BioWare says the From Ashes launch-day DLC for Mass Effect 3 couldn't be included with the game because work on it didn't begin until the upcoming sci-fi epic was complete.
Gamers reacted to the unexpected and unintentional reveal of From Ashes, the launch-day DLC for Mass Effect 3 that turned up on Xbox Live yesterday, about as you'd expect: they got mad. Why, they demanded, was this bit of content, which was obviously ready in time for the game's release, not included with the game - particularly since Collector's Edition buyers will get it free, but those who opt for the standard release will have to pony up 800 Microsoft points, or about ten bucks, for the privilege.
It's a pretty common question in this era of day-one DLC and BioWare is doing its best to answer it fully. First up is Mass Effect Producer Michael Gamble, who took to the forums to explain what the DLC is all about. And there are spoilers! Small ones, but consider yourself warned regardless.
From Ashes will include a Prothean squad mate, a trip to Eden Prime, a new weapon and an alternate appearance for everyone on the team, above and beyond the alternate appearances already included with the CE. "The Collectors Edition has been advertised from the beginning as containing a bonus character/mission, but we were not at liberty to provide the details," Gamble wrote. "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 (the version many fans would be likely to purchase). Mass Effect 3 is a complete - and a huge game - right out of the box."
He also noted that development on From Ashes did not begin "until well after the main game went into certification," a point Executive Producer Casey Hudson expanded on through 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," he wrote. "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."
The truth is that this probably won't do much to calm the rage but for people genuinely curious about why launch-day DLC isn't in the box, there you have it. Unfortunately, if you haven't already laid down your money for the CE, you might be stuck: Amazon is reporting that due to high demand [and possibly the imminent Reaper invasion], its allocation of CEs across all platforms is sold out.
Mass Effect 3, and the From Ashes DLC, will be out on March 6 for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC.