EA To Finally Appease Ticked-Off Mass Effect 3 Customers On June 26

When video game giant Electronic Arts became the (to some) surprising winner of this year’s Worst Company In America tournament, the company was also in the middle of one of its biggest PR problems ever, as fans of the bestselling Mass Effect series of games felt like they’d been bilked out of piles of cash when the trilogy ended with an apocalyptic shrug.

Coincidentally, the day after winning the Golden Poo, EA announced it would attempt to fix the issue by releasing an “extended cut” ending that would help to appease fans who felt like they had spent their money — and perhaps more importantly, a ton of their time — playing a game that was supposedly all about the ramifications of your choices, only to have those choices not matter whatsoever.

Now we actually have a release date for the extended cut. It’s set to be released — for free — to Xbox, PlayStation and PC users on June 26. And for those of you with clogged-up hard drives, you may need to clear some space, as the downloadable content weighs in at a heft 1.9 GB.

BioWare, the division of EA that developed the game, has a Q&A about the new content on its website.

“The Extended Cut expands on the endings of Mass Effect 3 through additional scenes and epilogue sequences,” writes BioWare. “It provides more of the answers and closure that players have been asking for. It gives a sense of what the future holds as a result of the decisions made throughout the series. And it shows greater detail in the successes or failures based on how players achieved their endings.”

This is the first time we can think of where mass customer disappointment has led to such an immediate change in a major video game. What remains to be seen is whether or not publishers — not just of games, but of movies, books and other creative products — will (or even should) respond to such organized anger.

In the days when the Mass Effect 3 debate was brewing some argued that, even if the ending sucked rocks, EA would be allowing in the thin edge of the wedge and that disappointed buyers would demand changes for all future games.

Now we just wait to see the reaction to EA’s attempt to plug the dam.

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  1. homehome says:

    I’m still not finished me3. I forgot all about the ending ppl were mad about. the multiplayer came out and I just stopped my campaign. But glad it’s coming. And it’s 1.9 GB?!?! Yes. Regardless I’m happy with the series.

    • Outrun1986 says:

      I haven’t even finished ME2 yet, so don’t feel bad. I did finish the first one though. This will be good for when I finally get to ME3 though. Ideally I am waiting for it to end up in the $20 bargain bin, I won’t get to it for months on end anyways.

  2. ckspores says:

    I think it is actually kind of pathetic that EA is bending over for the fanboys that couldn’t deal with the ending. I don’t play the game (or care about it at all) but I think that buckling from pressure on this says more about them as a company than the crappy ending ever will.

    • NickJames says:

      So wait a minute, you didn’t play the game or care to but you think it’s pathetic EA is releasing DLC to atleast give closure to an amazing game series that players have created their own story over various years only to have it end in such a half assed way? I don’t.. what.. wait.. broken___—error—!!

      • YouDidWhatNow? says:

        Having played it or not is irrelevant. No creative content (art, in other words) should *ever* be subject to revision because of any amount of popular displeasure.

        Feel free to disagree…wrongly.

        • ckspores says:

          +1.

          EA is setting a potentially very messy precedent with this.

        • cyberpenguin says:

          I agree. They shouldn’t change it just because it was pushed out to meet deadlines, didn’t meet the original artistic vision, and the code didn’t meet the advertised specifications.

          It’s not EA’s fault that the marketing division based the advertising on the projected plans, and not what the software development division had completed.

          I think you have a very good point, and that more art should be governed by corporate deadlines and profit projections. Who cares what the artists think. Push it out when it looks statistically most profitable and if a majority of customers complain, blow ‘em off and call it art.

          That’s the best thing about a near-monopoly; you don’t have to listen to the customers if you don’t want to. All you need to listen to are the melodies of the $$$.

          • Vjeszczi says:

            From my understanding, they are not changing the ending, just expanding upon the end results. I consider it more of an epilogue than anything else. Guess I will find out on the 26th.

    • Saltpork says:

      Then you don’t understand what it’s like to spend 300+ hours playing an entire series of games where decisions matter be a pathetic whimper of an ending that changes 1 cutscene and the color of some of the graphics.

      The game is true to the first 2 and still great, just the ending was atrociously bad for the feel of the series they had going for years and pissed off a huge chunk of their player base.

      • Bickle says:

        You just spent 30+ hours playing the ending, where a hundred plus of your choices from ME1&2 changed the way things go. You cannot construct a story that has a thousand endings that’s meaningful, and I highly suggest you go read a lot of classic sci-fi, the kind that inspired Mass Effect in the first place, and pay attention the next time you play. If it took you 300 hours to finish those games you have issues. I finished 4 plays of the first in 60 total hours, and the same for 2 runs of ME2, regular and inasity, doing everything available and all DLC

        The only people upset at the ending are the ignorant, and they’re going to be just as pissed after Tuesday, but thanks to them instead of getting new adventures tomorrow in the form of DLC, we get this: a mice but ultately unnecessary patch

    • Actionable Mango says:

      Responding to your fan base seems like good customer service to me.

  3. StutiCebriones says:

    Nerds shouldn’t be allowed to vote for WCIA. It’s been one fail after another.

    • coopjust says:

      The degree of harm argument comes into play on why bigger companies that impacted “more people” over “bigger issues”, but in the end people voted and EA won.

      It’s not just a game ending that has people ticked off at EA. Day 1 downloadable content that’s on the pressed disc, rushing many games. Buying out many developers that were revered, putting the screws on them, having them push out unfinished games (E.g. Bioware for the SWTOR MMO, and from the looks of it, ME3; Westwood & churning out their games), mistreating their employees (e.g. the tons of forced unpaid overtime lawsuits), having useless customer service (e.g. forum bans result in revocation of games and refusal to counter, and banning over an issue, denying the issue exists, only to admit it much later in the face of undeniable proof).

      What else? Customer service that types in nonsense, then ends the chat session, forcing a digital distribution platform nobody wants (Origin) to play flagship titles with terms that allow spying on your computer (and the EULA is illegal in some places, including much of Europe), continually declining game quality (as seen in metascores of games published by the company over the years, etc.

      EA has a negative impact on the industry as its largest publisher in many ways, and people resent EA for that. The whole ME3 ending issue pushed people over the edge, but it’s ridiculous to say that people shouldn’t be allowed to express their opinion.

      • Harrkev says:

        Well, I give EA two thumbs down for Origin, and the fact that the stupid game will not even load half the time that I play it. I did get to the ending. I would have hoped for better, what whatever.

        My real beef is that, on order to play half the time, I have to re-name my save folder, start the game, and change the save folder’s name back again. Otherwise, the game would just not start up without even a warning message. Have the trained apes that make the games never heard of a log file or even a simple “printf” statment?

        ME3 is the last new EA game that I will ever buy. There is just too much good content by companies that care about their customers.

      • Harrkev says:

        Well, I give EA two thumbs down for Origin, and the fact that the stupid game will not even load half the time that I play it. I did get to the ending. I would have hoped for better, what whatever.

        My real beef is that, on order to play half the time, I have to re-name my save folder, start the game, and change the save folder’s name back again. Otherwise, the game would just not start up without even a warning message. Have the trained apes that make the games never heard of a log file or even a simple “printf” statment?

        ME3 is the last new EA game that I will ever buy. There is just too much good content by companies that care about their customers.

  4. YouDidWhatNow? says:

    Deeply disappointed in EA for caving in to the whining momma’s boys. Now they’ve set a precedent that if enough people whine that they didn’t like a game/movie/book/web cartoon the publisher is going to be obligated to change it to make everybody happy.

    Minus one trillion internets for all the idiots in this world who think that art of any kind should be directed by a majority vote. Punches in the face all around.

    • Saltpork says:

      Did you play the entire game series?

      If not, this isn’t your fight. You can be dissapointed, but you have to understand that the community that bought the ME series had a lot of people backing this movement. This wasn’t a couple of thousand of people whining about the game, it was a huge chunk of the players.

      The ending didn’t fit the feel or style of the game. It was all wrong and it was(and is) instantly noticeable.

  5. Hungry Dog says:

    ** Spoilers**

    I hope it includes footage of the landing and everyone resorts to cannibalism to survive. That would wrap things up for me nicely.

  6. Azagthoth says:

    The ending of ME3 was just the tip of the iceberg. EA is a company that constantly punishes it’s fan base by overcharging, and nickel and diming. Not only did they deserve the golden poo, but I am willing to bet that they affected a major portion of your audience.

  7. chaoseffect says:

    Given the size of the patch (1.8 gb) vs the size of the entire game (10.7 gb), it seems suspicious that the entire thing could be written, acted, and put together from scratch in the time frame given. I can’t help but feel that EA kept a real ending back intentionally with the idea to charge for it later, but then decided that they didn’t quite have the balls when they saw the full extent of the outrage.

  8. Schildkrote says:

    I like the little jabs at people astounded about EA winning the WCIA that the authors throw into all these video game posts.

    “Ha ha, those guys sure are upset that a site about consumer issues has let a company that’s ruined the lives of millions consumers off the hook in favor of a company that made a few nerds upset! What will they complain about next, the fact that we don’t proofread anything?!”

  9. dolemite says:

    It’s a shame it’s Origin only. I picked up 2 for the PC back on a Steam sale, and played 1 on the Xbox. I might pick it up for Xbox when it’s $15. I simply don’t buy games that require Origin.

  10. Mambru says:

    Can i download de DLC withouth having ME3? I don’t mean playing it (which I’ll get once I finish 2) just downloadig I’m afraind by the time I finish 3 this won’t be free

  11. CDRand says:

    **Warning: Spoilers at the End**
    The issue is not that the ending is bad, as some would suggest. The ending is not bad. It is ok. However, it is bad for the Mass Effect Series. This is why:

    At the center of the game, it is a role-playing game, an rpg. It is an rpg that was released initially in Q4 2007. Since its release, millions of players got to take on the role of “Commander Shephard” in what became a five year romance of action, adventure, decision, and consequence. One of the best ways for a player to have a great experience, whether table-top’s Dungeons & Dragons or PC’s World of Warcraft, is to have the player invest himself (or herself) into that game.

    Mass Effect did this by letting the player build their hero from the ground up. Now it’s “my hero.” I made him. Next, Mass Effect gives you a galaxy that is actively shaped by your actions. You have a hand in making the galaxy what it is and this further invests the player into it. The character design of the crew was top notch and nobody really felt two-dimensional if they had more than a couple sentences of dialogue in the game. So now the player isn’t seeing merely characters, but rather, people with wants and needs, dreams and fears.

    All these combinations create a deeply immersive experience that makes the player feel like this is not just a game, but it is their game. Having consequences from the first game follow through into the second, and the second into the third helped make it feel less like three games and more like one epic story.

    ***Spoilers below***

    Then came the end. Players are told “your choices matter,” “actions have consequences,” and “you determine the fate of the universe.” Up till the last hour of the 3rd game, this was absolutely true. But after so much time (five years of waiting), the end brings in what people have called the “Star Child,” A literal deus ex machina that before now had never been mentioned. Finally, all the player’s choices sum up to red, green, or blue. Seriously, that is it. No matter what the player chooses, they see the same bad guys running with different glowing. They see the same laser in space, just a different color. They see the same pilot standing, just with green eyes, if you chose green.

    ***End Spoilers***

    Save for a five second cut in a spot, the endings show that your choices didn’t matter, nor did your actions have consequences, and the fate of the universe was basically the same. For people that invested in a story five years in the making, getting a cookie cutter ending to such an epic was a slap in the face. That’s why there was an uproar. It’s like being told you won the lottery, and finding out it was the scratch off for $20. Or that Santa is coming and it’s actually just dad in a suit, no beard, and he’s drunk.

    It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t good for Mass Effect.

    • sweaterhogans says:

      Couldn’t agree more. The people who don’t understand all the uproar probably don’t care about the story as much as the angry people. I played all 3 back-to-back, so I was really attached to the story and the characters. To not even see ANY of them fight (and have Joker uncharacteristically fly away) at the end was one of the most annoying things. And the fact that of the last people you see before you die, none of them is your romantic interest unless you chose Liara. Proof that the ending was just slapped on without taking into account everything you did.

      I fully expected a battle with Harbinger and maybe there was a choice where you lived. The extended ending is already up on youtube, so no need to wait. I watched all 4 and while not awesome or vastly different, you at least get a bit more closure than some people ran away and everyone else is dead or stranded.

  12. Ask Lesko says:

    George Lucas has already been over the sci-fi revisionist ground.

  13. paganartist says:

    okay, I realize I’m a bit late to the party on this, but after reading some of the comments, I felt the need to interject. While I agree that artistic expression of any type should bow to public pressure, EA and Bioware were right to do the revision. The key marketing aspect of the Mass Effect series has always been the different possible outcomes based on your decisions in the game. The original endings were literally identical, with the exception of color or explosions.
    Without spoiling anything for the readers, the revised endings do not CHANGE the potential endings, but EXPLAIN the differences, and certain plot holes that allow them to make sense.
    They put a lot of effort into correcting this, and have proven the willingness to listen to their customers. It’s less about “bowing to fanboys” and more about responsiveness to the consumer.

    • paganartist says:

      ***spoiler alert*****
      these are the original endings side by side for comparison.

      almost no variance.