Mass Effect 3 Outcry Answered With A New Ending For A Completely Different Game

Mass Effect 3 Outcry Answered With A New Ending For A Completely Different Game

In response to the fan outcry over the disappointing ending to Mass Effect 3, indie developer Mode 7 has changed the ending for strategy game Frozen Synapse to conform to community suggestions. Now it has a pony in it. And a dinosaur. And a message.

“This is the ending to a computer game,” declares Frozen Synapse‘s new ending cut scene. “We don’t care if you like it.”

The new sequence was created in reaction to the overwhelming negative response developer BioWare has been met with since the release of Mass Effect 3, the final chapter in the saga of Commander Shepard versus the giant metal space squids. Distraught fans unhappy with the way the game’s creators decided to conclude the story have made so much noise that BioWare co-founder Dr Ray Muzyka addressed the issue personally, informing the community that the Mass Effect team was working on “game content initiatives that will help answer the questions, providing more clarity for those seeking further closure to their journey.”

While this appears to be a win for Mass Effect fans, the issue continues to be hotly debated in the gaming community at large. Some argue that demanding a story be changed to better satisfy players’ concept of what an ending should be is a blow against artistic vision and integrity. Others see this as an evolutionary stepping stone for video games, leading to a future where players don’t just interact with the environments and enemies but with the story itself.

“We can’t expect the outcome of our stories to conform to our own preconceptions” continues Frozen Synapse’s new ending. While this new ending will only be around for a week or so its message and the accompanying explanation from of Mode 7’s Paul Taylor should resonate for quite some time.

“This is not a criticism of Bioware or anything they have said / done. It is an experiment: I wanted to know how this felt. Honestly, it felt like vandalising my own work, which was interesting.”

We changed the ending of Frozen Synapse [Mode 7]


  • I don’t expect outcomes of stories to conform to my own preconceptions. I prefer when they don’t.
    I do expect outcomes of stories to conform to the logic and predefined laws of their own fiction. When an outcome doesn’t do this I think it’s perfectly reasonable to voice a negative opinion about it. (Though at that point demanding that it be fixed is kind of pointless. It’d be a better idea to just let it die a quiet death as you move on to better things.)

    • I don’t mean that to sound dismissive of Taylor or the idea that authors changing their work due to popular opinion is a terrible one. I think that’s valid.

      What I am saying is that this doesn’t really apply to what’s been going on with Mass Effect 3 in all the ways that some people seem to believe it does. Frozen Synapse isn’t dealing with AAA budgets and all the pressure that brings from a publisher like EA at every turn, it hasn’t lost its original author, it isn’t a game that promised to deliver many and varied endings depending on player choice throughout 3 entries, etc, etc…

      Changing the ending to a game like Frozen Synapse is one animal. This business with Mass Effect 3’s ending and the ‘change’ that’s being applied to it, assuming it wasn’t a planned DLC move, is not the same animal. In fact it’s just what I said it is… it’s ‘business’.

      This whole issue is becoming so clouded by the whole “artistic integrity” angle that’s being forced upon it that the actually situation itself is being obscured. I believe artistic integrity is important and shouldn’t be compromised and all that, but that is not what’s going on here. We’re not talking about the work of an ‘auteur’ or something that was intended from the beginning of the work. We’re talking about a AAA video game published by EA, or in other words, a multi-million dollar investment in a product meant to appeal to the broadest audience possible.

      If suddenly Braid’s ending is changed due to public outcry, then that might be an appropriate topic for the ‘artistic integrity’ debate… but it’s not.

      • This guy get’s it.

        I to am tired of the artistic integrity angle. I would not ask a painter to change a character in a painting because I didn’t like it. I would not ask a sculpter to add to his creation because I didn’t like it. Most of these art forms are static, like a photograph which takes a snapshot of that moment in time.
        Some would argue that a book should not be changed due to artistic integrity, but what has bioware just done recently? and why did they do it? because it was full of plot holes and made no sense. It had to be done to try and SAVE the creators ‘integrity’. Because the book has already been printed, you cannot undo what has been done, just release some more books and send them out, the originals still exist. With video games, it is digital, the game can be fixed with patches that wipes over the original.

        This is not an artistic integrity debate, its a broken game that needs to be fixed with a patch.

      • Is your argument essentially that big budget games don’t get to have artistic integrity? If so, that’s truly horrifying and is not something I believe at all. I may agree that the ME3 ending had some issues, but for creating an ending they new wouldn’t make everyone happy, Bioware deserves my respect. They deserve yours too.

        • Where was Bioware’s artistic integrity when they decided to cut out part of the game and sell it as DLC. Where was their artistic integrity when they decided the last two words you saw were downladable content and not The End. Where was their artistic integirty when they decided to hold a fan voted beauty contest to decide what female Shepard would look like.

          If Bioware wants to use artistic integrity as a defence then they should have maintained that integrity through every stage of the game’s development, not just when it suited them.

        • No, they created an ending that was broken and needs to be fixed. I don’t hate the ending because it isn’t the outcome I wanted, I hate it because it is full of plot holes. They do not deserve respect for something faulty.

        • The ending had a huge plothole. Your crew is dead on the ground, but then you see them getting out of a spaceship with Joker who was fleeing Earth for some dumb reason.

          I think this was planned all along, and everything after being hit with the beam is a dream sequence, and Bioware are scum for planning this.

  • hey mode 7 games are a commercial artform you need to be able to sell what you make and im sorry if i seem entitled but when i buy a game i at least expect it to be in line with its own lore and not be completly riddled with plot holes

  • We are not against artistic integrity. We are against false advertising and plot holes. This indy dveloper who only a select few would have even heard of is simply trying to make himself look like a struggling artist fighting against the evils of corporate gaming. Its a publicity grab for a game which few people care about.

    • this is what Kotaku should have done but only one writer agrees that the ending is unsatisfactory. they need to get off their high horses and read this because they are sure not understanding their reader base. screw this artistic expression. it doesn’t apply here in this argument. take it somewhere else and actually analyse this. i bet they can’t explain away these reasons why it was so bad

  • SPOILERS!!! Its the fact that the ending gives you 3 outcomes that are similar, and in no way do they reflect on your choices in the previous games. I devoted hours and hours of my time in re-playing both ME1 and ME2 to get my story perfect for ME3. Which is a lot of work compared to the piss-poor ending that hit me like a brick and tears down what we thought was free choice (Now turned into the Illusion of free choice)Wheres the conclusion? Why does my Shepherd have to die regardless of what choice I make? Why cant I return to LI? Why didnt the super weapon just disable the Reapers barriers to bring them on a level playing field of ship-to-ship combat? (Why would the prtheans create a weapon where you had to sacrifice yourself to activate it?)Dont get me wrong, I love all 3 games, and the detail to the choose-your-own-adventure story was amazing and fun, its just the ending makes it all pointless. How many of you have watched a movie where in the end, the character dies? And did you bother to watch it again? Theres no point in replaying a game where all your work was for nothing. Now, the reason I beleive that this is all a marketing scheme, is because Bioware have poured so much detail and work into how the ME1 and ME2 games played out, that theres NO WAY they would get lazy and stuff up the story now. The ending just doesnt match what the creativity of Bioware is. If it is really a false ending, then they;ve played us, and they know NEVER again will they try and pull something like this again. If it is real, then they’ve f**ked up big time, and know NEVER AGAIN will they write something so bad. The “indoctrination” theory deffinatley holds some valid points which can be backed up through some small bits and peices in the story, so its plausible, in which case if it turns out to be true, then Bioware has pulled off a great publicity stunt. I just hope they dont slap us with another DLC we have to pay for. And to accomidate those who are calling ME3 a work of art, I say this: “Heres half of the Mona-Lisa. If you give me money, I’ll give you the other half. ”

    ME1: It was the base. You chose how to respond to the NPC’s. You chose how you would solve a problem. Estimated hours played for ALL missions and subplots – 12 hours.
    ME2: The actions in ME1 transfer to continue the story where the player left off. Once again, you choose how the vents play out, and run into or discover other characters you encountered int he previous game. Total Hours Played: 18 Hours. TOTAL = 30 hours.
    ME3: Once again, it carries over from your previous playthroughs. You choose events, however dialogue seems to be limited by two choices as opposed to the neutral options that were present. At the end, everything you’ve done in the previous game has little to no effect in terms of sub-plot. And ultimately ammounts to nothing when your given 3 choices. (hahahah get it? They give you 3 choices and its called mass effect “3” hahahah).

    Now, some are happy with the ending, and thats fine. No ones telling Bioware to remove the endings already in the game. Were simply saying to add more endings reflective of your choices. The 16 endings we were promised are currently non-existent. Biowares done so much work that theres no way they could have come up with the ending they did which doesnt reflect on there creative genius evident from their previous games.

    In conclusion, I hate the ending. But I dont hate the games and wild ride I’ve been on to get there. But I dont want to go on a rolacoaster for a fun time only to have it break near the end sour my experience.
    I am hopefull that Bioware will maintain their consistency in attention to detail and give us the ending that their fans deserve. Did they not learn from Deus Ex? I am a fan of the franchise forever, but if this ending turns out to be true and nothing is done to add new ones, then the Mass Effect games will forever be sitting on shelf, and I will never have the urge to play it again. (Except for multilayer)

  • I don’t get this, how is it everyone buy the gaming media do not get the issues people have. They just keep throwing meaningless buzzwords at us like “entitlement” or “Artisitic integrity” and just don’t seem to get the it.

    I mean how dumb do you really have to be to make excuses for that ending. Its dumb, badly written and full of crater sized plotholes and gaming”journalism” defends it as if it was the best writing ever. Its goddamn frustrating when nearly everyone else gets this, but the guys who are supposed to report news don’t.

    • The reason you don’t get it is because you misunderstand most gaming journalist’s point of view. Many dislike the ending; it’s not about people complaining. It’s about people asking for a new ending. Very distinct things.

      • you sir need to think before you write.
        the argument of writers here and elsewhere stemmed from the journalists misunderstanding gamers and what they meant by ‘new’ ending. they looked at the face value and didn’t dig deeper. it still stems from journalists misinterpreting what gamers were saying. they would have never wrote articles about not needing a new ending if they actually analysed what was wrong. it just shows how out of touch some of these writers are and how they believe their views are supreme because they have a bigger microphone.

  • Okay, here’s the simple truth that the media seems to be actively ignoring just to vilify the whole matter for a few articles; The fans aren’t asking Bioware to ignore their artistic integrity, they’re angry that they ignored it on their own. From the start, they promised multiple endings that would vary wildly based on our actions. The director of ME3 ignored this and instead delivered a single ending that fumbled the entire trilogy’s premise, plot and simple basic storytelling just because he wanted it to be ‘a divisive ending’. Hell, Gears of War 3 had an ending that answered none of the backstory questions (were the locust created? always underground?), but it capped off the story of Marcus and co in a satisfying manner. The original Assassin’s Creed? The game just STOPS after a plot point for the overarching story, but it wrapped up the plot of the first game with no dangling questions. A bad ending can be forgiven if it’s part of the overall story leading up to it. If it caps off the events, answers the remaining questions, fine. ME3’s ending answered nothing for a trilogy built on storytelling and essentially blue-balled the overarching story harder than Assassin’s Creed (it ended the first game, but the ‘mysterious images’ part…) did at the climax of the game.

    • I don’t care if the game’s ending is craptastic and ends with the spontaneous death of every single creature in existence; complaining about it being bad is one thing, asking for a redo is another.

      • under normal, linear based storylines, i would agree but ME is much more than that. they made a choice based game into a linear one which is unacceptable. as fans we simply want what we were told we were going to get as a final product and what we got instead was a compromised vision.
        its people like you though that don’t have an emotional interest in the story . thats ok but thats like being a childless adult and saying to a mother, “you shouldn’t have kids”. you just don’t carry any weight in the argument

        • Wait, so because I’m supporting Bioware in this one, I’m not a fan with emotional interest in the story? That’s a pretty big fallacy. I’ve been a fan from day 1; I’ve got the collector’s editions of 2 and 3, I could recreate my Shepard from 1 and 2 from memory perfectly in 3 and I’ve cried countless times during the trilogy (I’m a wuss, you see).

          I disagree that it’s a linear game, and this is also a response to Whaddageek: the very last ten or so minutes are linear, I think everyone agrees. The ending of Mass Effect 3 is pretty shit. But the end of the trilogy isn’t. Mass Effect 3, as a whole, is the ending to the Mass Effect trilogy. Bioware’s remarks about an ending that was multi-faceted and with myriad versions was misleading, but I’m not sure it constitutes an outright lie, for the very fact that my experience playing the game will be extremely different to the next person’s.

          It comes down to wording, really. Mass Effect 3 is the conclusion to the trilogy, not the last ten minutes of Mass Effect 3.

          Also: my argument obviously doesn’t excuse the apparent plotholes, but that’s because they don’t excuse the crusade for a new ending. Perceived false advertising may, however.

          • i didn’t think your were supporting BW just stating you would prefer to leave it alone. if i offended you then i am sorry but its hard to believe that you are emotionally invested in the game but don’t feel they should cleanup the ending to give what they truly promised.
            it does becomes linearised towards the end of the game. take the rachni, krogen, geth, human counsellor arcs and can you say that they are not becoming linear? for instance if you killed wrex in the first game, there is another krogen to take his place to get a similar outcome. same goes for the others. they linearised our choices to give set outcomes. they chose the 3 ‘choice’ endings to ensure a set outcome. how is that not linear?
            also yes but its the last 10 minutes of the game that has the biggest impact. they did a stellar job of using the other 90-95% of the game concluding the story but it lost steam in the end and to me it is like the abandoned their vision to meet a deadline.
            i do have to say that your argument is valid and you have your reasons unlike some people on either side of the argument. but if i can’t get the choice based ending i would like they should at least fix plotholes and flesh out the ending to get it to make more sense. i want to think i am not seen as just one of those who is entitled to a new ending, i would just like an ending befitting the end of the story for my shepard and what was promised.

      • It isn’t just about the ending in of itself, it’s that Bioware failed to deliver the product they promised. From the very first game, they outright stated there would not be a single ending, nor a single ending with an arbitrary choice. Instead there would be myriad endings based on our actions. This is not what was delivered. The fans are well within their right to ask for a redo on this _ONE_ occasion. Randomly asking for a better ending isn’t a good thing. Asking to get what was initially promised _IS_.

  • I’m going to enjoy the butthurt ME3 fans that are currently asking for the ending to be changed ‘just this once’ coming back and whining because game XYZ didn’t have gelatinous spaceblobs taking over New York , and asking for it to be changed ‘just this once’.

    Grow up.

  • If you think the outcry is because there were not enough hugs and puppies at the end then you made assumptions about the Retake people instead of actually getting to know their opinions. The main arguments are this.

    1. Plot holes. Things happen inexplicably or contrary to established lore. What is up with the Normandy at the end?
    2. Insane Troll Logic. I am the starchild, I know that biologicals and synthetics will never get along and ultimately destroy each other…. This is a shame, to solve the problem I am going to make synthetics that will arise every 50,000 years to destroy all biologicals…
    3. No resolution means no ending. So Shep sacrifices his/herself and destroys the mass relays. Stranding the fleets on earth, dooming some species to starvation and death. The story just stops.
    4. for months we were told how our previous choices would Impact our ending, that there were a certain amount and that a lot of people would get different endings because we would not have all chosen the same things. Casey Hudson said would not get an A,B or C ending but we got one anyway. Sorry Red Blue or Green.

  • Hey, Paul Taylor, you can make whatever ending you like, that’s cool, but if you lied to your fans about what to expect then one can only laugh at your integrity, the ‘artistic’ side of it be damned.

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