Mass Effect 3 Ending Controversy

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+500 respect to you good sir.

"But if you're looking for an official ending to Mass Effect 3, then you already have it. It even comes in three different colors."

Couldn't have said it better.

Sir, I respectfully disagree with your comment, that

"If they change it to please us, then it's not their story anymore, it's ours. We can easily find ourselves in a situation where we're playing through our own fanfiction."

That would have been true, if we had been pushing for specific endings that we'd like to see.
No one's trying to convince BW to implement their own vision of the ending.

We just want BW to hold their promise, and actually sit down and write (yeah, they'll do the writing, not us?!) the multiple endings that follow logically from the preceding events.

Edit: Simplest answer to the controversy. Give players the option to give starchild the finger, shoot him in his translucent face and move on.

Never listen to the leprechaun that tells you to kill all sentient life. That guy's a dick.

Very good read, well-thought out, and I liked the fanfic a lot, too!

It seems like a lot of people want Shepard to survive above all things. And the possibility that s/he doesn't is making them furious. I can see this being a testament to how connected they are to the character they have created that it can inspire this much emotion.

However, I could not disagree more. Why is the concept of self-sacrifice so horrendous? I feel that if you can't think of any thing in your life that you would risk/sacrifice your life to preserve then you might need to cut back on the video games.

The only thing I would add on Biowares part would be to populate a few Journal entries after game completion to give a little more detail on some of the things covered in the last few hours of gameplay. They did a really good job updating you on the progress of the war and key battles up until that point and then just... stopped.

Anyways, where would you start with aftermath? The cycle is broken, after countless years of the galaxy slowly turning on its preset course... there is no set path. The world(s) are saved but isolated from each other. Galactic government is shattered at best. There is a whole bunch of alien races more or less trapped in the Sol system with a devastated (but grateful?) Earth, with the reason for their fragile alliance suddenly defeated. So yeah... there has to be at least a few Shepards out there that are happy they don't have to deal with that mess. (Do they not have diplomats to do all that talking instead of getting their front line guys to do it? like wth)

Shepard completed the mission, we stopped the Reaper cycle, we triumphed over an implacable enemy and saved the galaxy. We learned what it was all about. (could have gotten more detail there but a brief use of imagination/logic can fill in most of the blanks) We saw that (at least) a few characters/friends survived. Finis.

Regardless, we all bought the (choose your own adventure) book. Some of us didn't like the ending(s). They have no obligation to change it, and you are perfectly free to make up/borrow one of your own.

Anyways, this was always YOUR story, why are you letting them finish it for you?

I'll just be blunt:

I hate the ending. I want a better ending with closure and resolution and sense. Yes, I will pay for it.

Excellent write up. As much as I hated the endings, I don't think they should be changed. The cat is out of the bag, and the emotions that run through the player during that epic first playthrough is now gone, never to be recovered. Bioware should lick their wounds, figure out what the fuck happened, and learn from it. We gamers have to learn to be less trusting even of our favorite companies, and doubt some of the promises we hear to let ourselves down more easily.

Miral:

Alert: minor spoilers in this first paragraph.
I really hope you're joking. The core explanation for the reapers is "synthetics will always kill off organics; to prevent that we created a race of synthetics to kill all the organics every 50k years to stop the synthetics killing them." That doesn't even come close to making any kind of sense. And its core assertion is directly contradicted by Shepard's own experience (the Geth, EDI) that it's simply irresponsible that you cannot even protest that assertion when it's made.

Let me just put this in spoiler tags to be safe.

The only way that this ending could make any kind of sense is if the Indoctrination Theory is true and Shepard was being controlled or dreaming, and that the "real" ending has yet to be revealed. Sadly the reaction from BioWare themselves is very mixed, and most evidence thus far suggests that this was not their brilliant plan all along... but we can still hope that they take it and run with it.

That indoctrination hypothesis (it's not a theory) is laughable, but understandable. It's a very nice mix of denial, wishfull thinking and self-reinforcement. Very interesting to follow, but nothing to take seriously.

If they change it to please us, then it's not their story anymore, it's ours.

But it is out story, Shamus. I am Commander Shepard. I call the decisions. I influence the universe the game takes place in. Thats the entire point of the series, what separates it from the thousands other games that take place in a sci-fi setting which borrows heavily from every other sci-fi setting.

Nimcha:
That indoctrination hypothesis (it's not a theory) is laughable, but understandable. It's a very nice mix of denial, wishfull thinking and self-reinforcement. Very interesting to follow, but nothing to take seriously.

I hear a lot of people knocking it, but I havent heard anyone say why its laughable. Explain yourself, please. Im undecided, but every day I see people backing the theory with evidence while the doubters will let people know they are there, but not why they belong to that camp.

Excellent article, Shamus. Bravo.

I just wanted to remind everybody of one tiny detail: Bioware hasn't promised to change the ending of the game. Bioware promised to clarify and provide closure. Whether they will do that with additional media attached to the current ending, new alternate endings, or scrolling epilogues remainds to be seen.

First time I've ever agreed with one of your articles, just sayin'.

I'm glad to see someone working for this site finally understands everyone's frustration. It's not that we just don't like the ending, and it's CERTAINLY not because we don't understand it, that's an insult in itself the thing's logic is just simplistic. It's that the ending is fundamentally flawed on practically every level, it would take some serious retconning to satisfy the general fanbase without dismissing this concept entirely.

However, if they actually took a page from the fans and rolled with the whole "Indoctrination theory" to nullify the damage (which is by no means perfect, but makes enough sense to fit the story nicely) they could actually salvage what's left of the franchise and make the majority of the "Retake ME3" movement very, very happy.

The fans get the ending they expected, Bioware gets the renewed loyalty of their fanbase and EA gets to sell a lot of DLC in the future. Everyone wins! Well, except for the people who jumped on the "Bioware's gunna destroy artistic integrity" bandwagon, they get to sit around an whine for years to come.

But that all depends on whether or not Bioware respects their fans enough to make amends in a way that doesn't make it worse.

Zen Toombs:
Well said. And I don't think Bioware should try to please everyone, I would just like them to give some ammount of what you called Closure, Explanation, and Affirmation. This story doesn't need a sunshine and pie ending, but the ending shouldn't completly conflict with the previous ~90 hour experience.

Agreed.
The 3 points would feel good, but the theme happy/sad doesn't matter.


The ending left me with a "meh" and "was that all?"

Zen Toombs:
Well said. And I don't think Bioware should try to please everyone, I would just like them to give some ammount of what you called Closure, Explanation, and Affirmation. This story doesn't need a sunshine and pie ending, but the ending shouldn't completly conflict with the previous ~90 hour experience.

Agreed.
The 3 points would feel good, but the theme happy/sad doesn't matter.


The ending left me with a "meh" and "was that all?"

Miral:

Nimcha:
But to me everything that was shown did make sense. Reapers are shown to be redundant, Shepard decides how to end them. 'Everybody dies' is just completely untrue and largely irrelevant since that has nothing to do with the quality of a story. The 'bad guys' are certainly not ridiculous (in fact their motivations are literally explained) and we do find out what happens next. What happens after that, that is what you have to think about for yourself. That is also where a lot of your choices from the game come in.

Alert: minor spoilers in this first paragraph.
I really hope you're joking. The core explanation for the reapers is "synthetics will always kill off organics; to prevent that we created a race of synthetics to kill all the organics every 50k years to stop the synthetics killing them." That doesn't even come close to making any kind of sense. And its core assertion is directly contradicted by Shepard's own experience (the Geth, EDI) that it's simply irresponsible that you cannot even protest that assertion when it's made.

The only way that this ending could make any kind of sense is if the Indoctrination Theory is true and Shepard was being controlled or dreaming, and that the "real" ending has yet to be revealed. Sadly the reaction from BioWare themselves is very mixed, and most evidence thus far suggests that this was not their brilliant plan all along... but we can still hope that they take it and run with it.

Provided of course that they don't try to charge for it, as that in itself would be setting an exceedingly dangerous precedent; if we start tolerating games holding the ending ransom against further payment, it's a very slippery slope to games where you have to fork over money for each new plot point or chapter, and then we're all screwed.

just wanted to make a correction here that will make that aspect of the ending make sense. The reapers don't destroy ALL organic life. Just species advanced enough to be sentient or in other words species that can create AI soon or that have already done so. Their argument is that synthetic AI would destroy ALL organic life period. So the reapers cycle destroys these sentient lifeforms before AI wipes out all life. in their messed up logic there are in fact preserving life.

Still sucks but it does make sense.

i was starting to think that no critics agreed with the fans. i was wrong, and im happy for that. im also happy that you have said everything i was saying for the past week. if i ever want to talk about whether the ending should be changed, ill direct them to this article.

Shamus Young:
The outrage has built up to the point where important people at BioWare are promising to go back and change the game.

Yeah, except they haven't. Bioware has not said that they are necessarily changing anything or, if they do decide to change anything, what they are going to change or what form those changes will take. They have, however, said that they are considering fan feedback and how it could be implemented in a way that stays true to their original vision for the title. But I guess saying that just isn't contraversial enough.

SmashLovesTitanQuest:
But it is out story, Shamus. I am Commander Shepard. I call the decisions. I influence the universe the game takes place in. Thats the entire point of the series, what separates it from the thousands other games that take place in a sci-fi setting which borrows heavily from every other sci-fi setting.

Yet the writers were the one who created the constraints within which you acted. They wrote your dialog options, they wrote your moral choices.

Sandytimeman:

Boyninja616:
Good, well said.

I'm glad that there are people left who aren't going to try to qualify ME3 as art, because, honestly, that has little relevance. As I said in a post not too long ago:

Boyninja616:
I think people are missing the point.

I don't care whether ME3 qualifies as art or not. This, for me, has no bearing on the ending and it's content.

What people should be concerned about is that the company provided a product to paying customers. They also promised closure (As i'm sure has been quoted a thousand times), and when many customers felt that they didn't deliver that promise, they desired the product be changed. Bioware also deliver customer service with their products, same as any business, and should at least be expected to listen to their CUSTOMERS' feedback.

I work in a Cafe. If we make a substandard meal and the customer feels it isn't up to scratch, they have 3 options:
-Say nothing
-Request that the meal be redone
-Request a refund

Now, many people are placing themselves in the second boat, as they certainly aren't remaining quiet, but they certainly aren't rushing to get a refund JUST IN CASE Bioware do change the ending. But, as Bioware are a business, they should listen to their customers' feedback, lest they (or rather, retailers) have to start shelling out hundreds of thousands or even millions or dollars in refunds. I don't have to explain the consequences for Bioware.

That's my 2 cents. The question of the game being Art is IRRELEVANT. What matters is customer service.

For anyone to give the game a label as art makes the entire argument null and void. Art can be interpreted in many ways, and art can not account for everybody's taste. Moreover, art that is garish, or even offensive, can mature to become much-beloved by many Look at the entirety of Renaissance Europe. Many artists (particularly the Impressionists) were despised by the Church and, at best, considered deviants by Society, and now look; Many of the famous painters are immortalized and their works sell for huge sums of money.

I like his cooking anlogy though, some chefs are considered artist of their craft. But that doesn't make every scrambled egg a masterpiece of culinary experience. And if my eggs are runny and undercooked I can request them to be remade.

Movies are probably closer to the medium at hand. In that regard there is nothing you can do except for to extract revenge on the creator by not buying any more of their movies or merchandise. for instance the "artsy" film "trash humpers" is the single worst movie ever to be made, it's message goes right over the head of anyone that has ever seen the movie and its created like shit. I avoid Harmony Korine with a passion, and any time his name is mentioned I automatically cover my wallet to protect it from unintentional support.

I suggest people just stop buying bioware products, they obviously have stopped caring about story and the universe they created. It is their universe and they wanted to end a game completely about thousands of choices, with only 3 that ignore all other choices. That was their right as a game company. But I don't have to buy their games, I won't be buying any other games from them, and that is sad considering I used to make every game they made a 100% blind faith purchase. Mass Effect 1, ME2, and Dragon Age Origin bought and every single bit of DLC bought, but now...I'm done, I'm out and thats my right as a consumer.

The stop buying thing is the logical next step. However, in this case the developer has a chance to redeem themselves. No other media gets this chance but due to dlc and patching systems Bioware is getting a second chance. They can either fix their insult to many customers or they can ignore it and let this wound fester. That is completely their decision, but it would be a stupid decision to do nothing when they have a second chance. I know I have already resolved not to buy another of their products unless they do something (redo, fix, expand, whatever) about the ending.

OT: It's good to see at least one contributor here that doesn't have a stick up their ass about games being immutable art. Even traditional art goes through changes but people seem to forget that.

I adopted that fan fiction as my canon ending almost immediately after finishing the game last week (as soon as I'd stopped reeling from the sheer disappointment of the actual ending).

As everyone's said, thank you so much for hitting the nail on the head. Seeing other journalists writing us all off as "juvenile" or "crybabies" has had me practically banging my head against the wall- I swear none of them have taken the time to do some research and see that most of us are not the unreasonable children they want us to be.

I was wondering how long untill some of what you wrote ended up here at the Escapist.
As I have said elsewhere the lack of closure is a big deal for me, this doesn't feel like an ending, it's as if the game things there is more.

It's apparently clear from the accounts of staff and notes that this isn't really the ending they wanted and they just stuck this together in the final moments. Once I learned that I stopped thinking that asking for a better ending was a bad thing. I am still not going to demand it, but if their own team didn't want this things change.

It's incredibly easy to fix the ending to ME3.
Remove it.
Just roll credits when you're hit by the beam.
It'd be an improvement.

DrVornoff:

SmashLovesTitanQuest:
But it is out story, Shamus. I am Commander Shepard. I call the decisions. I influence the universe the game takes place in. Thats the entire point of the series, what separates it from the thousands other games that take place in a sci-fi setting which borrows heavily from every other sci-fi setting.

Yet the writers were the one who created the constraints within which you acted. They wrote your dialog options, they wrote your moral choices.

But I picked them. And suddenly, at the end, I could pick no more.

Its our story as much as it is theirs.

I hate EA, so very very much. I really wish they had not aquired BioWare, it is my firm belief that this is their fault. BioWare had not made a bad game until EA came along, and look at the crap we've gotten, Dragon Age 2, Mass Effect 3(mostly the ending), The Old Republic(I have a bunch of problems with this game). I was literaly as depressed as I was when my girlfriend broke up with me after I "beat" Mass Effect 3. So much time and effort wasted, well over 200 hours. Even Fallout 3's ending wasn't as bad as this. One of my friends told me it was just a game, no, this could have been the lord of the rings of video games but no. I honestly don't know if I can buy another BioWare game.

Also, if you have not played through all three ME games, your opinion on the end really loses merit with me. Like that Bioshock creator, I doubt he played it.

I admit they're probably not going to make the ending I WANT (because the ending I want involves Shepherd being crowned Emperor of the Known Universe while Wrex walks up to and headbutts all the characters I don't like) but they can certainly make an ending I'd be happy with. Honestly, even if they just took out that nonsensical scene with Joker at the end and added a text dump that tells what the aftermath of my decisions looked like (similar to what they did in DA:O) I'd be reasonably content.

Nimcha:

Let me just put this in spoiler tags to be safe.

We hebben meer m--I mean, we need more people like you. While I find the endings to be disappointing for different reasons, I can't stand the fact that so many people completely misunderstood it. People keep pointing at contradictions that aren't there while ignoring the actual plot holes.

Nimcha:

It's a very nice mix of denial, wishfull thinking and self-reinforcement.

I'm not entirely sure what evidence you're basing this on.

mattttherman3:
So much time and effort wasted, well over 200 hours.

Another thing I don't understand. Yes, the ending was bad, regardless of whether it's filled with plotholes or not. However, the 90+ hour journey has its value as well (and isn't nullified by a bad ending) and your actions throughout the three games still have meaning. It's just that you don't get to see it.

Shamus Young:
What happened to Sean Bean in Silent Hill?

He died! Sean Bean ALWAYS dies. If Sean Bean is on a tv or movie screen you can bet as sure as the sun will rise he's going to die at some point. They just figured this was a given in Silent Hill so there wasn't much point in showing it. Just in case you can't get enough of watching Sean Bean biting it on film and television here is a Youtube video documenting his many deaths.

Nimcha:

Miral:

Alert: minor spoilers in this first paragraph.
I really hope you're joking. The core explanation for the reapers is "synthetics will always kill off organics; to prevent that we created a race of synthetics to kill all the organics every 50k years to stop the synthetics killing them." That doesn't even come close to making any kind of sense. And its core assertion is directly contradicted by Shepard's own experience (the Geth, EDI) that it's simply irresponsible that you cannot even protest that assertion when it's made.

Let me just put this in spoiler tags to be safe.

I'd been thinking about why I was so certain the "life is hopeless, death" ending wouldn't work well, ever since I finished the game, but I couldn't reach a conclusion. The length of the series is the answer. That would be like someone slashing your tires or burning down your house as a practical joke.

They should make an ending, I'll disagree with you there. Thankyou though for seeing our side. Its nice to see how the Escapist has come from its early articles where things basically said 'I haven't finished the game, but this is all just rediculous' to neutral articles as some of their own speak out about their displeasure with the endings. I've covered this in more detail in another post, but its nice to see some people in journalism on our side - especially after that whole Gamespot or W/E 'fired for bad review of game' stuff come to light.
Why I think they should make a new ending is that even if the satisfy no-one, don't provide a perfect ending for everyone - they will have improved the ending, and they will continue to make sales, and people may restart playing ME3 more. They will show fans 'Yes, we did listen, we are sorry. We know this won't suit all of you, but hopefully it fixes some problems'. If they did this, I'd turn from the Retake ME3 movement to defending Bioware. Sure, it may not be my perfect story - but a lot of people know it won't be, and are prepared for that. Granted a lot are also planning on not buying the DLC until peers do and review it for them, but unless the DLC is as horrible as the current endings, I'm pretty sure people will still buy it.
It will give people motivation to play ME3 again - something many, myself included, have lost for the entire ME series as the ending takes our choices, the reason we played, and throws them in the bin - allowing them to relive 90+ hours of enjoyment, and not be so dissatisfied by the end of that.

No-one is doubting that it won't be perfect. Perfect isn't what we're asking for. We're asking for an improvement. We get that improvement, we'll support Bioware. We don't, we'll let EA re purpose them into making generic shooters or something.

I think this was a pretty good critique of this whole ME ending thing.

Xanthious:

Shamus Young:
What happened to Sean Bean in Silent Hill?

He died! Sean Bean ALWAYS dies. If Sean Bean is on a tv or movie screen you can bet as sure as the sun will rise he's going to die at some point. They just figured this was a given in Silent Hill so there wasn't much point in showing it. Just in case you can't get enough of watching Sean Bean biting it on film and television here is a Youtube video documenting his many deaths.

Me and my fiancee have a theory for this.

Every time he didn't die in Sharpe, he dies in something else.

Very well written, all i have to say!

Nimcha:
Let me just put this in spoiler tags to be safe.

More spoiler tags!


And yeah, agreed on IT. Its a bunch of things that fit together, but the length some fans of it go to is just stupid. "IT WAS ALWAYS BIOWARE'S PLAN, THEY ARE WRITING GODS! EVERYONE STOP TELLING THEM TO CHANGE THE ENDING, THEY'RE ALREADY MAKING IT, THEY JUST HAVEN'T TOLD US YET". Its stupid, and annoying, desperate and deranged. And then about 5 threads pop up each hour on BSN stating exactly this. FFS

SpaceBat:

Nimcha:

It's a very nice mix of denial, wishfull thinking and self-reinforcement.

I'm not entirely sure what evidence you're basing this on.

Probably the 5 or so threads per hour on BSN that pop up claiming that IT was always Bioware's plan, and they've lied to us the whole time to keep it secret, and that we're all stupid if we don't realise it, and we'll see when they do release it, and we shouldn't ask them to change the ending because they're already doing this, and they've seen the light and forgiven Bioware - it seriously gets too much too fast.

SmashLovesTitanQuest:
But I picked them. And suddenly, at the end, I could pick no more.

Its our story as much as it is theirs.

Does this apply to Choose Your Own Adventure novels as well?

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