[Please note I’ll be talking about a couple of minor spoilers.]
I’m not the first person to say on the internet that Mass Effect 3 has had a long string of bad luck. Pretty much everything there is to know about the game is out there for the world to see. In addition to story leaks, there was a slip about the launch-day DLC and its contents, which was met with so much fan rage BioWare felt the need to defend it. The other unintentional leak was a couple (of particular) images from the Art of Mass Effect book. Both leaks are related to each other.
Launch-day DLC doesn’t irk me per se, but it does irk me when content, such as characters, are withheld from the game. The fact that it’s a Prothean squadmate is an eyebrow-raiser as well. I have mixed feelings about this Prothean, but his artwork is what gets me. It looks like they didn’t even try to put a smidgen of effort into his character design. It’s just a ME2 Collector with a different skin. I mean the head: maybe. Maybe. But the rest of the body? I know you can do better, BioWare. I mean I kind of like the idea of the Collectors looking similar to the Protheans, but at the same time I felt the Collector appearance represented just how changed the Protheans had become, and that what they once were was truly no more. But this is merely nitpicking. As I said, I don’t like it when characters are withheld from the game, but withholding this squadmate in particular seems incredibly dumb. In a game that’s all about finding a way to stop the Reapers, you would think one such as a Prothean would be essential to the plot.
With all that said and (almost) done, the art for EDI is what truly enrages me. Who seriously thought it was a good idea to give an AI a “sexy robot body”? This is as stupid as it is cheap. I am so glad I am not the only one who is enraged by this. Why did they do this to such a good character? Was there a demand? It seems like too many people are pissed for this to be the case. Of course the undeniable truth is that “sex sells” but it’s not like this was even a marketing move–in fact, it’s not in the marketing at all–they tried to keep this under wraps. I get the feeling BioWare holds its fanbase in contempt–not necessarily in a bad way, but that they feel like they can get away with garbage like this and Mass Effect fans would think it was an “awesome surprise/service” (as opposed to a bad one).
This is what I would do differently: if we are going to have a Prothean, then I would make him part of the vanilla game and have him become significantly more integral to the plot of Mass Effect 3. For EDI, if we have to have a body, then she can be the optional day-1 DLC in place of the Prothean. Also, don’t make it “sexy.” The objectification of women in games is already bad enough. Instead, have her inhabit a hulking tank of some kind of combat mech, making her thematically similar to Shale from Dragon Age: Origins. You guys remember Shale right?
EDI could be like Shale (though not so bloodthirsty, of course), and Shale = Awesomesauce. Gameplay-wise, she could be some kind of tank/engineer hybrid. I think it would be ironic and hilarious. Could you imagine Joker’s reaction? He would totally freak out!
Y’know, now that I think about it, since EA are the guys who gave us both the “Your Mom Hates Dead Space 2” and the “Sin to Win” marketing shticks, it wouldn’t surprise me in the least if some of the Mass Effect 3 leaks (like “sexy EDI”) are part of a marketing “plan” of theirs.