My thoughts on the Mass Effect 3 Endings (*Spoilers*)

PLEASE NOTE THE FOLLOWING CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR MASS EFFECT 3

Recently there has been quite an uproar concerning the ending of Mass Effect 3 (Here and here) . It’s quite interesting to see that many people getting together to ask for something to be “changed”.

It’s a very strange end. It ignores, and effectively destroys, everything you have fought and worked for in the combined three games. It’s like that saying… “There be Dragons”… but with any good story, you need to know that they can be killed. ME3 doesn’t work like that.

Where do I start? You spend 5 years, 200+ hours, over the course of 3 games, making choices… helping people, killing people, punching people, hugging people… trying to fight for freedom against the Reapers. You build alliances, you make choices, you reunite species that have been at war for nearly 300 years.

For a game that has all these choices, the end gives you no options. The only ending is the same movie (with a small addition in one of them) with 3 different coloured beams of lights. It answers none of the questions posed during the games. When you are done with the game you’re angry, betrayed, that isn’t how a story should end. There is so much more to it than that.

I would have expected a variety of endings. Endings that mean that the choices you made, the things you fought for, actually mattered. That the universe you fought to protect, can be saved in some shape or form. That it was worth fighting, and that fighting had a point… a reason.

There was a leaked script a while ago with a very different ending.  But now, the lack of dialog choices by the lead character in the current ending, makes me assume that they actually ended it this way because they changed it, at the last moment, and this was the best they could squash into the game, and the best ending they could come up with was one that appeared to copy the standard “deus ex machina” style ending.

I have read a lot of people’s posts about better endings, and about what it could all mean and “explanations”, but you shouldn’t have to use Google to explain the ending of a story.

When you create a story as a player, you expect a level of trust from the writer, in that the story style will continue along the same vein as it began. I’m trying to tone down how I felt. It was a very hollow feeling, very angry and disappointed.

But when a story ends, and the ending doesn’t fit the story and you can’t relate the ending to the story, you can’t process it correctly.  The other people in my household, some of whom have never played Mass Effect, but have watched my Shepard make all the choices for the last 3 games, couldn’t process the ending of ME3 either. It was like watching a Die Hard movie and right at the end, you reach a Downtown Abbey house where they talk about GOD as the end. It doesn’t fit the story.

One more thing with the ending, on the last run on Earth to the Citadel, I had Garrus & Liara with, so after it all ended, how did Liara step off the crashed Normandy on the Alien planet? How did they get back onto the Normandy, after they were killed by the Red laser on the run to the Citadel?  Too many things left unanswered. (*Edit 1)

You can’t start a story where your choices matter, where everything you do has an impact, and end it in a way that means that nothing you did mattered.

If your story ends with you running towards a bright light, gun in hand, shouting, “Come on you Reaper mother f*ckers, I’m gonna tear you apart!”  That’s one of those open ended endings that strangely enough, you can make it what you need to after that.

How would I have ended it? My Shepard was ok with dying, that was not a problem. To destroy the Reapers, I had to destroy all synthetic life. All because this weird “god child” that turned up at the end (no idea where he came from) said that the Reapers where created to kill organics in order to stop organics making synthetics that would then kill the organics.

Will they fix it? I hope so, but I don’t know if they will. I think they could easily do so, or at least explain WHY it ended like it did. From the reaction I see online, it seems to me that a great many people feel the same.

Note: Very special thanks to Tami Olsen for help with this post

(*Edit 1 -14/03/2012 – Something I left out in the original article)

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My name is David Hatch, I am a husband, parent and a gamer, I have played games for as long as I can remember, all the way back from a ZX81 to the XBOX360 and into the future with the PS4. I will always be a gamer.

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