So, There's A Fan Campaign To Change The Ending Of Mass Effect 3

My opinion of internet petitions remains unchanged: They are worth the paper they are printed on. (Hint: They are not printed on paper.) They're a manifestation of the distorted expectation — cultivated in grade school — that First Amendment rights extend to your relationship with a private business.

That said, there's a particularly amusing poll out there, gathering 20,000 votes, demanding BioWare change the ending to Mass Effect 3. We've had our tips jar blown up with links to this movement. I have no idea where to begin with this.

Let's try to think of how BioWare, if it complied with this demand, would deliver such an alternate ending: through DLC. That everyone would expect to be free — with all of the writing, voice acting and motion capture that a proper conclusion deserves. But at least we could be sure that it was developed after release! Oooh, but what if it uses characters that are already on the disc?

I think this is the sentiment that Christina Norman meant to impugn with her comments at GDC. Gamers are customers, yes. Customers' opinion of a product absolutely matters, and the maker of it absolutely should pay attention.

But the development of a creative work cannot be democratized and its revision to appease a vocal minority would surrender the creative freedom people claim to value in food fights over modding, takedown notices, trademark disputes, whatever. This is an expression of the writers and designers at BioWare, and if you dislike it, OK — there is certainly a lot of legitimate criticism of the outcome. But it is their statement, not yours.

What right does someone have to demand changes to the end of a story they did not write — and as this would, assuredly, be released as downloadable content — expect all of that labour for free? Because they'll refuse to endorse a product they've already bought?

What we're seeing is the Battlefield-ization of Mass Effect. A community that spews nonstop hatred of a game it bought at full price and plays religiously.

It's amazing to me how unhappy people choose to be in a leisure pursuit.

What would you like to do about the endings? [Mass Effect Forums]


Comments

    I disagree with the first line.
    A worthy online petition if there ever was one.

      Fascist.
      *swishes fringe from eyes, fringe settles exactly back to where it was, due to expensive hair products ensuring it stays there*

      So signing that. Theres also this "most beautiful teen contest" going around on facebook at this moment. Methinks its time for a bit of virtual picketing

    Why a Battlefield-ization? Pretty sure most popular games with an online contingent end up like this.
    And to be fair, most of the BF3 complaints and such are about Weapon X being too OP or blabla. Balance issues which are alot more realistically able to be changed, which they are, than say changing the the entire ending to the narrative.

    Bad comparison is bad.

    Owen and his rants,why does he still work at kotaku? When is he going to get the message that nobody cares. News is good yes but keep your shitty opinions to yourself.

      You're a first class example of someone who doesn't understand their role as a consumer. You believe that because something isn't interesting to you, someone doesn't deserve their job. I enjoyed it and I'm sure it didn't take up too much of your time.

      How about you keep your shitty opinions to yourself?

      I much prefer engaging with opinions on issues here at Kotaku and on other websites. Everyone reports the same "news" (if anything that happens in the game industry is ever newsworthy), but different people will have different interpretations and insights into the events themselves. If you don't want to engage with opinion, just read the headline and move on. Don't waste your obviously precious time by commenting.

        Exactly.

        If I wanted straight laced, (mostly) no bullshit reporting on gaming news, I'd head to IGN or something similar.

        Kotaku is opinion, deal with it.

        PS. Adam, you're a tutor in one of my units this semester. Crazy.

      Mmm Mmm love how everybody goes ape shit at Owen for writing an opinionitive article last week and this week everybody loves his dick.

    Owen and his rants,why does he still work at kotaku? When is he going to get the message that nobody cares. News is good yes but keep your opinions to yourself.

    I think BioWare should be blasted over the ending we were provided.

    Do I expect to change? No, but BioWare fucked up, the last 10 minutes of Mass Effect 3 make no sense, not objectively and not as a fan.

    So let BioWare know, and stop buying thier products until they start respecting their playerbase.

    - from a Mass Effect fan that enjoyed the hell out of 90% of Mass Effect 3

      The ending to ME2 was also terrible, but the rest of the game was fun for me at least. If the ending sucks but the rest of the game was great then I'll still call it a good game.

      Too bad my bad computer prevents me from playing the game =(

    "It’s amazing to me how unhappy people choose to be in a leisure pursuit."
    This. FOREVER this.

    A similar idea has been popularised as "First-world problems"...But in all seriousness; take stock at what you have to enjoy, and for Christ's sake, enjoy it! So that new game isn't quite as good as you hoped it would be? was it still a good game? If not, then play the others you enjoy so much, and be happy for the opportunity and choice you have.

      how do you enjoy it when you play because you want to know what happens? i don't play games to solely kill things. if i was, i'd play CoD and expect NOTHING of the story. but THIS, not cool. leisurely pursuit or not, that's a real ignorant move and huge disrespect for the fans who invested in a creating their own character and story only to get slapped in the face at the end and receive no reward that they actually deserved. that's not right.

    Um, did you play Fallout 3? Bethesda figured out how to change the ending - it's not rocket science...

      It's not that they don't know how, it's that it would cost quite a bit of money to do all the writing, voice acting, animations and everything else again and those that are asking for the ending to change will probably expect the DLC that would be required to do so for free,

        The ending is so horrible I would pay for a new one.

          yup same, I would pay.

    **ME3 spoilers **

    Erm the Mass Effect 3 ending was crap -- it is simply a god-child saying "ha i made and control the reapers because if i don't use synthetics to kill organics than synthetics will kill organics" then "button a, b or c for an ending".

    It completely changes what the reapers are, our choices over past 3 games have nothing to do with the ending and the ending means that any future Mass Effect games will need to be set in the past (meaning no humans) or thousands of the years into the future.

    The could fix part of this by having the god-child reveal that he is an AI created by the race that made the citadel/mass relays. They designed and built the citadel + Mass Relays as the conduit but lost the war before the crucible was completed. Still give us the three choices, (over time races modified the crucible to defeat the reapers via different methods), but add an epilogue showing the impact our choice(s) had on the galaxy.

      I agree with you completely.. They don't have to so much as completely re-write a new ending.. just modify it and even THAT i would still pay for. I would have just like to see how 3 choices affected the future of the galaxy.

      As for this article i, i think its complete BS you cannot compare an online shooter to a HEAVILY story based game especially one that transitions choices over a trilogy and that's main selling point are the story you choose through those choices you can make.

      Even though the ending may not change it does not change the fact that FANS HAVE THE RIGHT TO BE ANGRY. OWEN GOOD... you don't know shit.

    I think the reason this happens is because after playing 2 games in a trilogy, people feel so invested in the series the line between consumer and consultant gets really blurry. People think they have rights over the product, it's content and even it's distribution, acting betrayed by a company with which they have no contract.

    When that lady at GDC told gamers to stop thinking they're producers, people had their role in the consumer cycle so distorted, they were completely unable to digest the suggestion that they have no entitlements.

    havent finished it yet and likely wont an
    y time soon due to tafe and stuff but not looking forward to it...

    who let this guy publish his crappy inflated opinion as if it were news of some sort? Im with the "vocal minority". The ending needs changed. Owen, please die now.

      You are an idiot. The only reason I'm allowing this comment through is so everyone can see what an idiot you are.

        Doesn't seem idiotic to me, he's actually right.

          In what way? His assertion that people wanting the ending changed is:
          a) accurate or;
          b) relevant
          is deeply flawed.

        I am starting to be embarrassed to be a Mass Effect fan.

        Mark - I don't have a comment about the topic, but your better than this. I think the poster was extreme, but Owen's article was pretty childish to begin with. He could have given reasons why he thought it was pointless, but instead degraded into an attack on those involved. This response was (regrettably encouraged).

        On topic: I haven't played the game (yet), so I don't really have position on the cause itself. I will say that this sort of petition has a long history in media - Arthur Conan Doyle brought Sherlock Holmes back from the dead following public outcry - and I don't see how this is any different.

          So, it's totally cool to wish a writer dead because you disagree with his opinion? No -- I'm getting sick and tired of this crap. I'm going to stand up to it. If you post stupid, harmful things that damage the good reputation this community has, you're on blast. As simple as that.

            Hi Mark - I'm writing this with a polite tone, but because it involves critiquing your editorial style, I just want to say up front I love your work.

            What I'm suggesting is that changing the commenting system, when flame-bait articles like this will inherently provoke that sort of response (this is the internet), will only mean you'll spend a lot of time moderating comments when maybe occasionally moderating the article would be more effective. Death threats are extreme, but it just doesn't negate the fact that the article was really unprofessional.

              Except that would end up with the scenario most of the people who endlessly complain about articles not written by Mark, Tracey or Logan want, the only articles being published would be by Mark, Tracey or Logan.

              The fact is regardless of what the article is about or what topic it is, if it is written by an American it has gotten to the point where you can expect someone to complain about the writer for whatever reason, whether it is justified or not. I remember a few days ago Luke Plunkett wrote an article which wasn't journalistic gold by any measure, he made a comparison between Sonic Adventure 3 and Mirror's Edge, as I said, not journalistic gold, but it was harmless. I went and had a look at the American site, and the commenters there were using the article as a jumping off point for discussion amongst themselves, here: 85% of the comments were calling for Plunkett's head.

              If you want to start moderating the articles it's going to be a slippery slope.

                I genuinely don't understand how anyone considers this article flame-bait. Is it flame bait now to disagree with some ephemeral gamer zeitgeist that self-proclaims itself to be the One and True Voice For All Gamers? This article is opinion, yes, but one supported by a couple of perfectly reasonable logical struts. I, for one, happen to agree with the article for the reasons stated. The notion that customers are the directors of this piece of media is ludicrous. If you want to see a space opera game play out in some particular way not satisfied by Mass Effect 3, you have every right to go write and produce that game. You do NOT have the right to order BioWare to change their product to match your particular tastes. No one has that right, ever. End of story.

                I also refuse to acknowledge these "this is the interent" excuses. I am so sick of hearing people claim that simply because we're typing instead of talking, it becomes perfectly acceptable to issue death threats instead of constructive, rational and respectful criticism or discussion. Is it okay to that on the radio? Or the telephone? Or in a magazine? Why is the internet special? Why are we allowed to become ruthless animals who can only express ourselves with the most hateful of vitriol? Indeed, why is it the responsibility of people like Mark Serrels or Owen Good to censor themselves as to not incite the mindless rage of the Internet?

                Am I now fair game for expressing a dissenting opinion on this ME3 matter? Are you going to come to my with death threats now? Or is that only okay for special people who either work at a website or games developer?

                  I agree with you, I also remember that bioware was the company that recently had that big issue with supposed 'fans' harrassing and abusing a member of their staff simply because they didn't agree with the direction Bioware was going with their games of late, and believed she was at least partially responcible for such, so they deemed it appropriate to make her life a living hell for a few days, simply because they basically didn't like her.

                  I'm not saying all the people involved in this petition are the same people, but it's hard to discount that those rabid minded fans are out there and it's not hard to realise that despite their rational blinding hatred, they still most likely bought the game, and most likely hated it.

                  You have a right to complain, as Mark said it's your complete right to whinge, all I'm saying is that given past events, I can see how Owen might have came to the 'opinion' that he did.

              See this is the kind of Kotaku comment I love! Fair point.

              But I don't think this article is inflammatory at all. It's quite restrained in how it discusses the fact that a creative act can't be democratic. I think it's spot on, and quite reasonable

              Let me also say that I wasn't referring to you in my comment whatsoever --
              I didn't even mind you calling me childish, because you were probably right. I should have just trashed the comment.

                Although the entire attraction of the premise of Mass Effect was that you make your own story.

                I want my Shepard to kill the reapers then retire to Tahiti with Miranda.

      Who let you publish YOUR crappy inflated opinion here? At least Owen isn't telling people to die. Way to stay on topic. Now go cry cause BioWare didn't spoonfeed you your dreams in the form of Mass Effect 3.

      If you don't like it, go make a game yourself. Then when some dick thinks your work is crap, and complains about it on the internet, you can maybe learn something.

    But but I want dark souls on my Pc :'(

    I can see Bioware laughing their arse's off at this while rolling around in their swimming pools of cash.

    Some people...

    It's amazing how much of an ignorant dick Owen Good can be.

    Mmm, I don't get the most of us want it to be "free" part. A lot of "customers" (yes, gamers are customers, a very noisy one) thinks that it is bad precedent to buy DLC for the ending because that will motivate developers to rush a game or even intentionally worsen it and charge extra to finish it.

    ME3 is a very, very good game. Most of the posts in Bioware forum admit that. Has it been very bad like Modern Warfare 3, no one would accuse Bioware of intentionally create shitty ending.

    Yeah, I would not create a petition for George Lucas to fix the ending for Star Wars or James Cameron for Avatar/Titanic/whatever. But isn't that the fun of Computer gaming? We have followers who use internet to let the producers know what we want, and a medium that allow easy patching, and a business model that allows the producers to actually profit from it (DLC, God helps us all).

    It's because if you're a huge fan, that has spent hundreds of hours playing a game, and being invested in the storyline, you expect the company that you've stayed loyal to to reward that loyalty with taking the time to not make a hash of the storyline.

    ***What is wrong with the endings - SPOILERS***

    ***SPOILERS***

    ***Seriously, SPOILERS***

    Finally, we find out the motivations behind the reapers wiping out the galaxy - the basis of the entire plot of Mass Effect - but doesn't make sense.

    Basically; the genocidal machines wipe out all intelligent life to stop them before they can make genocidal machines that wipe out all intelligent life.

    Brilliant, hey?

    The other major plot hole is that the Mass relays (basically ancient, unreplaceable gates for travelling across the galaxy in an instant) are destroyed, making all space travel basically impossible after Mass Effect 3.

    But that's not the plot hole - no, as we learned in Mass Effect 2, when a relay is destroyed, the resulting explosion basically wipes out the entire planetary system the relay is located in. Except that, now, apparently they don't aspload in a big mess.

    But the final punch in the fun zone is that when the relays explode, for some unexplained reason, your entire crew was on your ship, dicking around, and are left stranded on an alien planet, cut off from civilisation for the next few hundred years.

    Oh, one more minor thing. The character you've been attached to dies in all 3 endings. Yep, no matter what you've done for the last 3 games, your character has to die. Well, there's one cutscene after that has Shepard taking a breath if you choose one ending and have over 5000 of a game mechanic, but they're cut off from their crew, love interest, and fubar'ed.

    **END SPOILERS***

    It's not that there's a sad ending, it's that there's no happy ending, and that your actions - like in most Bioware games - don't have any real effect on the outcome, aside from a final 'hit one of three buttons in the final 15 minutes' kind of way.

      There's a difference between choices made on a Journey and a choice at the Destination. You'll be waiting a while for the technology (or budget) that allows for far more meaningful outcomes. Bioware did great with what they could do, pushed the genre very nicely in fact.

        Played Witcher 2?

          Yeah awesome game, but cutting off content, "due to choices", in a game isn't good either, bold, but wasteful (tech/budget). It wasn't dynamic and was as bad as "I chose to go left".
          Bioware does choice within story and serves a "backstory" once its over, so frankly I don't see how most of the cool choices we made have to factor into an endgame other then following through consequences? They needed more war consequences and what I missed mainly was the epilogue type closure... thats it - Here's how this, and this, and this, affected the Milky Way afterwards. I guess that's likely to be books and comics. Trouble with an IP that is multimedia, they will want to serve that money spinner too. :(

      *** SPOILERS ***
      Not saying that I don't agree with you an just about every point, which I do, but there are two endings (one for each endgame reaper decision) that result in Shepard surviving. You just need to get ridiculously high EMS (4-5000) to get them. Regardless, they're pretty much the same as one endings you described, only Shepard is with his crew when they crash.

      Personally, I see it as Bioware saying "go and play the previous games and get ready, because we're not just going to give you happy ending."
      *** /SPOILERS ***

    Personally, I liked the ending. But regardless Mass Effect for me was about the journey, not the ending, and the journey was amazing and the ending capped it off nicely. Reign makes many valid points about what's wrong with the ending but that doesn't mean I couldn't enjoy it. Also I'd imagine some of the loose ends that are causing much rage may be tied up in DLC. Also Reign *spoilers* I believe the point is that Reapers are at the very least selective in their destruction versus the possibility that a new synthetic lifeform will develop to destroy ALL life.

    What's happened here? The comments section of Kotaku Australia has fallen through the floor recently. By all means disagree with the writers but the level of entitlement and DIE IN A FIRE type hate directed at people is really unpleasant.

      Agreed.

      It's really getting to the stage where I'm considering changing it back to all comments being approved. More work for me, less instant conversation for you guys, but I don't want this place to become like every other place on the internet.

        I say do it. Comments sections everywhere are turning to hell, but I didn't expect this fast of a decline here. I'd be happy going back to having comments approved.

        Do it. The author bashing is getting worse by the day, and the comments are just egging everyone on.

        I think something needs to change. It's kind of putting me off even reading certain articles because the spite and bile that gets generated is so out of proportion it's actually kind of weird. And it seems to be a pretty recent thing too. Like, since xmas.
        The local site's articles are generally of a much better standard than the US version, but the comments are so much worse here.

        Change to Facebook comments. Less trolls when you use real identities.

        I hardly post here anymore since you turned off the approval Mark. There really is so much angry hate around thesedays it's a deterrent for a lot of the more mature posters.

      you should see the type of bile usually spilled in a Bashcraft or Plunkett article. . .

    ALTERNATE ENDING

    Shepherd, in an unfamiliar voice: "I must return to my home planet".

    Everyone stares, unmoving, as Shepherd levitates out of frame. Cut to:

    TITLE CARD: "Shepherd died on the way back to his/her home planet."

    People are unhappy with the ending to a story they've been invested in for almost a decade. That's understandable, it's a textbook example of how to not end a story.
    And they're passionate about it. They aren't happy with some of the decisions made, and they're letting the developers know.
    Why would you take such a negative, belittling stance on the matter? Maybe an suggested alternative of letting a developer know a chunk of it's target audience isn't happy, that maybe something needs to change.
    Since when was every piece of consumer feedback an easily dismissed insult?

      It's not feedback -- it's a demand to change the actual ending! It's totally fine to bitch, and it's your complete right to whinge. God knows I've whinged about Kingdom of the Crystal Skull enough...

      It's just the sheer ridiculous idea that the ending can be changed through a petition. It's just crazy. And wrong on so many levels.

        But that's how internet opinion works - in hyperbole!
        If people feel a way about something, the internet makes them say like 100x what it is that they want.

        Agreed, the petition's goals are ridiculous. I guess I'm just nervous that the exaggerated nature of this affair will allow people to dismiss the entire criticism of the ending as a whole.
        There are a lot of stupid people out there. People who will do outright ridiculous things in moments of passion. 20,000 of them and rising.
        I don't want to see a legitimate complaint get washed away under a sea of pure liquid stupid.

          When a post is written in such a negative belittling light like this, all I can see happening is the entire complaint tossed aside. Which is why I worry about opinion pieces like this, which only ever seem to come from Owen. They don't have the two-sided even coverage of news, because they don't have to - they're his opinions.
          But they're posted on a site many come to for news. This is the first I've heard of the petition, and that first contact is through such a purely negative lens.

          (Somehow got chopped off above comment)
          (I'll also make note of how damn hard it was to not liken the negative tone to choosing the renegade optiioooooonnnnonononono! no. Better then that.)

        I don't see how this is entirely wrong considering the original ending they planned was changed last minute because of fan response to the leak. I understand the idea behind defending the right to one's creative expression, I get that, but the ending was so vague and just felt thrown out there, perhaps criticism would be enough for a stand alone game, but mass effect holds a special place in people's lives . If they don't change the ending or add more then so be it I still love every mass effect game I've played and will continue to do a billion playthroughs. I'm just saying unlike other media videogames have the ability to change. If bioware feels it should be changed they will change it and it isn't really wrong either way. I just feel like there should be more to give us after five years of mass effect. I'm not demanding change just asking. It's not self-entitlement I just want something I invested so much in to have a little more meaning in the way it ends. In the end it is up to bioware and their staff to change OR not change what they have created. I just believe they have the ability to give us something more and I am petitioning in hopes I can receive it. Free or for money it would be worth it.

    Hhhmmm, where do I start? This opinion piece is a pretty insulting, I don't see how this was allowed as it's clear that the writer was being condescending at the very least. I've invested hundreds of hours into the Mass Effect universe BECAUSE it was so interested and so well written. Now that they were promising to bring closure and had stated they could make completely different endings based on the fact that it was the last game with Shep in it was a promise they didn't keep. Furthermore, it wouldn't be the first game to change a part of it due to player feedback. We, as paying players, have a right to make requests. There's no feeling of self-entitlement there, that's an ignorant view and a worthless pot shot at real fans of Mass Effect. I take my "leisure time" pursuits seriously because I pay money for them and if I feel I got ripped off or that a company did me wrong, I WILL make my voice heard. Mass Effect 3 may be a piece of art but it's also a product, and NO it is not akin to a movie. A movie is not interactive. This vocal "minority" that you speak of, has every right to attempt to make a request of Bioware. On that note, what numbers do you have to show that they are a "minority"? Because you assume they are? Have you checked out the Bioware forums or done any searches online? If asking a company that sells products to improve their product for the sake of future sales and faith/loyalty in said company makes me self-entitled then I'll gladly accept the title. On the other hand, I don't appreciate the cheap shots taken by the writer of this article and I'm even more insulted that kotaku posted this trash. It's fine if he wants to disagree, but including subtle insults that aren't so subtle is disrespectful to the readers and then to have the writer/author declare that WE'RE self-entitled in that same article is mildly amusing and insulting all at the same time.

    If i bought the game on a console instead of pc i would have returned it already, no point replaying it.

    The ending mad me sad (not crying but sad) and i do believe that there should be a "better" ending. It shouldnt be all sunshine and rainbows but there should be a more brighter ending released as a form of dlc, not free, but atleast it will settle some of our problems.
    They should also release an ultimate edition of ME3 with all dlc in the game already, that would make alot of others happy too.

    I barely finished MS1, but I've been following this and the spoilers as I don't mind due to the enormous backlog in gaming I have.

    I understand why people are angry. They've invested years and a little part of themselves in their games and characters. The character is a pretty big part...because bioware have rewarded...even encouraged people to nurture a particular character through multiple games.

    And then they the dish out a Deus Ex Machina ending.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deus_ex_machina

    I've read plenty of science fiction over the years, and I'm sure it has happened in fantasy novels. But I've seen this happen a heap of times, especially in multi novel space opera.

    A whole bunch of plot threads, stories and whatnot...spread across novels and years...then comes an OH SHI- moment where the author(s) realise they need to tie it all up somehow. So you get a BS God entity ending or some shit near the very end. (up until this point things are building up and you're wondering what going to happen with so few pages left...)

    Reading people's spoilers tells me that is exactly what happened here. People who've invested themselves in their own story as encouraged by bioware should be upset or at least annoyed.

    It just sound all sounds like poor story telling in the end. I'd expect if the discontent gets louder. There will be statement of bioware explaining this was how it was supposed to end, how it was intended from the very start. And people will call BULLSHIT. And they'll be right.

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