Update: Fan "Fixes" Mass Effect 3 Ending With A 539-Page Rewrite

Josh Engen

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Update: Fan "Fixes" Mass Effect 3 Ending With A 539-Page Rewrite



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 [https://files.secureserver.net/0sAs5D1D50UU26]. 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."

Source: Forbes [http://www.forbes.com/sites/insertcoin/2014/01/21/still-unsatisfied-with-mass-effect-3-read-one-fans-539-page-rewrite/]

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mattaui

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I just finished ME3 and with all the rage I had heard about I was bracing myself for something truly awful, but quite the opposite happened. I was quite satisfied with the ending, and the options presented, and it all seemed to fit well within the themes the trilogy dealt with.

But hey, everyone's free to write their own fanfic. With all the attention this will get, it'll no doubt be a positive for the author.
 

otakon17

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mattaui said:
I just finished ME3 and with all the rage I had heard about I was bracing myself for something truly awful, but quite the opposite happened. I was quite satisfied with the ending, and the options presented, and it all seemed to fit well within the themes the trilogy dealt with.

But hey, everyone's free to write their own fanfic. With all the attention this will get, it'll no doubt be a positive for the author.
Now, did you do this run with or without the 'Extended Ending' DLC?

EDIT: Because I felt on the original run like it just cut off and I missed something. I wasn't angry really, just more like "That's it?". It was lackluster and not very satisfying a conclusion to the series. First time I've felt that way playing a video game all the way through too which is the other surprising bit on my end.
 

Therumancer

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Nov 28, 2007
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Very interesting, now the big question is whether it will be picked up officially, or if we'll see fans find some way of constructing it. It's cool that someone put in the effort, but at the end of the day unless it actually does something to change the horror that was "Mass Effect 3" it's nothing but an unusually lengthy fan fiction formatted as a game design document. :)

That said EA/Bioware might want to take note of the effort/energy still being expended against ME 3's ending. I'd ultimately hope that this might inspire them to do right by the fans... but I'm not naïve enough to think anything positive will happen at this point. I consider the odds of getting a proper ending for ME3 about equivalent to there ever being "Episode 3" for Half-Life. As time goes on the odds go down because of the need to put all the pieces together to do it, as the people involved drifter further apart and new projects and workload comes up. In the case of Episode 3 I even give Valve credit for wanting to do it "at some point" but as time goes on it simply becomes less viable. With ME3 you have that, plus the fact that EA/Bioware doesn't actually want to do it, especially seeing as it would involve admitting they were wrong on an unprecedented scale.
 

Starke

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ZippyDSMlee said:
This might win me over and get me back to buy BW games again.
Don't. Seriously, don't buy games from a company that claims they have fantastic writing and then turn out crap like that.

Hell, some of the stuff in TOR is so much worse.
 

IceStar100

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Well it is a good read. I do like a lot of the ideas like Tali. Then again he tried to turn Liara in to another generic badass but not much more then Bioware did it's self.
 

MeChaNiZ3D

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Having not read it yet, if it's good then it will appear that something that was deemed impractical for a gaming studio was managed by a single fan. A complex branching system with drastically different endings is exactly what I wanted and expected from the series. Instead they replace characters with people doing the exactly the same things and provide an ending of Deus Ex HR level lack of effort. Pick a button and see a cinematic.
 

putowtin

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Jul 7, 2010
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humm, will download later and have a read, I'd do it now but I think my boss might notice if I spent the day crying laughing and weeping "Garrus"!

Edit: Ok now it's been read and... well top marks to the guy for giving up nearly two years of his free time to write it, and the three endings, although the same choices as bioware gave us, are handled a bit better, (war assets and paragon/renegade making a difference) but he seems more interesting in adding fan fiction/slash sex scenes and making Liara's costume more sluttish!

hey, maybe I just need to accept the ending to my favourite game trilogy sucked and continue to let Marauder Shields shoot me!
 

1337mokro

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Sgt. Sykes said:
ME3 ending as fixed by BioWare was perfect. There. I said it.
You can say it all you want. It won't make it true. Just look to your right and you will see another one like yourself proclaiming the end of the world or that the Mesiah has been resurrected in his pet chihuahua.

The ending was a trainwreck of EPIC proportions and just all round horrible writing. However unlike most people outraged or who were happy with the ending I expected it to suck. I was still angry but the signs were there from Mass Effect 2 that they really had no idea what to do given the meandering plot of the second game.

So a half assed, rush job, loose ended conclusion to a game that looked and felt like it was made by Bioware Interns whilst the actual devs were of making an MMO was to be expected. Especially after Dragon Age 2, a game I think made in the same time most movie tie in games are made.

I'll read the script in my spare time, maybe if it's really good some modders will decide to actually animate the script and patch it into the ME3 game files. Though personally I always liked the Marauder Shields comic quite well as an alternate ending.
 

Karadalis

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mattaui said:
I just finished ME3 and with all the rage I had heard about I was bracing myself for something truly awful, but quite the opposite happened. I was quite satisfied with the ending, and the options presented, and it all seemed to fit well within the themes the trilogy dealt with.

But hey, everyone's free to write their own fanfic. With all the attention this will get, it'll no doubt be a positive for the author.
Oh you mean after they added a ton of explanations?

Check out the original endings before they patched them. Perhaps then you will understand the outrage.

The star child is still seven leagues of stupid and comes totaly out of left field.
 

Legion

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Oct 2, 2008
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I have noticed a strong correlation between those who followed Mass Effect games as they launched and hated the ending, and those who got into it later and didn't mind it.

I strongly suspect that a lot of the dislike comes from the hype and exaggerations/falsehoods that Bioware used in it's marketing. If people didn't have such high expectations, I suspect the ending would have been written off as just another series a developer didn't know how to end.

The fact that Bioware repeatedly stated that choices would significantly impact the ending, that the game wouldn't simply have an A,B or C ending and that it'd answer all questions is what upset a lot of people.

Regardless of whether or not somebody liked the ending, nobody can truthfully say that it fit in with what Bioware promised it would be like.
 
Mar 9, 2012
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To give him credit, he do have some pretty decent and interesting ideas mixed in there; missions that actually differ based on decisions in ME1 and ME2? Individual character epilogues? I can dig stuff like that.

But he also has a seriously terrible understanding of EDI's and James' characters, quite a bit of the document reads like cringeworthily bad fanfiction (really? sex scenes for pretty much every single character?), and some of the concept art seems to come from a dark and fetishy place.
 

008Zulu_v1legacy

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Mass Effect 3 was a fun game and parts were well written. Mordin's Heroic Blue Screen, and... Nope. That is the only example of of good writing in that game. So just one. Everything else was rife with plot holes. Nice to see there are industrious people out there with the will to correct the mistakes of the developers.
 

james.sponge

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Why should we care, everything BW created after KOTOR was basically a rehash of the same old material. Not to mention they were described as masters of games narrative by hordes of biodrones and sites like this one, creating even more hype and disappointment. Whatever, I intend to enjoy my inXile and CDR games while you guys occupy yourselves with playing ME4 or DA3, and creating lengthy yt videos explaining how to fix those when they turn out being bad.
 

spartandude

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Starke said:
Hell, some of the stuff in TOR is so much worse.
Dont get me started on how they took pretty much every interesting story element KotOR 2 had and then threw it out the window.