Mass Effect 3 Ending Controversy

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@ Shamus, great post, great blog, look forward to more of your work.

Concerning ME3

http://geek.pikimal.com/2012/03/22/controversy-erupts-over-mass-effect-3-writers-forum-post-name-release/

Think that about covers it.

Personally, ME3 ending, like soooooo much of ME is either trope, homage, or just copied from another source.

ME3 Ending, is Matrix films. The indoctrination theories work, for TIM and Anderson, but the conversation with "Space God" is literal.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ythY_GkEBck

Think Matrix films. Neo = Sheppard, Space God = Architect, Galaxy = matrix. Literally, this IS HAPPENING in the narrative. This establishes the cycle, half ass why, and allows for Sheppard/Player to choose the ending "they" want. It also loosely tropes Babylon 5 and cosmic consciousness ascension. The ending, not to be seen, but to be imagined. The Jungle scene was some crap for a DLC, that was also hijacked.

Why?

The Reaper "Beam", is where the game was supposed to do the WA check, it was canned, and art assets that where "sitting around" welded together to make this 11th hour vision work. This is precisely what happens when work flow is hijacked by a single person. If WA was high enough, the idea was to have joker fly in with the Normandy and chase the reaper away, post "dream sequence". At this point Shepard "ascends" consciousness... or whatever extremely weak metaphysical crap (poorly understood outside of Drew's vision).

There is nothing more to this than that... it is a hand of god, 11th hour character introduction to tie up the game, done extremely poorly, as it was never really the plan in the first place, certainly not as the ending. Missing at least 25 percent of the game/narrative, it was done for cost, lazy, and to cater to a marketing arm more interested in making movies and T.V. spots, than they are their game.

Do not think in terms of "order" that one played the game, think in terms of modifying scenes and modules to turn "what game" one has, into a game in a box. If it feels broken and out of place, it is, because it is... this ending, is from the second act, ripped, and put in "as the ending" to shorten development time, and "take earth back".

I'm not sure if it's been said already, but what's wrong with going back to the old leaked ending (besides everyone's already likely read it) they had, the one written by the original writer of the series? Fewer plot holes, fans get an ending that makes more sense, EA can keep producing games in the ME Universe, and they actually preserve their artistic integrity by adhering to their original vision. Is it a legal thing with Drew quitting Bioware or just lack of interest?

Ifrit7th:
snip

I said the exact same thing.

Personally, BECAUSE it was Drew's vision, and not Mac Walter's story. The impression I took away from the whole thing is that Shepard was "not deep", and this contrivance (among others) was an attempt to hijack process and give it "an artistic" vision. Which in one way works with Drew's "Will to Power" concept, that is, most the characters and races are metaphors for various philosopher's and philosophical movements. Though is misunderstood, even by people working on the product.

It (of course) falls flat, I suspect, because the story board and modules where "moved around" like cards on a table, to appease marketing "take earth back" movie considerations.

ME3, is a matrix bootleg without the narrative underneath to support the arc. Dark Energy was considered by Mac and others to be "to complex", if that is to complex, then it is safe to assume that "indoctrination" is mumbo jumbo. To go with Dark Energy, is also to create a narrative problem with making the Reapers "redeemable" which does not fit with the "Star Wars" empire is evil, because they are, motivation-less arc.

Easier to say, "it's a cycle" it has happened before, it will happen again Battle Star galactica rip off... "it's in the frak'n ship!" Than to work up a proper third act. Ala Matrix, 7 times rebuilt Zion... so on and so forth.

As Shamus said, we have 2 parallel big bads, Reaper and Cerberus; TIM is resolved, but to circular reason it, a plot device was concocted to "make it all work", make Shep "Synthetic Jesus" - BattleStar "Hera", "Take the Reapers Beyond the Rim -Babylon 5" or "kill god" Will to Power Nihilism. The whole thing begs a certain metaphysical credulity.

Not even MENTIONING, how badly the destruction of Mass Relays breaks the universe. If we had dark energy, "warp drive", or "folding space" technology (which the citadel apparently DOES USE) it is not broken, but the writers forgot to explain that... then blew it up. Oversight.

It works for Legion arc, but fails horribly with Shep, as Shep has no motivation to play games with the construct. Even in Matrix, Neo chooses "love" of an individual over humanity, which is not particularly savior-esque. Shep has no such motivation, at least not one that is particular apparent, ESPECIALLY considering if one paragon' the Geth arc.

This is the ending to ME3, because it was the simplest, easiest, most cost effective way to end it without having to generate more art assets. Mismanagement, and poor planning.

A damn shame.

Ken Sapp:
You are right, not everyone are demanding a rewrite. Unfortunately, the loudest minority are also the ones with the entitlement mentality demanding that Bioware rewrite it their way.

I'm not sure that's necessarily fair. Even among the people asking for Bioware to rewrite the ending, it's less "Cater to MY DEMANDS" and more "Give us an ending that makes sense and fits the story."

Basically, the people asking for the ending to be rewritten are asking for Bioware to treat the ending with the care it deserves.

JeanLuc761:
snip

Sat down the other day with some guys and discussed a "what if..."

Unfortunately we found no way to "fix" the ending as the narrative stands. There are some pretty nasty gaps in the flow of the exposition, which seem to indicate that much of the story was "shell gamed" at the 11th hour, with art assets "cobbled" together to get "something" working.

We concluded that due to marketing choices, some writing missteps, and bad "copy paste" mentalities from other Sci-Fi, Matrix films, Babylon 5, Battle Star Galactica; that to "do" the multiple ending scenario (which probably should come after the "dream" sequence of being hit by the reaper beam) is not really "do-able" in the context of the ending "as it is".

As Edward Norton (fight club stated) "If the cost of the outrage is less than the cost of the re-write, we won't do one"... loose quote there.

This is the ending, it is very "Matrix", Shepard as agency for a "machine" plan. I stand by the Shepard = Achilles, Zeus is powerless in the face of the fates arguments. ME3 as a "whole" is just rather poorly constructed, sequels tend to do this, that didn't have a "narrative" goal the "whole" process. Clearly, ME3 was a last minute "poop" into a box with the words "sell this", as it's last gasping breaths.

The word "entitlement" gets thrown around a lot these days, mostly incorrectly as a generic insult, but in this case, I think it applies (and not in a negative way).

Regardless of whether you feel video games are art or not, they are still a product. As a consumer, you are "entitled" to the product as it is advertised. This is why you hear about "money back guarantees". People get their money back on products all the time, be they defective or simply unsatisfying.

Unfortunately, Casey Hudson ran his mouth off and promised all sorts of things that were not delivered upon. This means that the product was not as it was advertised, and the consumer is, in fact, "entitled" to file complaints, demand their money's worth, etc.

Oro44:
The word "entitlement" gets thrown around a lot these days, mostly incorrectly as a generic insult, but in this case, I think it applies (and not in a negative way).

Regardless of whether you feel video games are art or not, they are still a product. As a consumer, you are "entitled" to the product as it is advertised. This is why you hear about "money back guarantees". People get their money back on products all the time, be they defective or simply unsatisfying.

Unfortunately, Casey Hudson ran his mouth off and promised all sorts of things that were not delivered upon. This means that the product was not as it was advertised, and the consumer is, in fact, "entitled" to file complaints, demand their money's worth, etc.

You may enjoy part of this video.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3TVji_fiKsw&list=UUbdyjrrJAjDIACjCsjAGFAA&index=1&feature=plcp

I "think" you are correct from a product standpoint, the art argument may be valid in this case, if we are to consider that the "process" of development was hijacked at the 11th hour, and an "artistic - personal" vision applied to the work. In which case, it is bad comedy, as the ME3 writers are NOT the creators of the ME universe... think in terms of a sue chef, completing a meal, which was started by a much more diverse chef.

Genius is in hiding ones sources... Albert Einstein... loose misquote.

Unfortunately, it is what it is... but should we be surprised? The talent looks to have all but walked out the door... and it shows.

Shamus Young:
Mass Effect 3 Ending Controversy

Mass Effect 3's endings have left quite a few people wanting. But for what?

Read Full Article

BioWare will need to be very careful to separate childish anger over a "bad ending" from quite reasonable anger over a "badly executed ending."

In my honest opinion, even if all 3 endings were too similar, they were genius compared to most endings in the past 3 or more years. Sure fans can be upset about the similarities, or the fact that there are only three endings when there "should" be "like a million." But as a story in itself, the endings fit. The endings were good in their own right.
And the cutscene itself isn't the ending, it's just the final cutscene. Shepard struggling to his feet after surviving the Reaper beam and seeing his dead comrades, and forging on nonetheless to complete the mission. Following the Keeper tunnels, filled with the gore of countless victims not fit for assimilation. Trying to sway the Illusive Man from his path of madness. That last, pained conversation with Anderson as you sink closer to death, watching the galaxy struggle to hold off the Reapers. And lastly, the encounter with an AI with godlike control explaining that the entire purpose for the Reapers was to ensure that sentient life would never be in risk of utter annihilation at the hands of rogue AI tired of being treated like machines.

Honestly, I have seen much less hate going into much worse endings than this. And on triple-A titles to boot. I think the hatred has spread so far not because of the ending itself, but because hating the ending of Mass Effect 3 has become a meme. I even notice at school and work, my wittiest comments were once great for getting laughs, but now I'm shown up by the idiot who mindlessly quotes Memebase. The point: why do people put so much store into internet culture? I'm honestly sick and tired of imagination and humor dying out just because it's so easy to copy and paste the opinion of someone you've never met.

Dastardly:

Shamus Young:
Mass Effect 3 Ending Controversy

Mass Effect 3's endings have left quite a few people wanting. But for what?

Read Full Article

BioWare will need to be very careful to separate childish anger over a "bad ending" from quite reasonable anger over a "badly executed ending."

I personally do not see a new ending being done for the game, I "expect" something like DA "witch-hunter" DLC, which does little to nothing for the narrative. I find the issue with ME3 to not be specifically the ending, rather the narrative "retcon", and marketing, which painted the game into a corner... which required... (counts on fingers) about 6 dues ex machination to "paper up the cracks". Clearly, the games ending, as it stands, is heavily influenced by films, such as the Matrix... the child is "God", Shepard is Jesus... the choices are... for lack of a better metaphor, "the last temptation". If we go with "Indoctrination" we find ourselves in circle reasoning to escape circular reasoning.

Which is fine, but did the exposition of the narrative support it? Does the response of Bioware as a company support it? No, not really. It is just bad writing... likely more bad writing on the way.

Nieroshai:
snip

I think they were similar due to restraints of rendering the engine, it is pretty easy to change a lighting setup... so that is what we got. The endings, to me, were simply restating what had already been established... to unite synthetics... which is what Legion does, to control reapers, in a good way, redemption "enlightenment" ending, and "God is Dead", renegade ending.

There is of course, "indoctrination" hypothesis, which is ok I suppose... that is, it is all just an illusion, but that means either "no ending", or "matrix" Shepard is Achilles and is "fated" to serve a purpose, over many hundreds of thousands of years... or the game just resets... so full of flaws, it becomes incoherent.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zTdjiTOz2rI

This has some missing joker dialog, which has been "hypothesized" to have been dropped but would indicate that if the war assets were high enough, Joker flys in a spooks away Harbinger... this of course, never happens... time constraints I imagine.

On the topic of hate... I am thinking it is the sheer amount of narrative retcon, and general incoherence with the story as a whole. The ending lacked the polish that the rest of the game had, and to top it off, player agency was infringed upon to basically "re-write" Shepard as a deeper protagonist. Unfortunately with no antagonist in which to engage, except to have the player "hijacked" into an A, B, or C ending. Literally by a God, Over-Mind, or Reaper...

This is contrary to the pre game release hype and general expectations.

The reaction I posit as thus: expectations were not met, which leads to a period of psychological grief. I suspect the franchise is hurt somewhat, but gamer folk are pretty forgiving people... and hang around "for more beatings", for whatever reason.

Personally Mass Effect as a whole (to me) is not particularly deep, nor does anything that hasn't been done before... but it was interesting to see it as a "melting pot" of popular sci-fi genre pulp. The loss of Drew and his philosophical slant... is just so apparent in the third act, but oh well... as "GT's Patcher Said: If you don't like it, throw it away, and buy a different game".

Take that for what it is worth.

Although the whole "Marauder Shields" meme is really so damn funny...

SmashLovesTitanQuest:

Well, for example, I do not see why they would have James mention a strange humming on the ship if there wasnt something going on there. They described the side effects of indoctrination very well over the past few years and then they have him say that - why? What other purpose could that have had?

Then theres the breath scene, the various inconsistencies in the last moments of the game (you shoot Anderson, a few moments later he has no wound, but you have one)...

Humming? James is paranoid. A little scared about the upcoming battle. He just got a reason to live again after working with Shepard, and now he's about to throw his life away. Nervous tick possible. Also remember - he is basically below the drive core. Last I remember, that thing was always humming.
Shepard was always wounded, and as far as I could tell, Anderson died. So far as I was able to discern from my playthrough, Anderson shot Shepard, the constant forces of the Illusive man attempting to control Shepard hurt Shepard, whilst Anderson was mostly able to suffer through the pain. After the speech with Shepard, Anderson died from his wound.
This, however, is why I compared the theory to creationism:

Theres to much for it to be coincidence.

Too much, like sustainable life on Earth, a fully ordered cosmos down to subatomic particles that seems designed, the fact that anything exists at all - we're supposed to believe this all happened by chance? There's too much for it to be a coincidence.
Similarly, whilst there are a lot of things that can add up to IT, they don't necessarily mean that it is true. There is a very real possibility that the majority of that end section suffered from the bad writing that caused the overall end, and some of the really off lines throughout the game.

If you absolutely will not believe anything without 100% concrete evidence, I hope you enjoy that invisible unicorn you share your room with. What? Cant you provide concrete evidence its not there? No, you cant. Of course its unlikely, and its also highly unlikely someone at Bioware would bombard the player with hints toward indoctrination the entire game for no reason.

Ahh, but you see, the onus is not on someone trying to disprove something, but on the person trying to prove it. Until you can offer sufficient evidence that there may be an invisible and incorporeal (Simply invisible would be easy to disprove) Unicorn in my room, there is nothing to suggest that one might be there for me to prove it isn't.
Likewise, evidence must be given for Indoctrination Theory (Which is given), and prove beyond any reasonable doubt that there is no other option but IT. Thus far, I have seen things that point towards Shepard being indoctrinated, but on the other hand I have also seen Bioware say that these are the endings that were always meant for the game, and been able to come up with other explanations for such events in my playthrough. I will take a concrete statement from Bioware over speculation from fans any day. There is the chance they might be lying, but nothing I have seen so far suggests that, whilst there have been signs of incompetent writing throughout the game.

Joccaren:
Shepard was always wounded, and as far as I could tell, Anderson died. So far as I was able to discern from my playthrough, Anderson shot Shepard, the constant forces of the Illusive man attempting to control Shepard hurt Shepard, whilst Anderson was mostly able to suffer through the pain. After the speech with Shepard, Anderson died from his wound.

This is why I cannot take you seriously. Next time save yourself the effort and stop blabbering on if you have not done your research.

Because this part is simply wrong. It is very clear Shepard shot Anderson during the "battle" with TIM, into the lower stomach area, and afterward, Anderson has no wound there, but the camera pans in to show Shepard suddenly has a gunshot wound exactly in that place. One that was not present before.

So please, stop being so patronizing when you have no idea what you are talking about.

Joccaren:
Too much, like sustainable life on Earth, a fully ordered cosmos down to subatomic particles that seems designed, the fact that anything exists at all - we're supposed to believe this all happened by chance? There's too much for it to be a coincidence.

This is also false. The Earth being so perfect for the lifeforms we see here can be explained by evolution, by life adapting to its surroundings over thousands of years. And its not like everything made it - plenty of species died out because they could not adapt fast enough.

The same does not go for Mass Effect 3. Your whole argument is flawed.

SmashLovesTitanQuest:
This is why I cannot take you seriously. Next time save yourself the effort and stop blabbering on if you have not done your research.

Because this part is simply wrong. It is very clear Shepard shot Anderson during the "battle" with TIM, into the lower stomach area, and afterward, Anderson has no wound there, but the camera pans in to show Shepard suddenly has a gunshot wound exactly in that place. One that was not present before.

So please, stop being so patronizing when you have no idea what you are talking about.

Ah yes, as the ME graphics engine displays wounds so well, you can actually see the gunshot! Oh wait...
What I am getting from this is that you feel that if a bomb went of in your face, you would be fine, feel no physical pain, show no signs of it.
Or maybe that its a trained and veteran soldier used to taking shots could not possibly be able to act as if they were ok, even for Shepard's benefit? Did you miss your Second Fire Team leader getting shot in the collectors base, then just shrugging it off? I'm betting those collector rifles were far more powerful than whatever pistol Shepard happened to pick up.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w85YwBsUgK4
About 3 minutes in. Shepard Shoots Anderson. Anderson is hurt. Anderson shrugs it off. Had Shepard keeled over instead of Anderson, and Anderson been completely fine, maybe I'd follow you closer. But no. Anderson appears injured. And later either loses consciousness, or dies, despite having no other apparent wounds.

This is also false. The Earth being so perfect for the lifeforms we see here can be explained by evolution, by life adapting to its surroundings over thousands of years. And its not like everything made it - plenty of species died out because they could not adapt fast enough.

Where did I say the Earth was perfectly suited to life? I didn't. I said that there was sustainable life on Earth. There is a major difference. How did any life at all occur on Earth, let alone get past its early initial stages in the hostile world that early Earth was, and eventually become so sustainable and diverse? Not how is Earth so wonderfully suited to life. Believe it or not, I get this whole 'Its not Earth that's suited to life, its life that's suited to Earth' thing. I've explained it many times. The fact that there is life on Earth at all is what's amazing.

The same does not go for Mass Effect 3. Your whole argument is flawed.

My argument is flawed because you misread and assumed I was a creationist or something, and used their flawed logic to extrapolate my thoughts? Yes. I see how that works...

Still haven't played the game but I appreciate that you are considering this outside of some sort of nebulous art as sacrosanct kind of view. Too many of the gaming media has taken this as outrageous because an artist might consider changing their art.

How to fix the ending with a few minor modifications:

Having said that, I didn't like the ending but I didn't hate it enough to boycott Bioware, throw the Mass Effect setting out as a lost cause or call a witch hunt. It's Bioware's IP, they have full rights over how they write it.

The ending sucked, but if anything I respect Bioware for listening to the feedback given.

Or the other way is just say the Indoctrination theory is correct. I admit we could be reading too much into it but the evidence people have gathered... there's too much of it to completely ignore.

Also, can I just throw something out there?

The biggest issue for me with the ending is why is Shepard

Steampunk Viking:
How to fix the ending with a few minor modifications:

Having said that, I didn't like the ending but I didn't hate it enough to boycott Bioware, throw the Mass Effect setting out as a lost cause or call a witch hunt. It's Bioware's IP, they have full rights over how they write it.

The ending sucked, but if anything I respect Bioware for listening to the feedback given.

Well, being that I was discussing this earlier, I will discuss it with you. You seemed to have thought about it.

The narrative problem (we) ran into with ME3, was that for all practical purposes it was ME1, with some ME2 items, retold, as a retcon.

Mac Walters, does NOT like writing about aliens, which is why we got Cerberus part 2 all over again. Shamus discusses this in his blog, because it sticks out like a sore thumb.

1) Star Child, is the reaper over-mind, aka. Matrix Architect, Gnostic God, Machine God, it is an homage to Dues ex machina, Mac Walters does not read philosophy, history, science, or religious manuals for his inspiration, he watches TV and Movies, and plays video games... this is why you got this as the ending. It is also why this game is so poorly written.

2) The mass relays exploding was not a big deal, had they had stuck to the "dark energy" story arc, which is in fact, how the damn citadel gets to earth in the first place... it "jumped". This was scrapped so now it is space magic.

3) That would mean talking about aliens, and we have already established Mac Walters does not talk about aliens. As I understand it, he couldn't be bothered with learning about them, which is why he does not write about them. He approached ME 3 like it was Halo, and Shepard like he was a Spartan.

4) No. The writers wanted to make Shepard a deeper character, what your suggesting requires player agency. Shepard was retconned to make this garbage work.

5) hahahah, obviously, but Mac Walters said "people wouldn't get it" also, I have mentioned this before, Drew Karpyshyn wrote Mass Effect in such a way that EVERY CHARACTER was redeemable, and Mac Walters didn't like the idea that the Reapers would have a purpose other than by an EVIL design. If they had a purpose beyond wanton slaughter they could be redeemed in a meaningful way.

6) Most of those are aliens, Mac doesn't like talking about aliens.

Indoctrination was for all practical purposes implied to NOT be what is going on (By the developers and writers in numerous threads and post). However, I do concede that the stories of ME 1 and ME 2 where so Closely Paralleled that it gives the impression that it was PLAUSIBLE, this is why Shepard is written to have "Bad Dreams" about it. He "thinks" he may be indoctrinated. The fact that he is "BOTHERED AT ALL" is a "RetCon of Sheppard".

Shepard has been "retcon'd" to be a deeper character.

ME 3 is ME 1, with polish. It is the same game setup, Cerberus is Cerberus, TIM is the big bad, the Reapers are window dressing. Mac Walters went through the scenes and basically made Shepard have "war guilt", and insinuated that he had fear of "being indoctrinated".

Clearly TIM is being controlled by the reaper. Not Shepard. It breaks cannon? Yes, again, Mac Walters RETCON'd the universe to tell his version of it.

Shepard = Neo, TIM = Smith, (the boss fight here was dropped, which gave rise to "Marauder Shields", God Kid = God, Universe = Matrix on an endless loop of death and rebirth due to synthetic life.

To US, it was always a side story the synthetic stuff... to Mac Walters, that is all he could "connect to" as a writer, because he DOES NOT GET Mass Effect, and wanted to write a Human War Hero story, with next to no turn about's.

Many many aspects of ME3 are contrived to create a story around Earth, which again, is a retcon... changed... to suit the story Mac wanted to dribble out.

This is the ending, it was Jesus Shepard talking to Robot God, and Jesus Shepard either "rejects Robo God, and kills God-Citadel", and takes a breadth if you bothered with all the WA.

Jesus Shepard does like legion does excepts he "combines DNA"... because robot's use that now a days... (ass writing) space magic... I mean it is Jesus Shepard...

Jesus Shepard controls the reapers, ascends to higher consciousness, and becomes robot Buddha of the Reapers.

This game narratively speaking, is tore up from the floor up. The only things worth doing are the quest lines written by the "good writing staff" that carried over story arcs from the previous 2 games... everything else... is just awful, nonsensical rubbish.

Most of THAT for all it's pure garbage writing, could of been forgiven, had the ending, been anything other than what it is, in the box, as it shipped. THAT IS THE ENDING.

Likely-

it will remain the ending... sorry for that.

"His name... was Marauder Shields...." Remember him for the hero he was...

grigjd3:
Still haven't played the game but I appreciate that you are considering this outside of some sort of nebulous art as sacrosanct kind of view. Too many of the gaming media has taken this as outrageous because an artist might consider changing their art.

The concept artist of "Bioshock" discussing the difference between art, and industrial design. Enjoy.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3TVji_fiKsw&list=UUbdyjrrJAjDIACjCsjAGFAA&index=1&feature=plcp

mfeff:
Snip

You, sir, are making this whole thing that much more frustrating. Giving me new perspectives on something I already wasn't thrilled with that invariably lead to a more pronounced and easily discernible grasp of the overarching problems is just...

Argh.

This Mac fellow seems to be the "Catalyst" (HarHar) in this story's implosion. Sort of poetic in a sense, but still quite aggravating.

I agree that a change to the ending is probably not going to happen, but I can still hold out hope for something better. It's vain hope, to be sure, yet it's allowing me to swallow this particularly spiky pill with somewhat diminished difficulty.

...I don't usually post what my captcha was, however, this was eerily relevant: face the music.

Fuck.

LostGryphon:
This Mac fellow seems to be the "Catalyst" (HarHar) in this story's implosion. Sort of poetic in a sense, but still quite aggravating.

Despite being a long-time Star Wars fan (as my screen name should make evident), I have come to the following conclusion...

Mass Effect 3's tragically bad ending is most likely largely Mac Walters' doing.

Mac Walters became the lead writer for ME3 to replace Drew Karpyshyn.

Drew Karpyshyn stopped writing for the Mass Effect team because EA moved him to SWTOR.

EA purchased BioWare because of SWTOR.

Conclusion: If BioWare had never started working on SWTOR, Mass Effect 3 would most likely have had a much better ending. (And without EA in the picture, DA2 would probably also have been better off.)

Despite being a fan of SWTOR, would I sacrifice its existence for the ending the Mass Effect trilogy deserves? -- Yes. Yes, I would.

LostGryphon:

mfeff:
Snip

You, sir, are making this whole thing that much more frustrating. Giving me new perspectives on something I already wasn't thrilled with that invariably lead to a more pronounced and easily discernible grasp of the overarching problems is just...

Argh.

This Mac fellow seems to be the "Catalyst" (HarHar) in this story's implosion. Sort of poetic in a sense, but still quite aggravating.

I agree that a change to the ending is probably not going to happen, but I can still hold out hope for something better. It's vain hope, to be sure, yet it's allowing me to swallow this particularly spiky pill with somewhat diminished difficulty.

...I don't usually post what my captcha was, however, this was eerily relevant: face the music.

Fuck.

I really tried to suspend my own disbelief and work with the "Indoctrination Theory", but honestly, I just could not do it. It created more problems than it solved. Suggested "No ending" was the ending. Did nothing for the huge problems of continuity, and explained nothing about "how" much of what was happening was even happening. I found it "plausible" but too "subtle" to be the work of someone who said "the audience would not (get this) referencing dark energy". That statement is rather a matter of fact, from Mac Walters himself.

See

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sv8XMX2ITt4&feature=related

"Personally" I think Mass Effect has done what Battle Field 3 has done, and that is, it has tried to be a different game... aka. CoD, and ME has tried to be Halo. It lost it's narrative focus, and paid the price for it. Star Wars also gobbled up a LOT of the writing staff, and it was also stated that the ending was, in fact, being written, while the game was being coded together... which means, that the art assets where already in place months before the ending was ever written. Art assets are "typically" done in the first 6 months (creative-concept), and following 2 years (rendered). God kid, was simply convenient, as working up rendered CGI was next to impossible considering time constraints. That, and no one seemed to care; those that did, left the company, wrote about it (and were reprimanded), or were working on other projects.

All THAT said... reading the Marauder Shields comic is a great relief, and of course, this video.

Probably buy a T-shirt of him to, and wear it at PAX.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=467pmIX-oZo

image

P.S.

DLC you can believe in!

http://www.atomicmpc.com.au/News/294926,mass-effect-3--final-fantasy-xiii-2--wtf.aspx

Mac Walters Discusses Mass Effect 3 at launch day:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Utl7WhRmp0w

sigh...

When I heard of large open ended endings, along with this will be the end of "Shepard's Story" while still keeping the world of ME open for future stories, I thoughts the endings would be something like this;

Notes: ME3 War Assets and Crucible are still critical to the storyline. The Citadel is still ends up in earth space and the Crucible still links to the Citadel but there is no ground war, all the fighting with everybody happens on the Citadel. The Crucible works by sending a signal that disrupts the Reapers internal processing and communications, weaking them. The War Assets are required to protect the Crucible. The lower the assets, the more damage it gets before it fires. The more damage it receives the more damaging the fire pulse is to those other then the Reapers. The War assets are used as ships to protect it, and ground troops used to fight thru the Citadel faster.

1) Shepard critically fails, Reapers advanced throughout the galaxy impeded. (like the "fake" ME2 Shepard is dead ending.)

2) Shepard scarifies Earth and himself, but stops the Reapers at a major cost -- all current civilizations will take 100-300 years to recover, the Humans, Krogan, Turians & Quarians take the brunt of the loss, and are hanging on for survival of the species. 75% of Shepard's team has perished.

3) Shepard keeps Earth while stopping the Reapers, Depending on player actions in ME3, either Krogan and/or Quarians are a dying race and hate Shepard/Humans. 50% of Shepard's team has perished; 50% chance Shepard will have died too.

4) Shepard keeps Earth & stops the Reapers, but at the cost of a impending galactic war that not even Shepard can stop; 25% of Shepard's team has perished.

5) Shepard rolls a 20 and Reapers are stopped dead cold. There is a uneasy peace, but so far everybody is still happy shooting at the reaming scattered reapers as long as Shepard keeps the races "united" in peace. All of Shepard's team lives and we get to see blue Shepard babies (or what ever baby producing couple the player developed).

In all endings (2-5) Shepard is a Hero. Regardless on how you end ME3 (2-5), you can start ME4 200 years after ME3. Endings 4 & 5 still have a galaxy wide war, either after Shepard dies or Shepard dies in trying to stop, which severely weakens everybody. Endings 2 and 3 has the galaxy still very weakened recovering from just barely surviving the Reaper threat.

So other then a few wording tweaks at the very start of the story - you have generic ME4 perfectly set up after ME3. The story: The Reapers may be dead, but all the technology they left behind is still raging its own hidden secret war. What remains of a splinter cell of the Geth, along with other organics still indoctrinated (and their childrens children) during the attack 200 years ago are trying to develop a method to spread the indoctrination signal throughout the whole galaxy and bring to fruition "Reaper 2.0."

its taking me a couple of weeks to work out why the ending got to me so much. its not the vague open ending, its not the lack of choice, no. its the fact that for three games ive been creating my shepards personal journey and then right at the end thats taken, its no longer the personal journey ive been creating for my shepard. its biowares story, their choice, their ending.

BS Ending aside I like were your going with this.

I recall reading somewhere that in many respects that "was" the original intention. I may make mention that this all sounds familiar... aka. Babylon 5 Season 5 and Babylon 5 Crusade.

Where ME has fallen flat for me, was the metaphysical concept of "what is life", "what is a soul", why kill (possessors of such a thing) to protect it? Just... never really got the taste out of my mouth that these were critical elements tossed aside like an orphan.

Its the "Morpheus" terrorist argument "we have to kill these people to save these people". Circular reasoning does not normally lend itself to "going further" than the circle, except by introducing mumbo jumbo to shore up the leaks.

I will note, that the citadel/crucible in the end game CGI is never shown to be "destroyed completely". So the space magic that got it to earth could be explained as "being found" on the citadel... solving the FTL issues.

Considering that the RP elements of ME have evaporated like old spilled milk on the counter... I suspect it will be dropped in subsequent games in favor of even more action and FPS elements... at which point, what makes it any different than any other Sci-Fi FPS? Especially if the narrative is going to take liberties and use "video game" logic and retcon's where-ever and when-ever the developers see fit.

Konami loves doing this... I (personally) do not expect "evolution", I expect process refinement and de-evolution. Less choice, more on rails narrative, less RP, more action... maybe it will work? Lot's of stuff going this way turning a buck.

It's the video game version of "Star Wars" I.P... go figure.

Great video. Thanks for raising the level of discussion.

mfeff:

grigjd3:
Still haven't played the game but I appreciate that you are considering this outside of some sort of nebulous art as sacrosanct kind of view. Too many of the gaming media has taken this as outrageous because an artist might consider changing their art.

The concept artist of "Bioshock" discussing the difference between art, and industrial design. Enjoy.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3TVji_fiKsw&list=UUbdyjrrJAjDIACjCsjAGFAA&index=1&feature=plcp

grigjd3:
Great video. Thanks for raising the level of discussion.

mfeff:

grigjd3:
Still haven't played the game but I appreciate that you are considering this outside of some sort of nebulous art as sacrosanct kind of view. Too many of the gaming media has taken this as outrageous because an artist might consider changing their art.

The concept artist of "Bioshock" discussing the difference between art, and industrial design. Enjoy.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3TVji_fiKsw&list=UUbdyjrrJAjDIACjCsjAGFAA&index=1&feature=plcp

Most welcome, not really trying to say anything different in the "art=games=art" discussion or debate, simply provide some information about how these things are done at the industrial level. On a personal note a family member is a commercial artist who has worked on both sides of the coin... his feeling on it has always been, in either case, that it is a job. Only his personal stuff, in his personal books does he qualify as "art". We tend to agree it has a lot to do with "intention", art is generally for art's sake, and last I checked EA was not a purveyor of fine arts.

I may also add that Charles Dickens changed his stuff in response to critiques... and Mass Effect is a lot of things... but Dickens it ain't... ;)

This guy is a semi-professional writer, who also enjoyed the ME series, his thoughts, and his criticisms of the ending are very well discussed.

http://jmstevenson.wordpress.com/2012/03/22/all-that-matters-is-the-ending-part-2-mass-effect-3/

I just beat the game at 1am last night and I can FINALLY join in on this discussion!

For starters, shame on you, Shamus. Not for having the opinion that you do, but for having it without even pretending to take a few minutes to contemplate what any of it could mean in the bigger picture. It's far too simplistic and dismissive to say "This ending makes no sense to me, therefore it must be stupid. Bioware sucks."

Bioware put several obvious & not-so-obvious hints into the ending sequence that should be MORE than enough to indicate something ain't quite right. Something that is at the very least worth consideration.

You, of all people, should be patient enough to do this. You continuously bemoan the dumbing down of video games, and yet, here you are, with a ginormous opportunity to jump into a massive pool of juicy potential and consider the questions... but NOPE! Why think about something that is clearly meant to be thought provoking when you can slap the "DUMB" label on it and call it a day? In much the same way you expect more out of video games, isn't it fair that we hold you up to those same expectations and demand more from you?

I shouldn't need these, but hey, I don't want to ruin anyone's day or prevent them from finding it out for themselves... here is some of the visual cues I picked up on that I think support the final moments of the game being indoctrination.

I then chatted with some people who directed me here, to an indoctrination-theory thread:
http://social.bioware.com/forums/forum/1/topic/355/index/9727423/1

The evidence is fairly staggering. I only caught a few things in my run, but there are a metric ton of observations. Do yourself a favor, all of you who despise the ending, give this a read through.

If you think these bad endings are laziness/stupidity on Bioware's part, then why are there SO MANY subtle comments and clues that fit together extremely well?

I'm not going to say this is absolutely what Bioware was planning. It's certainly possible incompetence/funding/EA led them to where they are currently at. But like any good film, there is evidence in plenty to - at the very minimum - warrant THOUGHT. CONSIDERATION. CONVERSATION.

I respect what you do, Shamus, but this article is a perfect example of why you make me sad. This ending is ripe for contemplation, even if it is largely conjecture on the player's part. There are visual / audio cues all over the place to suggest something more is going on. This is what you always wanted, isn't it? An opportunity to take a video game and get something more out of it. Something philosophical/intellectual... and you whiffed.

mfeff:
[quote="grigjd3" post="6.355500.14153202"]Great video.
I may also add that Charles Dickens changed his stuff in response to critiques... and Mass Effect is a lot of things... but Dickens it ain't... ;)

Actually, most people would be shocked how much art is changed in response to feedback from clients. I think perhaps because of the nature of museums, people have gotten the idea that art is somehow permanent, which if anything, is a point art only serves to undermine.

Excellent article! I find my feelings on the subject similar. I am OK with a sad/bittersweet ending as long as there is some sense of an explanation and/or closure. I played thru the ending and my reaction was something akin to: uhh what, but who, where? OK...whatever. The Normandy clip just seems so disjointed from EVERYTHING. Why is this happening this clip just seems tossed in here for no reason.

It just killed any excitement I had for the game/series. I don't even want to play my 2nd Shep that I've taken thru ME1 and 2. I understand that the storyline is the narrative that they wanted to deliver and I am OK if they want to stick to it. But that doesn't mean I have to like it.

I think people fail to realize is that other media (film in particular) does sometimes pass thru test audiences to see how i will be received before its released. Does this tarnish the creative artistic side? Probably but because it isn't as public there isn't a huge uproar. Most of the time directors cuts will come out. So I think the topic of this being unprecedented is inaccurate.

To be honest I first thought this was a very aggressive projection of project 10 dollar. They purposefully give us a shit ending to charge us DLC for the real ones. Now that more is coming out I see that at least this wasn't purposefully done.

The.Bard:
I just beat the game at 1am last night and I can FINALLY join in on this discussion!

For starters, shame on you, Shamus. Not for having the opinion that you do, but for having it without even pretending to take a few minutes to contemplate what any of it could mean in the bigger picture. It's far too simplistic and dismissive to say "This ending makes no sense to me, therefore it must be stupid. Bioware sucks."

Bioware put several obvious & not-so-obvious hints into the ending sequence that should be MORE than enough to indicate something ain't quite right. Something that is at the very least worth consideration.

You, of all people, should be patient enough to do this. You continuously bemoan the dumbing down of video games, and yet, here you are, with a ginormous opportunity to jump into a massive pool of juicy potential and consider the questions... but NOPE! Why think about something that is clearly meant to be thought provoking when you can slap the "DUMB" label on it and call it a day? In much the same way you expect more out of video games, isn't it fair that we hold you up to those same expectations and demand more from you?

I shouldn't need these, but hey, I don't want to ruin anyone's day or prevent them from finding it out for themselves... here is some of the visual cues I picked up on that I think support the final moments of the game being indoctrination.

I then chatted with some people who directed me here, to an indoctrination-theory thread:
http://social.bioware.com/forums/forum/1/topic/355/index/9727423/1

The evidence is fairly staggering. I only caught a few things in my run, but there are a metric ton of observations. Do yourself a favor, all of you who despise the ending, give this a read through.

If you think these bad endings are laziness/stupidity on Bioware's part, then why are there SO MANY subtle comments and clues that fit together extremely well?

I'm not going to say this is absolutely what Bioware was planning. It's certainly possible incompetence/funding/EA led them to where they are currently at. But like any good film, there is evidence in plenty to - at the very minimum - warrant THOUGHT. CONSIDERATION. CONVERSATION.

I respect what you do, Shamus, but this article is a perfect example of why you make me sad. This ending is ripe for contemplation, even if it is largely conjecture on the player's part. There are visual / audio cues all over the place to suggest something more is going on. This is what you always wanted, isn't it? An opportunity to take a video game and get something more out of it. Something philosophical/intellectual... and you whiffed.

http://squallsdead.com/
The ME fanbase isn't the first, nor will it be the last, to try to explain a game's ending/story in a way to convince themselves that it is better/deeper than it actually is.

The.Bard:

If you think these bad endings are laziness/stupidity on Bioware's part, then why are there SO MANY subtle comments and clues that fit together extremely well?

Because I think it was executed in the wrong manner, and they out-right lied on what the ending was going to be like.

Had they not promised non A-B-C endings and polished the ending better & provided some more clues towards the end, this ending would have gone down much much better.

The.Bard:
I just beat the game at 1am last night and I can FINALLY join in on this discussion!

snippidy snip

Please if you have a moment, read this, and the comments. It's worth your time.

http://jmstevenson.wordpress.com/2012/03/22/all-that-matters-is-the-ending-part-2-mass-effect-3/

RedEyesBlackGamer:
[quote="The.Bard" post="6.355500.14155866"]Snippity do da

Reminds me...

DLC you can believe in!

http://www.atomicmpc.com.au/News/294926,mass-effect-3--final-fantasy-xiii-2--wtf.aspx

mfeff:

RedEyesBlackGamer:

The.Bard:
Snippity do da

Reminds me...

DLC you can believe in!

http://www.atomicmpc.com.au/News/294926,mass-effect-3--final-fantasy-xiii-2--wtf.aspx

Things We Didn't Even Know We Wanted, But Kind of Do Now.

Sums it up. Franchise crossovers out of left field are awesome.

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