Three months after the controversial release of Mass Effect 3, which many die-hards criticized for failing to provide a satisfying conclusion to the fan-favorite trilogy, BioWare is set to unveil the Mass Effect 3: Extended Cut DLC. The expansion will buff up the original Mass Effect 3 ending with added cutscenes (but no gameplay) that flesh out the fate of key characters as well as showcase how each players’ decisions affected the final moments of the game.
However, according to executive producer Casey Hudson, fans should temper their expectations – as there are certain Mass Effect 3 criticisms that BioWare could not address in the expansion.
Speaking on an official BioWare podcast, Hudson asserted that while the team has worked extremely hard to accommodate fan feedback and provide a satisfying conclusion to the space saga, there are limitations to what the developers could incorporate in the Mass Effect 3: Extended Cut DLC:
“Ultimately our passion is entertaining people, so delighting them with our stories and giving them amazing worlds to escape to, that’s what we love to do, so in this medium it just wouldn’t make sense for us to make some kind of artistic statement, and then turn our backs on it forever [...] There was some feedback that we can’t address. There are people who just outright rejected the whole concept of the endings, and wanted us to start from scratch and redo everything. And we can’t do that because that’s not our story, we wouldn’t know how to write that story [...] What excites us is the challenge of learning how people consume our stories, so it’s a learning process for everybody. And then incorporating that feedback, that’s how we make our work better.”
Given the range of debate among fans of the series, it’ll be interesting to see who is left out in the cold by the Extended Cut DLC. We’ve published a number of articles charting the Mass Effect 3 ending controversy – resulting in a range of feedback from readers. As Hudson indicates, there’s a very vocal minority who have outright written off the Mass Effect 3 experience (such as one especially enraged fan who complained to the FTC) – while other players never understood what all the fuss was about. However, plenty of gamers found themselves somewhere in the middle – disappointed by the game’s conclusion but willing to provide constructive (and manageable) feedback for BioWare.
In a perfect world, where developers enjoy unlimited time and resources, these players might have loved to see a more fully-formed, and playable, expansion but most just want to see closure for party members as well as the sense that three games worth of decisions had an actual impact on the ending.
It’s these story-related criticisms that, according to Hudson, BioWare attempts to address with the additional cinematic content in Mass Effect 3:
“When things are really constructive like that, even when it’s critical, it means a lot to us, because when you think about the artists and writers, all the people here – they work because they’re passionate about games. They’re passionate about making a really great experience for players. So when they get constructive feedback, constructive criticism, they’re really excited about that [...] You can never completely satisfy everyone. We’ve seen a whole range of feedback, ranging from people who wanted a total redo, to people who had concerns and questions about the original endings, to people who loved the original endings and have told us they don’t want to change anything [...] So there’s no doubt that there will be a whole new wave of discussion and debate, maybe even controversy. But we didn’t do the Extended Cut because we’re trying to make everybody happy, make it perfect – we just saw an opportunity to expand on things that we felt could add value to the experience, for those that appreciate it.”
Ultimately, given that the original Mass Effect 3 ending is intentionally open ended (read our Indoctrination Theory explained post), it’s unlikely that BioWare intends to spell out every story beat and plot point that’s setup in the final act – especially after other industry icons defended the developer, claiming that outright changing the endings would undermine the team’s original creative vision. That said, BioWare co-founder, Dr. Ray Muzyka admitted that there was room for improvement – asserting that the team would try and expand the original ending content in order to provide a richer (albeit not entirely revised) experience.
As a result, Hudson is probably on-point when he says that BioWare has worked hard to expand the conclusion – while also warning players to temper their expectations. It’s easy to imagine that the Mass Effect 3: Extended Cut will flesh out the endings a bit more by providing closure for fan-favorite characters and showing how a number of story-related decisions affected the endgame – though it’s unlikely that we’ll see a single major change to the original conclusion (i.e. only additional content stitched into the mix).
For more on what to expect check out our own cases for:
What are you hoping to see addressed in the Mass Effect 3: Extended Cut DLC?
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The Mass Effect 3: Extended Cut DLC will release on June 26th 2012. Mass Effect 3 is available now on PC, PS3, and Xbox 360.
Source: BioWare [via CVG]