Yesterday BioWare confirmed that Mass Effect 3 would be receiving a DLC pack called "From Ashes" on its launch date. Gamers greeted the news with accusations of greed. Executive producer Casey Hudson headed to Twitter late last night to explain the timing.
Critics maintain that "From Ashes" should've been included with the base game. They reason that BioWare released it as a separate DLC pack in order to get more money. However, Hudson says that "From Ashes" wasn't on the ME3 game disc because the game was finalized in January - long before they finished the DLC.
"It takes about 3 months from "content complete" to bug-fix, certify, manufacture, and ship game discs. In that time we work on DLC," said Hudson. "DLC has fast cert and no mfg., so if a team works very hard, they can get a DLC done in time to enjoy it with your 1st playthrough on day 1."
"From Ashes," which adds a new companion to Shepard's squad, will be free with the Digital Deluxe and Collector's Editions of the game. Owners of the standard edition will have to pay $10 to download the add-on.
The fact that it's paid content, rather than free to everyone, is another thorny spot for gamers. The new companion (spoiler through the link above) is perceived to be important enough to the game's story that playing ME3 without the DLC pack would render the experience "incomplete." I think it's a shaky argument, considering that none of us have played through ME3 yet. For all we know, the base game ties all the plot strands up with a neat bow and this DLC add-on will end up feeling superfluous.
Still, this the perception issue that plagues all day one DLC. A developer works to make sure an additional game content is available quickly and is then roundly criticized for not giving it away for free. Maybe BioWare should avoid future controversy by making everyone wait three months for DLC.