So did you like the shipped endings to ME3 and if so why?

A much repeated topic I know but if there is one thing that will get activity in this section, a Mass Effect 3 ending discussion is it.

I didn't hate the original endings to the game, I remember tweeting to Bioware that my feeling was just "Meh!"

While not the way I would have gone, I did kind of like the ideas presented by the Catalyst. Though they would have carried much more weight by being an image of the crew member who died on Virmire or of Harbinger. As Bioware stated that ME3 was the best place to start the trilogy, they likely didn't want to end it with people that new players to the franchise would have no knowledge of though. Instead they used a kid that no-one cared about, old or new.

Anyway back on point. I did like the ideas and the different impacts they would have on the Galaxy. Then we got to the execution...

This is the point where I can't understand people liking the endings anymore. We get promised that the three choices are going to have vastly different repercussions to the Galaxy and then get shown three sets of nigh on identical cutscenes. I genuinely don't understand how people can find that acceptable or for the final thing we see to be essentially an advert for more DLC to be an appropriate closing to the trilogy.

Which is why I can understand completely why the Extended Cut is so liked. Yes it has issues of its own but it took those three ideas, introducing a fourth, and made them each unique, giving the player a sense of what they had chosen was going to do to the Galaxy. All without losing the 'lots of speculation for everyone' feeling that Bioware wanted originally.

So in closing, why did you like the shipped endings. Did you find the apparent lack of effort to be okay and something you could live with?

votemarvel:

So in closing, why did you like the shipped endings. Did you find the apparent lack of effort to be okay and something you could live with?

I'll take leading questions for $1000, Alex.

Okay, so: Initial reaction to the ending was a distinct feeling of betrayal and loss. There I was, having to make an impossible choice on behalf of trillions: Turn everybody into some organic/inorganic hybrid, or destroy all the reapers while simultaneously destroying the Geth, whom I'd allowed to become a true set of beings, and which the Quarians suicide into after refusing what was happening.

There was no good option.

And after reflection, I think that's the cause of a lot of the anger. You don't win Mass Effect 3. It's a horror game filled to the brim with death and loss. Sure, if you know what you're doing you can mitigate that in earlier games, but remember that Wrex wasn't garunteed to survive the first one. Hell, most of your crew can bite it in the second and no one bats an eye. And in the final confrontation with a omnicidal force of unimaginable destruction? The things that regularly wipe the galaxy clean?

You're not coming out of that unscathed. The "ending" of Mass Effect 3 isn't the final cutscene. The ending of Mass Effect 3 starts with everyone entering the Sol system. Because that's where you see your choices matter: Who's still alive to be by your side, which races still exist in that last push.

You're spitting in the face of inevitability. But it's still inevitable.

I honestly think the outrage surrounding it tainted a lot of peoples (mine included) perception of the ending. Its hard not to hate it when you see everyone else hating it.

The original ending was okay. I had no illusions that Bioware was a story oriented game company so as long as the characters were well sent off so to speak it served it's purpose. And they were, the final earth meeting area had tearful goodbyes for all your crew members. The ending was the final chapter, not just the last 2 minutes .

The extended edition alleviated a lot of the concerns, but really was it much different? Some title cards, a funeral scene and some extras but the story aspect remained.

altnameJag:

There was no good option.

And after reflection, I think that's the cause of a lot of the anger. You don't win Mass Effect 3.

I get what you are saying, and I think it might be true for some, but I also think most of us where not upset that we didn't get to "win" as much as we are upset about the sudden change in tone, theme and mood and the totally unforeshadowed bait and switch of the Crucible.

The problem with the ME3 ending, even with the Extended Cut, is that it comes out of nowhere and feels disconnected from what you've been doing up until that point. The game seems to promise you a final climactic battle with the Reapers on and above Earth, the game even goes to great length to set this up with the fleets, the landings in London etc., and then when you are reaching the Point of No Return, when shit starts looking bad, the game yanks all that away from you. Instead, you are forced into some nonsensical argument with the Illusive Man, followed by a poor man's take on 2001.

I've made this analogy before and I think it is apt: The game is telling you that you'll be getting a Battlestar Galactica Season 1 ending all through the game, but once you get there you get the ending of 2001 instead. Of course people are pissed, because the ending is a literal bait and switch with no foreshadowing to prepare the player for the sudden whiplash change in theme, mood and tone.

The Extended Cut made it more palatable by lampshading the most obvious plotholes (and allowing you to finally kill that stupid Starchild), but it can never change the fact that the ending still feels like it is the ending to a whole other game.

Gethsemani:
*snip*

On the one hand, yeah, that ending could have used some major polish.

On the other hand, that idea that, when the bad guys are saying "resistance is futile", and the scholars are saying "resistance is futile", and we're talking about an extinction force that has ravaged the galaxy for so long with resistance being futile, maybe resistance was actually futile? I find that interesting once in awhile.

On the third hand, it took me more than a few months of fuming to let it go, soooo...

altnameJag:
On the one hand, yeah, that ending could have used some major polish.

On the other hand, that idea that, when the bad guys are saying "resistance is futile", and the scholars are saying "resistance is futile", and we're talking about an extinction force that has ravaged the galaxy for so long with resistance being futile, maybe resistance was actually futile? I find that interesting once in awhile.

On the third hand, it took me more than a few months of fuming to let it go, soooo...

I think a lot of people would have been okay with either a downright downer ending, where the Reapers curbstomp Shepard et al after a furious fight, or a bittersweet ending where the species of the galaxy win but at catastrophic costs (Earth gets destroyed or whatever). The problem is not that the ending isn't happy, it is that it is nonsensical when put into the context of the game (or even the trilogy of games) that preceded it.

Nope, but honestly, Mass Effect 3's main plotline was a narrative disaster. Most of the Priority Missions were spectacular, but the Crucible that had you running around should never have made it off the cutting room floor in the first place. Let me try to summarize the issue with a faux-pitch.

"Ok, so the game starts with everything going to hell and the only hope for salvation will be this never-before-alluded-to superweapon. This never-before-alluded-to superweapon will have been a collaborative work across the cycles. Let's ignore for a minute that the Reapers' strategy started with a perfect decapitation strike that left the galaxy a spread out, disorganized mess with no chance of reinforcement, collaboration, or communication. That gets in the way of the idea. Anyways, this cross cycle collaboration has resulted in plans for a massive structure which is designed to connect to the Citadel...which the Reapers have controlled in every prior cycle...again, pesky details. Ignore them.

And here's the best part! Nobody will know what it's even supposed to do! I hear those of you with engineering backgrounds groaning, but hear me out. The reason that they won't know what it's supposed to do is because it's built around a catalyst that nobody has ever managed to identify! And when they finally do find it, it turns out that the catalyst is the collective consciousness/control program of the "each an independent nation" Reapers! And that the main purpose of this anti-Reaper superweapon is not to stop the Reapers but to give them exactly what we never told anyone they wanted: A solution to the philosophical problem of how different people simply can't get along!

What? No, Shepard's crew doesn't count! I'm talking about organics and synthetics, not alien species! It's totally different! Fine, fine, it'll also be able to control the Reapers if Shepard gets shocked to death, or destroy them if Shepard breaks the damn thing! Oh, and it also destroys the Mass Relays because reasons."

I swear, the Crucible doesn't feel organic within the story, it feels more like it was shoehorned in without considering how many ways it just doesn't make sense.

Edit: Wow, just saw the dates on these posts...whoops. In my defense, I just found this forum and everything was on the front page.

Don't worry about it. I want to become more active on here once work allows.

I apologise for not posting in my creation.

I'm mad. I was mad when the ending was first leaked. I was then mad on the Escapist (although I'm still mad, so I suppose that's 'I am' rather than 'I was', though there is less opportunity to be mad about the ME 3 ending than there was when the site was more active). I was then mad on the internet in general (and once again, I'm still mad). Then once I heard of the indoctrination theory, I was skeptically mad. Then when the extended endings were released, I was even madder.

My maddness burns stronger than any sun. Eons from now, when beings look towards the skies, my anger will still be there. When the universe fades and all sense of existance is lost, my anger will still be there, saying : "I'm mad." Whenever I'm asked "Are you still mad about ME 3?", I always just reply "I'm mad."

Seriously though, I really am mad. The endless posting on internet forums doesn't help ease the anger that I feel towards ME 3, and in particular it's ending.

RIP in Peace Maurauder Shields. He was the ending we needed, but not the ending we deserved.

I think by this point, everything that could be said about ME3 and its ending has been. I am an ME fan and an ex-BW fanboy, and as much as I enjoyed the game it was more because it was the third game than on its own merit. It brought back some wonderful characters and allowed a lot of interactions. But Drew Karpshyn leaving was a huge loss and whoever replaced him did a terrible job. I'm not going to go into details since there are so many issues, instead I'm going to list them and leave it at that.

First, the Crucible. I don't have an issue with it per se, but I do have an issue with the fact that the main aspect of this war was built off-screen by other people with no involvement by the player. Second and tangentially related, instead of building the Crucible, Shepard was solving the Krogan and Quarian issues. It defies all logic that these races would behave as they did. Further, the Krogan storyline was so horribly clumsy...no matter what the player did in ME2 with Maelon's data or Mordin dying, everything played out the same. That a problem so serious for centuries could be resolved in 20 minutes by Shepard while the galaxy is at war is beyond incredulity.

The other issue, that of the Geth as allies, begun with Legion (who also appears whether or not he lived, died or was never activated), also makes no sense for their race. Cerberus' behaviour was also completely at odds with what learned about them from ME2, though it was explained by indoctrination, that somehow happened overnight. Kai Leng was such a terrible villain, poorly written and poorly conceived. The best thing said about him I've ever come across was "If you read the books, it explains more about him.". F**k off with that right now.

And then there's the ending...and not just the ending, the sequence. The ghost child, the choices that came out of left field and nothing to do with anything, all of which resulted in the coloured explosions, landing on a weird planet and a nonsense VO. Even the extended cut was only marginally better. I looked at MEHEM, but it was a little unrefined. There is however this alternate ending mod from JohnP that is really good. It alters the sequence on the run to the beam, it then plays out as far as TIM and Anderson, and then ends. The whole ghost child is removed completely and there's a much better, refined ending showing our characters.

I think BW wrote themselves into a corner in a way. They made major mistakes elsewhere too...making ME2: Arrival paid DLC was a monumental mistake, as well as Day 1 Javik and Leviathan. As well as Arrival contradicting ME1 and ME3 contradicting Arrival (which may or may not even be canon in a given playthru), the invasion is handwaved clumsily, the solution is a doodad we have no part of building and the original/extended endings don't reflect our choices, crew or wishes.

What I think they could have done with the game was focus on Shepard's choice of role as a Spectre, Cerberus or Alliance, the three hats he's worn in the trilogy. The reapers reasons for attacking would have followed on from ME2, that they need to harvest civilisations to "reproduce", not the nonsense ME3 fed us. I think that Biotics/EEzo should have been involved in the solution, like the "organics" evolved this ability, cultured in the Asari by the Protheans and harnessed by humans, and this would have been the thing that beat back the machines. Arrival should never have happened and Leviathan should either have been in the game and involved in the story (like the orignal, organic precursor to the Reapers), or not included at all. In my head, the space magic happened, the reapers lost, Shepard was reunited with his LI and Normandy crew and the galaxy would rebuild. I can't watch the original ending without being sad.

I did enjoy the game, but the writing was terrible. ME: Andromeda also has similar issues, with Chris Schlerf having left mid-development, Casey Hudson too. Drew Karpshyn returned to BW but to work on SWTOR, not ME:A. Having said that, while I will miss the opportunity to see more of the Citadel, Thessia, Tuchanka, etc. a new galaxy means an entirely new story without as much need for world building. The new console generation also means a new level of, I hope, AI, physics, graphics, etc, tho I suspect the console version will be a 30FPS job like most so-called "AAA" efforts.

ME3 had a lot of issues I was willing to overlook while playing it for the first time, because it was a conclusion to a gaming journey 6 years in the making (PC got ME1 later), which was my own, personal journey thanks to the save imports. Day 1 Javik DLC, multiplayer mode announced after they delayed the game, even while they kept saying they won't do multiplayer, Jessica Chobot infecting the game, her presence screaming "lol IGN 11/10 goty", while the fans were dying to see a Tali face reveal which only got a stock photo, etc.

As for ME1 playthroughs, I lost count at 15, it was my favourite game for years. I lapped up every ME2 info, watched every dev stream (even won a random giveaway once, got a developer t-shirt and a Mass Effect themed X-box 360 faceplate) When the launch trailer for ME2 came out I watched it once a day atleast, until it got released months later. When I saw the SR-2 reveal in game I was grinning like an idiot, I have been waiting years for that moment just like the characters. Felt like home indeed Joker. It had its flaws, everything that needed polish in ME1 was removed instead, but they made up for it big time with the amazing DLCs. Screw BioWare points though.

Then came "the best entry point for the series" which needed no previous knowledge to fully enjoy! Like all trilogy endings in fiction ever, obviously. The level design was uninspired compared to ME2, Kai Leng was a joke as a villain, Cerberus getting their evil moustaches on was a wasted opportunity (I atleast expected a chance to side with them instead the Alliance at some point). The game wrote itself for crying out loud, it actually took effort to screw it up, but they did it. Twist explaining the Space C'thulus who didn't need explaining is one thing, but stupidly explaining was the icing on it. And they had the balls to do an Adam and Eve ending with the old guy as a framing device. Then the fucking "You can continue Shepard's story, please buy DLCs" sign popped up just to remind us who's bitches BioWare were now. It would have been okay-ish if the EC was the shipped ending, but it wasn't. Still, Marauder Shields as the last boss is a pretentious too video gamey slap on the face, with Artistic Integrity salt to the wound.

I was a huge BioWare fanboy through and through, been on their old-old forums since 2007, hopped on the BSN with Dragon Age: Origins, was there to voice my concerns with EA's influence when they screwed Dragon Age 2, just to push it out before the fiscal year to make up for TOR's delay, and I had the pleasure to see it going up in flames after ME3 hit. Took a break at 2014 because it was a sad place, old BioWare devs leaving left and right. Went back to shitpost 'till the plug got pulled with the rest of the crew, kudos to Solas for getting the last post. :P

Dragon Age Inquisition was uninspired to say the least. Static, polished sandbox of mediocrity padded with filler and they sold the ending as DLC. And it will be the inspiration for future BioWare games.

Mass Effect Andromeda is handled by BioWare Montreal, which is a support studio created for BioWare Edmonton (THE BioWare, or what's left of it anyways). The guys did ME3 multiplayer and the Omega DLC. Mass Effect was officially over with the Citadel DLC, the devteam even had a tearful last session documented on social media. Now they kinda rebooted it because franchise money.

I don't have high hopes, I'll get it mad cheap a year or two down the line.

The bit about the Crucible for me was why were we spending our last resources on a device when we don't know what it does or how we are meant to activate it.

Using the Citadel made sense but if Shepard was the first person to discover the AI hidden inside the Citadel, how the hell did the Crucible's designers intend to set the thing off? Hell before the Citadel was added to the design, how was it meant to work then?

Right up until the end I was expecting the Crucible to be a Reaper trap, a mass indoctrination device that they had planted in order to get people to waste resources instead of building new weapons or designing better defences.

The hologram kid wasn't the way I would have gone but I didn't hate it. It was a shame they couldn't have worked in the 'Beings of Light' mentioned in the planet Klencory's description into it somehow, perhaps there were early models of the Citadel AI out there still, one's that hadn't got caught in a logic loop.

Perhaps the biggest annoyance of the ending (and I'll likely change my mind again tomorrow) was that Shepard doesn't achieve a victory, Shepard is allowed to succeed by the graces of the big bad. In every choice the Reapers achieve a victory of sorts, while we are forced to compromise ourselves.

 

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