Monday, March 12, 2012

Mass Effect 3′s Prothean Character Unlockable Without DLC (PC Only)

Suffice to say, there are spoilers here.
2 weeks ago, BioWare raised eyebrows and invited widespread mockery when Casey Hudson claimed that Mass Effect 3′s launch-date DLC, From Ashes, was not content removed from the finished game. Instead, he claimed, work didn’t begin until after ME3 went gold. At the time, I noted that whether or not this is true, what Hudson seemed to be saying what that the entirety of From Ashes had been completed in less than a month, which seems an astonishingly short period of time. After playing From Ashes (our review will be up later today), I’m convinced I was right.
The DLC contains not only a (relatively short) new mission pack and a permanent new squad member (a preserved Prothean named Javik). It also contains 3 extensive and lengthy cinematic cut scenes. It adds some very meaty new conversations (including one on the Citadel). It contributes crucial, context-changing in-mission dialogue when you include Javik in your party. And finally, it adds a critically important cutscene and attendent dialogue tree immediately after the mission set on the Asari Homeworld that actually makes the events of that mission more poignant and further develops Liara.
Or put another way, BioWare’s claims that the packet was developed in around one month do not have the ring of truth. And now, there appears to be proof; a set of instructions, posted yesterday to youtube, shows you how to unlock the Prothean squad member on the PC version of Mass Effect 3, without purchasing the DLC. Here’s how to do it:
1. Go into your Mass Efefct 3 file and open Coalesced.bin with the ME3 Coalesced Utility.
2. Search for this: MemberValidCID=22, MemberAvailablePlotLabel=IsSelectableProthean,
3. Replace with this: MemberValidCID=, MemberAvailablePlotLabel=,
This should immediately make Javik appear as a selectable squad member. A video of the technique, one that also firmly J’accuses BioWare over this is also included. Here it is, with visual proof that it works:

For their Part, EA has issued an official statement that puts the inclusion of Javik in context, sticking to the claim that the DLC was in fact not completed until after the main game went gold:
From Ashes is a 600 MB+ download with all new content, including the mission on Eden Prime, new dialogue options and conversations with Javik, new cinematics, the Prothean weapon, and new appearances for all squad members. All of the above content was completed while the main game was in certification and are not available on the disc.
“As stated previously, in order to seamlessly integrate Javik into the core campaign, certain framework elements and character models needed to be put on disc. We did something similar with Zaeed and Kasumi in Mass Effect 2.
Naturally, it’s entirely true that you need to DLC to unlock the actual mission pack. That doesn’t mean it wasn’t created sooner than they claim, especially considering how involved it is. Because I procured by copy of Mass Effect 3 early, I have been playing on Xbox 360 (I know, I know), but I’ll be testing this out on the PC version shortly; fellow Game Front staffers are already doing so. In the meantime, let us know in comments if you’ve managed to make this work, and of course, whether you buy this.