Escapist Podcast: Bonus: Mass Effect 3 With Spoilers Part 2

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Bonus: Mass Effect 3 With Spoilers Part 2

We continue our discussion of Mass Effect 3. What were our favorite and most memorable moments, what ending did we choose, what did we think of the endings and what do we think about the indoctrination theory? Obviously spoilers for Mass Effect 3, but we also briefly mention and spoil Fallout 3 and Jade Empire.

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I was really enjoying this podcast until you started with the heroic ending thing -_-

Most people aren't annoyed Shepard died/heroic enough/happy endings, people want to have the option if they did everything right 100% EMS, and were all paragon and all that stuff, that they can get a happy ending.

But that's just a small amount of the criticism, the inconcistencies, the polt holes, the flawed logic, and the 99% the same endings no matter what.

What the hell is wrong with cake ?
Super Mario 64 had a cake ending and it was freaking great!
Portal had cake (even though it was a lie)

SO I DEMAND MY CAKE!

First off, great set of podcasts. I really hope you guys do more of these for more of the big titles (or even the small ones that strike a chord. Journey perhaps?) as it's something that really sets The Escapist apart for me. While I am a big ME fan, I would still listen to them even for games I have little interest in actually playing. For instance, I did listen to the set done for TOR as well and I won't touch that game with a 20 foot pole.

I agree with the general sentiment that it's not so much that the endings as given are bad, it's that there is little to no closure given. Sure I'd love it if my Shep lived and made it back to Miranda but I honestly wasn't expecting that to happen. The tone of self sacrifice was not only strong in ME3 but it was also evident in the previous 2 games as well. What I would have loved was just knowing what happened to my crew mates and the galaxy after the choice I did make. (I went with the synthesis option because I didn't like the idea of destroying the synthetics, plus I didn't agree that organics and synthetics couldn't coexist as it was already happening, and I didn't think anyone should have control over the Reapers)

Would I buy DLC that gave me an altered ending or the same ending(s) but with more closure? Absolutely. As with Susan, if nothing else I would just like more time with the world and characters. Anything beyond that would be a warmly welcomed bonus.

On the indoctrination theory: I honestly can't say it occurred to me while playing but since hearing about it post completion I will certainly say that it does make sense. I don't know that I 100% agree or believe in it, but it wouldn't be shocking given the evidence. It could also provide a nice transition into the ending(s) that more players would be satisfied with.

As to the question of whether or not Bioware should create a different ending scenario if they hadn't already planned to do so. That's a very tough question. I'm very much of the opinion that the creator of a project should be the one who makes all of the decisions. That said, it's not the case that every decision a creator makes has to be 100% final. If Bioware decides that the fan uproar and outrage is warranted (and while I do personally think it's overblown, I think there is a lot of honest sentiment involved) I see nothing wrong with them making alterations to their work. It doesn't have to be folding to pressure, it can really be seeing the error of the choices made.

A couple more points. As with Susan, I did find the religious tone of The Sheperd to be a little bothersome. Though likely a name given through time and distance, I know my Sheperd would never want to be the object of any sort of worship. Also, I'm surprised no mention was made of one of the other aspects of the ending that draws ire; that being the Deus ex Human Revolution style choice-o-matic system that not only goes against the general format of choice in the series but also somewhat undermines so many other choices made in the game.

No... Shepard isn't making a heroic choice. No matter the ending you die and all galactic civilization is broken. Earth can't support the fleets that came to help earth and are for all intents in purposes dead. All civilziations that weren't self sufficient with the planets in their own system are dead. So whats heroic? You ended a cycle of genocide? All you did was save the next cycle. Everyone's dead and screwed.

Also all the things settled and resolved in the game are made moot with the relays were destroyed because now none of these civilizations will ever be in contact with eachother. These conflicts don't matter anymore... your choices don't mean anything, because everyone is eternally divided or dead.

Also... Killing Shep is a poor narrative way to cheeply raise the stakes. That certainly can be an ending if you don't do everything a certain way, but the complete lack of a more positive ending is rediculous. It's not sunshine and rainbows and kittens with the massive casualties, and staggering destruction brought on with the war even if Shep lives. Even if it's an ending where Shepard is alive with her LI and crew it doesn't mean that shit didn't happen. Just means that the hero actually overcame something. That while there were massive costs to defeating the reapers, you didn't end all galactic civilization and effectively just doing the job of the Reapers one last time before you finally destroyed them.

It's just a poor ending, with a horrid logic that informs the three choices that invalidate the rest of the choices made in the games. You guys missed a lot of points and should perhaps look at more opinions on the matter before straw manning them to make you seem more reasonable in liking the endings.

I don't even think it's an issue with everyone wanting the 'let's get some cake' ending, it's that no matter what decisions you've made, everyone got the same ending.

The space magic might have been a different colour, but that doesn't change the fact that everyone got the same ending.

I wanted closure, I wanted to see the characters I've grown to adore afterwards, I wanted to see them mourning Shepard, I wanted to see Garrus on a beach drinking that beer, I wanted to see Tali's house on Rannoch, I wanted to see all the Krogan children born shortly after.

I wanted to see a galaxy mourning my Shepard and honouring him/her (I have two Shepards), with like, a statue or something.

I just wanted closure.

Jodi- new girl! Nice to meet you, glad you're on the show!

Just a comment at 10:00ish Legion sacrificing themself to make all Geth people was more complicated than was stated, and I actually didn't totally like it at first. While I think (and thought) that Geth were people too, Legion established that the Geth wanted to "build their own future". Legion was taking the future the Reapers gave them by integrating the Reaper Code into the rest of the Geth, and so that seemed out of character. However, I did come to accept it as a "the rewards are too great to NOT do it".

Also, new planet scanning was so cool! I was ninja'ing through, avoiding Reapers, hit and run. I enjoyed that so much! It really added to the feeling of the game.

As for what I did at the end was try to shoot the God Child, and then I choose synthesis. I had to, because I could not kill EDI and the Geth, and I'm spiteful and refused to accept that TIM was right. It seemed to be the best of several bad options.

As for the "best renegade ending", it seems to put a lot of credence to the indoctrination theory. The burnt likely-Shepard looks like the burnt and cracked skin were from the Reaper beam as opposed to "hey, I fell from space".

I also interpreted the Anderson extra convorsation as a "tugging on heartstrings" as opposed to "oh, Shep is gonna live in this ending".

And I really want some form of ending DLC. It's not that I want cake (well, I do because cake is yummy), it's that I want some form of actual closure after my huge investment in the series.

This train-of-thought message is brought to you by Toombs!

EDIT: Also, (unless you follow the Indoctrination Theory) the ending seems to be completely opposed to the themes of the series as a whole and even the themes of the rest of Mass Effect 3.

Jodi sounds like she could be from my hometown. Good podcast debut!

As I've said before, I don't want a happy ending or a sad ending. I want a character-based ending to this character-based series.

And the synthesis ending is just silly, even within the game's fiction.

The sound the reapers make is pretty much the same sound of the Martians from the War of the Worlds, the one where the UK gets torn up

At this point I'm down for the indoctrination theory to turn out to be true in some way. It sounded like it would be too much of a bs move at first, but there are enough hints ranging from subtle to very subtle that could at least support it without the whole thing being such a stretch. By that I mean the infinite ammo point is a huuuuge stretch, but something like the TIM/Anderson alignment switch isn't too bad. I don't necessarily think it's true, but I've grown to accept that it could work without feeling too cheap.

I did also get a religious or messiah vibe when the child said "the Shepard" at the end. I didn't have a problem with it being the case, but it did feel like I was being hit over the head with it, so I thought it was just kind of annoying.

For me, I went with the control option as the least bad option. I couldn't come to destroy since I had just saved the Geth and by the sound of synthesis ending, I thought the result of merging synthetic and organic would have had a much bigger effect on life then green lines on everything. Though even if I knew how synth would have worked, it still felt like that was exactly what the Reapers were doing, just without the DNA goop step.

Edit: also, based on how jarring the Normandy part of the ending seemed, I feel like at some point the ending was changed and that scene was left over or something. Not just Joker flying away, but also I'm pretty sure in red/blue endings, the two people in your party at the end are the two that pop out of the Normandy. The very same two who were hit by Harbinger with me and everyone else down there during the final push.

Zetsubou-Sama:
I was really enjoying this podcast until you started with the heroic ending thing -_-

Most people aren't annoyed Shepard died/heroic enough/happy endings, people want to have the option if they did everything right 100% EMS, and were all paragon and all that stuff, that they can get a happy ending.

But that's just a small amount of the criticism, the inconcistencies, the polt holes, the flawed logic, and the 99% the same endings no matter what.

It's easier to dismiss us if they just stick to the whole, "bah, they just want rainbows and butterflies" then to face the rest of the complaints we have head on, and alof of which, they prolly don't have an answer for. Kind of like when all the bad metacritic hype was blamed almost exclusively on homophic people, and bioware haters, when yeah, they WERE there, but no, they weren't the ONLY ones there.

I think people are flying off the handle way to much on this ending. They just need to pay attention to a lot of the details. And as far as choices, you were basically set on a one way trip to building the Crucible. Go through the beginning with the child, notice how nobody even notices him? How they put so much effort into only Shepard noticing him. And how the ending is so dream like?....

Well, Bioware has admitted at this point that the entire ending was Shepard being indoctrinated by Harbinger. As well, the little boy and subsequent dreams were Shepard being indoctrinated. Which means that the ending isn't an ending. Which means that the spiel about all synthetic life being eradicated could have entirely been a psych out on Harbinger's part.

ravenshrike:
Well, Bioware has admitted...

Stop right there. That's a pretty big [citation needed] statement right there

ravenshrike:
Well, Bioware has admitted at this point that the entire ending was Shepard being indoctrinated by Harbinger. As well, the little boy and subsequent dreams were Shepard being indoctrinated. Which means that the ending isn't an ending. Which means that the spiel about all synthetic life being eradicated could have entirely been a psych out on Harbinger's part.

Do you have a source for this info? Because while that would make me happy, and it's part of my personal theory, the only word I've heard from Bioware is Casey Hudson burying his head in hte sand and pretending the problem doesn't exist.

I'm pretty much following the indoctrination theory mostly now because as Justin (it was Justin Right?) Pointed out that he felt so apathetic, I felt like Bioware had taken me outside and beaten me to near death (I didn't like it ok)

I'm not one to say a happy roses and cake ending is great in all cases but cant I at least have the chance to earn a happy ending?

I mean as Jeremy Jahn says for a game based on choice and controlling your own destiny (I mean Shepard could have just given up and waited for them if we had no choice at all)to have 16 different endings with 95% being the same in all of them is just "something". ME2 had more possible endings based who you made loyal, dlc characters and who survived the suicide mission, for ME3 to throw that kind of branching theme out the window is just....I have no words.

Lets understand as well that the public is by far the main critic of any piece of work, Arthur Conan Doyle brought Sherlock Holmes back from the dead because of Fan outcry (Benedict Cumberbatch is awesome!!)Asking for a change isn't rude it might have no effect whatsoever but if you dont want me to honestly tell you what I think why put it out in a public arena anyway.

Movies are regularly screen tested to check how people will take a movie. Lets face it no one is going to recommend a film they didn't like or the ending just plain sucked because the ending is the last impression you get and movie firms have shareholders who expect a return.
(I'm not saying this always works)

Plot Holes and going against established lore - Really for long term fans its just incomprehensible.

Knowing How the trilogy ends right at this moment I can honestly say its very hard to care about further ME related products or even think of playing the games again - I play them for fun not be mentally scarred.

Daystar Clarion:
I don't even think it's an issue with everyone wanting the 'let's get some cake' ending, it's that no matter what decisions you've made, everyone got the same ending.

The space magic might have been a different colour, but that doesn't change the fact that everyone got the same ending.

I wanted closure, I wanted to see the characters I've grown to adore afterwards, I wanted to see them mourning Shepard, I wanted to see Garrus on a beach drinking that beer, I wanted to see Tali's house on Rannoch, I wanted to see all the Krogan children born shortly after.

I wanted to see a galaxy mourning my Shepard and honouring him/her (I have two Shepards), with like, a statue or something.

I just wanted closure.

Yes!! Even though I won't mind the "cake" ending, I would love to see my Shepard with the blue children. But I won't mind the heroic death scene either.

This game is all about choice so give us choices THAT MAKES SENSE!! Have closure!

I want to see all the children named Shepard and a statue if he dies or Shepard escaping to a quiet life to have kids and sipping beer with friends!

I also want to see endings where Shepard fails or barely wins by the skin of his teeth leaving horrible destruction behind that show hopelessness for the rest of the galaxy.

We got a hopeless ending but that was the only ending.

Just an FYI: The explosive power of the Relays is mentioned in the ME3 secondary codex, in game...so it's still very much canon for this one.

loved the pod cast..there is another option with the control choice.. "reapers fly into your nearest sun"

mass effect 4 the hotel management game

Dear Susan: thanks for the details. I appreciate it.

Also, have Jodie on more podcasts. More female perspectives is a good thing, and plus, she's got a nice voice to listen to.

Yes!! Even though I won't mind the "cake" ending, I would love to see my Shepard with the blue children. But I won't mind the heroic death scene either.

My thoughts exactly.

I would totally read an epiloge, watch slideshows, something. Anything. I just feel empty with the endings. I would welcome a Cake ending, but would be just as statified with the alternitive.

And yes, I will buy ANY DLC that shines light on this finale. To be honest, I feel like that might have been the intention the whole time. Selling DLC.

Don't care. It worked. I want DLC!

If they do plan on releasing DLC that "fixes" the ending, or expands on it would we be responsible consumers if we buy it (assuming that they charge us)? To me, if that is the case, that means that they published and released an incomplete game; a game without an ending. Shouldn't we as consumers be entitled to a complete game? In my eyes we are consumer whores if we buy into their DLC.

burningdragoon:

ravenshrike:
Well, Bioware has admitted...

Stop right there. That's a pretty big [citation needed] statement right there

Eh, it turns out I was wrong. Sort of. There's two separate sources basically confirming it. I thought the game app thing was Bioware approved, which does state that the indoctrination was part of the ending originally. However now they're(Bioware) scrambling and saying it's not.

That being said, from the same source that originally leaked the details of LotSB and was 100% correct about it months in advance, has leaked info on a DLC called The Truth as well as multiplayer DLC. The Truth being the actual ending of the game. Due out in April/May.

Valstad:

Plot Holes and going against established lore - Really for long term fans its just incomprehensible.

And say it was all a dream? Remember the dream sequences? The very end closely resembles the dreams. If you Choose the destroy ending, you see that little cut scene with someone in rubble taking a breath in. There is no way Shepard would survive a drop from space after destroying the Citadel. And having it fall on him then surviving? I don't think so.

I like that we have created a term. The "cake ending." :)

Susan Arendt:
I like that wee have created a term. The "cake ending." :)

Too late Susan. I've retroactively copyrighted it.

You owe me 50 quid.

ravenshrike:

burningdragoon:

ravenshrike:
Well, Bioware has admitted...

Stop right there. That's a pretty big [citation needed] statement right there

Eh, it turns out I was wrong. Sort of. There's two separate sources basically confirming it. I thought the game app thing was Bioware approved, which does state that the indoctrination was part of the ending originally. However now they're(Bioware) scrambling and saying it's not.

That being said, from the same source that originally leaked the details of LotSB and was 100% correct about it months in advance, has leaked info on a DLC called The Truth as well as multiplayer DLC. The Truth being the actual ending of the game. Due out in April/May.

Well obviously I'll only believe when I see it, but that's interesting at least. Do you have any link-age anyway?

Personally I like the idea of you being able to get a SUPER HAPPY ending, but only if you had to work your ass of to get it.

If you told me there was an ending where Shepard and Tali walk off into the sunset but the only way to get it was beating the game on insanity mode, congratulations you just added 50 more hours to my play time.

burningdragoon:

ravenshrike:

burningdragoon:

Stop right there. That's a pretty big [citation needed] statement right there

Eh, it turns out I was wrong. Sort of. There's two separate sources basically confirming it. I thought the game app thing was Bioware approved, which does state that the indoctrination was part of the ending originally. However now they're(Bioware) scrambling and saying it's not.

That being said, from the same source that originally leaked the details of LotSB and was 100% correct about it months in advance, has leaked info on a DLC called The Truth as well as multiplayer DLC. The Truth being the actual ending of the game. Due out in April/May.

Well obviously I'll only believe when I see it, but that's interesting at least. Do you have any link-age anyway?

http://www.escapistmagazine.com/forums/read/9.354425-Bioware-allows-the-release-of-The-Final-Hours-of-Mass-Effect-3-a-tell-all-app-for-2-99-WTF

That's the app thing, although I originally saw it on the BSN.

http://www.escapistmagazine.com/forums/read/9.354271-The-Truth-for-Mass-Effect-3
That's about the DLC rumors. Which are just rumors, but the source is trustworthy for previous Mass Effect material.

Part of the issue is that, in a series built and marketted on the whole premise of "choice & consequence" - Casey Hudson is quoted as saying that there are a "different set of results" and a "huge set of consequences" in interview just prior to launch, there is a jarring lack of it in the ending. I have no issue with the idea of a heroic sacrifice - it fits some Shepards more than others, however, in a series built on the premise of choice and consequence, shouldn't there also be the option to choose a heroic victory, especially for those that choose to bust a gut to max out on the EMS?

Gigatoast:
Personally I like the idea of you being able to get a SUPER HAPPY ending, but only if you had to work your ass of to get it.

If you told me there was an ending where Shepard and Tali walk off into the sunset but the only way to get it was beating the game on insanity mode, congratulations you just added 50 more hours to my play time.

I think you're right.

I think there should be a type of ending for everyone.

Want a tragic ending? Want a bittersweet ending? Want a 'cake ending'?

You should have the option to get it.

Garrus and Shepard, drinking a beer on a beach, in front of Tali's home on Rannoch.

Alamandorious:
Just an FYI: The explosive power of the Relays is mentioned in the ME3 secondary codex, in game...so it's still very much canon for this one.

To be fair, that doesn't bother me at all. The relay in Arrival is destroyed by crashing it into a planet. As far as we know, the relays at the end of ME3 are disabled and therefore rendered inert before they are destroyed.

Just had to make that point. Endings still suck.

Who else here thought there would be a chance if you totally failed to rally enough support that you initiate the big ending fight, and are immediately blown out of the sky? Given the possibility of catastrophic failure in ME2, that scenario was likely for the third game.

The outrage definitely isn't about there being no "cake ending".

Right, Just finished listening to the whole podcast.

Firstly, the ending really browned me off. I played through, as I play all computer RPGs, as though I was actually Shepard, and so the decisions I make reflect the sorts of choices I would make. And Bioware did a really good job of making a mostly paragon but with elements when it's just easier to go renegade... or when sodding Kai Leng just needed to be taught a lesson. The problem with the ending was that philosophically I disagreed with every point there.

Going into the final battle, I had decided that if at all possible, I wouldn't kill all the Reapers, I felt that would be just plain wrong, just as wrong as what the Reapers were doing, so having to kill not only all Reapers, but all other synthetic life? Yeah, that's a huge no no. Then there is control, not only do I agree with what was said about not trusting myself, but again, as with above, I didn't think that I had the right to control the Reapers. Yes, they might be evil murderous types making the Martians from War of the Worlds sounds at me, but they are still alive, and so I have no right to control them.

The synthsis option was the one I hated the most, but also the one I found most palatable... if that can ever make sense. I really wanted an Evolution really doesn't work like that! arguement, Evolution isn't some progression to a final stage, but a wonderful development of diversity, and so to make a decision to make everyone into the same thing was wrong on that level. But also, if we assume that it is a development to a final stage, there are two issues. Firstly, Daleks, we all ended up a Daleks, Really? Is that my ending? And secondly, does anyone have a right to push a magic red button marked stop all development of species now?

I picked that option because, though I hated it the most, it didn't break as many of the philosophies that I hold dear. The whole you're indoctrinated thing... eh, I really don't buy it. Please, if you're going to make that canon, then you've got to give me some idea that it's going on, you've got to give me more to know why it's happening, if you've taken steps that reduce my options leading up to this, so I can see it coming, and I know it's happening to what is essentially me, then yeah, I can dig that, it would be a fantastic Lovecraftian ending. But there isn't any of that, it's just bam, here you go, 3 options, all of which are bad. And then, you'll know nothing about how the universe develops from here. I couldn't give a damn at the end when they were going on about 'The Shepard' What happened to Rannock? What happened to the Krogan? The Rachni?

Hey folks.

Just posting here to raise a few points.

Firstly Bioware haven't said very much about the endings as of yet, except a cryptic hint by the MassEffect twitter saying something along the lines of its probably a good idea not to trust the "endings" of the game.

Secondly, about the Mass Effect Relays "exploding" - that didn't bother me. I mean I didn't see that as inconsistent or a plot hole simply because it is entirely possible to blow shit up in a controlled and contained manner. I assumed that these explosions were of the controlled variety. The thing that bothered me about it is that it basically wrecks the Galaxy, and dooms everyone left in the Sol System/Local Cluster (most especially the Turians and Quarians) as Earth will most likely be a dead world due to the Citadel crashing onto it, the Krogan will probably eat everyone else, and the Quarians and Turians can't each Local food because of their unique DNA.

Thirdly, please check out Jeremy Jahn's youtube video about the issue for a thorough and accurate explanation of why we think the endings suck.

Fourthly, let me just agree with the others here and agree that it isn't about wanting a Happy Flowery Shepard and Co Live Happily Ever After ending. It is about getting an ending that make's sense.
Many of the themes and things touched on by the catalyst are not explored enough to make sense in the context of the universe, and you can do things that actively disprove the catalyst's logic (settling the quarian/geth conflict as an example).
And the fact that Shepard just nods along accepting what he is told by the REAPER AI BOSS without challening it? Makes. No. Sense.

Fifthly, Mass Effect Fields do not protect from the vacumn of space. ME fields are porous to allow for the passage of Air Molecules so that the person inside the field does not suffocate, and unless they have changed it I am fairly certain its in the codex entry.
The Docking Modules of the Citadel are a large area of space that is protected by a type of force field that DOES hold in Air, and this is not an issue because the stations air filtration system reaches the docking areas.

And the very last thing I want to say:- too many people these days in the gaming industry (journalists included) are starting to erroneously view Video Games as something they aren't. Namely as some sort of Great Art form.

This is absolutely not what Games are.

Video Games aren't Art. Oh you can get Art "Video Games" that actually ARE Art, but they are specifically made in such a way as that they are meant to be Art, and aren't really "games". And by that I mean that Art is supposed to be this beautiful thing that provokes thought and discussion, something that makes you think and feel and Art Games do this.

Video Games are not Art because Video Games' entire point is to do the total opposite thing from Art. Video Games are for entertainment, they are something that is intended to help you pass the time. Ultimately they are a distraction; something that stops you from thinking. Something fun and diverting.
The goal of a Video Game is something Diametrically opposed to what Art tries to do.

Don't get me wrong you can get video games that are incredibly artistic, and there are people who work for Video Game Developers that are incredibly artistic. But there is a world of difference between something being Artistic or Artsy, and actually being Art.

This erroneous view has filtered down from the industry into the communities/fan bases of Video games in certain places; and it results in the arguement that people don't have a right to ask for the ending's to be changes so they make more sense to more people because it is some how a violation of the Developer's "Artistic Rights" or some such nonsense.

This is wrong. As I detailed before Video Games are not art. They are a product that is designed to delight, distract, and entertain. And because it is a product, it means that it has a consumer base. And ANY consumer base absolutely has the right to ask, even demand, that a product be changed to suit their desires if it promises to fulfill those desires and does not (assuming that those desires are reasonable, and the complaints legitimate). This is something that is actually in many countries enshrined in Law; if a product does not meet expectations, if it does not "work as advertised" then its consumer base has a right to redress in some way.
The fact that Forbes Magazine (possibly the most famous magazine in the world) supports my viewpoint is something that makes me think I am right. After all Forbes knows business.

And, thats about all I can say on that.

You troll, this isn't an argument if games are art or not (which they totally are you tit), It's a discussion if you liked the ending or not.

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