One Mass Effect super fan spent the last year and a half fixing BioWare's ME3 ending.
Mass Effect 3 was an unexpectedly controversial game. Fans of the series were famously upset by the title's ending and spent months articulating their complaints online. But even after the entire internet wagged an angry finger at BioWare, the developer stood behind the title. However, one fan took it upon himself to correct BioWare's mistakes.
For the last year and a half, Gerry Pugliese has been rewriting Mass Effect 3's ending. The finished product, called Mass Effect 3: Vindication, is 539 pages long and 118,000 words. The length is a testament to his self-discipline and lack of respect for BioWare's original script.
Vindication adds new missions, revises many of the in-game relationships, and adds several new enemy types. It even includes a DLC proposal and a collection of concept art.
Perhaps the most impressive part of the whole endeavor, though, is that Pugliese's script manages to stay grounded in BioWare's original concept. He does, however, spend a great deal of time deconstructing the game's ending and rebuilding it in his own vision.
Originally, Mass Effect 3 only included three endings, but Vindication's ending is based on a complex branching system that depends on a number of factors. And each ending is drastically different from the others.
If you'd like to check out Mass Effect 3: Vindication, the script is freely available. But this time you're probably not allowed to complain if it's not what you were hoping for.
Who am I kidding? No one can stop you from complaining on the internet.
Update: Mr. Pugliese was kind enough to answer a few of my questions via email. Throughout the entire exchange, he was surprisingly laid-back and gracious. This has been a massive undertaking, but his head isn't ballooning by the attention that Vindication has received.
Surprisingly, this is the first time he's attempted to tackle this kind of project. "I've never done anything like this before," he said. "I've had multiple 'projects' in my life. I'm always trying to improve myself, test my metal, and show people what I can do. Give me a few months and I'll likely be neck-deep in something else. Although, I'd prefer to give that energy to a gaming company, which by now, should be obvious."
In Gerry's mind, the project is finished, but this doesn't necessarily mean that revisions are out of the question. "Sure," he says, "if you give me a couple more months, I could revise some things, and add more content. I would probably put stuff in that I cut. I had a revision for the Leviathan DLC where Leviathan gives Shepard a new power called 'Reaper Domination,' which would allow Shepard to take control of Reaper forces, a lot like Morinth's Domination ability. I cut it because I figured that would be a weird power for a rough-and-tough Soldier character class to have."
But that's all gravy compared to the central focus of his project: fixing Mass Effect's indefensible ending. "The most unforgivable parts of Mass Effect 3," he explains, "and, sadly, they're the easiest to point out are: the Rachni being alive even if you killed them in Mass Effect 1, Anderson not being Councilor if you picked him in ME1, and handing, or not handing, over the Collector Base to Cerberus in Mass Effect 2." Obviously, though, those weren't his only issues with the game.
So, what's next for Gerry Pugliese? He's not exactly sure. "Honestly," he says, "I'm not sure what I'll do on the weekend now that ME3V is finished. I hear tiddlywinks is a lot of fun."