Mass Effect 3 Ending Controversy

Shamus Young

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Mass Effect 3 Ending Controversy

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

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Zen Toombs

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Well said. And I don't think Bioware should try to please everyone, I would just like them to give some ammount of what you called Closure, Explanation, and Affirmation. This story doesn't need a sunshine and pie ending, but the ending shouldn't completly conflict with the previous ~90 hour experience.
 

RedEyesBlackGamer

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Jan 23, 2011
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Good read. Allegedly (from a post that might have been from someone on the writing team), the ending was the brain child of Casey Hudson and Mac Walters. Which would make the defense of "it is their ending" worthless because it wasn't the team's ending, it was two people's ending.
OP: You make a good point about it essentially becoming fanfiction if they alter it too much and in that case why not just end it the way you want to and ignore the official ending (that is what I did)?
 

DeepComet5581

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Good, well said.

I'm glad that there are people left who aren't going to try to qualify ME3 as art, because, honestly, that has little relevance. As I said in a post not too long ago:

Boyninja616 said:
I think people are missing the point.

I don't care whether ME3 qualifies as art or not. This, for me, has no bearing on the ending and it's content.

What people should be concerned about is that the company provided a product to paying customers. They also promised closure (As i'm sure has been quoted a thousand times), and when many customers felt that they didn't deliver that promise, they desired the product be changed. Bioware also deliver customer service with their products, same as any business, and should at least be expected to listen to their CUSTOMERS' feedback.

I work in a Cafe. If we make a substandard meal and the customer feels it isn't up to scratch, they have 3 options:
-Say nothing
-Request that the meal be redone
-Request a refund

Now, many people are placing themselves in the second boat, as they certainly aren't remaining quiet, but they certainly aren't rushing to get a refund JUST IN CASE Bioware do change the ending. But, as Bioware are a business, they should listen to their customers' feedback, lest they (or rather, retailers) have to start shelling out hundreds of thousands or even millions or dollars in refunds. I don't have to explain the consequences for Bioware.

That's my 2 cents. The question of the game being Art is IRRELEVANT. What matters is customer service.
For anyone to give the game a label as art makes the entire argument null and void. Art can be interpreted in many ways, and art can not account for everybody's taste. Moreover, art that is garish, or even offensive, can mature to become much-beloved by many Look at the entirety of Renaissance Europe. Many artists (particularly the Impressionists) were despised by the Church and, at best, considered deviants by Society, and now look; Many of the famous painters are immortalised and their works sell for huge sums of money.
 
Jul 11, 2011
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You aptly described exactly how I feel towards the ending, and recognize the pickle that Bioware is in. Well done good sir, well done.
 

jdogtwodolla

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Huh, this is the first time I've seen the new book link. I didn't know Shamus Young was a novelist.
 

Candidus

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Shamus, I'll say to you what I've had to say to virtually every journalist who has tried to cover this. My problem with the ending is not NARRATIVE, it is TECHNICAL. This goes for the majority of ME3 ending detractors.

They can tell their story and I can hate it but still support them, provided that their ending makes SENSE. That it stands up as a work of professional writing and, to some extent, matches the pre-release promises that formed a part of the basis for my purchase. This ending, as I'm sure you already know by now through your own research, absolutely doesn't do either.

If they just did a finale I hated for the narrative direction it took, I'd never support a redo. But this has nothing to do with the artistic direction they took, and everything to do with the STANDARD of the work that they did. In this case, I think a redo is the only option. I don't think this is the same as wanting to play fanfiction.
 

BlindChance

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Well said, Shamus. Well said. I particularly agree with the idea that Bioware need to fix this story writing processes more than they need to fix this ending.
 

Bostur

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I believe there is another reason why video games need at least a touch of happy ending. When we get to the end of a game, that is by itself a success condition. If we had failed we would have reloaded prior to the ending. A negative ending will clash with the gameplay result and make it seem that the player actions was all for nothing. We want to feel in control and an ending that is negative in nature effectively removes that sense of control.

I think this holds true for game with a linear story structure. Games without that structure can have other types of end conditions, Civilization for instance can end with failure because there's no story involved and it's meant to be played many times over.
 

Sandytimeman

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Boyninja616 said:
Good, well said.

I'm glad that there are people left who aren't going to try to qualify ME3 as art, because, honestly, that has little relevance. As I said in a post not too long ago:

Boyninja616 said:
I think people are missing the point.

I don't care whether ME3 qualifies as art or not. This, for me, has no bearing on the ending and it's content.

What people should be concerned about is that the company provided a product to paying customers. They also promised closure (As i'm sure has been quoted a thousand times), and when many customers felt that they didn't deliver that promise, they desired the product be changed. Bioware also deliver customer service with their products, same as any business, and should at least be expected to listen to their CUSTOMERS' feedback.

I work in a Cafe. If we make a substandard meal and the customer feels it isn't up to scratch, they have 3 options:
-Say nothing
-Request that the meal be redone
-Request a refund

Now, many people are placing themselves in the second boat, as they certainly aren't remaining quiet, but they certainly aren't rushing to get a refund JUST IN CASE Bioware do change the ending. But, as Bioware are a business, they should listen to their customers' feedback, lest they (or rather, retailers) have to start shelling out hundreds of thousands or even millions or dollars in refunds. I don't have to explain the consequences for Bioware.

That's my 2 cents. The question of the game being Art is IRRELEVANT. What matters is customer service.
For anyone to give the game a label as art makes the entire argument null and void. Art can be interpreted in many ways, and art can not account for everybody's taste. Moreover, art that is garish, or even offensive, can mature to become much-beloved by many Look at the entirety of Renaissance Europe. Many artists (particularly the Impressionists) were despised by the Church and, at best, considered deviants by Society, and now look; Many of the famous painters are immortalized and their works sell for huge sums of money.
I like his cooking anlogy though, some chefs are considered artist of their craft. But that doesn't make every scrambled egg a masterpiece of culinary experience. And if my eggs are runny and undercooked I can request them to be remade.


Movies are probably closer to the medium at hand. In that regard there is nothing you can do except for to extract revenge on the creator by not buying any more of their movies or merchandise. for instance the "artsy" film "trash humpers" is the single worst movie ever to be made, it's message goes right over the head of anyone that has ever seen the movie and its created like shit. I avoid Harmony Korine with a passion, and any time his name is mentioned I automatically cover my wallet to protect it from unintentional support.

I suggest people just stop buying bioware products, they obviously have stopped caring about story and the universe they created. It is their universe and they wanted to end a game completely about thousands of choices, with only 3 that ignore all other choices. That was their right as a game company. But I don't have to buy their games, I won't be buying any other games from them, and that is sad considering I used to make every game they made a 100% blind faith purchase. Mass Effect 1, ME2, and Dragon Age Origin bought and every single bit of DLC bought, but now...I'm done, I'm out and thats my right as a consumer.
 

Redd the Sock

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I said it early on: the ending was a good idea done poorly. I've been in the camp of being angry and the right to be angry, on the other hand, I don't see a decent fix. To keep the ending would require some substancial rewrites to previous parts of the game if not the last 2, but I don't want to be the dick that demands it change because I was hoping Sheppard and Liara would go off you raise a family of blue kids (even though the further I got down the gauntlet in London, the more I realized it wasn't going to happen). The only thing I've wanted fixed about the ending is the necessity to play multiplayer to get hte Sheppard Lives bit.

If anything I hope the anger sends a message: there are times to be pretentious artits, and times to just do what makes sense for the audience.
 

tautologico

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Some people really did expect a mega-happy ending, and that's the only thing that will satisfy them. Some people wanted closure. Some wanted tons of possible endings. Some didn't care about the galaxy, they just wanted to retire on Rannoch with Tali. By saying they plan to change the ending, BioWare now has to decide which groups of people they're going to make happy. (All of them? Good luck with that.)
I think this is a key point regarding the people wanting a new ending. I've been in a lot of discussions, and people who want a different ending want different things. Some really want a happy ending, some want to know "what happened", some want better explanations. No matter what Bioware does now, it will disappoint a large portion of the fans wanting a new ending.

I think the best course of action, if they really need to redo the ending, is to try and do it better, but following the original intentions. Clarify the ending, make it work, not remake the whole thing.
 

Something Amyss

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They didn't file a complaint because they hated Bioware's art. They filed it because Bioware made promises and claims that grossly misrepresented a commercial product.

This has been underscored many times by many people and I don't know why it's still brought up as though art is a defense.

I don't give a damn about the ending being "happy" or not. People seem to keep downplaying pretty heavy elements of the problem.

Artists make art, but when they sell their art they are conducting business. When they make claims or promises beyond the scope of what the product can offer, they are lying. And this wasn't hyperbole and the like when they just exaggerated. No, they made specific claims that art verifiably false.

I weep for a society when people are looked down upon for not wanting to be lied to. But I guess we are where we are.
 

Fr]anc[is

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There is a middle ground between having an ending custom made for you, and being cockslapped in the face. And to me the whole thing about the two head guys writing the ending all by themselves in secret screams of executive interference, they had to quickly cover up the real ending being ripped off to be sold as DLC.

On the subject of "it's their story" and artistic integrity, nobody can actually force Bioware to change it, but if they want to stick to their guns, they have to face the consequences.
 

Agente L

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"But if you're looking for an official ending to Mass Effect 3, then you already have it. It even comes in three different colors."

I don't even need to read the rest of the article to know that you're the best writer escapist have. That was awesome.
 

Shamus Young

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Zachary Amaranth said:
They didn't file a complaint because they hated Bioware's art. They filed it because Bioware made promises and claims that grossly misrepresented a commercial product.
Ok, that was a cheap shot on my part. I wanted to mention the FTC thing and ended up throwing it in as part of a joke. Bad form.

Yes, I know the FTC filing was really a result of their promises, like when Casey Hudson said, "It's 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."

And then the game had EXACTLY that.

It was just one more thing missing in an already frustrating ending.
 

putowtin

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nail, head, you hit.....

perfectly!

Thanks for summing up, in a delightful way I might add, what most of us disgruntled ME fans have been trying to say for the last two weeks.
 

Nimcha

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then the least you can do is make sure the things you do say at the end doesn't contradict what has come before, or introduce new plot holes in the last minutes of the game. This is what Mass Effect did, and it's what has players so angry. Everyone dies, the bad guys turn out to be ridiculous, we don't find out what happens next, and the things we're shown don't make any sense.
I disagree with this completely, apart from the plotholes comment. Yeah there were some of those.

But to me everything that was shown did make sense. Reapers are shown to be redundant, Shepard decides how to end them. 'Everybody dies' is just completely untrue and largely irrelevant since that has nothing to do with the quality of a story. The 'bad guys' are certainly not ridiculous (in fact their motivations are literally explained) and we do find out what happens next. What happens after that, that is what you have to think about for yourself. That is also where a lot of your choices from the game come in.
 

anthony87

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Shamus Young said:
Mass Effect 3 Ending Controversy

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

Read Full Article
Cheers Shamus.

It's nice to read an article from someone who actually understands why people are unsatisfied with the ending rather than just jumping straight to calling us all entitled, crybabies etc.

Hell, I read an article on Gamesradar today that basically opened with "I've never played any of the Mass Effect games before but where's why everyone who doesn't like the ending is wrong". I really really expected Gamesradar to be better than that.
 

Therumancer

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I HOPE someone reads this as it should cover everything I've been saying in one place. Without being as confrontational as I usually am (intentionally or not), I am actually curious what Shamus thinks when it's laid out like this:

They don't need to make everyone happy, just not piss everyone off. This is a point a lot of people talking about the subject and the problems with the ending being changed seem to miss. Most endings of big franchises do not have everyone entirely satisfied, and a lot of people saying they would have done things differantly, but the majority at least tolerate it, with factions of lovers and haters. Stories that end with an climax that almost EVERYONE loves become huge phenomenas because of it, those that almost everyone hates... well we're looking at that now.

People also overlook the comments made by Devs about the game and how the ending was going to work, with clear statements being made that this was the kind of ending we were not going to get, and that we were indeed going to get the answers. If you've done any reading on their planned "ending app" and discussions about it, you'll find that they guys doing the ending didn't have it planned out until the last minute, and also decided specifically NOT to do what the devs had been promising through the rest of the game's development cycle, turning this into a giant intent to defraud the customer base through false advertising.

What's more we know as far back as ME1 that Bioware claimed that they had the entire trilogy plotted out from the beginning. The very fact that they were working on an ending seems to show they were made to change it. Probably for financial reasons related to wanting to turn it into a massive franchise and make that as easy as possible.

Perhaps most damning of course is how the ending is monetized in ways that didn't really exist as viable channels back when ME1 was coming out. The climax of the game is influanced by the resources you collect, but there aren't enough resources in the game to get a perfect ending without raising your readiness rating which is done through multi-player that involves a "pay to win" (or pay to save yourself a lot of time and frustration) mechanic. Not to mention the declaration that they planned to include other products to raise readiness like some kind of connected App game called "Mass Effect Infiltrator" (I think that was the name) which was another product for people to buy towards that end.

Circumstantial evidence or not, it paints a very damning picture of Bioware/EA and how we wound up in this mess to begin with, and also exactly when this ending was constructed and with what mentality was behind it. It's a do-nothing ending that leaves the series as open as possible for franchises, but also an ending/ending system intended to get people to spend more money on a game they already paid $60 for above and beyond any DLC. It takes a certain kind of greed to come up with the idea of finding ways to get people to pay more for the ending of a game they already paid money for.

As far as the spirit of the ending goes, all I can say is that I disagree entirely. If you've been paying attention, Mass Effect isn't really that "dark" or "gritty" a setting. It's about as upbeat and high fantasy as something can get. People seem to think that if you wander around a slum or run into shady characters this makes something dark and gritty, totally overlooking some of the places they went in "Star Wars" like say Mos Eisley where a guy got his arm hacked off by a laser sword. Even high fantasy involves jeopardy for the characters and good guys, sometimes very intense.

Mass Effect was defined as being a spiritual successor to "Star Wars: Knight Of The Old Republic" and going for the Star Wars vibe. The idea of the game is that while things are really bad, we have a bigger than life hero of the "Horatio Hornblower", "Honor Harrington", "James T Kirk" mould who is equal to those challenges and always manages to get things to turn up aces no matter how bad it is. Even Renegade Shepard is still basically doing the right thing for the right reasons, it's just how he goes about it.

The proper ending for Mass Effect is actually fairly predictable, that is to say that Shepard completes his mission and saves everyone, like he does at the end of the last two games. Yes, the galaxy is ravaged, but again understand this is a story with dramatic tension and indeed people are supposed to recover.

An ending montage of all the desicians Shepard made and how they pan out (which should be mostly positive in the spirit of this game) would also fit, though one as dark as "Fallout" wouldn't because it's a differant kind of game.

That's the kind of ending people would expect and accept, and I'd imagine how the game was intended to end to begin with going with the whole feel the series has had up until this point. That's not fanfiction, that's the concept that was created here.

Stories where the good guys lose have their place, but are generally an entirely differant in the spirit they are told from Mass Effect. It's also important to note that "The Empire Strikes Back" was the middle of a trilogy, an "Act 2" so to speak, setting up the jeopardy for the finale. While things ending on a dark note, it's important to note the heroes did walk away and were rallying, and almost from the beginning of "Return Of The Jedi" were setting things right, with the insane assault on Jabba's palace and sail barge fight scene right from the beginning (a situation where even with the jeopardy they seemed to be placed in they had apparently planned ahead for and had everything under control).

The only real "twist" to Star Wars was that it was Vader who took the emperor out, but that wasn't as big a twist as you might think because it was foreshadowed in Empire by Vader making it clear he loved his son and had thoughts of replacing the Emperor anyway. It's even less of a twist given the prequels if you know how prophecy works (ie it was time for balance, not a reign of evil), and sort of realized that as badly told as they were the story was kind of about Anakin/Vader to begin with.

In Mass Effect a twist like that wouldn't work because it was never written to plant the seeds for something like that. I suppose a surprise ending might have Shepard on the ropes, but having kept everything going until the last second so another character who had been there to begin with (Tali, Garrus, Ashley, or Kaiden... or maybe EDI since she was in the first game but I won't spoil that) can deliver the coup de grace.