Bravely facing its legion of somewhat angry fans, BioWare presented a panel at PAX East today consisting of Chris Priestly, Mike Gamble, Corey Gaspur, Patrick Weekes, John Dombrow, and Reid Buckmaster. Whatever people think about the ending of Mass Effect 3, you have give credit to BioWare for facing the public while there is still much angst over the conclusion of the trilogy amongst the fanbase.
Before the event started, I had an opportunity to talk to many of those dedicated fans, and they were not the entitled crybabies that many in the gaming media have portrayed. Instead, most were huge admirers of BioWare who simply felt let down by the major plot holes in the conclusion of the game. In the context of the vague and non-distinct endings, their complaints were extremely reasonable as anyone with a sense of logic could readily realize. Almost uniformly, most were hoping to hear that the popular "Indoctrination Theory" was the correct way to interpret the Mass Effect 3's conclusion. So did the panel provide any relief to these Mass Effect diehards?
Well, yes and no. BioWare immediately tried to lighten the mood and tackle the issues on everyone's minds right away. Chris Priestly started the show off jokingly stating that he knows there's a lot of "love" for Mass Effect 3 right now, which elicited a lot of laughter. Then Mike Gamble spoke about the controversial endings, the "Extended Cut" ending DLC, and new multiplayer DLC.
- Mike Gamble polled the audience as to which Mass Effect game was their favorite. Mass Effect 2 was clearly the most popular and the most recent installment was least. There was a smattering of boos when Mass Effect 3 was called out.
- Gamble stated that the extended ending DLC will fill in some unknowns, place some events in context, and present a greater sense of personalization to the player.
- However, the ending DLC will not change the endings of Mass Effect 3 or be a reimagining, but it will be more than a coat of paint or a couple of extra cutscenes.
- While his reaction to its mere mention did not appear promising, Gamble would not confirm or deny that the Indoctrination Theory was correct. Ultimately, Gamble stated that he wanted fans to be able to develop their own interpretations.
- When asked why the extra DLC footage was not in the game to begin with, Gamble stated that BioWare didn't realize that it would be needed. When asked to confirm that only new cinematics would be added in the DLC, Gamble refused to offer additional comment.
- The Resurgence Pack, offering two new maps and additional character classes, will be free and available on April 10, 2012.
Fans left generally feeling good about the panel, even though they were still concerned with the ending DLC, which is due out this summer. We'll be sure to update fans as more information comes available.