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“It’s horrifying, just absolutely shocking and awful,” wept one victim of the tragedy, the tears dripping off his neckbeard and splashing onto a keyboard covered in chip dust. “It’s literally worse than the Holocaust.”

So it turns out BioWare is releasing an extra squad member as DLC – included free in special editions of Mass Effect 3, and sold for about ten foreign-munnies to everybody else. It’s really that simple.

Except it’s never that simple. Obviously it’s all part of a nefarious, inter-planetary megacorporate conspiracy to put your recyclable plastics in with the regular trash, kill your unborn babies, and rip apart the very fabric of modern society and then sew it back together into an Ed Hardy shirt.

This, basically.

And the worst part is that the DLC was actually pulled from the game, even if it wasn’t, because it waaaaas, and BioWare is making – no, forcing you to pay extra to play the whole, proper thing because this character must be totally integral to the story even if you couldn’t possibly know that for sure, because you know anyway.

In fact, BioWare’s grand viziers probably had a meeting after the game was finished to decide which bit of the game was the most important bit, and removed that bit specifically, laughing maniacally as they gored the honey-glazed haunches of Sudanese refugees, sopped in the clotted blood of Siberian tigers and Chinese babies. It’s true, because you read it on the internet.

And, of course, everybody’s going to boycott* the game now, to show BioWare and EA that up with this, gamers will not put.

But seriously.

Up until a day or two ago, Mass Effect 3 was pretty much going to be the best game ever. Now, it’s just a sham and a fraud and a fey, hollow-eyed thing of perfidy and corruption, and all this because of DLC.

"BEEP BOOP LOL." Zzzzzzt! Zzzzzzzt!

The problem with it, apparently, is in two parts. The first is the squad member him-/her-/itself. I’d rather avoid spoilers here, so I’m not going to get into this except to say that, until anybody has actually played the game, they’re in no position to make claims about the squad member’s significance in the context of Mass Effect 3.

The second is that there’s launch day DLC at all, which is maybe even worse because it’s so naïve. “Oh, but they could have waited a couple of weeks, so it didn’t look like such a greedy cash grab,” rants Hypothetical Game Fan, like the developers don’t always decide on this stuff way in advance. I mean, honestly, I realise gamers spend a lot of time slaying mythical flying lizards with improbably proportioned swords for bars of gold, but let’s get real for a moment. The gaming industry is about business first, and that means maximising profits.

Here’s something most gamers don’t know – for every game sold, only about 30 percent of the cover price goes back to the publisher, and less than 10 percent to the developer. For EA to just break even on a game like Mass Effect, with a total development budget at a conservative estimate of around $50 million, they’d have to sell 2.5 million copies. That’s before any profits or bonuses or off-world holidays in private starliners. But while there’s no doubt EA is going to recoup their costs, plus loads more, it’s irrelevant – the whole point is making money, that’s how it works.

So. Choose to buy the DLC, not buy the DLC, or buy a special edition of the game and get it free. It’s that simple.

* boy∙cott [waɪn] verb

1. to pirate.

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