Bio Beware: The Latest On Mass Effect 3’s Ending Drama

Even the Illusive Man is grumpy

Initially I had a load of things I wanted to say and analyse about Mass Effect 3’s ending, but then a week passed and I realised I’d stopped personally being bothered by what that notorious final cutscene did or didn’t answer. I’d had an adventure, and now it was time for another one. Mass Effect games have always been peculiarly adept at entirely dominating my thinking for a while, but quickly enough something else always comes along to distract me. The concluding moments of the game remain a bone of contention for many, however, and so much so that it’s taken me nearly 700 words just to document the current state of the online debate.

I’ve avoided all direct spoilers and narrative details in the below, but there are a few oblique references to the manner in which the conclusion is presented which you might want to steer clear of if you’ve not finished the game.

Mr Cobbett has already laid out his problems with ME3’s ending – many of which are shared by a growing fan collective who have now donated an incredible $67,000 to charity Child’s Play as an admirably philanthropic display of their great discontent over the cutscenes. Mr Walker, by contrast, will be along later today to set out his case as to why he believes the ending(s) don’t deserve such fury.

Bioware and EA, meanwhile, have been a little flip-floppy about whether they’re taking the complaints seriously. Initial comments from ME3 lead Casey Hudson held that he deliberately wanted to polarise sentiments and leave mysteries hanging, while other Bioware brains later stepped into the fray to claim that they were listening to fan feedback and hint that it might lead to something.

Now, from Geoff Kieghly’s iPad app Mass Effect 3: Final Hours, it’s become clear that the ending went through a hell of a lot of chopping and changing, and wasn’t finalised until, if not quite the eleventh hour, then at least the tenth.

“In truth, the final bits of dialogue were debated right up until the end of 2011. Martin Sheen’s voice-over session for The Illusive Man, originally scheduled for August, was delayed until mid-November so the writers would have more time to finesse the ending.”

‘We basically made it up as went along’ is probably not what fans who’ve been invested in this story across three games wanted to hear. Then again, I’d take that over George Lucas pretending he always had a six-film masterplan for Star Wars any day. It does, though, present a possible explanation (but not, alas, justification) for why certain characters appeared to suddenly be in a completely different place to everyone else in the final moments, as well as potentially undermine the prevailing crazy ‘it was all a dream’ conspiracy theory.

A longer, more expository conclusion was originally planned, and would have gone further into the origins of the ME3 universe and the backstory of the Reapers, but in last-minute meetings at the end of 2011 Hudson and co ultimately settled on something which would require ‘lots of speculation’ in preference to explaining away the nature of their fictional universe. The question, I suppose, is whether they were successful in that.

In a new statement, Hudson is more conciliatory towards fans who felt closure was lacking, claiming that these concerns are “valid” after all. You should read the lot, evasive and vague as it may be, but the key part is this:

“Throughout the next year, we will support Mass Effect 3 by working on new content. And we’ll keep listening, because your insights and constructive feedback will help determine what that content should be. This is not the last you’ll hear of Commander Shepard.”

Hopefully he’s aware he’s playing with fire if he purely intends that to mean new DLC missions and whatnot inserted during ME3 rather than after (or, I suppose, just before) its divisive conclusion. Aggrieved players want footnotes and appendices detailing what happened to everyone and what the ultimate upshot of their decisions was, not additional side-content squeezed into the early and mid-game.

And some of them want it so much they’ve even filed a complaint to the US Federal Trade Commission, arguing that ME3’s finale doesn’t match up to what was promised by marketing. Good for them. I’m going to go and play another videogame now.


  1. CaLe says:

    “Throughout the next year, we will support Mass Effect 3 by working on new content. And we’ll keep listening, because your insights and constructive feedback will help determine what that content should be. This is not the last you’ll hear of Commander Shepard.”

    That’s the thing. The ending left me with absolutely zero incentive to go back into that universe. The little DLC message was the final kick in the teeth. I’m out.

    • Phantoon says:

      Or to put it in as few words as possible:

      The last two words you see in the game is “downloadable content”.

    • Verio says:

      I can’t speak for anyone else, but I think I’m done with Bioware, and I think a lot of other people will be too.

      Dragon Age was good, and they killed it with the sequel.
      Old Republic is fun, but doesn’t have staying power.

      This was their ace in the hole and was wildly successful, but I think that success was garnered by getting people invested over the last 5 years. I know I was “on the fence” up until about 2 weeks prior to release, and then I realized… who am I kidding? All the e-angst in the world isn’t going to stop me from seeing the conclusion to my Shepard’s story.

      But I was invested there, I was engaged. I don’t know that Bioware has all that much capital left with people anymore. I could certainly be wrong, my main point here is that I am interested to see where they go over the next 2 years and how they get there. Will they stay in bed with EA?

      For context, I thought the ending was shit, but I’m not participating in any efforts to get them to change or add to it. The ending was bad and they should feel bad, but I’ve moved on.

      • deke913 says:

        I agree. In fact, if Bioware was heading the remake of my beloved Baldurs Gate, I would be inclined to not play that as well. (not likely though as that is my all time favorite rpg)

        Which leads me to believe that the current management at Bioware are riding the coattails of the previous successful games with no thought of how much of an impact those games had on the fans.

        I loved DA1 and had fun with ME1 and 2 but DA2, SWTOR, and now this gay relation simulator they call ME3 has turned me off to Bioware completely.

        CDProjekt is my new favorite game maker.

        • GiantRaven says:

          Yes, I can definitely see how a game with homosexual options that are easily avoided (I didn’t have any thrust upon me) can be described as a ‘gay relation simulator’.

          Oh, wait, no I can’t.

        • JackShandy says:

          I’m not sure what kind of person uses the phrase Gay Relation Simulator seriously.

          • Joof says:

            Probably Rick Santorum.

          • E_FD says:

            Considering the Mass Effect plot is all about a fightin’ military man who is the only thing protecting civilization from the one-dimensional villains who want to destroy it, and all authority figures he encounters (except the ones who are older, semi-retired fightin’ military men themselves, of course) are meddling politicans hampering our hero with red tape through their whiny insistence on things like “evidence” and “due process”, is it really any wonder that the series’ fanbase contains a substantial right-wing element who are horrified by the idea of gay relationships?

        • Apples says:

          I’m sure Bioware will be distraught to lose another homophobic customer. You’re not okay with gay relationships in a game but perfectly alright with fairly misogynistic sex-card-collecting in The Witcher, eh?

          • Zepp says:

            You can call “sex card” collecting many names but misogynistic? This is beyond ridiculous.

          • Apples says:

            you don’t see anything problematic in the least about encouraging players to have sex with as many women as possible in order to reduce them to sexy trading cards (literal objects) to complete their collection

            edit: and even aside from that, it’s just so tasteless and alienating (as a female player) that I can’t fathom anyone finding it more acceptable than the fairly normal, well-presented same-sex relationships in ME3. And no, gay relationships are not (or rather shouldn’t be) alienating to straight players, so nobody try that one. Expecting someone to enjoy objectifying women is different from asking someone to accept varied representations of sexuality/gender/race etc.

          • gwathdring says:

            People do seem to be under the distinct impression that Misogyny means ALL sexism directed at women. This is what, through misuse, it has come to mean. On the one hand, colloquial usage should be pretty important in determining definitions of words. On the other hand, I dislike ingrained hyperbole; as not all sexism involves dislike, mistrust or hatred of women, it seems inappropriate to gravitate towards using Misogyny as a byword for what is, by and large, discrimination via ignorance and institutionalized feelings of superiority/inferiority. Hardly the purview of hate. Usually. Youtube comments are another matter.

          • Apples says:

            Uh ok fine it’s sexist then, by your definition. I don’t see whether that changes anything or makes anything better though? The “But I love women!” (read: “I love women – in a similar way that I love a child or a dog, not as an equal human being”) defense isn’t exactly a great one and nor does it excuse anything. Not only that, but sexism encourages and normalises hateful behaviour and attitudes towards women; “women = sexy collectibles” is only a few steps away from, well, you know what I’m getting at here.

          • noodlecake says:

            I disagree. I would have no problem with it either way or both. If I was a male character sleeping with lots of female characters, a female character sleeping with lots of male characters, a male with males or a female with females… I don’t think any of those combinations is sexist. I think you are reading into it too much. :)

          • Neurook says:

            My GF played The Witcher mainly for the sex card collecting. If anything she was more upset with the lack of a female player character. I guess my point is your mileage may vary.

          • MD says:

            Apples: nobody (I hope) is saying that sexism is okay as long as it’s not caused by hatred. But ‘misogyny’ and ‘sexism’ aren’t synonymous, and the distinction isn’t completely trivial.

        • stupid_mcgee says:

          Jade Empire had gay romances. KoTOR had them, too. This is nothing new and is hardly what is dragging BioWare down. If you really think that including gay romance options is where BioWare jumped the shark, then you’ve either never played most of their games or you’re an imbecile.

      • jackflash says:

        Stay in bed with EA? They are *owned* by EA. They are never getting out of that bed. Selling the company to a big publisher was the biggest mistake Ray Muzyka and Greg Zeschuk ever made with the company. Pretty much all of their products have sucked ever since (except the first half of Dragon Age).

        • Verio says:

          Somehow I didn’t realize this, and thought it was a partnership, apologies.

          • stupid_mcgee says:

            That’s BioWare’s line whenever asked about it. “It’s more of a ‘partnership.'” BioWare maintains that they have a certain amount of leeway and control over their titles and that their ownership by EA is more of an “ease of use” thing for them so they don’t have to shop for publishers all the time and that they can have access to greater capital, more employees, etc. How true that is, remains unknown. They have expanded their operations drastically in the past few years, with numerous studios and development teams being created. It also seems that BioWare does get to keep and maintain their IPs at the very least. So, basically, BioWare owns Dragon Age and Mass Effect, not EA. This is in contrast to other series, like Halo, which is owned by Microsoft, not its developers; Bungie.

      • Shadram says:

        I disagree. Despite the niggles, I still love just about everything Bioware produce. Dragon Age 2 was sucky gameplay wise, but Dragon Age: Origins was so good I expect they can improve greatly for the third. The last 10 minutes of Mass Effect 3 was a little lacklustre, but the rest of the trilogy is still strong enough for the series to remain one of my favourite ever game series’. Not tried Old Republic yet (it’s only been out in New Zealand for a couple of weeks) but I’m looking forward to playing through the story in that, too.

        For the foreseeable future, I’ll still be getting excited about every game BioWare announce, and I can’t believe that I’m alone in this.

        • jaheira says:

          You are not alone in this. They have been the best storytellers in gaming for years. ME3 was phenomenally good in my opinion.

        • stupid_mcgee says:

          Great thing about opinions and tastes, right? I liked a lot of Dragon Age: Origins, but it fell a little short for me. The story and characters were good, the setting was well conceived and felt amazing rich. The art style was awesome and I still think Dragon Age has some of the coolest looking armor ever. (seriously, the Templar’s suits are some of the coolest looking stuff since Stormtroopers)

          Where I felt DA:O fell short was the gameplay. It played well, for the most part, but a lot of the skills and spells were kind of lackluster. I also felt that there really wasn’t as much tactics. The ability to combine spell effects was cool, but even that was rather limited. Given how few spells your casters had access to, it really dampened the magic system, IMO. It also would have been nice if they had made Zevran good at lock picking. Having to ditch your backstabber because he is, inexplicably, mediocre at lock picking compared to Leliana. Why is the bard so much better at picking locks than the assassin?

          I felt the Mass Effect series was wonderful in every aspect except combat. The combat in that game and the absolutely horrible AI negate playing a support class and basically requires you to make an offensive build. Even then, your squad is still worthless and more often a hindrance rather than helpful.

          TOR is, IMO, a pretty weak title. Yes, the story and cutscenes are awesome, the dialog is well done, and so forth. The worlds, however, feel very plastic and immensely immersion breaking. Watching bad guys reappear a few feet in front of you and then just stand around is kind of jarring. Not to mention that is plays exactly like WoW. Good thing if you like WoW, but if you don’t like WoW then you probably won’t like TOR’s combat, either.

          While I do, overall, like DA:O, the last BioWare game that I completely liked was Jade Empire.

  2. Gap Gen says:

    Hmm. It’s not even as if it’s a Battlestar Galactica, where they painted themselves into a narrative corner with a bunch of random mysteries that became impossible to tie up. It’s a straight up galaxy-invasion story, where the ending is “everyone dies” or “everyone doesn’t die”.

    • zontax says:

      Oh no, I just started watching BSG.
      Should I continue or should I stop at a certain season?

      • mondomau says:

        BSG ‘Fans’ are generally split into two camps – those that adore it in it’s entirety but think fourth series was a little shakey, and those that really enjoyed 1-3 but thought that series 4 basically shit all over the storyline in an uncontrollable fit of pseudo-intellectual, religious-themed nonsense.
        I am in the second camp, but I wouldn’t suggest you stop watching.

      • dsch says:

        There’re only four. They’re worth watching.

      • bwion says:

        You should continue.

        The ending is, er, controversial, but the bulk of the series is still well worth your time.

        (Am I talking about Battlestar Galactica, or Mass Effect?)

      • Werthead says:

        It’s worth watching. The ending is poor enough that I’m tempted to recommend that they go and read up on it before reaching it, so they’re forewarned (I found this worked for ME3 as well, as when I reached the ending I was braced for it and that made the remaining 99% of the game stand up a lot better for me rather than being overshadowed by the ending).

        I’d say the first two full seasons and the first four episodes of Season 3 are almost flawlessly good, and represent one of the longest sustained bursts of quality I’ve seen in a TV show, SF or otherwise (there’s a bit of a dip with the second season episode ‘Black Market’, but even that was trying to do something interesting but got shakey along the way). The remainder of Season 3 until halfway through Season 4 is pretty risible, with plenty of terrible episodes and massive retcons and plot holes. The middle of Season 4 sees a sharp upturn in quality. The 10th through 14th or so episodes of Season 4 see the show returning to almost its former quality. Then it all goes to hell.

        However, if you’ve played ME3 and seen the idiocy of that ending, BSG’s ending feels almost logical and reasonable in comparison.

      • zontax says:

        Thanks guys, will watch it then.

      • Tuco says:

        The ending is bad… And yet, the fourth season has one of the best arcs.
        Without spoilers, let’s just say episodes from 4×10 to 4×14 were “divine tier” stuff.

  3. CaspianRoach says:

    I liked the ending. It gave me a feeling of completeness, as in “this game is now done, congratulations”. It’s good to see a AAA game not to have a happy ending, it’s quite refreshing.

    • Bhazor says:

      … a good ending? It was one of the worst deus ex machina’s I’ve seen in a long time.

    • Doesn'tmeananything says:

      “It gave me a feeling of completeness, as in “this game is now done, congratulations”.”

      If only every medium was kind enough to applaud high levels of tolerance.

    • Superfluous2 says:

      That an ending breaks from the trend of “everything works out okay” doesn’t excuse it from being utterly terrible. Go look at Dragon Age Origins for a decent bittersweet ending. Your Warden can cop it, and your decisions can have things going badly for plenty of people, but it’s still coherent, satisfying and provides closure.

      • Big Murray says:

        The fact that I can’t remember a jot about Dragon Age: Origins ending tells how badly that ending worked out, for emotional bittersweet impactedness.

    • Caleb367 says:

      Me too, however I’d liked to have some tying up of loose endings, Fallout style.

      (Besides: I feel it’s 100% true that major companies have gone the Hollywood way – lazy, derivative and exploiting – but complaining to the Trade commission because you didn’t like the ending gives major points to the “gamers / consumers are entitled” argument. Damn, I’m an old timer and I still remember finishing Barbarian 2 on my C64 back then – a mind-boggling grind without saving points, with every enemy capable of one-hit-killing you, only to get a black screen with “well done” in a corner. And then I played that again, because it wasn’t about the ending, but about the journey)

    • Screamer says:

      The problem is not the tragic ending, its the part where it doesn’t really make a lot of sense.

      I mean WTF, Reapers kill all organic life to prevent organics from creating synthetics that MIGHT kill all organic life

      I really want to ask Mr Casey “…but New York Times like ME3” Hudson if that makes sense to him

      • Bursar says:


        I think the point is the Reapers DON’T kill ALL organic life. They harvest all organic life capable of creating artifical life within the next cycle (and presumably harvest any existing ai life from the current cycle). This immortalises the harvested lifeforms (after a fashion) as a new set of reapers.

        Any primitive organic life is left alone to have the potential to develop during the next cycle. In their mind this is preferable to an AI wiping out all organic life which is presumably what nearly happened during the first cycle when the mass relays were first created.

        • Bhazor says:

          Or they could have just said “don’t make sentient robotic life without a killswitch” on a plaque or something and not had the whole hundreds of billions of deaths thing at all.

          • CaspianRoach says:

            Don’t think about a pink elephant.

          • Verio says:

            This of course deprives them of being able to have a sinister campaign of bloody slaughter.

            …to save you of course, from the terrible secret of space.


          • Bursar says:

            The problem there was the Quarians weren’t trying to make sentient robot life. It just happened. Even at the very end most Quarians didn’t think of the Geth as ‘alive’, just as machines that had malfunctioned.

            That’s assuming people even listened, or were capable of interpreting the message. I like to think that in the early cycles (or even before the cycles began) this sort of thing was tried, failed miserably and so the reapers went with their final solution as the only thing that worked. They are after a fashion, the ‘synthesis’ of AI and Biological from an earlier cycle.

          • LintMan says:

            “The Reapers kill all advanced life to prevent them from creating AI life which will invariably destroy all life thus saving primitive life”

            The problem with that whole bit of non-sequitur crap reasoning is that my Shepard had been happily coexisting with the EDI AI since ME2 and had just orchestrated peace between the Geth and the Quarians. The only AI hostile to life in the galaxy at that point was the goddam Reapers.

            And Shepard doesn’t even get to point that out or debate it with Casper. He just accepts it. This is really the laziest sort of plot railroading, worthy of a bad Star Trek: Voyager episode.

          • Archonsod says:

            In fairness EDI did try to kill Shep when they first met.

        • Apples says:

          I haven’t finished it yet (yes, I spoiled it for myself, oh well) but that still doesn’t make sense given how Screamer and others have described it. Why would there be parts of the game that strongly suggest that synthetic and organic life can and will peacefully coexist, only for the ending to be a huge “NOPE!” with no chance of counterargument? And if synthetic/organic life is a major theme, shouldn’t the Geth/Quarian conflict have been a much, much bigger part of the game than it was? The genophage clearly has parallels with the Reaper motivations, the Quarians and Geth are relevant, but then you have Turians and Asari basically being redundant as regards that theme. It would have been better to just leave the Reapers as unknowable baddies to frame the quest rather than provide a strong theme at the end and leave half the contents of the game feeling irrelevant or contradictory to that theme; it feels like that motivation was only decided on during the creation of ME3, and it probably was.

          • circadianwolf says:

            You are correct on all counts.

            The game goes out of its way to make peace between synthetics and organics possible, and then doesn’t allow you to even mention that at the end.

            And yes, as mentioned in the post, the game’s ending changed a lot, and what’s there was basically a last minute ass-pull. The original explanation for the Reapers involved dark energy (foreshadowed on Haestrom, among other places, in ME2).

        • ulix says:


          Why don’t they just protect organic life then? Make the cycles 10.000 years or whatever, or even shorter, and let them only destroy the artificial lifeforms?

          They could have communication beacons around the galaxy where organic races could call for help whenever they’re threatened by an AI uprising… Whatever… the way it’s done just makes no sense.

        • Wisq says:

          It’s basically a rehash of the Inhibitors from Alastair Reynold’s “Revelation Space” series, but for a different reason, and returning on a timer rather than by setting traps for spacefaring species.

          (spoiler warning for the book series) link to

          MORE SPOILERS: The gist of it is, humans discover a puzzle (artificial moon with tough self-repairing shell, IIRC) that requires a lot of ingenuity and raw technological power to breach. They get inside and communicate with the computer inside, which serves as a beacon that “hey, there’s intelligent spacefaring life here!”. That awakens the Inhibitors, who, now aware of humanity, start to try to wipe them out.

          The main similarity is the notion of machines committing genocide in order to preserve life – or more specifically, to ensure the galaxy continues to be able to create and sustain any life at all. But in this case, the apparent conflict between “save life” vs. “kill everyone” is much better explained. They know there’s an event on the way that everyone needs shepherding through (rather than speculating that someone will make unstoppable synthetics), and if they weren’t degraded over time to such a degree, they could’ve caught it earlier and just (say) thwarted Earth’s interstellar spaceflight attempts rather than wiping them out.

          So yeah. Silly ending + sorta-kinda plot ripoff common sense
          = Bioware last chance to redeem themselves in my eyes
          = Bioware my respect or patronage in the future.

    • Aardvarkk says:


      I also liked the ending, even more after I read an article about the ending being an attempt at the Reapers indoctrinating not only Shepard but also the player. It’s here if you want to take a gander at it, pretty interesting.

      link to

      • The Infamous Woodchuck says:

        nice.a very compelling article indeed, gives me a completely new perspective for the ending, a far better perspective. if it were to be true, then this might be the biggest feat of gaming in this year. indoctrinating the player, who would have thought of that. bravo bioware, bravo.

        btw, thanks for bringing this up

      • Wisq says:

        Frankly, I suspect they made it super ambiguous (including the “it was all a trick” possibility) so they could sit back, relax, wait for all the fan theories (like this one) to come flooding in, and then pick the best one and make it the official ending.

      • theleif says:

        Hmmm. I haven’t played the game yet so there might be a logical explanation to this, but if Shepard was indeed indoctrinated, why was he even given the choice to destroy all synthetic life?

        • Bhazor says:

          A more important question.
          Why bother?
          The reapers are nigh unstoppable now and can happily kill Shepard, blowup his doomsday shuttlecock (deus ex machina number 2) and go about their bloody business.

          Shepard has no real power, carries no real authority and has zero political pull.

  4. BatmanBaggins says:

    Hudson’s full statement still seems to not quite get why there’s so much ire about the ending. It’s far from just a want for “more closure, more answers, and more time to say goodbye to their stories”.

    Edit – Not that I ever expect them to admit to completely botching the writing of the ending, at this point. From this it sounds like they just sort of threw it together last minute, which explains a lot. Ah well…

  5. pitak89 says:

    I thought the ending was boring and lazy (and don’t get me started on the sudden inclusion of the cliched star-child). I’m over it though, but if they do release something that fixes it, I’ll definitely play it.

  6. AmateurScience says:

    Quite the brouhaha and no mistake. I’m certainly enjoying the journey immensely, I’m braced for the worst with regards to the ending though which is a shame (probably should have avoided reading anything about the game post-release).

    I really really hope that if there’s more ‘ending’ to come in the form of DLC that they won’t charge for it. Because that would be, I think, pretty reprehensible. Interestingly I thought it’s something that was ok to do with ME2 as that was a transitional piece, but as 3 was in the (pretty unique) position of tying together the disparate threads of millions of Shepards and finishing the story, I think it’s too much to have to pay extra for true closure.

  7. WMain00 says:

    Bioware seem to be going into denial mode, particularly in light of the comments made months ago about how there wouldn’t be a “A, B, or C” ending. And yet, oh look! An A, B, or C ending! How peculiar…

    • briktal says:

      Actually I consider everything from meeting Ashley/Kaidan in ME2 to the end of Mass Effect 3 to be the ending of the series so it wasn’t just A, B, or C to me.

      • Crimsoneer says:

        See, you’ve just decided half the series counts as “the ending”. That’s somewhat misunderstanding what an ending is.

        • briktal says:

          See it’s a joke because Gabe (and Tycho?) at PA defended the ending in part by saying they considered all of ME3 to be the ending.

      • Aemony says:

        Actually, I consider everything that have happened since the following dialogue in Mass Effect 1 to be the ending of the series:
        “Is that the kind of person we want protecting the galaxy?”
        “That’s the only kind of person who can protect the galaxy!”
        “I’ll make the call.”

  8. Bhazor says:

    Bioware actually caring about their writers? Le shock! Admittedly not enough that the executives can’t overide them but still.

  9. Ialda says:

    It’s getting more and more ridiculous by the hour. Come on, anyone playing ME deserve a slight slap on the wrist !

  10. Dominic White says:


    While I think the ending was terribly written, and managed to completely miss the tone set by the entire game up to that point, I feel sorry for Bioware now – the fans are just so batshit crazy that somehow, the ending becomes worse with each passing day.

    The most popular interpretation of it – no joke, most of the angry fans are behind this 100% – is that no matter what ending you pick, Shepard genocides almost all life in the galaxy. The Mass Relays destroy every major civilization in the galaxy in an instant, and the few remaining worlds starve to death slowly. Also, the Citadel falls onto Earth and kills everyone there. All your squadmates die, except for the few in the Normandy, who also starve.

    Only a lucky few isolated, self-sufficient pockets of life survive in the galaxy, cut off from everything. Think ‘Warhammer 40k’, but darker. And a lot of the ‘fans’ are claiming that this has been explicitly stated by Bioware as being the canon ending. I have no idea where they got this, but they’re running with it and claiming it’s word-of-god truth.

    As bad as the ending was, I’m pretty sure that Bioware didn’t intend it to be read as ‘Fuck you, everyone dies. EVERYONE!’.

    The sad thing is that just having a 15-20 minute epilogue where each character gets to say what they did in the few weeks after the end of the war would have fixed almost everything and wrapped the series up nicely. Bioware dropped the ball, but at least they’ve not run off with the ball and started making moonlight blood-sacrifices to it.

    • Phantoon says:

      I hated the Mass Effect series before it was cool.

      That said, the game was incredibly lazy- and this is from someone that suffered through that garbage Dragon Age 2. For a quick example of said laziness, look up “winter on mars” on google image search.

      If you got to the ending, you’ll recognize it because it’s the exact same picture.

    • cqdemal says:


      Well, the last time a mass relay blew up, it wiped out an entire star system. Without any other explanation for this, that’s the only point of reference for the fans.

      And some species are bound to starve due to biological differences and lack of resources in the Sol system.

      • Bugg says:

        Exactly. Most of those conclusions (as weird as they are) come from looking at the nonsensical events in the ending and putting them in the context of things that had been established throughout the series.

        There is a feeding frenzy going on with a lot of internet assholes hopping on to be their usual selves, but that’s a constant.

        • Enso says:

          Energy wave = signal to destroy/control/synthesise
          Energy beam = Remaining energy sent to next relay
          Relay Blowing up = Just the relay blowing up, no energy remains.


          There are some valid complaints of the ending. Most of them, however, are not. They come from either lack of observation or lack of understanding.

          • Bugg says:

            So it only explodes a little bit (we at least see the Sol system relay blowing up) and uses most of its energy to send the signal along and possibly reprogram all life? To be fair I can see that being an interpretation, though I think the Magic EMP from Magic Starkid comes across as a jarring mystical “because we said so” counter to the rest of the series.

          • Enso says:

            Jarring narratively or jarring logically? Because different forms of energy can exist and I don’t see how, living in the age we do, an age where we are verging on understanding, controlling and creating organic and synthetic life, that the concept of a signal that reconstructs life to be a combination of the two can be that farfetched set in a world where technology has not only developed for a far longer time but also a world that explicitly shows the capability of controlling mass (which means that the signal could carry the data, such as nanites, massless across the galaxy and then be given mass to transform targets).

            Real science is considering things that narratively people would think were lame. Check out link to
            It was all a dream!

    • briktal says:


      Yeah that’s probably a bit much. The homeworlds and some of the larger colonies would probably survive without the relays. Those planets would probably only be set back a few hundred years, maybe a thousand at most.

      “Galactic dark age” was said, but I don’t know if it was an official response or just “LOTS OF SPECULATION” from Bioware people. But they did say they didn’t anticipate doing anything in the Mass Effect universe post-ME3, which kinda sucks because in the ME universe, humanity has only been around for 35 years.

      • Werthead says:

        *SPOILER TALK*
        *SPOILER TALK*
        *SPOILER TALK*
        *SPOILER TALK*
        *SPOILER TALK*

        Not really. Earth and Palaven have been devastated by the Reaper invasion and would likely require extensive rebuilding with outside help to sustain populations in the billions again. Thessia was obliterated anyway. Rannoch should be okay. Tuchanka was a desolate wilderness on which it was difficult to survive before and still is now. As long the newly reproductive-happy krogan don’t exhaust their limited resources in a mating frenzy, they should be okay as well.

        I think it’s clear that the Mass Relays were destroyed in a different way to the one in ARRIVAL. Each one seemed to shunt its energy to the next Relay in line and then implode (it would have been a nice touch to shunt the energy into the Omega 4 Relay at the end and then have that one detonate all the collected energy together, as the black hole would have absorbed the blast quite handily). The Endor Holocaust ending clearly doesn’t happen, as Shepard is shown to be alive on Earth at the end if you get the ‘perfect’ ending and the Normandy isn’t destroyed by the Mass Relay detonations.

        • Bursar says:

          Agree with Werthead. I don’t think the Mass Effect Relays have destroyed everything because it’s shown that Earth does survive (assuming you got a high enough level of war assets). Any half decent fluff can justify this, and I quite like Werthead’s suggestion that the energy is transferred from relay to relay.

          From a galaxy situation the bad
          Some sort of mass famine and economy crash is inevitable, given that every major civilisation has fought a war of suvival against the reapers, plus all ‘normal’ trade routes are likely gone.

          However on the plus side.
          Faster than light travel still exists. It’s just the fast galaxy spanning travel the mass relays enabled that’s ended. Journeys that would have taken less than a day will now take careful route planning for fuel conservation and will take many months, and crossing from one side of the galaxy to the other will take years.

          Despite the devastation most of the major races still exist in some form. They will rebuild. I’m not saying it will be easy or that there won’t be a LOT of hardship along the way, but they’re alive.

          Previously every cycle starts with races at the level of cavemen. Even with the devastation inflicted this time there will be races that maintain their technology level more or less. Given that the Protheans at the end of their cycle were close to developing mass relay technology of their own it’s likely that the existing races will recover and develop something similar within the next thousand years.

          The only thing I would have liked is a Dragon Age: Origins style epilog telling me what happened to any surviving members of my crew.

        • Max.I.Candy says:

          Werthead,you think that Shepard was on Earth when she suddenly breathed back to life?
          So she fell from the Citadel after it exploded and landed on Earth?lol.
          From the look of the rubble I didnt see ANY indication that was Earth, and I assumed it was just rubble left over from the Citadel explosion.

          • Werthead says:

            Shepard clearly wasn’t on the Citadel at the end. First off, he/she was surrounded by what looked like concrete, not the metallic/plastic environment of the Citadel. Rather more notably, the Crucible and the centre of the Citadel exploded in a massive fireball after the choices had been made. Shepard would have been atomised.

            So clearly either 1) Shepard was somehow teleported back to Earth by the same beam he/she came up on. Presumably by the Expositionary Starchild because, erm…yeah. Or 2) the Indoctrination Theory is correct and Shepard never left Earth in the first place and everything that happened after the beam hit Shepard on Earth was a Reaper-induced hallucination.

  11. Skystrider says:

    The way I see it is this:

    I have had fun for over a hundred hours, playing and replaying ME1&2. And I am having equally much fun playing ME3 right now. I feel I get my money’s worth. I couldn’t care less what happens in the final ten minutes, because I am too busy having fun getting there.

    More to it than that, I find this whole fan outcry is a rather childish display; ungreatful to the hundreds of people who poured years of their life, and hard work and passion into making these games. Worse, by demanding that Bioware should change the ending, I believe the complaints are disrespectful to gaming as a narrative artform. It has been written. It is what it is. If people don’t like it, they can always go make their own space epic and show us all how its done right.

    Well, whatever folks. I’m having fun being Shepard, pondering the philosophical aspects of Fermi’s paradox, and making extremely though choices. I don’t care what it all boils down to as a game, I will always appreciate the experience for what it is.

    If all you got to complain about is the final minutes of a computer game, then good for, since you obviously live a pretty good life.
    Worse things have befallen men.

    • BatmanBaggins says:

      You really did just use both the “there are starving children in the world, so don’t complain about a video game” AND “if you don’t like it, go make a better one” arguments, didn’t you?

    • DogKiller says:

      You make it sound like Bioware is doing people a favour by making this game, when that’s really not the case. They make game, people buy game, they get financially compensated for their time and effort. That’s not a favour, that’s just doing business, and when people pay money for something and end up not liking it, do you really (rightly or wrongly) expect them not to complain?

    • Superfluous2 says:

      Other narrative works have been revised after release. Films are regularly changed between their first screening and eventual release, with some of them undergoing significant alterations due to feedback. A work of fiction is not a fixed, immutable thing, especially one which has been designed with player choice in mind. This it not to say that all revisions are desirable or beneficial, but in the case of Mass Effect 3 a redo is in order. The ending is terrible on multiple levels. Why not improve it?

      • DogKiller says:

        Good point. Look how many different versions of the film Blade Runner there have been. I read a book on the making of it recently, called Future Noir, and it’s fascinating all the development troubles it went through and the many changes that were implemented with test screenings and such.

    • Xzi says:

      And yet you’re belittling the entire medium by saying, “it’s just a video game, who cares?” We care just as much as we would about a good movie or book that ended on a lazy or incomplete note. Possibly more so, because as you pointed out, we’ve poured a significant amount of time and energy into these games, and we expected an ending that would, at the very least, live up to the standards set by the rest of the series.

      Why did we only get to see how the conclusion affected two or three of the squadmates we had grown to know and love? Writing in a deep backstory for eighteen to nineteen characters and then ignoring them during the climax of events towards the finale would not be acceptable within the context of a movie or book, so neither should it be acceptable here.

      • Skystrider says:

        I probably (obviously) shoudn’t have commented, since I have not seen the ending myself yet. All I’m trying to say is; how bad can it possibly be? Bad enough to somehow sour all the hundreds of hours I have already spent in the ME universe? And I am certainly not trying to belittle gaming, quite the contrary, I’m saying that if this is how Bioware wanted things to end, maybe we should respect that. I personally just don’t get worked up over (what I perceive as) little things, such as how things end. I’m much more interested in the journey to get there. That journey has so far been one hell of a good of ride, as far I am concerned. :-)

        • Grygus says:

          Yes. Now take two minutes to think about what you just said. Virtually everyone felt that way. You are solidly in the majority. That is why a bad ending is so disappointing! If the game hadn’t been amazing until ten minutes before a complete non sequitur of a scene followed by ROLL CREDITS, there wouldn’t be so much anger, would there? Your argument doesn’t counter anything at all about the ending being bad.

        • Werthead says:

          “Bad enough to somehow sour all the hundreds of hours I have already spent in the ME universe?”

          Literally thousands of people actually feel this way. I chose to spoil myself on the ending ahead of time rather than be taken unawares, and I think this made me feel better about the rest of the game and the preceding two titles and the journey rather than invest everything into the ending. But the ending really is bad enough to make you question the value of what came before, as so much of it turns out to be utterly pointless.

        • Superfluous2 says:

          You should really play until the end of the game before weighing in on this. Nobody is saying that the journey wasn’t great. The reason there’s so much furor over the endings is that they stand in such stark contrast to the journey, both in terms of quality and their connection to the overall story. That they render everything that comes before them irrelevant to the setting is just the icing on the cake, so to speak.

        • Bhazor says:

          It isn’t how they wanted it to end. Read the article.

    • pitak89 says:

      So the writers are fully capable of writing an engaging, epic story, with interesting moral choices, but it’s suddenly ok to get lazy in the moment it counts most? They don’t really owe me anything, but I’ll be selfish just this once and say they owe everyone a somewhat decent ending.

    • Grygus says:

      I agree that the ending fails to retroactively ruin a three-game masterpiece, but looking at the most extreme reactions and using those to condescendingly handwave all arguments is disingenuous. The ending can be criticized for perfectly legitimate reasons. I also question the wisdom of weighing in on a topic on which your opinions are uninformed, but then this is the Internet.

      It is interesting to me that people who think that 2001: A Space Odyssey has a weird ending aren’t called “childish” or reminded of world hunger. Emotional engagement is what drives sales and interest in a game series like Mass Effect; this kind of investment is why the series exists. Pretending that players should dispassionately assess the ending in the context of real world problems is not only dishonest but frankly a little stupid; you accuse the community of losing perspective, but you have lost it yourself.

      Is all art criticism a similar waste of time?

      • Werthead says:

        The 2001 comparison has been brought up before. The difference there is that 2001 was a multimedia project comprising a novel and a film, and the novel explained and clarified the ending much more than the film. That allowed Kubrick to have his cake and eat it, with a bizarre ending open to interpretation from those who liked that sort of thing, whilst Clarke provided a clear explanation in another medium.

      • Skystrider says:

        I would like to apologise for my two previous posts. I obviously didn’t think things through and made a massive error in judgement.

        For what its worth, you all have my word it won’t happen again. Sorry!

    • Max.I.Candy says:

      Also it comes down to what we were promised, and what we actually got in the end was excactly what we were told wouldnt happen.

      A choice of 3 basically identical endings that completely ignore everything we have been playing for and deciding things for.
      It feels like we have been robbed of an idea we were sold, and that is more depressing then anything.

      Yes, the game was great until then (most of us are’nt denying that), but its all soured by the ending, and any future replays will feel pointless as we will have the knowledge that all those desicions we are forced to make (that made the series so good) will ultimately mean NOTHING in the end.

      Someone who has never played any of the games can jump in to play the last 10 minutes, listen to a corny explanation that is basically one big double negative…make their decision, (a,b or c which are the same but with different colours) and have the same satisfation as someone who has played and molded a Commander Shepard & Company from the entire trilogy!

    • Ruffian says:

      meh, wrote some crap, took it back. not tryna rag on someone who hasn’t even experienced it yet. peace n love, baby. peace and love.

  12. Oof says:

    I’m happy I get to say nananananana to everyone that’s defended Bioware all these years. It’s the little things that make life worth living.

    • Grygus says:

      You do realize that this uproar would not exist if not for the ~150 hours of excellent gameplay that preceded the ten minutes of awfulness? This is actually confirmation of BioWare’s greatness. Nobody cares how a bad game ends.

      • ulix says:

        I cared how bad it ended, just as thousands of others do.
        I agree though that the 20 or 30 hours leading up to 10 minutes of awfulness were absolutely amazing.
        So yeah, Bioware can still do pretty awesome games.

        • GiantRaven says:

          You only care about the bad ending because the rest of the game is good. If the rest of the game was bad, there wouldn’t be as much complaining specifically about a bad ending.

          That was the point being made.

          • Oof says:

            Debates about “goodness” or “badness” aside, you care that the ending sucks because it’s so incongruent with the rest of the story. That’s bad writing. Ergo, Bioware sucks at writing. /caseclosed

          • ulix says:

            Your wrong though.
            The ending is shit, no questions asked.

            The rest of the game is superb though, in terms of writing and characterization, and the rest of the game is about 95% of it. Sure, “superb” doesn’t mean Charles Dickens or Jon Steinbeck superb, it just means that it is an incredible feat WITHIN ITS MEDIUM.

            Because Bioware can be incredibly good at writing, at least in writing FOR THEIR MEDIUM. They aren’t always, but more often than most other developers.

  13. Anzcm says:

    As others have commented, I consider the entire Mass Effect 3 game to be the ending, the denouement, where you are shown the consequences of your actions in the previous two games, and where you revisit old friends and enemies and say good-bye. This, the entire game, not just the bit near the end, is where you reap the rewards and satisfaction of having spent so much time as Shepard throughout the series.

    The last hour is to me a satisfyingly final conclusion, and for once it is a conclusion in which the world changes significantly. Maybe the results do not reflect the kind of Shepard you were, and maybe someone else would have pushed the buttons had you not been there, but the world certainly changes because of what you do, and only because you were there from the start.

    I am impressed by Bioware for daring to go down this road. Bioware have shown that they have the guts to end a series with a bang, despite risking offending some of their customers. Whether you liked the ending or not, I dare say you felt strong emotions, perhaps for days after you stopped playing. Maybe you even replayed the last few minutes and explored other options because you felt uncomfortable with what you had done. What you felt may not have all been good emotions, but in my experience they were still fundamentally satisfying.

    In the end, most of the story of Mass Effect was never that interesting to me, and combat was boring, and managing weapons and armours and stats and skills downright tedious. It was always my companions that mattered to me, and that was the only reason I stuck with the series. Garrus was a dependable friend, someone I could talk to, Tali needed my protection and guidance, Legion and EDI let me explore my fascination for synthetic life, and Miranda had a nice ass. And significantly, the ending (the entire game AND the last minute of the game), focused on my companions and friends. My sacrifice in some way saved them and I was given hope that they would survive and carry on without me.

    Having been more or less actively disappointed by every game Bioware made after the release of KotOR (including the Mass Effect series for many, many reasons), this is the first time I am actually excited about the next Mass Effect game. The way the game ended promises so much. For the first time in the Mass Effect universe, there is real history to fall back on, real ruins of the future past to explore, real lore to rediscover, and real races with real pasts to get meet again. I’d like to see that game.

    • Crimsoneer says:

      I just don’t see how you think the ending says ANYTHING about your companions…It’s just made all the stories you’ve completed with them largely irrelevant stranding them somewhere, far away from family and friends.

      I love my companions, but it’s such a shame everything we did together was so utterly irrelevant, for a reason that is barely explained. Hell, if you took the secret ending, you’ve actually murdered some of the best ones…

      • Anzcm says:

        If one considers the entire game the ending, which was my main point, the game says plenty about your companions and what you did or not for them, what happened as a result, and the fact that Shepard played an important part in their lives. The fact that some of your companions may have died or been left stranded does not change that.

        And anyway, who knows what the truth is, who died and didn’t, what is dreamed or imagined. Nothing is explained, as you say. I’m willing to bet that Mass Effect 4 will soften the outcome somewhat compared to what some players imagined happened.

        • Fiyenyaa says:

          You can’t say that the whole game was the ending because it gives us answers and conclusions to events from the previous two games (which I think it did a great job of for the most part) when the actual end goes and says “but none of that stuff really matters; make an insanely galaxy-changing decision and be told nothing about it”.
          Even a simple “Shepherd presses Reapers All Explode button then dies from his wounds, roll credits” would have been a better ending, because all of the events in the previous 30 hours wouldn’t be rendered almost meaningless by the final decision you make.

          • Anzcm says:

            Had Shepard not existed, something else would have happened, so by definition, all that stuff that happened before the end really did matter.

            Are we so stuck in the ruts of game storytelling that the only way to “beat” a game properly is to save the universe and live happily ever after with our chosen girl/guy?

            Can’t a game be about living well and dying right whatever the outcome?

    • Bhazor says:

      Praises game for reflecting choices.
      Praises ending for ignoring those choices.
      Declares the game had poor writing and crap gameplay.
      Still calls it great.

      Mass Effect has a stange (a heh) effect on people it seems.

      • Anzcm says:

        While I didn’t actually say any of those things, I will agree that the Mass Effect series was crap in some fundamental respects, brilliant in others, and more so than is usual. So yes, it had a strange effect on me.

        • Bhazor says:

          The last hour is to me a satisfyingly final conclusion, and for once it is a conclusion in which the world changes significantly. Maybe the results do not reflect the kind of Shepard you were, and maybe someone else would have pushed the buttons had you not been there, but the world certainly changes because of what you do, and only because you were there from the start.

          Praises ending for ignoring choices

          In the end, most of the story of Mass Effect was never that interesting to me, and combat was boring, and managing weapons and armours and stats and skills downright tedious

          States game had poor writing and crap gameplay

          This, the entire game, not just the bit near the end, is where you reap the rewards and satisfaction of having spent so much time as Shepard throughout the series.

          Still calls game great.

          • Anzcm says:

            The game does not need to reflect my past decisions in the final minutes for the ending (and the game) to be satisfying. Again, my original point: consider the entire game. Obviously, I’m not praising games that ignore the player.

            The other two comments are just your extrapolations. I don’t agree.

          • Bhazor says:

            So apart from being mostly boring the writing was good? Apart from tasting like straw my meal was great.

            When you call the combat crap what gameplay is actually left?

    • Grygus says:

      I think the ending was lazy and inconsistent, if not nonsensical, but I have no problems with a non-Hollywood ending. I actually expected Shepard to die, and half-expected another suicide mission kind of structure where many/most of my companions died as well. I think you are conflating confounding expectations with quality; just because it wasn’t a sunshine and rainbows ending doesn’t make it good.

      Virtually nobody complained about Mass Effect 2’s ending, even though it was fairly bleak. I think you are seriously misinformed as to what the problem is here.

      • Bhazor says:


        It’s not that its bleak its that it is shit.

      • Anzcm says:

        If you wanted a last-minute climax that hinged entirely upon the kind of Shepard you were and that allowed you to choose the outcome more directly, I can understand if you feel the ending to be disappointing and even a problem. Nothing you can do in the game really changes anything related to that part of the ending.

        If, on the other hand, you see the ending as a final, real, world-changing conlusion to the series, and possibly rearranging the world in preparation for the next game, and use the rest of the game for your traditional, end-of-game nostalgic feel-good moments, it works perfectly well. You succeeded in what you set out to do, and while the results may not have been what you expected and the options limited, you made a difference, to the world and to your companions.

  14. D3xter says:

    There’s been a pretty good coverage of this over at Forbes for weeks now that goes largely beyond “oh those silly gamers”, it’s too bad RPS seems to largely take that stance instead of trying to analyze it.
    link to A lot of the articles are rather good.
    Also, this is about more than just the “Endings” and has more to do with a general discontent at Bioware/EA for a while now, which only grew stronger after Dragon Age 2 and is only getting amplified as these things pop up resulting in events like the Hepler incident or all the Controversies about Day1-DLC, Origin-Onlyness, 800$ total-DLC price, Talis Stock Photo face, the endings and whatnot including apparent discontent on how the mass gaming media is handling this by handing out dozens of perfect “100” Reviews (apparently 48 of them no less) and choosing to ignore most complaints and the obvious PR lies, some of which can be found here: link to while telling tales of this “entitled” consumer.

    I can only predict we’ll be seeing more of this unless it’s addressed.

    • BatmanBaggins says:

      It certainly doesn’t help that much of the legitimate discontent with Bioware of late gets drowned out by the juvenile, self-defeating stuff like the Hepler “incident”.

    • AMonkey says:

      Its better for people with a vested interest in staying friendly with gaming publishers, to say nothing on the matter.

  15. bill says:

    I haven’t played it, but in general I prefer vague endings that allow you to fill in the details yourself to ones that fill out too much detail (usually i ways that aren’t as good as i’d imagined). Star wars is a good example of that.

    It just generally seems odd to me that they might be considering re-doing the ending. If the ending was what they intended then that should be that, artistically. This is why Ebert says games aren’t art – they are team-produced product.

    I got bored of mass effect 1 and gave up – but ME3 seems to be getting a lot of praise…. can you start ME3 without having played the first two?

    • Phantoon says:

      Ebert is a million years old, and fossils refuse to change. He has decided games are not art, so he will never change his opinion on it. I wouldn’t worry too much about what the Mesozoic Period thought about stuff, myself.

      And you’ll like this game if you like sitting behind cover a lot. It’s like Gears of War with the chest-high walls, as the second was. I hated the second game’s cover mechanics. Hated Gears of War, too. But it might be for you.

    • cqdemal says:

      I’m pretty sure most films aren’t produced by one person.

      I agree with your sentiment about revising the ending though.

    • Superfluous2 says:

      The ending wasn’t something carefully crafted; it was an 11th hour change made by the head writer without any input from the rest of his team. I imagine that the rest of the team, the ones who have created a highly enjoyable series of games, would be receptive to the possibility of ensuring their creation has a satisfying conclusion.

    • Stellar Duck says:

      Two things: only one person makes a movie?

      And Blade Runner. So many versions of that is out there I don’t actually know the number these days. Also changes in narration from Ford due to audience screenings or some such.

      Directors Cut and what not of movies have been around since forever.

    • BatmanBaggins says:

      I’m generally a fan of Ebert’s opinion on films, but I’m not sure why so many people started caring so much about what he thinks of video games.

  16. Phantoon says:

    You know, this is all in addition to the “if you don’t like the ‘getting renegade points for not initiating gay romance’ you’re homophobic” garbage.

    Seriously, Bioware writes incredibly shallow and almost cartoonish caricatures of relationships and suddenly everyone that thinks it’s crap are bigots.

    Oh, and the Hepler thing. “You’re mad because I have a vagina.” I get she was being trolled on a mass scale, but that’s when your PR department should do damage control for you, not have you come out sputtering nonsense. And not that I want to make this about her again, but I quote “I don’t play video games or like them”.

    Bioware is just full of people that don’t seem to understand criticism of their terrible writing, while scathing or otherwise, is not because of bigotry- it’s because they write blandly and poorly.

    • Unaco says:

      Yeah, well, you know, that’s just, like, your opinion, man. Thousands and thousands of people seem to like their stories, and enjoy them and get a kick from them. It might not be your thing… That’s cool. It’s OK not to like things… Just don’t be a d*ck about it.

      And why bring Hepler into the conversation? She didn’t work on any of the ME games.

    • Grygus says:

      A bland ending would have gotten universal praise, so I’m not sure where you’re going with this.

  17. Seafort says:

    I guess I’m not too bothered about the endings as other people are.

    I got the story I wanted and destroyed the reapers. End of story. I’ll be damned if I’m paying for more DLC when my story of shepard has already ended.

    I’ve already moved on and now I wait for Diablo 3, The secret world and, of course, Guild wars 2 :)

    • The Godzilla Hunter says:


      Agreed, while the ending is handled poorly (poor epilogue etc.), the story-wise I can totally get behind it, at least the destroy ending. I actually thought that the relay system would be destroyed, ever since Legion talked about how the Geth thought species should have self-determination. The relay system was designed by the Reapers to hamstring and box in technological advancement. By destroying the relay system, Shepard throws off the influence of the Reapers.

  18. DogKiller says:

    What actually annoys me more than the ending (Because I haven’t bought the game and sunk hours into getting to that point) is Bioware’s attitude and their outright PR lies. It shows complete disdain for their customers when they claim the game would not simply have an ABC ending, only for it to have precisely that (and a very bad version of it). Couple that with their general laziness, copying stock photos and lies in other areas and it’s like them taking a leak in your morning coffee. I also really hate the fact they seemed to have removed most of the dialogue choices as well, to the point where you just pick a good or a bad response and let the dialogue play out by itself.

    Edit: I also get the impression that Bioware are trying to be increasingly cinematic with their games, which leaves me with the question of if you’re trying to make games like films, why don’t you just go and make films instead? Games made like films have neither the benefits of games nor the benefit of films.

    • ulix says:

      I could not agree more…

      “You can get the best ending by just playing single player” – Lie. You need a EMR of 5000, or 4000 for a still okay ending, but can only get around 3500 or maybe 3800 by doing everything.

      And you really alway only had two choices in dialogue, the “I’m a dick” choice and the “I want love” choice… in the other games you had a neutral answer at least most of the time.

  19. Schadenfreude says:

    Whilst I do think that those last ten minutes were incredibly ham-fisted and pretty rubbish I can’t really get up the effort to complain about at the lengths some are going to. Suffice to say, it’s the first ME game I didn’t immediately start again and I can’t see myself playing it again; even though for the most part I loved, loved, loved it (Especially the Tuchanka and Rannoch segments).

    Had it just faded out with Shepard and Anderson bleeding out with their upside down view of Earth I would have been happy (Of course there are a lot of Bioware fans who are absolutely nuts – this would not have gone down well).

    • Phantoon says:

      It would have gone over better, though. Plugging in the Deus Ex endings with none of them being worthwhile or making sense as to why you’d pick any of them.

  20. Mungrul says:

    Just a point of fact in regards to Lucas and his 6-film masterplan. While I don’t really like the prequels or the way he’s messed with the original trilogy, I have to defend him here, as I remember from my childhood that Lucas always intended Star Wars to span 9 movies, with the originals sitting in the middle. This was way before The Phantom Menace was even released, back in the early Eighties.

    • Phantoon says:

      Sure, he intended to do so.

      But did he intend for the movies to be terrible and boring? I doubt it.

    • pkdawson says:

      Not at the very beginning, though. On its first release, Star Wars was just Star Wars, not Episode IV: A New Hope. Only after it was successful did Lucas start thinking about a nine-episode arc.

    • Werthead says:

      Actually, Lucas planned one movie, but the story was too big for it. He then split it up into sections and picked the fourth (Episode IV) to make into a relatively self-contained movie, in case it bombed. At one point twelve films were envisioned, and at another point Lucas planned only to make the first two movies and end the story there. The nine-movie arc is the idea that survived the longest, but only because Lucas didn’t do any development work on the story for a decade between JEDI coming out and being inspired by JURASSIC PARK to make Episodes I-III. When he started work on Episode I, he realised that the saga would be more cohesive if it was presented as Anakin’s story and ended with his death in JEDI. The fact that any Episode VII-IX would also contradict the post-JEDI material presented in multiple computer games, comics and novels, which would annoy the fanbase, also contributed to this decision.

      Or, more concisely, had made it up and changed his mind dozens of time in the process.

    • fish99 says:

      That doesn’t mean he had any story written out for the prequels. He obviously didn’t.

    • circadianwolf says:

      No, Lucas has simply been lying for a long time.

      You can read the original drafts of Star Wars, featuring General Starkiller rescuing the princess, online. There was no giant film arc broken down into 3 movies and then 9 movies. He made it up after the fact, because Lucas is an egotistical tool.

  21. Unaco says:

    Someone complained to the FTC? That… that is crazy. Like the woman who complained “Drive” didn’t have enough action and car chases. Can you really complain that ‘art’ does not live up to the claims of the artists? If a director claims that there won’t be a dry eye in the audience and it doesn’t make me cry, can I complain? Or what if that album wasn’t the banging soundtrack to the perfect summer, like nothing I’ve ever heard before? And would it just be the word of the complainant? What if he just missed something, or is interpreting the ‘art’ wrong? Maybe all of the claims made by the artists are accurate, if you interpret the story this way and not that way?

    I’ve not played the ME series, I have nothing invested in it, and it might be different for games… But, if I read a book and something I don’t like happens, I never think “I should petition the author and have him change this ending”.

    What if this is successful? This is a claim and complaint about the STORY of the game, something ambiguous and open to interpretation. What if this opened video games up to complaints about other things… performance, features, content… Like Minecraft 1.0 being absent NPC AI, Mob pathfinding, CTF mode?

    • Superfluous2 says:

      While I agree that lodging an official complaint about the game is a bit much, there is a basis for doing so.

      link to

      The first 40-50 seconds is all you need to watch.

    • kyrieee says:

      Some idiot did, and the media choose to make a big deal out of it. It’s completely irrelevant, bringing it up is just a cheap attempt at invalidating any real criticism of the ending.

    • TariqOne says:

      I should have done that after I finished Infinite Jest after 1000-some-odd pages. But oh right. I loved it until the ending, and oh right. I didn’t write the book.

      I honestly can’t believe this is somehow a fucking controversy. Just when you think the shrillness can’t get any shriller, it gets even shriller.

  22. McDan says:

    “A longer more expository conclusion was originally planned.”
    And that would have been so much better, now that I’ve kind of gotten over my initial rage over the endings I’m just more annoyed and what to find our what the hell is going on with SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS the child saying he commands the citadel and reapers and all that rubbish. What the hell? That didn’t explain anything! Terrible. Annoyed.

  23. AMonkey says:

    Easily the worst ending I’ve seen in a video game. Its amazing how incompetent the people behind the ending are, and Biowares PR weaving is disgusting.

  24. The Godzilla Hunter says:

    If you think people are complaining now, just imagine what it will be like if Bioware actually *does* release an ending (paid-for) DLC. The rage would be…unprecedented.

    • Phantoon says:

      Yes. I look forward to it, actually. Either they release DLC to change the story, which will enrage people that the ending wasn’t the true ending, or this junk WAS the real ending, in which case…

      Maybe this will finally make people stop giving them their money.

    • AmateurScience says:

      ‘…and that kids, was when the internet exploded and the endtimes came.’

    • The Godzilla Hunter says:

      If Bioware realized how important customer loyalty is, they would give it out for free. If you had it simply be a Fallout style epilogue, it actually wouldn’t be that hard to do and (for me) would make the ending several fold times better.

    • Superfluous2 says:

      It wouldn’t surprise anyone. From The Ashes demonstrated that EA and/or Bioware are willing to exploit the fondness people feel for the series in order to extract more money from them. Charging for a satisfying conclusion to the series would set a dangerous precedent for the future.

      That said, doing so would surely be damaging in the long term. Though gamers in general have demonstrated that they’re willing to put up with all sorts of crap in order to play the latest game, so maybe not.

      • The Godzilla Hunter says:

        But the thing is, if you didn’t know about the DLC character, the game would be roughly as good, but without a (good) ending DLC…it isn’t.

        Plus you just know that people will be convinced that Bioware intentionally made the ending terrible, just so they could sell some DLC.

        • Superfluous2 says:

          If you want to get all conspiratorial about it you could hypothesize that the ending, for which the lead writer was solely responsible, was intentionally awful for that very purpose. Orders handed down from above and all.

          Not that I believe this happened (it’s far more likely Mac Walters forced his terrible idea on the game), but it make the inevitable conspiracy theory more plausible.

          • The Godzilla Hunter says:

            Ahh, but don’t you see? All of Biowares recent actions (DA2, DLC, etc.) are caused because the creators are intentionally trying to get people to hate the new action-oriented style RPGs. One day, possibly after handing Bioware over to EA, the head of Bioware woke up and said “My God, what have I done!?!?”. From that day forward, he has been intentionally sabotaging his own company so that people will long for old-school RPGs. Then, when things like Wasteland 2 become wildly successful, EA will tell Bioware to make BG3.


  25. H77 says:

    The problem with the ending is not the lack of details on “the origins of the ME3 universe”, nor the lack of a Hollywood type super-happy-ending that some people think is required for every game. The problem is, like Galactica, when it stops being science fiction and becomes deus ex machina bullshit. A wave of energy spreading throughout the universe, magically converting organics into half mechanical hybrids stinks of being just a last minute fill in. That’s the problem. Even when I saw Casper I started preparing for the worse. The rippers were fine by themselves as a threat; it made sense as it were.

    • InternetBatman says:

      I know it’s my own fault for reading the thread, but it’d be nice if you put spoilers up on that. If that is the ending though, that is just plain terrible.

      • Superfluous2 says:

        It’s one of them. It’s also considered the “best” ending, requiring the highest Effective Military Strength of the three endings to unlock.

    • circadianwolf says:

      The difference is Galactica was always mystical; people just refused to see it. Roslin had accurate visions from the Gods in season 1, and the Prophecies and the Cycle of Time were emphasized heavily throughout. Galactica’s finale is terrible for many reasons (and everything dealing with the backstory of the Final Five lacks narrative coherency), but the religious aspects of it were not at all unexpected for anyone who wasn’t in denial about the nature of the series.

      ME’s mysticism, of course, was entirely a last-minute throwaway addition.

      • H77 says:

        For a long time, Galactica revolved around who was and who wasn’t a cylon (not just that, of course). That’s why Baltar’s visions, for example, weren’t necessarily out of the sci-fi realm, not until the end, at least. The same goes for Roslin’s. So no, it wasn’t necessary to be “in denial” to enjoy Galactica without seeing it as mystical crap.

      • circadianwolf says:

        Yes, you could have hoped for a sci-fi explanation for the religious elements. Doesn’t change that the fact that there were obviously religious elements from the beginning and the series had a clear interest in religious themes throughout. To say otherwise is denial.

        • H77 says:

          There’s a world of difference between a story having a religious sub-theme and resorting to “God did it” as an ending. One — religion and faith in God — is part of mankind, and as such within the realm of reality and logic; the other — deus ex machina — is simply a cop out for people who, by their own admission, didn’t know what to make of the story as they went along.

  26. Keymonk says:

    link to < Something worth checking out. Supposedly, there's a leak of some DLC which should bring closure or somesuch to the ending. And it's free.

    Also some multiplayer bits.

    Of course it's just a rumour/leak, but… fancy the thought, I do.

    • The Godzilla Hunter says:

      If this is true, ill jump for joy. I do have serious doubts though, this just screams rumor. I mean *everyone* knows that geth do not infiltrate.

    • Superfluous2 says:

      I’m fairly sure this was confirmed to be an elaborate troll.

      • Keymonk says:

        I’ve heard nothing like it – I’ve heard people claiming it’s fake, which it might well be, mind, but… well, I’m hoping they’ll do something like it. I will certainly be overjoyed if it’s true or close to true.

    • Bhazor says:

      A link to the actual “leak”
      link to

      (Snark=true)Seems legit(/snark)

      • Keymonk says:

        Ah well. Bioware has apparently said themselves that it’s BS at any rate. Your link doesn’t seem to have an awful lot to do with the rest of the rumour, though, apart from namedropping it. That’s not to say they’re not related or that it isn’t BS at any rate. :P

    • GiantRaven says:

      Free DLC is impossible. Microsoft doesn’t allow it on the Xbox.

      • Kaira- says:

        Funny, I remember downloading free map packs for Halo 3.

        • GiantRaven says:

          Then I am mistaken. Disregard me entirely. =)

          • ShrikeMalakim says:

            You’re not entirely mistaken. SuperGiant Games (of Bastion) has stated that the first DLC for a given franchise or game cannot be free, which is why their upcoming Bastion DLC is free for PC and 80 points for XBLA (in other words, “as cheap as Microsoft will let us sell it”).

    • Nim says:

      I believe fake.

      There has not been enough time for Bioware to develop all that.

  27. Strabo says:

    ***Spoiler for ME 3***
    ***Spoiler for ME 3***
    ***Spoiler for ME 3***
    ***Spoiler for ME 3***
    ***Spoiler for ME 3***
    ***Spoiler for ME 3***

    It’s pretty apparent that nobody thought the ending through and that it was a very late implementation. Just think about it, as it now stands it is actually less cruel to Tali and the Quarians in general if you side with the Geth on Rannoch, so Tali kills herself and dies on her homeworld and the Quarian fleet is destroyed over Rannoch, instead of Tali slowly starving to death on some jungle world (most likely Jacob’s father’s rape planet if you go by the skybox) and the Quarians probably on Earth, 100,000 lightyears away from home.
    It’s better to let Kelly Chambers be killed by Cerberus or drive her into suicide than keeping her alive during the Cerberus invasion, so she can die gruesomely reliving her worst nightmare until she is processed in the Citadel abattoir.
    It is better to sabotage the Genophage cure, because Wrex will sit on Earth and cannot lead the Krogan in a less violent, bright future. Not to mention he won’t see his kids anytime soon.
    The less war assets you bring to the fight over Earth the less people you actively screw over.

    I really cannot quite imagine that’s what Marc Walters had in mind when he wrote “Lots of speculation from everyone”.

    • ulix says:

      Maybe Tali won’t starve, and Garrus won’t starve, but the rest of the crew will? Who knows what sort of plant-life they have on this planet.

      And I guess its safe to assume that out of the machinery on the Normandy a talented mechanic like Tali could probably build some apparatus that transforms dextro-food into leno-food, and vice versa (if such a machine doesn’t yet exist on the Normandy anyway).

      Ending(s) obviously still shit.

      • GiantRaven says:

        If it’s safe to assume that a single mechanic can craft a device out of their chosen area of expertise from a bunch of ship parts, why has a scientific group not already made such a device? If it was that easy, it would have already been done.

        • ulix says:

          Why has a mechanic from the 16th century not built a combustion engine, a relatively simple device that any mechanic from an university could build today, given the material and the tools (which we can definitely assume to both exist in the Normandy wreck… sure, maybe they broke)?

          You know the answer, I know the answer, same answer as the answer to your question.

  28. ScorpionWasp says:

    I really don’t understand all the love for Mass Effect (talking about the first, only one I played up to about the half mark). Not even Yahtzee will criticize the narrative in this game, even though it’s terrible. Granted, the fictional universe in which the narrative unfolds is believable, carefully constructed and rich, but the plot itself? Ok, so your character receives what’s essentially a bureaucratic title (spectre). It’s not like that position gives him command of a 10,000 strong fleet nor anything, but everyone treats it as if it were that seriously of a deal. Things are at a galactic scale here, but only protagonists and antagonists seem to have agency and be able to incur change upon the universe. It’s ridiculous. The dialogue in that scene where Shepard receives the position is painful to watch. I’ve never seen anyone use the words “salarianity”, “quarianity” or equivalents in the game, but they certainly refer to humans as “humanity”. The smug, self-serving “the entire freaking universe revolves around you” theme that’s implicit everywhere is nauseating. Then the “villain” is introduced. The PLAYER has a privileged perspective in this matter, in that he’s shown things in cutscenes that Shepard and team DID NOT witness; yet they are 100% sure the guy is guilty and act like the fucking spanish inquisition. Whoa, what happened to due process, what happened to presumption of innocence? All you’ve got is the vague testimony of some shaddy dock worker who admited to be asleep at the time, but that’s somehow sufficient. And why is this dude such a big deal anyway? He’s ONE PERSON. In a fucking galaxy. Put a wanted poster everywhere, send a couple police ships after him and be done about it. Why are you all acting like one person has the power to fuck up an entire universe??? Oh yeah, and then we get the most convincing piece of evidence yet, a record of the two villains speaking in a very, very forced “even though normal people don’t speak this way, let’s spell everything out in very didactic terms so the audience can understand perfectly what we are doing.” I mean, really. If two people are putting a heist plan in motion, and you catch a tiny portion of their conversation, what do you expect it to be like? “”Soon, the 6th Bank of America, located at Bashyr’s Avenue, 545 shall fall prey to our mighty drilling equipment!” “And our 5 sticks of C4!”” or “”Did ya speak to Jack?” “Yup, he’s down, no problem there.” “Good. Did he get the stuff?” “Sure, sure, don’t worry about it. I’ve seen it myself, it’s good stuff.””? Let’s not even get into the issue of this being an universe where nanomachinery and faster than light travel are the norm, but somehow an audio record from some quarian nobody constitues water-tight evidence. It was at this point that I was face-palming too hard to continue. Go Shepard, only you can save the universe! Yuck.

    • BatmanBaggins says:

      “And why is this dude such a big deal anyway? He’s ONE PERSON. In a fucking galaxy. Put a wanted poster everywhere, send a couple police ships after him and be done about it. Why are you all acting like one person has the power to fuck up an entire universe???”

      Well, to be fair, he WAS flying around the galaxy in his own personal Reaper

    • Xzi says:

      You’re absolutely right. Subtlety is something that had to be learned within the context of movies over a period of time. Gaming as a medium is much younger, and has yet to learn those same lessons. That’s why we need discussions like these to keep it moving forward. What we don’t need is to listen to those who state, “it’s just a game, deal with it,” as if that’s a valid argument.

    • Kdansky says:

      ME1 makes a lot more sense than ME2:

      Your ship explodes, but you get resurrected (note how the existence of such technology would have mind-shattering universe-wide consequences), and then you join up with the most evil terror-organisation on the block (because the citadel guys suddenly don’t believe you any more, seeing as how you’ve only saved the galaxy once before) who was quite famous for doing biological weapon experiments on live humans on the moon, and then with the help of the terrorists you fly around the galaxy (you even have their logo on the hull, but everyone lets you dock just fine), doing meaningless small tasks to stop the Collectors which are impossible to detect (they somehow manage to depopulate planets without leaving a trace, until you show up and all the zombies get up to fight you), then you have to travel ALONE to the space station where they hide (because there’s only one gate that goes there, and it would surely be mad to just blow it up or place some guard there) and then you defeat a giant mechanical terminator robot which was (constructed from the collected megatons of biological goo) by shooting at the red bits, and then you can either hand over that powerful space-station to the terrorists or blow it up (but you can’t give it to the citadel or the Salarians, or keep it). And then there is some continuity-breaking DLC, and then ME3 starts.

      And people like that plot? These are just the minor nitpicks that make no sense. The big ones touching on story structure itself such as “Why do we need a second enemy (The Collectors) when we have a perfectly serviceable one (The Reapers) already?” or “If people can be resurrected from the dead, do we really care about death?” are not even covered yet.

      • Drinking with Skeletons says:

        There are plenty of problems with ME2, but for me the biggest is that Cerberus resurrects you and then doesn’t have any way of forcing your cooperation, forcing the player to behave stupidly. Had they, say, installed a bomb inside of Shephard, and then given him/her the only detonator after some early railroading at the Citadel (to establish that Shephard only has Cerberus to ally with), then the whole thing would’ve made some sense, and painted Cerberus as a shady organization that at least respects it’s allies while still being fairly amoral jackasses. I can think of other details that could’ve reinforced this, but such a small change–the Citadel stuff is already there!–would’ve made a big difference.

    • ulix says:

      Several things:

      1. “Spectre” is not just some beurocratic title. You are basically an agent of the highest authority in the universe, and can act however you like in keeping with you mission. Due process is, as is explicitly stated several times, not something Spectre-Agents have to bother with at all. They have only one superior: the three person Citadel council, which usually decides in their favor…
      2. As can be clearly seen in regards to the “definitely guilty” antagonist. Who the counsil does not believe to be guilty of what Shepard accuses him at all, until it’s almost too late.
      Shepard may believe he’s guilty, Anderson might believe he’s guilty (and has a damn good reason to: read the novels), but that’s basically it.
      3. “Your ship explodes, but you get resurrected (note how the existence of such technology would have mind-shattering universe-wide consequences)”
      This is a somewhat fair argument. But it’s made clear that this was incredibly complicated and expensive, something that in today’s world only a dozen people could afford. It would cost in the tens of billions, if not more.

      • Bhazor says:

        The jab at due process is Shepard blaming Saren based purely on one guy mentioning he was there. When the plot relies on OOC knowledge then you fucked up.

        • ulix says:

          There’s been hints on a Turian on Eden Prime before you encounter the sleepyhead.
          link to

          Check 5:50.

          “Did you notice a Turian in the area?” etc.

          The the sleepy dude even knows the name of the Turian (Saren) who killed Nihlus, how would he know that name? Also, if he’d killed Nihlus, he would have just blamed the Geth.

          • ScorpionWasp says:

            Oh yeah, that scientist dude is a bastion of coherence and lucidity, and has not at all, in any conceivable sense of the expression, “gone off the deep end”.
            “Have you seen a black guy around? You have? Dude, our suspect totally is black, therefore he’s guilty as charged! Specially considering one of OUR OWN agents is also black and had been roaming the area too.”


          • ulix says:

            Yes, “seriously”.
            There are several hints towards Saren (or some Turian dude) being the guilty party, which is demonstrated in the fact that you don’t object to my other point (Why wouldn’t the sleepy dude just blame the Geth?).
            I don’t remember and don’t care to look it up right now, but judging by their shared past ANderson probably fires a few jabs towards Saren too, along the lines of “yeah, he’d totally be capable of this”.

            My point: you can blame Mass Effect for a lot of incosnistencies (especially ME3’s ending), but tthis is definitely not one of them.

          • ulix says:

            Also, your analogy is completely flawed and wrong:
            ““Have you seen a black guy around? You have? Dude, our suspect totally is black, therefore he’s guilty as charged! Specially considering one of OUR OWN agents is also black and had been roaming the area too.”

            Actually, it would go like this:
            “Have you seen this specific black dude around?”
            “Yeah, there was this black dude a couple of minutes ago who led marauders and looters through the streets, killing everyone they saw.”
            “Oh wait, a few minutes ago this specific black dude we are asking for was with us, so it couldn’t have been him. And since we’re in the Norwegian wilderness right now, where only white & blond people live, the probability of more than 2 or 3 black dudes running around this particular area are pretty slim…”

            You need any more racial profiling?

          • ScorpionWasp says:

            For all I know, if I had asked that guy if he had seen Satan today, he’d tell me that yeah, he was amidst the Geth, harvesting the souls of all. The guy isn’t speaking sense.

            The whole point of the game is to let me roleplay, right? Then let me roleplay! The report I WANT to hand my superiors upon return goes like this: “We met this smuggling dock worker. Claimed he was hiding behind some boxes, close to where Nihlus died. He says he saw what happened, I’m frankly not sure he had the balls to stick his head up from the crates. Says there were two Turians, and one of them uttered the name “Sarem”. Then the other one shot him. You might wish to investigate this matter further, but really… it was a war out there. For all I know Nihlus got shot by the Geth , and this human guy doesn’t like turians much… like MANY people around here, apparently.”

            Let me play a reasonable, intelligent, subtle person who understands that cognition is flawed and people have prejudices and agendas. I don’t want to play an inquisition zealot moron. When my only dialog options are “Sarem is dangerous”, “Sarem must be stopped”, “It’s the truth, Sarem killed Nihlus.” I feel like I’m being handed an idiot ball… that only turns out to be the truth because the author chose to write an idiot plot.

      • Kdansky says:

        Cost is hardly an issue when the product is only “immortality”. A decade ago, it cost us many millions (USD) and multiple years to sequence a single human DNA. Nowadays, the price is in the completely affordable five digits (and still dropping fast) and the time it takes can be measured in days. In ten more years, you will be able to buy USB-based DNA sequencers for 20$ at the local wall-mart. Such a technology is of an importance that would shatter society as we know it; How can you get a job at 20 when everyone else has a three decades of experience and is just as young as you are? What about pensions and health insurances? Many a great Sci-Fi novel has been written on just this one topic, such as the wonderful Accelerando. But it’s just glossed over, and doesn’t even serve a purpose. That scene could (and should!) be cut from the game completely.

        • ulix says:

          FIve decades ago it cost several hundreds of millions to build a military ship (in today’s money). Today it still does, it hasn’t really gotten cheaper. Even to built a large military-grade vessel on a technical level of WW2 would still cost tens of millions.

          Comparing apples and oranges here.

          And if you’ve paid attention most people actually believe, when they see Shephard, that she just survived, and they were misinformed. Sure, the key people know, but the bulk of the universe either thinks she’s dead, or when they see her assume that the information she died was false.

          And who know how the ME civilization would have looked in 10 or 20, or maybe 50 years, if the (horrible) ending of ME3 hadn’t happened.

          • Bhazor says:

            Nope, the whole cost thing is nonsense. Unless you are actually exhausting something in the operation then those hundreds of billions of dollars of equipment can be used thousands and thousands of times. The first experimental surgery costs tens of $millions. A routine operation once the kinks are worked out costs $10,000.

            My guess is Bioware had a cool idea for an opening (and marketing ploy) and then desperately needed a “get out” to prevent everyone just coming back to life and completely undermining the setting.

          • ulix says:

            They’re used by a semi-secret, covert, terrorist organisation though.
            Who the fuck knows what the CIA could do 40 years ago that physiscians only come to terms with now.

            It is definitely very likely that Cerberus would keep the knowledge to themselves (like they did with all the other intel they gathered).

      • ScorpionWasp says:

        “Ok, so you’re a wraith…”
        “Yeah, yeah, spectre. Acting on behalf of the highest authority in the universe and stuff. Suppose that I were not inclined to cooperate with you here. Does that mean you could snap your fingers and make some 100 destroyers home in on the planet or something?”
        “Well, not exactly…”
        “Nope? What tangible, practical powers does being a banshee…”
        “Yup, but what exactly does being that give you, in practical, “down to earth” terms?”
        “Well, you see… I… get this ONE ship and a rag-tag team of about TEN people! And I can do whatever I want. The council says so!”
        “*smug smile*
        “I’m the mayor here and my city has a 20,000 strong garrison, armed to the teeth. Get out of my face, ghost boy!”

        • Klaus says:

          Well, in that case – it’s a videogame. So it’s entirely possible for Shep and his ragtag misfits to kill them all.

  29. Xzi says:

    What it really comes down to is this: gamers care about the medium they’re named for, and they have every right to care. The fact that a website dedicated to gaming news and information is so dismissive of the issue just shows that the medium hasn’t come nearly as far as we’d like to believe it has.

    Video games have a great amount of potential. To tell stories, fiction or non-fiction. And to engage us in a way that movies and books cannot. Until we can also critique video games on that level, however, it means nothing. And to further that point, until those critiques can be taken into serious consideration by the gaming industry, we will never see the medium truly advance. Am I the only one who is ready to move past the era in which Modern Warfare 89 is the best writing the industry can produce?

  30. Kdansky says:

    So I’m with the cool guys again, because I have been complaining about Mass Effect completely messing up all plot from the intro of ME2 on. I can only roll my eyes and go “finally you guys realized it too?”

    • Xzi says:

      It only took me about twenty minutes of playing Mass Effect 3 to realize that ME2 would go down in history as the worst of the series. In terms of writing, combat, and RPG elements. But at the time of its release, it didn’t seem as bad as it does now.

  31. wodin says:

    Filed a complaint?

    My god.

    It’s a video game, thats all, entertainment, not gospel, not the bible, not the ten commandments, not a part political broadcast, just a game.

    All I can say, and it’s the first time I’ve ever said this to someone who plays games, is get a life, or a woman, or man or whatever gender or preference you have.

    • The Godzilla Hunter says:

      On the subject of the Bible: the Bible had the worst ending ever. I mean really, first they have a total cop-out and resurrect Jesus (a Deus Ex Machina if there ever was one) and then they end it on a massive cliffhanger. Its been 2000 years, and we still havn’t seen a proper ending, I mean, really!?!?

    • Vander says:

      Well its also a product. A product who was falsly advertised. (i can gather quotes if you like)

      Now, i wont fill a complaint myself, but its not like the guy dont have a point at all…

  32. Werthead says:

    There is a lengthy Google Doc here that identifies most of the problems with the ending:

    link to

    Probably one of the better attempts I’ve seen to sum up the issues in one go.

  33. Man Raised by Puffins says:

    I’d had an adventure, and now it was time for another one.

    Indeed. I find it hard to get worked up over the slightly bizarre capstone when Bioware hoiked so much of the preceding game out of the ground.

  34. thegooseking says:

    ME3’s ending was perfectly satisfactory to me. Honestly, I’ve already wasted enough energy justifying why I liked it only to have people call me an idiot just because I have half a clue what I’m talking about when it comes to interactive narrative, so frankly I don’t have the energy to repeat why I liked the ending here and get into that whole dialectic cycle again. I’m frankly sick of it. And what ruined the game for me was not the ending, but the wailing and gnashing of teeth about it. The attitude of “If I didn’t like it, no-one can!” is seriously cancerous.

    And, you know, I liked the ending enough to want to discuss it with other people, but that’s just not possible when people are going to destroy meaningful discussion by tossing around incredibly loaded words like they’re nothing. So it’s not like I could even avoid it.

    Honestly, the whole debacle has made me feel pretty shitty overall. I know who’s to blame for that, and it’s not BioWare.

    • Bhazor says:

      But its a deus ex machina… how can you defend that?

      • thegooseking says:

        Because of where the deus ex machina occurs. It occurs in what is structurally the epilogue. If it had occurred in the resolution, that would have been terrible, but a deus ex machina in an epilogue is not only perfectly legitimate, it’s sometimes even expected.

        • briktal says:

          But that IS the resolution. That’s like saying everything after Frodo arrives at Mount Doom (but before the ring is destroyed) is the epilogue.

          • thegooseking says:

            Ok, I said I didn’t want to get into it, but here goes. The deus ex machina occurred after the final resolving action — the activation of the Crucible — had occurred. The point of the deus ex machina was to introduce an impartial character to put that action into perspective, not to resolve anything. The deus ex machina doesn’t materially alter the resolution itself; it only discusses the significance of the resolution. This removes the only reason we have a problem with deus ex machina in the first place. And discussing the significance of the resolution is what the epilogue is for.

          • Bhazor says:

            … no it doesn’t. It directly asks you which of the endings you want.

          • thegooseking says:

            The reason you wouldn’t call the part between Frodo’s arrival at Mount Doom and the destruction of the ring an epilogue is that Gollum still wanted to prevent Frodo from destroying the ring, and Frodo hadn’t overcome the internal conflict of not wanting to destroy the ring. There were still complications on the table. Although iirc the resolution of those complications was slightly different in the book and the film, they were, in both cases, resolved when the ring was destroyed.

            On the other hand, when Shepard reaches the Catalyst, the only extant complication is the one that was manufactured for the express purpose of introducing the Catalyst in the first place (and, fair enough, that could have been introduced in a better way, but I have a hard time seeing that as anything more than a minor quibble). All the other complications were resolved immediately before that. Consequently, the only complication the Catalyst resolved was the one that introduced him. The scene is entirely self-contained in terms of complication and resolution. While the Catalyst does give you options of which ending to choose, this choice doesn’t change how the story is resolved (because it doesn’t, in itself, resolve any narrative complication); it only changes the context of that resolution.

            So we come back to the deus ex machina. The reason we hate deus ex machina is because it’s used as a substitute for dramatic resolution, because the writer was too lazy to figure out how to resolve the complications properly. In this case, though, it isn’t a substitute for dramatic resolution because there were no complications left to resolve. And so it is, as I said before, closer to the classical purpose of deus ex machina, in which an impartial character comes down not to resolve things, but to tell us what the resolution is all about. Where ME3 changes that classical purpose is in allowing the player to have a say in what the resolution is all about.

          • Bhazor says:

            No it isn’t.

            Theres a shameless ass pull which *then* has you picking the ending you want with no connection to the rest of the games.

            This is the equivalent of Frodo on the lip of mount doom trying to overcome his addiction to the ring. He braces himself he takes a breath and then a helicopter gunship appears and hes offered the choice of flying to Spain or fucking a bear.

      • Reefpirate says:

        Even though that phrase sounds sophisticated, it’s not always a bad thing. You still need to explain yourself. The Messenger I thought was an awesome movie with a ‘deus ex machina’ ending, just as one example.

        • Bhazor says:

          No it doesn’t. By definition a deus ex machina is bad. It’s the very definition of an asspull.

        • H77 says:

          Explanations like “God did it” or “it was all a dream”, etc., in stories that up to then were within the strict realm of realism (or in sci-fi’s case, expected or projected realism) are good for bad writers but nothing else. And for anyone thinking that science fiction, because of its speculative nature, falls out of the realm of realism, I’ll quote Rod Sterling: “Fantasy is the impossible made probable. Science Fiction is the improbable made possible”. Keywords: “impossible” and “improbable”. As Arthur C. Clarke also said (paraphrasing): Anyone speculating on a theme (or technology) that is known to be impossible (not thought to be), isn’t writing science fiction, but fantasy.

  35. Reefpirate says:

    Democracy is all fine and good (most/some of the time) in politics, but seriously I’m sick of hearing about democracy getting involved in my games and game design. “We’ll put in whatever the fans want.” “Let’s make a petition to change the ending!” Seriously, like Alec said, just move on to another game already. The artists made their decision, live with it.

    • Xzi says:

      And that would be fine and great for a completely linear game or series which has no choice and no consequence. The difference here is that Bioware explicitly advertised Mass Effect as a series in which “your choices matter.” That’s not just the opinion of the rabid fans, that’s the line with which BIOWARE sold us the game(s). Well, if our choices don’t make the ending consequential, then how exactly is it that they matter, again?

  36. opsonid says:

    The ending is not only bad and rushed but it’s also a poor ripoff. See this video: link to

    If you look at the upload date, the song name, the lyrics, the changing colors, and the picture (which is from deviantart), you will see that Bioware just didn’t give a damn anymore in the end and most probably just decided to base the final moments of Mass Effect on a video they found randomly on Youtube.

    Before you tell me it’s coincidence (a very unbelievable one), a thread mentioning this on the official forums has been deleted and it’s not even the first occurrence of the writers blatant laziness : link to

    I think it’s useless to petition for anything from people who just don’t care anymore about their customers and fans, but people need to know what Bioware has sadly become today.

  37. katinkabot says:

    On my first playthrough I went into the ending with 0 knowledge of what was to come. I honestly thought one of my choices would lead to a happy-ish ending – albeit at the expense of something that My Shepard cared about – and all 3 endings were distinct. When My Shepard pulled a Buffy, she(I) did it because it made sense to her story. Did I think the ending was poorly written(at least the last 5-7min.)? Yup. Did I care? Nope. Was I disappointed to find out that there wasn’t much more to the other endings? Yep. Though, I was mostly angry at the giant turd of philosophy that was heaped on in the last 5 minutes. I never signed up for that, BioWare, please take that somewhere else.

    I do think that this mass hysteria – no pun intended – over the ending is just a culmination of the bad blood that’s been developing between BioWare and its fans. I think people are allowed to complain in a civil manner and demand whatever they want – bonus points for the charity. I think the game media-excluding a few sites, like RPS – inciting anger to generate comments and ad revenue is just poor taste(minus points for calling gamers entitled twats). I also think with BioWare’s overall bad attitude which pemeates their press releases doesn’t help engender any love for them.

    With that being said, I kind of feel bad for the Mass Effect team. Hudson’s middling appeal to the fan-base to talk about aspects of the game people liked just makes me sad. It’s like trying to politely ask a hurricane to be quiet while it roars right over you. So to him – to everyone – I say “Yes, I thought the ending was bad but overall, I loved the game. I loved that I bawled my eyes out at the goodbye scene between Liara(friend) and Shepard. I also loved how mad I was at Cerberus/TIM – that whole storyline was so well executed. It sucks that the last 5 minutes kind of fell flat – since it’s the last thing people remember – but I think the game succeeded in the ways that mattered.”

    Now, this is issue is boring me. God speed, dissenters. May you raise thousands more for charity. I will leave you with this bit of funny: link to

  38. Grayvern says:

    Several thought I hate the ending bu cleansed myself with books so now I only car a little.

    Firstly caring is important ou marination are important to feed them with crap is letting ourselves down.

    Also it’s frankly disturbing the amount of people that think the end shouldn’t be changed because of audience wishes. This is a weird view since most fiction has been influenced by people, not the writer. Books get shown to friends editors, painters photographers often do their work alongside others doing he same. So basically I FBI it objectionable that the people the ork is being created for are assumed to be ignorant of whatever work they are buying.

    This is a stupi view because I people are that ignorant it can only be assumed hey are being duped into buying work they don’t understand.

    It is also doubly stupid for a work like Mass Effect which is a mass media attempt at collaborative storytelling.

  39. Nim says:

    The whole ending thing sound like a cock-up the more I read about it. The final minutes and one of the most important segment of the series apparently ended up as a patchwork rush job makes so much sense right now.

    If it was not fully fleshed out by November-December 2011, they should have delayed the game until summer at the very least and thought the ending through. That is, if the persons at Bioware who really cared about the quality of the product made the decisions and not some distant management focused on release dates and profit.

    Still haven’t played ME3, spoiled it for myself though to avoid the raging. Think I’ll pass completely on this mess until it’s sorted out. It will be interested to see how this plays out.

  40. Miltrivd says:

    “Good for them.” Hahaha.

    “I’m going to go and play another videogame now.” Shouldn’t we all?

    As someone who stopped caring about the Mass Effect universe with their second installment, I heartily hope the gaming media goes and ‘plays another game’. FAST.

  41. Mark A. says:

    Bioware will give you as many endings and epilogues as you want so long as you pay $15 for each.

    Honestly though, before making mountains out of anthills and getting overly possessive and/or interpretive about such things, spend a moment considering the nature of multi-million-dollar franchises like Mass Effect; Bioware may very well have some highly passionate and skilled writers on their staff (though, in my opinion, they don’t excel at much except character writing) with a commitment to artistic integrity, but that matters little in a franchise that commands as much investment and revenue as ME. The initial development and design stages might be unfettered affairs, but I find it hard to believe that ME3 and other games like it aren’t subject to an approval process that involves vast arrays of committees and focus groups.

    Long story short, there almost certainly is no Mass Effect “canon,” only what Bioware/EA sees to be popular and/or profitable with the key marketing demographic at any given time. Mass Effect’s true ending comes only when the series stops making money.