Some Mass Effect devotees have expressed disgust at developer BioWare's decision to release paid downloadable content alongside Mass Effect 3's launch, taking to message boards and Reddit to complain about what some have called a "disgusting" business practice.
As Kotaku broke yesterday, Mass Effect 3's first piece of DLC is called From Ashes. BioWare has since confirmed that it will be available on the game's release day, March 6, for $US10 as a download or free to anybody with the Mass Effect 3 Collector's Edition.
Release-day DLC has been a subject of much controversy in the gaming community. After all, some have argued, if a piece of content is ready for a game's release day, why would a publisher charge extra for it?
Warning: The following contains spoilers about the nature of Mass Effect 3's DLC.
As some fans have also pointed out, the From Ashes campaign may contain plot-critical content. It features a party member from the Prothean race, which, according to Mass Effect lore, has been extinct for thousands of years.
"EA [and] BioWare should know this is an unacceptable practice to cut out such a vital part of the story [and] lore of a game and resell it as DLC," writes Reddit user Shushplz. "Will not be buying Mass Effect 3 whatsoever and have already cancelled my [Star Wars: The Old Republic] subscription because of it. Sad that it had to come to this but the price of the added DLC is not worth what little dignity I have left."
Following the outrage, Mass Effect executive producer Casey Hudson took to Twitter to defend the company's decision.
"It takes about 3 months from 'content complete' to bug-fix, certify, manufacture, and ship game discs," he tweeted. "In that time we work on DLC... On [Mass Effect 3], content creators completed the game in January and moved onto the From Ashes DLC, free with the [Collector's Edition] or you can buy separately."
BioWare associate producer Michael Gamble also spoke up, posting on the BioWare official forums to explain the situation to fans:
"The Prothean is optional content that is certainly designed to appeal to long-time fans, which is why he is part of the CE offering," he said. "Mass Effect 3 is a complete –- and a huge game — right out of the box. The content in From Ashes was developed by a separate team (after the core game was finished) and not completed until well after the main game went into certification.
"The Collector's Edition has been sold out in most places for some time now, and is becoming very hard to find (many players prefer not to purchase the digital version). As such, we wanted to make this content available so that [Standard Edition] buyers could also incorporate the Prothean into their game."