Nov. 8, 2011 at 4:39 PM ET
It seems it's been a leak-filled week for the developers behind the forthcoming "Mass Effect 3" game.
First, early beta code for the epic sci-fi role-playing game was accidentally leaked on Microsoft's Xbox Live online gaming service. And then, some of the game's story files were leaked pretty much all over the World Wide Web.
Needless to say, the folks at development company BioWare have been busy doing damage control.
The "Mass Effect 3" beta code was accidentally made available for a short time over the weekend to some Xbox Live members. It gave players access to some single player and multiplayer sections of the game. And those who jumped into the beta quickly uploaded images and videos of the good bits to internet gaming forum NeoGaf among other places.
BioWare producer Jesse Houston was quick to respond in the company's community forum, explaining that:
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.
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 ...
He also pointed out that the new gameplay modes — "action mode," "story mode" and "RPG mode" — that gamers may have gotten a glimpse of "are still in the early stages of development and will receive considerable iteration and refinement."
Though in explaining things, Houston did give players hungry for information about the highly anticipated game a bit of new info to chew on:
"These modes are designed to give players an even finer degree of control over their game experience than ever before," he wrote. "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."
But just as that leak was getting plugged, the great "Mass Effect 3" dam sprung yet another drip. Or rather, a flood. On Monday, story files filled with spoilers began making the rounds and, again, appeared on NeoGaf.
And again, Houston took to the company's online community forum to tell players that the information in those files "is out of date and does not reflect the final story experience." He also urged fans not to read the files "if they want to experience the purest form of the story in Mass Effect 3."
But game site Kotaku reports that BioWare and Microsoft didn't stop there. Microsoft lawyers sent NeoGaf and its ISP a takedown notice insisting that all the leaked materials be removed from their discussion forums. Rather than have their ISP pull the plug on them, NeoGaf complied.
Still, it's not like the leaked material can't be found in many a corner on the Internet. (Hellooo YouTube.) The question is: Will you go seek it out?
"Mass Effect 3" doesn't launch until March 6, 2012. Of course, for fans of the "Mass Effect" series who've been waiting almost two years to find out what happens to Commander Shepard and his (or her) intergalactic pals, that date may as well be March 6, 2020. It just seems so far away...
As someone who sunk some 40 plus hours into "Mass Effect 2," I'm having just as hard a time waiting for "Mass Effect 3" to arrive as the next gamer. But I can't help but wonder: Why would you want to ruin the "Mass Effect 3" experience by reading the story and taking a peek at the gameplay ahead of time and in its unfinished version?
Look away, people. Just ... look away.
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Winda Benedetti writes about games for msnbc.com. You can follow her tweets about games and other things here on Twitter or join her in the stream here on Google+.And be sure to check out the In-Game Facebook page here.