Mass Effect 3: Extended Cut. Fan Service and Midi-Chlorians

Merely a day after my ramblings about Mass Effect 3’s conclusion, it seems that the folks at BioWare are going to release a post-game DLC entitled Mass Effect 3: Extended Cut to explain the rather bleak and abrupt ending.

While rabid, vocal, rage-prone fans would consider this a win, I’m beginning to wonder when the hell did the industry devolve into fan service? Rather, would I be wrong to use the word “devolve” in the first place? Reason being, games were first products sold off the shelf, then the business model evolved to sell them as a service, keeping you engaged over the initial “OMG I HAZ NEW GAME TO PLAY” phase what with post-launch DLC and enhanced rosters (FIFA, NBA) among other things.

And then we have this step from BioWare thrown into the mix. A combination of some rather vibrant feedback and developers responding publicly. Though they aren’t going to change the ending, they’re offering more insight into what happened which should keep most if not all fans in check. A sort of collaborative post-game DLC if you will, squarely purposed around giving fans what they want, even if it isn’t exactly all of it.

Considering that consoles have long development cycles (compared to other devices) and sky high development costs, it isn’t such a bad thing to keep your existing audience happy. After all it’s easier to keep an already receptive gamer buying your new iterations (such as the rumoured Mass Shift game that takes elements from The Lost Guardian) with minimal marketing effort.

I do wonder though, what kind of precedent this sets.Since the smaller publishers don’t have the budgets of an EA and there are costs involved in hosting DLC on platforms such as Xbox Live and PSN as well as royalties, it becomes tougher to justify creating content on platforms that isn’t as open as say, Steam.

Most of all though, it smirks in the face of even considering games as art and puts it in the same category as cheesy anime and manga which is obviously anything but. Not that it matters though. If anything, this move will ensure sales of the next Mass Effect game are robust.

As for me, I’m curious to see what direction BioWare takes with the franchise though I believe that some mysteries, no matter how bleak and abrupt, should be kept as mysteries. The last thing I want, is another midi-chlorian moment. That’s what spoiled Star Wars for me. I don’t want the video game equivalent of Star Wars going down the same path.

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