Why the Mass Effect 3 Ending is Bad and Why Fans have the Right to be Upset

Warning: This post contains spoilers for the entire Mass Effect series

Mass Effect 3’s ending has caused a bit of a stir on the internet. Go to any Mass Effect 3 message board and you will see that it is flooded with “The ending sucks” posts. Is this just a common reaction to a popular franchise, the same way that Final Fantasy XIII-2’s message board was flooded with hate? No, the situation here is very different. There is a bit of a rift between Mass Effect 1 fans and Mass Effect 2 fans, but in general, everyone was looking forward to this game, and up until the time where people started beating the game, there was nothing but praise. Compare this to XIII-2, which was slaughtered by abuse long before the game was ever released. No, the problem with the ending isn’t a rabid fanbase; it is simply that Bioware succeeded brilliantly in making a universe which everyone cared about, but failed to provide an ending that anyone in their right mind would think is decent.

Even the Cannibals are pissed off and they are always in party mode.

The Mass Effect series has always been about choices. Sure most of these choices are artificial, but that doesn’t mean that these choices weren’t the foundational principle that the series was based on. Mass Effect 1 was strongly about the divide between Paragon and Renegade choices. Save or kill a potentially dangerous species like the Rachni is a very common kind of choice you get to make in Mass Effect 1. The Paragon and Renegade choices continued throughout the series and made many choices very difficult, as most of the time, neither was particularly good or evil. It is important to remember that the series has always given the player the tools to create the ending that they wanted. Mass Effect 1’s ending boiled down to a last minute choice to save the Council or rush Sovereign, but other choices such as whether to save Kaiden or Ashely had ripple-out effects. About 60-70% of Mass Effect 2 was spent in companion missions. Why? Because, at its core, Mass Effect 2 was about trying to survive the suicide mission, and Bioware made it so that your choices throughout the game would decide who lived and who died, and it was possible to make it through the entire even without a single casualty.

Too bad there wasn’t a choice to kill both of these characters in Mass Effect 1

So, fans of the series went into Mass Effect 3 with that mentality. With enough work and some hard choices, you can get an ending which you will be happy with. To make matters worse, Mass Effect 3 never attempted to convince you otherwise. You can end the genophage and bring the Geth and Quarians together in peace. Sure the game ups the ante, and several game characters sacrifice themselves, but their sacrifice is always for a happy resolution to the problem, and it seems like it was mostly Bioware giving Mass Effect 2 characters something to do. Also, Reapers were shown from the first game to not be invincible. It was commented by EDI how strange it was for a Thresher Maw to be able to take down a Reaper, as it is an abnormality for a less advanced species to be able to stop a more advanced species. This was heavy handed foreshadowing of future events, events that didn’t require a last minute deus ex machina to solve the galaxy’s problems.

I can’t find a picture of the vent boy Catalyst bastard, so here’s a picture of Legion. Remember the good times.

Also keep in mind that most actions you do in this game and the previous games form a tally as part of your war assets. Playing through the game, collecting war assets, the player is led to believe that if he or she collects enough than they can save the galaxy from the Reapers. Of course, we know now that war assets make almost no difference whatsoever, and collecting them, while still giving you that warm RPG number crunching feeling, is a waste of time. Why did Bioware make this switch. It went from your actions throughout the game making a difference on the ending, to nothing you did mattering in the slightest. As mentioned above, the Reapers aren’t invincible, and you’re building a fleet the whole game. I know that the catalyst is important, but the fleet is what you spend most of you time on. It would be like if none of the companion quests had any effect on the game in Mass Effect 2. Would anyone have been happy with that? People do this work so that their actions will be rewarded, the same way it was in Mass Effect 2.

How about everyone dies in Mass Effect 2, and you couldn’t do anything to stop it.

What we get with Mass Effect 3 are 16 endings which are all almost completely identical in form. As these endings are all nearly identical, there is no need to worry about the war assets condition, not that, that condition makes any sense whatsoever. I mean, the Catalyst is simply a deus ex machina that comes in at the end to save the day. The amount of Krogans you have on your side shouldn’t make any difference here (I can see Catalyst war assets making a difference at least). Wouldn’t it have been so much better if the Illusive Man had just helped out at the end of Mass Effect 2 and you didn’t have to worry with any of that “squad building” nonsense. Of course it wouldn’t. If that happened, it would undermine everything you did in that game. In a game series so obsessed with choices and consequences, it is absurd that none of them mattered in the end.

Go Renegade or Paragon, it won’t matter in the end.

That is of course not addressing all of the inherent problems with the endings. As many have pointed out, Joker running away doesn’t make sense, nor does your squad being aboard the Normandy when it crashes make any sense. The destruction of the Mass Relays, however, is the biggest problem, and not just because it should have destroyed entire systems. You see, internet, even ignoring the previous games of the series, Shepard can do some incredible things in Mass Effect 3, but none of that matters. Why does it matter if you brought peace to the Geth and Quarians and allow the Quarians to finally return to Rannoch? Without Mass Relays, they will never see their home planet again, and their entire fleet was with you during the battle for Earth. Why did it matter if you saved Wrex and brought stability to the Krogans, Tuchanka is now isolated and Wrex’s idealistic approach to leadership will never be carried out. The ending sabotages every single thing you do, not only in this game, but in every other game in the series.  Everything has been pointless. Sure, you save organic life this cycle, but does any player actually care about that? No, they care about the people they have grown to love, all of whom get royally screwed in the end for no justifiable reason.

I hope you enjoy never seeing your planet again!

Then there is the mechanism by which all of these endings are possible. It is the whole “give the player three arbitrary choices” ending device. The same crap that was seen in Deus Ex: Human Revolution. It wasn’t good in that game, but it is especially bad in a choice heavy game, which is the end of an epic trilogy. These choices seem to be very different: destroy, control, merge. However, as this is the last game in the series, there are no consequences to these choices, and a nearly identical ending cutscene plays no matter what choice you pick. Even if the choices were interesting, the device is extremely poor, and lazy. There is literally nothing lazier than simply letting the player pick some arbitrary choices at the end with no context or reason, especially from a trilogy with such a well crafted story such as the Mass Effect series.

If the choices were go to clown college, eat a hamburger, or kill the Reapers, the ending would have still been the same.

Now let’s look at the justifications to this travesty. Firstly there is the obvious entitlement argument. Basically, Bioware doesn’t owe fans anything. This is the ending that they wanted, and everyone who argues against this is an entitled brat. This is seriously faulty logic. Of course Bioware can end the game however they want, but that doesn’t mean that the ending they picked was any good. Do gamers deserve a good ending? Of course they do, you idiot! That would be like asking if gamers deserve decent gameplay or a coherent story, or a game not riddled with bugs. People aren’t supporting Bioware out of the goodness of their hearts, they are buying the product Bioware is selling. People would be equally upset if they had bought a car to only find out later that they didn’t have access to the gas tank. Keep in mind that no review I read at least made mention of a shockingly bad ending. Basically, you have a lot of people who bought Return of the Jedi only to find out that they had bought Old Yeller, if Old Yeller allowed the viewer to choose three endings to the movie, all of which resulted in the DOG DYING!

Sure we didn’t want to dance around with Ewoks, but we sure as hell didn’t want the end of Galactic Civilization

The only credible defence for the endings to the game that I have encountered is that the theme of the game is sacrifice and you should have expected that saving the galaxy would come at a cost. This is still absurd, but at least I see where these people are coming from. The argument I have against this is threefold. Firstly, this doesn’t excuse how poorly the ending was executed, as, even if you enjoyed the content of the ending, the execution was terrible. Secondly, there was plenty sacrificed in this game: Mordin, Thane, Legion, Palavan, Thessia, Earth, the whole damn race of Batarians. This game wasn’t leading up to some final sacrifice, there had been many sacrifices along the way. Thirdly, I don’t think that the endings are supposed to be indicative of any kind of sacrifice. As my Shepard said to the Illusive Man at the end “You’ve Sacrificed too much”. To me this was a great, triumphant moment. Instead, we are almost immediately offered random choices to seal the fate of the galaxy. There is no poignant sacrifice like the choice to save the Quarians or Geth.

Nobody cares about you Batarian-Jim

Then there is the fan theory. You can tell how disillusioned a fanbase is when they come up with insane theories like this. The theory is basically that Shepard never made it on the Citadel and all of it is in his/her mind, and sometimes that (s)he is somewhat indoctrinated in the end. This is generally based on the reoccurrence of the vent-boy, the convenient confrontation with the Illusive Man, and the weird black distortion surrounding this encounter. Sure the theory makes sense in some regards, but let’s not pretend this isn’t some insane theory made up by a desperate fanbase. Firstly it doesn’t support the Normandy escape/crash scene or the Stargazers. Secondly, I don’t think Bioware is that clever, and if they were I think they would have waved it in our faces a bit more. Fan theories are nothing new; here are two Cracked articles on this subject: 1, 2. This isn’t even new to gaming. There is a popular fan theory around Final Fantasy VIII, which resulted from the much criticized second act of that game. The theory goes that Squall died when Edea impaled him on ice and the rest of the game is simply his dying mind. This was used to explain the insanity of Esthar, the infamous orphanage reveal, and the other craziness which happened in the second act. It’s a similarly good theory, and has been far better presented than I am giving it credit here (Same with the Mass Effect 3 theory), but let’s not have any illusions about these things. They are simply fan theories, and nothing more, thought up by an deeply unsatisfied fanbase.

I still love you Squall, and don’t worry I believe you when you say your entire school can hover.

So what is Bioware going to do? We have to face facts. The most likely reaction from Bioware is to stand by their ending and apologize for nothing. If they do something, it will likely just be an apology or explanation on why they left the ending as it was. Many fans hold out for a DLC ending, but I want to remind them how damn rare this is. I couldn’t believe that Bethesda actually extended their ending of Fallout 3 with Broken Steel. I thought that was unprecedented, and fans here expect a total rewrite. If it happens, I will be first in line to buy that DLC, but it is very unlikely. These are the same people that saw no problem in making only about three dungeons for the entire game of Dragon Age 2.

Bioware thought that this was a good idea. Not a good sign for repentance here.

I have been playing video games for twenty years, and I have never in my life been as disappointed with an ending as I was with Mass Effect 3. Sure there have been worse endings, but this isn’t just some crappy fighter, or racing game. The Mass Effect series is a series that focused on story, choice and consequences. It isn’t one game, Mass Effect 3 caps off the entire trilogy. Deus Ex: Human Revolution had bad endings, but it was only one game, it wasn’t very decision based, and it wasn’t tying up loose ends for an entire series. Instead of choice and consequence, we get 16 variations of the same ending, which is presented to us in a ham-handed fashion no matter what we do. Instead of making the player feel like he or she has done something great throughout the entire series, the ending robs every action the player made of significance.

– Mistranslations for the Modern Gamer


26 thoughts on “Why the Mass Effect 3 Ending is Bad and Why Fans have the Right to be Upset

  1. Fantastic article. I too have never felt so utterly disappointed by an ending. Despite having some unpolished surfaces, ME3 was nearly everything I could have hoped for up until the moment that the mortally wounded Shepard rides that skiff up to the Catalyst's carnival game. The moment when Anderson and Shepard sit slumped over and dying together on the Citadel was gut-wrenchingly beautiful and poignant. The Crucible might as well have suffocated the Reapers with an intergalactic fart. At least those of us who are immature enough to enjoy that sort of thing would've gotten a chuckle out of it. I finished ME3 three days ago, but I'm betting I'll have another week or so before the disappointment completely wears off.

  2. Thanks for the comment. It certainly takes time to get over… that. At very least the rest of the game is excellent enough that it is worth revisiting after the disgust wears off.

  3. very well written, and said, exactly how i feel about the ending. Usually I re play the games right after its finished, but in this case, I'd rather play mass effect 2 again than 3 despite the fact that me3 improved a lot. After beating the game I only realized how many allies could die if I act differently. Yet in the first play trough everyone survived which felt I made the right decisions. Up until the final attack it was like We are going to win this.And my disappointment not coming form Shepard's death or mass relays destroyed. I mean, I try to see it as a great equation, on one side there are mass relays that help rapidly advance the galaxy, on the other side there are the reapers who take away all that organics gained. If we subtract the reapers we have to erase the mass relays to keep the balanceYet 2 out of 3 endings keep the reapers intact and destroy the relays. Also none of them explained the final stargazers and the Normandy escape scene. The lack of answers and the zero tribute to Shepard what is the most disappointing. To top that (at least in my play trough) That super racist ultra pessimistic prothean walks out of the Normandy wreck adds the anger to the final feelings.Before I beat the game, I found some hints about bad endings and I thought its going to be some kind of inter dimensional gate. Where a few ships can escape to rebuild life, and leave the rest of the galaxy to die. Or Shepard could chose to blow up the whole thing killing everything including organics and synthetics but breaking the cycle at the highest cost.Or maybe crucible turns out to be some questionable time travel device, which could take Shepard back where he candestroy the reapers at very early stage rendering himself a nameless hero and be unknown by all his friends. (since nothing happens that the reapers caused) Or can rewrite the reapers (with the illusive man's code) and humanity became the greatest force in the galaxy and act like as the prhoteans enslaving empire.But all those are just my fictions, What I really wanted to see is something simple and cheese, like Shepard walking away and telling himself: That's all for today.

  4. I finished the game a few days ago and sort of stumbled away from the console scratching my head and wondering what I just paid for. I was going to try different choices, to improve the ending, but it appears that none of that will matter. I knew something was amiss when I learned about the new squad member in the Day 1 DLC. I chose not to download it, because just I couldn't imagine a reasonable scenario for how this could be possible. I wish I hadn't bought the collector's edition. I'm sorry to say, but this is great analysis of how I feel about this game.

  5. (This text contains spoilers for ME3)I just finished the game 5 minutes ago.This trilogy is one of the best games I have ever played. Interesting and fascinating story that arouses curiosity, outstandingly well done differentiated characters (especially in Mass Effect 2) with interesting and well thought dialogues and relationships that develop over time, lots of action, a beautiful map of the Milky Way and it's systems to travel in your spaceship, tough decisions to make that affect the outcome of the game, beautifully made extraterrestrial worlds, lots of back history that make for a coherent universe, etc.However… that was until I played the ending. I was so indescribably disappointed with the last minutes of the game and the ending, that I really don't know what to think. I can understand if Sheppard dies, or if some of the races are wiped out, even if the ending is bad because you made bad decisions and everyone gets vaporized, or the ending is good because you made good decisions and everyone is happy. But… this? This ending destroyed everything you worked so hard for. Nothing that you did before matters. Not only that, but as others pointed out, it doesn't make any sense at all. The god/synthetic kid hologram is just ridiculous. So, all this millions of years, thousands of races extinguished were the doings of a damn hologram that doesn’t like “chaos”? Yeah kid, very nice solution, wipe civilizations so… synthetics don’t wipe them? But you are already synthetics! Why is it the same kid that was on earth? Hey kid, I don’t know if you were paying attention, but the Geth and the Quarians are getting along very well. Hell, there is even a human with a synthetic girlfriend. And what’s up with Joker escaping the crucible shock wave? Why did it affect the Normandy? What about all the other ships that were orbiting earth? I didn’t see them being destroyed by the crucible. Why is now everyone aboard the Normandy? Why did they land in a planet no one knows? Why didn’t anyone ask at least “hey, is Sheppard ok?” The relays are gone, and everyone is stuck in the place they were at the moment of the crucible activation, which means that everyone fucking dies, fighting each other for resources, starvation, lack of technology, etc. Now that I think of it, when the relays explode, they can wipe out an entire system, so basically a good portion of the galaxy just exploded and everyone died anyway, so what’s the point? I have been a gamer for about 30 years, but this is so bad, that I am now depressed, I kid you not. I am sitting at my computer desk staring at my screen without knowing what to do. I don't even feel like a replay, because I know everything I did in all 3 games doesn't matter a damn fuck. All the charm, the fascination, the emotion, the interesting universe that was Mass Effect… gone.I found that there is even a petition going on in change.org to change the last minutes of the game with a DLC. There, Tom Maltais reason describes very well how a lot of people feel about the ending. I suggest you go there and read it, and while you are there, take some time to sign the petition too.

  6. Very true, and I direct you to this post on it:http://mistranslationformg.blogspot.ca/2012/03/biowares-to-fix-mass-effect-3s-ending.htmlThe post you're commenting on was made a little over a week before Bioware announced that they were going to release a free epilogue. With any luck the new epilogue will fix a lot of the problems inherent with the current ending. I would not expect the main plot points to change, but a further explanation and epilogue that sheds light on the effects of your actions would go very far into making it more deserving of such a great series.

  7. I can get over the "every ending is the same" thing. I really can, but it's everything else that doesn't make sense. Especially the stupid Joker escape scene. This game does know drama though. I cried a couple tears when Mordin, Legion, and Anderson died, but when Thane and Shepard died. I freaking lost it and I was crying a lot. I guess I'm too forgiving with the ending, but all in all I kind of liked it. The emotion I felt in Shepards last moments were amazing to me.

  8. The ending was bad I mean even the god-child plan was stupid. Hopefully the DLC ending will clear stuff up even thought it is just extending on the bad ending. I mean the mass effect trilogy as a whole was epic up until shep got on the magic lift :(. Also awesome article 🙂

  9. It is really weird that the otherwise well written series would rely so heavily on a Deus Ex machina to come and save the day. I mean, you spend the whole game trying to achieve something, which gets solved for you in the end. It is surprisingly lazy.

  10. To go beyond the plot holes that have already been mentioned, I would go as far as to take another step back and look at the big picture, and I see even more plot holes. Of course, these are based on a few assumptions.Assumption – Shepard is not indoctrinated. So let’s look at the big picture. There is an AI/VI within the Citadel which has created synthetics to wipe out organics to prevent organics from creating synthetics that will one day wipe out organics (writing that is just painful). Strangely enough, this AI/VI is also a “catalyst” which makes a super weapon work, which we have the plans and schematics for, can build in a relatively short amount of time, and yet have no idea how it works or what it does (not quite as painful, but still somewhat senseless). But, fortunately, the game actually lets us know that the Crucible “allows” for other options. So this huge metal monstrosity is a software patch? Even if we assume that the metal monstrosity is required to produce the energy required to blow the entire galaxy into space dust, what we’re saying here is that synthetics are killing organics to prevent organics from creating synthetics that will kill organics, and that the synthetics creator/controller/master is the key to activating the weapon that will destroy the creator/controller/master? And the creator/controller/master is Ok with it? The circular logic is mind boggling. Assumption – Shepard is indoctrinated. Based on the interactions of Shepard, the Illusive Man, and Anderson in the final moments, and Shepards breathe under rubble, many have postulated that Shepard was indoctrinated by Harbinger. This helps the ending, from Shepard getting blasted with the laser to the end, feel more comfortable, but it makes even less sense than before. If a Reaper was going to indoctrinate Shepard, why do any of that crap in the last scene at all? If a Reaper was going to indoctrinate Shepard, it would indoctrinate him/her right into a laser beam. The Reapers indoctrinated people to further their cause, and the easiest way to further their cause is to annihilate Shepard. It may make sense that it would try to get Shepard to choose control or synthesis, but why would it indoctrinate somebody and then give them the option of destroying all synthetics, including itself? It just doesn’t make any sense, unless it was all a dream, the Reapers are still there, and Shepard needs to wake up from the rubble and finish the job – in which case, the entire ending sequence was meaningless, provided negative closure, and leaves us totally lost and confused.That, my friends, is the definition of a bad ending.And apparently, according to the catalyst, every species that has been eradicated before, for millions of years, were all squids? The catalyst says that new reapers are created to store the info of each race that is eradicated, which explains the attempted construction of a human reaper in ME2. But all the reapers I saw were scorpion/squid thingy’s.

  11. Good insight. It only goes to show that the ending as it is does not survive any level of scrutiny. It's like they just stopped trying at the end, or they felt like they wrote themselves into a wall.

  12. You're EXACTLY right. I think it's obvious that they ran out of time or money or both and thought they could wiggle their way out with "artistic license" and "draw your own conclusion" political spin. Really, I find it insulting. It would have been better to just have Harbinger kill Shepard with the laser, then a cut scene showing all of the crew getting killed and go with the whole Hamlet/everybody dies ending. That would have AT LEAST provided closure. Given the choice between and bad ending and a bad ending with no closure, I'll take the bad ending.

  13. At least they're going to work on it. It probably won't stray far from the original, but it is better than nothing, and they will at least provide some closure.

  14. It is hard to say. I would bet that any DLC will take place prior to the ending. The "best ending" you describe does leave Sheppard's fate undecided, but I think it was more intended to reward players who had managed to get so many resources. While a chronologically new game is possible, especially since they are going to clear up the ending, it seems unlikely due to the stark nature of the ending. I would love to see the series continue, and hopefully Bioware does to.

  15. also at the end it shows a old man and a kid talking and the kid ask for one more story about him and the old man said yes.what did u think about the part?

  16. I think it was Bioware's attempt at being provocative. I think it may have worked had the ending itself left people content with the game. Learning that Sheppard is a legend long after his/her death would feel good, but the total lack of closure left that part a little flat.

  17. I agree completely.The Mass Effect 3 ending had only one purpose: To force an end to this series and put in in the grave. Nothing else.16 bad endings that leaves you with at felling of frustration.You had no choice. Well, except from that single ending no. 17 where you hear a tiny cough from the ruins…So, Bioware doesn't want to continue a success? Fair enough. But at leat let the players have the memory of a good time. That is why we play games: Having a good time.A bad ending is NOT having a good time.In this way Bioware ruins the memory of a good experience. They inject bad feelings. – How do you remember Mass Effect 3, John?- It ended bad.- Will you buy another game from Bioware?- I don't know, really. If it ends bad again? I can't trust them.I also think Bioware is wasting something very special. The entire world and storyline the have build up is unique in many ways. I know nothing is unique – everything is 'stolen' from somewhere else, but they did a pretty good job in bringing it together.Letting the hero die?A hero the player have build up through three games. With lots of time and dedication spend? In some cases even a subject for living out some of your inner dreams and feeling?I want my hero to survive. Period!I downloaded the 'Happy Ending Mod'. Without it the entire series was a bad experience.If Bioware has any plans of making a sequel or a subject related game I don't think it will be on top of my list anymore.

  18. Too many people failed to read pre-release statements.The last 5 minutes is not the end of the game. The entire game deals with all your previous choices from ME1 & ME2, which is what happened. The Final Hours app even states this is how the game works. Choices have an impact from the beginning of ME1 right until the last 5 minutes of ME3. People expected them to take all the choices in the trilogy and have them impact the last 5 minutes in some huge way when the entire game did that anyways. The whole "well Tali won't see her planet again or Legion and all synthetics are dead" bit. You want an ending where Reapers get destroyed, mass relays stay intact, no one starves to death, EDI and the Geth don't die and everything more or less goes back to normal. A cliche "hero saves the day". An ending with choice, but no consequence. Not what this series was about. There was consequences, but just because they didn't shove it in people faces doesn't mean it didn't happen. This galactic cycle is fucked. The Crucible is said to cause a "galactic dark age", or a reset back to zero. Deus Ex Machina? You were building the Crucible the whole game. It didn't just come out of nowhere. Pay attention and you'd know that. You guys just want a spoon-fed action finale instead of using an I-Win button where everyone works together, Reapers get destroyed, and life returns to normal. F-That. Reapers are billions of years more advanced than us. Oh, but we can beat them if we all work together. The whole indoctrination thing was meant to be subtle. Right from the first game. All those people who wanted to be really obvious for everyone and their grandmother to see didn't pay attention to the lore. It's subtle, as it was presented during the ending sequence. Bioware wasn't going to make sure that everyone could understand it either. They took a risk with their franchise and the fans couldn't handle it. What can I say though. People were warned a month before hand that this ending would piss people off, but they bought the game anyways. Blame yourself for that. http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2012-02-02-bioware-mass-effect-3-ending-will-make-some-people-angry

  19. It's been awhile since I wrote this, but I'll bite.1- Read my review of Mass Effect 3. I think it's a phenomenal game. However, the ending is not. I don't care if the entire game is the trilogy's ending, that doesn't change the fact that the ending of the game was poor, nor does it excuse it. In my review I specifically noted that the vast majority of ME3 was brilliant, but that last five minutes was so bad that it almost ruined the experience of playing the game. The last five minutes doesn't invalidate what happened in the rest of the game, but, conversely, the rest of the game doesn't excuse how bad the last five minutes were.2. Your choices don't impact anything, not just the last five minutes. Aside from cameos here and there, nothing you ever did had any effect. More importantly, the game had an entire system built around war assets, which not once had any impact on the story, or gameplay aside from the possibility of one second footage only if you are at the end scale. Why even make players feel like they were going to impact the final struggle when they wouldn't. Why not push the futility of the struggle instead of having us build war assets. It wasn't well thought out.3. A happy ending isn't the complaint, but there is a big difference from a forced ending that was unfounded on anything you did before, and a good dark ending. My comments on Tali, the Geth, etc. were there to highlight the fact that what people cared about were the characters in the game, and these characters were discarded without a thought in the end.4. You don't understand what deus ex machina means. The crucible wasn't the deus ex machine. The deus ex machina was the random choice you receive at the end that solves all the world's problems. While tied to the crucible tangentially, it had nothing to do with what you were doing. Once again, you seem to think that a happy ending was what people wanted. The Reapers didn't need to be beaten, but the gamer needed to feel like he or she accomplished something, or at least get the nihilistic feeling of futility. Instead, what gamers got were three nearly identical choices which forced a boring and poorly explained ending on people. It wasn't dark, nor good, just lacklustre. 5. I don't understand your point with mentioning indoctrination. If you are saying that the fan indoctrination theory is correct, you are wrong. There was no risk, no subtlety because the fan theory is made up. I don't think I'm going to bother explaining why.6. Please explain to me why people do not have the right to be upset or disappointed by an ending. Why does it matter if some people were aware that there would be polarizing effects? Most people would never read the articles, and even if they did, they still have the right to be upset. That's the funny thing about people – they have the right to their own feelings, and maybe you should try and understand that.

  20. Mass Effect was an illusion of choice. Choice is an illusion between those with power (Bioware), and those without (Nick D, among the rest of the fanbase/customers). I think the choices had more of an impact than Nick realizes, but he’s too mad to see it. Thinks the endings are still exactly the same even with the Extended Cut (or did you not get the EC Nick?). If Nick thinks his choices don’t mean squat, this is his problem, not Bioware’s. Customer is not always right.

    You progress through the story the way Bioware had intended to. This is set up like a “choose your own adventure book”, where you pick and choose from preselected options that Bioware gives you and the story progresses from there. What people are wanting them to do, is essentially rewrite the entire last 20 minutes of the book and replace it with different choices, outcomes, and perhaps a different way to handle the Reaper threat (end it on your own terms, instead of how Bioware decided it to end it using a Deus Ex Machina). It is not lazy writing. This is how they chose to end the story (as it is their IP). The only control you have in this game is what is programmed in by Bioware. Your choices are their choices. Your morals are their morals. Your way of ending the game is ultimately the ending that they programmed into it.

    If you want a very specific ending or way to finish the game, be prepared to pay millions for it. Otherwise, you’re just going to have to choke down your $60 cookie cutter ending that they provided. I’ll admit, the ending was different, just not as different as people would like.

    • Strange way to reply to an old post. I’m pretty sure at the time of publication, the extended cut wasn’t out. If I recall correctly, I praised them in a future post. Nevertheless, I concede that it is Bioware’s right to make the ending they want, just as it is my right to say that it is extremely badly written and lazy in every conceivable way.

      • Calling Bioware lazy is essentially being abusive. Which, a lot of businesses have a zero tolerance policy against customer abuse. A better way to put it, is that they could have fleshed it out a bit more. Or it could have been explained better. However, calling them lazy is another way of saying they are incompetent, which is essentially being abusive. Certain fans have stated that Bioware needs to take an English 101 class, which is, again, being abusive. If done in a retail establishment, this would result in you being removed from the store and refused future business with them.

        You do realize that when you write a story, that they also have their editing team check it for accuracy too. The writing team is only one part of the people who worked on that ending. I know, I know, the fans have some crazy idea that Mac Walters locked himself in a room with Casey and they wrote the ending by themselves, but there are dozens of videos and other statements proving that the ending was not a two man job. There is a design to the level. There is audio and sound effects. There is also animation as well. Hence, there was more than two people working on the ending.

        After reading the Final Hours app, I don’t think they would start off the ending chapter with the words “nine years of hard work has come down to (that ending)”. Perhaps this was the ending that the game was intended to have. Maybe not the one the fans wanted, but it’s not their story to tell, since they do not own Mass Effect 3, and merely were licensed a copy of it to use on Bioware’s terms.

        • If calling them lazy is abusive then I’m fine with being abusive. They used tired, boring tropes in order to assemble a tired and boring ending that wasn’t even executed competently. Companies are not above criticism no matter how good they are.

          I applaud Bioware for almost every other part of the Mass Effect trilogy, but they were lazy with the ending. To some, this may ruin the entire affair. It doesn’t for me. I think Mass Effect 2, for example, is one of the best games last gen, but that doesn’t mean that Bioware gets a pass.

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