The End of ME3 - Replying to some of the common criticisms

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Posted by downtime58 (224 posts) -

I recently wrapped up Mass Effect and finally had a chance to dive into all of the discussions and debates around the endings. For my two cents, I liked the endings - I didn't love them - but I thought they adequately told the story of my Shepard.

Below, are some of my thoughts on some of the common criticisms I've seen regarding the ending of Mass Effect. I don't necessarily think I'm right or wrong - these are just the things that nagged me when I read common posts arguing against the ending BioWare created.

(I had some links in the article but they didn't transfer over from word - I'll hook them up and credit some of the other writers who did a fantastic job of making similar points about the ending).

**Lots of spoilers ahead**

Player choice was an illusion in Mass Effect

One of the common complaints I see about the ending is that it gave players no choice. The argument is that all of the decisions invested throughout the game played no factor in its conclusion. While, I disagree (and more on that below), I think the first thing we thing we have to establish is this fact – players never had any true choice in Mass Effect to begin with.

For one, regardless of the choices you made along the way, your game wasn’t all that different from mine. Despite all your choices, we all did the following:

• Chased down Saren

• Fought the Reaper at the Citadel

• Were killed in the surprise attack

• Were recruited by the Illusive Man

• Recruited new team members

• Killed the giant skeleton-reaper thing

• Escaped Earth

• Enlisted some ally aliens

• Made the final assault

• The end

While you were given plenty of choices in how certain threads of the story played out, nothing you “choose” altered the main construction of the narrative – we all experienced the same beats in the story BioWare wanted to tell. Think of the main story as a self-contained jar, even though you were given plenty of options inside of it, none of those options existed outside of, or conflicted with, what BioWare intended.

Thus, you never really had the freedom to solve the galaxy’s problems in your own unique way. If anything, most decisions came down to a binary choice – do I do this the good way or the bad way? Or failing that – your decisions came down to did you or didn’t you perform an action, such as a side-quest, fetch-quest or loyalty mission.

It’s a marvel of BioWare’s system and story-telling powers that each of us feels uniquely connected to our Shepard, but it doesn’t belie the fact that even though we all made plenty of decisions, they were never our own – every choice we made in Mass Effect was one BioWare created for us to choose – and ultimately they always served the over-arching narrative.

The last 10 minutes is not the end – the whole game is the end

One of the other common criticisms is regarding the similarity of the endings – a common argument being that the end is really just “the colour of the beam” coming out of the Citadel. First things first – that point is not entirely true. While, the finale boils down to three choices – there’s already a lot of variety in them.

Take a look at the variations that can occur even within the three colours. There are some pretty big implications in them:

• Earth is completely destroyed or saved

• The Reapers are destroyed or they survive

• Shepard lives or Shepard dies

And even within these core choices, there are smaller variations like the level of destruction on earth, why the reapers leave etc. For my two cents, there’s a pretty big difference between my character living or dying at the end, or whether the earth is saved or not (since that was the main crux of the story, you know, saving the planet and defeating the reapers (who you don’t even technically have to defeat given your choices).

And before we get to that – let’s rewind to the three choices presented by the Catalyst: destroy, control or synthesis. Depending on your play-through, not all of these options might have even been available.

And while I’ll give critics the benefit of the doubt that we don’t really see the implications of our final choice, it’s not as though it’s not explained. For my part, the Catalyst provides a pretty intricate description of exactly what is going to happen depending on which path you walk towards. Sure, BioWare could’ve added a longer sequence of cutscenes to demonstrate what the Catalyst was talking about – but let’s be real – it wasn’t necessary to understand the ending. For my part, I’d rather be told what’s going to happen and then imagine the consequences for myself than be hit over the head with overt exposition.

From there, I ask you to rewind further – did the Illusive Man kill himself or did you do it? Did you shoot the Illusive Man before he killed Anderson? The decisions you make provide a decidedly different experience to how Shepard and the Illusive Man, and Shepard and Anderson’s narrative arc concludes. And speaking of conclusions– the last 20 minutes of Mass Effect 3 is not effectively the end of the game – the game itself is the end.

As others have pointed out, the entire game is a sequence of end points to plot threads, both major and minor, that have weaved through the three games. Take for example how you handled the Genophage or how you handled the balance between the Geth and Quarians – or perhaps how your cycle viewed the Protheans or how you dealt with the aforementioned Illusive Man. Then consider all the smaller points – all the characters’ stories (if you even still had them alive) such as Wrex, Miranda, Jacob, Ashley (in my case), Mordin, Samara, Thane that were brought to a conclusion. And I’m not even getting started on the smaller NPC character stories that have weaved through the three games.

The point to all of this is simple – the end of Mass Effect 3 lies not in a single cutscene – it exists in all of these choices above. What the criticism fails to see is the big picture – that while the main story arc might have tapered to some particular conclusions – how you got there, from the first Mass Effect to the last is entirely unique. I guarantee you – with all of the variations above – the Mass Effect 3 that the critics played wasn’t the same as mine.

The shaky ground of debating "facts" in a fictional universe

The last common criticism I see about the ending is regarding the plausibility of its fiction – this one is the oddest for me to comprehend at face value.

First, the burning thing I want to point out is a common misconception about the Catalyst and Reaper’s conveyed intentions.

Some critics have argued that “the synthetic reapers destroying all life in order to prevent synthetics from destroying all life” seems silly – and it is. But it’s also not what they are doing. The Catalyst notes that the Reapers harvest all evolved life every 50,000 years – incorporating the genetic data of those races into the Reapers – and while perverse – this is their way of cataloguing this data so that it’s not destroyed. The Catalyst notes (and Javik also notes on Thessia) that the Reapers don’t harvest non-advanced civilizations – they leave them be.

So, every 50,000 years advanced civilizations are threshed out (hence the reaper metaphor) and un-advanced civilizations can bloom – and the cycle starts anew again. The reason for this, the Catalyst states, is because advanced civilizations eventually create synthetic life that destroys everything (for example, the Geth) – thus no DNA is spared. While their solution is brutal – the logic is that restarting the galaxy is the only way to save the DNA and stop a cycle that would end everything permanently (rather than cyclically).

But here’s the real trouble with everything I’ve said about the facts above. They are all made up. It’s all fiction. Everything in Mass Effect is predicated on made up things. That’s the main trouble I have with this debate – it’s like debating the molecular make up of ghosts, or the hunting preferences of vampires. None of it is actually based on anything concrete.

To be clear – there’s no such thing as Turians, Quarians, biotics, mass effect relays, reapers, future London etc. The reason we invest so much into it, like any good sci-fi is based on a healthy dose of suspended disbelief.

And while, I understand if some people approach the ending from the perspective that their suspended disbelief wasn’t held up - I think that’s an awful slippery slope. It’s one thing to argue that you didn’t buy the storytelling logic presented at the end – but it’s another to get into specific debates about the lore of mass effect and how it functions.

Off the top of my head, the debates I’ve seen raging include how the mass effect relays work (i.e., that “science” dictates that wrecking them kills everything because that’s what happens when Shepard sends that asteroid into a previous relay), reaper dialogue contradictions throughout the three games, the indoctrination theory (for my part, this is just extraordinarily wishful thinking), and Joker’s motivations/actions/timeline at the end.

My point is that it’s all made up and those looking for holes are going to find them no matter what. Mass Effect is full of unexplained inconsistencies and it’s fruitless to point out breakdowns in logic – the entire game is built on defying actual logic.

For example: Why does shooting and using biotics not punch holes in the sides of ships when you are fighting on them, how come when I use singularity near my teammates it doesn’t make them go flying too? How come you found the Illusive Man so quickly in three but couldn’t find him in two when you were interacting with him all the time? How come my weapons went from using coolants to using clips from the first to second Mass Effect?

The answer is – because it’s a game and sometimes the conventions of the story needed to match with the gameplay – and sometimes the answer is because the story wasn’t fully written until it was finished, so there are going to be some logical gaps.

If the “trueness” of Mass Effect’s ending is really bothering you, I’ve got bad news – none of it is true. And while I understand that some people might struggle with how the story pans out, the focus on "facts" is misplaced because when you take a microscope to the universe, the lore and the story, you;ll realize all of it is predicated on a consistent untruth.

#1 Posted by downtime58 (224 posts) -

I recently wrapped up Mass Effect and finally had a chance to dive into all of the discussions and debates around the endings. For my two cents, I liked the endings - I didn't love them - but I thought they adequately told the story of my Shepard.

Below, are some of my thoughts on some of the common criticisms I've seen regarding the ending of Mass Effect. I don't necessarily think I'm right or wrong - these are just the things that nagged me when I read common posts arguing against the ending BioWare created.

(I had some links in the article but they didn't transfer over from word - I'll hook them up and credit some of the other writers who did a fantastic job of making similar points about the ending).

**Lots of spoilers ahead**

Player choice was an illusion in Mass Effect

One of the common complaints I see about the ending is that it gave players no choice. The argument is that all of the decisions invested throughout the game played no factor in its conclusion. While, I disagree (and more on that below), I think the first thing we thing we have to establish is this fact – players never had any true choice in Mass Effect to begin with.

For one, regardless of the choices you made along the way, your game wasn’t all that different from mine. Despite all your choices, we all did the following:

• Chased down Saren

• Fought the Reaper at the Citadel

• Were killed in the surprise attack

• Were recruited by the Illusive Man

• Recruited new team members

• Killed the giant skeleton-reaper thing

• Escaped Earth

• Enlisted some ally aliens

• Made the final assault

• The end

While you were given plenty of choices in how certain threads of the story played out, nothing you “choose” altered the main construction of the narrative – we all experienced the same beats in the story BioWare wanted to tell. Think of the main story as a self-contained jar, even though you were given plenty of options inside of it, none of those options existed outside of, or conflicted with, what BioWare intended.

Thus, you never really had the freedom to solve the galaxy’s problems in your own unique way. If anything, most decisions came down to a binary choice – do I do this the good way or the bad way? Or failing that – your decisions came down to did you or didn’t you perform an action, such as a side-quest, fetch-quest or loyalty mission.

It’s a marvel of BioWare’s system and story-telling powers that each of us feels uniquely connected to our Shepard, but it doesn’t belie the fact that even though we all made plenty of decisions, they were never our own – every choice we made in Mass Effect was one BioWare created for us to choose – and ultimately they always served the over-arching narrative.

The last 10 minutes is not the end – the whole game is the end

One of the other common criticisms is regarding the similarity of the endings – a common argument being that the end is really just “the colour of the beam” coming out of the Citadel. First things first – that point is not entirely true. While, the finale boils down to three choices – there’s already a lot of variety in them.

Take a look at the variations that can occur even within the three colours. There are some pretty big implications in them:

• Earth is completely destroyed or saved

• The Reapers are destroyed or they survive

• Shepard lives or Shepard dies

And even within these core choices, there are smaller variations like the level of destruction on earth, why the reapers leave etc. For my two cents, there’s a pretty big difference between my character living or dying at the end, or whether the earth is saved or not (since that was the main crux of the story, you know, saving the planet and defeating the reapers (who you don’t even technically have to defeat given your choices).

And before we get to that – let’s rewind to the three choices presented by the Catalyst: destroy, control or synthesis. Depending on your play-through, not all of these options might have even been available.

And while I’ll give critics the benefit of the doubt that we don’t really see the implications of our final choice, it’s not as though it’s not explained. For my part, the Catalyst provides a pretty intricate description of exactly what is going to happen depending on which path you walk towards. Sure, BioWare could’ve added a longer sequence of cutscenes to demonstrate what the Catalyst was talking about – but let’s be real – it wasn’t necessary to understand the ending. For my part, I’d rather be told what’s going to happen and then imagine the consequences for myself than be hit over the head with overt exposition.

From there, I ask you to rewind further – did the Illusive Man kill himself or did you do it? Did you shoot the Illusive Man before he killed Anderson? The decisions you make provide a decidedly different experience to how Shepard and the Illusive Man, and Shepard and Anderson’s narrative arc concludes. And speaking of conclusions– the last 20 minutes of Mass Effect 3 is not effectively the end of the game – the game itself is the end.

As others have pointed out, the entire game is a sequence of end points to plot threads, both major and minor, that have weaved through the three games. Take for example how you handled the Genophage or how you handled the balance between the Geth and Quarians – or perhaps how your cycle viewed the Protheans or how you dealt with the aforementioned Illusive Man. Then consider all the smaller points – all the characters’ stories (if you even still had them alive) such as Wrex, Miranda, Jacob, Ashley (in my case), Mordin, Samara, Thane that were brought to a conclusion. And I’m not even getting started on the smaller NPC character stories that have weaved through the three games.

The point to all of this is simple – the end of Mass Effect 3 lies not in a single cutscene – it exists in all of these choices above. What the criticism fails to see is the big picture – that while the main story arc might have tapered to some particular conclusions – how you got there, from the first Mass Effect to the last is entirely unique. I guarantee you – with all of the variations above – the Mass Effect 3 that the critics played wasn’t the same as mine.

The shaky ground of debating "facts" in a fictional universe

The last common criticism I see about the ending is regarding the plausibility of its fiction – this one is the oddest for me to comprehend at face value.

First, the burning thing I want to point out is a common misconception about the Catalyst and Reaper’s conveyed intentions.

Some critics have argued that “the synthetic reapers destroying all life in order to prevent synthetics from destroying all life” seems silly – and it is. But it’s also not what they are doing. The Catalyst notes that the Reapers harvest all evolved life every 50,000 years – incorporating the genetic data of those races into the Reapers – and while perverse – this is their way of cataloguing this data so that it’s not destroyed. The Catalyst notes (and Javik also notes on Thessia) that the Reapers don’t harvest non-advanced civilizations – they leave them be.

So, every 50,000 years advanced civilizations are threshed out (hence the reaper metaphor) and un-advanced civilizations can bloom – and the cycle starts anew again. The reason for this, the Catalyst states, is because advanced civilizations eventually create synthetic life that destroys everything (for example, the Geth) – thus no DNA is spared. While their solution is brutal – the logic is that restarting the galaxy is the only way to save the DNA and stop a cycle that would end everything permanently (rather than cyclically).

But here’s the real trouble with everything I’ve said about the facts above. They are all made up. It’s all fiction. Everything in Mass Effect is predicated on made up things. That’s the main trouble I have with this debate – it’s like debating the molecular make up of ghosts, or the hunting preferences of vampires. None of it is actually based on anything concrete.

To be clear – there’s no such thing as Turians, Quarians, biotics, mass effect relays, reapers, future London etc. The reason we invest so much into it, like any good sci-fi is based on a healthy dose of suspended disbelief.

And while, I understand if some people approach the ending from the perspective that their suspended disbelief wasn’t held up - I think that’s an awful slippery slope. It’s one thing to argue that you didn’t buy the storytelling logic presented at the end – but it’s another to get into specific debates about the lore of mass effect and how it functions.

Off the top of my head, the debates I’ve seen raging include how the mass effect relays work (i.e., that “science” dictates that wrecking them kills everything because that’s what happens when Shepard sends that asteroid into a previous relay), reaper dialogue contradictions throughout the three games, the indoctrination theory (for my part, this is just extraordinarily wishful thinking), and Joker’s motivations/actions/timeline at the end.

My point is that it’s all made up and those looking for holes are going to find them no matter what. Mass Effect is full of unexplained inconsistencies and it’s fruitless to point out breakdowns in logic – the entire game is built on defying actual logic.

For example: Why does shooting and using biotics not punch holes in the sides of ships when you are fighting on them, how come when I use singularity near my teammates it doesn’t make them go flying too? How come you found the Illusive Man so quickly in three but couldn’t find him in two when you were interacting with him all the time? How come my weapons went from using coolants to using clips from the first to second Mass Effect?

The answer is – because it’s a game and sometimes the conventions of the story needed to match with the gameplay – and sometimes the answer is because the story wasn’t fully written until it was finished, so there are going to be some logical gaps.

If the “trueness” of Mass Effect’s ending is really bothering you, I’ve got bad news – none of it is true. And while I understand that some people might struggle with how the story pans out, the focus on "facts" is misplaced because when you take a microscope to the universe, the lore and the story, you;ll realize all of it is predicated on a consistent untruth.

#2 Posted by Atary77 (502 posts) -

If I may share a quote from Shamus Young of the escapist

"A "life sucks" conclusion can work, but you probably don't need a long story to tell that tale. You can tell the story of "Life sucks, nothing makes sense, and you'll never know what happened" in fifteen or twenty minutes. If you stretch that out over an hour and a half movie and spring that on them at the end, then you should expect some people to be angry. If you take that message and spread it out over three movies, then you're a sadist. And if you spread that message out over three 30+ hour videogames, then you are going to end up with what we have here, which is people so frustrated and angry that they will file an FTC complaint"

Me personally I don't think the ending needs to be outright changed just maybe append onto it.

Some epilogue where we get to see what all the characters we met along the way got up to after the events of the series would be fine and dandy for me.

#3 Posted by downtime58 (224 posts) -

@Atary77: I'm not sure the ending was entirely negative - I'll grant that it wasn't a hero fantasy in maybe the same vein as Gears of War. For my part, though there was a lot of sadness, there was hope too - at least I like to think that the remaining members of your crew stepping out into new world was supposed to symbolize a new beginning.

I agree though, I wouldn't turn down some epilogue DLC if it meant getting an idea of where the characters went after the main story - though that could be challenging depending on who each player brought to the end in the first place - and then whether they survived (I had Garrus and Liari with me on the final run for the beam - I assumed they died since they weren't the crew members that stepped out of the ship for me).

#4 Posted by Atary77 (502 posts) -

@downtime58: True it would be challenging but something like an epilogue would be impacted by the player's choices like in Dragon Age Origins. You got to see what happened to the characters and world afterward because of the choices the player made. Yeah it was a bunch of text with no narration but it worked and I certainly think that would work here and provide the much needed closure the game needed.

#5 Edited by pyrodactyl (2186 posts) -
#6 Posted by Arker101 (1474 posts) -

Unfortunately OP, most people on GB don't go down the argument hole, but if you want to combat people who are smart and have valid reasons for disliking the end, I would suggest the Neogaf thread. I think most of us have said our piece on the ME3 ending and most users on both sides are just tired of new threads every day. I'm not saying you won't find good discussion here, it's just that most of those guys are burnt out.

http://www.neogaf.com/forum/showthread.php?t=467193&page=181

I think INDOC Theory is just a circle of dudes seeing what they want to see(Not wanting to see Bioware has having no writing talent), the ending was just horribly written and that's that. Casey and Walters secluded themselves in a room and made a poor ending without consulting the other writers, Walters wrote on a napkin, the entire plot of ME3 and that he wanted lots of speculation about the end. I'd love to speculate about Joker's hat being alive in synthesis ending, but not much else.

@pyrodactyl said:

@downtime58: it's easy to address the weakest arguments coming from people who sound like whining brats. Those critisism aren't the reason why the ME3 ending sucks.

If you're looking to argue for the ending just watch this video and come back to me

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=7MlatxLP-xs

Also this.

#7 Posted by downtime58 (224 posts) -

@Arker101: I appreciate the video and it makes a number of good points, but most of them fall into bucket number three that my post outlines - applying "fact" to a fictional universe. I totally appreciate if someone doesn't buy the ending of ME3, but once you start to debate the logic of the ending, and it's inconsistencies versus the previous games, you're walking on shaky ground.

Honestly, if you take a magnifying glass to anything in Mass Effect, you are going to find logic loopholes and gaps (as the video does when examining how the Crucible is built and transported without the Reapers knowing or attempting to stop them - or why Legion makes the choice he does) - and again, that's because it's a game and narrative conventions have been bent around the gameplay. Additionally, the overarching story might have been framed from the beginning, they didn't actually write the games until they were being made - with that in mind, it's extraordinarily difficult not to have some continuity errors which ME has.

My point is this: the ending doesn't break the completely game's aforementioned story or logic the way detractors say it does, but it does bend it in some way. So, whether people loved, hated or were indifferent to the ending isn't a function of the ending itself, but in the audience's willingness to suspend their disbelief on how things played out.

#8 Posted by downtime58 (224 posts) -

@Arker101 said:

http://www.neogaf.com/forum/showthread.php?t=467193&page=181

I think INDOC Theory is just a circle of dudes seeing what they want to see(Not wanting to see Bioware has having no writing talent), the ending was just horribly written and that's that. Casey and Walters secluded themselves in a room and made a poor ending without consulting the other writers, Walters wrote on a napkin, the entire plot of ME3 and that he wanted lots of speculation about the end. I'd love to speculate about Joker's hat being alive in synthesis ending, but not much else.

I think saying that Bioware has no writing talent is a bit of an overstatement - if it was that bad, you wouldn't of played any of the games. While I didn't love everything in the story - for the most part, all three ME games had excellent writing particularly for video games.

The reason I wanted to highlight this part - my understanding is that the whole Bioware writers conspiracy you mentioned was debunked. A lot of people are using that post as fuel that ME3's ending was to be different - from my understanding Bioware said that the post in question was fake.

#9 Posted by IAmNotBatman (654 posts) -

I feel the game should have been kept in the oven for another year, some of the features seemed rushed and worse than they were in previous games. The ending doesn't bug me as much as it probably should maybe it's because there are a bunch of broken things regarding the fiction of the game. For example when you first see a 'Banshee' it updates your codex entry, if you read it then you'll understand that they disintegrate when they die and a guess at why people think that is. Then maybe 60 seconds later you see one that's dead and fully intact with no explanation as to why that is or that maybe it could be useful, screams a lack of polish to me.

#10 Posted by Lady_of_the_patriots (73 posts) -

Not gonna lie I actually really agreed with this article. The whole game WAS the ending, not the last ten minutes, like you said. I didn't even really think about that.

Nice post! :)

#11 Posted by mrpandaman (866 posts) -

Man, this is the post that I wanted to write, but was too lazy to write. I agree with almost everything that you post on here.

#12 Posted by JeanLuc (3591 posts) -

@pyrodactyl said:

@downtime58: it's easy to address the weakest arguments coming from people who sound like whining brats. Those critisism aren't the reason why the ME3 ending sucks.

If you're looking to argue for the ending just watch this video and come back to me

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=7MlatxLP-xs

this

#13 Posted by downtime58 (224 posts) -

@pyrodactyl said:

@downtime58: it's easy to address the weakest arguments coming from people who sound like whining brats. Those critisism aren't the reason why the ME3 ending sucks.

If you're looking to argue for the ending just watch this video and come back to me

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=7MlatxLP-xs

The question I would ask of the critics is this - what ending do you want?

What's the perfect ending look like? What happens?

Say Bioware capitulates and says that they will change the ending based on fan feedback - imagine the chorus of different replies they'll get. Some people will want Shepard to save the day, some will want the Reapers to only be destroyed, some will want the relays to stay intact, some will want characters to remain alive for possible expansion games - the number of different possibilities would be endless.

So then, they make an alternate ending and that doesn't satisfy everyone - now we have two endings that everybody is debating over.

To make a parallel - one of the main faults (in my mind) of the Star Wars prequels was George Lucas' attempts to satiate mega-fans by explaining the mechanics of his universe. The results is that he caused more continuity and logic errors than he solved. The magic of the first three Star Wars movies is that it presented the universe and expected you to either accept it or move on - it didn't try to justify itself.

And regardless of how you feel about the ending, any attempt to justify the "facts" of Mass Effect's science-fiction universe won't make anyone any more satisfied.

#14 Edited by SpaceInsomniac (3825 posts) -
@downtime58 said:

Say Bioware capitulates and says that they will change the ending based on fan feedback - imagine the chorus of different replies they'll get. Some people will want Shepard to save the day, some will want the Reapers to only be destroyed, some will want the relays to stay intact, some will want characters to remain alive for possible expansion games...

Yeah, because before the game came out, I remember seeing thread after thread saying "oh, I sure hope the Reapers can't be defeated, and all the mass relays are destroyed, and everybody dies." 
 
...
#15 Edited by Ghostiet (5289 posts) -
@downtime58 said:

What's the perfect ending look like? What happens?

All most people need is a) closure, b) no glaring plotholes. Like your squadmates appearing on the Normandy, that's only an issue because some dumbass decided to remove the cut-scene where they get blasted AND Joker's dialogue after the beam hits.

Mass Effect 3's ending is lazy. It's a lazy conclusion, filled with unnecessary, dumb cuts (like Anderson's dialogue, where in the leak hours before release was a line about Shepard being a great parent - it's absent from the final product, and no one know why) and character derailment. The whole game is like that - it's a fun ride, sure, but there's A TON of evidence that it was supposed to be much, much more. Just look what happened to Kai Leng (who is a laughable, pathetic character), the Virmire Survivor (a character that's only slightly more relevant to the plot than Vega and that's only if you had a romance with him/her) or Javik (who was supposed to be crucial to the plot, instead of being a fun side character).

It's funny how people try to make arguments for the ending but they completely ignore what people are ACTUALLY BOTHERED by, instead choosing to take apart stuff even the hatedom dismisses.

#16 Edited by SlashDance (1828 posts) -

@Ghostiet: I don't think it's lazy at all. It's conceptually a very ballsy move to have such a cryptic, almost esoteric ending, which by definition can be a good and a bad thing.

Was it well executed, now that's a different thing, I agree there are some gaping plot holes, but my first impression of the ending was that it was actually pretty ambitious. Maybe they could've done more with the choices (although I agree with OP when he says the 3 endings are pretty different despite looking almost identical), but nothing about it strikes me as lazy, I don't know.

#17 Posted by SpaceInsomniac (3825 posts) -
@SlashDance said:

@Ghostiet: I don't think it's lazy at all. It's conceptually a very ballsy move to have such a cryptic, almost esoteric ending, which by definition can be a good and a bad thing.

Was it well executed, now that's a different thing, I agree there are some gaping plot holes, but my first impression of the ending was that it was actually pretty ambitious. Maybe they could've done more with the choices (although I agree with OP when he says the 3 endings are pretty different despite looking almost identical), but nothing about it strikes me as lazy, I don't know.

The ending cut-scene takes less time than shooting bottles on the citadel with Garrus.  That could be seen as kinda lazy, but I personally think that its brevity is actually more of a continuation of the same horrible mistake that is the rest of the ending.   
 
New character in the last moments of the game, too short, no closure, breaks themes, doesn't make sense, etc.  Everything that could go wrong, did go wrong.
#18 Edited by Ghostiet (5289 posts) -
@SlashDance

It could have been good if their thought process wasn't literally "lots of speculation from everyone". It's an ending that' supposed to shock you, not make you think.

And I agree that the endings are different despite looking almost identical. Problem is, that we don't know HOW they are different. Shit like destroying everything synthetic, making the Reaper's leave and most importantly, rewriting the DNA of EVERY sentient life form is huge shit. But they don't give us answers.

They promised that we'll get answers. Then, Walters comes out and says that we DON'T need the answers. Probably because they didn't know them or didn't bother to think of any. It's lazy.

And there's plenty of evidence of lazy throughout the development cycle. Like with Javik, or Kai Leng.

#19 Posted by GozerTC (458 posts) -

Yeah ignoring the arguing facts of a sci-fi story the biggest plot hole my wife is pissed about (and hence why she hasn't even TOUCHED ME3 since I beat it) is the whole "squad-mates on the Normandy when they were supposed to be in the final charge" thing.

My personal problems are all listed and don't need repeating. Does it matter if they change it or not? Nope. I've been disappointed at the end of games and movies before and I will be again.

#20 Posted by vidiot (2737 posts) -

There's also the whole part where producers and developers talked to people for hype interviews and...lied about the ending
 
Don't get me wrong, I love Bioware, and your proclamation that the choices you made in Mass Effect were "illusions" is similar to something I've been playing around for a very long time, but it's kinda hard to stretch and interpret a quote like this as something not truthful: 

Interviewer : [Regarding the numerous possible endings of Mass Effect 2] “Is that
same type of complexity built into the ending of Mass Effect 3?”
Hudson : “Yeah, and I’d say much more so, because we have the ability to
build the endings out in a way that we don’t have to worry about
eventually tying them back together somewhere. This story arc is
coming to an end with this game. That means the endings can be a lot
more different. At this point we’re taking into account so many
decisions that you’ve made as a player and reflecting a lot of that
stuff. It’s not even in any way like the traditional game endings,
where you can say how many endings there are or whether you got
ending A, B, or C.....The endings have a lot more sophistication and
variety in them.”

“We have a rule in our franchise that there is no canon. You as a player
decide what your story is.”

As for the "entire game being the ending", I can kinda get that...  
...Except if you drive off a cliff, nobody is going to be remembering the drive to the cliff, everyone will remember the point that you drove off the cliff... 
Because it's a freaking cliff...And the "journey" in this case seems to be the entire Mass Effect trilogy :/ 
#21 Posted by SlashDance (1828 posts) -

@SpaceInsomniac said:

@SlashDance said:

@Ghostiet: I don't think it's lazy at all. It's conceptually a very ballsy move to have such a cryptic, almost esoteric ending, which by definition can be a good and a bad thing.

Was it well executed, now that's a different thing, I agree there are some gaping plot holes, but my first impression of the ending was that it was actually pretty ambitious. Maybe they could've done more with the choices (although I agree with OP when he says the 3 endings are pretty different despite looking almost identical), but nothing about it strikes me as lazy, I don't know.

The ending cut-scene takes less time than shooting bottles on the citadel with Garrus. That could be seen as kinda lazy, but I personally think that its brevity is actually more of a continuation of the same horrible mistake that is the rest of the ending. New character in the last moments of the game, too short, no closure, breaks themes, doesn't make sense, etc. Everything that could go wrong, did go wrong.

I don't believe he length of it has anything to do with it being lazy or bad. MGS4 would have the best ending in history if this criterion was that meaningful. Again, I'm not gonna say it's an amazing ending, but I can see what they were going for, and to quote OP again, the entire game is the ending, so personnally I didn't feel any lack of closure.

Garrus telling me to meet him at the bar in heaven was really all the closure I needed. :p

#22 Posted by MB (12730 posts) -

When you elect to cross-post your blogs to the forums, they become subject to the same rules as regular forum posts. Please continue discussion about the ending of ME3 in one of the countless existing topics on the subject.

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