Mass Effect 3: Space Edition Conquers Space But Can’t Handle Trees

Electronic Arts and BioWare launched their first two copies of Mass Effect 3: Space Edition to the upper atmosphere via weather balloon Thursday, but re-entry didn’t quite go as planned.

The two games, launched from San Francisco’s Lincoln Park area, drifted about an hour south into Butano State Park and fell back to Earth. The idea was that excited fans could track the balloons using on-board GPS transmitters using the website, then run out and snag the early copies as part of a contest. Instead, the first two launches of “space” copies wound up stuck in huge Pacific Northwest trees.

An EA recovery team was dispatched to the landing sites early Friday morning, where they reported finding about 10 eager fans on-hand, who were working to dislodge a copy that had landed in a tree about 150 feet in the air — to no avail.

The recovery team attempted a few high-tech means of rescuing the crashed console copies of Mass Effect 3, including “rope tied to baseball” and “tree-shaking.” As of this writing, at least one copy remains trapped high above the park floor.

On the plus side, at least the two balloons didn’t veer directly into the San Francisco Bay. Ask THQ how that works out for a promo. Still, the turn of events that find the ME3 copies out of reach and the contest waylaid seem entirely…predictable. (Also, a weather balloon can’t actually reach space. It’s impossible. But I digress.)

More Space Edition launches are planned for today and next week, starting at 10:30 PST. The next two launches will take place in Las Vegas, where fans should find game retrieval a little easier, given that Las Vegas is surrounded by desert.

If you want to participate in the contest to chase down an early copy of Mass Effect 3, hit and sign up. You’ll need an Origin account. The next launch is scheduled for Feb. 25 in New York. Next week, three launches will take place in Europe, starting with London.

You can see the progress of the retrieval effort in San Francisco on the Mass Effect Facebook page. EA says that after it rescues the stranded copies, it’ll be giving them away.

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5 Comments on Mass Effect 3: Space Edition Conquers Space But Can’t Handle Trees


On February 24, 2012 at 11:13 am

This is funny because all of my friends knew this would happen. Live in Sonoma County and we all had a bet running as to where it would lands. I’m owed a dinner. :)

Red Menace

On February 24, 2012 at 1:11 pm

Now to climb the trees.


On February 24, 2012 at 5:04 pm


Wonder what will happen when some copys end up sinking into the ocean will people go scuba diving for them?

Also 10 people and not one of them could climb a tree and get a game?


On February 24, 2012 at 5:14 pm

bear grylls can get them…


On February 25, 2012 at 11:41 am

@ Warp, I’m not willing to climb 150 feet (around 16 stories) just to get a game. lol. ME3 might be great, but it an’t worth a broken neck.