Large amount of Mass Effect 3 footage leaks, Bioware apologizes

This week, Microsoft began it's "Fall Preview" program for the new Xbox 360 dashboard. The preview program allows users to try the next generation dashboard before the rest of the world, but for many users it came with an extra treat -- Mass Effect 3.

The game was not planned to be available to the public, which is obvious through the placeholder textures and music not intended for release. BioWare quickly released a statement, as well as pulling the game. The company said that:

As most of you know by now, this evening an accidental leak occurred of some early Mass Effect 3 beta code. Microsoft has advised us that through human error at their end, content which was meant for internal beta testing was flagged incorrectly and released to individuals who had signed up for the beta of the Xbox Live dashboard update. It has since been taken down and deactivated.

This is a big deal. The leak that was online contains a large chunk of the game, it's playable, and it reveals new features about the service. Play Mag reports that new modes are as follows:

Action Mode: For those who want to emphasize action and combat and minimize story management.

Story Mode: For those who want to emphasize story immersion and minimize combat pressure. Story mode will set manually-selectable replies in conversation and a minimal combat difficulty.

RPG Mode: For those who want to explore both realms of story and combat. RPG mode will set manually-selectable replies in conversation and a normal combat difficulty.

The beta also has support for EA's Origin service, as well as multiplayer baked in. Multiplayer contains two maps; "White" and "Ghost" and has playable races of those in the Mass Effect Universe. Play Mag says that those who tried the Multiplayer weren't impressed at this stage.

BioWare went on to say that:

We’d like to stress that the leaked code is in a rough, unfinished state and was not meant for public release. The content is not final, and is not reflective of the quality of the finished, polished game due for release on March 6, 2012 (March 9 in Europe).

One feature that was present in this early build is a set of game play modes that are in development. In the beta code they are referred to as “action mode”, “story mode” and “RPG mode”. We want to stress that these features are still in the early stages of development and will receive considerable iteration and refinement. These modes are designed to give players an even finer degree of control over their game experience than ever before. Whether it be someone who finds the combat difficult but wants to experience the amazing story, someone who wants to focus on the action and combat game play, or fans who want the rich, story-driven RPG Mass Effect experience they’ve come to love – Mass Effect 3 will support all of these options. We’ll have more info in the days ahead!”

This is a serious blow for BioWare, as most companies like to be able to tease releases like this and keep the story exciting and secret. 

Unfortunately the game cannot be played anymore, even if downloaded, as you need to be connected to Xbox Live to play single player and â€‹multiplayer. We hope this isn't a view of whats to come.

We've embedded the mind-boggling first 14 minutes of gameplay. If you dislike spoilers, you'll probably want to avoid this one.

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I've been in beta games on the xbox and both of them required a online live account to start the game. Just like the Indie games do. Its not a sign of things to come, but a protection for little problems this.

With all the bugs it looked outstanding .... I am so glad I got the ultimate ME3 pre-order. Those guys deserve it.

Not at all phased by the leak or spoiler, enjoyed it to the max.

That's unfortunate.... for the people that downloaded it, why ruin the game by playing it before it's done? I'm not even going to watch that video.

JaredFrost said,
That's unfortunate.... for the people that downloaded it, why ruin the game by playing it before it's done? I'm not even going to watch that video.

Because they are in the beta for the dashboard update... they are testing the update and maybe, just maybe they thought the game was there to test new features too ?

sagum said,

Because they are in the beta for the dashboard update... they are testing the update and maybe, just maybe they thought the game was there to test new features too ?

Usually when they want you to test features, they tell you about it on the Microsoft Connect page, and ask for input on them. But on a third party game?

But I wasn't really commenting on that, I was commenting on the fact they might ruin the game experience for themselves when it is complete in the spoiler sense.

I love all these "accidents". A lot of these are carefully planned marketing ploys themselves. I bet no one at Neowin had any intention of talking about Mass Effect 3 this week when Call of Duty MW3 and Skyrim release but then "Oopsie" Bioware or whoever pulled a nip slip and now their game is getting some attention too.

AmazingRando said,
I love all these "accidents". A lot of these are carefully planned marketing ploys themselves. I bet no one at Neowin had any intention of talking about Mass Effect 3 this week when Call of Duty MW3 and Skyrim release but then "Oopsie" Bioware or whoever pulled a nip slip and now their game is getting some attention too.
Attention isn't always a good thing, especially if that attention is placed on an unfinished product.

"Microsoft has advised us that through human error at their end, content which was meant for internal beta testing was flagged incorrectly and released to individuals..."


"The question is, was it Microsoft's fault, or was it actually BioWare to blame."

How can there be a freaking question if the awner was already given????


I played both missions available and played some coop and as buggy as it was it got me so excited.

I didn't have the same problem with the A button that this video shows. I was able to jump the gap easily.

It was definitely buggy but I enjoyed it. Little spoiler territory here and there but most of it people were theorizing anyway.

So much to get me excited about it. But I'm already a huge Mass Effect fan so it didn't really matter. lol

Granted its beta code, but honestly, it was like 3 minutes of load time. And when Shepard tried to jump over that hole, he got stuck because the AI for Anderson wouldn't move. Wtf?

rkenshin said,
Granted its beta code, but honestly, it was like 3 minutes of load time. And when Shepard tried to jump over that hole, he got stuck because the AI for Anderson wouldn't move. Wtf?

Mass Effect has never had fast load times though, I think it's kind of expected.

There's still roughly 5 months before the game gets released, so it shouldn't be a big deal. That's more than enough time to fix some issues no one should have seen to begin with.

IceBreakerG said,
There's still roughly 5 months before the game gets released, so it shouldn't be a big deal. That's more than enough time to fix some issues no one should have seen to begin with.

I'm also hearing (though I cannot confirm) that this is a pre E3 build

rkenshin said,
Granted its beta code, but honestly, it was like 3 minutes of load time. And when Shepard tried to jump over that hole, he got stuck because the AI for Anderson wouldn't move. Wtf?

It's beta!! That's why it's a screw-up, people jump to conclusions about something which will undergo at least 3 more months of excruciating dev work... Wait for RTM then whine.

Jub Fequois said,
What a disgrace. Way to **** up for a developer whose games you enjoy...

Way to completely overreact over something that is many months old, early beta and will probably be changed many times. But last time I remember, having OPTIONS is good.