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Edited by Tomzombie

that song by sugar ray, when its over. that's the time i fall in love again.

Posted by ImperiousRix

Very good article, Patrick, and feel like the commentators you included all have some valid points (or at least defend their points valiantly).

I don't want to keep repeating myself on every single last one of these Mass Effect 3 ending threads... so I'll just leave it at that.

Posted by Brackynews

I think it's really good that this stuff matters, because it pretty well quashes any notion that single player experiences are becoming irrelevant compared to multiplayer replayability. The downside is it's one more bullet for CEOs to dodge by not funding single player games, to avoid the story quality issue entirely. Multibillion-dollar-trilogy orrrrrr hire a few more staff to temp ban wallhackers? Hmmm.

In my view, the business nitty gritty of what ME3 does with its DLC is secondary to evolving the game medium to another level of interactive storytelling. 15 years from now game writing will be better because of this moment. At some point there must be an evolutionary step up from choose your own adventure books. I don't think Mass Effect is that step, but we're at least standing in the right stairwell.

@phrosnite said:

This whole thing only shows that humanity is doomed.

"Where is your Shepard now?"

Gotta make a bumper sticker for that... lol

Posted by Lyfeforce

Nice read.

I've stayed away from the whole trilogy and have stayed spoiler-free, but with the fervor over the ending, I'm interested to see what the fuss is all about now. Going to have to Steam me the trilogy, it looks like.

Posted by Tumbler

For many, though, those final moments were everything.

I think this is the issue at hand. Those final moments to me...they were nothing. Literally nothing. I feel like Bioware never made an ending. They had a few clips ready, so they grabbed some thread and stitched it together rather than create an ending for the series. I assume because of pressure to ship the product, but really it feels more like they just don't give a shit about the fans. They don't think this Universe, the characters, the fans deserve an ending...at least not for the $60 in question.

To me, this is the issue. They delivered an incomplete game for $60 and don't care if you're upset. You can call that thing stitched onto the side of this game an ending but you're lying to yourself. If you buy the game then this is all ok. If you complain about it I don't think it matters. The only way to object to this kind of thing is to either get your money back (if you can) or not buy the game in the first place. My time machine isn't working right now so I only see one option.

Hold the line.

Edited by Rasmoss

Lost is a bad comparison. It's an American tv series. With them, you can never really expect there to be a cohesive plot thought out from the beginning, since the length of the series will pretty much be dictated by how much money it makes.

Mass Effect was always presented as a trilogy with a clearly laid out story and answers to the mysteries. Only by the end you realise that you were being fooled the whole time, that they didn't actually know where they were going, and that the ending they came up with as a solution is lazy, creatively bankrupt and illogical.

Posted by Zithe

@Rothbart said:

I think it's safe to say that there is no "if" to the whole indoctrination business

Well you're right there, but for the wrong reason. It's not the fucking ending. BioWare did not give us a game with no conclusion. I can't believe you people are still at this after the information that has come out of BioWare since the game's launch. The endings make more sense than you give them credit for, they were just poorly done. There is no need to pull all of this speculation out of your ass to try and cover it up.

Posted by Sarnecki

It's weird though. I do not think I have ever seen such incongruity between the opinions online and the ones coming from almost every official or semi-official outlet. Since I listen to a lot of podcasts anyway, I made it a point to find gaming podcasts with Mass Effect 3 discussion. Everything is basically a repeat of either:

a) How entitled gamers are ruining gaming as an artform.

b) The new en vogue argument of "The whole game is an ending! What do the last fifteen minutes matter?"

c) The usual "Nerds just want a happy ending" strawman.

Even Jeff's review is all about niggly things and not actual plotting problems. I guess you can only go so in depth in the avoiding of spoilers. The issue to be discussed should not be "change" the ending. You can't retcon your experience of the end of the game, life doesn't get absorbed that way. The issue being discussed should be the fact that the writers badly fucked up this stories ending and should be held just as accountable as the Lost team was for their shitty happy go lucky ending that absolutely misunderstood all the content that came before it.

Posted by Death_Unicorn

Patrick, don't write about Mass Effect 3 until you finished the game.

Posted by DrRandle

I've seen the breakdown of the endings, and there are multiple nuanced differences that can happen based on things like your Galactic Readiness. I think most people aren't going to see those, like most people weren't going to see the "Shepard Dies" ending without doing it on purpose in ME2. Bioware delivered on the endings, and I have been fully satisfied from a story perspective. I can't figure out what the hell it is that people want from this. None of it makes sense.

Posted by leinad44

@Hass said:

I guess for a linear shooter, like Mass Effect 3, the ending's are alright.

The mediocre pseudo existent rpg elements foretell what you can expect of the end.

Just think of it like playing Doom, and your expectations will be adequate.

One of the most ignorant comments I have ever seen on this site. You one of those RPG elitists?

Posted by Konig2540

For someone who cares so much about Mass Effect to go as far as complain to the FTC and BBB...I HIGHLY doubt that the advertising and claims made by BioWare and EA lead to his purchasing and preordering of the game. Being that dissatisfied with the ending.. yea, you were going to buy it anyway Spike Murphy, who are you trying to kid.

From his claim:

"I purchased a new copy of their game Mass Effect 3 for Xbox 360 at my local gamestop on it's release date, March 6th. Leading up to this, EA had made a number of claims about the content of the game in their advertising and PR, claims which lead to my pre-ordering and purchasing the game."
Posted by dvorak

First off, the end of The Sopranos was brilliant, and the only way it could have ended.

The end to Lost really was incredible if you are a huge fan of the show and get all the references and inferences. Having watched the entire run of Lost just last month, and reading the Lostpedia entries with each one, I can really say that the final episode was a huge payoff in so many seemingly insignificant, but truly huge ways.

As far as Mass Effect 3, there is no other ending than the indoctrination theory. There's just way too much evidence.

Posted by HellBrendy

I don't hate what they did to Shepard (i actually kind of like it albeit the Final Fantasy-inspired thing was a bitch much), I hate what they did to everyone else, wich was more or less nothing. And that actually includes the whole game.

"Hey, thanks for the 100 hrs in the galaxy together! Ask me three questions and we won't see eachother again."

Posted by ThePhantomStranger

@GrandHarrier said:

Patrick. What about the reactions of journalists during all of this? Isn't it telling that members of the game media have to a large degree, lashed out against people asking for a fixed ending. Just go back and look at both Giant Bombs, IGNs, Penny Arcades and other assorted outlets absolutely ripping into fans because they might actually get what they want. In many ways more childishly than the "entitled" gamers they are labeling.

Why is the games media ignoring that this isn't a precedent. It's happened throughout human history. Authors. Painters. Directors. Games producers. All have taken feedback and changed their works. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle with Sherlock Holmes. Charles Dickens with Great Expectations. Movies like Clerks, Bladerunner, Return of the Jedi. Games like Fallout 3 and Prince of Persia 2008.

You realize Lost responded to fan feedback too, Patrick. Do you feel its "artistic merit" is diminished because of that?

I'd enjoy seeing if you could objectively write an article from the other side. I respect you and hope that you could.

>_> Please tell me you aren't referring to the Harrison Ford monologues that got stuffed into the movie by the studio to generate a nonsensical happy ending...

Also not every change generated from viewer feedback is good. Take I am Legend for instance, the original ending was much closer to it's source material and actually had some point to it beyond Will Smith gets mad with grenades...

Yet the initial test audiences hated it, they hated thinking about the nature of the enemy in the middle of their thriller. Now we have Will Smith getting mad with grenades...

This isn't to say that I think that ME3's ending was good, because I haven't seen it yet, but that not all input from fans should be taken as gospel.

Posted by walter_sobchak

@Sarnecki said:

The issue being discussed should be the fact that the writers badly fucked up this stories ending and should be held just as accountable as the Lost team was for their shitty happy go lucky ending that absolutely misunderstood all the content that came before it.

a) How entitled gamers are ruining gaming as an artform.

nice example.

Posted by Draxyle

@jakonovski said:

Artistic integrity? Mass Effect 3 ends with "buy more DLC!" The integrity boat sailed long before the game was released.

I had wondered why I hadn't heard about that before in all this controversy. The endings may be bad, but this would piss me off a hundred times more.

It's business getting in the way of my games that's made me despise EA, and that's them shoving business in your face as the last impression you receive. Absolutely disgusting and vile. It's not as bad as the NPC's in Dragon Age Origins that sell you DLC, but it's damned close. EA deserves all the hate it gets.

So yea, no pity. Every EA product I buy has turned into a miserable experience because of corporate meddling. I am SO glad I stuck to my guns to not buy ME3. They'll never see another cent from me again.

Edited by Zithe

@chaosnovaxz: Cerberus had been working with Reaper tech, did you forget that part? That is how TIM controls Shepard and Anderson. He even says something along the lines of "Look what they can do!" when he makes you shoot Anderson.

As for the wound, Shepard just got hit by a huge laser beam and has been injured and hobbling ever since. It would be weird if he wasn't bleeding somewhere.

Just give this shit a rest. BioWare have confirmed that they originally had some kind of Reapers controlling Shepard scene in the works, but they couldn't make it work. Just wait for the DLC which will explain the real ending.

Posted by mrfluke

just please, like you can keep all your convoluted bullshit that pissed us off in the first place but......

just Give us the option of telling the godchild thing to fuck off, have shepherd give an inspiring as hell speech to the war fleet and let them take their chances against the reapers, and make the best ending be that everyone survives and the galaxy is united, and the second best one to be them winning the fight but shepherd is dead and the council honoring you for uniting the galaxy,

patrick hit it dead on that the theme of mass effect was about overcoming all odds and at the end of the game was grim as hell, if this game had the heroic finish we all wanted, it would have been easily one of the greatest trilogies in the entertainment medium, but the current ending of mass effect 3 robbed us of that.

god i hope they just nail this new ending, i wanna keep my faith in bioware, especially since they have the balls to do this, super glad that they did though

Posted by AnjinM

This was a very interesting article, Patrick. Thanks so much for taking an evenhanded approach. Like some others today, I'm wondering why the game journalism community is pushing back so hard against those clamoring for a corrected ending. I don't get what horse they have in that race.

Edited by stryker1121

Thanks for the non-spoiler tags at the beginning. I'm dying to read about all the ME3-ending furor but I'm still playing through the game. I have never seen the likes of this kind of reaction to a game ending, to the point a guy would file a lawsuit. It's crazy. I'll guess I'll see what all the hubbub is about in the next couple of weeks.

That said, the treacly Lost ending was weak. I don't need every single question answered, but the Mitch Albom-esque abstract spiritual mumbo-jumbo was frankly insulting to fans who were around since Day 1. Remember when Charlie said in the pilot, "Guys, where are we?" That's what I wanted the focus to be as we marched to the end, not the nonsense we ended up getting.

Posted by Roger_Klotz

@Agikamike: I'm fine with discussion and please do so, it's great to discuss. I had an opinion, simple/reductionist as it may be, find the mass effect community to be over acting on how Bioware handled the ending. I just feel the people need to chill, that's all. Sorry if I had offended you about feeling strongly about this issue.

Posted by JoeShadows

I now hate the Mass Effect fanbase with a burning passion. This has simply been THE WORST fan bullshit I have seen in ages- possibly even worse than that pathetic "Derpy Hooves" controversy. It's immature little pricks like these that result in Hollywood movies being focus-grouped into trite inanity.

Edited by mrfluke

@AnjinM said:

This was a very interesting article, Patrick. Thanks so much for taking an evenhanded approach. Like some others today, I'm wondering why the game journalism community is pushing back so hard against those clamoring for a corrected ending. I don't get what horse they have in that race.

this, like youve stated that you hated bioware's choice on twitter, but you really did give a evenhanded approach in writing this article, i still think you and the game journalism community are fucking insane for complaining about them changing the ending

(5 years of choices, and character investment, and 30hrs of building up a war fleet to take on the reapers, all thrown aside for some grade A bullshit, and you guys were okay with this ending? looks like the reapers indoctrinated the journalism community as well )

but regardless much respect duder for being open minded in the article ,

Posted by Skald

@mutha3 said:

@Skald said:

I love how divisive they made the ending. It really got people thinking, and talking.

Divisive? I don't think I've ever seen the internet unanimously agree about something like this.

Sure, the ending could've been better, almost anyone will tell you that much. Regardless, most people still love Mass Effect 3, and after the Dragon Age debacle, I think that's saying something.

Posted by Agikamike

@Roger_Klotz: No worries dude. I didn't mean to offend you either, if I did.

Edited by veXedbulldog

I finished the game on Sunday, after already hearing quite a bit of the discontent about the ending on podcasts, etc. I was prepared, then, to be a little disappointed, even though I wasn't sure what to expect. So I made my decision, watched the ending, and then thought, "Well, that wasn't great, but it wasn't horrible, either."

Then I went back and replayed the last portion and made a couple different decisions, including the last one. I saw that the second ending I received wasn't that different (read: nearly identical) than the first one. I watched the third choice on YouTube.

You see, on my playthrough, I made some excruciating decisions that led to the deaths of Mordin and Tali, but I lived with those decisions. I thought, "Maybe on a different playthrough, I'd be able to save them." But after seeing how BioWare decided to wrap up each of the endings, I realized that it really didn't matter what decisions I'd made throughout the process. Cure the genophage or not? Didn't really matter. Let the Rachni Queen survive or not? Didn't really matter. Geth or Quarian (I didn't get the choice to save both)? Didn't really matter.

BioWare has every right to see their creative vision to the end, but after spending $200 on their games, I have every right as a consumer to criticize the delivery on their promise of making player choice matter in whatever end they create. I enjoyed the experience of all three games--I really did--and I'm not begging for a refund, either. But I'll tell you what--I'm not going to pony up another $20, $30, or $40 for additional DLC which may or may not alter the ending experience. That's a shameful money grab, promoting something to "add to the legend of Shepard".

My Shepard is dead. That's the ending that BioWare wanted to give me, and I accept it without spending another penny.

Posted by patrickklepek

@Death_Unicorn said:

Patrick, don't write about Mass Effect 3 until you finished the game.

I finished it last Sunday.

Staff
Posted by Grognard66

So much rage and drama to little purpose. If only this amount of focus and action could be applied to something that actually mattered. Games are art and as such there are always going to be different interpretations and varying degrees of acceptance or enjoyment based on each individuals unique personality and life experiences. These drama queens filing FTC complaints, etc represent the worst of the entitlement culture which has become one of the unfortunate consequences of the internet era. Guess what kids?, sometimes you buy something and end up disappointed - s**t happens, so get over it.

I haven't finished the game yet, but I could care less if the last hour or two completely suck. I've thoroughly enjoyed the 19 hours I've put into the game so far; so in my book, I realized solid value from this purchase and the experience is in-line with my expectations. I remember people being disappointed about the last boss battle in BioShock and the ending movies, but the disappointment didn't spiral out of control to this ridiculous degree. This is a very dangerous precedent being established here. It's ironic that the same people who criticize focus-tested games are effectively doing the same thing now by trying to get the artists to change their original vision to match the expectations of some customers. There's a reason these guys are game developers and you aren't. If you don't like what they did, don't buy their next game. Meanwhile, grow up!

Posted by Seb

I would like an apology for Dragon Age 2 while we're at it.

Edited by 815Sox

Does Spike Murphy not realize that filling frivolous lawsuits is becoming an increasingly more dangerous thing to do legally?

Murphy, who works in advertising and political outreach, admitted to not expecting much to actually happen because of the filings--it’s a PR move on his part to push BioWare towards addressing his feelings about the ending.

Yeah, the judicial system is not supposed to be used for "PR Moves"... granted, you have lots of crazy shit from people like Orly Taitz and the rest of those birther assholes, but Taitz was also disbarred for pulling that stupid shit. Murphy should know this if he actually does work in politics.

Posted by Konig2540

@Death_Unicorn: Don't call out Patrick until you listen to the Bombcast...and hear that he HAS, in fact..beaten the game.

Posted by onan

The open letter to fans written by Dr. Ray does specifically refer to the "current ending." I find it really hard to believe he didn't have someone look over that letter before sending it out.

Given that, and the really fleshed out ID theory people have (and is masterfully summed up by Acavyos in this 25 minute video on youtube that's absolutely worth a watch http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ythY_GkEBck ), I'm convinced at this point that any of the endings will lead into a true DLC ending.

Stepping back, it's honestly kind of masterful, but unfortunately art does not exist in a vacuum. In the context of a boxed product that tells users to buy upcoming DLC to get more of the story later, even in the very best case scenario of the ending being an incredibly clever and well thought out way to keep people excited and interested in what comes next, it does come across as more of a cash grab.

Anyway, thanks for writing the article, this is a very strange situation in the history of fiction that deserves more scrutiny.

Posted by GunslingerPanda

Since time immemorial, endings have split communities. Even in novels; Stephen King's Dark Tower pissed a lot of people off with the ending, even though it was fantastic. In fact that book had a "fake" ending which sounds like the ones the fans of Mass Effect want and it was shit!

Bioware needs to put it's foot down and tell their fans to shut their whiny fucking mouths. It was their story to tell; not yours to reshape as you see fit.

Posted by Metal_Mills

Charles Dickens Great Expectations ending was changed. Why? Because people hated it so much. Does that means books and charles dickens are no longer art?

Posted by knightlyknave

I just finished it last night and I found the ending to be completely fine. I picked "green" and I think the implications are very interesting. The game up to the ending is spectacular and the ending is intriguing. I'm shocked anyone would say otherwise.

I admit it seems like there's some time when everyone but Shepard is off screen at the end that could be filled in in order to explain what the Normandy was up to in the ending. But endings don't need to wrap up everything in a neat little package. This was Shepard's journey and I'm happy to share it with her to this end.

Edited by 815Sox

@Metal_Mills said:

Charles Dickens Great Expectations ending was changed. Why? Because people hated it so much. Does that means books and charles dickens are no longer art?

Dickens did this of his own accord due to urging from Edward Bulwer-Lytton, slightly different from doing so because a bunch of nerds (the great unwashed) were angry.

Posted by mutha3
@patrickklepek: So far you guys haven't really touched on what you actually thought of the ending itself. The conversation on the bombcast this was primarily about the fan response to the endings.
 
Ignoring all internet BS for a second, what did you think of the ending itself?
Posted by Rasmoss

@815Sox said:

@Metal_Mills said:

Charles Dickens Great Expectations ending was changed. Why? Because people hated it so much. Does that means books and charles dickens are no longer art?

Dickens did this of his own accord due to urging from Edward Bulwer-Lytton, slightly different from doing so because a bunch of nerds (the great unwashed) were angry.

Fuck off with this condescending bullshit, plenty of the criticism against the ending is very well argued and reasonably and intelligently worded.

Posted by Jedted

Good article! Saddly i think this will be one of those situations where whatever Bioware does with the ending not everyone will be happy. Ofcorse that's one of the things that makes great art "art", some people will like and some will hate it.

Posted by RazeEverything

Great article. Would be neat if Damon gets back to you.

Posted by Metal_Mills
@815Sox said:

@Metal_Mills said:

Charles Dickens Great Expectations ending was changed. Why? Because people hated it so much. Does that means books and charles dickens are no longer art?

Dickens did this of his own accord due to urging from Edward Bulwer-Lytton, slightly different from doing so because a bunch of nerds (the great unwashed) were angry.

And how do we know this wasn't changed because they ran out of time? Casey Hudson specifically saying "The ending WILL NOT be you picking A, B or C" when in fact it was exactly that to a tee. How do we know this wasn't like Blade Runner and the ending was effective by other things? The original ending of that movie is hated by all. Including Ridley Scott and Harrison Ford.
Posted by Veektarius

There is nothing wrong with Bioware's general idea of how ME3 should end. The execution was off, and there's no more reason they can't refine their attempt than there is that Blizzard can't rebalance marines in Starcraft Multiplayer for the hundredth time.

Posted by vhold

The complaint that the endings are all the same mainly reveals how unimaginative the complainers are.  The ramifications of the 3 different endings are hugely different, it just doesn't beat you over the head showing that, you have to use your imagination just a little bit.  It seems the biggest mistake Bioware made was overestimating the players.

Posted by jbuchan76

if they change it or not, I still feel good giving $50.00 to a good charity.

Posted by Rasmoss

@Veektarius: But there is plenty of wrong with the general idea. The ending contradicts stuff in the very same game (the characterisation of the Geth and EDI). It's like whoever wrote the ending didn't read his own story.

Posted by TorMasturba

@patrickklepek said:

@Death_Unicorn said:

Patrick, don't write about Mass Effect 3 until you finished the game.

I finished it last Sunday.

What Patrick wrote in the article had no baring on whether he finished the game, he was reflecting on people's passionate reaction and it's similarities to other big media time investments for people, staples of their weekly lives coming to an "untimely end" as some people may see it or a "great finale" as other's would call it.

Even a person who's never played video games but have other media interests that have come to an end have a valid opinion on this matter. Books, movies, comics and even a series of theatre performances.

So in conclusion, I don't kiss ass, but your response was plain rude towards Patrick, stop being a brat.

Posted by Rasmoss

In the name of art, we must defend this artless, uncreative ending from people who want it to be more artful!

Posted by Zithe

@Rasmoss said:

@Veektarius: But there is plenty of wrong with the general idea. The ending contradicts stuff in the very same game (the characterisation of the Geth and EDI). It's like whoever wrote the ending didn't read his own story.

The Catalyst acknowledges that. He says his solution won't work anymore. He probably would have said a lot more if BioWare hadn't cut out most of his dialogue.

Posted by flanker22

the ending to mass effect is nearly the same as the ending to the matrix trilogy.

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