Mass Effect 3's From Ashes DLC was not developed alongside the core game, series executive producer Casey Hudson has revealed.
"It takes about 3 months from 'content complete' to bug-fix, certify, manufacture, and ship game discs. In that time we work on DLC," Hudson said on Twitter.
"DLC has fast [certification] and no [manufacturing], so if a team works very hard, they can get a DLC done in time to enjoy it with your 1st playthrough on day one. On ME3, content creators completed the game in January and moved onto the 'From Ashes' DLC, free with the [Collector's Edition] or you can buy separately."
The developer's interesting insight into BioWare's activities may have been triggered by negative responses to the revelation of the From Ashes DLC yesterday; some fans raised concerns that the DLC was a piece of the core game, without which it could not be considered complete. Critics accused BioWare and EA of profiteering by not including the DLC with all new game purchases, but instead only with the widely sold-out Collector's Edition.
BioWare's associate producer Michael Gamble also tried to reassure fans on the developer's official forums, by stating that the Prothean is "optional content" and backed up Hudson's comment that From Ashes was "was developed by a separate team" and not completed "until well after the main game went into certification."
"The Prothean is optional content that is certainly designed to appeal to long-time fans, which is why he is part of the CE offering," he said. "The Collector's Edition has been sold out in most places for some time now, and is becoming very hard to find (many players prefer not to purchase the digital version). As such, we wanted to make this content available so that [Standard Edition] buyers could also incorporate the Prothean into their game.
"Mass Effect 3 is a complete –- and a huge game — right out of the box. The content in From Ashes (after the core game was finished) and not completed until well after the main game went into certification."
Hudson and Gamble's comments seem to refute concerns raised by those feel DLC creation sucks resources out of core game development.
Highly anticipated RPG shooter hybrid Mass Effect 3 arrives on PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 in early March.