Ferreting around in Mass Effect 3's disc files yields information about DLC which runs counter to statements released by the game's producers.
When an Xbox Live leak made it apparent last month that the additional character promised for players who bought the Collector's Edition version of Mass Effect 3 would be made available to everyone in the form of day-one DLC, there ensued something of a brouhaha among certain groups of gamers. The nature of the character, whose species makes him an interesting part of the game's lore, added a new dimension or five to the apparent discontent.
To try and clarify the situation, a few of the game's producers released statements describing how development of the DLC had not interfered with the development process for the main game or its costs. The game's director, Casey Hudson, took to Twitter to say, "It takes about 3 months from "content complete" to bug-fix, certify, manufacture, and ship game discs. In that time we work on DLC."
However, it has now come to light that some of the files from this particular DLC (listed as From Ashes) can be found within the data on the main game's disc. As an avid file-investigator over at Crystal Palace Zone points out, "the build which leaked in November, the official demo, and now the standard retail release of Mass Effect 3 all contain voice files for the [From Ashes] squad member. There's also a full set of model and animation files for the [character], but file encryption makes it impossible to open these for further inspection."
He continues, "These files are just as big as they are for other, non-DLC characters, suggesting that the art, animation, and voice assets for the DLC character were developed at the same time, not after the completion of the project. If these assets were developed after end of development, they would have to be downloaded - not unlocked directly from the disc."
So, things aren't looking brilliant from BioWare's side so far. However, as Jim Sterling points out over at Destructoid, BioWare didn't actually say that work on From Ashes started after the game was "content complete." Rather, the statements describe a development process which was only completed after the main game was finished, which could explain how bits and pieces of an as-yet unfinished DLC wound up on Mass Effect 3's main disc.
Given that spoilers about the existence of the From Ashes squadmate surfaced almost a year ago, it could be argued that the DLC pack was something that BioWare laid the groundwork for during planning and then properly developed after the full game had been completed. However, we won't know exactly what the flow was - or how DLC files wound up on the main game's disc - until the developers clarify their position. Whether or not you think this is a fair thing for them to have done (if you're irritated by it, you're unlikely to be alone) everything between here and a statement of clarification from BioWare will remain based in conjecture.