Coaleced.bin (from ME3 demo) and you’ll find Prothean with images references, powers and loadout.

    So, this DLC was taken from main story and is sold separately.

  • Brutalhead

    Played and loved ME 1 and 2 … preordered and waited for ME3…. but to be honest somewhere you must say “No further”.

    cancelled preorder and looking for other games … and if u buy the dlc… good luck you will be ripped of again and again and again and again…… 🙁

    best regards
    ex EA customer

  • Mike

    As long as people still buy the dlc, then they could care less how upset you are about. It’s a money business and by buying the dlc, you are saying that it is ok for them to do it and then a precedence gets set. People like you who complain about this but still purchase it are the ones to blame. Your voice is only heard through your money. Why would they not nickle and dime you if they know you will still buy their product? It’s smart business when they know they have you by the balls. Wanna send a message that this kinda practice is not acceptable? don,t buy the dlc. Wanna send the message that this kinda practice acceptable? Buy the dlc. The consumer sets the precedence, not the companies. We are where we are today because they know fan boys like you may bitch and moan, but in the end you will spend the extra money and line their pockets.

  • Sheldon

    I’m sure MOST of this is EA’s fault. With that said, I’m not too bothered by this. I’d rather get the Prothean squadmate now rather than later, when I’ve already beat the game. I was gonna buy the CE anyway, but couldn’t find it in stock, so I’m not bothered by this.

  • jkoz

    As awful a move you think it is as a customer, it’s really one of the best business decisions for them. Third game in the trilogy, tons of hooked fans, the DLC will essentially make Mass Effect 3 a $70 game for them. As Mike said, “Why would they not nickle and dime you if they know you will still buy their product?”

  • DoM

    Whats the big deal, I pre ordered my collectors edition, I expect to get some extra stuff. If anyone else wants it they can pay for it. The game can be finished without the dlc and no one is forcing you to buy it. Bioware make top quality except maybe dragon age 2, but people need to either put up or shut up. No one us gonna make you buy this dlc they told everyone that the collectors edition would have the extra squadmate

  • WannaDev

    @Shubhankar Parijat
    The game was in a completed state that they viewed as worth full price, and they had hit their deadline. As you yourself point out, the DLC was developed after ME3 had left their hands. In a world without DLC, you’d still be buying the same ME3 at the same price point. The DLC is a completely separate product.

    The two products coming out on the same day doesn’t matter. Every electronics device in the world releases alongside a ton of first party accessories – but I don’t give the guy at the store crap over not giving me a car charger, speaker dock, & all the already existing apps for my new phone.

    @ Ralex
    Yes, the DLC is referenced in the main story. There are many games that do this only to release the referenced DLC months later. Hell, many games and movies reference full sequels. So, what’s the difference? It takes an afternoon to put some text into a menu. It takes months to create a new character, missions, items, etc. and fully integrate those into the game. All this is doing is making the additional product fit more seamlessly into the whole.

    The DLC is not on the disk. When they DO cut out content and try to sell it to us, I also get pissed. This, however, is biting the hand that feeds us. You’re paying $60 for what’s going to be at-least a 48 hour experience, + multiplayer. If you ever watch movies in theaters, then there is no reason for you to be dissatisfied with this value.

  • Chris

    They need to include it with all new copies of the game. That will solve EVERYTHING. That way, everyone gets fair chance, just like Zaeed in Mass Effect 2.

    I’ve loved this series since the first one. The first one is still my favorite one, because it was just so epic. I hope this one will be all it’s cracked up to be. By the way…did anybody find a “put weapon away” button in the demo? In ME2 it was the ‘Back’ button on Xbox. If you can’t put your weapon away in missions, I’m going to be sorely disappointed lol

    • Shubhankar Parijat

      Heh, I don’t think putting your weapons away will affect any aspect of the game in any way at all, but yeah, ME3 does have a “Put Weapon Away” button.

  • ghostkill221

    I’m actually more annoyed that the Teaser for the DLC “Recruit the Prothean Squad Member” is as big of a spoiler as it is. Of course to be fair I did Pre-order the CE, so I Suppose i would also be bugged if I found that out and didn’t instantly get it. But from Biowares POV, They had a fully completed game, then decided that before the game came out they wanted to get an early start on the DLC. and to top it off, they decided to make it a labor of love, and give it to their more diehard fans for free.

  • charles2029

    EA understands that more DLC means more money for future projects in the long run.

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