Mass Effect 3's Ending Was Intended To Polarize

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Mass Effect 3's Ending Was Intended To Polarize

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Mass Effect 3's director didn't want the game to be forgettable, particularly the ending.

{Spoiler Warning: This article contains minor spoilers regarding Mass Effect 3's ending.}

Give me a moment while I look up a nice, neutral-sounding, news article-friendly word to describe Mass Effect 3's selection of endings. Ah, here we are: Divisive. Mass Effect 3's endings are divisive. They're supposed to be, according to the game's director and executive producer, Casey Hudson.

"I didn't want the game to be forgettable, and even right down to the sort of polarizing reaction that the ends have had with people-debating what the endings mean and what's going to happen next, and what situation are the characters left in", he told Digital Trends.

"That to me is part of what's exciting about this story," he continued. "There has always been a little bit of mystery there and a little bit of interpretation, and it's a story that people can talk about after the fact."

Fans are certainly talking, but they're mostly using their outside voices. The impression I get from all the frothing, is that a large proportion of fans are not fond of the way Bioware chose to end Commander Shepard's saga. "Retake Mass Effect," a movement asking for new, more palatable endings for the game, is using donations to popular nerdling charity Child's Play to make its point. Thus far it has just over 10,000 supporters who've collectively donated more than $27,000. Whether the movement is a positive way of sending a message to developers, or a manipulative attempt to strong-arm the creative process is still up for debate, but it proves fans are willing to spend money to get what they want.

The direction Bioware took with the game's endings appears to contradict some of Hudson's earlier statements. In one pre-release interview he claimed that "[Mass Effect 3's ending] is not even in any way like the traditional game endings, where you can say how many endings there are or whether you got ending A, B, or C."

Pithy fans have been quick to point out that Mass Effect 3 does in fact end with a choice between three options that could, if you were trying to be droll, be labeled A, B and C.

There may be hope for those disappointed by the ending, however. In the more recent interview, Casey mentioned that players will be seeing some "really great single-player content" in the future, lending some credibility to the numerous theories that the game's endings aren't as final as they might first appear.

Source: Digital Trends

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Can't blame him for defending it - after all he's still trying to get people to buy the game and DLC. Just wait a year and he'll admit it was derped somehow in the production process. Also cognitive dissonance can mess up the best of us.

Of course the only DLC I'd buy is one that fixed the *DIVISIVE* endings.

Translation: I meant to do that.

<Facepalm>

So they fell into the TV series trap after all. "Let's make it a mindfuck ending" because they loved their own work so much they couldn't stand to do anything conventional with it. Either that or they ran out of ideas and ended up with some obscure philosophical bullshit (see: Lost).

But I'm not demanding they change the ending, I find the whole ordeal stupid. It had a bad ending and it should stay that way. I can only express my opinion on why I didn't like it: no closure, no emotion, no making of sense etc.

Well this is typical bioware at the moment people say they don't like something Bioware comes out and says thats what they were always aiming for (most of the time this statement contradicts something they said before) blah blah blah.
Wait 5 months and they will say they messed up

So basically it's come down to the third stage from this is coming true. Honestly, if they meant to make endings that pissed their fans off so much... well let's just say I will have lost a great deal of respect for Bioware. I could forgive the From Ashes DLC, and the countless tiny DLC packets, and even the whole Origin ordeal to a degree (though it's one of the reason I stayed 360). But basically holding the ending for ransom? Really?

Mind you, I haven't gotten that far yet (just finished dealing with the geth). I might not absolutely hate it. But each time I see a thread of poster talking about how horrible it is, I become slightly more worried...

Why? Why would you deliberatly make an ending this "divisive"...and not even in a good way? Isn't the whole point of media to get people to LIKE your media (all of it, including the ending) so they buy more?

malakaira:
Well this is typical bioware at the moment people say they don't like something Bioware comes out and says thats what they were always aiming for (most of the time this statement contradicts something they said before) blah blah blah.
Wait 5 months and they will say they messed up

Contradicts what they said earlier, or contradicts the general concept of rational thought? More and more, they seem to be leaning towards the latter.

Its just a bunch of people who have a sad that Shepard actually fucking dies at the end of her trilogy.

Sorry not everything is shit rainbows and vomit skittles in magic fairy wonderland, but sometimes shit just doesn't end that way.

That said; they ought to at least put something in to detail the outcome of the player's choices throughout the game. Other than that the endings were good; leave them alone.

Kapol:
Mind you, I haven't gotten that far yet (just finished dealing with the geth). I might not absolutely hate it. But each time I see a thread of poster talking about how horrible it is, I become slightly more worried...

Then, without spoiling anything, I can say that flipping the fuck out is an entirely reasonable and rational response to the ending. Given that the entire series' illusion of sanity ended with the giant space terminator baby at the end of 2 for me, I can look at the ending as a sadistic joke, but for people who are actually still invested in the story it's egregiously offensive.

Thank you for the great post! As a member of the BSN group that has been promoting the Child's Play drive, I can certainly say that we are not trying to "strong arm" anyone. Bioware has every right to create the Mass Effect universe however they see fit. We at Retake Mass Effect are trying to communicate to Bioware that the vision they had of Mass Effect was not what we expected based on publicity and past experiences in Mass Effect. While the origin of the drive was certainly based on the endings, the general consensus among the forum is that we are trying to use our disappointment with these "divisive" decisions to fuel a positive movement. Some claim we are entitled, but we are trying to open discussion about the topic in a civil manner. Its easy to rage on a forum, but we are showing our commitment to the issue in the only way investors understand- our wallets. The important thing is that, regardless of Bioware's decision, this will have a positive effect on children who are in desperate need of enjoyment during a dark and terrifying time in there lives. Everyone wins. Thanks to all who have shown your support for this worthy cause.

VonKlaw:
Why? Why would you deliberatly make an ending this "divisive"...and not even in a good way? Isn't the whole point of media to get people to LIKE your media (all of it, including the ending) so they buy more?

On top of that, isn't half the point of alternate endings to facilitate players with the option to choose an ending that would actually enjoy, rather than railroading people through a single ending that they may or may not?

From an artistic standpoint, sure, there's reasons to present endings, or even entire entertainment experiences that are unpleasant. But that is with the intent of provoking deeper thought, and honestly, if one values their sanity, the land of the giant space terminator baby is the wrong place to even start thinking at all.

Kroxile:
Its just a bunch of people who have a sad that Shepard actually fucking dies at the end of her trilogy.

Sorry not everything is shit rainbows and vomit skittles in magic fairy wonderland, but sometimes shit just doesn't end that way.

That said; they ought to at least put something in to detail the outcome of the player's choices throughout the game. Other than that the endings were good; leave them alone.

Honestly, most of the people bitching it out, I've seen don't give a shit that Shepard dies, and I've seen a few actually champion the Pyrrhic flavor of the ending. I'm sure there are a few out there who do fit into your imaginary demographic, but they bulk of the people pissed off at this aren't the straw men you're looking for.

I was one of the people disappointed with the ending. Not because of the lack of options because after everything the game boils down to 3 very similar choices, Synthesis is the best. I'm disappointed that they had to effectively end any future for the current mass effect universe. It was a good ending, but I still want the mass effect franchise to come back later. A prequel though would be pointless, we already now so much about the universes past already, and a sequel would be so different that there would be few links between what we know and have come to love and what the universe would be.

Kroxile:
Its just a bunch of people who have a sad that Shepard actually fucking dies at the end of her trilogy.

Sorry not everything is shit rainbows and vomit skittles in magic fairy wonderland, but sometimes shit just doesn't end that way.

That said; they ought to at least put something in to detail the outcome of the player's choices throughout the game. Other than that the endings were good; leave them alone.

Seriously, I don't even play Mass Effect, but people like you or that other guy that keeps bringing up space waifus are being ignorant. I haven't seen many people being annoyed by Shepards death or not being able to ''ride into the sunset with their space waifu's'', as the other guy puts it. So could you guys lay off the bullshit please? You don't really make a good point when you have to constantly try and make those that disagree with you look like idiots.

In short:

You like it? Fine. Other people however don't and that doesn't give you any kind of right to toss around vague ''personal'' attacks just because you disagree.

I found my ending to be very vague. Their is no clear answer as to what happens for most of the main characters in the story including Shepard. It just left me confused. They made a few weird decisions since EA took over but they didn't bother me that much. But now I feel cheated. Yeah i won but i want to know what happens to the characters that i basically developed a relationship with over the past 5 years. It was just way too vague.

Of course, Huds. Of course. How about the next thing you say is "Well, you can't please everyone", or "We own the rights so we can do whatever we want!".

But whatever, I haven't cared about what developers say about their games for a long time, after all, I haven't seen one be anything more than a mouthpiece for the company. Good job on making most of your players feel completely and utterly done with this series. Mass Effect 3 did its job on that front at least.

According to the Catalyst, the Reapers were created for the sole purpose of ensuring the existence of organic life in the galaxy, through the assumption that all synthetic creations will eventually turn on and destroy their organic creators.

By harvesting technologically advanced species before they are capable of creating true synthetic life, and then storing these old species within immortal Reaper bodies, room is made for new life to flourish and grow, as was the case for primitive man. The continuity of life in the galaxy is assured through this cycle of extinction, as it ensures that organic life will never be fully exterminated before its time by synthetic life, as was demonstrated by the quarians and the geth.

why don't they just kill the synthetic lifeforms or tell them they will fuck up their civilisation if they ever intent to create true synthetic life.

its like doing things backwards.

To be fair it was always going to be hard tying up these masterpieces of a gaming series, but the endings as they are I still find really dissappointing. I really felt like I'd been sucker lunched and betrayed by Bioware, the game isn't forgettable now yes, but that's because of those damn endings.

I don't believe that for a second. Hudson is probably saying it just because he doesn't want the game to gain such negative criticism so soon after its release.

I'd be more upset of the Deus Ex Machina setting Mass Effect 3 seems to have, from what i have heard, when they just conviniently find out about a device that could destroy/whatever all reapers at once. Seems like a cop-out to me.

I feel... sick, manipulated... and above all, ANGRY! If this is it, if this was an intentional attempt to spark controversy for the sake of it. Screwing with the story, the characters, the setting, and the fandom.

Again, for those in the peanut gallery, THIS IS NOT ABOUT NOT HAVING HAPPY ENDINGS, this is about the endings being limited to a last moment decision presented by a deus ex machina character, that goes against the main character's principles and whose repercussions are shown in the cheapest possible way. Not to mention the glaring plotholes.

Like Hammeroj said, as a Mass Effect fan I think only way I can deal with this anger is forgetting the franchise exists at all, and moving on to other things. Good job Bioware, you got my money three times... Not anymore.

There are memorable endings and then there are bad endings. Mass Effect 3 is the latter.

Sure the endings are memorable, memorable because they were monumentally bad.

And I use the word bad in every sense I can use the word bad. I literally mean every way I can possibly use the word bad, I can not stress that enough.

So wait you actually wanted an ending that would leave thousands of gamers with a bad taste in their mouth over something satisfying that would make everyone happy?
I don't get that logic, not one bit. Say what you will about how it's not the ending but it's the 'journey' but ultimately the ending is what people will remember so if that goes bad, that diminishes the entire effect of 'the journey'.

Kroxile:
Its just a bunch of people who have a sad that Shepard actually fucking dies at the end of her trilogy.

There is a lot more to it then that. People are mad because this undermines whatever choices they ever made in the past. They are mad because it denies them closure with beloved characters. They are mad because the ending is rushed and stamps all over many of the established themes and messages that the series was centrally about.
People are also mad because this ending is the opposite of what the developers promised

Sorry not everything is shit rainbows and vomit skittles in magic fairy wonderland, but sometimes shit just doesn't end that way.

Oh for god's sake. I'm not asking for a perfect Disney ending where Shepard and Ashley cuddle together and kiss while the rest of the crew of the Normandy in all past games get together and have a massive ensemble song about the defeat of the Reapers.
What you have to understand is that even without the BS with the relays and such, Mass Effect 3 would have a sad ending. Millions, maybe even billions, of civilians have died. Untold damage has been done to many worlds. Major characters have died, some sacrificing themselves to do the right thing others killed by other circumstances. There are broken hearted families, entire races have been decimated and the galactic government will be a mess and it may take centuries to truly repair everything.
No one left this war without some kind of damage, physical or mental.

What I want and what a lot of other players want (I imagine) is some kind of shining ray of hope out of all that. Some indication that what we did actually mattered, that our emotional attachments and relationships to characters were ultimatley worth it, that our choices actually impacted it in some way. That character's sacrifices weren't in vain and that despite all this loss there still remains hope for the future.

I don't see that as asking for 'everything is shit rainbows and vomit skittles in magic fairy wonderland'.

That said; they ought to at least put something in to detail the outcome of the player's choices throughout the game.

Now that, we can agree on.

Other than that the endings were good; leave them alone.

I disagree and think they should be changed. However I am resigned to the knowledge that they probably won't be.

Monoochrom:

Seriously, I don't even play Mass Effect, but people like you or that other guy that keeps bringing up space waifus are being ignorant. I haven't seen many people being annoyed by Shepards death or not being able to ''ride into the sunset with their space waifu's'', as the other guy puts it.

To be fair that aspect does actually kind of piss me off. I should explain that it's not the primary reason but it's still one that saddens and annoys me on an emotional level. Largely because I am an Ashley fan (shut up she's awesome) and I had to ultimately wait two years to see her return to the game so my Shepard could conclude the romance with her proper. In addition to many other plot threads in Mass Effect 3, this was one I really wanted resolved.
Hence I am a little bit peeved at the ending. Plus there's the fact that it's just depressing, I mean remembering the context of their relationship. Seperated for two years due to Shepard dying, the misunderstanding of Horizon driving them apart, the conflict regarding Udina... finally they get to be together again and then, it ends the way it does.
I just watch the following video with this context in mind:


... and I'm rendered speechless in how depressing it is that I already know how this turns out. Shepard dies again and Ashley gets to be stranded on a distant planet. Even if I brought her with me on Earth for the final mission she still somehow magically teleports back on the Normandy which is for some reason near a relay.
That's just throwing the drama dial up to ten million in the stupidest and cruelest way possible. So the star crossed lovers get to be together again only to lose each other again because of a game bug. Nice.

JackJL:
Can't blame him for defending it - after all he's still trying to get people to buy the game and DLC. Just wait a year and he'll admit it was derped somehow in the production process. Also cognitive dissonance can mess up the best of us.

Of course the only DLC I'd buy is one that fixed the *DIVISIVE* endings.

As much as I would like that I both doubt it will ever come into existence and even if it did I'm not sure we should really be encouraging perspective game developers to believe that they can make long running series have crappy endings because they know we'll pay extra for a different one.
That said while I bemoan it, I totally would still buy it.

That said I am in the 'bargaining' stage of ME3 grief right now but my attention is towards these:
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The Mass Effect 3 play arts Kai figures that just so happen to be my favorite trio in the game. They are still in prototype stage and pending licensor approval so I've decided to invest all my emotion into hoping Bioware approves these. Because that seems a more realistic hope right now.
Come on Bioware, if I can't have a happy ending I should be able to have this.

at this point I wish people would shut up and move on. Maybe if people were a bit more constructive and respectful instead of acting like mean-spirited little brats who abuse User Reviews I would take them seriously. Whoever resorts to insults first is usually the side not worth siding with. And, of course, it's the gamers. It's ALWAYS the fucking gamers.

I feel like most of the division is not "what happened, what does this mean, what's going to happen next" but more "jesus fuck are you kidding me how is this the trilogy ending". I haven't finished it either but I find that is not a good ploy to get people to talk about your game, but a way to look like idiots. And what's sad is that they'll release some single player DLC and it will be better and most will be forgotten. But I have a bit of a sour taste in my mouth that I don't think is going to go away.

You're only saying that to sell more copies, Hudson. Please tell me you don't actually think those endings were well done.

He must realize by now that the ending was poorly executed. They must know they goofed. I suppose sometimes well after launch we can hope for them to explain themselves, but it looks like they're trying to save face for potential buyers who have already been warned.

If it's all a plan to be fixed later with DLC, they are effectively admitting they intended to ship a game without an ending so they can make us pay for it later.

A dangerous precedent.

The endings aren't divisive though...all three of them are essentially the same. They took the easy way out with those endings. They didn't really have to write a solid conclusion to the game, which no dev company actually seems capable of doing these days. Why do they all seem to have so much trouble with simply resolving a narrative?

I used to feel bad about fans spamming amazon reviews to lower the game's score. After this statement, not anymore.

You know, he is right. Highlander 2 is many things, but "forgettable" isn't one.

JackJL:
Can't blame him for defending it - after all he's still trying to get people to buy the game and DLC. Just wait a year and he'll admit it was derped somehow in the production process. Also cognitive dissonance can mess up the best of us.

Of course the only DLC I'd buy is one that fixed the *DIVISIVE* endings.

Sorry only after a ludricous amount of unrelenting denial can 98% of people hating the ending cannot be described as "DIVISIVE".

The Ending was awful, and at the risk of sounding arrogant I will say that that's not my opinion, it's a cold hard fact.

I guess he succeeded in making a memorable ending, but the way he did it isn't gonna help Bioware when it comes to DLC or future games.

Alandoril:
The endings aren't divisive though...all three of them are essentially the same. They took the easy way out with those endings. They didn't really have to write a solid conclusion to the game, which no dev company actually seems capable of doing these days. Why do they all seem to have so much trouble with simply resolving a narrative?

You're thinking of "diverse."

So essentially they did what Fringe did at the end of the last season? They do one massive, huge what the fuck ending and then proceed to retcon everything before hand over the next season making what happened before kind of meaningless back story. That or you can say they did a Lost on it.

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