Protecting Creative Risk And Integrity: Why Mass Effect 3’s Ending Should Never Be Changed

Protecting Creative Risk And Integrity: Why Mass Effect 3’s Ending Should Never Be Changed

Yesterday folks got into a bit of a kerfuffle about Mass Effect 3‘s ending. Some were happy with it, some were angry — but many have gone as far to say it should actually be retrospectively changed. You can agree or disagree — but that’s where I draw the line. This rant is completely spoiler free!

In Tsugumi Ohba’s Bakuman, the talented Mashiro and Tagaki write manga. It is their dream to create incredible stories together; stories that will inspire and dazzle their audience. Their nemesis is the scheming Nanamine, a writer who idolises the combined abilities of Mashiro and Takagi, but secretly wishes to dethrone them.

He has no writing or drawing talent to speak of — he can’t create Manga — so in order to compete he recruits hundreds of wanna-be writers and artists from the internet. By manipulating this hive mind he attempts to compete with Mashiro and Takagi.

Nanamine crowdsources everything — the writing, the art, the plot, the structure — every aspect of his manga is fine tuned to the expectations and demands of this massive group. His work is the end result of hours of group testing, by hundreds of informed readers — the perfect manga — finely tuned, slickly produced, well-constructed.

And completely, utterly sterile.

I was reminded of Bakuman as the internet bile began to surface in response to Mass Effect 3’s ending. Considering the investment gamers had in the Mass Effect trilogy, and the personal investment many had — in their own designed protagonist and choices — some sort of negative response was always going to be expected.

I had no issue with the negativity, because I understand. On multiple occasions I’ve been massively disappointed in fiction. I’ve been frustrated. I’ve been downright furious with the way certain movies, games or books have ended.

But not once have I ever, ever suggested that the author take their work back and completely transform and change something to my own personal specifications.

Because that would be complete lunacy.

Let me reiterate — if you hated the ending of Mass Effect 3, please continue to whinge. Continue to be angry. Please continue to bitch about how it goes against everything the series stands for — dramatically cast your hands to the sky like a collective Darth Vader, and scream ‘NNOOOO’ in abject despair! Absolutely, that is your right.

But it is not your right to demand that the ending be changed. You have absolutely no say in that, and that is the way it should be.

There’s a tremendous difference between arguing and discussing how Bioware should have handled Mass Effect 3’s ending, and demanding they change it. Some are too entitled to tell the difference, but it’s paramount.

A game like Mass Effect, which is clearly designed and carefully built — with every detail of the universe accounted for — could not bear the damage a fan-demanded change to its fiction would create. Its integrity would collapse. This is Bioware’s story — no matter how personal your own existence within Mass Effect’s universe is, that existence was made possible within the confines of Bioware’s authorial intent. Full stop. You don’t get to change that. Once a word is said, it cannot be unsaid.

Fiction should delight us, it should broaden our horizons. It should challenge us, make us angry — often for the wrong reasons. Fiction should also have the propensity to disappoint us. But it must never, never pander to us.

I don’t want to engage with fiction that simply regales the story I want it to tell. Why would I? I want to be surprised by what I read/play/watch. Compared to other media, video game fiction is easily the least static, but that doesn’t mean that the creative act should be democratic — there still has to be structure. You must still react to what a creator has made for you, and you don’t get to change that — imagine the precedent that would set.

Once a piece of fiction is complete, and released into the wild, it must remain that way or its integrity will be desecrated.

In Bakuman, Mashiro and Tagaki write a weekly manga. They respond to their audience, because theirs is a commercial endeavour. If certain characters aren’t liked, they may phase them out. If a certain story arc isn’t gaining traction, they may cut it short. But nothing is ever changed in retrospect. Once is story is told it cannot be untold.

Mashiro and Tagaki work in isolation, fuelled by their own creative impulse, delivering content fans are inspired and energised by. The same audience reacts to Nanamine’s output with a dull indifference. It’s hard to become passionate about something that’s created by committee — something that lacks the spark of an individual voice. It can never be original, it can never dazzle.

And that’s what we risk when we demand retrospective change by committee — we risk derailing creative risk, we risk subverting the act of individual creativity.

I haven’t finished Mass Effect 3 yet, but I don’t care if Bioware’s ending completely shatters everything I hold dear about the series. I don’t care if my Shepard starts doing the moonwalk over Reaper corpses before engaging in a dance fight to the death with the Illusive Man. I don’t care how ludicrous or flat out wrong Bioware’s ending to Mass Effect is, I will accept it as canon because I shouldn’t have any choice. Sure, I will howl at the moon with a primordial rage, maybe even snap both discs in two, but I will never question Bioware’s authorial integrity, because Mass Effect is Bioware’s story to tell, and I’m just going to have to deal with it.

Comments

    • What an asinine, stupid rant–comparing an interactive game with a manga which is–by and large–the work of one creative mind. Our “investment” in ME3 was the control of the character and, one would expect, the control of his actions and of his ending.

      That’s the point of interactivity: your actions change the course of the story. You should be able to bring about most reasonable endings through the choices you make.

      Sorry, the failure was on Bioware’s part. Besides, your comments–and they sound awfully arrogant to me–suggest that author’s have never changed their endings to suit their fans (see Sherlock Holmes). Fans, if you remember, demanded Conan Doyle resurrect his detective and he obliged.

      You’ve got to understand they are a business and some of us no longer trust the people creating their content (I don’t). We simply won’t purchase goods from the company making this product. I just don’t trust bioware any more.

      For the same reason, you end a manga badly at your own peril: your readers may decide they cannot trust you any more. It’s something that writers should always keep firmly in mind.

      • Just because you made choices within an interactive world, doesn’t mean you are the author. You made those choices within parameters set by Bioware, within a universe they created.

        • the mass effect 3 ending is terrible though for a range of reasons

          -> there is no foreshadowing about the existance of the god-child
          -> the purpose of the cycle is illogical
          -> the entire lore about the reapers is retconed in the last 10 mins of the game.
          -> Joker’s actions make no sense. Not only do they contradict his character, the Normandy SR-2 being affected by the ending is also illogical.
          -> Certain members of your crew were with Shepard for the final mission, not on the Normandy which is light years away…
          -> the ending of ME3 will need to be retconed for any game set in the ME universe (unless the new game is something ridiculous like 10,000 years in the future)

          Given this i think that is completely reasonable for fans to ask bioware to add an epilogue to the ending how the players choices effected the universe. If they choose to go further than that then i hope they change the god-child’s speech, the reason for the existence of the reapers, joker’s bizarre actions, the lollore about the location of your crew, etc.

          • Except that Bioware EXPLICITLY sold the game as a being a conclusion with myriad endings based on a combination of the choices players made. Direct quote from Casey Hudson:

            “Yeah, and I’d say much more so, because we have the ability to build the endings out in a way that we don’t have to worry about eventually tying them back together somewhere. This story arc is coming to an end with this game. That means the endings can be a lot more different. At this point we’re taking into account so many decisions that you’ve made as a player and reflecting a lot of that stuff. It’s not even in any way like the traditional game endings, where you can say how many endings there are or whether you got ending A, B, or C.

            “It’s more like there are some really obvious things that are different and then lots and lots of smaller things, lots of things about who lives and who dies, civilizations that rose and fell, all the way down to individual characters. That becomes the state of where you left your galaxy. The endings have a lot more sophistication and variety in them.”

            There are many more places where various Bioware reps stated that the conclusion would be contingent on the choices players made throughout the series. ME3 completely doesn’t deliver on that promise. If someone sells me a car and they really play up the MPG being 40 in order to convince me to buy it, and then I get on the road and the MPG is 20, I have every right to be pissed and demand recompense of some sort.

          • The “ending” is not made up of only the that final ending sequence. How about the ending of an entire civilization, or not, certain diseases that were cured, or not, and characters that died along the way. These all form part of “the ending.”

            In closing: The ending is the actually the sum of all the story arcs within the game. Not just the final closing sequence.

        • yeah my biggest problem with the endings was the fate of the Normandy…

          somehow, everyone ended up back on the Normandy doing a Mass Relay jump while the Crucible fired when only a few moments ago they were all still on Earth fighting.

          Seems completely impossible that in the heat of the battle, the Normandy picked everyone up from Earth and said, see u later suckers!!!…and ran off. lol.

          • Miranda – Galatic Underwear Model of the Year 26 straight years running
            Jacob – Married with 3 children…happily ever after
            Zaeed/Kasumi – disappeared into the Traverse
            Ashley/Kaiden – distinguished Spectre career; Alliance admiral later
            Humanity – Rebuilt Earth in whatever way would best make sense for the ending

            Mordin/Wrex/Grunt – helped rebuild the Krogan to their former glory, without the whole mindless rage stuff. Eventually gain an embassy on the new Galactic Council (based on planet xxxxxx); alternatively they die off, leaving dead worlds behind.

            Garrus/Turians – Garrus ends up as Primarch, considered one of the best leaders ever. Turians rebuild based on final choice.

            Tali/Quarians – Tali retains position of Admiral of the civilian fleet, but focuses on Rannoch; rebuilt with Geth help and a happily ever after; or Quarians retain Rannoch, rebuilding takes centuries.

            Liara/Samara – Continue their respective paths before the war. Feron becomes the Shadow Broker. Asari recover the fastest from the war.

            Reapers – Destroyed,leave for darkspace, or used for “good” or “evil” depending on Shepard

            Tried to leave some major spoilers out. Is that a good epilogue?

          • Haha yeah those are great! Except with the mass relay explosions supposed to wipe out complete systems. Even if somehow the systems were left intact, the other alien races that came to fight alongside Shep are now stranded in the Sol system and would eventually starve because they can’t all eat human food and came to fight a final battle and not prepared for a long space voyage.

            If they attempted to use FTL to reach their planets they would never reach it because they can’t live that long as their home worlds are hundreds and thousands of lightyears away from the Sol system.

            So their option would be to colonize Earth and eventually war would break out for land between the former allies and because of this no matter what ending you get everyone dies.

            EEFFFFFF!!!!!

        • I find it interesting that you can make these statements before you have experienced what others already have. They are individuals who have experienced the ending. You have not. I felt like you did until i finished the game and i was left similarly upset like these fans who want to change the ending. I personally dont think the ending should be changed, but i have the right to have that opinion because i have experienced it. You have not. Suffice to say that i will not buy anymore Bioware games anymore. Especially since Drew Karpyshyn is no longer a part of Bioware. My favourite Bioware games had him involved as either lead writer or a writer in some degree.

          Im afraid with our Drew, there wont be anymore compelling stories for me from Bioware.

          • I could not agree more.

            I can deal with most of the ending, just not that part of it.

          • Unfortunately no. With all the mass relays gone, all of the species are now trapped in the Sol system. So that means that curing the genophage, reclaiming the Quarian homeworld, and relieving the Turian homeworld means nothing. They will all be stuck on cruddy old earth. And Joker and the surviving members of your crew are no stranded without contact of any kind somewhere and are doomed to stay there it seems. So all the galactic races will starve due to lack of resources on earth (Bioware even said that Turians and Quarians can’t eat human food), your crew is lost to space, and society as a whole has now lost 15,000 years of technological evolution and will no longer be able to travel around the galaxy like before. Gaming universe: Decimated in 10 minutes.

          • They didn’t just herd every species into a giant arc and ship ’em to earth.
            There were still battles going on at everyones home systems. Battles consisting of reapers.. and survivors.

        • Well, yes and no. Is it Bioware’s game? Certainly. Their universe? Damn skippy. Their *story*? Well, now, I think that’s where it starts to get a little blurry. The provide the framework for the story – the aforementioned universe and gameplay. But the way the players use that framework to creative a narrative within that structure makes it their story, at least partially. It’s rather more like a game of Dungeons and Dragons in that respect than a traditional video game. A D&D game may be the Dungeon Master’s world, the DM’s NPCs, the DM’s events and even, sometimes, the DM’s pre-prepared player characters. But it’s a story that the DM and PCs tell together.

          I actually think that is, on one level, why so many have had a visceral reaction to the ending. For over a hundred hours, it has been the players’ story, one they told with the assistance of Bioware. You see it in the way people speak about the game and characters and, yes, story. But, in those last ten minutes, Bioware returns to reclaim sole ownership of the story from them.

        • The fact of the matter is this. Thinking in a grander real world scale there’s some room to manuver. But as a player. Everything…EVERYTHING that we did was for nothing at all. Not a damned thing. And if you think the people who spent a lot of money to buy this shouldn’t have a say. When the ENTIRE SERIES is predicated on it. You sir are WRONG.

          I’m disappointed. Very disappointed in the ending of this. and i for one hope something does change.

        • This is different than telling the author of a book or the director of a movie “your ending sucks, make us a new one.” Video Games are a whole new type of art form, one more based on fan input than anything that has come before it. Game developers who disregard their fans tend not to fare too well. Also, whether the fans are justified in asking for a new ending depends on the kind of game. A linear shooter for example, will have (or should have) a very clear narrative direction and a definite ending, an ending to this should be left up to the writing team, it’s their story.

          Mass Effect, and other similar RPG’s have a very different set of rules when it comes to storytelling. The enabling of the player to dictate the way the story flows demands numerous and varied paths for any given situation. For the most part the Mass Effect trilogy accomplishes this (an amazing feat that should not be overlooked.) However, and this is a big one, at the very end the game abruptly changes that dynamic yanking the player into a much more linear and directed experience (to say nothing of the deus ex machina, numerous plot holes and complete lack of closure.) This fundamental shift violates the player/story relationship that has gone on for the entire series. For me, the most jarring was the shift in genre. Up until the ending of the series, Mass Effect has been a Space Opera/Military Drama then abruptly at the last moment it becomes something akin to metaphysical pulp science fiction.

          Essentially it would be as if the Star Wars Original Trilogy’s ending was replaced with that of 2001:A Space Odyssey. As the credits rolled, you would most definitely want your money back. Be glad we’re not asking for a full refund.

          • I’d like to read what you have to say after you have completed the game.
            I’m not being sarcastic, snotty, or anything like that. I’d really like to read what you have to say after you’ve experienced the ending.

        • They “created” this universe, yes; however, they are not the sole author of OUR Shepard’s story. Your comment, and article in general, would have worked better if we were talking about a movie, novel, manga or a game where all the player does is participate in battles and watch pretty cut scenes; however, Mass Effect is not like that at all. This series is a interaction between player and developer by which the developer provides us a framework to write our own story; taking that away from us at the end to have us railroaded into one giant train station with three doors painted three different colors is cheating their own fans. This is the end of Shepard’s story, this should be huge, but it’s not because of lazy writers.

        • But see, thing is, we WERE the authors. Each of our Shepards went through major events with our hand to guide them. WE made our Shepards by deciding how to react to the trials Shepard faced. Our love interests, how we reacted to different races and their turmoils all mattered to us. Some of us even went through the game multiple times to get it just perfect so we could carry on our Shepard legacy from start to finish.
          Only to be told none of it mattered in the end. It didn’t mattered who you loved, what you did or anything. In the end you are either alone or dead and the Galaxy is fucked.
          We ARE the authors of our Shepard’s fate. And to have that taken from us at the last moment is unforgivable.

        • Any GM worth his salt knows that he’s only contributing half of the story to any given RPG. The rest is taken up by the player, who then contributes the rest of the story by choosing to react to the world the GM has set out in the manner their character would. This is one of the most hallowed rules of RPGs and breaking it can, in extreme circumstances, result in a fight.

          The uproar surrounding the endings of Mass Effect 3 is the above fight expanded a thousand-fold. Suddenly the player has been railroaded into a martyrdom ending (which the Wachowsky brothers were correct in calling a really lame way to end a video game) with no real option for ‘success’. Mass Effect has thrown some magnificent curve-balls my way; especially regarding the Geth Heretics in ME2 and I was expecting the unexpected from Bioware with regards to the story. But not this.

          I did everything, I got my war map to 100% in multiplayer, collected every war resource available, and there was no victory?! Any GM knows that there needs to be at least the possibility of victory, otherwise they piss everybody off. The idea they had for the ending of ME2 was perfect; make the right choices or people will die. Why not expand upon that? The last mission of ME2 was one of the most praised aspects of the game!

          Anyhoo, I’m rambling. The moral of this story is that if I want an uplifting tale of self-sacrifice for the greater good I’ll read ‘A Tale of Two Cities’, Let me win my computer game that I’ve invested five years in please!

      • Let us take a moment to thank the universe that not everyone thinks like Craigrb. What a boring world it would be. Your actions in ME don’t change the course of the story, they change which predetermined path you went along. You ‘interact’ by choosing which path you take, not the direction of the path itself.

        • Ed Zackery! Plus, the ending was pretty awesome. I truly enjoyed every minute with that game. Shepard fought hard and she was rewarded.

          the only thing that got to me was Origin, but I bared with it for my play though. Now it’s gone (^_^)

      • So you’re telling the author of this article that he’s arrogant, while simultaneously telling him that his opinion is asinine and stupid because his opinion doesn’t line up with yours?

        OK.

        • No, actually, he did qualify why it is he felt the author of the article was arrogant, and it was not because the author’s opinion differed from his own.
          Read the comment again; see if you can spot those reasons! 🙂

    • Clearly not gamers,or sensible rational people. Any product of fiction that is built on user decisions and feedback should end the same way,why make any decisions in the game when the ending is predetermined to 3 options. Most people played mass because of the open element,you can choose your game. To end like it did was a slap in the face to all who invested time and money into bioware,they dangled a carrot, I bought it,what a waste. They probably will release dlc ending, it was probably planned all along to milk all the cash they can get. Games cease to be art or even games,just false ideas to make cash.

      • Any product of fiction that you make should end how you want it to. Don’t like this ending tot he game? Make your own game with an awesome ending, just for you. The rest of us can enjoy this ending, or at least understand that it’s not for us to DEMAND it being changed.

    • HA. Mass Effect 3 can’t bear having a fan demanded ending change because the integrity of the story would collapse? I’m pretty sure Bioware already took responsibility and destroyed the story themselves. Your argument is poorly thought out and stupid, especially since you haven’t even seen the ending yet. Next time you write a ridiculous article like this, just keep it in your diary.

  • I’d like to see what you think about the ending then once you finish the game. If you will be angry at it and break the disc. I dislike it because I feel it negates everything you’ve done and worked towards. But cant say much more without spoiling lol.

    • I just finished it then. Was not angry in the least. Saw the problems with it, but the amount of butthurt over this is ridiculously out of proportion. My theory is you have to have an angry nerd level of >50 to be as bothered by it as people have been.

  • Completely agree with you.

    And this one sentence sums up how i feel completely:
    Once is story is told it cannot be untold.

    To rewrite, redo its ending… it just wouldnt be the same. You cant actually pretend the original ending never happened. You’ve already been told the story. By redoing the ending, you are destroying the natural flow of the story, you are destroying the narrative in the process.

    • I agree. One can’t unsee what has already been seen, and actually the ending did fit I think. Yes it was a bit out there and sudden, but how is it any less believable than super intelligent star ships that are on a mission to destroy the universe. To the people who say there was no lore regarding the “ending”, well clearly you missed the part where Shepperd learns he is the first organic to reach said place. In other words he was making history, not repeating it, and thus it had never been recorded before.

      Finally, only one dimensional people can’t see the bigger picture and what the producers meant by multiple endings. The “ending” is not made up of only the that final ending sequence. How about the ending of an entire civilization, or not, certain diseases that were cured, or not, and characters that died along the way. These all form part of “the ending.”

      In closing: The ending is the actually the sum of all the story arcs within the game. Not just the final closing sequence.

  • “engaging in a dance fight to the death with the Illusive Man”

    That is… far too similar to part of the ending for my liking.

    Still, I agree with you, Marky Mark. The ending may be bad, but it’s still the ending. Petitioning to change it is just silly.

  • *raucous applause*

    Couldn’t agree more.

    As someone who likes to read and write, i don’t like the idea of changing what is already written.

    Just because people aren’t happy with it doesn’t mean it should be changed.

    What is written cannot, and should not, be unwritten.

    Another fantastic article, mate 🙂

  • Really?

    And did they damage their artistic creativity by rewriting after the leaks? Or in response to any pre-publication feedback?

    Or do you really imagine that it springs, fully formed from the pen of a genius?

    No.

    In fact, hell, no.

    You make a mistake, fix it.

    And the problem with the mass effect ending isn’t that it’s bad, but that it is internally inconsistent and derails main characters, characters you’ve observed and controlled, influenced and cared about for more than 100 hours over three games.

    And besides all that, it is, in fact, my right to demand a different ending. It’s there right to tell me to take a hike. It’s my right not to give them anymore of my money and it’s there right to sell to someone else. This isn’t about rights, it is about choices and the choices here, like at the end of Mass Effect, are all pretty bad, which is sad, but Bioware’s fault.

    • The leak is a completely different scenario: it was a leak of a draft. This was not a draft, this was the final product.

      Besides, why do people feel entitled to something like this? You want Bioware to, what, get all of their animators, voice artists, concept artists and what not to redo several scenes pro bono?

      • Did I say pro bono? No. That’s you, magically sensing my intentions. Mistakenly.

        Why do I feel entitled to something they advertised? I’m silly like that, I know.

        “It’s not so much that there is a fixed set of alternative endings, but all of your choices really determine how things end up in the universe. So, how you approach the end-game, for every player, you’re going to have a different set of results in terms of who is alive and who is dead, and which civilisations survived and which ones were wiped out.

        There is a huge set of consequences that start stacking up as you approach the end-game. And even in terms of the ending itself, it continues to break down to some very large decisions. So it’s not like a classic game ending where everything is linear and you make a choice between a few things – it really does layer in many, many different choices, up to the final moments, where it’s going to be different for everyone who plays it.”

        http://www.computerandvideogames.com/336331/interviews/mass-effect-3-we-cant-go-on-holiday-our-dlc-is-really-good/?page=2

        And this:

        He added: “I honestly think the player base is going to be really happy with the way we’ve done it. You had a part in it. Every decision you’ve made will impact how things go. The player’s also the architect of what happens.”

        Whether you’re happy or angry at the ending, know this: it is an ending. BioWare will not do a “Lost” and leave fans with more questions than answers after finishing the game, Gamble promised.

        “You’ll get answers to everything. That was one of the key things. Regardless of how we did everything, we had to say, yes, we’re going to provide some answers to these people.”

        http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2012-02-02-bioware-mass-effect-3-ending-will-make-some-people-angry

        As for the leak point: I’m sorry, but it doesn’t damage authorial integrity to change the ending because people talk about it before it’s published, but it does to change it because people are pointing out that it doesn’t make any sense?

        Riiiiight.

        • So they aren’t working pro bono, but you want them to patch the game? Where does the money come from to pay for their work? I apologise if you’re one of the small minority that’d be okay with having to pay for the new ending, but in the venn diagram between people who hate DLC and people who hate this, there’s a rather large overlap.

          The difference is that a draft isn’t finished, but the final product is. Changing one is completely different to changing the other.

          “Every decision you’ve made will impact how things go.”
          They did. They may not have impacted much how things ended, but it’d be a lie to say that your choices didn’t affect how things went while playing the game.

          “BioWare will not do a “Lost” and leave fans with more questions than answers after finishing the game”
          From what I can see, they didn’t. They left fans with questions, but not more than answers.

          “It’s not so much that there is a fixed set of alternative endings, but all of your choices really determine how things end up in the universe. So, how you approach the end-game, for every player, you’re going to have a different set of results in terms of who is alive and who is dead, and which civilisations survived and which ones were wiped out.”

          This is all correct, no? The ending cinematic may not have extrapolated on it, but the decisions you made still had effects.

          • Have you played the ending?

            I’ve been avoiding spoilers, but…no, that’s not what happened. Not even close.

            For the Lost reference. I agree, they didn’t end where Lost ends, they ended where Lost begins. Only with spaceships and transporting squadmates.

            Yes, I’d be willing to pay for a DLC. Though to be honest, I’d prefer if I didn’t have to. When you screw up any other product badly enough that you need to repair it, that’s on the company that produced it (either via warranty, or recall)

          • “Where does the money come from to pay for their work?”

            Uh, how about the shit-tons of money they were paid by 890,000 people and counting? I’m sorry, but they are far from poor after having made money hand over fist on every game of the series.

          • Sorry for the multiple responses, but I thought the after publication thing was a separate issue. How is changing it after publication not exactly what a DLC, Patch (or for a book) 2nd/3rd/whatevered Edition is for?

            We do this all the time. Sometimes we release it with annotations, sometimes we update it, sometimes we call it unabridged, or special edition, or five seconds of previously cut footage so we can get you to buy the same movie twice edition.

  • Personally, the more pressing issue would be how the ending didn’t seem to ‘fit in’ with BioWare. If BioWare comes out and says “there’s no conspiracy theory, it should end like this, we weren’t rushed for time” it’d put my heart to rest, but for now my poor Shepard is bleeding out >:

  • Moonwalking over Reapers and having a dance fight with the Illusive Man? That actually sounds like an AMAZING ending

      • I agree with the article, but I think an ending like that is just too awesome to pass up, maybe a DLC pack or something?

          • I think we need to petition BioWare to release modding tools so we can build these endings. I can imagine it now:

            BoyGhost: You can either choose to step it up and throw down against the reapers in a Dance Off, or you could Challenge them to an intergalatic game of B-Ball

  • I disagree. Why? Simple.
    This is a game that doesnt have a single linear story. It has options. And you can simply add more options.

    Nobody wants the practically single ending rewritten to a different one. People want more options in spirit of the rest of the game. More options that could be influenced by the players actions throughout the game and the final scene. The current ending/s will be among of the options.

    In fact the games nowdays are being added to constantly by DLCs. ME3 will have DLCs too. So why not add something to the current ending?

    Now, im not saying demanding it is ok. Its not. But everyone has a right to voice their dissatisfaction.

  • Can I quote Alan Moore here? Well I’m going to anyway.

    ” It is not the job of the artist to give the audience what the audience want. If the audience knew what they needed then they wouldn’t be an audience, they would be the artist. It is the job of the artist to give the audience what they need.”

  • Great piece, it echoes my thoughts exactly.

    This article got me thinking- what if we take this issue and apply it to gameplay. Let’s say that a group of developers create a gameplay mechanic that is so completely out of the norm in a well known genre like FPSs that players become disgruntled. Is it reasonable to expect change if this design choice was what the developer intended?

    For example what if the developers wanted us to walk with the right stick and look around with the left?

    Can this conversation be extended to other game elements like art style, soundtrack or Voice actors?(there was some anger over the new silent hill 2 voice work for the HD collection)

    The only gameplay specific examples I can think of are maybe Flower or Journey. A game like flower might have controlled better with the left analog stick but the guys at That game company used sixaxis controls instead. Before its beta journey’s camera was controlled using only the sixaxis controls. Can we argue that the beta affected the artists ‘pure’ intentions? I’m not sure to be honest.

    I think this is an interesting topic to explore and some well spoken Kotaku members might want to give their thoughts.

    • Why wouldnt it be reasonable? You can suggest any change, the developer has a choice to oblige or not, its his reputation and future money on the line.
      If you get a meal thats raw in a restaurant is it reasonable to ask them to cook it more?
      Sure, games are played by millions, not by a single person. But if alot of people complain its in the creators best interest to somehow satisfy the customers.

  • Incidentally it’s the fact that he keeps going back to retrospectively fiddle with stuff that makes people so upset with George Lucas.

  • Add me to the list of people disappointed by the ending, but there is no point in changing it. What I would maybe like to see is (free) DLC that takes place after the ending. Either playing as an established character or a new one and be able to explore the aftermath of your decisions.

    The only thing I really want from the ending is more information on what happens next.

  • Dammit, would people who haven’t played that damn ending please stop spouting uninformed opinions! It’s like not watching a movie and saying “Oh, but I thought it was kinda good.”

    Play it, then write down an INFORMED ****ING OPINION.

          • Then that is an admission of ignorance.
            Your opinion SHOULD be open for revision. Your article has stated more implicitly than simply “The ending should not be changed.”
            You’ve ridiculed people out-of-hand for being as outraged as they are by the appalling ending; the ending you have yet to experience.
            That’s why it was grossly arrogant and insensitive of you.

            The Alan Moore and Henry Ford quotes are not applicable here. (nevermind that Henry Ford did not invent the automobile; it was already realised in the marketplace)
            I urge you to be more honest; you surely know this is not about being ungrateful. The audience feels decieved by Bioware. This narrative was not a closed, completed product. We were drawn into this game because we were offered choices and felt like our decisions had a lasting impact in the game. Yet it leads up to a point where the rug is pulled out from under our feet.
            For the most part; the objectors have not wanted the ending to be RE-WRITTEN; you’ve missed the point if you feel this way.
            The objection has and will continue to be that Mass Effect 3 was advertised as a game with an open narrative; it was explicitly stated that WE shape the conclusion.
            That was a lie.
            We are offended by the lie.

    • This article isn’t about the ending, it’s about the petition to change the ending. It’s a fairly clear distinction with a very different discussion.

      • But his reasons for ridiculing that petition are misconceived. He has made it clear through the article that for a fan to petititon to change the ending is silly because we as the audience traditionally do not have a say in the final product.
        Every example and mention he makes of traditional narratives are ALL irrelevant because this product was ADVERTISED as being an OPEN NARRATIVE. It was explicitly stated to us that we shape the conclusion. That was a bold faced lie.
        Over 100 hours of time invested into a game; to amount to what it did; it’s completely understandable that fans would petititon to get what they were promised.
        Mark missed that point entirely; he has presented this issue as if the fans were a bunch of misguided and ingrateful twats.
        His analysis of the reasons for the fans being outraged and demanding what was advertised to them is just completely wrong.

  • (Minor spoilers)

    I would be fine with the ending if it just bloody told me what happens. What happens to all the other races, to the rest of humanity, to space travel in the galaxy. Without knowing it’s just destroying what I’ve worked towards. I loved the past two games because of the universe and its inhabitants, and with this ending it performs in such a way that I don’t know if anything I did was worth doing. I think this kind of resolution can be fixed with a DLC ending addition similar to that of Dragon Age: Origins or Fallout 3.

    (End spoilers)

    PS: Mark, I thought I should also mention, in case you hadn’t worked out yet, that the people reacting to Owen’s rant were angry because of his disrespectfulness of their opinions (at least, that is my opinion on the matter). The fact that he just swats it aside with some facepalm image makes him no better than some random tool on 4Chan, in my honest opinion. You article and Kate’s article a couple pages from the front handle it quite well; I was frankly very offended by Owen’s article and do not appreciate that kind of journalism. My two cents.

    • doing this would prevent future endeavours in the Universe. Room to explore side missions with Asari in DLC or even an entire game of its own (Asari Commando’s or something). All they have done is complete Shepards story arc. As was mentioned from Day 1 reveal of ME3. By completeing what else happens in the universe limits creativity continuing on. It leaves the proverbial door open so to speak.

  • In the end the internet has given people a voice, and a lot of the people complaining probably have absolutely no right to. (says the guy who ranted last week about boycotting ME3… still am btw)

    I want to see the movie God Bless America (google for a trailer) as it really shows what is wrong in this day and age.

  • However you will find these endings differ greatly from the ones leaked months ago. They were rewritten very quickly and made no mention to the greater forces of dark matter discussed in me and me2 so you end up with serious disconnect. Speaking as a budding author, your world has to be consistent. What happened was a tragedy that if it had happened in a series of books would have resulted in the entire series being considered blighted. If you think games should not be considered to be held to the same rules as books or movies then you cannot argue for games to be considered art. As for changing what has already been written, I agree it shouldn’t be done. Although if this was a DVD release there are such things as director’s cuts and alternative endings.

  • Nice article Mr Serrels, though to me it really is just stating the obvious – otherwise we’re getting into Misery territory in a way Stephen King would hardly believe.

    I really enjoyed the enlightening comparison to Bakuman, which is not something I am familiar with but am now browsing around various tabs taking it all in – which is always a sign of something well written I think.

    • I will add to, that all this brouhaha has inspired me to hurry and finish ME3, just so I can see what the fuss is.

      I’m not invested even a little bit into the story, lore or the game (polar opposite to the ‘what does Tali sweat taste like’ and ‘how do Krogans make love?’ group of fans), as I’ve mentioned previously I think it’s all pulpy trash that isn’t memorable in the slightest, so I’m wondering if this supposed slight against the Internet is enough to arouse any emotion in me at all, or if I’ll just laugh, and continue on my merry way, playing drawsomething on iDevices and generally not giving a fuck.

  • Youre comparing apples and oranges. This is a non-linear game (at least somewhat) with options.
    A story of a game like this isnt set in stone. The player has options. Its not at all unreasonable to suggest adding different options through patches or DLCs or at least expanding on the current ending.
    DLCs already do that, different players have slightly different stories depending on the DLC they have. Whats the difference if you alter a middle of a story or an ending.

    Players just say what they’d like (even thought some of them are angry and rude about it) Bioware can oblige or not, its up to them.

    • So Bioware should make several completely animated, voiced, illustrated and scripted endings? The only ways that would be possible is a shorter game, a more expensive game, 2D cutscenes or text on screen.

      And all would be hated.

      • Cmon, you know thats BS. Considering how big the game already is, the amount of content that many players wont even see (all romances except 1 or 2, ALOT of scenes if you let many characters die in ME2 etc.), 3 or so different endings wouldnt be that big a deal budget-wise. Im not saying it has to be 2 hours long.
        A few ingame scenes and maybe Liara in the future reading about what happened to Shepard, the crew and the galaxy from that memory thingy she made. Wouldnt have to cost a fortune. A great series like this deserves a grander, more varied endings and some closure (assuming it wasnt all left open for a sequel/DLC)

      • Joshy, if Bioware do not want to make several illustrated endings such as you’ve described, then they should not have ADVERTISED THEM.
        It’s been pointed out repeatedly that we were lead to believe and explicitly told that WE, THE AUDIENCE, control how the story wraps up. The fans want what was promised to them.
        Bioware are still at fault, according to your reasoning, because they’ve promised something they probably never intended to deliver. Their fault; outrage of fans, then, is still justified.

  • You said this was a spoiler free rant, but you totally went and spoiled the ending of Bakuman for me. I HATE YOU! *cries*

  • While I normally would agree, there’s a few things which make this case unique:

    **UNLIKE MARK’S ARTICLE, THIS IS GONNA CONTAIN SPOILERS, LOTS OF EM**

    1. All through the other games in the series, BioWare have repeatedly stressed the importance of the decisions that were made in previous games, emphasising that you need to hold on to your saves. As it turns out, in the end, the choices you have made in the previous games by and large have no effect on the outcome. So BioWare either changed their minds on how the series was going to end (due to time, budget constraints maybe), or they just flat out lied.

    2. Following on from this, but IMO deserving of it’s own point is that they created an opportunity to leave a really unique, emotionally poignant mark on the sci-fi universe, and in the end went with cookie cutter sci-fi: a) destroy the world, or b) sacrifice yourself to save the world. I believe there’s a 3rd choice too, but based on the chatter it seems it was no more acceptable.

    3. Particularly for one of the endings, the logic of the ending just plain doesn’t make sense. If you play the game a certain way, you can successfully broker peace between the Geth and the Quarians, but the whole reason for the Catalyst (god-child) being there is as a device for stopping the war between these two.

    4. BioWare have ALREADY changed ‘canon’ because it didn’t make sense in the most recent ME novel. Same company, even the same IP.

    http://kotaku.com/5882185/bioware-to-patch-error+laden-mass-effect-novel-in-response-to-fan-uproar

    5. I’ve also heard talk that in a certain ending you can see your Shep starting to wake up as the game ends. So after claiming that this is the gripping end to the series, it’s possible, hell, even likely that there’s going to be DLC that continues the story, which is the most massive freaking DLC foul you can make.

  • *Has successfully avoided all manner of ME3 spoilers since release day and intends to keep doing so until ready to play* in the mean time. Tales of Graces f awaits.

  • Meh, changing crappy video game endings is what fan fiction is for.

    Still, I wonder if you can demand your money back for a game because the ending sucked. Hypothetically, off course.

    • Something else I should note, too: I despised F.E.A.R 2’s ending, and it is a big reason why I never bought F.E.A.R 3.

      • Good choice, the ending for F.E.A.R. 3 does really suck. I don’t usually bitch about video game endings like some whiny neckbeard, but the series changed from an awesome horror FPS to a half-assed COD ripoff
        That being said, I did enjoy F.E.A.R. 2 quite a bit, it’s just 3 that pissed me off

  • I agree exactly with what you are saying, Mark. People have every right to be annoyed by this ending, but some of the ways they are expressing, like petitioning for a rewrite, seem downright ludicrous.

    That said, I’m very interested in hearing your thoughts on the ending itself when you reach it, and will be stalking your twitter like a freak until then!

      • I’d seen a lot of the hate before I’d reached the end, and wanted to like it, just to show all those people how wrong they were(I still like Planet Scanning v.1 and 2, and the Mako, so clearly I disagree with everyone).

        So, I was super disappointed when I didn’t like it. So disappoint.

        • Hey, anyone who likes the Mako is an alright person. It’s the Mako haters who are weird.

          And this is the thing I fear the most though, about the endings. People who defend Bioware, those who would like to appreciate the endings simply because they feel the hate is unjustified, all sorts, they all mostly feel that the endings were poor. I haven’t got to the end yet, but I may just not touch it once I know I’m near the end. Better to leave it at that point in time, when things are still right, before it becomes irreversibly damaged…

        • You know what I miss (Other than the planet scanning, mako, etc) is the Hacking Minigames, they were fun, a little repetative but fun

  • Reminder to people whinging about ME3 ending, The Dark Tower ended by going back to the start of the story.

    The start of the story.

  • I guess the fan reaction just goes to show how appalling people thought the ending was, I wonder why it’s so highly rated by critics then.
    The different between fan perception and critic reviews always bug me and it renders most reviewers opinions void unless you’ve read enough of their articles to know their opinions are usually on the mark.

    • The thing is, it’s just the ending. 95% of the game is great, it’s just let down by parts at the start, and the end. A reviewer will know to judge the game based on its entirety, whereas normal people are known for knee-jerk reactions.

      Also, the majority of review-bombings were to do with either the gay content(OH NOES, THE GAYS), or the Day 1 DLC.

      • No, the majority had nothing to do with the gay romances, the DLC yes, but not homosexuality.
        The vast majority are also critical of the writing too.
        As for the game itself, great might be going a little too far, 8/10 at best given the terrible animations, bland gameplay and mediocre story.
        As for reviewers reviewing a game in its entirety, why have so few called up the terrible animations and continuity errors?
        Let alone the complete lack of choices that matter over the course of the first two games.

  • my problem with the ending is the lack of closure; I don’t think its unreasonable to ask for an extended ending to be added to the about 60 seconds of content after making the final decision thats currently there. gives you an idea where the galaxy and love interest is at.

    and actually Spiderman did change the reasons for Gwen Stacys death after physics professor James Kakalios mailed Marvel, changing the reason from “shock” to “inertia from extreme deceleration” (corrected in later issues)

  • I don’t mean this as an attack by any means, but I think you’re oversimplifying the criticisms penned by dissatisfied fans.

    I agree with you in saying that creative integrity is something to be valued, especially for anything that’s garnered such a huge following and can easily be marred in quality for the sake of marketing. But it’s not really a defensible point because the very framework of Mass Effect is built on the idea that our choices affect our outcomes — a concept that’s completely lacking in ME3.

    I can’t level any more arguments without you having completed the game, so I’ll stop myself there.

  • Well, yeah, all those medium don’t actually have any active input from the viewer. You read a book, the story has been told right from the beginning, it’s there and you just read it. A movie is the same, you just watch it, you may not get the ending, but then again you don’t do anything but watch it.

    The beauty of a video game is that you can (to a limited degree) influence what happens in the game. That is the most important thing, you can actually do something about it. Now I haven’t finished ME 3 myself but I’m pretty close I think. Another day and I should be done. But I’ve spent literally hundreds of hours on my Shepard. SHE, is a galactic badass, but not in the I Kill Puppies way. Already in ME 3 she’s being praised as the hero of.. well.. forever. What I truly fear for the ending is that all that will be for naught.

    I appreciate that not everyone will share my view, nobody even needs to share it, but I will have my opinion on heard, just as I will listen to others. I like happy endings, to me, this world/existence is crappy enough as it is, do I really want to extend the bleakness of reality into my unreality? Games are my escape, in Mass Effect, I survived the worst challenges the galaxy could throw and me and came back, same story in Mass Effect 2. I went to the bloody centre of the galaxy and put down an enemy older than any of the known races of the galaxy. In Mass Effect 3, I’m supposed to rally the galaxy to my banner and fight the good fight. Based on the last two games I’d have expected my Shepard to come out without a scratch and to have statues of her built on every civilised planet in the galaxy. But that’s just me, for preference I’d have her settle down on a quiet planet (but probably not Eden Prime) with Liara and have those little blue babies. I like my happy endings. But from what I hear, that probably never even crossed the writers minds. What good is an ending to a game if it offers no choice, no variety, not unlike a book? Bioware already did this with DA 2 and I disliked it, the ending made no sense, it took all my work with Hawke and basically cast it aside because the writers wanted it to go this way.

    Is that really how a RPG should work? Sure, multiple endings were as rare as a snowflake in the Sahara for the longest time, but Bioware made their name on creating rich stories and giving players the choice (or illusion thereof) to influence the story. I have to respect that Bioware have their vision, and it certainly is their story to tell, but would it have been such a great story if it weren’t for the players, the people who played the lead role in their story?

    I apologise for the essay, but I think it is unfair to simply side with Bioware because of artistic integrity. If an artist were renowned for using multiple colours in their paintings, and suddenly started in monochrome, would that not draw comment from those who had known and loved the colour paintings? And those same fans did not feel the same affinity for this new style, would it be fair to simply say that these people have no artistic appreciation?

  • Efff you, dude, efff you. “Authorial integrity” my ace, the fans are angry that they didn’t get the ending they felt they deserved. With the advent of DLC, they might can get it, even though Bioware will according suck out every nickle they can.

  • Ya know, I don’t think it is the ending.. I think it’s that scene in the tv show/movie/book where you go “I don’t like this bit” so you kinda change channel/fast forward/skim forward and get the gist of it but not the whole ‘wham’ factor but eventually the story moves on and you get into it again.
    Most shows/movies/books have it, games less so.

  • Non-spoiler version that gets across some of the points I was making in my monster post up top:

    They’re not hating on it purely because it was, from a narrative perspective, a bad way to end (although it was), like “it was all a dream” style. People are hating because it flew in the face of some things that BioWare have told people about the series as a whole, and because, particularly for one path of events that you can get to the end with, the reasons and resolution that occurs just flat out don’t make sense, as in, not just out of character, actual logical sense.

    • Yeah, this.

      It’s more thematic rather than anything else. The motivations and machinations seem totally out of place, even nonsensical.

      I probably wouldn’t run around stamping my feet and asking for it to be changed, but it’s an incredibly disappointing way to end what is one of my favourite series ever – and ME3 is easily the greatest in that series, for its first 98%.

  • I would question the extent to which it is an ending, given that it so completely lacks falling action and a conclusion. Even if we are going to posit that art is sacred as-is, isn’t there still an impetus to provide catharsis and closure as per any interpretation of the writer-reader contract which I’m familiar with? If the ending was complete and merely ‘different’ from what the majority wanted, this article could arguably apply. The quote about “individuals not knowing what they want” would too. But the ending is objectively incomplete – it lacks portions which, to the best of my knowledge, are never permitted to be excluded in literature outside of the most modernistic examples.

    ME3 is a character driven story which lacks a character-driven ending. Even if the exact same options were maintained, it would still need additional information – additional work – in order to be complete, and I don’t think incompleteness is sacred at all.

  • I’ll repost part of my comment from the other article, without spoilers:

    The point of interactivity in videogames (insofar as I think it has a point) is to meet player input with appropriately engaging/emotional/fun output.

    Having a spectrum of endings from ‘disaster’ to ‘success’ is *only* possible with interactive storytelling; writers don’t need to stick to traditional paradigms of tragedy or epic heroism when all could be possible in different playthroughs.

    My main problem with the ending isn’t so much that it’s bleak, or even that it sticks ridiculously close to science-fiction cookie-cutter models – though it’s both of those – but rather that it’s an awfully inconclusive, incoherent and jumbled way to end a trilogy.

    I don’t think *demanding* a new ending or ending choice) is the right word to use, but I’m disillusioned and dissatisfied with the way they’ve chosen to make them as they are now.

    • “Having a spectrum of endings from ‘disaster’ to ‘success’ is *only* possible with interactive storytelling; writers don’t need to stick to traditional paradigms of tragedy or epic heroism when all could be possible in different playthroughs.”

      Exactly this, said in so many less words than my post.

  • This one speaks of truth, but in saying that I will leave the Mass Effect series for good, I am disappointed in the ending but I shall leave it at that, I respect the creative authority of the writers and will not demand that they change anything. It has been fun Mass Effect <3

  • I think that Mass Effect 3’s ending is an absolutely horrid piece of trash that came from an already problematic series and shat all over the few defining perks and redeeming features that it had.

    Despite that, I agree with you. You can’t rewrite a story that’s already out. It would just be plain odd. Imagine if a patch came out that outright replaced the final level of a game completely, making the old final level inaccessible. It’d feel completely weird, right? And what about people that liked the old final level and thought that changing it was totally unnecessary?

    The better alternative is to simply release an alternate ending, an “alternate timeline where X” sort of thing. If you want to release a rewritten story, don’t write it over the old one. Write it beside it and release it beside it as an option that you can select upon character creation or as soon as the plot changes would become relevant.. That way, no-one loses anything and it actually ends up adding an entire dimension to the story.

    Besides, everyone likes alternate timelines.

  • I would agree with you had it not been for the fact that the ending and in fact the whole plot line was re-written already for ME3. Which leaked or not leaked should never have happened.

    “I don’t care if my Shepard starts doing the moonwalk over Reaper corpses before engaging in a dance fight to the death with the Illusive Man.”

    would have been a better ending 😀

  • Sorry I disagree Mark. The whole ending of Mass Effect 3 seriously neglected all the choices I made in ME1 and ME2. While what is written cannot be unwritten, I do hope Bioware does make a formal statement explaining why they made the ending like that. I was seriously angry when I finished the game that I promptly uninstalled the game and didn’t even bother replaying the game because I know the decisions I’ve made throught the trilogy are nullified by Bioware’s hamfisted ending.

    • I haven’t played the ending, but for this reply I will assume that, as many people say, the ending disregards most, if not all, the choices one has made.

      Bioware’s problem is that they hyped up the choice system to the point where they legitimately couldn’t make a great ending. They couldn’t have created dozens of different endings all drawn, written, voiced, animated and textured without sacrificing length or the cost of the game, neither of which would be liked/accepted by fans.

      • A simple narrated ending ala Fallout 3 would have sufficed. Animate all the destruction and action, that’s where it should go. Then a simple narration with text which details what happened to the people and races affected by your choices would have been adequate. BG2 did it, and it had more choices than all the ME games put together.

        • Creatively that would be just as acceptable, but there would still be a huge fuss over the fact that we don’t get to ‘see’ our decisions. People were going to complain no matter what.

          • That is true but it is a given considering how massive mass effect is. Any rpg fan would find that compromise acceptable as it has been a common way to reflect on your choices in the end since Baldurs Gate.

            I’d rather the gamers complain about Bioware being lazy with the animation department than totally shitting on the story and the hard work you have done in ME1 and ME2.

          • I’d like that too. And in hindsight, maybe it would have been a better option. Probably would have been, even if it would have pissed off the same amount of people. And asking Bioware to add it now is okay, but petitioning them to do this just seems silly.

    • It’s pretty incomparable. Obviously the main one is that the LOST ending didn’t really give you an option 😛

      But, no, I wouldn’t say it’s like LOST’s ending, as the main issue is that the way that ME3 ends directly contradicts things that BioWare have said before about the series. If JJ Abrams came out and “Don’t worry LOST fans, I assure you the very last scene will take place on the Island”, THEN it would be more comparable.

    • I’d say it’s probably more like the Battlestar Galactica ending….actually I can see quite a few parallels there.

  • Great piece Mark, there’s just one thing you mentioned I feel should be touched upon: retcons.

    Manga don’t usually do retcons, but they’re a mainstay of Western comic books. Things will be changed or outright ignored from series to series or even issue to issue. And that can be done in games. And it has been: Halo.

    Halo’s legendary ending had Johnson and an Elite bracing each other on Halo before the ring exploded. But then, whaddya know, he’s alive in Halo 2.

    They did not, however, patch the game, or alter future copies to change the scene though. Because that would be stupid.

  • All this commotion has made me even more curious about what happens. As Big Kev used to say, “I’M EXCITED!”.

  • i agree with some dlc that gives you more story after what happens in your ending.
    Also from what ive heard, it’s possible Shepard dreams the end parts…….
    if that is so, it either means more Mass Effect (Mass Effect 4) with shepard, or it leaves the end to be interpreted by fan’s.

  • Just to put this out there but I have cyclothymic disorder. The ending to this game was a big enough shock to the system that it’s left me in a bit of a melancholy state for a few days (shits interfering with my sleep which sucks, I like sleeping).

  • What a stupid article.

    “A game like Mass Effect, which is clearly designed and carefully built — with every detail of the universe accounted for — could not bear the damage a fan-demanded change to its fiction would create. Its integrity would collapse.”?

    Umm, what now?

    Have you even played – let alone finished – the actual game?

    Every detail of the universe is absolutely NOT accounted for at the end of this game. The ending is NOT carefully design or built. It’s a total mess. Lazily written, making absolutely no sense, throwing up more questions than it answers, and providing an utterly unsatisfying conclusion to the story.

    • I have to agree, the authors description of mass effect in no way resembles the end of mass effect 3. Not clearly defined at all. Without a doubt it was not carefully built and where exactly is a single detail of the universe accounted for?

      The endings break lore. The motivation of The Reapers defies logic and the whole thing is a poorly written mess that reeks of tacked on nonsense that destroys an element of the universe that is vital to the series’ integrity. It’s like the writer wanted revenge on the tool who leaked the script and in pursuit of it destroyed the game for the fans of the series.

  • Also the LOST ending give’s us a new opening to a new Mass Effect game, where we play as descendants to those who crashed on the Normandy, it can be called
    Mass Effect: Lonely Sons of Bitches

  • -raises hands in air- NNNNOOOOOOOO I hate ending better be contiuation dlc or closure dlc at least then I can let mass effect rest

  • I’m torn on this. Ultimately I agree with you Mark, though I’m not going to huff and puff about never changing my opinion no matter what, things can always change (excepting logical necessities). That said, I’m torn because as you say, this is about creative integrity, from a literary point of view, the ending of Mass Effect 3 is arguably so bad that there’s no integrity to protect in this case. I’m just not 100% sold that the writers of series owe nothing at all to their audience, legally speaking obviously not, but ethically speaking… Americans have a right to freedom of speech, but I don’t think many rational people think that gives them the right to invade say a homosexual’s home and spout abuse without any recourse.
    Writers can do what they want with their material, but that doesn’t make them infallible or right all the time. Being that I think it’s an objective fact that Mass Effect’s ending is wrong (wrong in how it treats the consumer, not wrong as in I KNOW THE REAL ENDING BIOWARE GOT IT WRONG)… I’m just really unsure on this issue. If I only thought it a subjectively bad ending I’d be 100% in your camp.

    If the ending of the upcoming Avengers movie was a giant talking turd showing up and smothering all the heroes and the villians and everyone else on earth, while retconning everything you’d just been told in the movie, and then an immediate fade to black (and I mean this literally), imagine just how angry people would be, some of the angry people will have a longer history with the universe than Joss Whedon, and I think it would be a fair call to say that treating the material in such way goes beyond ‘creative freedom’ into ‘shitting all over your audience’ region, and in comic history it’s actually not unheard of for endings to sagas to essentially be retold due to fan outcry. I guess in such an instance you don’t have a single author, but as far as I’m aware the original ME story/outline/plot was penned by Drew Karpyshyn, who’s no longer with Bioware yes? Again legally Bioware own the story… but this isn’t really an issue of legality.

  • Well said.

    Personally the ending has left a bad taste in my mouth, but, at the end of the day I understand. The ending itself is not simply about the choices you’ve made in the past, but more about the culmination of the story as a whole, which is to defeat the reapers.

  • I agree. A game’s ending should never be changed simply because some people whined about it. Same for books, movies etc.

    • What you and many others seem to not consider at all, is that a game, being an interactive medium, is allowed to have multiple endings.

      These multiple endings should ultimately reflect on the choice of the player, arguably the biggest feature of a Bioware game. They’re always trumpeting their games with player choice and how it affects the story.

      Here, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kbUGBpZbm6M. THIS is exactly what Bioware has been going on about, and then to say that the ending completely ignores every choice the player has ever made.. well, where do I start?

    • Um movies and books get changed all the time due to feedback, – um Great Expectations novel, and I Am Legend movie, 2 examples that I just thought of, I am sure there are hundred more if I looked

  • ng+ ending is slightly better in fact, its made the whole 2nd playthrough a lot easier (despite the insane diff choice.)

    Side note, my XBL progress where i’ve logged in and donwloaded my prothean is currently sitting at 98% having played zero seconds of SP and MP on XBox. All my progress carried over from my PC play through(S) which is a really interesting and most likely unintended bug?

  • The ending of ME3 was full of plot holes. Now while it is someone’s creative work and does deserve protection, that will not stop fans of the series from pointing out and being upset at blatantly obvious inconsistencies in the story. For a game of this calibre, after so many years of great storytelling, I think people have a right to be angry when the ending just doesn’t live up to the level that the series deserves.

  • It’s not about the ending… its about the results…. all endings have the same results… it leave many unanswered questions and dosnt make sense… I don’t care if shepard died or earth died or we all failed… but there is no closure. No reason to replay the game to see a different ending with a different shepard

    honestly shepard waking up in a mental hospital at the end no matter what his choice was would make more sense.

  • Why would it give me three options that end the same way? Ending the franchise we know and love.

    I appreciate what they did, not many videogame franchises can say that they did what ME3 ending did.

    But come on,give me at least one option that doesn’t end in the destruction of the universe that I have come to love over the course of three games.

  • Remember those ‘choose your own adventure’ novels you read when you were a kid? Imagine if all choices lead to the same ending on the same page. Every kid would get frustrated. That is what ME3 achieved with its ending

  • In all fairness you cannot create an article or make a valid argument unless you have actually finished the game and seen the ending for yourself. If you truly are a fan of the trilogy and have invested emotionally into the characters and story of the franchise, then you will understand that the ending for ME3 is a shambles. Its not about creative integrity, its about the very core principle of the game allowing you to choose and determine your own fate and outcomes of the game that were abolished in the last moment, the MOST important moment of the entire game.

    But saying that I did not care for the execution of the ending regardless, there was zero closure to anything and only raised more questions.

    In short, AWFUL! If there has ever been an excuse to release a new DLC, is a new improved ending that has a more positive outcome and brings closure to all we have spent working so hard to fight for.

    It worked for Neon Genesis Evangelion. Lets do the same!

  • i am gonna avoid what most people seem to be saying here, but another thing that annoyed me about the ending is that all (spoiler?) 3 of them show the same cinematic with really minor changes, like changes to the colour of one thing in particular. Now i liked the choices themselves, it wasn’t just good ending, bad ending, random ending. But making it a final decision between all three is kind of lazy, isn’t the paragon/renegade meter just for situations like this?

  • You really want to compare Manga to Mass Effect 3? Challenge accepted!

    Nobody wants to read Shaman King anymore and wish they never read it after knowing that Hao (the main antagonist), which is the main bad antagonist guy that wants to kill everything with his hatred, suddenly wants to become the queen of the stars and stop fighting all of the sudden.

    You have no idea how many people wants the ending to be changed, but they have anime variation’s ending (which is way better) that they can take refuge on. You clearly don’t know what you are talking about. The customers say the product sucks then the product sucks! PERIOD!

  • For the record, I just finished ME3 and thought the ending was great. I genuinely liked it. I don’t care what happens next, that’s not what the story is about. The story is stopping the reapers, and giving borth to a new hope for all of civilization.

  • “A game like Mass Effect, which is clearly designed and carefully built — with every detail of the universe accounted for — could not bear the damage a fan-demanded change to its fiction would create. Its integrity would collapse.”

    Gonna go ahead and call that out as rubbish right here. Remember that recent Mass Effect novel? The one which contradicted canon in dozens of places? Remember how after fans complained, that they’re editing the novel to fix all of that?

    It’s not like Mass Effect 3 is particularly faithful to the series’ canon either. Off the top of my head I can think of how the first two games had the difficulty of large ships entering orbit, and that this was the reason the second, larger Normandy in ME2 had to switch to using shuttles from orbit rather than simple drops from the surface as with the first Normandy, and yet in ME3 the second Normandy has completely forgotten these restrictions.

    I don’t know anything about the ending of ME3. I don’t have any comments on that. But to say that the game accounts for “every detail of the universe” and couldn’t stand some fixing up of problems that apparently only the fans and not the writers of the third game have noticed is ludicrous.

  • Seriously, we have”no say” in how it ends!? A game where you write the course of history, a game where you build from the character backround, to the way he or she interacts with characters and events in this universe. We “the fans” spend our TIME and MONEY so that Bioware can eat. So they can continue making GOOD games. It’s called consumerism, if the consumers are not happy with what you made (which can be applied to anything really) you bet you’ve messed up. Lost trust 101…

  • But is the Mass Effect series not all about making YOUR own choices and building YOUR character and universe the way YOU want to?
    Mass Effect 3 is a mediocre 3rd person shooter that doesn’t hold true to the story or mechanics.
    I’m hoping this is going to be the last we hear from Bioware.

  • I haven’t completed ME3 yet and I would normally agree with what this article is saying. However with the addition of MP and numerous other add-ons such as this hand holding crap added just for people who decided to start playing ME with part 3 plus release day dlc. I think it’s pretty obvious ME3 was made by a money making commitee who didn’t give a damn about the integrity of this amaizing saga. Hell this game will go down as a sad cautionary tale of what happens when bean counters take over the production of a great franchise and f it in the a. My point is this game is so comprimised going back and changing the ending couldn’t hurt it anymore than EA already has. I shed a single Clint Eastwoodian manly tear for this game and where the the franchise is headed under the stewardship of this morally bankrupt company run by scum.

  • I think that Mark really needs to finish the game before posting anything else. While I agree that an ending should not be changed, this ending leaves a lot to be desired.

    It is very abrupt, distilling 90 hours of play into 3 specific choices that are not affected by anything you did previously, with a montage of vague shots to summarise the ending that resolve or explain very little. For people who really became attached to Shepard, its a real cop-out. Its as if the writers ran out of ideas and got sick of trying to amalgamate all the players choices in the game previously and decided to wrap things up like a Deus Ex game with a dream sequence.

    So go ahead and finish the game. Get attached to your Shepard, invest yourself in the role. Fight the enemy, put the effort into your missions and then after the ending, reflect on what just happened. You might say to yourself “Of course Bioware are entitled to make the ending, but what the hell was that?”

  • The ending was abysmal, but changing it still wouldn’t be right. Let’s just accept the fact that BioWare done goofed up and I swear this, and I really, REALLY mean it – I’m not buying their games anymore. Because of what will happen next time. I can only imagine that Dragon Age 3 will end even more poorly.

    I am not screaming with rage. I’m just very, very, very, very, very disappointed. Sad. This is not the emotion I should feel after playing a Mass Effect game. The ending to ME1 made me happy. The ending to ME2 made me elated. The ending to ME3 didn’t make me sad or emotional – just tired, and disappointed that THAT was the best BioWare could do. What, did they run out of money towards the end?

    It’s just disappointing. Really, really disappointing. With every other ME game, I played through them about 6 times. I’m not going to play through ME3 again. I just don’t care anymore about it, knowing that that wonderful story leads up to a major bummer and a disappointment.

    BioWare you done goofed. You said “Some will be happy, some will be angry”. Most of us aren’t either. We’re just disappointed.

    • A few thousand or even a few hundred thousand people who are a vocal minority of the 3.5 million+ people who’ve bought the game are not “most” of anything. Get over it.

      • Oh im sorry, i didnt realize that every single one of the 3.5 million of people who bought the game is active on the Bioware forums.

        … you might find this odd but believe it or not, the forums are populated mostly by people who particularly like the Mass Effect universe, care about the characters and their stories. Out of those people, more than 90% voted the endings suck. So maybe you can change that to most of the people who care are disappointed.
        Of course a random guy who just played the game and is not particularly interested in the universe isnt gonna whine about a bad ending.
        But the most hardcore fans are important for a company and its not generally a good idea to shit on them.

  • In the woods of Conan Doyles Sherlock Holmes “it is a capital mistake to theorise before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories instead of theories to suit facts” as you have yet to complete a full play through you have already come to the theory that everyone who didn’t like the ending is in the wrong, while im sure you had a deadline it really is lazy journalism to submit word based upon next to no data. Now as previously mentioned public outrage has lead to “creative changes” as previously stated, Sherlock holmes was showned to have not been killed in a drop from the Reichenbach falls, in fact the Hound of the baskervilles was writen for the demanding pubic, and in fact at the time the public hated it as it was a prequel not a return. now the problem is bioware chose to follow up the ending of ME2 in which from the Reaper IFF to the end of the suicide mission there were any number of possible out comes to a simple 1 out come with a choice of explosion colour.

  • I must be the only person in the world who is a serious fan of the Mass Effct series and actually LIKED the ending in ME3. Yes, I do have a very small few issues with the end, mainly with the “crash landing”. Other than that I don’t have an issue, it gave me closure, the story arc was concluded, yes there were other parts of the ending I didn’t like much, I can’t name them for spoilers; but overall I found the ending very satisfying and a fiting end to the story of the Reapers. Not necessarily a fitting way to leave some of the characters in a certain way with no explanation, but to the overarching story of the Reapers I found it very fitting. There were always going to be problems with the end to this trilogy unless Bioware decided on a cliché Hollywood happy ending. But back to the point, I liked the ending, I’m not really understanding why there is such a backlash; I can see that some things could have been done better, but really, I think it was overall a good way to farewell the series.

  • You keep saying the ending shouldn’t be changed you seem to be ignoring the fact that not all the fans want the old endings “erased” we just want additional options saying it must remain exactly like it is means no creative work should ever be added to and thats just stupid. The fans don’t want options removed we just want more options in a game about having options

  • We were told there would be many and varied endings from the possibility of failure and a difficult to achieve perfect ending. Neither existed. These were either lies or mistakes. Either wayif someone sells you something saying it includes something specifically asked about, you have every right to demand it.

    I am an artist, I believe strongly in creative integrity. This however is bullshit. The endings are not consistent with lore, proclaimed character motivation is ridiculous and odd things are overlooked for exams a characters apparent ability to teleport that manifests at the end. Something went wrong here and I want it fixed.

    The whole series says your actions will have consequences on the games outcomes but you are given a choice that negates all the previous choices and work you had been doing even in this installment. Not only that but the varied ending boils down to the color that appears on your screen. It’s like something was slapped on because they were too close to release to truly finish the game.

    I know we’re all strong proponents of the video games as art POV, but don’t loose sight of the fact that this is a product, mass produced and the future of a franchise and possibly the people who worked on it have a huge stake in it being successful.

    In the end, yes the endings sucked. I would not go so far as to say I demand a new one, I would surely love one though and thinking would be in the company’s best interest to provide a satisfying end that would please their fans.

    • We were told there would be many and varied endings from the possibility of failure and a difficult to achieve perfect ending.

      Source?

      Neither existed.

      Depend on your definitions of failure and perfection, if you ask me.

      These were either lies or mistakes. Either wayif someone sells you something saying it includes something specifically asked about, you have every right to demand it.

      Irrelevant until you show me something that says Bioware failed to deliver something the specifically promised.

      I am an artist, I believe strongly in creative integrity. This however is bullshit. The endings are not consistent with lore, proclaimed character motivation is ridiculous and odd things are overlooked for exams a characters apparent ability to teleport that manifests at the end. Something went wrong here and I want it fixed.

      Are you sure you’re not confusing “lack of consistency” with “adding new information”?

      Why is the character motivation ridiculous?

      Teleportation? I presume you mean how some characters are suddenly on the Normandy for the big ending. Does that affect the story at ALL? Are you sure you’re not just nitpicking now?

      The whole series says your actions will have consequences on the games outcomes

      Source?

      but you are given a choice that negates all the previous choices and work you had been doing even in this installment.

      So?

      Not only that but the varied ending boils down to the color that appears on your screen. It’s like something was slapped on because they were too close to release to truly finish the game.

      While cometically this is how it looks, what the endings mean and their implications are quite varied. They can tell three very different stories with a minimum of effort, I don’t see the problem here.

      I know we’re all strong proponents of the video games as art POV, but don’t loose sight of the fact that this is a product, mass produced and the future of a franchise and possibly the people who worked on it have a huge stake in it being successful.

      In the end, yes the endings sucked.

      Opinion, one not supported by anything resembling a majority.

      I would not go so far as to say I demand a new one, I would surely love one though and thinking would be in the company’s best interest to provide a satisfying end that would please their fans.

      Assumption that the majority of fans aren’t pleased with the ending they got. What you mean is Bioware should reconsider and supply an ending that is pleasing to you personally, and some other people who happen to agree with you.

        • Sure, 90% of people who responded to the poll, in a thread that is biased towards and intended to attract the attention of people who have a strong opinion about the ending. I haven’t voted in that poll, since I haven’t been so strongly opinionated that I’m going to complain on the Bioware forums.

          Total votes in that poll are also < 2% of the total sales of Mass Effect.

          Hey, I just polled my friends. 90% are in favour of the current endings as-is.

          I guess I'm in the majority now?

          • If you asked at least few hundred of your frinds then yes, your in the majority. If not then your outcome is irrelevant.
            40 000 however is not irrelevant, even though some might be biased.
            The fact that they have a strong opinion doesnt mean its a negative opinion. The users on the forum are mainly people who like the series more than the rest so if anything theyre biased to make it look better than it is for most. Unfortunately the statistics of the forum are unavailable but its not that huge, 40 000 is alot of people.

            If you think its a insignificant minorty that Bioware can safely ignore then youre in denial.

    • I have to disagree with you about the endings having different meaning. I appologize for the possible mild spoiler, but did any of you play, or do you know about, the Arrival DLC for ME2? In Arrival the Batarian Mass Relay was destroyed, resulting in the destruction of the entire solar system…so what do you suppose might happen to ALL solar systems if ALL Mass Relays were destroyed?…just something to think about when you talk about the *varied* endings.

      • It wasn’t just the detruction of the Mass Relay, it was the fact that about five minutes after the Mass Relay was destroyed the Reapers showed up. Without the Mass Relay the Batarians had no way to escape.

  • what would be an accaeptable ending? is it going to be like star wars and shepard can never die? or he retires? he would have to live with all those decisions he made. i feel like shepard deserves rest.

  • To the people that feel betrayed that Bioware didn’t have the endings summarize every choice you’ve made over the past three games: I think you have to bear in mind that we saw that over the course of the third game we see the previous choices come up over and over; it’s up to you to remember what happened during the game when you think about how the ending plays out. If I massacred species in one play-through and saved them in the other, the galaxy is different regardless of whether or not there’s a neat cut scene showing Shepard chilling with them.

    SPOILERS

    I was disappointed that the cut-scenes for all the endings were so similar, but the three endings are awfully different. The control option is the only one where you leave the mass relays functional (as far as I can tell anyways, the cut-scene still shows an explosion around them but it’s a lot less drastic than the other two), the synthesis ending brings the end of the series in a completely different evolution direction, and the destroy option lets you wipe out EDI and the geth for a chance at living.

    I’m sad that bioware didn’t spell out the results of these choices in the final cut-scenes, but it’s not fair to say that the choices don’t have drastically different results.

    As sad as I was that we weren’t given some kind of “Where Are They Now” epilogue (where Garrus becomes primarch but only if we found enough of those turian colony markers in the first game), I thought there were a lot of great touches with this ending: I love that a paragon Shepard that won’t ever hit a renegade option will just get shot (someone else complained about it but I like to think of that as an apocalyptic fourth ending), and I love that the only way to potentially live through it is to kill off all synthetics, destroy the mass relays, and sacrifice evolution.

    That all said, I don’t know what’s going on with Joker running away from the pulse that should really be leaving him alone, and I sorta feel like your squad for the final push should’ve ended up dead. All in all, I wouldn’t change the ending but I would love to see a DLC that takes place on the Normandy where you get to see how they saved that squad, why they decided to run away from the pulse, and gives you a brief search-for-shepard’s-body mission that leads into a where-are-they-now epilogue.

  • I actually do think it would have been possible for Bioware to come up with a way to effectively end the series while leaving the majority of their fanbase satisfied. I don’t think it would have been easy. It would have taken a lot of work and time and required a team full of creative people with a passion for the series all working towards that goal.

    I don’t think that happened though. Which is fine. No game can be perfect.

    All that being said? I think this is all going to be moot in a few months when Bioware loose the springs on a new, though planned all-along, ‘Epilogue’ DLC pack. At which point everyone will buy it and collectively sigh in relief and gratitude.

    Let’s just hope they include it in the Mass Effect Saga UHD Collection for ‘XUltramangobox’ and ‘Playstation Phore’ in 2017.

  • You know what? I thought that everyone was going to be complaining about nothing as well. Then I finished the game, and I can see why everyone is pissed off. Should it be changed? Er… yes, actually. And one of the endings leaves a way for them to do it via DLC.

    And they’re probably going to charge for that.

  • Does anyone remember Great Expectations? You know the famous book you read as a child more than likely, it’s ending was not well received and thus it was changed, due to feedback. Guess what the new ending was well received and considered to be the “correct” ending. Writer’s are not perfect, god knows reading this article kind of proves it, when you have not even played the game that your are talking about.

  • This you wrote here is pretty dumb in many levels. However, rather than argue it I will sidestep it and riposte.

    I argue that the ending has to be changed because it was incomplete. Because there is no ending. There is no conclusion, wrap-up, epilogue, closure.

    You haven’t even beat the game yet. You don’t get it.

  • Haha, this guy is actually soapbox ranting in defense of “lol, I changed the color of the beam a couple of times, three endings now kekeke.”

    I’m not “demanding” anything, but I really think that people who bought the game deserve better than that. If I were to demand something, I wouldn’t even demand that they change how the endings work out, but rather that they actually put the effort into making three actual endings, instead of re-using the same bs in each one. Further, I want an explanation as to why my crew ended up stranded on some weird alien world, when most of them weren’t even on the Normandy at the time, even aside from the lack of explanation as to why the Normandy was using a mass relay at that time.

    And yeah, I think people have the right to demand something that isn’t full of plot holes. After all, they’re fixing one of the Mass Effect novels for having major plot problems, why can’t they fix the game?

    • The book being modified to be correct is not the same thing as adding in new endings because a vocal minority of people don’t like the current ones. You’re free to think differently, because there’s no law against being wrong.

      • I’m curious as to where you’re getting that “vocal minority” thing from, unless you’ve managed to poll every single person who bought the game. It’s really not effective to claim a majority or minority position when you have no data either way.

        Because if millions of people did like it but are staying silent, by all means encourage them to speak up. “The silent majority” may very well include people who do have a problem with the ending but can’t be bothered saying so, after all. We really don’t know.

        • Until the silent majority becomes a silent minority, I have no reason to believe otherwise. The vocal people are the ones assuming they speak for everyone.

      • It’s not a matter of “not liking” them, it’s a matter of them being structurally problematic. If they go back and provide me with a reason for why EDI and Liara (my party just prior to going to the Citadel) somehow magically end up on the Normandy, and the Normandy ends up crash landing on some alien world, I don’t think that’s any different from fixing the major plot holes and problems in the fourth novel.

        Additionally, the whole concept of this article is flawed. The “creative integrity” ship sailed when Sir Arthur Conan Doyle responded to death threats/money/whatever and resurrected Sherlock Holmes… you know, almost 120 years ago.

        Besides, this is less of an issue of customers threatening creative integrity than it is of money threatening creative integrity. It’s pretty obvious that Bioware rushed the ending, which explains the “lol 3 different beam colors” and the lack of any real reason for why the Normandy is going through a Mass Relay. Deadlines tend to screw shit up, and I think that’s what happened here.

        And like I already said, I’m not even asking for Bioware to change the major theme of the endings, but I do think that if they have any real integrity they’ll patch it up here and there to better reflect their real intentions for the end of the game. Everything about the ending screams of a rush job, and if you can’t see that you’ve just gotta be blind.

  • But it’s not just a regular fiction. The greatest part of Mass Effect is that it is your story as much as Bioware’s it’s one of the greatest franchises out there because of it. By making a ending that takes our characters away from us, our story away from us and our decisions away from us essentially takes all enjoyment of the game from us. We spent extra money to make sure our endings would be good because we were promised a diverse amount of endings and we got 3. If they made a alternate ending DLC and sold it for 10 bucks they would not only make a extra 300,000 (minimum) but please their entire fan base. It’s a win-win for everybody.

    • I don’t know where people are getting this idea that we’d get a wide variety of endings, can you link me to your source? Or is it something you assumed?

      The entirety of ME3 is the epilogue of this story, of Shepard’s story. Your choices from the first two games affect how the third game plays out, which friends you have by your side, what conversations you have, etc. You shaped that world. If anyone thought there was going to be a special ending for every unique combination of circumstances, then that person is a goddamned fool.

      You also have to remember that not everyone coming into ME3 will have played ME1 and/or ME2. Should they be disadvantaged? There are certain ‘tiers’ of endings you unlock via your in-game efforts, and everyone has equal access to them. What affects your endings is how hard you work to obtain assets.

        • So there’s multiple tiers of endings, all slight variations but ultimately affected by your galactic readiness rating. We’re certainly not forceddown one corridor so we all get the same ending like, for instance, the ending of ME1. Even ME2 only really has two endings, if you don’t count the slight variations of who’s alive/who’s dead or, count the Shepard dies ending which is a non-standard game over. You either preserved or destroyed the reaper base, right?

          We can quibble about the phrasing and the meaning of ‘many’ all day, but if you ask me everything he said there remains accurate.

          • What he said is not accurate, its false marketing. Because what he says implies that the endings are reasonably different, which theyre not, theyre practically the same and they dont reflect any choces made prior to the final one.

  • I have to disagree. Bioware shouldn’t be forced to write an ending to our exact specifications, that’s true. But first of all, art is never solely in the hands of the artist. It is always a relationship between artist and audience. Why is Mona Lisa smiling? Is Romeo and Juliet a story about transcendent love or about two spoiled kids that should just listen to their parents? These are things that are important to the experience which are left up to the audience.

    In a video game, that relationship is even more integral to the art. There, the player isn’t just a passive observer, they are an active participant. They are crafting a unique story along with the developers, based on the way they play it. And a game like Mass Effect does that even more so. We have been told all along that this is our story. That our choices have consequences which will shape this universe to our play style. To suddenly drop that at the very end, for no reason, is an insult to your audience. It ruins the relationship that has been built, and therefore ruins the art itself which relies on that relationship.

    So yes, we shouldn’t be able to say “now if I make this choice and this choice then Shepard should have the option to either do this, which leads to this, or this other thing, which leads to this choice….” Nor would we want to. Part of the fun of playing the game is in discovering what comes next. Having to dictate that to Bioware would ruin the game just as much as their current endings do. However, we should be able to say “I want a selection of endings which will appropriately reflect the choices that I’ve made in the previous 3 games.”

    Also, as much as we like to extol the artistic merit of video games, this is also a business, and as such, we as consumers have certain expectations which they as the business need to take into account if they want to maintain that good business relationship.

    Yes, you will never be able to completely please 100% of the people 100% of the time. But if you provide an experience which accurately reflects and respects the rest of the experience, I think that, whether or not it matches what people want to happen, people will at least respect that outcome. Right now, Bioware has lost a lot of respect because of this.

  • Whislt I think the ending to ME3 was poorly written – plot holes in the story – I’m not going to be signing any online protest soon.

    I do find it disappointing though that the ME series has promoted a central character that you develop through your decisions and actions only to provide the ending/s they did. It’s just further proof the EA are driving the Bioware brand into the dirt..

  • I know we aren’t “entitled” to a different ending… but I still wish we had one.. Like almost everyone else, I was left feeling incredibly disappointed, sad and full of questions when the game finished and the credits rolled. I wanted to know more, the Mass Effect universe is so fascinating, and to end it like that, raising more questions then answers, it just sucks… a lot.

    Why BioWare… why? We loveded you… WE LOVEDED YOU!!! *tear*

  • Shepard’s been to hell and back more than once, I think he/she deserves a better ending.. 🙁
    And the ability to continue playing after the reaper poop is done with<3

  • This article presents the moral dilemma I’ve been having since I completed the game myself. On one hand, I completely agree with the idea of artistic integrity. The writers have a right to do what they want and once the work is published, they must stick to their guns. Forgoing this idea, even for one moment, sets a dangerous precedent I’m not sure I want the entertainment industry to go down. It means when there IS a truly divisive ending that some people like but others don’t, all it will take is the vocal minority to scream loudest and have everything changed.

    With that said, I justify my disdain for this and desire to see this ending changed by the fact it truly is poor writing, has huge leaps and flaws in logic, and ultimately flies in the face of everything we’ve expected of the Mass Effect series thus far. To me, the moment I stop caring about a franchise, gaming or otherwise, is when the writers start throwing in leaps of logic that can easily be questioned by the consumer. To me, the ability to hold suspension of disbelief is critical to the experience. The moment they lose that is the moment the writing stops being quality. Mass Effect has done an astounding job for 99% of the series. It’s a shame they lost me at such a critical moment.

    The other reason I contest it is that we live in a day and age where gaming gives us content patches and downloadable content to increase and improve our gaming experience. A lot of the time it’s used as blatant cash-in for arbitrary cosmetic effects. But its also done a lot of good and added content that has improved games for the better. Think about Fallout 3 and Broken Steel. That was an ending which many fans were also incredibly disappointed about. Bethesda took that feedback on board and created a content pack that not only expanded the game beyond the ending, but fixed blatant plot holes in it and made the overall experience more satisfying.

    It would be an interesting social and developmental experiment to see Bioware do this for ME3. But at the same time, I understand the risks of destroying creative integrity. It’s a fine line both the developers and the consumers tread.

    Also, as a final note, while I respect the author’s right to his opinion, I would rather have preferred he finished the game before making a comment. I was in the same mindset as him before this, having heard criticisms about the game’s ending, but after actually having played it, my disappointment has grown the more I think about it and what happened sink in.

  • I just want everyone to get over this so we can go on to discuss other aspects of the game. Every single topic I’ve seen about ME3 has been inundated with comments about the ending. It’s annoying as hell and people can’t seem to keep their trap shut over spoilers.

  • Mr. Serrels, your argument grows out of two assumptions that are common to game journalists with an artistic bent. First, that games are art. And second, that art is the sole creative expression of the artist, and the opinion of the consumer is unimportant and should never be allowed to impinge upon the freedom of the artist. These assumptions are both badly flawed.

    On the first point, games are interactive software products. They are manufactured commercial entities which exist for the purpose of entertaining an audience, like movies or novels or paintings, which are also sometimes considered art. If games are art, they are *commercial* art, produced for a specific audience to meet a specific need with the goal of earning a profit for their creators. As a producer and consultant at a AAA studio, I promise I never even considered starving for my art. I did work, I got paid, and if a game did well, sometimes I got a bonus. Pay for play, literally.

    Second, there is a relatively modern assumption on the part of many “fine artists” that art does not have to meet any commercial purpose, or serve any role other than to express the artist’s vision. This is a view that began to appear in the early-mid 20th century as traditional representative art began to give way to so-called “modern art,” which has become progressively less and less relevant to the great majority of people. Da Vinci, Rembrandt, etc routinely changed paintings to suit the desires of their patrons, because they understood that art which does not please its customers is ultimately a futile exercise in artistic arrogance and grandiosity (think cricifixes suspended in vats of urine, for instance).

    Your core argument is that Bioware is not responsible for producing a pleasing product for their fans, but you are mistaken. They most certainly believed they were responsible for producing a product their fans would like, and considered that a studio goal. The team working on ME3 regularly and specifically said as much, from company leadership down to the rank and file. The bulk of the evidence currently suggests that the product they produced did not meet that standard. By any reasonable benchmark, they failed to achieve that goal. This does not mean they *must* change the game. However, to say that they *must not* is foolish and arrogant in the extreme. The great masters of the renaissance up to artists in all mediums in the modern day have regularly changed or updated their art to enhance, improve, or correct it, often in response to customer or patron feedback. Bioware certainly has the right to make changes if they want. Whether or not they want to is an entirely different issue.

  • *** Suggested Ending w/ Many Spoilers ***

    Here’s my proposed “proper” ending – ME3: Showdown $9.99 on XBL and PSN…lol

    Opening Scene-
    Massive Full-Scale war in space above Earth. All fleets from all races that pledged help are shown battling Reapers. Shepard is woken up by previously selected mission teammates after being knocked out and nearly killed by Harbinger and left for dead alongside the rest of the initial wave assaulting “The Beam.” Believing the entire force to be dead, Harbinger, who tends to be arrogant and has repeatedly underestimated Shepard in the past, leaves indoctrinated Cerberus force to guard the Beam, and returns to the fight in space.

    Player Control begins with Shepard and his team grabbing cover and preparing to engage Cerberus forces guarding the Beam near where Shepard “woke-up” in original ending (truck/shuttle debris make realistic cover for battle). After winning the fight, [insert character specific dialog and/or cutscene], the team cautiously enters The Beam.

    [Scene showing the team’s arrival on the Citadel] This is not necessarily where Shepard arrived previously, since that was only a virtual representation of the indoctrination process during unconsciousness; more advanced, using Shepard’s own memories as constructs (this explains the similarities to both the Collector base and the room with ‘changing walls’ that looks eerily similar to the initial Shadow Broker’s base as well as the image of a child only Shepard saw and can identify with), but not unlike Legion’s ‘collective consciousness’ level. Misc. firefights and platforming across/through previously unseen parts of the Citadel (it is known that there are places ONLY the Keepers can go) leads to final confrontation/showdown with fully indoctrinated Illusive Man and Cerberus kill team, similar to Saren battle in ME1. This is a good place to use the choice made in the original ending…if player chose Control or Synthesize ending, Shepard is partially indoctrinated/synthesized, and the Illusive Man will have some advantage such as reducing Shepard’s movement speed as he ‘fights’ the indoctrination’s control. After defeating Illusive Man (for real this time), Shepard finds control panel and opens the Citadel arms. This battle provides a chance to introduce a previously saved character again. For instance, Thane’s son Kolyat, if found/saved, could show up and prevent the death of one of Shepard’s teammates during the fight. His assassin skills, while no match for his father’s, explains how he snuck aboard.

    Huge “Big-Budget” Ending Scene-providing closure for a three game series with 100+ gameplay hours invested deserves at least 20-30 min. of animation)
    This is where the ending shines and provides closure similar to Fallout endings where different but meaningful scenes play out according to different player choices, but with full animation.
    For example:
    If player has accumulated enough war assets, show a nice long animation of combined fleets holding off Reapers while Crucible is brought in and attached. If not enough, animation shows fleet taking heavy losses. Either way shows scenes of all participating races’ fleets specifically/individually.
    Once Crucible is ‘connected’, another lengthy animation to show Keepers in various areas of Citadel becoming very active as an embedded signal in the Crucible affects the Keepers. This activity results in the Keepers unleashing a massive EMP-like blast from the Crucible/Citadel weapon that travels through the relay network shutting down all the Reaper forces, while Legion’s unique self-modified coding protects the Geth if they made it this far, and gives his ‘death’ more purpose.
    Now more scenes of Reapers crashing down at various locations on Earth while any remaining ground troops celebrate(human, krogan, etc.), then show similar scenes of Reapers crashing/troops celebrating on all the home worlds of participating races (Tuchanka, Thessia, Sur Kesh, etc.).
    If player chose Control, Shepard is indoctrinated enough such that the blast from the Crucible kills him, even though he did stop them, letting him die a hero, while providing the ’bad’ or worst ending. If Synthesis was chosen, Shepard gets ‘hit’ by the beam, and ‘middle’ ending shows love interest at his side as he lays unconscious in intensive care in hospital bed. If destroy was chosen, then Shepard and his team board the Normandy with the applause of the crew, and as EDI scans for any remaining Reapers she finds Harbinger’s ship/body, and Shepard has one last paragon/renegade choice: Destroy Harbinger for good, or ignore it (since it’s dead) and celebrate.

    Maybe I’m just old fashioned, but after spending this much time with him/her, I would like to see the illustrious Commander Shepard ride off into the proverbial sunset with his/her particular love interest knowing the galaxy is finally united and safe…

  • “Mass Effect has done an astounding job for 99% of the series. It’s a shame they lost me at such a critical moment.”

    Agreed. ME3 in particular is outstanding, which makes the dissonance between its fantastic main story and the jumble of endings even more disappointing.

  • I agree that an ending should not be changed just because some don’t like it if that ending was always meant to be. But if the ending is found out to be made that way so so they can later sell dlc and continue the franchise then that is a cop out and a pure money spinner, no two ways about it.

  • Its obvious that post dlc is gonna come and EA are going to say due to popular demand from fans we are doing this for them even though its obvious they had dlc plans to take place before release. Wait and see.

  • For what it’s worth, I don’t think the ending should be changed, because – well – I think it would be impractical and pointless, but all this waffle about integrity is utter, utter nonsense.

    Stories get written in all sorts of ways, and some of the most enduring, most meaningful stories that exist were, in fact “crowdsourced”. These days we call those stories “myths.”

    Changing a story as a result of popular demand is no different to changing a story for any other reason, and people change stories all the time. That’s why editors exist.

  • Bioware markets Mass Effect as a game where the players choices carry weight. The endings do not reflect this. So yes, as paying customers we DO have the right to ask for change. Ths isnt high art, its a video game. If customers want more options then whats the harm? I am aware of the current theory involving of the final 10 minutes and indoctrination. If it turns out to be true it goes from a terrible deus ex god child turd ending to one of the greatest troll jobs in history. We shall see.

  • Artistic integrity should include not insulting the consumers. This game’s ending does that in the lead up to the final choice since the reason given for the Reapers doing what they are doing is an argument not for the Reapers to exist but for absolutely nothing to exist at all since all intelligent things tend to want to kill everything that is not themselves. The reasoning the Catalyst gives is not only potentially countermanded by what happens with the Geth and Quarians, even if it wasn’t, the logic involved basically dictates that the Reapers should have simply nuked every life bearing planet in the galaxy and then committed suicide long ago.

    Think about that, Bioware didn’t just negate the choices you made in the last three games, they negated the entire universe they created! The funny thing is that even with that utterly ridiculous reason the ending itself is still salvageable. I would have liked to have been able to tell the catalyst that the reason given was totally illogical; if I got the Geth and Quarians to be nice with each other. Being able to simply convince the catalyst that their logic is flawed and get it to call off the dogs would have been awesome and consistent with what happened in my game.

    The synthesis ending conceptually isn’t that bad either the problem with it is that you blow up the Relays while doing it which essentially screws lots of planets unless of course really, really good FTL drives are made. It would have helped all the endings to have had short blurbs about what happened to all the characters who survived.

    One other thing I would like to touch on is this whole indoctrination thing. If they run with this idea it won’t make things better, it just highlights how badly they screwed up, and it exposes indoctrination as a crummy plot point since the Reapers could/should have just flash indoctrinated Shepard and everyone else and killed them all back in ME 2 or earlier in ME 3 and got on with their business. It would only cause me to question the believability of indoctrination since every other person that I can think of who has ever been indoctrinated had it happen slowly. Frying the brains of the asshats screwing up your awesome plan is not a bad thing so why not do it and get it over with instead of wasting everyone’s time by doing it right at the end of the game?

    Indoctrination does not help this mess even if it does make sense in a surface kind of way. It is easier and simpler just to allow the player to outright fail and die rather than for Bioware to pretend that they were trolling the fans.

  • Well said, old bean. Mirrors my sentiments exactly, I’ve never been a fan of design by committee. *tips hat to Suda51

    On a similar note I really hope Tim Schafer doesn’t draw from the crowd with his Kickstarter project as far as the story is concerned..

  • Normally I would agree with you. As a writer I would never consider rewriting part of my tale. However, this isn’t exactly the same thing. Bioware painted a picture of a huge array of choices that would effect the games ending in big way. Allowing for many many possible endings. I won’t cite the sources they have been cited in this thread already. They did so blatantly and in print, podcast, and video. What we received in the end is entirely different. In such a case I think that the fans are entitled to a DLC or fix. Especially since, for those who have actually played through the ending, it’s obvious that there are parts that were removed. I doubt we’ll ever get someone to officially admit it, but there is evidence in the end scenes that suggest that they rushed a slap dash ending out. Major plot holes. Pretty much retconned a good chunk of the lore of the game in a total Dues Ex Machina. There seems to be missing chunks of the endings. I believe that EA forced them to rush it out. In that case it becomes not a creative demand, but a business one. The games were given a bait and switch. It clashes, angrily, with the rest of the game. I played this game truly wondering if I was ever going to be able to play any game this good ever again. Until I got to the last moments of the endings and found there really wasn’t a choice at all. This isn’t about writing or creativity. This is about being sold a product that was 95% done and being told that we have no right to ask for the 100% we were lead to believe we were buying.

  • What short sighted, arrogant nonsense. I personally thought the endings, while sad, were thought provoking and has engendered interesting discussion. I don’t viscerally hate the endings like every one else does. But that does not mean I think everyone should shut up.

    How dare you suggest that paying patrons of this piece of gaming art not have a say in how things should end. Player input, an player say was a central feature of this entire series, one of the features that kept people coming back for more, the feature that had fans stoked because they could finally see how the choices they made would result in very different endings. This is what was promised, and this is what was not delivered.

    The three endings are merely cosmetically different, and apparently takes no consideration of previous choices. After having put in millions of dollars of development into the game, how much harder could it really have been to make 3 different ending cutscenes? How hard could it have been to give players a little more explanation as to why these three options were the only options? Nothing, there as nothing. After hundreds of hours and perhaps $100+ investment, players have EVERY right to demand a satisfying closure. You sir, are only pandering to sophistry.

    • How many times do I have to make this clear — you have the right to whinge, you have the right to say the ending was shit, you have the right to complain. Demanding a new ending is silly. That’s my point. I don’t understand why people can’t get this.

      • If you have 100% all the games like most die hard mass effect fans have I find it really hard to believe that you wont be outraged when you finish. The games have hundreds of choices in the end none of those choices matter my 100% complete paragon soldier in which i had done every sidequest and explored every planet in all three games on got the same 3 options as my friend who started up with mass effect three and complete no sidequests. So not only do they throw out the window what made the series great, the ending doesnt make any sense. They introduce thing in the last 5 minutes that have never been present in the Mass Effect world up until that point not even foreshadowed. I finished the game on Sunday and i still dont know what the fuck happened because its so inconsistent with anything in the Mass Effect universe. And then after the ending there is no closure you dont get to see the effects of your actions or find out what happened to your crew you just see them crash on some jungle island. Not to mention the crew members that get off the normandy should have had no way to possibly get on it. It is by far the most disappointing and poorly written ending to a story that i have ever seen. Before the final mission i was ready to pop mass effect 1 in directly after completing the game, but now i doubt if i will ever touch mass effect again.

  • I actually think comparing the game to manga illustrates why it would be okay to alter the ending in this case. Manga, as is pointed out, is a continuing medium where the creators can shift things.

    Not only are modern games able to add on to later portions of the game, but they can also add on to current portions of the game. They can keep the endings they have, just add more. They could do an entire DLC where you must do an additional side quest that leads up to more options. This does not damage the integrity of the game itself, especially given that the game’s story is already based upon branching paths.

    I actually think some of the outrage here is good. People aren’t expressing it clearly, but this is a literary issue. The themes of the game (being a universe with positive-negative decisions and a clear effort-reward system of karma) were not properly followed up on in the conclusion. I’m glad enough that the game HAD themes to violate.

    For me, the last three minutes were horrendously bad, but the image of two people looking at Earth will stick with me far longer than the memory of laughing at poor voice acting and a contrived final three minutes.

    I hope to hear what you actually thought of the game’s ending.

  • I don’t know about your copy, but my copy wasn’t free. I thought people who charge $80 a copy might care a little about what their customer would like. I agree don’t change it. Next time they won’t get my $$…

  • I’m convinced this is another DLC cash grab, you have to pay to find out what happens to every one after the galaxy gets screwed. I hope to god that’s what it is, I’m in denial. I can’t believe that Bioware would purposefully end the series this way. The game was great until the last 10 minutes. Really, the ending isn’t that bad, its just completely wrong for this type of game. It was HEAVILY advertised as having multiple endings based on actions in past games, but its pretty obvious now that’s not the truth.

  • Yeah I totally agree with this. Like when Superman died, they should have just never retconned him back to life and he should have stayed dead. THE END. And when Batman died, they should have never retconned him back to life. He should have stayed dead. THE END. And when The Flash died he should have stayed dead. They never should have retconned him back to life. THE END. And when Harry Osborn died, he should have stayed dead. They should have never retconned him back to life. THE END. The problem with comics these days is the way new people become involved in the series and feel like they can just do whatever they want with it like bringing dead people back to life. Don’t they know that the ORIGINAL author is the only one who should have any control over anything that happens over anything in the comic?

  • This is our point, Serrels, and we can’t understand why you can’t get this. The fans of Mass Effect poured heart and soul and hundreds of dollars into a fandom spanning half a decade of their lives, because it offered genuine, unabashed choice and control over a deep, engaging, convincing story. We the fans bought Mass Effect 3 on the promise the series has been founded on all along – that we would have choices, and that they would be reflected. The ending of Mass Effect 3 delivers no player choice and does not show how our hundreds of hours of play have been reflected. There is no refund for such time and love that such a brilliant franchise has engendered, when a simple hour-long DLC, ending, retcon, call it what you want, could give us endings that fulfilled the promise of Mass Effect. There is no creative precedent for the magnitude, popularity and scale of Mass Effect in its medium, and thus the arbitrary rules of creative license that you stand by do not apply. So stop telling us we are wrong to ask Bioware to write an ending that jives with Mass Effect’s essence – distinct decisions, and enough concise reflection that doesn’t invalidate the entire 5 years of the franchise. Creative “rules” are irrelevant – Mass Effect is unparalleled and we are talking about real world time and energy and emotion we can never get back – unless Bioware steps up to the plate and delivers what they promised.

    • Thanks for putting in a comment that, despite disagreeing with, is put forward in a really well thought out reasonable way.

      Thanks man — seriously. This is how people should disagree on the internet. 🙂

  • “I haven’t finished Mass Effect 3 yet”

    Exactly. Once you do, then you’ll understand why the ending angered so many. It was a poor, lazily executed finale which didn’t reflect any of the things that made Mass Effect great. Bioware can end the story any way they want. That’s not the problem. I don’t care that they change the ending, but they sure need to expand on it.

    If you’re going to comment on fan anger over the ending of the game, why don’t you actually finish it first before you criticize our reactions.

  • I didnt like the ending for pure reason that the desisions from the other MEs had no effect. For example, the rachni were my favorite from ME1 and when they were mentioned in ME2 that they are rebuilding and preparing for the reapers and that their ships have been sighted I was so happy to see them in the fleet, kick arse and not send few workers on the crucible.
    By the way what happened to that reaper weapon in ME2 that the turians made, that you used on the normandy? Wouldnt be logical that all ships, especialy the turians would have had that weapon? Normandy took out a reaper crusier for God’s sake! Single handed! And we have massive fleet of combined species that can use that weapon and destroy the reapers conventionaly (even though Hackett says they cant…wonder why)
    And last thing … the Arival DLC showed you thtat the mass relay explosion would destroy entire solar system … soooo how do you save Earth when it gets blown by the mass relay? (okay, maybe the catalyst destroys them without blowing up, or taking the energy away, what ever…)

    My point is, the ending were cool, depresing and stuff, and okay, but there was no effect from the fleets you gathered, everything is the same … I agree there should be another ending option not just the color.

    Peace.

  • First of all, I want to say this is the most civil and mature conversation I’ve seen on the ME3 ending. If you check the boards of IGN or G4, the comments are immature, asinine and rude. Having an intelligent conversation about games is getting harder and harder out here.

    While I won’t call the ending perfect, I think changing it would be a bad move by BioWare. While it may apease the fans upset by the ending, it would also go against their own creative vision for the conclusion of Shepard’s Trilogy. And in the end, this is the universe and story they have penned and worked on for nearly a decade.

    While we as fan’s do feel that we have as much stake in the flow of the narrative, the fact of the matter is that BioWare are the storytellers. And as such, they have chosen this ending. Do we have to like it? Of course we don’t, that’s part of art: the participant’s reception of it. But this is not our work. Yes, we played the games for hundreds of hours and for over five years. But we did not CREATE it. We participated in it.

    For video games to evolve as an art form, we need to recognize and accept that art is often controversial. But it is also the vision of the artist, not the critic.

    • “While it may apease the fans upset by the ending, it would also go against their own creative vision for the conclusion of Shepard’s Trilogy”

      That’s true, but nowhere have I seen anybody explain why that would be a *bad thing*.

      The original ending was *bad*. A different ending would be *better*, whether it was the original creator’s “vision” or not. Now I still don’t think they should bother to change it – there’s better uses for their time and resources – but I am genuinely mystified as to why people think “goes against Bioware’s vision” is any kind of argument at all.

  • It is amazing how many people do not know what the outrage is about and exactly what is wanted from it. The people who dislike the endings want ADDITIONAL ones via DLC that the majority are willing to PAY for. MOST DO NOT WANT THE ENDINGS REMOVED! THEY SIMPLY WANT OPTIONAL ENDINGS THAT DIFFER DEPENDING ON PLAYER CHOICE. So with that in mind I guess we should ban all fan and parody art since it alters the “original” artists view.

    oh and P.S. they are not “demanding” a lot are actually asking and begging for this additional DLC.

    • Their is no need to demand anyway. The post dlc was already planned by EA thats the reason you have the ending you have. They were always going to want people to keep buying only now the difference becaus eof the backlash will be that they will say this is to appease the fans. Either way they still make more money and this way they fool consumers into thinking its because the want it and asked for it. Clever really if you think about it., but absolutely underhanded.

      • Which is why I don’t understand people wanting the dlc. Finished it, disappointed, done with it. Why would I buy an add-on for a flawed product? Just a great argument for renting as far as I’m concerned

    • George Lucas is changing things to bring them *in line* with his creative vision. This is completely okay.

  • “Protecting Creative Risk And Integrity”. Pfft! Bioware has just proven to me they have neither sufficent creativity or integrity to make good RPG:s anymore. I say we have every right to demand a different ending if we have been given promises that were not fullfiled, which is the case with ME3.

    And for your information we have allready done it before. Mass Effect Deception was stuffed with so many errors that Bioware eventually caved to the fans complaints and promised to give out a new, fixed edition of the book.

  • the mass effect 3 ending is terrible for a range of reasons and does need changed

    ******************
    **** SPOILERS ****
    ******************

    -> there is no foreshadowing about the existance of the god-child-reaper-thingy. It seemed really cheesy to make it look exaclty like the kid on Earth

    -> Shepard had basically bled out and died on the platform, but is then fine and able to sprint and not bleeding to death

    -> the purpose of the cycle is illogical especially when i got the Geth to help rebuild Rannoch for the Quarians. The machines are here to kill you to stop you from making machines that kill you…

    -> the entire lore about the reapers is completely changed in the last 10 mins of the game.

    -> Joker’s actions make no sense. Not only do they contradict his character, but the Normandy SR-2 being affected by the ending is also illogical since it’s the only damn ship to take damage from the blast and where the hell did he go?

    -> Certain members of your crew were with Shepard for the final mission, not on the Normandy which is light years away… It isnt simply about why it happen but more that it isnt physically possible for it to have happened at all

    -> the ending of ME3 will need to be retconed for any game set in the ME universe (unless the new game is something ridiculous like 10,000 years in the future)

    -> there is absolutly no closure to anything you did, at all, what so ever period(.)

    -> after the credits, the cutscene is always the same and it makes it seem like the species dont know each other anymore. However since the relays were destroyed any survivors from the fleet would have been stuck in Sol system. Even if they tried reaching their home planets none of them decided to just stay on Earth?

    -> Since the relays are gone everyone you rallied is basically dead due to lack of resources.

    -> In one ending Shepard CLEARLY DOES survive, however he is on the Citadel, which just exploded, a lot….

    -> All three endings are 95% the same thing. Here is what changes, the color of the explosion, whether the Reapers simply fall over or just fly away, and whether everything has a weird circuit thing on them or not. THATS IT Even all the cutscenes are the same

    I would of been fine with the ending if it had, I dont know, made sense? Maybe given us a little closure? Or maybe if our choices mattered as stated by Mr. Hudson who for months told us the endings would be all different based on your choices and all different. Instead, we got an ending that bashed everything Mass Effect was until it was nothing but dust.

    These links also sum up why the ending NEEDS changed

    [www.youtube.com]

    [www.gamefront.com]

  • Mark I just don’t know what to say in reply to this rant of yours. Usually I would ignore and be on my merry way but I would like to weigh in.
    Yes you bring up valid points but it’s not the story I for one want changed. I wanted my ability to ‘change’ the ending to reflect the way I had played the game. That was taken from me in the last 5 mins. I don’t think some people who accepted the endings understand that. This can be looked at two different ways: it can be seen as us demanding a happy or more fulfilling ending or seen as BW living up to the philosophy and concept of the previous games. As a consumer I felt that they abandoned what ME as a game stood for and if that means I want a re-evaluation of how the ending plays out, not the story itself then so is it. It’s the mechanics that have angered the well informed not the creativity of it. Yes the ending was creative but linearized a story that could have been so much more. I got a Mona Lisa without a smile, without a mouth at all.

  • Last time I checked, BioWare was not a non-profit organization or a charity. They didn’t make Mass Effect out of the goodness of their heart and EA certainly didn’t publish it because they were trying to give the development team a public outlet for their art.

    BioWare and EA are for-profit companies. They don’t make art for art’s sake, they make it for money. And when I shell out some of my money for your art and you remove the curtain to display some piece of junk that you’ve spent the last year talking up, I get to demand (yes, demand) that you deliver what you originally promised me. You certainly don’t have to cede to my demand, and in turn I certainly don’t ever have to buy anything from you ever again. But if enough people feel as I do, then you have a problem because your ability to produce future art becomes increasingly cost-prohibitive as more people decide they don’t want anything to own what you’re creating.

    My point is, this is a dilemma for all artists. You have true artistic license when you are beholden to nobody. In those situations, you’re free to tell your fans to pound sand because they don’t sustain your creation. But when you are beholden to someone–like when you create for the primary purpose of making money–your license isn’t so free. Maybe the individual developers aren’t beholden to anybody, but the companies they work for are beholden to their consumers for their existence and that gives the consumers the right to make demands. You don’t have to like it but that’s how it works. The only question is whether enough consumers actually feel sufficiently wronged to jump ship for the long term.

  • Sorry, you’re dead wrong Serrels. This is less an issue with creative risk, and more one of laziness. There is effectively 3 endings, despite the promise of many and in spite of the very PREMISE of the franchise.

    Also, there is inconsistencies with the storyline. Hell I would have preferred an option to just shoot myself in the face and let the reapers win. What was provided was profoundly pathetic.

  • Well bioware you reap what you sow. You’re the guys who said in effect that you’re not releasing to us a complete product. The DLC will go on, it said it right there in the ending.

    Is it any wonder that people are expecting you to use this to fix your terrible colour filter ending?

  • I truely disagree with the point you are trying to make Mark. I think the fans are ALLOWED to have the ending changed because the story is written to be enjoyed by those who buy the game and not Bioware. A writer does not write a story for himself but more for others to see and identify to. The player in this case is towed along to watch the ending. (i call it one ending because let’s face it : it is one ending with multiple ”sprites”.)(Also the fact that you say shepard is still alive in yours is irrelevant because you do NOT KNOW that that person IS shepard so you cannot establish it as fact.) Anyway i think that the fans are to tell Bioware what they did wrong and tell them that this is not the ending that the community accepts. The canon as you say DESTROYS the very reason for the game to exist. I don’t know if you remember the short text that appeared telling you in Mass Effect 1 that established the development of humanity that led to the mass relays? Well those endings destroy that destroying the very beginning of the entire franchise.

  • Customers that want a change to the game have every right to request it. RPGs like Mass Effect are SUPPOSED to be mutable and BIoWare claimed to care about customer opinions (Of course they also said Mass Effect 3 woud not have an “A,B, or C” ending).
    That being said, BioWare is free to ignore what appears to be the majority of their customers (and the Mass Effect fanbase). They simply will pay the consequences (whatever they may be) of that action.

  • First of All: Did you even read Bakuman or research what you said about Nanamine in Bakuman?

    He is actually said to be quite talented in both drawing and writing Manga but he does lack confidence in his own abilities and believes his methods to be superior to how everyone else creates Manga wihin Bakuman.

    Bakuman would have been a nice comparison if not for the fact that you seem not to know what you are talking about at all.

    Second: I agree that no one should feel entitled to change the work of one artist, or a group of artists. Artits have ever rigth in the world to do with their work whatever they want to do with it.

    Third: Consumers have every right to feel entitled to what they were promised in a Product. Mass Effect 3 did not deliver everything its creators promised it would be. I am not demanding to have the endings changed so they better fit my personal vision of how it should be, but I would like for the developers to deliver on what they promised.
    I would in fact have been quite happy with the ending if it weren’t for the fact that one tiny aspect of it was quite impossible. In the scene where your crew gets out odf the normandy there were crewmembers with them that should either be dead or at least be hurt somewhere down on earth. There is no way they got into the Normandy and ran away with it. Everything was alright but small things like that just don’t fit in. It breaks my immersion in a game that made me cry about a robot that decided to kill itself for its people.

    • Of course I know what I’m talking about with Bakuman — it’s my favourite running Manga at the moment, I read it religiously. What you said doesn’t contradict what I said at all!

  • “A game like Mass Effect, which is clearly designed and carefully built — with every detail of the universe accounted for — could not bear the damage a fan-demanded change to its fiction would create.”

    This. This is where your argument crumbles. Because the rage over the ending is mostly in part to the fact. not opinion but FACT, that the ending completely ignores and contradicts all the lore and details so carefully established over 2.99 games. The fans /want/ and ending that actually honors the games lore. This one does not. This one is like someone took a book callled mass effect and then at the last 5 pages glued in some pages from a random storybook, put white out over all the names and scribbled the ME ones over them. Its that jarring a change in narrative and that violating of the story canon.

  • I don’t get why asking for a different ending is not in my right or makes me “entitled”. I don’t have and will never have the resources available to create a video game along the standards of Mass Effect. So, should I just be disappointed my entire life because I will never have the means to write the ending I want? I paid hundreds of dollars over the course of the trilogy to obtain it. I also invested hundreds of hours in it. I can’t get my money back and I can’t get my time back. So, what other option do I have? The old adage is “the customer is always right”, but apparently my only option is to vow never to buy from them again, which doesn’t do much for what I’ve already invested…

  • i demand an ending…because i cant return the game. i cant play this game over again because of the inevitable ending that renders the “journey” pointless, which is why i got the game…i want my $$$ back…

  • By this article’s logic, ANY story-based DLC would compromise the artistic integrity of the writers. Think about it. If people were to, say, get together and tell BioWare that they wanted DLC to make Captain Kirrahe a party member, would other players get up in arms and accuse them of being entitled idiots because CLEARLY Kirrahe was an NPC and giving him a larger role would RUIN THE VISION of the tale? No. That would be stupid. The game already has multiple choice endings. Adding more sacrifices nothing, ruins nothing, and deprives people of nothing. It just ADDS MORE. There are some people who are asking for a complete rewrite of the endings, and some asking for more options to be presented, but either way, if you like the endings as they are, absolutely nothing is stopping you from keeping them. If they completely rewrite the endings, just don’t get the DLC. If they create more options, congratulations, you have more reasons to play and see what happens.

  • IMHO
    The ending was a debacle, an utter travesty of shocking writing. Mass Effect has been an unbelievable ride and a history making game, but the damage has been done. This is only the second game I’ve ever pre-ordered, bought the collectors edition, and now I am absolutely kicking myself for trusting a company that never gave me any reason NOT to distrust them.
    But to be honest, in a way I agree with the writer of the article, but not for the reasons above. This is the ending that was always intended, the original design, the painting that was first on the canvas. You can slap another image over the top of it, but the original will always be there, lurking underneath, a painful reminder of the failed first attempt that went horribly wrong. I don’t want another ending. I’ve put the game back on the shelf, left my other ME2 save games alone, and now I just want to try and put the whole thing behind me and move on. I’m no longer interested in multiplayer, in guns, more characters or skin packs, more missions that drag me back into a game that I can’t bear to sit through again knowing what’s waiting for me at the end. Bioware has lost my trust and my patronage – this is one artist whose work I want nothing to do with anymore.

  • “I haven’t finished Mass Effect 3 yet, but I don’t care if Bioware’s ending completely shatters everything I hold dear about the series. I don’t care if my Shepard starts doing the moonwalk over Reaper corpses before engaging in a dance fight to the death with the Illusive Man.”

    Yeah, still would have made more sense than the actual ending. Lucky you didn’t start with “I haven’t finished ME3 yet” otherwise I wouldn’t have read the whole thing. -.-

    Just about every person who is trying to defend the ending or calling those who want it changed ‘entitled’ hasn’t finished the ending themselves. You’ll see. You’ll see.

  • I dont even need to read after “I havent finished Mass Effect 3 yet” if you do not know the severity then you dont get the idea why we are pissed, its nothing to do with creator’s creative rights.

  • very true! well said. and i wholeheartedly agree.
    i accidentally finished the game (didn’T realize i was in the end mission until 30 minutes in) and thought “okay, i’ll see how it ends this time”

    i liked the ending and i probably got the worst one (nothing was ready. hardly any military assets – like i said, “accidentally”.

    the only thing i didn’t like was that it didn’t feel “final” enough, but even that is not a bad thing.

    all in all i’m happy and i look forward to properly finishing it sometime soon and then replaying it with my other two sheperds.

    i LOVE the mass effect universe (more than star wars and star trek, and those are awesome too!) and really didn’t expect *this*, but have it changed?? never!

    • Umm.. you don’t realise why ME fans are so angry. It doesn’t matter how you play it because the ending is the same, whether you bother with the war assessts or complete every side quest the ending is the same. You choose a colour but in the end it’s the same awful conclusion. There is no point in playing various saved profiles, just reload the last mission. Better yet just you tube them and save ur self the time it takes to stumble to each one.

  • There is a problem with your argument. Mass Effect 3 is not simply a piece of art. It is a good to be purchased. It is within the customers right to lodge a complaint when their product is faulty and demand it be fixed.

    If they don’t fix it, they lose customers it’s that simple. You can’t even argue that this hasn’t happened before, because it has in other media. Sherlock Holmes was brought back from death due to an outcry from fans. Evangelion got a movie that replaced it’s last two episodes because of an outcry from fans. Etc.

    They changed the end of the story due to a leak. However they continued to advertise it in the same manner, where player choice matters. Simply enough they LIED, this is back by several interviews prior, insisting that we wouldn’t get an A,B,C ending. That’s exactly what we got and worse it’s pretty much just one ending rehashed with a different color. It’s false advertising and it’s bad business. Even then it would be marginally more acceptable had they remained true to the general rules of the world rather than introducing a last minute character. A Deus Ex Machina. We were promised answers, instead we got questions.

    If you’re making money from it, it doesn’t get to be JUST art, it also HAS to be a product. If the product doesn’t meet the demands of the vastly greater portion of those that purchase it, it get recalled, remade, or refunded or they lose a lot of business and trust. We did not get the product we were advertised, as a result the problem should be rectified or we should get full refunds. We all know Bioware won’t be giving full refunds to every one of it’s disappointed customers, that’s practically impossible due to purchasing through middle men. The next best thing is DEMANDING a change.

  • The purpose of the game was to stop the Reapers from destroying galactic civilization as we knew it and then we just did it ourselves in all 3 endings.

  • The story is the story, and not matter how personally invested we become in the story, we don’t write the ending.
    Don’t like the ending? Make your own game.

    Also, the comments section requires a spoiler alert, for those who have not completed the game.

  • +1,000,000 for this article. Every self-respecting writer has the rights to his or her own work and end product, and to hell with all the selfish, self-entitled, whining, bitching gamers who have less than 2 brain cells to follow and pay attention to the entire story and the universe of Mass Effect. The trilogy has been the best thrill ride from start to finish, and even though I ended my playthrough last week, I’m still thinking about my ending and all my choices in the context of the entire trilogy. No other video game or entertainment medium has EVER had that impact on me.

    • you sir, have less than 1 human brain cells for still thinking about that ending. It’s such a cliche’ in Scifi, what’s there to think about ?

  • The author of this article has not finished the game. How can his speculations regarding his own behavior be necessarily credible? His opinion is meaningless as he does not know what he is talking about.

    Nonsense.

  • I would like to point out that Sherlock Holmes was killed in Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s short story, “The Final Problem,” but the death of Sherlock Holmes was so unpopular with fans that the the story was later retconned and Mr. Holmes brought back to life, simply because the fans demanded it. So the idea of an author changing his story to please his audience is neither new nor unheard of.

  • I have a very hard time seeing Casey Hudson looking anybody in the face and saying “YES!! This is exactly the ending that I was envisioning from the beginning!!” This is clearly not a situation of artistic integrity, with the author being the sole creative influence on his opus. Mass Effect 3 is a consumer product, with various aspects changing from ME1 to ME2, and then again to ME3. You can’t tell me that every detail, every decision, every possibility in the game turned out exactly the way that the “artists” were expecting them to, and that they wouldn’t change half of them at the drop of a hat. But this is a product. Deadlines have to be met, quotas must be filled, and artistic integrity always makes way for the bottom line. Pretending that this is a painting under the protection of the “artistic geniuses” that made it is laughable. It may be fiction and it may be a story, but there is certainly such a thing as bad fiction. If anybody can reasonably explain to me why the ending isn’t just an acceptable ending, but exactly the way that it should have ended, I will be all ears.
    But it isn’t. There are countless other places to find specifics about the plot inconsistencies, philosophical shortcomings, and logical fallacies plaguing the last ten minutes of the game (although I have yet to find one as eloquently written as http://www.gamefront.com/mass-effect-3-ending-hatred-5-reasons-the-fans-are-right/ ) The ending disrespects the very essence of free will that was written into the game.. It contradicts itself with the possible interactions with the Geth and with Edi, and their interactions with organics. It nullifies every choice that was made throughout the game, when each of the players was supposed to be writing their own story. A blanket ending that does not take into account any of the choices that you made is not an appropriate ending for an rpg.
    What we have here is clearly a situation of lazy writing. They already pulled this type of move once: “The Arrival.” Clearly they could not come up with a cohesive manner to segway the second game into the third, and so they once again forced MY character to make a decision that he would never have made. You can claim that certain decisions in this type of genre are canon, but in an RPG canon doesn’t exist.
    So if the ending is actually a bad ending with both artist and observer upset, why NOT change it? Why is there such a reverence for “published work” as opposed to being in a draft state, when a video game is not art for art’s sake, but a product to fill the coffers of Bioware CEOs? Video games do it all the time through patches and DLC. It doesn’t have to be canon if the ones owning the intellectual property are willing to change, and I believe that it is certainly in their best financial well-being to do so. Because when I watch the last three cinematics and note how identical they all are, I cannot believe that they would have chosen to make the endings so utterly alike. They are clearly a victim of fiscal bullying.
    As a final point, the “artist” has often chosen to or been forced to change their art for the purposes of their own mentality, or for financial gain. When The Hobbit was published, Bilbo originally won the riddle contest with Gollum, and Gollum willingly gave him the ring. It wasn’t until after The Lord of the Rings was in the works that Tolkien decided to retroactively change that scene in order to make it fit with the story and Gollum’s personality, as well as the “lore” of the ring. Why is this any different? If you make a bad product, fix it.
    There is such a thing as bad art. They lured us into the first two games because they were good art, with stories that actually made sense and endings that were actually affected by the individual ‘s input. All it would take is one little tweak to make the third game good art too.

  • It’s funny that most people who defend the ending on artistic grounds have never actually experienced it for themselves. It wasn’t an answer. It had as much relevance to the game as an I Love Lucy rerun. When you have actually seen YOUR Shepard herded into these horrific (identical) endings and don’t feel like the developers pissed all over her, then I’ll care about your opinion.

  • Yes bioware created the game but i am a consumer not an employee. Bioware is taking my money because i bought their product, i’m not getting paid to play their games. If you order food from a restaurant and they screw up your order you have every right to tell them to redo it and give you what you ordered. If they don’t and tell me the chef is the chef and he makes what ever he wants, well then i never return to that restaurant because i didnt get what i wanted. Same thing with a video game if i have invested hundreds of hours and dollars into Mass effect i have every right to tell bioware to take there crappy dish back to the kitchen and give me what i ordered because i payed $80 for a product. If bioware decides to say screw u fans it our work and we won’t change it they can, but they will ruin an epic game, story, and will also lose tens of thousands of fans. Just because they wrote it doesnt make them infallible. As authors they have every right to say “I don’t care that the ending makes no sense, goes against everything the game stands for, and is full of plot holes” but that wont be very good business for them.

  • “A game like Mass Effect, which is clearly designed and carefully built — with every detail of the universe accounted for — could not bear the damage a fan-demanded change to its fiction would create. Its integrity would collapse.”

    Your words provide a brilliant foreshadow of what you are about to or have by now experienced. Mass Effect is a brilliantly designed universe. It is very open on the choices a player can make but ultimately has a very solid framework. In the last 10 minutes of Mass Effect 3 it is all tossed aside. The lack of any meaningful choice certainly is an upset to some fans but even a lack of choice could have been a brilliant way to end the series. The series could have ended with the reapers winning no matter what with a cut scene of the same thing happening in the next cycle. Everyone could have gotten the same ending driving a poignant point about ultimate fate and futility home. I wouldn’t have liked it, I probably would have hated it. However it would have fit, it would have made sense within the universe, it would have provided closure. We didn’t even get that.

    Your analogy to Bakuman is also flawed. It’s the structure of the ending to the game that is the problem not the artistic choices. A better analogy would be if you commissioned a work of manga from your favorite writer/artist. While waiting the writer sent you parts of the story, talked up the manga piece he was creating and how it was going to be an epic conclusion to the pieces he had already sent you. Finally, the day the commissioned volume with the conclusion is set to arrive and you’ve already given the writer a large amount of financial and personal investment you receive a statue of the writer giving you the finger.

    Sending someone a statue when they gave you a lot of money to produce the manga you advertised has nothing to do with subjective artistic choices. It just objectively wasn’t what was advertised or what anyone expected to receive. No one would fault the individual above from going to the artist and asking for manga.

    This is what people got from Mass Effect’s ending. A subjectively (my opinion) and objectively bad ending that gave their fanbase the middle finger topped with a plea to send them more money at the end of the credits. They have every right to request they get what they paid for because unlike most other mediums we can’t get a refund.

  • Modern literary theory (and video games, because they come from a script first, are literature) holds that the work of an artist is only the artist’s until it is introduced to the public responding to it—after that, it belongs to the audience. Further, while video games may be artistic, that does not mean they can not be undone and remade. Many classic paintings, poems, and novels have been revised by their respective creators, and the same possibility holds especially true for digital art.

  • OK, the problem with this, is the assumption that they would have to change/rewrite the ending in some form to satisfy the outraged fans. See, Mass Effect was a game where everyone *expected* multiple endings, but for whatever reason Bioware decided that one crappy ending with some palate swapped explosions was close enough. I don’t see how it would damage their ‘integrity’ (indeed, assuming they have any left at this point) to patch in some *additional* possible endings, while leaving the one everyone hates as an option untouched.

    At the risk of making a strawman, if that’s still unacceptable to you from an artistic standpoint, than I can only assume that you feel *any* form of DLC which adds to a game post-launch is also somehow destroying ‘integrity’.

    Also: the consumers have every right to demand whatever the heck they want, period. And Bioware has the right to ignore the heck out of it, also period. And I’m extremely grateful to live in a place where those facts remain true.

  • Your flaw is you are looking at games as being a non-interactive medium. Books, Movies, Pictures are not interactive, you have no choice in driving the direction it takes, while with video games, mainly Mass Effect, we are given control over elements of the story. A glorified ‘Choose your own adventure’ book if you will/

    What happened simply was, we are given control of the wheel in creating our own Shepards, then in the final moments it’s ripped away from us, all of our previous choices are rendered pointless. It is like a choose your own adventure book where all the endings are the same.

    We were given false promises and false advertising from the makers and they should be held accountable.

  • I applaud your stance on the creators right to have their creative integrity remain intact. I would however counter your point thus.
    You say people have put around 100 of their own hours in to this game, in my case & many others you can double that figure. I wanted my Shepards story to be just so. I replayed the games to make sure of it. Those hours can not be given back to me. I feel by creating such a weak ending they’ve robbed me of those hours of gameplay. I will demand they change the story, that is my right (freedom of expression). If, as a fan of Mass Effect I feel they have done a poor job at creating something as fans we have a right, maybe even an obligation to make sure that it’s corrected. Why not have some DLC that let’s me explore a different ending. Something worthy of the time I’ve put in. As for Bioware’s creative integrity, well to be honest that probably went out the window when they signed on with EA. This ending shook me to my core, it was more then an anti-climax it’s was complete & utter guff. It was lazy, badly thought out & executed. It wasn’t in keeping with the story at all. I have played many games that weren’t up to a reasonable standard, I’ve read many books & watched many films that were really bad. The thing is I recognised how bad they were very early on & stopped playing/reading/watching whatever it was. So to hell with creative integrity, we fans of Mass Effect who hated the ending should have a say in what’s going to happen next. No one will force anyone to download the DLC.

  • This is a little ridiculous–just a rehash of the whole “art” argument that doesn’t hold water. Because something is art its audience shouldn’t matter? If you want to create a videogame and keep it to yourself, never show it to another living soul, that’s one thing. But when you create a game to sell to millions of other people, their opinions and preferences do matter. It’s not just about you–the game is ultimately for them. That doesn’t mean they get to dictate everything about it, but it does mean that you’re responsible for taking their expectations into account. Not to mention it’s just good business sense to care about what your consumers want. Videogames may be art, after all, but they are also products.

  • How dare you write this opinion. You have no right to tell us we can not demand this travesty be changed. You have no right to say anything to us the real core fans about it…

    Except that you have every right, just as we do. We are free to revel in sturm und drang and cry out in sorrow at the corruption of the story we loved. Or we are free to unite and present a reasoned fair argument that bioware has failed us and itself and should rectify that failure. Your Bakuman comparison is invalid as we do not expect or even want every little change to be run by the community. W

    • *sorry didn’t finish.
      We simply want them to reach for the same great standards the rest of ME3 achieved. We know they can do it, and we trust them to do it. But it does need to be done.

  • I’ve heard this argument time and again, and I would generally lean towards siding with this point of view. Even though I think that video game’s interactivity gives the player their own artistic input into the formation (especially in a game like Mass Effect), asking them to change it just because they didn’t like it is pretty ludicrous. However, there is one point which leads me to disagree on this certain example:

    Bioware /explicitly/ said that the ending of the game would not be an “A, B or C choice” (“It’s not even in any way like the traditional game endings, where you can say how many endings there are or whether you got ending A, B, or C…..The endings have a lot more sophistication and variety in them.” -Casey Hudson, Director). They went on to stress how the story was about /your/ Shepard and /your/ ending and so on and so forth. It wasn’t just that they were vague about it, or that we, the players, assumed that it would end up this way. They went to great pains to emphasize that it would not happen that way.

    And that’s just it. They didn’t deliver.

    That’s why I support this campaign. Because Bioware, as a business, promised their customers that their product would not turn out this way. They specifically said that they would not do it. They even mentioned how bad the played would feel if they did it. (“There are many different endings. We wouldn’t do it any other way. How could you go through all three campaigns playing as your Shepard and
    then be forced into a bespoke ending that everyone gets?” -Mike Gamble, Associate Producer)

    And then they did it anyway.

    This isn’t a matter of “an artist being forced to edit his work because his fanbase didn’t like how it turned out”. This is the artist promising that his work would not end a certain way, stressing how it will not end a certain way, going into detail about how it would hurt his fans if he ended it that certain way, then taking their money…and making it end that certain way.

    There are many consumers who bought Mass Effect 3 and feel cheated by it, and rightly so. Bioware promised them that they would not receive the ending that they did. You get basically the same CGI sequence no matter what choice you choose, and that contradicts everything that Bioware hyped the ending to be.

    As a business, you have to give your customers what you promised they would get. And what they gave in the ending of Mass Effect 3 was nowhere near that.

  • I would like to make two points here, if you will permit me, and I apologize for the length. I know I’m a bit late to the debate, but it’s taken me this long to collect my thoughts since completing the game 3 weeks ago. Hopefully this will make sense.

    First, I have to say that, while I agree that demanding a change (which I haven’t observed as much as desperate begging) is inappropriately “entitled”, commercial art is no less “entitled” to claim itself as high art that is beyond reproach. There are no starving artists here, we speak of a company that exists to make and sell a product; the art lies in how well they perform this function. A video game is certainly an artful product, but artful is the adjective and product is the thing itself. Claiming to be above the commercial fanbase comes across, at least to me, as putting on airs. Offering the producers of a commercial product money (I for one would expect to pay them- we live in the real world here) to amend their consumer product is not heresy. Asserting that they cannot accept and maintain artistic integrity is an argument that rings hollow. Don’t get holy with me, BioWare, you took my money for years.
    On that note, it strikes me as odd that the company (yes I said company, not artists) chooses this moment to refer to its customers as an audience. You sing to an audience, read to an audience, speak to an audience, essentially perform in some way to an audience. This game is by no means a performance, although there are performances (darn good ones, I might add) involved. An audience is a passive participant, and to that effect, no video game has an audience of players. (That would be an oxymoron, like “practically perfect in every way” or “lightsaber-wielding Trekkie”.) The audience is the person watching the customer play, not the player himself. This shift in semantics is to me as “vas Normandy” is to Tali- unsettling and damning. (Please don’t exile your participants!)

    Secondly, a story is an idea that is expressed through some form of media- print, picture, music, movement, words, and more- but is not necessarily bound to that media. We’ve seen this in Mass Effect; there are novels, comics, games, forums, conversations, etc. giving life to the story, this idea that has captivated so many for so long. Essentially, a story is a soul, and the media used is a body. Story (soul) drives media (body) and that’s the way it should be. A soul with no body is mere memory (like pre-eyeball Sauron), and a body with no soul is at best a corpse and at worst a zombie. Either way it’s dead. (“Better dead than smeg!”)
    We’ve witnessed this story driving the media as the gameplay gave us choices and expressed the story through whichever path we chose, and in my opinion the ending is so monstrous because it reversed the two. At the end, the game drove the story, giving us a huge space zombie (husk) as the grand finale. Husks have been a huge part of the games since the very first mission- there is no way the players wouldn’t recognize a figurative one after 3 games of battling literal ones. So in that sense there was continuity- if you read way too much into it and take the husks as some kind of symbolism for the soul of a work of art and yes… it’s rubbish.

    The thing that I can’t seem to get over, though, is the fact that I know the team is fully capable of delivering an incredibly satisfying ending, regardless of whether it makes me sad or happy. Look at Legion’s death, Thane’s death, Kai Leng’s renegade-interrupted death, and most of the rest of the game. These story arcs were completed well, even triumphantly. They were not what I would have written if I was telling the story, but I wouldn’t change one of them because they were good. I know this has been said, but it cannot be overstated: good does not mean happy. Good means sound. A structurally, logically, internally sound story is art, and that is above reproach because it defends itself against unreasonable censure. Just like the proverbial house, an idea divided against itself cannot stand, and that is why the conclusion of this wonderful trilogy fell flat to so many players. (PS- this is another concept the players recognize, this time from Legion’s loyalty mission “A House Divided”.)

    In closing (okay, I admit, it’s another issue), I must say that I don’t think anyone seriously invested in this story actually expected a ship called “Normandy” to escape the final battle unscathed. Good does not mean happy. The actual Normandy Invasion was the largest invasion force in history, and that fact can not have been lost on any historically-inclined players. So hundreds of years into the fantastical future, after another mission called Overlord, the Normandy spearheads the largest invasion force in the galaxy- “not everyone will survive” ought to have been a very obvious statement. Casualties would be heavy, beloved characters would die, the series protagonist would willingly sacrifice his own life, but there ought to be victory. Victory at great cost, certainly, and not necessarily complete (yet… reaper hunting DLC?) but something decidedly victorious. By victorious I mean triumphant, like so many other story arcs were. Shepard made a comment about stopping the Reapers without sacrificing the soul of our species to do it; I think most players expected follow-through in that regard, and that means stopping the Reapers without sacrificing the soul of our story to do it.

  • You are right about one thing: if an artist shares a story it is absolutely up to them how they want it played out. The audience has no right to say otherwise. It could not make any sense to the masses but they have no right to demand the artist/author/etc change their vision of the story. HOWEVER, when you are a professional who is PAID to create something, the audience and others (investors?) do get to have a say in the direction of the work. That’s why there are movie producers and directors. There are editors to help authors publishing a story. Even in manga, as Bakuman shows, the editors have A LOT of power with how a manga unfolds -the problem with Bleach was this. So, when artist becomes subjugated to a company such as Bioware, we the players/fans have a right to demand a change. We invested our time, money and energy in helping Bioware become even more successful than before. If they aren’t going to show us the decency to end the story properly, well, we’ll see what happens. I think it’s unanimous on the main problem of the ending. Plot holes, indoctrination theory, all these topics are reasons why fans are so upset but ultimately it boils down to one thing: no closure. I think even if Bioware kept the ending as is but just added a few things, primarily what happens after Shephard dies regarding all the decisions you made and to your crew; the outcry would not have been infectious as it is.

  • This entire article is based on some stupid elitist view and a misunderstanding of the gaming genre as a whole. The ending should be changed for a miriad of reasons but I will list only the major 3 that made me never want to touch anything bioware does while under EA managment. And here they are: 1) They broke their promises. They said we will have endings that will take everything we did into account and create a finaly almost custom made for every single person who played this game. They specificaly said we will not have a “pick your ending A, B or C” scenario. But this exactly what they did. It doesn’t matter what yoy do for 3 games, hundreds of hours of accumulated game time, in the end you just pick the colour you want the final explosions to be. And you only have 3 choices. When you lie you lose. What does bioware lose? Fans, money, respect, dignity and integrity. Things a game producing company can’t live without. 2) I can understand the view that they wanted to get creative with the ending. But what they did is not creativity. It’s some pseudo-philosophical bullshit about a theme that was never a part of the game focus and that contradicts events that happened during the course of the game. They wanted to get “artsy” on our asses and they failed miserably. They tried beeing edgy and deep but all they did was produce the biggest WTF moment I have ever seen in gaming history. But all this pales in comparison to the biggest reason the ending should be changed and also the biggest reason this article is wrong: 3) The ending is not a part of the universe. It does everything posible to break the rules of the universe. I will not get into the Grand Plot Canyon this ending is but I will say this: it forgets everything that defined mass effect and just feels like it was pulled straight out of Deus Ex and added here. It is retarted, it basicaly but-f**ks everything established in the franchise and it ruins the mass effect mythos entirely. This ending is not part of the game. It’s like if J.R.R. Tolkien decided to end Lord of the Rings by having a Terminator robot warp in, kill every orc in mordor, and then start rambling on about choice and choicelessness like he is Mr Smith from the matrix and then telling frodo he can either destroy the ring, control it, or some wierd totaly unexplained and imposible shit that betrays every single rule of the established universe. Now how would you feel about that mister “endings should not be changed”. And this was a book scenario. But in a game we, the people who play it, have a great deal of input. We invest out time and our effort into the game and it’s story. And in a game like mass effect used to be until the ending, we invest more than that, because it is us, the players that have the reigns of the story. We decide what shepard does, who he helps, who he saves, who he lets die, how he resolves critical situations. There is no longer a John Sheppard main character, we become the main character for our own story. Bioware just gave us the framework for that story. But now they just come in and take everything away and feed us shit for and ending. Do they have the right to do it? Well it’s technicaly their franchise so yes. Should they do it? IF THEY WANT TO BE IN BUSSINESS THE ANSWER IS NO! Do we have the right to be pissed? Yes. Do we have the right to signal them the mistakes they made? If we want better things in the future it is out duty. Do we, as the people who bought and played their game, have the right to demand they fix this ending? Yes we have. Because this was our story as much as bioware’s. It was a a story both the gamers and the developers told toghether, them giving us the framework, the posibilities, and we beeing the ones actualy writing the screenplay and dictating what actions the main characters do and when, while bioware just fed us reactions to our actions. I bought Mass Effect 1 after I played it as a pirated copy first. I bought Mass Effect 2 and every DLC because it expanded on the universe and was just as much enjoyment and fun as Mass effect 1. I preordered Mass Effect 3 but now I am happy EA decided to cancel all preorders in my country. Because I will not buy this game. I played it for sure. I loved everything in it up until the ending. But I will not support people who did this much damage to their own reputation and I will not allow myself to spend money on this. Maybe I will reconsider my oppinion on bioware and give them a second shot with a future game if the “Extended Cut” DLC delivers some form of ending that does justice to the universe it’s based on. But from the sound of the interviews all they’re doing is trying to explain how “artsy” and “edgy” their ending was and how it all makes perfect sense, we were all just too dumb to understand. “Clarification” to quote them. And this is just a big an insult and a “F**k you” to the fan base as this ending was. Subjectivly you mai like it. Objectivly it is atrocious and it needs a total rewrite.

    And before people get on me about this: I don’t want a “happy” ending or a “heroic” ending (thought these would fit my character and his story best). I simply want and ending that makes sense and does not betray everything mass effect is based on. The Reapers could win and we could continue everthing in the next cycle with a new trilogy if that’s the way they want it, but they better give a damn good reason for it that fits into the universe cannon. And I would most likely be happy and forgive them in a part.

    I’ve said my piece on this.

  • It’s rather hard to get back at a company that’s wronged you. Therefore we’re all only too happy to call out BioWare as a witch, because we sure couldn’t do that with the cell phone companies, credit card companies and big-business banks because of their fine print and armies of lawyers protecting them from a PR blunder.
    So yeah, We The People are going to bash BioWare for the deception. And they will feel the financial punch if they ever decide to come up with ME4 – or any other game, for that matter.

  • Cut scene are easy to explain. Lets see after Joker drops Shepard EDI tell him that she has used and has creeatd Star Trek transport system by watching show. Then Joker figuring he is never going to get laid and need some really bad (fill in what ever joker needs) so he orders EDI to transport (fill in whom ever end up in FUP cut scene.) Then he takes off with his (male, female, bisexual) crew members and as far away from earth as he can. Shepard fist the little kid with is (Renegade for me) and after a time EDI tells him big ass wave coming to get us. See no problem with that useless piece of turd. End of cut scene, now for the even more diarrhea based ending.Second one is old ass Joker walking with one of his many fisted children or grand children in the snow because who F cares talking about the Shepard and how he helped him get finally laid with (put ending characters here)Need to have DLC of lots of sex scenes with Joker and his limp leg (other body parts can be inserted). Your welcome.

Show more comments

Log in to comment on this story!