Mass Effect 3 Director Addresses Ending Controversy

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Mass Effect 3 Director Addresses Ending Controversy

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Because this Mass Effect 3 ending controversy simply refuses to die, here's the game's director, Casey Hudson, offering his official take on the matter.

If you've been living inside a cave for the past few weeks, you may be the only person on the planet spared the ongoing saga of the 'net's collective anger at BioWare over the ending of Mass Effect 3. Seriously, people are pissed about this thing.

In reaction, Mass Effect 3 director Casey Hudson took to the official BioWare forums to offer his opinion on the issue. Odds are solid it won't quell any rage you might have, but if anyone is benefiting from this hoopla it is we game journalists who subsist entirely on your delicious pageviews.

Have a look:

For the last eight years, Mass Effect has been a labor of love for our team; love for the characters we've created, for the medium of video games, and for the fans that have supported us. For us and for you, Mass Effect 3 had to live up to a lot of expectations, not only for a great gaming experience, but for a resolution to the countless storylines and decisions you've made as a player since the journey began in 2007. So we designed Mass Effect 3 to be a series of endings to key plots and storylines, each culminating in scenes that show you the consequences of your actions. You then carry the knowledge of these consequences with you as you complete the final moments of your journey.

We always intended that the scale of the conflict and the underlying theme of sacrifice would lead to a bittersweet ending-to do otherwise would betray the agonizing decisions Shepard had to make along the way. Still, we wanted to give players the chance to experience an inspiring and uplifting ending; in a story where you face a hopeless struggle for basic survival, we see the final moments and imagery as offering victory and hope in the context of sacrifice and reflection.

Continuing, Hudson points out the positive critical reactions the game has received, before adding that BioWare values the opinion of its fans. "Throughout the next year, we will support Mass Effect 3 by working on new content," he says. "And we'll keep listening, because your insights and constructive feedback will help determine what that content should be."

Notably absent from Hudson's spiel is any word on how BioWare intends to honor fan opinion in the future. BioWare is listening, he claims, but whether the company will make any moves to adhere to your collective opinions on what direction the saga of Shepard et alia should take is still largely up in the air.

Feel any better now? You're being heard! No idea if that will actually change anything, but at least the company is aware of your existence beyond the idea that you're all just self-sustaining money fountains, right? That's something, isn't it?

Source: BioWare Social Network, via G4

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I believe they intend to wait for the Russian sales to finish up and complete the ending before Bioware comes out to actually say anything without dancing around the issue.

Earnest Cavalli:
We always intended that the scale of the conflict and the underlying theme of sacrifice would lead to a bittersweet ending-to do otherwise would betray the agonizing decisions Shepard had to make along the way.

Actually, you know what would betray all those agonizing decisions? Completely ignoring them and giving us three "push the button" endings that all give us the same, palette-swapped endings and leave us with absolutely zero closure.

I just feel really bad for the Community Manager. You have to imagine... all the complaints Casey read before writing that PR piece had to be filtered by someone before they reached his desk. D:

I am trying to remember a time when a company had to answer to the fan base like this. This is truly remarkable. I don't know if this is the right direction and I don't have a stake in this but it's a hell of show.

Why are people being surprised that Bioware rejects gamer choices and opinions? They've been doing it since they were absorbed into EA.

*insert rimshot here*

Apparently I HAVE been living under a rock, because this is the first I've heard about any controversy...

I wish they could get through a single press release, just one, without spouting about how great their game is.

We know. We played it. That's half the reason why we're sad/angry/entitled/disappointed about it.

"It got good reviews" is not a valid response to "the ending sucked donkeys".

The "bittersweet" thing is missing the point somewhat, and probably intentionally so. The lack of a super-duper-perfect-happy ending is not the problem. I admit, that notion has a definite appeal, but most people including myself are fine with the ending involving a healthy dose of sacrifice and misery.

No, the problem is everything else. The inconsistency. The plot holes. The last minute ass-pull. The ill-considered consequences (mass relays destroyed, think about it). The Endotron 3000 approach. The pick-your-colour cutscenes.

Then there is the complete lack of resolution regarding the characters' various fates. How does Joker react if EDI dies? Do Liara and Javik ever write that book? Does Wrex manage to headbutt the Krogan into a renaissance or does their history tragically repeat itself? Does the human race manage to rebuild a ravaged Earth or do we become the new Quarians?

...

Yes, I'm venting. Apologies.

Earnest Cavalli:
So we designed Mass Effect 3 to be a series of endings to key plots and storylines, each culminating in scenes that show you the consequences of your actions. You then carry the knowledge of these consequences with you as you complete the final moments of your journey.

Yes, Mr Hudson, you are right. I DID carry that knowledge with me to the final moments of the game. I carried the knowledge that I had been well and truly betrayed.

Picture this: You craft an elegant and epic Sci-Fi saga over eight years, one that is adored by fans across the globe. You tout choice and consequence as the driving factors, saying that this is a fully customisable game, this is our story and no one Shepard will be the same.

Then you stick a knife in our collective backs. Then you take the controller from our eager, sweaty little hands, patronise us by saying we're playing the game wrong and then try to placate us by showing everyone excatly the same cutscene. Tell me, how does my story differ from average Joe down the road? How did my choices truly matter in the end? How dare you insult us by calling this closure.

Casey Hudson's reply is equivalent to "shut up and don't interfere with our ME3 sales!"

So he completely missed the point of why people didn't like it? No surprise there. It also sounds like they are going to coninue to pump out masses of DLC for it so make sure you buy all of that.

For the positive side of things people should watch the latest Jimquisition which address this issue in what im pretty sure is a unique but valid way. It'd be nice if we could just move on already.

I really just want to know why Joker was taking MY ship and flying through the mass relays when he should have been ready to save my a$% from the citadel. Unless of course my character just hallucinated/dreamed the ending...(just saying, there are some interesting points to the indoctrination theory).

After I beat the game I just sat there, expecting there to be something else...the whole sequence lacked a sense of finality for some reason (even though I sacrificed my shep, so it was pretty final). I will say that Bioware did a good job with an ending that caused an emotional reaction in the players...

Bloodtrozorx:
I am trying to remember a time when a company had to answer to the fan base like this. This is truly remarkable. I don't know if this is the right direction and I don't have a stake in this but it's a hell of show.

I was talking with some friends last night and the only similar situation that comes to mind is when Blizzard was going to use real names on their forums. It is the only time I have seen such a unified reaction against a company. Sure there are dissenters but there always will be. The majority of people, however, seem to be of one mind.

again, they skirt the real issues here... i wish i could lock them in a room, and FORCE THEM to read and acknowledge every point on

http://www.gamefront.com/mass-effect-3-ending-hatred-5-reasons-the-fans-are-right/

that list. don't just give us some god damned politician's answer.

and if you haven't read that article, it's a great read and i recommend checking it out.

I'm sorry, but where was the actual address to the ending controversy? All I saw was the same PR crap that Bioware has been feeding us again and again. There is no meaningful choices, just "+/- [insert number] War Assets". There is no culmination of anything we chose throughout the game.

If he wants to claim that the "entirety of Mass Effect 3" is one big ending, yeah great. Except why should we pay $60 for essentially is the last portion of a movie? We paid $60 for the final arc, not just an ending. We wanted to see our past choices culminate in something large and watch it play out in those final minutes. Not for our past choices to be broken down into maybe a 10-15 second scene and then a small chunk of numbers. Great, if I chose to save the Rachni Queen it gets me 100 points, but where is she in those last moments?

Mass Effect 2 culminated perfectly at its finale. We SAW the results of our choices. Whether or not we chose to buy those fancy new guns Garrus loved to calibrate, whether or not we spurge on that new armored hull or barriers. In the moments it counted, that last hour showed us just what happened.

Yet Mass Effect 3 couldn't even be bothered to do that for just our choices made in the 3rd game? Bull. Sheeet. It was all turned into "War assets" and discarded, as a way to justify the lazy multiplayer component. How else could they make it meaningful and psuedo-required for single player if they didn't simplify it all down? I mean if we ignored everything and everyone and should of had 100 assets for instance, how could they justify treating it like we had 5000 because of the multiplayer? There isn't any real way to show that in game. So they just junked it all down into a few sentences and a number.

Why am I starting to get "Tim Buckley and the Miscarriage strip" vibes?

Earnest Cavalli:
Feel any better now? You're being heard! No idea if that will actually change anything, but at least the company is aware of your existence beyond the idea that you're all just self-sustaining money fountains, right? That's something, isn't it?

Nah, they're "hearing" the wrong people. I don't think the stronger complaints are about how the game ended, really. I think it's far more about how hollow the actual execution of that ending was.

This is hardly new information. Retake ME's supporters tore it apart awhile ago. Bottom line was: not good enough.

Seriously, just fire Casey bioware. He isn't doing you any good. He's just making things WORSE.

Hudson, when are you going to actually TRY to justify this shitty ending? How it makes no sense, how it kills the themes set up by the previous games, and how it takes the choices we made over the course of the series and throws them into a fire?

You promised, FUCKING PROMISED, NO LESS, an ending that would widely vary depending on the choices we made, but then... THIS.

image

I'm not trying to sound entitled, but a series as amazing as Mass Effect deserves better than this. Yahtzee put it perfectly in his Splatterhouse review; "Seems there's an obvious way to avoid this: make the intro first, the ending second, then everything in between. That way if anything feels rushed or cut down, it'll be one of the bits in the middle no one cares about, while the ending is what people will remember."

Refuses to die? Yes, but then again, it's still fresh. If that weren't enough, the issue keeps on re-surfacing as people who haven't finished it, finish it. Then their..."emotions" are added to the pool.

I kind of feel bad for Bioware though. The amount of hate and complaints they're getting would have driven me to hide out in a cave somewhere.
I'm not justifying anything they did though. Just making it clear o_o

Awesome job Casey, you're either ignoring us and trying to minimize the fan base their hemorrhaging or they are truly ignorant to our cries. Either way I'm repulsed by Biowares way of handling the situation. Thanks EA, you've done it again!

EA and Bioware can go suck a donkey boner... After the Dragon Age 2 debacle and now this, people should REALLY, and I do mean REALLY consider ignoring their products in the future (though knowing the state of the playerbase and how Activision continues to milk their franchises I highly doubt it will ever happen).

Earnest Cavalli:

So we designed Mass Effect 3 to be a series of endings to key plots and storylines, each culminating in scenes that show you the consequences of your actions. You then carry the knowledge of these consequences with you as you complete the final moments of your journey.

We always intended that the scale of the conflict and the underlying theme of sacrifice would lead to a bittersweet ending-to do otherwise would betray the agonizing decisions Shepard had to make along the way. Still, we wanted to give players the chance to experience an inspiring and uplifting ending; in a story where you face a hopeless struggle for basic survival, we see the final moments and imagery as offering victory and hope in the context of sacrifice and reflection.

Casey Hudson...

This brushes me off my an incredible scale. Has Bioware really been listening to their fans? Because the director is missing the whole point as to why so many feel outraged by the ending of ME3. It wasn't a worthy sacrifice of Shepard, not even by a long shot. He screws over the galaxy with any of his choices because the relays blow up leaving fleets stranded on wrecked planets with fire and smoke going about.

What's worse about his response is that the endings are literally 95% the same except with very minor tweaks and different colored beams being shot off. 16 endings are pretty much all the same and regardless of Shepard surviving maybe.. 1-2 of the endings, he dies in most of them. How come he couldn't fight nor refuse to make the choice and tell the kid that he can make the Reapers end some other way? Isn't it about overcoming the odds no matter what?

Also how would making any other ending then the original be 'betraying' the Mass Effect series? He actually betrayed us fans by making fake promises. There's like.. what, 4 things he promised us about ME3 and all of them were as misleading as this saying here? Jeez.. that is why I feel scammed in a way. Sure don't change the ending, say you won't do the DLC but please give us a much better reason as to why you're keeping the ending then that lie. No really, I can tell he is lying because over 3/4ths of the fanbase all hate the ending.

"We're listening, we are! But in the meantime, keep playing our game, there's DLC on the way!"

ARE YOU FUCKING SHITTING ME?!?!?!

Look here is a pretty good rundown on why biowares ending makes no sense. note its 15 pages long. https://docs.google.com/document/d/1QT4IUepvrU1pfv_B95oQj0H84DlCTUmzQ_uQh1voTUs/preview?pli=1&sle=true

Apparently for Hudson "agonizing decisions" means what color you want the flash on your screen. to be.

This razes two disturbing implications: Either Casey has the mind of six year old, or he thinks the rest of us do.

I'm gunna hurl out a prediction that the "let's change the ending" will be the last piece of DLC released. Right after the 90 million costume packs, the multiplayer maps, the new weapons/armour.etc, and that'll it be done under the guise of "we were working on the other stuff first"

I'd love to be wrong here, I'd truely love it. But I just don't see it happening.

He doesn't so much "address the ending controversy" as he simply says "We loved making the games, the endings fit, and we're still listening to opinions that likely won't change anything we do."

I'm just waiting for two things:
- A DLC to fix this mess
- BioWare to man up, admit they did wrong, and stop with the poli-talk.

You know? I don't think he's actually seen the ending. If he had, he wouldn't be saying all your choices up till now have satisfying conclusions as the game progresses because in the end, none of it matters.

The ending is always the same. The mass relays are gone. The explosions probably killed billions of people. The entire galaxy is still screwed. The turians and quarians will probably run out of supplies and starve before they can make it home.

Meanwhile, Garrus somehow magically ends up back on the Normandy with Joker and Javek. The three of them stare wistfully up at the sky thinking, "Well, that's that. I see no reason to mourn our possibly dead commander or wonder how the hell we got here. Let's rebuild civilization because we are never getting off of this rock!" Then all of Joker's bones shatter because I do not see how he could walk away from a crash like that without a single cracked femur.

ANYWAY

I guess what really bugs me is that I have no reason to play the game or even the rest of the series again. My renegade broshep will have the same ending choices and outcomes as my paragade femshep. Everything in between doesn't seem to matter.

Earnest Cavalli:
Have a look:

For the last eight years, Mass Effect has been a labor of love for our team; love for the characters we've created, for the medium of video games, and for the fans that have supported us. For us and for you, Mass Effect 3 had to live up to a lot of expectations, not only for a great gaming experience, but for a resolution to the countless storylines and decisions you've made as a player since the journey began in 2007. So we designed Mass Effect 3 to be a series of endings to key plots and storylines, each culminating in scenes that show you the consequences of your actions. You then carry the knowledge of these consequences with you as you complete the final moments of your journey.

We always intended that the scale of the conflict and the underlying theme of sacrifice would lead to a bittersweet ending-to do otherwise would betray the agonizing decisions Shepard had to make along the way. Still, we wanted to give players the chance to experience an inspiring and uplifting ending; in a story where you face a hopeless struggle for basic survival, we see the final moments and imagery as offering victory and hope in the context of sacrifice and reflection.

I'm honestly not sure whether to feel insulted by the fact that I'm clearly expected to believe what they're continuing to shovel, or outraged at the fact that they tried to handwave it all so blatantly.

Even ignoring the blatant lies and PR spin in here, it really has to be the most unhelpful non-answer about the issue I've yet seen.

Why are people saying they are dodging the issue? They have quite clearly said they will adress the issue, but when more people have completed the game.

Well he just described exactly the ending I wanted.

What he didn't describe was the ending I got.

digital warrior:
Look here is a pretty good rundown on why biowares ending makes no sense. note its 15 pages long. https://docs.google.com/document/d/1QT4IUepvrU1pfv_B95oQj0H84DlCTUmzQ_uQh1voTUs/preview?pli=1&sle=true

While I enjoy that document, there are somethings that people are making huge logical jumps in taking to make a point.
One thing that got my goat was the StarChild control comment / counter point.

4. "I control the Reapers. They are my solution."

Everything Sovereign said about the Reapers contradicts the notions that they are tools controlled by a Child for the purpose of preserving Order.

A) Sovereign stated that each individual Reaper is an "independent nation" unto itself. That nobody created them - they have always existed and always will.

These two lines do not need to be mutuality exclusive. The Reapers could be fully unaware that they are fundamentally controlled by the Star Child. To the Reapers own programing/logic, they have a single goal - which was given to them by the Star Child. Any change to their behavior or control could be influenced with out their knowing.

And 2, as House M.D. states "People Lie". Just replace Reaper with People.

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