Thursday, 15 March 2012

Why end Mass Effect like that? (Spoiler free)

This is a completely spoiler free article as far as Mass Effect 3 plot details are concerned, but I will still talk about the structure of the ending, so if you want to keep yourself completely pure you may still want to look away now. You have been warned.

I finally finished Mass Effect 3 yesterday after 25 hours of shooting, talking and gathering, not to mention the 50 or so hours I put into the rest of the saga to get here. Whoever said the destination is not important but instead it’s the journey that matters must have been talking about Mass Effect 3. It has been the best journey through a closely linked trilogy I have ever played and I’m sad that it has come to an end. Well, I’m sad it came to an end like it did.

Siding with the vocal masses on forums and comment fields across the net, I think the ending was really badly done, not least because it didn’t actually make sense within the lore the series has worked so hard to establish. Unfortunately, it also went back on what the series has been all about.

At the game’s finale you are offered a choice of A, B or C to determine how the game ends. These choices take into account none of the decisions you have made throughout the game or the series. It doesn’t matter if you saved or doomed groups in the first game, or if certain characters didn’t survive your playthrough of Mass Effect 2. You are offered three choices that are independent of everything you have done on your paragon or renegade path.

What makes this even more infuriating is what Casey Hudson, the game’s director and executive producer said about Mass Effect 3’s ending in an interview earlier this year. He said: “It’s not even in any way like the traditional game endings, where you can say how many endings there are or whether you got ending A, B, or C.”

I got ending C if anyone is interested.

Players shouldn’t have been offered such a choice at the end. Surely the choices of their actions throughout the entirety of this space epic should have determined what sort of ending they received. We’ve been making the choices all the way through the three games that lead up to this point. Surely it all counts for something in the end.

There have been many conspiracy theories suggesting that the game hasn’t actually ended here, and there is even a prompt at the end that says something along the lines of ‘remind your wallet we’ll be releasing DLC’. Perhaps we haven’t seen the end and BioWare will redeem itself, or maybe we’re just stuffed with what we got with the end product. Either way, I know I’m not the only person who is anxious to know what BioWare’s plans for the future of Mass Effect are.

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