Mass Effect (ME) fans' relentless efforts in campaigning against the controversial ending of the epic-space-shooter trilogy is finally paying dividends, thanks to BioWare's decision to release a new ending - Extended Cut DLC - that promises to bring more clarity to the ending.
Recent announcements from BioWare and Electronic Arts (EA) confirmed the release of the extended ending DLC called Mass Effect 3: Extended Cut, as slated for a Tuesday, 26 June release. Cinematic sequences and extended epilogue scenes are said to reveal the answers avid fans of ME have been asking for, for a long time.
"[This ending] provides more of the answers and closure that players have been asking for... gives a sense of what the future holds as a result of the decisions made throughout the series [and] shows greater detail in the successes or failures based on how players achieved their endings," said BioWare in an official statement.
Neither the game maker nor the publisher has revealed anything specific about what the Extended Cut will offer gamers. So, what can Mass Effect fans really expect?
Based on fan observation as well as hints from actors and characters in the game, it is possible to make certain conclusions. Two of the game's key characters - Kaidan Alenko and EDI are set to return - in the Extended Cut. Earlier in May, the voice actors for these characters revealed their recording stint with the studio concerning the forthcoming DLC.
"Just when you thought I would never go back, they keep PULLING me back in #MassEffect!! Recording!! Yay! Wha-hoo!" tweeted Raphael Sbarge, voice actor for Alenko, on 4 May, along with a photo of a microphone in a recording booth.
In a recent interview with Shacknews, the actor voicing the male Commander Shepard - Mark Meer - expressed his views about the unexpected ending of ME3.
"As an actor, it's pretty much my job to help bring the vision of the writers to life," Meer explained, referring to the unexpected ending, "It wasn't necessarily what I expected, but then again, I didn't know what to expect."
"It wasn't really my job to figure out where the story should go. I didn't personally object to the ending, but Bioware's certainly aware of those who did, and the purpose of the upcoming Extended Cut DLC is to address some of the fans' concerns and desires for clarification," Meer added.
Meer declined to comment any further about his role in the upcoming DLC for the ME3 ending, citing a Non-Disclosure Agreement with BioWare as the reason. While Meer's statements sound positive, there are still many unanswered questions bothering die-hard ME3 fans.
That's precisely where leaked spoilers come in.
If you are at the point in the game where you see Joker trying to flee, aboard the Normandy SR2, you have to be asking yourself - "Why is Joker running from Earth?"
It seems the folk at Examiner have got their hands on the Extended Cut demo to give us hints.
Is Joker Defending Earth or Retreating?
In this particular cut-scene, Admiral Hackett commands: "All Fleets: The Crucible is armed. Disengage and head to the rendezvous point."
It is still unclear how Hackett knows the Crucible "is armed" since his last statement contradicts the first and when Shepard is talking to the Star Child the scene clearly depicts ships engaging in battle, not disengaging. The DLC, we hope, will provide a proper explanation.
The final cut-scene also reveals a stargazer talking to his child about Commander Shepard's legendary feats and victory over the Reapers and there are two interesting statements:
Child: Tell me another story about the Shepard.
Stargazer: It's getting late but, okay...one more story.
The stargazer's response clearly hints at a new story about Commander Shepard, according to a user on the forum - HoldTheLine.com. The existing ME3 ending pops out the following message after the conversation ends to the player:
"Commander Shephard has become a legend by ending the Reaper threat. Now you can continue to build that legend through further gameplay and downloadable content."
Although the above message could be hinting at multiplayer DLC's, there is every reason to believe the Extended Cut DLC will address Commander Shepard's new story as part of the new ending. At this point, the game also creates two new save files - LegendSave and NewGamePlusSave - which could link to the upcoming DLC's in way or the other. You might be wondering if LegendSave file has something to do with Commander Shepard's new quests or the new ending with upcoming DLC. Well, the Extended Cut DLC should have some answers for that.
Did we Lose the Crew or Are They Still Alive?
Contrary to earlier expectations of losing most crew members in the massive battle against the Reapers, the new twist to the tale seems to give us a chance to save them all. Examiner has posted a few photos revealing Kaiden and Ashley standing in front of Normandy's memorial wall with placeholders. Well then, the crash on an unknown planet seems to be a safe landing after all... else it would be improbable for the crew to have survived the odds.
Are Mass Effect 2 Characters Coming Back?
We think this is doubtful. However, Jessica Merizan, Community Manager at BioWare tweeted on her page that ME2 characters could indeed get some love in the Extended Cut. That is great news for those who invested time and effort in building character relationships through the game series.
Is ME3 Indoctrination Theory True?
Before we wind up, there is one last question.
Was Commander Shepard truly influenced by the Indoctrination Theory in his battle against the Reapers or was it all illusionary? The question remains a mystery as we are unaware how much of it actually affected Shepard's decision-making ability through the series, the controversial ending notwithstanding. Jessica Merizan, however, stated it was up to the players to decide if they choose to believe in the theory or not.
At the end of the day, however, gamers will have to wait until Tuesday to know what the final piece really looks like.