Mass Effect 3 Punches Worldwide Love

I wish this screenshot contained punching
Somewhere in a meeting room in EA, a place where heartbeats have been replaced with the papery flap of money being riffled, a meeting took place.

“February 12th?”
“Dear God, no. That’s the day the creator of Peanuts died!”
“Okay, how about the 13th, then?”
“Excuse me, but did you really just suggest we launch the demo on first day of the The Festival of Parentalia? There’ll be outrage! I won’t sit here and allow you to disgrace EA by -”
“Alright! Enough! February 14th? Does anything significant happen on that day? Anything at all?”
“Well, it’s the anniversary of Australian currency being decimalised, but other than that…”
“Fine. Right. Gentlemen: from this day forth, February the 14th shall forever be known as ‘The Day EA released the Mass Effect 3 demo’. Call Clintons: I have an idea for a commemorative card”

It’s a Valentine’s Day Mass(Effect)acre. The final episode in Bioware’s trilogical tale of Commander Shepard‘s has a demo looming over the most romantic day of the year. If you care about such notions, you’ll have to decide between a romantic dinner, or fighting off a Reaper attack on Earth. Multiplayer access to the two co-op maps will go live on the 17th, although you can get in on the 14th if you own Battlefield 3 and you’ve unlocked that game’s online pass. Because that’s a thing you have to do now.

You’ll need Origin to download it, and space for 15GB of story-based RPG action. Bioware’s announcement also tells us the demo’s specs, which we presume will match the full game’s.
Are you ready with your screwdriver?

CPU – 1.8 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo (equivalent AMD CPU)
RAM – 1GB for XP / 2GB RAM for Vista/Win 7
Disc Drive – 1x speed
Hard Drive – 15 GB of free space
Video – 256 MB* (with Pixel Shader 3.0 support)
Sound – DirectX 9.0c compatible
DirectX – DirectX 9.0c August 2009 (included)

Recommended Spec:

OS – Windows XP SP3/Vista SP1, Win 7
CPU – 2.4 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo (equivalent AMD CPU)
RAM – 2GB for XP / 4GB RAM for Vista/Win 7
Disc Drive – 1x speed
Hard Drive – 15 GB of free space
Video – AMD/ATI Radeon HD 4850 512 MB or greater, NVidia GeForce 9800 GT 512 MB or greater
Sound – DirectX 9.0c compatible

I fear that 1x speed requirement for the disc drive. Who has access to such fearful tech? It might be their way of telling us there’s an alien invasion on the way.


  1. Belsameth says:

    Shame about Origin being required. I was kinda looking forward to this.

    • PoulWrist says:

      The solution is to install Origin. Just like you installed Steam.

    • Icarus says:

      Yeah. I’m really in two minds about… dammit, who am I kidding, I’m going to buy it anyway. Well played, EA.

    • Chalky says:

      Yep, god damn it EA. Give me a choice between digital distributors and I’ll choose Origin if it gives me a better service.

      Completely ignoring quality of service and just blockading your competitors is such a infuriating thing to do. It’s like admitting you can’t compete but customer experience be damned, EA want all your money.

    • Fierce says:


      The point though Chalky, is that they believe they can compete, using the strength of their gaming portfolio. Which as with everything, is either strong or weak, depending on who you ask.

      Rest assured the bean counters have triple checked their Excel functions, and if EA didn’t think they’d make enough money giving Steam the silent treatment and selling direct using Origin, they wouldn’t have done it.

      It’s up to the wallet holders to tell them if they were right.

      And I don’t trust the wallet holder masses; I hear they use pepper spray during sales, argue MW3 was worth full price, and other tomfoolery.

    • Raiyan 1.0 says:

      Just keep away from the forums…

      Also, nice to see a Miracle of Sound link.

    • Lifebleeder says:

      I’d rather light myself on fire than install Origin. Luckily, I also have an Xbox.

    • Khemm says:

      It is annoying, isn’t it?

      I mean, imagine if you liked retail channels, Impulse or Gamersgate… and the games you bought there downright forced you to install a third party storefront client like, say, Steam. That would SUCK.

      It’s so good Gabe loves us all so much and he’s not resorting to such anti-competitive practices. You’re awesome, Valve!

    • ulix says:

      “Give me a choice between digital distributors and I’ll choose Origin if it gives me a better service.”

      If I understood correctly, they do give you a choice. The only choice you don’t have is Steam.

      Of course you’ll have to use the Origin software anyway, but you can buy it from different digital services if you choose to.

    • Christian says:

      “I’d rather light myself on fire than install Origin. Luckily, I also have an Xbox.”

      In my head, this translates to: “I’d rather smash my head with a hammer than light myself on fire”.
      But oh well, everybody as he/she pleases, right?

    • Prime says:

      When Half-Life or Portal appear on any download service other than Steam, THEN you can talk about Origin being unfair. They’re simply doing precisely what Valve did to us over Half-Life 2. I’m not thrilled about Yet Another Client – and I’m still not happy about using Steam at all – but I’ll probably buy Mass Effect 3 because it will drive me berserk not having an end to the story that I’ve become invested in.

    • andytt66 says:

      origin require = not going to happen.

      And to forestall the inevitable diatribe from those with less willpower… no I’m not going to “just do it anyway, admit it”. Just like I don’t play games with Ubisoft-DRM.

      And for those banging the anti-steam drum, I’d ask you.. “has steam ever disabled an account for something you posted on a forum?”

      Actually, does anyone know under what circumstances Steam *does* disable accounts? Would be quite interesting. I’ve heard it can happen if you use a proxy to circumvent their geoip/rights restrictions, or if you use or are gifted a game that was bought with a stolen credit card. A quick google finds link to, which suggests someone fell foul of something else (in game behavior?) but without details.

    • TheBigBookOfTerror says:

      Solution; install origin. Problem? Origin refuses to run on my computer. Just locks up the whole Pc.

    • Drake Sigar says:

      It took me years to tolerate Steam. Even now I avoid it whenever I can, so Origin is going to be waiting a long time for my stubbornness to dissolve.

    • Snidesworth says:

      I trust Steam. I don’t trust Origin. Therefore I will not be purchasing Mass Effect 3.

      On an entirely separate note, I wonder how long it will be before a version of the demo that doesn’t require Origin appears somewhere on the internet.

    • AshEnke says:


      My account was banned by Valve for lending my account to a friend in Russia so that he could buy me a Payday 4pack.

      His account was banned, along withmine and the three other who received the pack.

      After an awful lot of complaining, ours were unlocked, but his is still banned, although we argued that he never received any money from the transaction and it was just a trade between friends.

    • Chalky says:

      If the only reason I use origin is because EA have intentionally prevented me from choosing their competitor, then something isn’t right.

      I’ll say the same thing if Steam stop other digital distribution services from selling Half Life 3. There’s a chance they might do this, and it’ll be just as shitty.

    • mouton says:

      Yes, let’s fight over which game launcher is best. This is the most important part of the game, after all.

    • drewski says:

      @ Chalky – there’s a zero percent chance Valve let you play Half Life 3 without Steam. Just like there’s a zero percent chance EA will let you play Mass Effect 3 without having Origin.

      Half Life 3 – like every single Valve game since Half Life 2 – will require Steam.

    • Snargelfargen says:

      Well I for one, am going to buck the trend and say I’m avoiding ME3 not because of Origin, but because I am very wary of Bioware’s dlc policies. Until I know I can get the complete game for something close to retail price and my dlc purchases won’t be unauthorized by a shoddy update or poor connection, I’m playing it safe.

      If this means Shepard won’t be able to dress up as a space knight or recolor his guns, SO BE IT.

    • YourMessageHere says:

      Steam and Origin are only comparable on the surface. Yes, they are both digital distro outlets. But while Steam has proven its worth over time and against prevailing opinion (I hated it when HL2 came out, now I rarely consider anything else as a source for games), Origin has no such distinction.

      EA have been messing around with online distro for years, rather badly. They keep changing the name and function of their services, and they have zero consistency. Look at the ‘veteran’ unlocks for BFBC2: you got a special rifle if you owned any other Battlefield games, but every single one had a different kind of code or password that you had to enter. I have no confidence in the longevity of Origin based on EA’s atrocious track record. Then there’s the whole thing about data sharing (which Valve don’t do), and the thing about forum bans that carry over to all your games (which Valve also don’t do). Plus, on a personal level, I have far more hesitation giving my money to EA than I do Valve, since Valve evidently prioritise customer service and EA evidently prioritise shareholder service. And I’ve yet to find out if I can redownload without restriction from Origin, which is another dealbreaker for me.

      So no, sad though I am on some level, I’ll not be playing ME3. If Origin had never existed, I’d only have bought it when it became cheap anyway, thanks to Bioware mutating it into a quite different game to the one I started playing. I hope it’s good, of course, but I fear it’ll be far from that.

    • The Sombrero Kid says:

      EA have a long long way to go before they can acquire the kind of trust i have in steam, call me naive but i feel valve have went quite far to build that relationship and perception that once bought you will always be able to play it – EA still delete your ownership after 2 years with digital products, not to mention anyone who uses install limits warrants mistrust imo and finally i consider forcing bundling an uncompetitive product with a competitive product to offset each other as uncompetitive, anti capitalist and socially immoral, be it mobile phone contracts, games consoles or this (to suggest you avoid this affect by playing it on the consoles is idiotic ofc.).

      This is all my personal opinion obv.

    • Avenger says:

      My copy of ME2 stopped working the day Origin came out. They literally forced me to install it to be able to continue playing…

      Fuck EA… Really.

    • Lev Astov says:

      The difference between Steam and Origin is that Valve are a rather non-prolific developer and EA are a megalithic publisher. When a publisher directly sells its wares as well as wholesaling them to select other distributors, conflicts of interest abound.

      I wonder when the FTC will wake up and step in.

    • Highstorm says:

      “My copy of ME2 stopped working the day Origin came out. They literally forced me to install it to be able to continue playing…”

      Seriously? Is this a thing? I haven’t tried playing the game since then, but needed to finish up a playthrough before ME:3 (that I no longer intend on buying…)

      That is ridiculous.

    • HeavyStorm says:

      I’ll buy it, install, play, then uninstall. And format my PC for good measure.

    • Commisar says:

      Hold up, ME 3 is being sold on many more sites than Origin AND it is still being sold at retail. You need origin as a one time activator.

    • Dhatz says:

      there is a part of internet that can always help with that.

    • rocketman71 says:

      Fuck Shepard, I’m not installing Origin, not even for her.

      And especially, FUCK EA.

    • His Dudeness says:

      If Origin on its own wasn’t already a deal breaker their felching banning practices sure would be. I enjoyed ME but ME2 will be the end of the series for me when I finish it.

    • Lemming says:

      @Chalky “Yep, god damn it EA. Give me a choice between digital distributors and I’ll choose Origin if it gives me a better service.”

      So because that’s the only place the game comes from it’s a ‘better service’ is it?

    • StarkeRealm says:

      @andytt66, normally the only thing that actually gets you locked out of an account is if you are in fact hacking the system or it’s users to steal games/accounts/whatever. That post you found was weird, but I’ll admit that’s the first time I’ve heard of something like that happening.

      Certainly not through major media sites like EA’s been garnering. If you go into the Consumerist’s own comment thread there are people there doubting the poster’s veracity.

  2. WhatKateDoes says:

    Minimum specs: Sumfing as good as an EcksBocks.
    Recommended specs: the same

    ..if the occasional atrocious texture work is anything to by lol

    I for one will be delighted to play the game on my laptop as I did the sequel :)

  3. JB says:

    Wait, so the demo is the same (file) size as the full game?

    • Craig Pearson says:

      Those are the demo specs, but I’ve edited the piece to make it clear.

    • Fierce says:

      Will ME 3 PC have any DX10-11 features whatsoever? Those specs imply the entire game will be in DX9.

      Forgive me, as I haven’t read every ME3 article posted here. I ask especially since I can see them limiting the demo to DX9 for cost and pre-order cannibalization avoidance and using DX10+ as a marketing incentive…

  4. tigershuffle says:

    you wasted your best heading in a sub-heading ……Valentine’s Day Mass(Effect)acre

    you fools

    anyhoo will get the demo… an act of self(ish) love

    • torchedEARTH says:

      May you find the time to write ALL RPS titles from now on. Amen.

    • Machinations says:

      “EA, a place where heartbeats have been replaced with the papery flap of money being riffled”

      Excellent, excellent line. Made my (freezing) morning today in the arctic wasteland I call Canada.

    • StarkeRealm says:

      Not just “Valentine’s Day Massacre Effect”?

  5. NathanH says:

    Is this a hint that the game is just going to be an intergalactic dating simulator?

  6. MiniMatt says:

    Well according to popular stereotype gamers don’t have girlfriends anyway so no harm done. And no, girls don’t play computer games.

    • Prime says:

      Ha! I do so love being non-stereotypical! Not only do I have a girlfriend that lets me have real, genuine sex with her but I’ll probably end up buying her a copy of the game too so I won’t find her hogging mine every hour she gets.

      My girlfriend is awesome. :)

    • Drayk says:

      Your girlfriend IS awesome.

      Mine only let me play as long as I let her watch “Battlestar galactica”. :-P

    • Juan Carlo says:

      I talked to a girl once. In fact, I chose my words so carefully and spoke so eloquently that she allowed me to sex her right in the vagina. She wanted me to sex her some more the next day and the day after that, but I said no. I just can’t be tied down like that.

    • Nick says:

      your hand is not a girlfriend no matter how much lipstick you put on it.

    • Burning Man says:

      Posting in awesome thread for awesomeness.

    • MrPyro says:

      The wife will only play Tetris, Lemmings 2 and the Portal games. Oh, and Spider Solitaire, but that doesn’t really count.

    • Lemming says:

      I can beat all of you. My gf doesn’t play games much unless its amusing to be a P2….she likes watching me play them though!

  7. The JG Man says:

    Reading elsewhere, it was noticed that the CPU requirements are slightly down and the GPU slightly up from ME2, but it seems to be like this will be more of a direct port with little to boost the visual quality, which is a shame. Not that 2 looked bad by any stretch of the imagination, but a wasted opportunity.

    Anyhow, bare in mind that if you pre-ordered BF3 you get an early…thing, for ME3. Regardless, I shall be downloading this.

  8. Mirqy says:

    I guess wikipedia is open for business again today.

  9. Screamer says:

    Origin just implemented the best feature ever!!!! “Pause update and play now.” Why Steam still can’t do it seems like a design flaw to me…

    • Fierce says:

      Think about it like this:

      Valve, via Steam, is under legal obligation to the clients who have paid them to provide DRM services to their games that Steam hosts for them. That service entails only allowing the launch of authenticated content to legitimate owners.

      EA, via Origin, does the same but isn’t paid by anyone to be legally obligated to anything. They just provide a DRM platform for their own game catalog and nothing else.

      Enter the “Pause Update, Play Now” feature. EA can independently conclude that whoever authenticated for v1.0, can play it at 1.0 for now before going to 1.1 if they wish. Valve cannot because even if they thought such a feature was reasonable, they could only apply it to their Valve games, which triggers a snowball-down-the-hill reaction of whining from their client base about why it can’t be applied to all games, which then costs resources to explain it to the children and spray enough PR retardant to quell the flames.

      But lets pretend the feature did exist on Steam for all the games, what now? Does the feature work only once? Last a limited time before mandatory updating? If it lasts forever, how does Steam manage and authenticate multiple copies of multiple games? If a patch fixes a security breach, like closing a loophole that allowed piracy and thus the failure of the DRM, does Valve become an unwitting party to damages against their clients?

      Not so much of a design flaw anymore, is it?

    • Premium User Badge

      phuzz says:

      Is something else happening on Feb 14th?
      It’s the day Dear Esther is released.

      Sorry ME3, you just lost your first-day-purchase privileges. Day 2 for sure though, in fact, I might go replay ME2…

  10. TheApologist says:

    I think I’ve decided that Origin won’t stop me getting ME3. I’ve invested a lot of time in the series, and if the game is good I’ll be finishing the fight (wait…).

    But after that, I’ll be giving it (and thus, apparently all EA games) a wide berth until a) there is more clarity over what data it sends to EA about my machine AND I have some reasonable control over it, b) they stop banning people from playing games arbitrarily and clarify their policies regarding withdrawal of their service from paying customers, and c) they give me a very good reason not to use the services I already know and trust.

    • mpk says:

      I concur.

      I’ve invested quite a lot into the first two Mass Effects over the last year, and since I already had to install Origin to download the first two games anyway, it’s really not too much of a stretch to use it for the third.

    • Commisar says:

      @ the Aplogist Hold up, ME 3 is being sold on many more sites than Origin AND it is still being sold at retail. You need origin as a one time activator. So no problems there. Also, in regards to data, Origin looks in your Program files to find the old EA games folders and seen anonymous system hardware specs back to EA. That is all.

    • TheApologist says:

      @Commisar – sorry, you’re right – I should have been clearer. I meant ‘ME3 requiring Origin to play won’t stop me buying it’. I’ll just purchase it from wherever is cheapest, which on past form might well end up being an online retail copy. My concerns are with being required to have Origin to play. I’m still going to get it because I am invested heavily in that series, but it’s the only EA game that carries that weight with me.

      It’s interesting what you say about the specific stats it collects and sends. I guess they are relatively benign at the moment, but as I understand it, I have some control over this process in Steam but none in Origin, and the EULA leaves it open to EA to have Origin collect more information than that if they chose in future. Is that right?

      When it comes down to it, I guess I basically don’t trust EA based on their behaviour towards customers in the past.

    • Prime says:

      Why exactly does Origin require your hardware specs?

  11. TheApologist says:

    By the way – is there any word on whether the voice control functionality demonstrated on Xbox recently will make it to PC (even if only through Kinect)?

  12. Suits says:

    I’ll wait and use the costum no-origin-needed button.

    • Commisar says:

      Hold up, ME 3 is being sold on many more sites than Origin AND it is still being sold at retail. You need origin as a one time activator. So no need to get all hate-y.

    • Furtled says:

      Nope – Origin needs to remain installed and (I think but don’t know 100%) running to play ME3, single or multiplayer. EA also haven’t confirmed how patches and DLC will be distributed yet.

  13. bill says:

    Hey and it’s only 56 quid / 88 dollars as well… that’s positively a bargain compared to other Origin pricing!

    • Prime says:

      Curious…shows up as £34.99 on their webpage?

      [edit] Ah, you’re talking about the digital deluxe edition with all the art books and ‘bonus content’ and other rubbish.

  14. WMain00 says:

    Will RPS be boycotting any coverage of it given that EA has refused to take a stance on SOPA?

  15. Patches the Hyena says:

    The demo‘s 15GB? :/

  16. jezcentral says:

    Maybe EA took a leaf out of Dear Esther’s book when deciding when to releasing the demo?

  17. Drayk says:

    15 G for a demo ? And Origin needed ? I think I’ll stay away from this one.

    And given how EA showed awful behavior with the account bans, with no explanation or excuse I should problably boycott ME3. But I love the two first games so much…

    What can I do ? Pirate it ?

    • NathanH says:

      Buy it or don’t play it. If you don’t play it, send them an email to tell them why. They probably won’t read it, but it’s about the best you can do. You can also try to persuade all your friends not to buy it too.

    • Furtled says:

      Cancel your pre-order, complain to EA, the ICO and BioWare and wait for the inevitable patch that removes Origin/GOTY version without it (as happened with ME1 and it’s SecuROM surprise)?

      There’s got to be plenty of other games out there you can play while you wait for things to change and by that point it’ll be cheaper anyway – win all ’round :)

  18. JohnnyMaverik says:

    **Reads “Are you ready with your screwdriver?”**

    **Looks at recommended specs**


    • stahlwerk says:

      **Reads “Shader Model 3.0″**
      **Looks at Laptop**

    • Network Crayon says:

      Are system spec’s becoming a little redundant?

      I appreciate that if your using a lap-top they may well matter but im beginning to feel like specs mean more along the lines of “if it’ll play on an xbox360, your average PC will handle it easy”. Im probably wrong about this, but surely multi-platform games can’t be truely taxing for a mordernish PC, just look at Crysis 2?

  19. Vagrant says:

    I don’t have a problem with Origin, but I do take issue with the $59.99 price. I’ve boycotted every game since Doom 3 that ran that price point. Wake me when there’s a price drop.

  20. BrightCandle says:

    EA is part of an organisation that is supporting SOPA. They pay money to lobby for it. You should boycott them permenantly for trying to remove your internet server let alone the other attacks on your freedoms (Origin).

    If you can work out how to control your urges to buy games that are encumbered then maybe we could finally get this problem fixed by making games flops because of the DRM. As it is every year for the last 10 has been a loss of freedoms progressively, Orwell would not be proud.

  21. Frek says:

    So yesterday you close down the site in order to protest SOPA. Today you run a story promoting a game from a company that supports SOPA.

    Well played.

    • LennyLeonardo says:

      Hmm. I don’t think ‘reporting on’ is the same as ‘promoting’. And since the anti-SOPA position is all about protesting the threat to the freedom of information on the internet, refusing to publish info on EA games would seem a bit backwards to me.

    • Frek says:

      I agree with you that they should still freely report on games. However, isn’t it odd to shut down the site in protest of SOPA only to write a story the next day that does ‘promote’ and yes this article does help promote ME3 made by EA/Bioware that will use it’s leverage to turn around and lobby for SOPA.

      Come on I don’t think I’m the only one who finds this strange. Either you’re against SOPA or you’re not. If you’re against SOPA then you are against companies that support it. (can you financially support a company that wants to take away internet freedom?)

      It really comes down to “we just want to play the shiny game” doesn’t it?

    • Prime says:

      Your mistake, Frek, is to assume EA is one big monolithic block of intellectual solidarity and every component of the vast organisation thinks alike. Do the developers of Mass Effect 3 themselves support SOPA? If so, then I’d consider boycotting it. They may support greater protection of content, which most content creators do, but are they happy with how SOPA is worded/structured?

      But if it’s just EA’s legal teams and upper management speaking up in support of it then that’s different. In every business you’ll get competing opinions within the same teams, never mind departments. Try not to be so black and white in your approach to life. I see no discord between opposing SOPA and purchasing an EA title.

  22. Syra says:

    It’s a Valentine’s Day Mass(Effect)acre

    I am crying blood right now.

  23. celozzip says:

    sorry is that 15gb for the demo??? i won’t be playing it then…

    • Tuskin38 says:

      I’m going to assume that is the specs for the full version, not the demo… since it also lists requiring DVD drive.

  24. Tuskin38 says:

    according to the official thread on the subject, there are other Digital Services offering ME3 other then Origin, its just steam isn’t one of them.
    Plus the working on the post indicates you just need Origin for the initial download and authorization, and that you can close origin and just run the EXE directly.

    • Furtled says:

      Nope – Origin needs to be installed (and possibly running, no-one at BW or EA has confirmed yet) to play ME3, single or multi-player.

  25. Kevin says:

    Nice of Bioware to have kept the system requirements for their games pretty tame over the years. I may have an AMD Phenom II X6 with a Radeon HD 6670 now, but I can feel for those who don’t quite have that much horsepower under the hood.

  26. vodkarn says:

    If this is a one-time Origin whatever authorization, I would consider the game.

    However EA is pro-SOPA, so I’ll have to find something else.

    • Prime says:

      EA the publisher is pro-SOPA so Bioware the developers have to suffer as a result, despite the possibility they may strongly disagree with SOPA?

  27. Furtled says:

    Already cancelled my pre-orders.

    Origin isn’t a one time activator – it’s needed to both activate the game and MUST be installed (and running? I can’t get any confirmation on that) in order to play the game (single or multiplayer). EA also haven’t confirmed if patches and DLCs will be available outside Origin, and to top it off there’s no option to opt out of data collection in Origin.

    Being effectively blackmailed into bloatware like Origin if I want to play a game is bad enough, the data collection thing is just icing on the particularly brown & smelly cake.

    On a semi-related side note: Did EA ever come back about the forum ban = game ban issue?