Mass Effect 3 Ending Controversy

Yeager942

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Excellent write up. As much as I hated the endings, I don't think they should be changed. The cat is out of the bag, and the emotions that run through the player during that epic first playthrough is now gone, never to be recovered. Bioware should lick their wounds, figure out what the fuck happened, and learn from it. We gamers have to learn to be less trusting even of our favorite companies, and doubt some of the promises we hear to let ourselves down more easily.
 

Nimcha

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Miral said:
Alert: minor spoilers in this first paragraph.
I really hope you're joking. The core explanation for the reapers is "synthetics will always kill off organics; to prevent that we created a race of synthetics to kill all the organics every 50k years to stop the synthetics killing them." That doesn't even come close to making any kind of sense. And its core assertion is directly contradicted by Shepard's own experience (the Geth, EDI) that it's simply irresponsible that you cannot even protest that assertion when it's made.
Let me just put this in spoiler tags to be safe.
No. You're wrong. They only kill the advanced civilizations capable of creating such synthetics. That is a big difference, and it is literally said so by the Catalyst. And yes in the end the Reapers are wrong. This is also what the Catalyst says. Shepard being there proves them wrong. That is why Shepard decides what happens next. Again, all of this is said very clearly and almost literally so by the Catalyst.

EDI and the geth are only a small part of the reason the Reapers are wrong. The Reapers come every 50k years to prevent the AIs from wiping out everyone. They do so because then they give society time to bloom but arrive before the synthetics actually start the extermination. EDI and the geth are on good terms with organics near the end of the game, but there's no way to be sure that will still be the case in, say, 10k years.

As I've said a few times before on this forum, the main reason why the Reapers are proven to be redundant is exactly what the Catalyst says. Shepard is there and has defeated the Reapers. Who are, as shown repeatedly, the apex of synthetic evolution. If the galaxy can defeat them, they are not needed anymore. Since it is now shown any other occurence of synthetic can also be beaten.

In short, if people weren't so fixated on calling it a 'god-child' and actually listen to what the Catalyst has to say, a lot of this could've been cleared up a lot sooner.

The only way that this ending could make any kind of sense is if the Indoctrination Theory is true and Shepard was being controlled or dreaming, and that the "real" ending has yet to be revealed. Sadly the reaction from BioWare themselves is very mixed, and most evidence thus far suggests that this was not their brilliant plan all along... but we can still hope that they take it and run with it.
That indoctrination hypothesis (it's not a theory) is laughable, but understandable. It's a very nice mix of denial, wishfull thinking and self-reinforcement. Very interesting to follow, but nothing to take seriously.
 

Shamus Young

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If they change it to please us, then it's not their story anymore, it's ours.
But it is out story, Shamus. I am Commander Shepard. I call the decisions. I influence the universe the game takes place in. Thats the entire point of the series, what separates it from the thousands other games that take place in a sci-fi setting which borrows heavily from every other sci-fi setting.

Nimcha said:
That indoctrination hypothesis (it's not a theory) is laughable, but understandable. It's a very nice mix of denial, wishfull thinking and self-reinforcement. Very interesting to follow, but nothing to take seriously.
I hear a lot of people knocking it, but I havent heard anyone say why its laughable. Explain yourself, please. Im undecided, but every day I see people backing the theory with evidence while the doubters will let people know they are there, but not why they belong to that camp.
 

Sara Ivette

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Excellent article, Shamus. Bravo.

I just wanted to remind everybody of one tiny detail: Bioware hasn't promised to change the ending of the game. Bioware promised to clarify and provide closure. Whether they will do that with additional media attached to the current ending, new alternate endings, or scrolling epilogues remainds to be seen.
 

Gigatoast

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First time I've ever agreed with one of your articles, just sayin'.

I'm glad to see someone working for this site finally understands everyone's frustration. It's not that we just don't like the ending, and it's CERTAINLY not because we don't understand it, that's an insult in itself the thing's logic is just simplistic. It's that the ending is fundamentally flawed on practically every level, it would take some serious retconning to satisfy the general fanbase without dismissing this concept entirely.

However, if they actually took a page from the fans and rolled with the whole "Indoctrination theory" to nullify the damage (which is by no means perfect, but makes enough sense to fit the story nicely) they could actually salvage what's left of the franchise and make the majority of the "Retake ME3" movement very, very happy.

The fans get the ending they expected, Bioware gets the renewed loyalty of their fanbase and EA gets to sell a lot of DLC in the future. Everyone wins! Well, except for the people who jumped on the "Bioware's gunna destroy artistic integrity" bandwagon, they get to sit around an whine for years to come.

But that all depends on whether or not Bioware respects their fans enough to make amends in a way that doesn't make it worse.
 

XDravond

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Zen Toombs said:
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.
Agreed.
The 3 points would feel good, but the theme happy/sad doesn't matter.


The ending left me with a "meh" and "was that all?"
 

XDravond

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Zen Toombs said:
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.
Agreed.
The 3 points would feel good, but the theme happy/sad doesn't matter.


The ending left me with a "meh" and "was that all?"
 

Bigeyez

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Miral said:
Nimcha said:
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.
Alert: minor spoilers in this first paragraph.
I really hope you're joking. The core explanation for the reapers is "synthetics will always kill off organics; to prevent that we created a race of synthetics to kill all the organics every 50k years to stop the synthetics killing them." That doesn't even come close to making any kind of sense. And its core assertion is directly contradicted by Shepard's own experience (the Geth, EDI) that it's simply irresponsible that you cannot even protest that assertion when it's made.

The only way that this ending could make any kind of sense is if the Indoctrination Theory is true and Shepard was being controlled or dreaming, and that the "real" ending has yet to be revealed. Sadly the reaction from BioWare themselves is very mixed, and most evidence thus far suggests that this was not their brilliant plan all along... but we can still hope that they take it and run with it.

Provided of course that they don't try to charge for it, as that in itself would be setting an exceedingly dangerous precedent; if we start tolerating games holding the ending ransom against further payment, it's a very slippery slope to games where you have to fork over money for each new plot point or chapter, and then we're all screwed.
just wanted to make a correction here that will make that aspect of the ending make sense. The reapers don't destroy ALL organic life. Just species advanced enough to be sentient or in other words species that can create AI soon or that have already done so. Their argument is that synthetic AI would destroy ALL organic life period. So the reapers cycle destroys these sentient lifeforms before AI wipes out all life. in their messed up logic there are in fact preserving life.

Still sucks but it does make sense.
 

mschweiz

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i was starting to think that no critics agreed with the fans. i was wrong, and im happy for that. im also happy that you have said everything i was saying for the past week. if i ever want to talk about whether the ending should be changed, ill direct them to this article.
 

StriderShinryu

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Shamus Young said:
The outrage has built up to the point where important people at BioWare are promising to go back and change the game.
Yeah, except they haven't. Bioware has not said that they are necessarily changing anything or, if they do decide to change anything, what they are going to change or what form those changes will take. They have, however, said that they are considering fan feedback and how it could be implemented in a way that stays true to their original vision for the title. But I guess saying that just isn't contraversial enough.
 

Shamus Young

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SmashLovesTitanQuest said:
But it is out story, Shamus. I am Commander Shepard. I call the decisions. I influence the universe the game takes place in. Thats the entire point of the series, what separates it from the thousands other games that take place in a sci-fi setting which borrows heavily from every other sci-fi setting.
Yet the writers were the one who created the constraints within which you acted. They wrote your dialog options, they wrote your moral choices.
 

Jodah

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Sandytimeman said:
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.
The stop buying thing is the logical next step. However, in this case the developer has a chance to redeem themselves. No other media gets this chance but due to dlc and patching systems Bioware is getting a second chance. They can either fix their insult to many customers or they can ignore it and let this wound fester. That is completely their decision, but it would be a stupid decision to do nothing when they have a second chance. I know I have already resolved not to buy another of their products unless they do something (redo, fix, expand, whatever) about the ending.

OT: It's good to see at least one contributor here that doesn't have a stick up their ass about games being immutable art. Even traditional art goes through changes but people seem to forget that.
 

Eamar

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I adopted that fan fiction as my canon ending almost immediately after finishing the game last week (as soon as I'd stopped reeling from the sheer disappointment of the actual ending).

As everyone's said, thank you so much for hitting the nail on the head. Seeing other journalists writing us all off as "juvenile" or "crybabies" has had me practically banging my head against the wall- I swear none of them have taken the time to do some research and see that most of us are not the unreasonable children they want us to be.
 

videocrazy

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While I personally would prefer that Shepard remain definitively alive and/or the Mass Effect relays remain intact (The former because of Tali and I never did have that drink with Chakwas, among other things, and the latter because that has all sorts of nasty implications for the galaxy), those are just my personal opinions, and I'm not hoping that those are changed; that's the developer's choice on how to end the series and I support that, even if I don't like it. The only thing that bugs me, and I do want added in, is for some sort of epilogue. Was I right in trusting the Krogan and curing the genophage, or do they cause another rebellion sometime in the future? Do the Quarians and the Geth manage to co-exist? What happened to Jack and her students, or Kasumi? I invested so much into the galaxy, in order to make it a better place, and I'm told absolutely nothing. For all I know, I could have gone full Renegade, or worse, do what some people do and try to kill off everything I can, and it could have had the exact same effect.
 

Knight Templar

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I was wondering how long untill some of what you wrote ended up here at the Escapist.
As I have said elsewhere the lack of closure is a big deal for me, this doesn't feel like an ending, it's as if the game things there is more.

It's apparently clear from the accounts of staff and notes that this isn't really the ending they wanted and they just stuck this together in the final moments. Once I learned that I stopped thinking that asking for a better ending was a bad thing. I am still not going to demand it, but if their own team didn't want this things change.
 

Denamic

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It's incredibly easy to fix the ending to ME3.
Remove it.
Just roll credits when you're hit by the beam.
It'd be an improvement.
 

Shamus Young

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DrVornoff said:
SmashLovesTitanQuest said:
But it is out story, Shamus. I am Commander Shepard. I call the decisions. I influence the universe the game takes place in. Thats the entire point of the series, what separates it from the thousands other games that take place in a sci-fi setting which borrows heavily from every other sci-fi setting.
Yet the writers were the one who created the constraints within which you acted. They wrote your dialog options, they wrote your moral choices.
But I picked them. And suddenly, at the end, I could pick no more.

Its our story as much as it is theirs.
 

mattttherman3

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I hate EA, so very very much. I really wish they had not aquired BioWare, it is my firm belief that this is their fault. BioWare had not made a bad game until EA came along, and look at the crap we've gotten, Dragon Age 2, Mass Effect 3(mostly the ending), The Old Republic(I have a bunch of problems with this game). I was literaly as depressed as I was when my girlfriend broke up with me after I "beat" Mass Effect 3. So much time and effort wasted, well over 200 hours. Even Fallout 3's ending wasn't as bad as this. One of my friends told me it was just a game, no, this could have been the lord of the rings of video games but no. I honestly don't know if I can buy another BioWare game.

Also, if you have not played through all three ME games, your opinion on the end really loses merit with me. Like that Bioshock creator, I doubt he played it.
 

Eric Morales

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I admit they're probably not going to make the ending I WANT (because the ending I want involves Shepherd being crowned Emperor of the Known Universe while Wrex walks up to and headbutts all the characters I don't like) but they can certainly make an ending I'd be happy with. Honestly, even if they just took out that nonsensical scene with Joker at the end and added a text dump that tells what the aftermath of my decisions looked like (similar to what they did in DA:O) I'd be reasonably content.
 

SpaceBat

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Nimcha said:
Let me just put this in spoiler tags to be safe.
No. You're wrong. They only kill the advanced civilizations capable of creating such synthetics. That is a big difference, and it is literally said so by the Catalyst. And yes in the end the Reapers are wrong. This is also what the Catalyst says. Shepard being there proves them wrong. That is why Shepard decides what happens next. Again, all of this is said very clearly and almost literally so by the Catalyst.

EDI and the geth are only a small part of the reason the Reapers are wrong. The Reapers come every 50k years to prevent the AIs from wiping out everyone. They do so because then they give society time to bloom but arrive before the synthetics actually start the extermination. EDI and the geth are on good terms with organics near the end of the game, but there's no way to be sure that will still be the case in, say, 10k years.

As I've said a few times before on this forum, the main reason why the Reapers are proven to be redundant is exactly what the Catalyst says. Shepard is there and has defeated the Reapers. Who are, as shown repeatedly, the apex of synthetic evolution. If the galaxy can defeat them, they are not needed anymore. Since it is now shown any other occurence of synthetic can also be beaten.

In short, if people weren't so fixated on calling it a 'god-child' and actually listen to what the Catalyst has to say, a lot of this could've been cleared up a lot sooner.
We hebben meer m--I mean, we need more people like you. While I find the endings to be disappointing for different reasons, I can't stand the fact that so many people completely misunderstood it. People keep pointing at contradictions that aren't there while ignoring the actual plot holes.

Nimcha said:
It's a very nice mix of denial, wishfull thinking and self-reinforcement.
I'm not entirely sure what evidence you're basing this on.

mattttherman3 said:
So much time and effort wasted, well over 200 hours.
Another thing I don't understand. Yes, the ending was bad, regardless of whether it's filled with plotholes or not. However, the 90+ hour journey has its value as well (and isn't nullified by a bad ending) and your actions throughout the three games still have meaning. It's just that you don't get to see it.