Technology

Mass Effect 3 to get extended ending at no cost to gamers

  • 5 April 2012
  • From the section Technology
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Mass Effect 3 screenshot
A campaign called for a new conclusion to Mass Effect 3

The makers of Mass Effect 3 are to provide a free extension to the video game following complaints about its original conclusion.

Players had described the three original endings as "underwhelming" and not significantly different, and had demanded a change.

Developer Bioware had previously described the feedback as "incredibly painful".

It has now said the new content will be available in the summer.

"We have reprioritised 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 personalised for each player,"said Casey Hudson, the series' executive producer.

Dr Ray Muzyka, co-founder of Bioware, added: "With the Mass Effect 3 extended cut we think we have struck a good balance in delivering the answers players are looking for while maintaining the team's artistic vision for the end of this story arc."

Backlash

The title - which involves the player taking part in a galactic war to save the Earth - topped the video games charts when it was released on the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC earlier this year.

Publisher EA said it shipped 3.5 million copies worldwide in its first week of availability. At the time it boasted of the title's high review scores and described it as "the first pop culture event and the biggest entertainment launch of 2012".

However, a backlash soon gathered pace among the first players to complete the role-playing title.

They believed Bioware had not lived up toits promise that their choices would deliver"radically different ending scenarios".

A campaign called Retake Mass Effect 3 demanded an overhaul of the conclusion - and publicised its efforts by collecting $80,000 (£50,000) over nine days for the Child's Play charity.

One of the group's members gave the latest announcement a guarded welcome.

"It is nice that Bioware responded to the pressure we put on them and that they listened to us," Sebastian Sobczyk told the BBC.

Bethesda made gamers pay to play the new ending to Fallout 3 which was released in 2009

"But we are still cautious about this. We don't just want a few minor changes. We want conclusions that properly reflect the choices we made over the many hours we spent playing the game - including at least one happy ending."

Limited changes

Mr Sobczyk and other gamers may remain frustrated.A FAQ posted to Bioware's sitelater clarified that it would expand on the ending "by creating additional cinematics and epilogue scenes to the existing ending sequences".

However, it added that "the extended cut DLC will expand on the existing endings, but no further ending DLC is planned."

The news promptedangry posts by some users on the company's social network, although others defended its decision.

While it is not unprecedented for video game developers to extend or change the conclusion to their titles, Bioware's relatively rapid response has drawn attention.

"There were similar complaints about the ending to Fallout 3 in 2008 and the studio Bethesda issued the Broken Steel update [7 months later] - although it did charge for it," said James Batchelor, staff writer at the video games trade magazine MCV.

"The extension to Mass Effect 3 is a high profile example of a publisher responding to fan demands, even if they were a vocal minority."

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