July 11, 2012

My (delayed) Response to the Expanded Endings of Mass Effect 3

Right when I just spoke to you guys about writing more and making time for it, my boss at work quit so now we're severely understaffed.  Woo!

Anyway, now we're talking about the ending of Mass Effect 3, which many of you know about but for those of you who don't, be aware that there are SPOILERS AHEAD.

So, what did the extended endings actually do?  Well in almost every option we now have available at the end, we have choices that do make somewhat of a difference to the universe that is no longer in complete and utter shambles.  The Mass Relays can be repaired, all the races can rebuild their worlds, and Shepard is considered a hero in every ending.  There is still no concrete way to officially save Shepard, the Destroy Option merely hints at it, but we don't have to sacrifice a lot to get an ending where the legend lives on and Shepard did officially save the day.  Also, you now have the Refuse option, which unfortunately dooms the current cycle but gives hopes for the next one.

What does it fix? You do get your cathartic moment.  You can say "Yes!  I did save the galaxy!"  And you get to see how the rest of the galaxy is coping and rebuilding together.  You don't have to assume the worst. You get to see the final big choice you made actually mean something as well.  Each ending has a slightly different montage, noting what your choice meant.

What does it not fix?  There are some counter arguments from the Space Child now, but the Space Child still seems out of place and unnecessary.  If they had replaced it with almost anything else that would've been relevant, I would've been okay with that.  The Synthesis ending, although appealing to my ideals of unity, does NOT make any sense, so you will have to be okay with the idea of Space Magic(tm) for that ending to work.  Considering that mass effect fields essentially filled that purpose before, it's not the hugest leap I've ever been asked to make.  Also your EMS score now means diddly squat, which is super annoying because many of us would've liked a Refuse ending where the EMS score mattered. You can't just ignore a mechanic in the game after it's released in my humble opinion, because the player will always remember it's there and remember the developer totally ignoring it.

In my opinion, this extended cut fixes the biggest problems with the original endings, and hence giving us a conclusion that in the long run makes the fans go "meh" rather than "what the hell?!".  I think a good amount of us gamers expect horrible endings because we're not used to good writing.  That's part of the reason why there was such an uproar about a well written series like Mass Effect ending on such a disastrous conclusion.  It was above average in many different ways, and that's why it had such a strong fanbase that wanted to fight for a better ending.  We now have something better, thankfully.

However, there is still a bitter taste in my mouth.  I think that this new extended cut ending should've at lease been in the game originally.  It's not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but if I had received this ending instead of the bullshit slung at me months ago, I think I would've been okay.  I don't think I would've spent weeks disappointed with the hours and money I invested in BioWare.  Part of me will never understand why the fans had to practically pull teeth to get an ending like this.  I'm not going to forget it.  I'm going to remember what happened, and now for certain companies, I know for sure I'll NEVER preorder.  It's not worth it.  It's better to wait and see what happens.

Soon, I will replay the game and figure out which ending I want to give Desdemona Shepard.  In the meantime, if anyone wants to meet me up on Mass Effect multiplayer, feel free to hit me up--d20Sapphire is my handle of course!


  1. Overall I didn't outright HATE the original endings, but they were sorely lacking and for me the extended cut really helped with that. I thought the most interesting change, was how the 'control' option in particular took on a whole new feel now in my mind.

    I agree that something about the synthesis ending just doesn't work for me, which is odd because I SORT of feel like that is the ending the devs were leaning toward themselves. I have heard a few other people say the same thing - what are your thoughts on that?

    1. The seldom seen boyfriend Mystic is going to chime in here. Synthesis I feel is the developers choice as the entire game is about the symbiosis of the different species. The Krogan helping the Turians, the Salrians helping the Krogan (okay, mostly), the Geth and Quarian conflict getting resolved, so the Synthesis ending being what it is, a merging of two distinct types of life into one, fits with the theme of the game.

      Honestly, I would have been fine with the endings as they were if not for the out of left field feel and the lack of epilogue. I will have to deal with the out of nowhere feeling, but at least there is an epilogue now.

    2. I definitely feel like synthesis is the one toted as the "best" ending. If there had been some more foreshadowing in the game, maybe it could've worked, but I'm afraid they didn't build it up enough so most people seem to go with control or destroy. Also, synthesis is doing something in the universe that we didn't know could happen, so kind of believing it is hard to do.

    3. Agreed. The feeling of a proper epilogue now helps out immensely. I also find it interesting (but gratifying) that you agree that it feels like the Synthesis ending is possibly going to be the 'cannon' one (it will be interesting to see where they go with future ME games, if there are more).

      D20 - I agree that the whole idea of Synthesis just came out of nowhere, and just sort of feels like an odd fit.

  2. Think I might have to honour you on your offer for multiplayer.

    Returning to the topic at hand however, I definitely feel of a similar way. The whole thing was pretty disheartening, even after they threw us this bone. But empathy they certainly don't have.