Earlier today, an internal beta version of Mass Effect 3 made its way to Xbox Live, and was downloadable by anyone who had signed up to beta test a new Xbox Live dashboard update last month. This was due to "human error" at Microsoft's end, and it has since been removed. Of course, users who managed to sneak a peek have since posted screenshots, videos, and information to the Internet, including over on the NeoGAF forums. The most interesting tidbit, to me, is the offering of an Action, Story, or RPG mode, with action mode automatically selecting replies for you so you can focus on the action, story mode tweaking down the action so you can focus on the story, and RPG mode offering to "explore both realms of story and combat". Producer Jesse Houston has since offered a response:
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.
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!