When the Mass Effect 3 - From Ashes DLC leaked onto Xbox.com, many Mass Effect fans were understandably outraged upon learning that the (spoiler) Prothean squad member would be paid content at launch. Not surprisingly, BioWare has issued a statement to address the community's concerns and justify the downloadable character.
BioWare's Michael Gamble made a post on the official forums earlier (about a day after the DLC leaked) to "clarify a few things." Now keep in mind that his post contains some spoilers regarding the paid content, so anyone who has taken care to avoid any information about the add-on might want to skip the segment below. The gist of Gamble's explanation, however, is that the paid content isn't a major part of the Mass Effect 3 experience, and the game is complete "right out of the box." He goes on to mention that From Ashes was actually developed by a separate team after the core game was done and "not completed until well after the main game went into certification."
Some spoilers follow:
- “From Ashes” includes the Prothean squad mate, an adventure on Eden Prime, a new weapon, and an alternate appearance for every squad mate. Note that these alternate appearances are in addition to the ones already advertised in the CE.
- The Collector's Edition has been advertised from the beginning as containing a bonus character/mission, but we were not at liberty to provide the details. The Prothean is optional content that is certainly designed to appeal to long-time fans, which is why he is part of the CE offering (the version many fans would be likely to purchase). Mass Effect 3 is a complete – and a huge game - right out of the box.
- 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.
- The Collector's Edition has been sold out in most places for some time now, and is becoming very hard to find (many players prefer not to purchase the digital version). As such, we wanted to make this content available so that SE buyers could also incorporate the Prothean into their game.
From Ashes was supposed to be officially revealed this coming Friday, but now the cat's out of the bag. Images and video for the DLC pack are will be released soon.
Update: Mass Effect producer Casey Hudson clarified via Twitter that the From Ashes DLC was developed during the time it took to "bug-fix, certify, manufacture, and ship [core] game discs." For Mass Effect 3, the certification process stretched "about three months." Hudson explains that because DLC enjoys faster certification and of course no additional manufacturing overhead for retail release, BioWare was able to complete From Ashes and get the add-on certified in time before release.