Wot I Think: Mass Effect 3 Extended Cut

By John Walker on June 28th, 2012 at 8:00 pm.

The Normandy escaping the arse of the internet.

You know what – let me apologise and make something clear. The phrasing wasn’t ideal, but my intent was only to call those who stamped around demanding the ending be changed for them, and behaving in really extremely unpleasant ways, farts. Not those who didn’t like the ending, and those who expressed their disappointment with the ending. Not liking things is clearly not worthy of fartdom. So I’m sorry for the offence caused to those whom I wasn’t trying to offend.

I liked the ending of Mass Effect 3. I’ve said so before. I acknowledge there were plot holes, perhaps even mistakes, but not being a self-entitled giant fart of a human, I find that I’m able to accept that the ending of something does not have to meet my preconceived expectations, nor wrap up everything I’ve encountered in a neat bow – heck, I can even hate it – without requiring it be changed. Human stories rarely end that way, and nor should all fiction have to. However, the farting was so loud and so smelly that BioWare felt a need to react. And so it is that new endings are available for the game. I’ve now seen all four. Clearly this involves hefty spoilers for the original game. I only discuss one of the new endings in any detail, however, but still you might want to see them for yourself first.

I won’t repeat myself on why I enjoyed the original endings. And I’m just so damned delighted to see the giant F-YOU that BioWare have given to those demanding they rewrite it. All three endings have been enormously embellished, lots of new detail and fixes have been added, and there’s a fourth brand new ending too. But they’ve stuck to their vision, and kept an ending that sees Shepard sacrifice her life in order to bring about massive change to the galaxy. Change that, sure, makes lots of what came before seem irrelevant. Because that’s what change does.

But importantly, they’ve also addressed some of the very valid issues people raised. I’d say the big two were: how on Earth was the Normandy back at Earth again?, and why didn’t the whole galaxy explode when the mass relays were destroyed?

The former is dealt with really nicely. They took out the mistake, and added in a brand new scene where you see Joker landing near the Reaper they’re trying to take out. Whichever two crewmates you took with you are then rescued before the giant laser beam obscures the screen (which also “fixes” the other bit where people decided they were dead, without having seen them die, and then threw their food at the wall and shat their pants.) And for me, it added a bloody excellent moment, as Garrus, my beaux, looked at me from the boarding platform with loss and pain in his eyes, and found the words to tell me that he loved me. Sniff.

Once with ghost-boy, I’m not sure if it’s my bad memory, or if things make a bit more sense this time. They always mostly did, in fairness. A lot of people seemed to come unstuck here because the Catalyst contradicted himself, and his arguments were flawed. Guess what: the Catalyst contradicted himself, and his arguments were flawed. A creature with near infinite power done fucked up, and it’s Shepard’s appearance on the platform with him that reveals this. It’s why you get to choose. And of course, the notion that this in any way denies the entirety of what’s come before is sheer madness – the Reapers have been there for a reason, trying to wipe out civilisations for a reason – we just found out the reason.

But this time there’s a fourth choice. I discovered it quite by mistake. I left clicked by accident and my gun fired. So I thought, what if… and shot the boy. He didn’t like that. “The cycle continues,” he said. And oooh, an interesting new way for things to play out.

The three previous choices begin in the same way, but are now fleshed out with some superb new CGI sequences in which we see the consequences of the choice meaningfully playing out on a number of planets. Then there’s also some really lame concept-art stills with narration, but heck, this was free. The scenes begin the same in each ending, but end differently, either with the Reapers destroyed, taken over, or of course the best choice of all, synthesis.

That was what I picked first, after my accidentally finding the fourth finish. I wanted to see how things would wrap up with my original choices. And I bloody loved it. I picked synthesis, and while it told me little that I didn’t know, I got to see far more of its happening. I saw Reapers and other species working together to rebuild the galaxy. I saw people with glowy green eyes. I saw Krogans with green-eye-glowing babies.

The other two have similar new content. Often times it’s the same scenes redone, but much more meaningfully than with a different colour filter. And crucially, you also see some significant changes to the way the mass relays are affected. They’re not blown up any more. They’re either unharmed, or damaged. But it seems they can be rebuilt. It’s not quite the brutal, galaxy-exploding/isolating conclusion many refused to suspend their disbelief to ensure.

There’s one more new addition. A lovely scene, that again I won’t spoil, but adding a clever touch of closure without compromising or denying anything. Again, it’s the same for all three of these endings, but importantly there’s a different narrator for each. And talking of different, of course these endings are adapting to what happened as you played all three games, who’s still alive, who died, and who you porked.

I think BioWare have done an absolutely stunning job here. They’ve maintained their integrity and their vision, they’ve stuck to the ending they wanted to tell, but they’ve been contrite enough to fix genuine mistakes. They’ve embellished upon what they already had, and in doing so have made things feel more meaningful without tying stupid bows to every thread. They’ve clearly spent a fortune doing it, and it’s yours for free.

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365 Comments »

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  1. Xocrates says:

    Despite not having a lot of interest in the series, I followed the development of the ending debacle with some interest, and as such it has been interesting to see people reactions to it.

    That said, I find that implying those complaining about the ending to be “self-entitled giant fart of a human” to be as self-entitled as those demanding the change. There were a lot of very clever people with very real complaints, and as much as people shout about setting a bad precedent, they constantly ignore that there are loads of precedents in this and other media.

    • noodlecake says:

      No. I think “self entitled giant fart of a human” is a fairly apt description. I think the people at Bioware tried very hard and lost a lot of sleep over the years they spent making this game and the tantrums people threw as a response, because they weren’t keen on the ending, were pretty childish, especially when the game is so damn good.

      • byteCrunch says:

        Not really, there were plenty of valid complaints that were delivered sensibly, yes there was alot of noisy people, but labeling anyone who complained as entitled is just arrogant.

        • Jay says:

          I don’t think anyone’s doing that though. No-one has a problem with people complaining about not liking an ending. Most of the writers on here have done at it some point or another. When people are kicking up a storm and actively demanding that the creators change the ending because they’re entitled to one they like better, that’s the problem.

          Surely this behaviour is what John’s referring to in the article above. That’s the way I read it, at least.

          • briktal says:

            Why does “artistic vision” seem to be most sacred with video games, the most interactive form of media?

          • Jay says:

            But that leads down a path of focus-tested blandness, where lead characters never die because won’t somebody think of the shippers, and so on. Think of the most memorable, oh-my-god twists in game stories. Then think how many would’ve been retconned if they listened to fan complaints at the time. Think how many would be retconned in the future when fans find out they can get their way if they’re vocal enough.

            Maybe it’s just me. I’d rather have a bad ending than a dull one.

          • briktal says:

            Yeah I can’t imagine what the Mass Effect series would be like if they listened to fans. Imagine if they caved and made Tali a romance option?

          • Jay says:

            I’m not that fussed about Mass Effect. For me it’s more about fan expectations. As your last point proves, they already hold a hell of a lot of sway in these matters, I’m not sure handing them the reins entirely is the way to go.

            Do you think that improved the series? What was the last fan-protest-provided story shift that did?

          • Brun says:

            If it’s about fan expectations, companies like BioWare should be ready to accept the consequences when they fail to meet those expectations. People were simply dissatisfied with the ending. I don’t think there was this huge drive to change the ending in one specific way – they just wanted something better than what was provided. That leaves plenty of room for BioWare’s “artistic vision.”

          • Leaufai says:

            The problem with the ending’s artistic integrity is that it’s rumored that it wasn’t a product of the entire team, like the rest of ME3 but a solely product of Casey Hudson and Mac Walters. Unlike the rest of the writing, the ending was open to peer review. If this is true, I’d blame Hudson and Walters for violating the integrity of the game and not the complaining fans. If you’re holding the paint brush with a couple of dozen men and painting beautiful lines, don’t look surprised when the lines turn squiggly when you decide to just hold the brush with two people.

          • Cooper says:

            “I can even hate it without requiring it be changed”
            It’s kinda clear the self-entiteled farty pants are those who didn’t like it AND demanded it be changed.

            The ending of The Prisoner was ape-shit insane and made no sense. I’m not sure I liked it. But it’s be self-entitled and farty-panted of me to have demanded they record a new one.

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            Stellar Duck says:

            They already retconned Dragon Age to hell and back with both the Witch Hunt DLC and Leliana in DA2 so I don’t think the art argument holds any water. Besides, when the final words of your “art work” is ‘Now buy out DLC!’ you can’t really claim that it’s art.

            It’s a product. A rather crummy product at that.

          • jrpatton says:

            “But that leads down a path of focus-tested blandness”

            Yeah. Thank god it didn’t turn out as bland as HL2, it’s episodes, Portal 1&2, Left 4 Dead 1&2. Games famous for their extreme focus testing. That would have been horrible. I prefer broken plot-hole filled unsatisfying endings as long as the artists’ “vision” is not disturbed in any way.

            /soMuchSarcasm

          • Jay says:

            “Yeah. Thank god it didn’t turn out as bland as HL2, it’s episodes, Portal 1&2, Left 4 Dead 1&2. Games famous for their extreme focus testing. That would have been horrible. I prefer broken plot-hole filled unsatisfying endings as long as the artists’ “vision” is not disturbed in any way.”

            I must’ve missed the part where Valve threw open their games to the gallery and just went with what the fans wanted. Those examples you listed are almost the polar opposite of that.

            There’s a huge difference between thoroughly testing and iterating your games to a fine sheen and just going with what the fans want. It’s the difference between Portal 2 being its own thing and it being a series of increasingly tired cake jokes. Remember the outcry over L4D2? I don’t remember them bowing to the fans on that one. You seem to be taking one thing I said out of context to put forward an argument that has no relevance to what’s being discussed.

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            Stellar Duck says:

            At least Bioware could have gotten some decent writers to do it if they didn’t want to test the story.

            And tested it a bit more so I didn’t have to reload every time I got stuck in the floor in the cockpit. Or got stuck on a table I randomly warped up on.

          • wicko says:

            Seems like everyone forgot this is a story with multiple paths: meaning it could have multiple endings. Nothing is stopping Bioware from writing additional endings (as they clearly demonstrated), they’ve just back-pedalled on the “fans co-create the story with us” mentality. Real reason being time constraints. Game was rushed, and it shows.

          • Archonsod says:

            “I must’ve missed the part where Valve threw open their games to the gallery and just went with what the fans wanted.”

            It’s alright. I missed the part where Valve made a decent game in the first place.

          • Toberoth says:

            “I missed the part where Valve made a decent game in the first place.”

            That’s a shame. The two Portal games are excellent, and I can highly recommend at least the original Half Life as a great example of game design.

      • Brun says:

        The fact that a developer poured their blood, sweat, and tears into a game doesn’t mean the public is obligated to like it. Games should be judged on their merits, not on how much effort went into producing them, despite what some developers (and all publishers) wish.

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          Vesuvius says:

          This.

        • noodlecake says:

          Well luckily it was a fantastic game, as most critics will tell you.

          • Nick says:

            most critics are full of shit then.

          • noodlecake says:

            Uh. I really don’t think so. I generally ignore the user scores on metacritic because they usually just prove that people are morons. Games that were very good but didn’t turn out exactly as fans expected getting 3s and 4s. I think critics tend to be a little bit more objective than fans. I’ve never seen a metacritic score that I more than mildly disagree with and it’s not because I just like what I’m told to like.

          • Dogger says:

            http://www.metacritic.com/browse/games/release-date/available/pc/metascore?view=condensed

            Out of the Park Baseball 2007, Second best PC game of all time?, You be the judge.

          • John Walker says:

            It’s a damned good management series.

          • Toberoth says:

            If you’re going to be like that, John, couldn’t you argue that most games are about managing to a greater or lesser extent? I wouldn’t say management is the main focus of the series as a whole, though, certainly not of the first two games (I haven’t played the third so I can’t judge it).

          • wicko says:

            And can you guess why most critics applaud big budget games? I’ll give you a hint: “ads”

          • John Walker says:

            Toberoth – I meant Out Of The Park Baseball.

          • Toberoth says:

            John – My bad! Cocktails + heat = drowsy, inattentive Toberoth.

          • InternetBatman says:

            The problem is that most of those critics then turned around and fanned the flames of dissatisfaction. PC Gamer was by far the most blatant about this, but a lot of publications did this.

      • briktal says:

        Don’t forget that this DLC is free so you aren’t allowed to complain about any part of it because it’s free and you didn’t pay money for it.

        • Chirez says:

          It’s fine to dislike free stuff, it’s fine to criticise free stuff. My bowel movements are free, but I rarely expect them to win awards.

          When one starts to feel that one is entitled to better quality free stuff, that’s the point at which a little introspection may be in order.

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        Vesuvius says:

        Someone can “try very hard” and still fail, or at least let down their audience, and the audience doesn’t have a responsibility to coddle them and pretend they enjoyed something that they didn’t.

        There’s nothing wrong with saying that you felt the endings were out of touch with themes of the series as a whole- in fact that’s a very fundamental criticism, and acting like people who pointed that are somehow spoiled and worthy of derision? That’s fanboyism at it’s worst. Criticism happens. People are every bit entitled to have feelings about the art they’re exposed to, and to act otherwise is ridiculous- especially since we’re here on a criticism site.

        So you didn’t like the way some folks expressed their displeasure- you felt the most vocal were demanding- say THAT, rather than painting everyone with your closed-minded and insulting statements.

    • Ranger6six says:

      In all honesty, the people who hated the endings were far more often constructive in their freedback than those who liked it. What really made things confusing is that those opposed to changing the endings, were calling foul on actions like donating money to charity or sending simple cupcakes. If you don’t like something and you want to protest, isn’t this the way that you want people to go about it instead of just grabbing pitchforks?

      People like the author of this article who are against consumers having a different opinion, should simply be pitied. Even after all this time has passed, he still needs to hand out jabs at people.

      Makes me wish I actually supported some of the “take back ME3″ actions to simply annoy small minded people like the author.

      • svge says:

        I agree, of all the people I saw complaining, most were giving valid and intellectual reasons why they were dissatisfied. I hate the way this is written as though John Walker is DEFINITELY RIGHT about how the ending was/is satisfactory and everyone who disagrees is an ENTITLED GIANT FART OF A HUMAN.

        • noodlecake says:

          I don’t think the being obscenely pedantic about plotholes bit was the problem. It’s the demanding that the ending be changed. I’m a painter and there’s no way I would change a painting because some people whined about it, even if they had some logical reasons as to why they thought there was something wrong with it. It’s my painting!

          • Jimbot says:

            Which is fine. But what if it were a commission? Would you tell your client that? How about if it were commercial? Would you tell your buyers that?

            If your answer is yes then you shouldn’t be taking commissions and producing commercial art.

          • cckerberos says:

            That’s not the greatest comparison. I think a closer one would be a commercial artist showing a piece of artwork to a client and being asked to make changes.

          • Archonsod says:

            “Which is fine. But what if it were a commission? Would you tell your client that? How about if it were commercial? Would you tell your buyers that?”

            Yes. That’s what makes him an artist, and not a designer.

          • Commodore says:

            I don’t think you understand why people wanted the ending to be changed.

            It’s not that the outcome was unenjoyable, or even that it was poorly written.

            It entirely comes down to the fact that, a series that has held “game decisions affect outcomes” more sacred and dear to its heart than any other, managed to end the series and throw out EVERY. SINGLE. DECISION. you have made throughout all three games, and just give you a “how do you want to end it all: (g)ood, (e)vil?_” prompt, which really only served to modify the ending in minor ways, and then they had the outright audacity to market it as though these were completely unique endings. I don’t know where you live, but here in the US, that *usually* constitutes false advertising, when it comes down to it.

            I would say the cop out of an ending very nearly ruined what was otherwise a fantastic game for me. If I had a bit of a go at it myself, I would probably just chop off everything after the part where Anderson dies and Shepard passes out, leaving the rest to speculation. I think I would have been a lot less dissappointed with that, in the end.

        • Jesus H. Christ says:

          pretty boring insult too. I like a little humour in my insults, not repressed-anger-at-how-his-life-turned-out or whatever it was that made the writer insult a portion of his readership. Professionalism and class is something I never expect to see on a gaming site.

          Although I have been quite surprised with the new head of Kokatu, Too bad he works for gawker.

      • briktal says:

        The thing about many of the people who liked the ending is that they didn’t actually like the ending. They may have thought it was strange and confusing. However, the liked the rest of the game. Take SEGF’s article defending the ending (please): 90% of the article is about decisions and consequences that all play out before you step into the beam.

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      jrodman says:

      Thumbs down on non-funny inflammatory language in the article.

      • Reefpirate says:

        “(which also “fixes” the other bit where people decided they were dead, without having seen them die, and then threw their food at the wall and shat their pants.)”

        I thought that part was hilarious. I literally laughed out loud.

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          jrodman says:

          That part was a bit funny. It was the other part about blah blah farting is self entitlement. That was the part that didn’t belong in an article.

    • JarinArenos says:

      Nicely placed above the cut too, to drive traffic. Not that I’m one to talk since I’m here commenting and creating more traffic. But me being cynical, or even agreeing or disagreeing with the sentiment doesn’t change the fact that Jon Walker is… a bit of a dick.

      • MrWolf says:

        Yes, but he’s OUR bit of a dick. And that makes him precious!

    • Kestrel says:

      I think the real question is, why do you like farts so much?

    • mixvio says:

      If you didn’t like the ending — and reasonable humans can do that — that’s fine. Tell people you hated the ending. Tell people how much you hated it, and why. Throwing a tantrum demanding that they change it to placate you is entitlement beyond anything I have words for.

      The only precedent such capitulation sets is that it’s fine for customers to demand that bad endings to movies and books are one internet whinefest away from being rewritten, artistic integrity be damned.

      • JarinArenos says:

        Precedent be damned. This is far from the first time it’s happened; merely the loudest. I cite Fallout 3’s Broken Steel, just as a recent example.

        • mixvio says:

          Fallout 3’s DLC wasn’t changing the ending (at all, really), it was expanding it because the only other way to offer post-launch DLC would be to have you complete it before you complete the main game. They did that with the virtual reality DLC, and said that the Broken Steel DLC would open the game up at the end.

          Game developers (or filmmakers or writers and whatever else) can do that if they want. It’s their content, so they have ultimate authority over it. Customers who buy it are not entitled to make such demands.

      • Grygus says:

        Fine, except that pretending that everyone who did not like the ending made such demands is so ignorant and arrogant that I can’t believe you’re not aware of the fallacy and simply do not care.

        This DLC isn’t bad for anyone actually involved; BioWare makes a more complete version of the story they wanted to tell, and people who liked the basic structure of the ending get more of what they liked. However, everyone who hated the original ending is not involved here at all.

        Introducing the main antagonist of a 100 hour story 15 minutes from the end is bad storytelling, unless the entire point was that mystery, which was not the case here. Having an ending based on button pushes instead of proceeding logically from past choices like, oh, I don’t know, every other major consequence in the game is out of character. It’s not that the ending wasn’t rainbows and ponies; my favorite two companions were Mordin and Tali. Both of them died during my playthrough, and both times their deaths were awesome and sensible, and I fully expected Shepard to die at the end. But after all this cause-and-effect, killing the main character is done completely arbitrarily? That doesn’t even make sense! The whole ending is out of character with the rest of the series in tone and execution. I don’t see how anyone can fail to see that, though obviously you can like it anyway.

        This DLC has not even attempted to address these problems, and is therefore a waste of time for people like me. I am glad some people liked it, but there is no need to insult us, because this didn’t involve us or our complaints at all. It was for the people who liked the ending to begin with; blame yourselves if you are resentful for some reason.

        • Cooper says:

          He’s not pretending anyone who hated it made such demands.

          Read the article, it’s pretty clear those who damnded change are the farty-panted ones.

    • Enikuo says:

      I also read a lot of well-reasoned and polite complaints about the ending. It bothers me to see those people characterized as “self-entitled” because that label is used to excuse all manner of issues in gaming. If you care about restrictive DRM, you’re entitled. If you care about gender issues, you’re entitled. It’s industry rhetoric. Gamers shouldn’t be using it against one another.

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        jrodman says:

        And writers on rock paper shotgun shouldn’t be throwing it around thoughtlessly! If it was meant to be funny, the couching was bad. If it was meant to be serious but self directed, it didn’t work. If it was meant as serious, god help John.

    • FractalChaos says:

      Am I the only one who “gets” what John was getting at?

      Complaining about ending of game and making valid constructive criticisms good; doing so in a childish bratty douchey way and, most of all, demanding company remake part of game ,in the same way bad.

      He didn’t refer to the complainers as farts or whatnot; he referred to those demanding the ending be rewritten as farts. I happen to agree.

      EDIT: It seems John pointed this out himself with his edit/preface to the article. He doesn’t need me to point it out. :)

  2. Twoflower says:

    Which is exactly what needed to be done.

    Plug the plot holes, explain the needlessly vague points, and remove the implication that everybody starved to death in galactic isolation. Show that the galaxy was, in fact, saved rather than completely ruined in a different way. (Yes, obviously they didn’t intend to make us think everybody dies horribly, but the canon behind how the Mass Relays work meant it was a very reasonable extrapolation of what they showed us.)

    I think there’s plenty of elbow room between “Teh Original Endings Were GENIUS and ART and you whiny fanbabies need to suck it up” and “Teh Original Endings Were HORRIBLE and LAME and my Shepard needs to go off and make blue babies with Liara.” In that middle ground you have the Extended Cut, which doesn’t do anything differently — it fills in the gaps.

    I will say though that the 4th ending, the giant middle finger to the fans, should’ve just been left out. That’s needlessly rage-provoking, like a sneering beret-wearing film director flashing his fans the finger or something. Stay classy, Bioware.

    • MrWolf says:

      I think if you actually WATCH the fourth ending (the “Refusal” ending, so to speak) to the post-credits end, you will see that it is actually, in many ways, the most satisfying and hardly the “middle finger to the fans” that so many people — who, more likely than not, haven’t even seen/played it — seem to think.

      • Kandon Arc says:

        I think Star Child saying ‘So be it’ was a f*** you straight from Casey Hudson, but the beacon scene and the stargazer made it a rather satisfying ending overall.

      • deiseach says:

        I loved the new choice. Apart from allowing you to meaningfully shoot the Star Brat, it was a great tribute to the lore of Mass Effect. You got closer than the Protheans and the next generation will get closer thanks to you. Really satisfying

    • alexiskennedy says:

      >the giant middle finger to the fans

      ‘The fans’ complained about having to take the Catalyst’s options, so BW put in a fourth ending with the opportunity to tell an omnipotent NPC to get knotted, which is rather rare and precious I think. You say ‘I’d rather burn than serve’, and you get to burn. What did people expect, a big speech and an extra-happy ending? That wasn’t so great in Babylon 5.

  3. Ross Angus says:

    Well I’m still trying to get my galactic readiness up to 100% again, so I can see it all first hand. Seemed it all seeped away, when I wasn’t looking.

    • dontnormally says:

      I can’t help but assume that this was the plan from the beginning.

      A reason to make you start playing the game again.
      A reason to worry about your readiness.
      A reason to dump real munz into game stufs.

      And John Walker: you’re a doody-head.

    • El_Spartin says:

      If you did enough stuff during the story you can get away with 50% readiness and still see the endings.

      By the way, Mr. Walker, I was under the impression that RPS was above nerd baiting. Please, clean up your act.

      • Reefpirate says:

        How would you write an article like this without ‘nerd baiting’?

      • Ross Angus says:

        El_Spartin: I read that you didn’t get the third ending with less than 100%. Was I misinformed? If so, I’ve been needlessly playing multiplayer for the first time in my life.

        • Kandon Arc says:

          I think they changed the threshold with the EC dlc. I had all three options available at 50% having done pretty much all the side missions.

  4. Enzo says:

    I love the new, better endings as well. I’m happy that Bioware put some effort into this DLC.

  5. noodlecake says:

    Hear, hear!

  6. top8cat says:

    Haven’t played Mass Effect since the first(and I didn’t even finish that), but I’m glad to see the whole”burn E3 ’cause they’re the evilest!” storm tone down and Bioware fixing some apparently glaring issues.

    The problem with games like Mass Effect is that when you’re making multiple additions to your series, there is no way you can make the game completely unique to the users decisions(budget wise at least). I guess that what sort of kept me from playing ME any farther when I heard that the way you get the “good ending” in the game is through the most ‘gami’e and insultingly binary means, but as I said, I’m glad that all of that is wrapped up. Now the gaming collective can get back to reporting some actual news ;)

    • PopeBob says:

      EA is still incredibly evil and run by manic chimps with no regard for sound business practice.

      But BioWare saved some face. And that’s a plus.

      • top8cat says:

        If EA’s run by evil chimps then Activision is run by Dracula and Capcom, the Devil incarnate.

        ……..(get the reference)

  7. Juan Carlo says:

    I am a bit disappointed that they explained away the deaths of your teammates. That final charge is one of the most memorable video game sequences I’ve ever experienced, just because it was so delightfuly dark. I specifically chose my favorite team mates to come with me on the last mission (thinking that, like in ME2, this was the one way to ensure they survived), so having everything exploded in one moment was the sort of awesomely brutal gut punch that video games rarely allow. I know things were left a bit open as to who was dead and who was alive, but I assumed they all died. And I think the game works much better that way. It gives that really quite excellent sequence where half dead Shepard crawls to the teleport beam a lot more meaning if his teammates are dead.

  8. cckerberos says:

    From your original WIT:

    “Despite my vociferous support for it, I can empathise with a number the arguments.”

    So much for that, eh?

    • Toberoth says:

      I don’t think so. John says here that “they’ve also addressed some of the very valid issues people raised,” and he mentions several times that they’ve corrected mistakes and filled plot holes. That by no means refutes the bit of text that you posted there.

    • Terragot says:

      It’s just John trying to find his voice. Like when he thought he was the funny guy and did some bizarre drawing of a bear in Skyrim. Now he’s going for the hipster angle, disagreeing with popular opinion at every opportunity possible and inevitable contradicting himself.

      I hope his next voice is inappropriate gay uncle.

  9. LionsPhil says:

    There is no escaping the arse of the Internet.

    • JarinArenos says:

      Yeah, but he doesn’t write much that I give a crap about anyway.

  10. Tei says:

    I like the new changes, and the new ends. But I still feel betrayed. The game sould have ended telling different stories based on your decisions, not colour changes.
    The patching has made the colours less important, and as filled plotholes, but I still feel like somebody as steal from me the ME3…. You only miss something when it’s gone.. Or perhaps this is not the truth, but is how I feel. Happy but betrayed.

  11. svge says:

    I don’t care if you think I’m a giant fart of a human, the ending was a piece of shit writing that didn’t live up to any of the themes that had been strong throughout the series. I find it baffling that you would defend the shoddily written deus ex machina with the 3 “options” that all amounted to basically the same thing. Having said that, I never asked for a new ending because like when I watch a shitty film or read a book with a bad ending I judge them to be bad and that in itself is part of the fun.

  12. Premium User Badge

    equatorian says:

    I didn’t like the original ending but thought the Take Back ME3 campaign was rather absurd, but gigantic farts of a human? Really? Is that what we’re stooping to now, calling people we don’t agree with names? I don’t even recall RPS doing that even when you’re talking about terrible racists/misogynists/homophobes. Maybe it’s in the spirit of irony, but I don’t know, I’m sensing more malice here than usual.

    Or are you just trying to get us to complain and demand you to change the wording, thus proving the point? *cough*

    That said, people have been demanding these things forever and ever, really. Why else did Han Shot First become the meme that it is?

  13. dE says:

    The news itself: Good for those into ME3.
    The article quality: Please step off the Kotaku Pedal. They’re doing enough hefty nerdbaiting for the whole internet in my opinion.

    • diamondmx says:

      Ouch. Kotaku … harsh, man.

    • Bobzer says:

      One does not simply tell John Mother-Fucking Walker to get off his high horse!

    • Toberoth says:

      I’m fine with accepting the fact that John says contentious things that I might not agree with, leading to a lot of interesting comments. But I would never, ever tell him to alter his style or hold in his opinions.

  14. 2helix4u says:

    Chiming in to say that the self entitled giant fart line puts me off.
    As someone who didn’t mind the ending, I still think there are valid concerns with it that this kind of “self-entitled gamers” rhetoric sells short. A lot of the concerns aren’t about the ending changing the universe or being “dark”. These concerns involve larger issues with videogame narratives, especially in those with big publishers behind them.
    Considering the ending was not vetted by the entire writing staff due to time concerns and that 4 months later we have this free DLC which adds the level of closure as we might expect at the end of a Bioware game its not farting to suggest that there were problems here. Writing them off as entitled whining just belies a lack of study into what these people are actually saying.

    /joke I mean, we got EA to give us something for FREE, how big an admission of guilt do you need? /joke

    It is a common and immature viewpoint and I come to RPS for neither of those things.

    • 2helix4u says:

      Faaaart

      • LockjawNightvision says:

        Consumers are no more obligated to like the ending than authors are to change it. Either becomes a giant fart of a human when they start demanding that the other likes it unquestioningly/makes pandery changes.

    • njolnin says:

      I also want to add that John’s immature and provocative tone in this article makes it impossible for me to take what he’s saying seriously. I can go to forums or gaming blogs like Kotaku if I want stuff like that, but writing like this is not why I come to RPS.

  15. Yosharian says:

    Really, John Walker? Really?

  16. myszon says:

    btw, things made more sense in the talk with ghost boy, because they greatly expanded the dialog in that fragment. If asked, he explains exactly why the reapers are doing what they are doing. He also tells you what will happen after choosing each of the original three options.

    That is the element which I liked most about the extended ending, the additional tidbits of information that were added here and there.

  17. Premium User Badge

    Vesuvius says:

    This article is crap and not in keeping with my expectations for RPS. Please re-write it immediately, or release an addendum to address my concerns.

    • svge says:

      You’ll get a new option of either being called a fart or a shit. YOU CHOOSE!

  18. Jimbo says:

    Yes, not meeting preconceived expectations was what was wrong with the Mass Effect 3 ending.

    There’s nothing defiant about Bioware’s actions here. Nothing. Their original ending was near-universally panned for being a terrible, nonsensical mess, so they caved completely and took another shot at it. Papering over the Grand Canyon-sized cracks was really the only option they had – dropping the original ending entirely would have just been even more embarassing.

    If they could go back and change their ‘vision’ without the public ever having seen it, they surely would, because their vision was fuck awful (obligatory: but not as bad as the end of Dragon Age 2).

    • HisMastersVoice says:

      Oh no no, it was much worse. DA2 writing is consistently bad, therefore making you care less and less for the all the characters, including yours as the game rolls on. It’s a form of anesthetic for when the turd of an ending comes. ME did manage to avoid being totally awful for most of it’s three game span.

      • Jimbo says:

        Hmmm, good point, I hadn’t thought of it like that. Also I just realised that they could have used the Dragon Age 2 ending in ME3 and it would have made just as much sense as ME3’s actual ending:

        “But Star Child, why are the Reapers here??”
        “An evil magic sword made me do it.”
        “OK BYE!”

        Maybe they’re pulling their endings out of a hat or something. How exciting!

  19. Premium User Badge

    Phinor says:

    I still prefer the indoctrination theory and that would have been a game changer in the genre but it was always a long shot and Bioware chose to stick with their own ending and that’s their right.

    These extended endings are a lot (=infinitely) better than the original ones and they still offer some room for speculation. I for one think the synthesis is one of the worst things that could ever happen and they show it in the cut when a husk “wakes up” (and soon realizes what he actually is). Just think of gaining consciousness and realizing that you are in fact a living ship made out of people! Cannibals (husks made out of Batarian) sure have fun days ahead of them what with a human attached to them to serve as their right arm and legs fused with a gun. What a wonderful life they must have from now on. But sure, it’s all fun and games for the organics who suddenly have peace and no worries. It’s just the reaper side who might have some issues with that particular solution.

    But I really appreciate that they explained the star child a bit more and everything surrounding him. I still think he ruins the game and the series but at least there’s some backstory now and the whole sequence is not completely out of place, just almost completely.

    • Jimbo says:

      Indoctrination Theory would have made for an interesting beat in the game for sure (which I’m convinced was the intention at some point, before they took a hatchet to the ending), but it still wouldn’t have worked without a real ending after it. It would have been like ending KOTOR with the Revan reveal.

  20. Newtie says:

    Is it just me or do EU Origin accounts not get the new DLC yet?

  21. Drake Sigar says:

    The Fallout New Vegas endings were worse.

  22. Hoaxfish says:

    I think I’ll side with the eurogamer point of view on this

    • subedii says:

      Huh, I wasn’t expecting it, but I basically agreed with that whole Eurogamer article. Most days I think EG are just as “fan baiting” as they can get, but this was actually side-stepped the usual generalisations of “RAAR STUPID FANBOYS” to get at the more valid topics.

      Then I saw it was written by Richard Cobbet, and that made a bit more sense.

      This point in particular is the one that most detractors seem to deliberately gloss over time and time again:

      Likewise, it would be tragic if the wrong lessons were learned from this. If Mass Effect 3 is going to teach something, it shouldn’t be “You can’t end on a downer” or “Only give people what they think you want”, but the more generally applicable “Make sure your ending is appropriate for your story” and “Don’t rush something fans have been waiting five years to see.” With a polite but firm “Duh…” on the end of the second one.

  23. Demiath says:

    [N]ot being a self-entitled giant fart of a human, I find that I’m able to accept that the ending of something does not have to meet my preconceived expectations, nor wrap up everything I’ve encountered in a neat bow – heck, I can even hate it without requiring it be changed.”

    Thank Crag the Hack for this lovely passage! Being “a self-entitled giant fart of a human” has nothing to be with whether one is on the right or wrong side of a particular argument. There’s a very important distinction between substantially disagreeing with the people complaining that Mass Effect 3 didn’t have great endings (which would be a crazy thing to do) on the one hand and being dismayed and downright disgusted by the way in which the “Enders” have framed their campaign on the other.

  24. Kestrel says:

    FART FACE

  25. Ryz says:

    Bloody hell John, this really did descend to Kotaku levels of immaturity.

    We get it — you loved ME3 and liked the original endings, warts and all. Good for you!

    Personally, I didn’t buy nor play ME3. I had no investment in the series and thought the entire ‘Take Back ME3!’ ridiculousness was little better than over the top grandstanding…but the endings *were* objectively terrible, even from an outsider’s point of view. They were fundamentally flawed thanks to the Star Kid and giant deus ex machina they employed, and riddled with plot holes on top of that. You, yourself, admitted that and claimed to emphasize with many of the arguments.

    There were plenty of calm, reasonable critique about the endings and why they disappointed. RPS in particular decided to go the Kotaku “Fan Entitlement!!!11!!” route and ignored all of it in favor of focusing on the highly irrational shrieking instead.

    Applauding a genuine “F-U!” from a developer? The crack on those critical to the ending being a “self-entitled giant fart of a human”? I come to RPS because it *isn’t* full of fan-baiting, immature shock articles to pull page hits, John. RPS has changed ever since the Diablo 3 Debacle started, both in the tone of the articles and the now incendiary comment section, and it’s not for the better.

    I think we’re done, RPS. I’m sure you won’t miss my measly page hits and advertising revenue, but this entire thing is incredibly disappointing. I really thought you guys were better than this kind of schlock.

    • Kestrel says:

      What an absurd overreaction to this article. People that demanded the ending be changed are 100% self entitled. Walker is bang on with his criticism. There is a total difference between complaining about a shitty ending and demanding the developers go back to the drawing board to satisfy the consumer. BioWare doesn’t owe anyone anything.

      • MrWolf says:

        Nor does Rock Paper Shotgun.

        Just sayin’.

      • Grover says:

        Sycophant rating: 10/10.

      • Ryz says:

        You’re missing the point.

        If I wanted to read fanbait articles, I’d go to Kotaku.

        I opted to come to RPS, for years, because they didn’t do that. The fans could be acting absolutely absurd, but RPS never brought themselves down to their level. There might be fun little pokes, but they never stooped down to dishing out the same abuse the fanboys did. Instead they’d use reasoned, well debated articles to show both sides – like the review of Limbo, for instance. I may not agree with everything they said, but I could understand why they said it.

        This article isn’t like that. And it’s representative of a tonal shift in the entire site, from several of the more ridiculous articles to the increasingly youtubeish quality of the comment section.

        • Kestrel says:

          Okay. Despite the fact that I agree 100% with the article, I do think your point is valid and reasonable.

      • Grygus says:

        Since the customers are the ones who paid, I would say that it is the customers who owe BioWare nothing. So that leaves everyone even, and we can complain and ask for a better product if we feel it could have been done better at that price point. It isn’t entitlement, it is Trade. That’s how the world works.

    • Brun says:

      RPS has changed ever since the Diablo 3 Debacle started, both in the tone of the articles and the now incendiary comment section, and it’s not for the better.

      I’ve noticed it too. The Diablo 3 articles were laden so thickly with it that it almost seems like they were preparing them well in advance, even before they played the game (and my suspicion is that they’re doing the same for their undoubtedly glowing reviews for Torchlight 2). Most people probably gave the Diablo 3 articles a pass since their agenda was aligned pretty well with majority opinion. That certainly doesn’t appear to be the case here, so hopefully the disagreement will snap them out of it.

      • Toberoth says:

        “…it almost seems like they were preparing them well in advance, even before they played the game (and my suspicion is that they’re doing the same for their undoubtedly glowing reviews for Torchlight 2).”

        Come on.

      • John Walker says:

        Well that’s a hefty pile of bullshit. The Diablo III articles were written in reaction to the debacle.

        But if you think they showed a shift in style, then you might have missed the last few years of Ubisoft/EA/Activision/Fox News articles!

        • Brun says:

          I said it was a suspicion. It’s probably an unfounded one. But it did actually cross my mind, which was a first in my history of reading RPS articles.

      • Ryz says:

        I definitely do not agree that there was anything suspicious about their D3 articles. I was only pointing out that they were tonality different in their writing than normal, and seemed to attract a certain…”type” to the site.

    • John Walker says:

      If not liking one article means you want to storm off from a website you enjoy, then, er, bye!

      • subedii says:

        Not the article, but the basic approach you took with it.

        To be honest, I thought his opinion, whether you agree or disagree with it, was well stated. It was reasonably argued and didn’t descend into ad-hominem. And there’s plenty there to debate with if you do fundamentally disagree with it.

        If you’re not going to address what he’s saying, it might have been better not to respond at all. Because this? I’ll be honest, it seems just a bit childish as a response.

      • Ryz says:

        Storm off? One article?

        That’s not what I said at all, John. But now I certainly am calmly removing RPS from my RSS feeds, shaking my head at it all. This mocking tone is exactly what I was criticizing and has been appearing in more and more articles — not just one.

        It especially bothered me this time because you were my favorite writer on the site. It had nothing to do with ME3 at all.

        I’m glad you opted to clarify the article a bit, though I’m going to remember the dismissive snark you responded with far longer than that poorly written article.

        • John Walker says:

          Dude, you ended your comment saying you were done with the site, and that we wouldn’t miss your hits. That’s saying you’re not going to read any more, because of this one article. I didn’t make that up!

          “I think we’re done, RPS. I’m sure you won’t miss my measly page hits and advertising revenue, but this entire thing is incredibly disappointing.”

          And I stand by what I said – if your not liking one article is enough to make you refuse to read something you previously enjoyed, then that’s your call – a very weird one, but fine.

          • Ryz says:

            I think you’re reading quite a bit of anger into what I typed that simply wasn’t there. More than anything I was bummed out because I *do* enjoy the site, or at least I did. I said that it was more than just this article and more of a tonal shift that felt site wide. I’d been a bit irritable towards things for the last month or so, and have been visiting less and less. This just happened to be the trigger for a comment.

            And yeah, I did say that. The keyword was “I *think* we’re done. . .”. I was trying to express how disappointed I was, that I was seriously considering dropping one of the only gaming sites I read over how things had been lately.

            I stand by what I said as well, though I’m willing to chalk things up to a misunderstanding of both the original article and my comment and agree to disagree if you are. :P

          • Premium User Badge

            jrodman says:

            If another site member wanted to drop the snarky response, it might fly.

            In this context, yours did most definitely not.

            Someone dropped a valid criticism, and in two responses you’ve yet to respond.

    • irongamer says:

      I wondered what that smooching sound was, but totally didn’t expect RPS to be kissing Bioware’s arse… ewwwww.

      As for the new ending. It was as close to the way it should have ended, just remove the silly god child. I just couldn’t buy the other races defeating the reapers after 2+ games of building them up. And of course humanity defeats the reapers with a single blow, we need to get over ourselves.

      I’ve heard it said quite often that it is easy to come up with the beginning to a story or some general ideas for a good story but pulling off a good ending is really the difficult part. I have enjoyed other Bioware games but I think they dropped the ball on this one.

  26. eld says:

    Technically it’s now the A, B, C and D ending, which means that it truly isn’t just the three endings they promised the game wouldn’t have :P

  27. Nick says:

    Someone’s got too big for his boots.

  28. Sardonic says:

    The original dark energy ending would have been better. For one thing, it retroactively makes Tali’s
    Haestrom mission in ME2 pointless to not have anything at all about Dark Energy in ME3.

    Anyway I’m reasonably satisfied with the new endings, they salvaged what they could from the garbage that were the original endings. If they wanted to really do it right though they would have had a ‘refuse and win’ option where you have to have a near perfect EMS for it. Maybe hack into the crucible, turn the beam outward, use it like the death star 2’s superlaser and take out all the reapers attacking earth before running out of power, where the rest would only be defeated with a high enough EMS.

    Oh well, at least the ending isn’t a complete slap in the face anymore.

  29. Chandos says:

    “Self-entitled fart of a human.” Wow, that was seriously unnecessary. Made me double-check that I was really reading a RPS article.

    Sir, you just lost some respect from me.

  30. diamondmx says:

    I have to say I’m kinda disappointed in the article – the arguments against the ME3 ending have merit, the holes in the plot are big enough to drive a truck through, the Deus Ex Machina is extremely heavy handed, and the devs did make some pretty specific promises about the ending that were not fulfilled.

    There are people who I’m sure you’ve heard from who elaborate the problems much more succinctly than I will manage, but in short, it seemed like it was a rushed out the door ending because they didn’t have the time to do it right.

    As for people demanding a change to what they feel was a significant failure – Bioware did ask the players to love the game, they worked hard to ensure the players loved the game, and that comes with some fairly (but not unreasonably) high expectations, and some harsh reactions when those expectations are not met.

    There are a few other series who have encouraged the fans to bask in one story to quite such a degree, and when they do it right, the fans will praise the results for decades to come. When they do it wrong, they will get out the torches.

    Myself, I thought the endings were bit ‘meh’, and I was kinda disappointed by the way it was all presented in the end. I threw up a little in my mouth when the “Buy some DLC!” popup appeared, though. Oh, Hi EA. That shit was tacky.

    ME3 was great, but it ended with a smile and a nod, when it could have got a standing ovation.

    • Archonsod says:

      “As for people demanding a change to what they feel was a significant failure – Bioware did ask the players to love the game, they worked hard to ensure the players loved the game, and that comes with some fairly (but not unreasonably) high expectations, and some harsh reactions when those expectations are not met.”

      Yes, but at the same time I think it’s reasonable for said people to display those reactions in a manner that would indicate an emotional level greater than a two year old. If you want to rant about how bad the ending is fine, but having a toy throwing temper tantrum and demanding they change it is the kind of behaviour that should be met with the contempt it deserves. And a clip around the ear if at all possible.

  31. Urthman says:

    John Walker thinks Bioware’s writing is generally good (SPOILER: It’s not). I think he must be comparing it with British TV soap operas or something. So factor that into how you read his opinions about the ending.

  32. Grover says:

    Kotaku-level baiting. Throwing insults at the consumers. Throwing sympathy and accolades at poor little Bioware.

    This is Bioware Fan forum drivel. Why is Forbes still the best at seeing through this “entitlement” slur that doesn’t even exist in any other form of media?

    “But the notion that angry or disappointed fans are displaying a sense of “entitlement” is deeply misguided, and perhaps unique to the gaming industry – a myth perpetuated by the industry and, apparently, by many journalists who cover the industry. Consumers who purchase your goods or services are not acting like they’re “entitled” to something that they have no right to. This implies that they did nothing to deserve their frustration and have no right to complain. It’s a term that in this usage is interchangeable with “spoiled.”

    It’s also completely wrong-headed.

    Colin says that there’s a “proper” way to complain, but he never really says what that is beyond not buying games or DLC that you don’t like. That’s fine advice, as far as it goes, but I’m not sure why it’s “proper” whereas asking for a new ending is the act of a bunch of selfish children stomping their feet.

    What Colin is really saying is that gamers have no investment in the games they play and love (or hate.) It’s the same attitude you hear in politics when someone says “If you don’t love America, why don’t you go somewhere else?”

    But gamers really do have investment in their games – often more than in television, a medium where you hear plenty of discontent from fans (yet no television reviewers, to my knowledge, calling the fans “entitled.”) Gamers are often involved in modding games after release, often with the blessing of the developers. New texture packs, characters, or maps are common in games like Skyrim or Valve’s catalogue.

    The relationship between gamer and developer, and across the entire community, is a social and participatory relationship. Gamers may not work on the actual development of a title like Mass Effect 3, but they’ve invested their time and money and support into that franchise and there is no one “proper” way to complain about the ending. Nor are angry fans merely “entitled” or “spoiled” simply for angrily voicing their concerns or asking for a new ending.” – http://www.forbes.com/sites/erikkain/2012/03/13/mass-effect-3-and-the-pernicious-myth-of-gamer-entitlement/

    Rock Paper Shotgun, I am disappointed you would endorse a producers over consumers mindset. That’s all any company could ever want, the media covering them to paint concerned consumers as cry babies.

    EDIT: At least this ME3 story is over and I won’t have to read the smug industry insider dismissals anymore. If you keep using your soapbox to look down your nose at consumers and spit on them you won’t stay very popular, except with sycophantic idiots.

    • MrWolf says:

      “The relationship between gamer and developer, and across the entire community, CAN, IN SOME INSTANCES, BE a social and participatory relationship.”

      There, I fixed it for you. Your original, blanket and all-encompassing statement was just SO INCREDIBLY WRONG that I am dizzy from the number of facedesks it led to. (Spoiler: MANY.)

  33. VastGirth says:

    I’ve been a fan of walker for years, he was by far my favourite in PC gamer many moons ago. (loved They’re back). But the quality of his articles has been slowly declining for years and he seems to be growing in knobbishness as time goes by. This awful article is pointlessly trollish and one of the worst things i had read on RPS. Sad. At least all the rest of the old guard and the new guys seem to be doing good things…

  34. BulletMagnet says:

    Not sure what this author was trying to achieve with the article. Why all the unnecessarily offensive comments and slants? It just distracts from any real point he was trying to make and instead makes him look more immature than the people he is deriding.

    • rocketman71 says:

      That’s because he has no real point.

    • Premium User Badge

      MarkN says:

      re: ” Why all the unnecessarily offensive comments and slants? It just distracts from any real point he was trying to make and instead makes him look more immature than the people he is deriding.”

      No, no – the offensive comments and slants were very much necessary, in my opinion. The people these were aimed at bloody well deserved it. Pathetic mewling idiots the lot of them.

    • Tritagonist says:

      I agree. What’s the point? The objections to the ME3 endings have actually produced some of the most well argued and interesting forum posts and YouTube videos about any game I’ve ever seen. Aiming an article about BioWare’s attempt at patching up their work at those on the all-Caps level of posts isn’t very compelling.

  35. DrThief says:

    Bioware is entitled to keep its artistic integrity, just as i am entitled not to buy their next game.

    The problem with the original endings was that they didn’t make much sense as presented, leaving too many plot holes and questions, that they didn’t fit in thematically with the rest of the series, and that they simply ignored what was arguably the selling point of the series: That your actions and decisions matter and affect the story of Commander Shepard. In the end Bioware simply chose to ignore everything you did and went on with their grand design, thinking themselves as writers of the greatest caliber.

    The extended endings do address most of the complaints regarding the 1st point; There are now far fewer plot holes and everything is explained if not fully at least adequately. But the other problems remain because Bioware had to retain their ”artistic vision”. At least now the endings are merely disappointing instead of not making any sense at all.

    Another disappointing thing is the tone of this article. Yes John, you liked the endings. Good for you. There’s no need to call people who didn’t like Bioware’s grand artistic vision and voiced their concerns about that, ”a self-entitled giant fart of a human”. Maybe you should apply for a job at Bioware. I’m sure they would appreciate your mastery of the english language and deep knowledge of the creative process.

  36. Hellfire257 says:

    Nice inflammatory article. -1 for this one, RPS.

  37. tomme says:

    Did not expect a low quality article like this on RPS. Sure, we can disagree about the ending, I myself thought it was horrible, but the name calling… come on now.

    And one more thing. I would respect BioWare more if they just stood by thier ending, instead of releasing this thing… It just feel so unnecessary. The ending for me was shit, and it still is after this explanation. If they felt forced to explain the ending for us that did not “get it”, why not just do it in a blog post. Would have saved alot of man hours.

    Ps. Is John Walker on EA payroll now? ;)

  38. Mehbah says:

    The world would be an objectively better place if every moron that thinks the entitlement argument holds any water dropped dead.

    Demanding a better product is a good thing. It’s the only reason things improve in the first place. Which the games industry is a perfect example of, since pretty much nothing has improved in the last few years other than graphics and the scope of the marketing. People don’t dare to want improvements. They’re told to be content with whatever trash gets marketed enough, and otherwise they’re self-entitled.

    Isn’t it funny? The gaming industry is making more money than ever, yet we customers have to pay more and more for less and less. Shorter games with loads of DLC and pre-order bonuses (wouldn’t want people to hold off on buying games until word of mouth gets around!). Does no one else see it? They expect us to pay more and more for less and inferior content – why the hell WOULDN’T we demand higher quality and more content? And don’t fucking dare to pretend that the money goes back into game development – Bioware cut all the corners they could with ME3. Stock-photo Tali, sprites for background characters, no controller on PC, even less choices and consequences, still reusing those damn conversation animations from ME1, so on and so on. Bioware spends their budget on voice acting and marketing, and half-asses the rest. The Old Republic and ME3 proves that without a doubt.

    Let’s not forget that Bioware and EA are complete, utter assholes to their customers. They do everything they can to rile the “entitled trolls” up so they will get angry, and then EA/Bioware can play the part of the innocent victim. Sadly, a lot of these comments prove that this tactic works flawlessly.

    And the “critics”? How damn stupid would you have to be to deny that they are, directly or indirectly, paid off? IGN recently ran an article about how EA aren’t the bad guys at all – AND THEY HAVE ONE OF THEIR PEOPLE IN THE FUCKING GAME. IGN’s Jessica Chobot is literally an NPC on the Normandy. And that’s ignoring the whole deal between “critics” and publishers, where the former have every incentive to praise everything about the publishers because it nets them marketing money, early releases, trips, various goodies and whatnot. Remember Kane and Lynch? There you have the state of the videogames industry. Last time RPS defended ME3, they had the whole site covered ME3 marketing (of the 360 version, no less). And now this fucking caveman calls anyone that demands things from Bioware self-entitled. When people demand Bioware to give them what they advertised that the game would have, but didn’t. They outright lied in their marketing, and now the assholes have managed to spin it so that those who complain are the ones at fault. Absolutely disgusting.

    If you actually use the “self-entitlement” argument, you are human filth. This is not subjective; this is an objective fact. You have failed to understand that criticism, no matter in what form, is a good thing. You have failed to understand that customers demanding a better product, especially when it was falsely advertised, is a good thing. You have failed to understand that it’s the developers that should listen to the customers, and not the customers that should defend the developers from other customers.

    And when I say listen to their customers, I don’t mean appealing to the lowest common denominator, which is what EA/Bioware does. Yes, I’m sure it was their artistic vision that completely nuked any actual role playing and turned the gameplay into yet another Gears of War clone. They certainly didn’t do that because they “want the Call of Duty audience”.

    These people sicken me.

    • Toberoth says:

      “The world would be an objectively better place if every moron that thinks the entitlement argument holds any water dropped dead.”

      That’s when I stopped reading.

    • CommanderJ says:

      Strong words, but many words of truth. I work in a business selling products to consumers, and no one would ever dream of calling customers ‘entitled’ if they complain about a broken or bad product. It’s their right. They paid money for it.

      This entitlement stuff only happens in the games industry, and you can bet your asses the publishers can’t believe their luck. Not only have they managed to make customers accept shoddy products that need patching to even work, (not to mention day one DLC etc) but they’ve even convinced customers to actively repress other customers’ valid critique.

      I’ve long since stopped expecting any games journalist to be completely objective when it comes to talking about developers or publishers, but damn, John…this was not a good article at all.

    • eVb says:

      The tone of your comment is unnecessarily aggressive and thus undermines it’s purpose.

      But mostly I agree to the essence of your arguments.

  39. Gassalasca says:

    I love you John.

  40. dieffenbachj says:

    Who let a Kotaku writer in here?

    It’s one thing to disagree with people, it’s another to just blatantly insult them. I don’t care if this is an opinion piece; your opinion shouldn’t involve belittling people you disagree with.

    I’m disappointed with RPS for allowing someone as unprofessional as that to post anything on their site. That’s a YouTube comment, not an editorial.

    • John Walker says:

      I will have a word with me about this immediately. I’d better have a good reason to justify my behaviour to me, or I’ll be giving me hell.

      • dieffenbachj says:

        Holy s***, your response is to be mocking? Are you drunk or something? Had a bout with the wife maybe?

        I’m done here. I’ve seen enough: if this is how RPS represents itself, I’m done reading it altogether.

        You don’t need ad revenue from me. You don’t deserve it, with that self-entitled attitude.

        • Toberoth says:

          I’m not sure if “self-entitled” is really the right word, and your reaction seems a little over the top to me, but I must admit I am a bit unsettled by John throwing these comments around. I understand they’re meant to be funny but I also sense a bit of unjustified snark behind them, which isn’t really what I expect from RPS.

          • dieffenbachj says:

            Usually, by adulthood, most people learn that when someone is angry (perhaps after being insulted), giving ‘funny’ jabs is not at all helpful to their mood. It’s a bully’s way: making jokes at someone who’s upset over something in a public context, so that they’ll get more upset and all of your buddies will say “Good job! You’re hilarious when you’re mocking people who are feeling insulted and belittled!”

            It just so happens that in this case, nobody’s chiming in to say how hilarious John Walker is for backing up his insults with mocking.

          • Toberoth says:

            Ok. Your reaction is definitely over the top. I understand what you’re saying, but I think you need to calm down for a second, re-read your comment, then John’s, and then consider which is the more inflammatory. Note as well that RPS isn’t allowing John to post this, John, Jim, and Alec (I believe?) are RPS. The point of his post, I believe, was that the only person who can slap him on the wrist is himself (or maybe Jim and/or Alec).

        • John Walker says:

          Oh good heavens, you put a snippy comment telling the site off for giving a wretch like me work. I co-own the site. I was making a joke about that, and how you had rather belittled me.

          • MrCrun says:

            Oh good, you beat me to it. Better than me unsurprisingly. “HOW dare they let an owner post HERE!!!??!”

          • Phantoon says:

            Did you not find humor in him calling you entitled, though?

            I sure did.

          • Runs With Foxes says:

            And I would have thought the other co-owners would be a bit concerned by the way Walker’s been representing them lately. But maybe they’re as bad as each other.

  41. ThTa says:

    Good job, John, you made me turn on AdBlock for this site for your Kotaku-level drivel.

    As for my take on the ending: I started off with no hope whatsoever, especially after their constant self-congratulatory PR-speak (It was controversial, just like we intended it to be. Guys!) and pathetic excuses (“Artistic integrity” does not make you impervious to criticism, it’s barely a real thing).
    But… I was pleasantly surprised. They had to resort to contradicting themselves and actually changing parts of the ending with the Normandy landing in the middle of a warzone; which despite being unbelievably silly, was made up for by terrific dialogue and voice acting, along with the Relays no longer being shown blowing up, but simply falling apart a bit, but they made it acceptable, at least.

    The dialogue with the Starchild still felt incredibly contrived, but at least they’ve bothered to offer slight explanations, and the slides afterwards were a welcome touch. Synthesis is still an abomination, but they did the very best they could with the concept, for which I can commend them. The new Refuse ending is brilliant, it lets Shepard say everything I wanted to say to that brat, and it lets people beat the Reapers (albeit a whole new civilization) without resorting to any sort of deus ex machina. (And where the initial three endings were reminiscent of DX1, this one seems clearly inspired by DX:HR’s “Let the facility implode” ending. Just thought I’d mention it.)

    Overall, it’s mediocre, it’s a lackluster, thematically challenged ending for a series that deserved far better. But at least it’s no longer insultingly bad. If they’d shipped with this, I think I would’ve maintained faith in BioWare; now, the damage has been done, but they’ve at least made ME3 a worthwile experience as a whole.

    • Hug_dealer says:

      They have no artistic integrity.

      How Bioware can think that its ok to release a game that reuses the same cave dozens of times for different quests, and puts you in the same city for an entire game with no changes over the years, along with the fact that all combat is enemies coming in waves, and still claim artistic integrity at all. Sure one is writing, but the other is gameplay, and visual which are all just as important.

  42. MistyMike says:

    Walker, you are above using such petty insults.

    Also: ITAAAAAAALYYYYYYYYYYy!!!!!

  43. Cryptoshrimp says:

    I.. wow, I don’t know what this is. Am I missing a level of subtle irony or something? Is John drunk? I didn’t mind the original endings that much, but I was dissapointed that we didn’t get to wrap some things up after a trilogy of emotional investment.
    The new endings – which I haven’t seen yet – sounds like a valid compromise. Many of the arguments against the old endings held water and were laid out in a more-or-less coherent and non-shouty fashion. Why are you insulting people who don’t agree with you? That’s so unlike the RPS writer I (barely, if at all) know.

    • Archonsod says:

      “Many of the arguments against the old endings held water and were laid out in a more-or-less coherent and non-shouty fashion”

      Which internet do you live on, and can we all join please?

  44. Premium User Badge

    fatconan says:

    One point about the Synthesis ending: Why is everyone fine with the idea of being forcefully and fundamentally corrupted by alien technology? Surely someone must object? Or is the entire galaxy now just one homogenised lump of brain-washed acceptance? Either way, it doesn’t really seem to warrant the sweetness and light of the extended scenes…

    • ThTa says:

      But didn’t you hear? Shepard is ready for it! He can spread his ‘essence’ through the galaxy!
      Now Synthetics will get DNA and gain a greater understanding of sentient organics, and plants! And all the Reapers will build a perfect utopia for everyone and there will never be anymore need for evolution or any sort of sensible biology, the green circuitry magic takes care of all of that! And Kasumi’s dead boyfriend’s memory imprint becomes a REAL LIVE GHOST and they’ll live happily ever after!

      And- and- Ughhh. Help me out here, guys.

    • briktal says:

      It does seem like Synthesis is supposed to be the “good” ending. But it’s seriously messed up. Those aren’t choices one person should make for everyone. It also seems like it wouldn’t even be a “victory.” You lose almost everything you were fighting the reapers to protect. Then a minor unclarified point: what happens to the reaper hybrid abominations? You have those enemies that are like a dozen people are stitched together, but what happens to them in synthesis?

  45. eveningstar2 says:

    I would’ve loved to hear your honest thoughts on the topic, John. I’ve been reading RPS for a year and a half now owing to your writers’ nuanced perspectives and gift of gab.

    Really disappointed in this article, though. I’ve tried my best to stay distant from the hyper-passionate criticism against or defense of Mass Effect 3 and its ending, and I’m always very interested in writers who dissect the topic with evidence of critical thinking and even-handed reason.

    What I see in this article is the sort of passive-aggressive cheap shots I’d expect from /v/, let alone RPS. The quality of writing here is so far below the usual standard that I had to read the article a couple times over to make sure you weren’t being subtly facetious.

    It’s hard to find good, professional games journalism, and this is seriously unprofessional. I’m sorry to find myself unsubscribing from your feed.

  46. Hug_dealer says:

    I wont even bother with the extended cut, because the originals were garbage, and shouldnt have required this in the first place.

    Its not the ending im unhappy with, its basically the story told in the 3rd one that isnt up to par, and pretty much doesnt add anything to the series other than a conclusion, and with all the plot holes, and the fact that none of your decisions made in me3 or the previous games matter at all.

    I love dark endings, i love when important people i like get killed off, what i dont like is poor and sloppy writing, which me3 was and has been explained to death by people better at writing than myself.

  47. Premium User Badge

    Stellar Duck says:

    “They’ve clearly spent a fortune doing it, and it’s yours for free.”

    Nah, I paid for my game. Rather more than most games if memory serves. So it’s not free. And the ending is still structurally terrible.

    If you want to use a deus ex machina (and what a literal one they went with; they out deus ex’d Deus Ex by far) you really need to be a good writer. None of the guys at Bioware are, it seems.

  48. Premium User Badge

    HermitUK says:

    If nothing else, hopefully BioWare (and other developers) have realised that people care about your endings. It’s not something you slap together about a month before your Gold date; it’s something you need to consider throughout development. This isn’t like a book where you can rewrite chapters on a whim, after all.

    That said, I’m looking forward to seeing how BioWare apply whatever lesson’s they’ve learnt from this to their next project. Assuming EA don’t rush it out the door unfinished, again.

  49. John Walker says:

    Bit concerned about some of the reading here. I’m pretty obviously calling those who demanded the ending be changed farts. Not those who simply didn’t like it. That’s the bit where I say “heck, I can even hate it without requiring it be changed.”

    But you’re all farts.

    • dieffenbachj says:

      “I acknowledge there were plot holes, perhaps even mistakes, but not being a self-entitled giant fart of a human, I find that I’m able to accept that the ending of something does not have to meet my preconceived expectations, nor wrap up everything I’ve encountered in a neat bow”

      You do NOT under ANY POSSIBLE INTERPRETATION say ‘anyone who wanted the ending changed is an entitled fart’

      You DO say, under EVERY interpretation, ‘anyone who does not accept the ending or find it met their expectations or wanted the plot threads wrapped up’ is an entitled fart.

      That’s why people are upset. You didn’t insult anyone who wanted the ending changed, or complained about invalid points. You insulted EVERYONE WHO DID NOT ENJOY THE ENDING. Even those who didn’t mind it being left intact. Anyone who disagrees with your opinion that the ending was perfectly acceptable is an entitled fart.

      • John Walker says:

        Fair enough. I’ve put a correction and an apology at the top.

        • Jimbo says:

          I think you just won all of the irony points on the internet. That’s it, there are none left now.

          • John Walker says:

            I didn’t change anything! I just clarified… oh wait.

          • ThTa says:

            I think the word he was looking for was coincidence.
            You’re harping on about people being entitled farts for getting angry and demanding something be changed, and now you’ve decided to “clarify” your initial intent by adding something to your original message. It works on so many levels, and it’s honestly kind of funny, so thanks for that.

            edit: Oh, bollocks, that was sneaky.

          • Premium User Badge

            HermitUK says:

            Is there an alternate version of this article where we reject Walker’s ‘clarifiaction’ and the world explodes?

          • Jimbo says:

            No, you have to write your *own* article about John clarifying *his* article about Bioware clarifying *their* ending , and then you have to clarify *your* article about John clarifying *his* article about Bioware changing *their* ending… and then the world explodes.

          • Nick says:

            you need to post in both a blue and yellow background as well.

      • Premium User Badge

        Wisq says:

        You’re contradicting yourself in your own post.

        To “accept” the ending is not necessarily to “enjoy” the ending. You’re conflating the two and using them interchangeably, and that’s the source of your misunderstanding.

        It was only the lack of acceptance — of demanding that they change it — that he objected to.

        Frankly, while I didn’t play ME2 or ME3 (and am glad I didn’t, now), I tend to agree. The proper stance is to critique the endings, maybe even to refuse to buy future products from Bioware, but not to demand that they go back and change it to your liking. To make such a demand is to ask them to stoop to the same level of artistic corruption that people have been accusing them of in the first place.

    • Brun says:

      Nothing gets better if no one is willing to demand change.

      • Toberoth says:

        Well why do they have to change a game that they’ve already shipped? Why can’t they accept that they messed up a bit, leave the ending as-is, and try harder for their next game? That’s still change, because they’re incorporating lessons learned.

        • Uthred says:

          Because modern games via DLC and patches are almost inherently incomplete initial experiences and if we have the technology in place to fix the issue why not make use of it?

        • ThTa says:

          Why wouldn’t they change it if they can? Plays get reworked, books get new editions (in fact, I didn’t hear any of this “entitlement” or “artistic integrity” bollocks when BioWare promised to try and fix the abomination that was Mass Effect Deception), even paintings get painted over (including the Mona Lisa) over the responses of the artist’s peers. Games can get patched, they can be reprogrammed, if something should probably be improved, and you have the means (funding, time and audience) to do so, why not?

          Why turn games into pure products, out of the developer/publisher’s hands the second it hits the shelves, when it can be an experience? Should there not be expansions and free changes? Is story somehow so completely different from every other aspect of the game? Should every developer just resort to an extreme version of Activision’s “release a new, slightly changed Call of Duty every year”? And can someone please tell me why consumers do not have the right to ask for change?

          edit: And to poke fun at myself for that awful sentence structure in the most original way possible, before anyone else does: And what’s the deal with airline food?

          • Toberoth says:

            “Plays get reworked, books get new editions […] even paintings get painted over (including the Mona Lisa) over the responses of the artist’s peers.”

            Fair enough, but these examples are all fundamentally different from the Mass Effect case, which is much more of a knee-jerk response to fan outcry, rather than changes incorporated as the result of a peer-review process.

          • Archonsod says:

            People have been complaining about the ending of the Bible for thousands of years. We’re still waiting for the re-write.

          • ThTa says:

            I was initially writing something to refute your claim of it being “a knee-jerk response to fan outcry”, going on about how a lot of the fans had quite valid and well thought-out criticism, and how BioWare clearly put a lot of effort into making the best of their initial intent while taking the aforementioned into account. But I’ll actually agree with you on it, that last arguement (BioWare’s end) was actually working against me: They didn’t really respond to the criticism, they responded to the anger. They didn’t seek to improve their work, they seeked to appease those who were complaining. And yeah, that’s the wrong way to go about it.

          • Phantoon says:

            Well, this explains why I don’t come here nearly as often as I used to.

          • Premium User Badge

            Wisq says:

            Changing the ending of this game, for free, takes away resources that could be enter spent ensuring the ending for the next one isn’t crap. (That includes stuff like focus testing.)

            I would rather have a bunch of games that actually get it right from the start, than an endless series of games with crap endings that use the audience as a giant focus group for their inevitable “ending rewrite” DLC.

            Granted, if you have the resources to spare, go ahead and see if you can make an ending that people actually like, and reuse those lessons next time. But these things aren’t zero cost.

            Besides, if you’ve proven that gamers will buy a decent game despite a crap ending — and buy your next product, and the next one, and so on, despite never ever making a good ending — what incentive is there for putting any effort into endings at all?

    • Premium User Badge

      Roman K says:

      Please define “change”, John.

      I’ve noted your clarification/apology, but I’m still wondering what it is you considered to be demanding changes in the first place.

      Because here’s the thing. I, for example, was not satisfied with the endings because they had plot-holes, contradicted some of the game universe’s basic rules, and the “let’s keep it vague, it’s cool” path Bioware chose essentially backfired utterly, leaving the ending options to be seemingly largely the same, with the rest being left to our imagination. Unfortunately, perhaps we’re not quite imaginative. Or too imaginative, as fans. So be it.

      Here’s the thing – the Extended Cut is change. Specifically the exact change I wanted. It closes plot holes, adds clarifications for points which are either too vague or make little to no sense, and retcons a few key bits (the mass relays being the key bit), along with adding a much needed epilogue.

      These are changes. I asked for these changes. In a neat bow, so to speak. Because I expected more from Bioware, and got less. And here’s the thing… while the Bioware forums had plenty of idiots and even desperate conspiracy theorists (and they got to that state because they were *fans*, who were really, *really* hoping for something better), they too played a part. The part being?

      Getting Bioware to restore some of the artistic integrity they *lost*. Bioware listened to the fans, and not by serving the lowest common denominator. They essentially listened to the sensible requests for change, and corrected the endings accordingly.

      The endings are better now. *BIoware* is better now, John. Because they’ve showed they’re ready and willing to accept constructive criticism from their fanbase, and to act upon it, and through it they become better at creating what they create.

      And all of *that* happened because a lot of people ranted about not getting what they expected to get – not in the sense of a happy ending, but in the sense of an *well-made* ending.

      • Premium User Badge

        Roman K says:

        Oh, and speaking of endings and farty crowds demanding changes to endings…

        Ever read any Sherlock Holmes stories? Had Doyle kept to his take on things, there’d be a lot less of those.

  50. Buemba says:

    Man, the amount of contempt game journalists have for gamers never ceases to amaze me. I understand the comment section of any website can drive a sane man crazy in a matter of days, but still, tone it down with the “entitlement” shtick, will ya?