Charitable Donations Don’t Give You The Right To Demand Changes To Mass Effect 3

Charitable Donations Don’t Give You The Right To Demand Changes To Mass Effect 3

Note: This post contains mild spoilers.

There is a group of people on the internet demanding changes be made to the way Mass Effect 3 ended. They are serious. They are so serious, in fact, that they’ve attached themselves to the Child’s Play charity in the hope this makes them appear less “angry or entitled”.

It doesn’t work, of course, but bless them for trying.

The group, called “Retake Mass Effect”, has a mission statement, which while acknowledging “it is the right of the writers and developers of the Mass Effect series to end that series however they see fit”, very quickly goes on to “respectfully request additional endings be added”, including “a heroic ending which provides a better sense of accomplishment”.

There’s a very big line to cross between being disappointed in the creative work of others and actively demanding it be changed (or added to) to suit your own wishes. It never ceases to amaze me how often people don’t see it.

Complain all you want about how a game ends, be as disappointed as your heart can humanly take, but don’t ever start demanding story-telling by focus group. If you think game plots are bad now, wait until you see that dark future.

Retake Mass Effect – Child’s Play [Site]

Protecting Creative Risk And Integrity: Why Mass Effect 3′s Ending Should Never Be Changed [Kotaku Australia]


  • I wonder if it’s possible to use UDK or any Unreal Engine-related tools to modify the end sequence.

    • You’d need the source, not the packed, compiled disc version, but yeah, Unreal editor would work for that.

  • people need to sit down and enjoy the game. if you’re so disappointed in an ending that all those hours shooting, conversing and Owning are irrelevant to your overall experience of the game, then you clearly weren’t playing it right

    • you clearly didn’t play through those three games just to have your soul ripped out with that pointless ending, the narrative was perfect for the game until that last scene… Secondly Kotaku you are a joke, this is the last time I read your site… Every second person who comments on here bags your editors out for posting garbage and this is the prime example, you are bad mouthing people who are raising money for an actuall legitimate charity, they are putting what some would seem a waste of time to good use and you would slander them for doing so, the facts are simple Me3 has a shit ending and if you “gaming” editors actually did some “gaming” for once you would know.. Don’t shoot them down before you have spent a day in our shoes try playing a trilogy for several years only to find out in spite of everything. You have done *(mild spoiler!!!!!) and despite how hard you try, you more or less die… thanks for the loyal mass effect fans out there we have the right to want a Pre EA bioware back and shit if Bethesda can change the ending of Fallout 3, I’m sure money hungry Ea will make bioware do the same

      • It was an awesome ending. The perfect way to finish a fantastic, epic story.

        Kotaku US? Yes, they’re retarded. This article? Asking that people respect an artistic choice? MADNESS!! How dare Luke compliment people for donating to charity and ask that they not change art. Slander, I tell you, slander!

        You’ve put your spoiler there, so here’s mine. SPOLIER! I’m guessing that you just can’t play well. Because Shepard doesn’t die, sweetheart.

        In any case, if you hate the ending, as so many clearly do, it’s terrible. I feel for you, but should you be demanding that they change it? That’s the point of this article. Stop feeling so entitled and enjoy the things you like. You don’t like this? Shame, but I’m sure that you enjoy other things. Go do that.

        Don’t badmouth an author for asking people to recognise and protect art.

      • Not only do you miss the idea that in the larger picture, some things are ultimately out of your control no matter how hard you try, you go on to call the editor a dick? Did you miss the point of the article itself? Demand a change to the ending all you want, but don’t be so self righteous as to hide behind a worthwhile charity to give your meaningless cause levity. Don’t like the ending? Suck it up Nancy. It’s only a game. I too have spent years like you playing Mass Effect, but I’m not running around crying like a bitch about it. I enjoyed the game series, I can’t wait to see what the DLC brings and I eagerly await my next play through. But to call the editors dicks? Personally I’m glad this is apparently your last time reading kotaku, I’d hate the website to be polluted by such an absolute wankers presence again.

        They may be dicks, but you sir, are an absolute c***.

        If you reply btw, it renders your ”I’ll never read kotaku again!” rant invalid 🙂

        • oh yes cause your opinion is the only one that matters cause you think you know it all, we can do anything and say anything we want you post an article don’t expect everyone to agree, unless your a self-serving, egotistical cock sucking douchebag oh wait….

      • Soul ripped out? Legitimate charity? Dude listen to yourself, I’ve never heard anyone come across as so entitled, deluded and shut off from the real world before.

  • people need to sit down and enjoy the game. if you’re so disappointed in an ending that all those hours shooting, conversing and Owning are irrelevant to your overall experience of the game, then you clearly weren’t playing it right

    • if you made it through all those hours shooting, conversing and Owning and didn’t see a problem with the overall experience of the game alongside the endings, then you clearly weren’t playing the same game.

      There is so much more than the endings that needs fixing. Just try to ignore ME3 and go back and play the first again.

  • The charity has raised a huge wad of $$$ for a great cause – even some of the developers themselves are tweeting it.

    Whatever your opinions on the endings – this is good. They have also said they don’t care if they get new endings, but they’re happy that at worst they’re raising money for charity.

    Don’t make them out to be the villians they’re not.

  • If they don’t have the right then why don’t you do something to stop them.
    Luke you need to understand that:

    A) The game is ‘creative work of others’ that customers pay for. Because Bioware sell it and ask for feedback from the community, people are absolutely allowed to suggest and request changes all they want. Businesses need to listen to customer demand.
    B) It is ‘creative work’ that the player actually participates in. This isn’t a movie or book where characters, plot elements and decisions are just witnessed and are already set in stone. The player makes all of the choices in the game, and that participation results in the personal investment that has caused all of the backlash against the endings.

  • Jesus Tap-dancing Christ, Plunkett is the worst. Not just wrong, but arrogant in his wrongness, as if he’s convinced that bathing in a misinformed opinion gives his skin a youthful lustre.

    I submit that even if the fans weren’t entitled to be upset, some mid-tier gaming site stooge shouldn’t see fit to patronise a cross-section of gamers, the very people that prop up his advertising fees and cover his salary.

    • Instead he should pander to those people and only present material that will keep them safely in their comfort zone, lest they be exposed to something that they didn’t already know. I mean, what a tragedy it is to be exposed to something which might cause one to challenge their own assumptions or position, and either change one’s opinion, or perhaps reinforce it, through some kind of bizarre dialogue and debate.

      • Man, it would have been awesome if they had done this in ME3.

        It’s just a shame they chose to go with lazy writing and pandering instead.

        • And I thought the ‘problem’ was that they *weren’t* pandering to fans. Perhaps you should check your vocabulary before you spout the rhetoric.

          • They pandered to fans, the problem comes from those fans not being ‘Mass Effect fans’… subtle, but different.

      • It’s the way he went about delivering the news content, idiot, not the content itself. As I wrote very clearly. Sarcasm is best not employed unless you understand what’s actually being said.

  • Really? Could this article be any more smug? People aren’t asking for a poll of endings or anything so the whole “design by consensus” is a total crock. How is having the fans give feedback to the creators of a game they’ve invested 5 years into worse than having some EA dope going “Shit launch it now!” and release a game with probably the biggest let down ending….ever? Giving cash to a charity isn’t just trying to distance themselves from entitlement, it’s a show of how goddamn serious and disappointed they were, people are willing to pay for a new ending!

  • I was totally thinking that everyone was overreacting about this whole ending thing, then i finished the game….

    Honestly, if you haven’t experienced the ending to the game, you have no opinion, but all i can say is that all this fuss is justified, it has left a horrid taste in my mouth and its definitely not just me. I have zero desire to put either of the ME3 discs back into my xbox after that.

    It’s just a shame really, a big old shame.

  • Reminded me of the Battlestar Galactica reboot ending… very very final with no room for a sequel. The ending took me by surprise and i found it very hard to deal with after all the effort i out into all three ME games… but the end is the END. In this case it so happens the end is very very final, and i can deal with that. Praise to Bioware for putting in such a gutsy endingthat not even the fanbois could have seen coming, this is what makes classics!

  • I can’t wait till I can pick up a copy of this game second hand… Probably sometime next week by the way people complain lol

  • hmmm. . . for some reason the whole fan reaction to the end of Mass Effect 3 is starting to look like the Kübler-Ross Five Stages of Grief. . .

    I’m assuming at the very first their was denial, as in when people first saw the ending they literally didn;t want to believe it.

    Then there sure has hell was Anger, evidence of that is practically everywhere online and easily in the comments of every Kotaku article on the subject over the last week.

    And now we’re up to bargaining, if we do this (donate to charity) will you reconsider the ending to ME3. . .

  • Did you even read the page the fund raiser is on? They’re doing this very diplomatically not to mention there is a very strong argument to be made that we were incredibly short changed.

    I used to think people were a bit rough on you, but I’m seeing more and more that your style of “journalism” almost equates to half assed forum posts you’d expect down here in the comments with the rest of us uneducated masses.

  • Wait wait wait, now, I haven’t finished the game yet but I finally started looking into this. You’re telling me that no matter how many hours I pour into ME3, I’m going to get a shoddy ending? I am definitely one of those people who looks down on a game when I get a bad ending. I’m actually considering not finishing the game now….I’m loving it so far. Don’t want it to be spoiled with a bad ending.

  • A prime example of changing things that should not be changed is the movie Brazil. After American test audiences and studio execs hated the ending the studio made Terry Gilliam change the end. A wrong move then and a wrong move for Bioware now if they listen to their “Audience” .

  • I’m really confused by this thing. I am to donate my money to a charity, not because I want to help out the children in hospitals, but just so people can get their own way because they didn’t like something?

    I’m helping sick kids! Yay! *happy face* But I’m doing it angrily. Rar. *frownie face*

  • I rarely weigh in on these opinion pieces, but I’ll throw my two cents in:

    I thought the ending sucked – so much so that I’m very surprised. It feels like it was written by an entirely different author. One of the reasons I always praised the virtues of the series to my friends was the solid script and dialogue. I even went out and purchased the tie in novels as, like the games, they were written by Drew Karpyshyn and obviously extended the universe very well as a result.

    The ending not only contradicted the lessons learned within the series, but it contradicted itself, sometimes within the same sentence. It’s not that I’m not happy with the way they ended it – given the themes in the game, death is expected, if not certain – but it made absolutely no sense. I compare it to finding out Darth Vader is actually three geese tied together: yeah, it’s shocking, but it’s not exactly fitting with the rest of the universe. From what I’m seeing people are shocked because up until this point the writing has been rock solid, and the ending is…not.

    That said, I do not understand why Kotaku AU has weighed in very negatively towards this group. I understand that both you and Mark Serrels are entitled to your opinions, and I respect that, but so are these people. Your article, and his, come off as very negative and patronizing towards a group that is largely comprised of people in your target audience.

    If you don’t like what they’re doing, that’s completely fine! I agree to an extent that the chances of a change are less than slim, even given Bioware’s recent apology about the quality of the latest tie in novel. You don’t have to get involved – in fact, ignore it completely! But don’t belittle people who share a belief you don’t.

    I am actually really curious as to why the group has been copping so much hate from a gaming site. Kotaku is usually pretty positive about fan movements, and I kind of expected the site to ask people to weigh in with their opinions before insulting them.

    Either way, and no matter whether you support or loathe them, at least one good thing is coming out of the whole shebang – a charity for a worthy cause will be getting a donation.

  • You kow when the last ten minutes of a very long game completly destroy not only your experience of that game, but negatively impacts your memorys and experiences of the ones that came before and you payed money to have those experiences ruined then yes I think it’s fair to at least try to get the endings changed.
    When one of the pillars of a game’s experience is that it be YOUR experience and YOUR story where YOUR actions are meant to have an unprecidented effect on everything, there is reason to be pissed that the ending completly throws that concept out the window.

    Also understand that mass effect as a whole is not the creative baby of the mass effect 3 writers who came in for this game only. Whatever they strived for in the ending they invalidated the blood sweat and tears of the devs who came before or had nothing to do with it.

    • I’ve never thought of Mass Effect as *my* story, but as Shepard’s story with user guidance. You can influence events by making decisions, but influence can only go so far, and things will happen whether the player wants them to or not.

      I can understand that people are upset with the ending. I haven’t got there yet, so I’ll withhold judgement until I’ve played it. Attempting to force changes on a creative work is not a good idea, though.

      • In general I agree with you, forcing change to a creative product is not good but in this particualr situation I can’t help but hope they do just that.
        I enjoyed mass effect 3, i disliked the ending, I am not among those filling forums with hate or demands. Mostly I’m commenting here because it irked me how horribley one sided this article is.

  • You can give all the justifications you want but at the end of the day it’s a fan’s issue with the way the game has ended. You can’t shield it behind any other reason or justification other than you did not personally like it.

    You can have all the reasons in the world for not liking it and that’s fine. You however cannot step onto any stage and then say that it sucks because of X,Y,Z and expect to be taken seriously.

    If it was a technical component, a gameplay component or any other component other than storytelling you may have a leg to stand on. But in terms of story no matter what decisions are on offer, no matter how personal you think the story is, you are still at the whims of a creator because its not yours. Its theirs and they can do with it whatever they want.

    You do not have any right to demand that a creator changes their vision because you don’t like it. This movement is just a shield to try and get their way on something they don’t like.

    As for the notion that the game invalidates everything that has been done with its ending, guess what, you have to take satisfaction from your decisions at the time because nothing guarantees that its all gonna ‘pay off’ somewhere down the line.

    • “You do not have any right to demand that a creator changes their vision because you don’t like it. This movement is just a shield to try and get their way on something they don’t like.”

      you are talking as if there is one creator and one vision and that simply isn’t true, Mass effect 3 is not as it was envisioned during 1 and 2. When we can make decisions and alter the world and they let us and in fact encourage us to believe that we ourselves have a true role in the game it stops being just their vision, especially when they vision diverts radically not just from what happned before in that game but in the ones that came before as well.

      Your response to this is just a shield to shoddy writing disguised as self righteous defense of game creators. Mass Effect once prided itself in it’s adherance to it’s own technology, things got explained, they didn’t just happen by magic, that theme was far from present in the ending to 3.

      • Being that Mass Effect was designed by committee does not mean it’s invalid with it’s decisions. The same notion still applies, whoever made it is entitled to their vision. Just because it wasn’t the same team that did the first is disappointing but it doesn’t mean the vision has been corrupted.

        You are not playing an open world, everything is scripted and planned out depending on what choices you make. It is still their game and it plays out they way they want it to. If they want it to end the way it does who are you to say it isn’t right and demand a new one? What do Bioware owe you?

        You just followed the procedure through to the end and what happened during it is your experience and they can’t take that from you just like you can’t take the fact that Bioware created it from them. You made nothing but an experience with the framework given to you.

        Things change, its sad but its a fact of life and they changed in Mass Effect 2 and 3 but it doesn’t make them wrong. They happened and they happened as per the vision of the creators. If you don’t agree that’s fine and you can complain about that. But you don’t have a right to anything more than that.

  • So far the people who’ve said, “You’re all overreacting, it’s not that bad” are the people who haven’t actually finished the games yet. We’re also asking for DLC. We’re donating money so we can pay money to get what we were promised. Is that not good enough?

    Also, we’re just asking for what we were promised countless times.

  • Whatever your opinion is of this matter, know this:

    People have the right to their opinion, as well as the right to voice it, and if they wish, they also have the right to demand change, which is a fact that you cannot dispute otherwise the world would be one giant dictatorship. Yes, I realise that this is a matter of videogames and not of government but it’s no different from protesting in the street. You can disagree with it, but don’t dare shout down their opinions.

    And good on them for the fact that they’re willing to put money towards it: it shows that they actually care about their favourite series and I think that gives them extra right to complain.

    And yeah, don’t say a damn word unless you’ve actually finished the ending. I was thinking that it was overblown but then I finished it and I instantly realised that all the criticism is completely valid.

    • I have a right to my opinion as well as a right to voice it. If I disagree with the idiots demanding change and want to shout them down, then I will dare to do it. I have that right.

      It was a great ending, by the way.

      • Then they’ll shout you back down all the more, as is their right.

        My point is, don’t bash these people, because it is their opinion and the majority of the hate towards them is disrespectful of their opinion.

  • These guys seem insane… but the endings are sooooooooooo bad that it does kinda warrant this sort of attention.

    Considering the books received flak for having plot holes and not sticking to the logic of the universe, it’s a bit of a stretch for the third game to have a tonne of plot holes and get a lot of facts wrong, like the destruction of the mass relays NOT destroying the universe…

  • To those who donated to “Retake Mass Effect”,

    Admit it, you’re gonna be happier about getting the endings you asked for than helping children out. Of course The developers will support the cause. It doesn’t mean you’ll get what you want. And if you don’t, you’re just gonna end up disappointed anyway, and helping the cause is just gonna be a consolation.

    Hiding behind a charity didn’t need to happen. I respect the creator of the fundraiser but it’s everyone else’s motives I question…

  • To those who donated to “Retake Mass Effect”,
    Admit it, you’re gonna be happier about getting the endings you asked for than helping children out. Of course The developers will support the cause. It doesn’t mean you’ll get what you want. And if you don’t, you’re just gonna end up disappointed anyway, and helping the cause is just gonna be a consolation.
    Hiding behind a charity didn’t need to happen. I respect the creator of the fundraiser but it’s everyone else’s motives I question…

  • Oh look, another article about how the authors delicate sensibilities are offended by people who dare to be upset about the ending. Does calling a vocal portion of the fan base give you tingly feelings? Are you perhaps gunning for more ‘cred’ in the industry by portraying yourself as mature and above the common rabble? And stop making it out to be that the problem is a lack of happy ending, the problem is the ending is full of plot holes and provides no closure. If Bioware want more of our money from future DLC then they better work on fixing their core game first. How is that a problem Mr. Journalist?

  • This is a rather offensive and cruel piece, isn’t it? I understand if your opinion differs from these people, but at the end of a day, a charity has made £33,000 dollars out of this. That’s not a bad thing, surely?

    You may disagree with their reasons for doing so, you may disagree with the manner that they have expressed outrage previously, but having regarded the page you’re referencing, I don’t see that much to deplore. Mr. Plunkett, if you want to be cruel to these people, please, address your complaints to them personally. To use such a platform to make these comments seems at best to be taking advantage to ‘put the boot in’.

    Rather than send immature hate mail, it seems these people are donating to a charity, putting forward an articulate letter voicing their grievances. They’re hardly burning effegies.

    A civil discourse and polite regard for other opinions is something Kotaku Australia consistantly lacks, it seems.

  • No Luke, it’s not a demand, it’s a request. It’s a request for attention, to highlight the issues with the ME 3 ending. Nothing more.

    The charitable donation thing has a twofold objective. One is that it’s for a good cause, simple. The other is to show that those who are asking for change are not entitled brats, who go about slagging people off for not agreeing with them. These are genuine calls for attention to be paid to the way the endings were handled.

    A great big issue was made of the way choice affects your game and all that, and right at the end, none of your choices ever mattered. What was the point of us playing the previous two games then, I ask you?

    Being instantly dismissive of genuine attempts by a group of fans, because they’re fans, because they’re asking for change, and because you write articles for a respected gaming journalism site doesn’t mean you are right in being dismissive of them. Anyway, you went from quoting request and labelling it as demand, how does that work?

    • “respectfully request additional endings be added”

      “…actively demanding it be changed (or added to) to suit your own wishes”

      He really is an ignorant twat isn’t he. Look how he directly changes the meaning of “request” to “demand” in the very next paragraph.

  • I think it’s about time that Kotaku “reporters” realised that the primary reason many people are unhappy with the ending of ME3 isn’t the way it ends (I can live with that) – it’s the holes in the plot that don’t make any sense based on events from ME1 and ME2 – and even events in ME3.

    An obvious example (spoiler ahead)- I am still looking for an answer as to why the Normandy was in the mass relay when everyone else was busy fighting the Reapers – with Liara on board who had been in my squad on earth shortly before.


  • Luke,

    You don’t have to agree with the people who are asking for change, but may I point out one thing; you are doing the same thing that they are, and turning them into villains for it. Yes, Bioware has the right to end the story as they see fit. Yes, I think some people are way over reacting to a video game. BUT… just as the creator has the right to create, the fan has the right to react. If we disagree we have the right to make it known. The creative process does not come with a protection from feedback on your work, no matter how negative it may be. I think it is disgusting that you say they are hiding behind a charity to make themselves seem more legitimate. Ask the sick children who will be receiving $42k worth of toys if the giving was legitimate. You may disagree with what the people are saying… but do not ever judge their charitable actions as a farce. That is low. Have you donated any money to the cause?

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