The notion of a pre-launch DLC announcement is hardly shocking anymore - as more and more developers line-up large-scale post-release content campaigns.
While it's nothing new to hear that DLC has been planned for Mass Effect 3, in the form of in-game items, playable characters, and single player missions, it might come as a surprise to some gamers to find out that GameStop (at least one of them) may already be taking pre-orders for a yet-to-be-announced add-on titled, "From Dust."
At this point, the only "evidence" (using the term lightly) that we have of "From Dust" is an exceptionally bare-bones image of a GameStop DLC pre-order voucher - that allegedly cost the buyer $10. Check out the image below (courtesy of Joystiq):
Assuming the receipt voucher is valid (it would be simple enough to fake), it's still unclear where exactly "From Dust" might fit into (or outside of) the events of the single player campaign. However, when talking about BioWare's DLC strategy for the upcoming title, Mass Effect series executive producer Casey Hudson had previously stated:
“There’s some multiplayer stuff, but we’re also planning some DLC on the single-player side, because it did really good in Mass Effect 2. There’s a reason why we can add stories to what’s there. The adventure-type DLC will happen in the time frame of Mass Effect 3, within your Mass Effect 3 storyline. It’s similar to how with Mass Effect 2, if you had a saved game from anywhere inside the game, you could go on to the DLC. We have a pretty neat concept for how it’s going to work.”
As a result, while some players might be imagining a DLC episode that serves as an external supplement to the Mass Effect 3 storyline (either as a prologue, spin-off, or epilogue), it sounds as though "From Dust" isn't going to offer anything outside of the Shepard-centric narrative - and will be contained within the main game timeline.
It's also a possibility that "From Dust" is little more than a multiplayer DLC add-on that offers new locations and equipment for the co-op mode. That said, titles for equipment-type add-ons in prior games were usually a bit less "poetic" - the "Aegis Pack" and "Alternate Appearance Pack," as examples. The same logic could potentially be used to rule-out the possibility that "From Dust" will offer a new ally mission (and party member), since those add-on titles were typically formatted with the character's name included - "Kasumi: Stolen Memory" and "Zaeed: The Price of Revenge."
Of course, there's nothing to stop BioWare from changing-up the way they market DLC; however, "From Dust" (in both price and titling) definitely pairs well with the series other single player DLC's - such as "Bring Down the Sky," "Overlord," and "Arrival."
We're waiting to hear confirmation (and exact details) with regard to "From Dust". That said, in the meantime, if we had to guess, maybe the outed DLC is actually the infamous scrapped Citadel mission from Mass Effect 2?
Mass Effect 3 releases March 6, 2012 for the PS3, Xbox 360, and PC.
Follow me on Twitter @benkendrick for further updates.