Fan Writes 400-Page Blueprint To 'Fix' Mass Effect 3

Fan Writes 400-Page Blueprint To 'Fix' Mass Effect 3

Some Mass Effect fans protested the trilogy's conclusion with cupcakes; others used Internet petitions. Gerry Pugliese was a little more ambitious. The self-proclaimed "huge Mass Effect fan" wrote a 400-page script that he calls "a fan revision, and blueprint, for fixing Mass Effect 3."

Called Mass Effect 3: Vindication, the script is full of new dialogue and missions for the controversial third entry in BioWare's sci-fi series. It's a book, not a mod, so don't expect to play through Pugliese's changes, but if you're up for some heavy reading, you'll find a ton of new scenes, choices, descriptions, and revisions involving big plot points, character relationships, and that much-discussed ending.

"The endings are a third of ME3V and I've created more than 10 new ending scenarios," Pugliese writes, "including having Shepard and friends survive, and going on to live happy lives; or Shepard succumbing to the Reapers' power, turning evil, and enslaving the Galaxy, and turning many major characters into Reaper minions to serve at his/her side."

Of course, Pugliese didn't just do this for fun. "Hellooooo, game companies!" he writes. "And miscellaneous people who might want to hire me. If you like what you're about to read, I'd love to discuss any opportunities you might have... So yes, part of why I wrote ME3V is because I think it'd be really cool to work in the video game industry, and I know I can do it."

You can read all of ME3V below. (Direct download here.)



    just.... let it go already.

      This, times 1000. It was already the most overblown drama in the history of gaming. Move the fuck on.

      Given the length and obvious effort put into this, I'd say the creator's been in their own little bubble over this for a while now. They were probably half way through this thing when most of us started getting tired of hearing any mention of ME3.

      Still, after reading through sections of it, this comes off more as in depth fan-fiction and wish fulfillment masquerading as a design doc. I mean two pages after the contents it's talking about stroking naked Garrus' manly chest scars for goodness sake.

      I still hold a good deal of negativity towards ME3 and even I found this just painful to read.

      Exactly, if I was Bioware I would have made the extended cut an upside down Reaper giving everyone the bird.... Peace out whiny bastards!

    I find these people to be arrogant in the extreme

    The script for the ME series was done by the creators of the series, therefore, they can do whatever the hell they want with it, its theirs, and they can finish however they damn well please!

    No one petitions about the end of Moby Dick by Herman Melville, no one rewrites War and Peace by Tolstoy.

    Get over it already!

      Could you imagine what they'd be like to work with?

      Anytime someone has a suggestion they'd just shoot it down. Only their opinion would count.

      I like when people who want to work in the industry come up with something original. Not do something that has been rehashed so many times.

      Personally, I really liked ME3. Then again I played it 6 months after release which was after they patched in the different ending.

      am i the only one who didnt have a problem with the ending.
      i 100% agree with you on the trend of design by commitee is beyond a joke. imagine if a fan wrote to George R R Martin and disagreed with part of his book, he would just kill off another character. games need to be treated like artworks, you play them appretciate what they have created get some form of emotional response from playing them be it good or bad. you wouldnt got to the lourve and fix up the mona lisa cause you didnt like the smirk/smile/whatever that is.
      to much of a sense of entitlement is what gamers have these days

      end of rant

        If you're walking through the Louvre and not questioning whether 3/4 of the content should even be considered art you should just pack your bags and go home. Where would the art would be if people had of thought 'well, they put a paint on canvas, so we should just accept that as art and move on with our lives' about everything. Pretty much all the great styles of art stem from the idea that they challenge the viewer to think. Art thrives on critique.

        Also on the subject of the Mona Lisa people do repaint it all the time. A lot of interesting stuff has come from people reworking famous pieces.

          i agree with you there but my gripe is the difference between criticisim and Whinging. A lot more of the latter is going on.
          challenging the viewers thinking is all well and good, the important word is VIEWER. they are not the artist they consumer the work and discuss with friends on what it means to them, not
          on the mona lisa yes other artists have painted there own versions, they havent crossed the red velvet rope and painted over da vinci own work. thats what happened with the ME3 ending. it would be like da vinci patron not liking the smile and asking him to change it. or asking monet to make his paintings less blurry looking.
          it is the whinging and sense of entitlement that irks me

            I really think most of this 'they forced them to change it' stuff is in the head of people who were watching from the side lines. Tons of people were unhappy with the ending but didn't necessarily want it changed. I felt really let down by BioWare over it and I talked about it a lot (if you haven't noticed I like to talk about games), but I wasn't down there throwing rocks at them. There were a lot of people signing petitions and whatnot who just wanted to BioWare to know they'd really let the fans down. It's all noise so I can understand how it blends together, but you've got to remember that a million people whispering is deafening.

            What if you commissioned a work from Leonardo da Vinci and it was shit? You paid him the equivalent of $250k for a painting and it was terrible. The painting would probably be worth millions today but if at the time it was dramatically different from what was promised and totally unsatisfying you'd complain.
            I mean lets keep in mind that this isn't purely art for the sake of art. EA/BioWare took in a hell of a lot of money. Every complaint was from someone who paid money to play it. Call me entitled if you want, but the fact is I've spent hundreds of dollars on Mass Effect and the entire time they promised something they ultimately they fell short of delivering.

            And let's face it comparing a phoned in B-grade god child ending to the Mona Lisa's smile is criminal. =P

        No - not the only one. I loved it. I've played all three games and associated DLC and was left totally satisfied. Perhaps after all the online histrionics I was expecting the worse but I was enthralled by the way it all unfolded. I've listened to Casey Hudson (ME Director) in quite a few interviews and he always comes across as a smart man who genuinely cares about the property he helped create.

      Nobody is saying they can't do what they want, they're just complaining that what BioWare wanted was crap and trying to explore better ways to go about it. It happens when you slap a year 7 level ending on one of the best sci-fi series of the past 40 years. ME3 as the final game in the series was almost perfect. I played through it fine with the 'we just happened to find a magic machine that can kill the Reapers' plotline because they were doing so well wrapping up the characters and preparing me for the end.
      They did an excellent job right up until the final 15 minutes. I mean for starters they prepared us for war and then ended it with a conversation taking place in limbo with a brand new character (essentially space god) and gave us so little control over the actions of our Shepard that it borders on a cut scene. I can get behind taking control away from Shepard (the character not the player) and boxing it into one outcome, I don't think it's particularly smart because even a idiot can tell you that's not going to float with the fans, but the way they did it was what really killed it.
      You essentially walk forward and pick based on morality mechanics. In the rest of the series they did an excellent job of masking that stuff but at the end you're just given really transparent pathways. I made dozens of extremely tough choices in ME3. Choosing between the war effort and the characters I cared about was seriously hard (I don't even like Jack but the choice about her students was hard).
      When I got to the final 15 minutes I didn't feel like I made a single choice. They might as well have just asked me 'good, evil, neutral' when I entered and let it play out as a cinematic.

      You don't get a free pass to avoid criticism just because it's art. I don't consider myself a good writer, in fact I'm terrible at it, but I do like to think about the games I like and when you think about ME3 you can easily see areas where the final 15 minutes falls apart. My breakdowns of what made the final 15 minutes of Mass Effect 3 are no different to my breakdown of why the first 2 hours of the original Mass Effect are nearly perfect (short version, the Citadel is a two hour, self tailoring lesson on the state of the Mass Effect universe that removes the need for out of character exposition).
      Autopsies on games, both good and bad, are really healthy from a game design perspective. It may sound like I just won't let it go but just because I'm still talking about it doesn't mean I'm angry. Also I didn't bring it up. =P

        No one was saying that they are immune from criticism, far far from it.
        Without critical analysis, we would be schlupped up the same boring guff time after time after time.
        Critical analysis and feed back, constructive feedback, should be taken as opportunities to improve.

        What I was saying is that no-one, not even the worlds biggest fan, has the right to rewrite someone else's script.

        Once cannot take creative license from something that is not their creation in the first place.
        Add to lore, don't rewrite it out of sheer arrogance and sense of superiority

          Add to lore, don't rewrite it out of sheer arrogance and sense of superiority

          People don't just do this because they think they know best. They have an idea based on someone else's work, often patching up what they perceive as flaws. If George Lucas didn't think he could take a crack at Flash Gordon we wouldn't have Star Wars. It wasn't because he thought he knew best, it was because he was in a position where he couldn't make Flash Gordon but could make his knock-off. It worked out brilliantly for a few decades. Most of the time it's not even that far detached.
          With writing it's almost par for the course. A lot of people break into the industry that way. How many comic book writers would you call arrogant just because they had an idea for a good Batman story? The Dark Knight is basically just rewriting Batman stories other people wrote.

            While I agree with you in theory, the "re-writes" you have referenced are different.
            These are the re-imaginings of the core story, their version if you will, of the universe.
            These re-writings of Mass Effect 3 are, in fact, doing it "because they think they know best", it that was not the case, they would write a whole new story from beginning to end (even with the same characters), not just rewrite the final chapter so to speak

              These re-writings of Mass Effect 3 are, in fact, doing it "because they think they know best", it that was not the case, they would write a whole new story from beginning to end (even with the same characters), not just rewrite the final chapter so to speak

              Plenty of people do that. The movie industry, and pretty much all story telling, is pretty much built around the idea of rewriting entire acts. Especially traditional oral tales. You feel part of the story you heard works better another way, you try it. The difference is that you're pairing it with the negative reception of the ending received. You see this project and lump it in as part of the faceless blob of complaints.
              Hell, this sort of re-write is pretty much mandatory with novels and movies. Even disregarding third parties do you think your favourite authors never rewrote sections that didn't hold up after they reached the end?

              He's not insisting they change the game to his ending, and he doesn't even seem to insist that he's writing talent is superior. He's just showcasing his writing talent by rewriting a controversial ending to a game. It's no more arrogant than showing up at an audition and reading a variation of the character. Alyson Hannigan famously rewrote the core of her character on Buffy by choosing to read a line with pride instead of sorrow. Was that arrogant? Nobody asked for her opinion and the writers already had Willow figured out.
              Was Episode I: The Phantom Edit made out of arrogance, or love? I've got a few ideas for a rough rewrite of The Phantom Menace that I think could really improve the prequel trilogy, does that make me arrogant? Like this guy I'm not saying George Lucas has to make my changes I'm just saying I think the movie could have been made better by changing some things and obviously I like my solutions.

              Last edited 21/01/14 1:49 pm

                You've got some good points man. Both sides of the argument are right and wrong. I think for me I appreciate someone putting their money where their mouth is, always. Even if it's not as good. Because at least they are providing constructive feedback, instead of just complaining.

                As they say: "It's only a problem if you have a solution".

        criticism is fine but throwing a hissy fit so bad that the creators changed the ending just to placate the frothing masses is a joke. all the drama around the ending was blown way out of proportion, standard internet overreaction

          While I agree with that sentiment, if you release your 'art' to the world, particularly one that claims to be as personalised as the Mass Effect experience, you also have to acknowledge at some point that the story outgrows the writer and belongs to the users. On top of that, Bioware has also retconned their own ending to ME3 after the fact and I'm not talking some skin changes, but fundamentally changing the tone and content of that ending.

          If you don't have the conviction to follow through with your own story, then how can you expect the fans to respect it? I played through 3 before all the subsequent story patches and was very disappointed in it, but I've washed my hands with it.

      That analogy is deeply flawed, Moby Dick never advertised or made itself a personal and customizable experience to the reader. Moby Dick didn't become a trilogy wherein Melville became co-writer of the second book and then moved on to different work entirely, leaving the other guy to do the last book. Moby Dick also didn't have half a dozen additional writers who were all locked out of the room when it was time to write the ending.

    I really liked ME3

      I'm with you, I played it and was waiting to come across the thing everyone was upset about(I avoided spoilers before playing) and I finished quite happy. Didn't see the drama.

        I hadn't played any ME games until the ME3 debacle. I played the entire trilogy through just to see what the rage was about. I still haven't figured it out. Amazing games, amazing trilogy, I left happy.

    If ever there was a cause to use 'TLDR', this is it. I read the first few pages, and there was nothing I saw there that made me want to read the rest of it.

    If you didn't like it, write your own story. Don't go butchering the story the team wanted to tell.

    The ending of Mass Effect 3 makes perfect sense. From a Sci-Fi perspective.
    From a gaming perspective, people just went beserk for no good reason (in my opinion).

    Hell, for a study I did at Uni, I calculated how many different ways somebody could play ME. I only had the data for the choices from ME1 to ME2 at the time (ME3 hadn't been released yet).

    On choices ALONE the total sum of unique possible playthroughs, even if you make only one choice different from the game before, was two hundred and thirty million odd.

    230,000,000 ways to play, before the third installment was out.

    To those who whinge about the ending and needing more endings, let me ask you - HOW do you program that many? HOW do you go through and figure out which decisions feature in the ending and which don't?

    Heck, the number of small snippets that they do at the end of Fallout: New Vegas detailing some of your adventures must have been migraine inducing for the designers, coders and writers.

      It's an amazing ending, I think moreso for being a game. The choice inherent in the gameplay, combined with the very limited endings sends a very clear message about how you just can't fix everything. You can't be perfect. And no matter what you do, or try to do, things almost never work out how you intended. Without it being a game, and having the choice elements to contrast against, it'd be a weaker ending.

      But, apparently the very clear message about imperfection et al wasn't clear enough for some. It's exactly what they complain about with no comprehension. When it was all boiling over, I just wanted to respond to every comment and thread with McBain's "that's the joke".

      Except the point was those 2300k choices were 100% meaning less they made no difference they changed nothing which is why it pissed people off.

      It wasn't about the amount of endings it wasn't even so much the quality of the ending it was the fact they had this 3 game series all allegedly about choices and preparing for a huge war and all of it was a waste of time. Killed the krogans? irrelevant. Amassed the entire galaxy? irrelevant. Brought no one to the final fight? Irrelevant, Wiped about the bug people? irrelevant.

      The ending was a slap in the face, ignoring all your choices and giving you the most standard and unexplained ( as in was a seconds long cut scene about nothing) ending there ever was.

      Last edited 21/01/14 12:49 pm

        None of those things were irrelevant or meaningless, don't be ridiculous. You're going to end up dead and buried in the ground or your ashes scattered to the winds eventually. Does that mean every one of the choices you make in life is meaningless and doesn't matter just because you can't change the final outcome of your story?

        The end of the last game doesn't negate all of the choice and the effects those choices had throughout each of the three games. Just because previous choices didn't affect the options available to you in the final sequence doesn't mean they didn't matter - they changed the story as it happened. The journey is more important than the destination, that kind of thing.

        Last edited 21/01/14 1:05 pm

          I agree with you that the choices mattered, and the idea that there could be meaning in an ending where Shepard (the character) is boxed in, but the execution was terrible if that was even what they were going for. They boxed in the player instead of the character. You do almost nothing in the final 15 minutes and every decision is about transparently 'am I good, evil or neutral?'. You go from choices having serious gravity in the rest of ME3 to picking based simply on what morality ending you want.
          Instead of feeling like our choices impacted the universe we felt like we were simply picking one of three predetermined universes based on default BioWare Shepard.

          A lot of people expected their decisions, who they were, to have a bigger impact on how the game ended. I felt like most of the plot lines were resolved pretty well before I got to the end, but because they used virtually nothing from my playthrough to determine the final sequences it left me, and a lot of others, feeling like my actions were completely disconnected. ME3's main plot line is the end of the trilogy and it's fantastic, but the final 15 minutes feel like they have nothing to do with anything from the game. It's completely impersonal.
          If you don't think the ME3 ending is bad compare it to any of the endings you get for the individual characters and storylines in ME3. Like I said before, I don't even like Jack but I really cared about the choice you make at the end of her part of the story. There was a gravity to it that just wasn't there for the final scenes.

          I think that's what people mean when they say their choices didn't matter. It's not that their choices didn't matter it's the end pretty much just used the default Shepard and let you pick one of three endings tailored to BioWare's Shepard instead of ours.

          Last edited 21/01/14 1:48 pm

            OMG THIS

            Thank you for explaining this better than I did. That was my rushed point.

            The fact that MY choices didn't matter in the end was abhorrent to me, AS Dogman said. I was in control the entire time I chose what i wanted to happen then right as the end, as all MY choices where coming into the fold the game goes on auto pilot. Any choice I made was at this point removed from the equation, i.e it was all meaningless. It didn't matter what I did up to this point all of it was utterly and completely irrelevant to the end of the game.

            Which in and of itself isn't the problem. If i'm playing GTA or a JRPG I expect this kind of ending, but when you promote and even create a game in which all of my decisions right from the first game are supposed to change the outcome. The game to my choices, my heroic saves, my mistakes, my misdeeds and even my morality and ideology. I had shaped Shepard to be a part of myself or as a completely different person, all of which was destroyed when it was all stripped away for the AWFUL good evil and neutral type endings. It quite literally ruined the game for me.

        Yeah, the Waking Dead doesn't deserve to be played...

      just wondering if you know of a place where i can read an overview of the different permutations? from my experience alot of the choices and pathways are trivial and insignificant.

      I only personally deem choices resulting in significant impacts (such as choosing who lives or dies) as significant decision points in the game. So if you look at it that way, there isnt as many crazy number of permutations

      also, it would be good to know to see what i missed out on, wihtout wasting 60 hours of my life

        Hey, sorry about the long reply.
        I lost my workings out - but you can do the permutations yourself off a website called "Mass Effect Saves". There is a small section detailing what choices are taken across the games.
        I'd link it, but it's been blocked by my work. :(

    I mean, I just read a little bit of this: Shepard/Garrus romance dialogue but nothing for Liara? Uh...

    MShep-only/Khalisha romance? Uhhhh....

    What annoys me the most about the "angry Mass Effect Fans" is how they missed the whole point on ME3. The theme of the game was Sacrifice, hell early in the game you're told that "You can't save everyeone". By protesting against their Shepard dying and what not they miss the whole "Needs of the Many over the Needs of a few" idea- not to mention "Heroic Sacrifice".

    I skimmed through it enough to know that the writing wasn't anything special - it reads like one really long fanfic, with all that entails. Basically this guy's solution to the 'problem' of the ending is to add a VI Prothean instead of the Star Child, who turns out to be the creator of Vigil from Ilos. The entire point of the Reapers seems largely intact. The three endings of Control, Destroy, and Synthesis are still there but with a few tweaks, except the ending is not a choice but determined entirely by paragon/renegade scores, and Shepard can survive any of the outcomes if the war score is high enough.

    There, saved you some time. Now let's pretend this never happened. Lots of storyline fluff and fan service which would probably inflate the game to many hours of boring talking heads. Wasn't worth the effort in skimming.

      Started skimming too - as soon as I saw dialogue/romance edits - detailed, totally rewritten edits - I pulled the rip cord. These games took me months and months to finish with what little time I could devote during any given week - I can't imagine them being any longer!

      -it reads like one really long fanfic, with all that entails.

      Yeah, my first thought as I read the article was "We're reporting on fan-fiction now? Really?"

      Last edited 21/01/14 1:21 pm

    hhhhhhhhggggggghhhhhhhhnnnnnnnnnn. This again.

    I started to flick through it, but I couldn't even get past the unprofessional introduction. If you want a piece of writing to be part of your resume, you don't introduce it with a Google anecdote, or conversational and colloquial language. Even if the contents are pure platinum (which, let's face it, HAHAHAHAHA), I'll never be able to take that document seriously, and neither will anyone of clout in any creative industry.

    including having Shepard and friends survive, and going on to live happy lives

    Because you know, in war, it's totally possible to win a war without sacrifices or consequences...

    There is absolutely no need to 'fix' mass effect 3 if you didn't like it then grow up and move on. Entitled Gamers are the worst.

      There's nothing wrong with fixing a story, especially one as broken as ME3, or the trilogy for that matter.

      There's also nothing wrong with writing fan-fiction in that capacity.

      The problem is (as with the original story) is a) is it any good? b) can it stand up to criticism.

      Unfortunately, both the original, and ME3V, a) isn't, b) cannot.

    You can't fix something that is entirely subjective. The arrogance it takes to feel like you can change someone else's work is staggering. You know when we used to consume media and didn't like it, you know what we used to do? Evaluate it fairly in accordance to our tastes - "Oh, man i hated Mass Effect 3." (...then move on with my life) That's seriously it. No fan has even the slightest idea of what writing is or even why some of the choices for the game were made. I find it absolutely appalling that anyone would call for the alteration of someone's creative work. Stop expecting things that have no way of making sense, stop closing yourself off to surprise and wonder, stop assuming that everything you don't like or understand is bad and needs to be changed. What is wrong with you people?

      Experiencing a story is not some subjective experience. While individuals can say a good story should have this and that, and while that varies to person on personal preference, the structure, flow and manner of storytelling is not up to debate. (As with any media, there are wrong ways to tell certain stories, certain ways.) There is an art form to creative writing, which is quite different from the art form of painting, for example. Both make works of art, but both tell stories in a very different way.

      There's nothing arrogant about imagining a story in a different way.

      What's wrong with consuming media and going "I wish it went like that..."?

      "No fan has even the slightest idea of what writing is". I do. And so do many other fans who like Mass Effect, but realize it is flawed -- sometimes fundamentally -- on many levels.

      There's nothing wrong with calling for the alteration of a work of art. Or calling for a sequel. Or calling for a steampunk version. What's wrong with having opinions? It's the validity of those opinions that matter.

      There's nothing wrong with people: just their tastes, and understanding of what makes art, art.

      And even if their tastes and suggestions are poor (see: ME3V), that doesn't somehow make their preferences wrong.

      Last edited 04/02/14 8:01 am

    Mass Effect 1 was the best. True RPG. Planetary exploration. Loved the Mako. Greatest game of all time. ME 2 & 3 - are shooters. Not cool.

    It's a giant pile of crap.

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