It's the conclusion many hoped for Mass Effect 3, but that that no one expected. BioWare announced today their plans to release Mass Effect 3: Extended Cut, an answer to thousands of fans' displeasure with the current ending in the game. The free DLC pack will add additional cinematics and epilogue scenes, but makes no mention of altering what's already there in any way. Expect it to release later this summer for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC.
Bioware head Ray Muzyka insists the new, robust ending is, "maintaining the team’s artistic vision for the end of this story arc in the Mass Effect universe," while also, "delivering the answers players are looking for." What BioWare obviously wants implied is that the ending is not being changed, it's just being fleshed out, and that they are not giving in to unreasonable demands. More of the same ending, versus a different one altogether.
As for what to expect content-wise, Mass Effect 3 executive producer Casey Hudson provides:
“We have reprioritized our post-launch development efforts to provide the fans who want more closure with even more context and clarity to the ending of the game, in a way that will feel more personalized for each player.”
As with most BioWare press releases in the past month, they close out by reminding us that Mass Effect 3 sold millions of copies and received over 75% perfect scores, though I'm not sure how many they counted, to be honest. Still, it's hard not to notice BioWare continues to be so dismissive over the matter, even in defeat. As if to say how dare fans force them to alter their perfect game, and at the same time completely and fully admitting how important it is to keep us happy.
Mass Effect 3: Extended Cut will be freely available from its launch in the summer through April 14, 2014. One can only assume it will then cost standard DLC prices, but be bundled with newly released copies of the game. There's no mention of whether you'll require an online code to access the DLC.
Update: BioWare has provided a handy FAQ that covers some of the more common questions fans have been asking, pertaining to Mass Effect 3: Extended Cut.