Gamers held the line: Mass Effect 3 ending is being addressed

Mass Effect 3 should have been a momentous moment for gaming, truly something to celebrate; not just for the countless gamers who have deeply invested in the universe and characters for five years now, but also for the many developers who have spent eight working on it.Instead, it has been plagued by one massive disappointment after another: day one DLC, the inability to import your Shepard, the inability to properly import your decisions from previous games, greedy watered-down multiplayer, and last but certainly not least, the ending. I say ending (singular)–even though there are three–because they’re almost completely identical, and they all had the same exact effect: fans hated them.After two long weeks of thousands of forum posts and articles and charities that raised over $60,000 for sick children, all in the name of demanding a better Mass Effect, BioWare has finally–begrudgingly–admitted defeat.Dr. Ray Muzyka, co-founder of BioWare, released the following statement this morning:As co-founder and GM of BioWare, I’m very proud of the ME3 team; I personally believe Mass Effect 3 is the best work we’ve yet created. So, it’s incredibly painful to receive feedback from our core fans that the game’s endings were not up to their expectations. Our first instinct is to defend our work and point to the high ratings offered by critics – but out of respect to our fans, we need to accept the criticism and feedback with humility.Muzyka goes on to point out (again) that he believes Mass Effect 3 is BioWare’s best game ever (take that, Dragon Age!), and that the feedback from fans was unpredictable and surprising, given how “more than 75 critics [gave] it a perfect review score.”BioWare has previously addressed the endings by saying “We’re listening,” but not necessarily that anything was being done about it. There’s an extremely interesting read on the official Mass Effect 3 forums where a former public relations agent breaks down BioWare’s careful manipulation and damage control tactics of the ongoing controversy.But having the co-founder of BioWare step in is undoubtedly the company raising the white flag (perhaps it was all those Amazon returns?). Muzyka doesn’t share exact details, but he does reveal that something aimed at alleviating the criticisms of the ending is coming.”…the team are hard at work on a number of game content initiatives that will help answer the questions, providing more clarity for those seeking further closure to their journey. You’ll hear more on this in April. We’re working hard to maintain the right balance between the artistic integrity of the original story while addressing the fan feedback we’ve received. This is in addition to our existing plan to continue providing new Mass Effect content and new full games, so rest assured that your journey in the Mass Effect universe can, and will, continue.”Notice that the ending is not being “changed” per se, only that additional closure (or closure of any kind, in this case) will be provided. Also a sequel/spin-off and lots of DLC have not so subtly been confirmed, by the co-founder of BioWare no less. That’ll help make people forget how angry they are, right?While this is a major victory for all those who felt wronged by BioWare’s ill-conceived finale, it’s certainly not the first time a developer has accommodated fan feedback. Bethesda did exactly that with Fallout 3, allowing players to choose an alternate ending and continue their adventure through a handful of expansion packs.

Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City is half SOCOM, half Left 4 Dead, and half-finished (review)

From the moment Operation Raccoon City starts, you know you’re not sitting down to the typical Resident Evil experience. The title screen music is a remix of one of the franchise’s most familiar themes, seemingly as a throwback to Marilyn Manson’s edgy take from the first film’s soundtrack. It’s faster-paced and more synthesized than Resident Evil generally tends to be, and deftly represents the game you’re about to play.

Pre-Mortem: King’s Bounty project lead introduces new race and units (exclusive)

Editor’s Note: GamesBeat is proud to kick off our exclusive Pre-Mortem series of dev diaries with King’s Bounty: Warriors of the North. In each Pre-Mortem, an individual team member will discuss specific aspects of a game, shedding light on the decisions made, sources of inspiration, and much more. We hope it provides an informative, personal, and entertaining look into the art of game design. Enjoy! –Sebastian

Star Wars: The Old Republic goes free-to-play this weekend only

BioWare has announced Star Wars: The Old Republic will be free-to-play from March 15 to March 19. The popular massively multiplayer game’s “Weekend Pass Free Trial” allows anyone to sample the opening adventures of the eight different character classes in the game, as well as some player-versus-player Warzones, and early faction-specific Flashpoints (four-man instances).

Mass Effect 3 is an unfitting finale for an outstanding franchise (review)

Mass Effect’s finale has been a long time in the making. Commander Shepard and developer BioWare have taken players on an interactive odyssey whose quality is rarely seen in video games, and impossible in any other entertainment medium. That alone infuses the third and final entry in this epic space saga with copious amounts of anticipation and nostalgia. But as George Lucas has taught us, high expectations and benefit of the doubt are two extremely dangerous practices.

See what Tim Schafer is doing with all your (his) money

Remember that time game maker Tim Schafer asked for $400,000 on Kickstarter and the world gave him $2.5 million? You might be wondering what he’s done with said riches, and how he’ll be putting them to good use. Last night Schafer provided the following images as inspiration for Cliff Bleszinksi, who took over hosting duties at this year’s Game Developers Choice Awards.

Street Fighter X Tekken features MIA, 14 DLC characters already on the disc

While Mass Effect 3 is taking the lion’s share of lashback over shady business practices this week, Capcom has also found themselves on the wrong end of fan criticism. The highly anticipated crossover, Street Fighter X Tekken, released yesterday alongside Mass Effect 3, only the excitement was soon met with outrage when it was revealed that the 14 previously announced DLC characters (including Pac-Man and Mega Man) were already included on the disc.

Trials Evolution creative director discusses going bigger, multiplayer, and female riders (interview)

Trials HD is one of the best-selling Xbox Live Arcade games to date, and for good reason. Released in 2009, the creative, side-scrolling physics-based platformer takes place entirely on two wheels. Coupled with user-created tracks, the game has near-endless value, and is surprisingly entertaining. Needless to say, its upcoming successor, Trials Evolution, has some lofty shoes to fill.

New Assassin’s Creed III trailer and tons of leaked details [updated]

NeoGAF user Nirolak has gotten a hold of the Assassin’s Creed III cover story in the latest issue of Game Informer Magazine. Nirolak disseminated and shared the best bits of the article online, revealing a great deal about Ubisoft’s upcoming title. Needless to say, it’s looking like Assassin’s Creed III is exactly the game the franchise needed after Revelations.

PlayStation Vita Launch Awards

Welcome to GamesBeat’s PlayStation Vita launch awards. Released on February 22 in North America, the Vita has already had a steady blend of critical acclaim and controversy, but who cares about all that? This feature is (mostly) about the games! Plus, we didn’t want to wait until December to hold our next awards ceremony.

Inside source reports Darkstalkers 4 is in the works (exclusive)

In January, we posted a rumor citing a reliable inside source at Capcom who told us Resident Evil 6 was coming. The game would allegedly feature both Chris Redfield and Leon S. Kennedy as the main protaganists, as well as a happy mix between classic small-town survival horror and the franchise’s more recent action-oriented gameplay. Officially, PR told us, “Capcom has made no announcements.”

Did the Skyrim map app update just eat all of your in-app purchases?

Bethesda recently released The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Official World Interactive Map app for the iPhone and iPad. Free-to-download, the app provides an interactive map of the expansive virtual continent of Skyrim, and will undoubtedly come in handy for those of us still exploring every nook and cranny the gargantuan game has to offer. The app offers a number of premium upgrades that will expand its database to include dungeon maps, item locations, and much more.

The high cost of being indie (infographic)

Being indie ain’t easy. Without the safety blanket of a publisher or the wallet of an angel investor, many indie devs rely on personal loans, credit cards, and scrape by on the meager profits of their last game month-to-month. Cipher Prime is one such developer, and has provided an infographic to illustrate where $15,000 goes each month.

How to get your start in the game industry

Crystal Dynamics Community & Communication Manager Meagan Marie was recently a guest at Katsucon in Washington, D.C., where she presented a panel on how to get a start in the gaming industry. Before joining Crystal Dynamics to work on the upcoming Tomb Raider reboot, Marie was an Associate Editor at Game Informer, the world’s most-read gaming magazine.

Pick two classic D&D games, and you can win them for free!

Good Old Games (gog.com), keeper of all things classic and gamey, is currently holding a buy one, get one free promotion for a bunch of Dungeons & Dragons PC games. GamesBeat is going one step further and has partnered up with GOG to give 10 lucky winners (two winners a day for the next five days) two D&D-flavored titles of their choosing, free.

PlayStation Vita game giveaway!

The PlayStation Vita launch is happening right now. For all those looking to upgrade their gaming-on-the-go to the next level, GamesBeat is giving away a bunch of Vita launch games so that you can focus on buying memory cards, 3G data plans, or, of course, more games!

Everything you need to know about the PlayStation Vita

This week marks the launch of the PlayStation Vita, the successor to Sony’s PlayStation Portable handheld gaming device. Launched last December in Japan, the Vita did not fare particularly well, being consistently outsold by its predecessor even during the Christmas shopping period. Part of the blame lay on a more Western-friendly lineup of launch titles, but is another portable device really what the mass public wants, or are we all satisfied with our multipurpose iPhones and tablets?

Red Dead Redemption studio worked on an “interactive girlfriend project” for Microsoft

Before there was Halo, there was XGirl, apparently. Former Angel Studios Chief Creative Officer Michael Limber lists some interesting design work on his online portfolio, including what he describes as an “interactive girlfriend project” for Microsoft for the launch of the original Xbox. XGirl had “natural engaging facial animations” and “reacted to various controller inputs.”