BioWare is on the defensive after receiving complaints from fans that its day-one DLC, From Ashes, has no business being sold separately at launch.
This week, BioWare confirmed that the DLC pack, which was always planned as free content for Collector's Edition and Digital Deluxe Edition owners, will be available immediately for everyone else at $10 (800 Microsoft Points) when Mass Effect 3 arrives on March 6 in the US, and March 9 everywhere else. This has prompted some BioWare forum members to accuse the studio of charging extra for content that should have been included in the original game. Defending the move last night via Twitter, Mass Effect's Casey Hudson explained: “On #ME3 content creators completed the game in January & moved onto the "From Ashes" DLC, free w/ the CE or you can buy seperately.”
In non-Twitter talk, that means From Ashes was never part of the original game, but always planned to be included as DLC, which was developed after work on Mass Effect 3 was completed. Producer Mike Gamble relayed the same information on BioWare's forums, stating, “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.”
Gamble added the Collector's Edition has been sold out in many locations for some time, so BioWare believes it's being fair by making From Ashes available for purchase for all those who would otherwise miss out.
So why all the hubbub over one piece of DLC? Turns out From Ashes is a fairly significant piece of DLC (warning: spoilers). As confirmed in Gamble's post, the add-on introduces a Prothean squad mate and a bonus mission on Eden Prime; two elements that should be of interest to anyone who has followed the story. In truth, From Ashes doesn't sound essential to enjoying Mass Effect 3, but it also sounds too important to not be considered part of the core game.
Let us know what you think of BioWare's day-one DLC, and if Mass Effect 3 fans have a right to be suspicious of the studio's launch strategy.