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Fans rage against Mass Effect 3’s ending and demand something better

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I’m going to try and keep this as spoiler-free as possible, but here’s the deal – Mass Effect 3‘s endings suck. There are essentially three and all three are, well, let’s say there’s no “good” ending this time around. The best you can hope for is least heart-wrenchingly depressing. Now, these are people who have spent years with their characters, working as hard as they could to get the perfect set-ups for the final showdown.

They are not pleased. So the fans are striking back and doing everything possible to make themselves heard.

The BioWare Social Network is afire with people ranting about the ending. Visit the Mass Effect 3 Story and Campaign Discussion forum and you’ll find the majority of the recent threads are all expressing outrage about the trilogy’s conclusion. Polls have also been created, with two of the largest asking, “What would you like to do about the endings? “ and “DLC or patch could add a fourth option: REFUSE.” Take care before clicking through to either of those polls, as there are spoilers.

But wait, there’s more! Sorry, I couldn’t resist. Fans have also taken to other sites to further their fight. A petition has been launched on Change.org in support of new ending DLC. A Twitter account called New Ending for ME3 is rallying the fight. Finally, there’s the Demand a better ending to Mass Effect 3 Facebook page.

It’s quite a mess, really, and things are only going to get worse. After all, Mass Effect 3 only came out on March 6, 2012. Only a small number of people have beaten as of now. Over the next few weeks, more people are going to finish. If the initial batch is this mad, imagine how the masses will be when more start finishing the game.

I have to say, I wholeheartedly agree with them. I haven’t beaten Mass Effect 3 yet, but I have seen the endings and I am not happy about what’s coming for Clover Shepard. I hope BioWare is listening and an epilogue DLC is released that either adds a “good” ending or, at the very least, offers a fantastic rescue mission.

Site [BioWare Social Network] Site [Change.org] Site [New Ending for ME3 on Twitter] Site [Demand a better ending to Mass Effect 3 on Facebook]

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  • Metaldaze

    Thanks for the support, we’re in this together it seems. :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/DemandABetterEndingToMassEffect3 RetakeME3

    Hi! I’m a spokesperson for the Retake Mass Effect movement (#RetakeMassEffect).

    The movement incorporates both the Facebook page and Twitter account shared in your article as well as the Tumblr page http://retakemasseffect.tumblr.com/

    We want people to know that we love the Mass Effect series. The only reason we are so upset by the ending of ME3 is because we love ME so much.

    We aren’t out to make an enemy of Bioware or the wonderful team of people they had working on ME3 we just need them to know that what they gave us is not what we deserve.

  • Lugaid

    I’m going to say this here and now. I too hated the endings, but not because it wasn’t happy. It’s because I didn’t get closure.

    I don’t mind sad endings and I don’t want this rally to be misinterpreted as just a bunch of fans that can’t stand a few people dying. I don’t demand a new ending, I want closure. I want that all this years of time spent represent something.

    • Jenni Lada

      I have a feeling I’m going to be the same way. Like I said, I haven’t finished yet. (I’m in the midst of some Quarian/Geth mediation.) I get the impression that there should be some kind of definite resolution so we know exactly what happened to the characters we’ve grown to love over the last five years.

      • Urishima

        Absolutely. I finished with synthesis just 30 minutes ago and I don’t think it’s a bad ending.
        But what about Zaed? What about Grunt? What about Wrex? What about Garrus? James, Tali, Mirandy, Jacob, Javik, Kasumi, Doctor Chakwas (list goes on a LONG way) what happened to those people in my ending?

        The endings are fine as they are, the lack of closure is not.

    • Kieran E

      Well said – it’s the lack of return on investment by the outcomes of the ‘choices’ being, each, unsatisfying in that regard.

      I have loved the gameplay and writing in each game, including this one, which up until the end I thought was exceptional in drawing me in yet further emotionally, but the mode the endings take feels like it makes me hard to replay it again (something I was planning on doing almost immediately), because what would be the point? It wasn’t who lived or who died in any particular ending, to take a hypothetical example, which is my problem with it, or even the striking of an at best bittersweet mood – it’s the feeling that all the time and effort spent on it, on the side quests, are worth nothing because of where they chose to play each ending and the lack of connection felt as a result.

      Great game all things considered, some great, memorable characters and writing, a truly great achievement, but I hate when something ends and it colours my enjoyment of a series as a whole. It doesn’t always mean hatred (Not a fan of Lost or BSG endings, but love the shows, but I don’t think, with the endings strutured in the way they are, that I could care as much about what was happening if I played again, and that makes me very sad.

      Even sadder, there will be nothing that can be done to satisfy my own take on things, as the problem is a narrative structure one more than story specific, requiring a total rehaul rather than a tweak, so it couldn’t be done even if the creators were so inclined. Sure, they’ll be people writing their own fanfiction alternate endings write now, some may even turn out to be fantastically written themselves, but without being delivered in the same medium as the story was delivered, it won’t have the same impact.

      A great shame.

      • jamen

        I agree on the “lost investment”. I admit, I have played lots of Mass Effect, I have 9 lvl 60 characters from mass effect 1, that I carried on to mass effect 2, and was planning on taking all of them through mass effect 3, to see my stories unfold. Tragically, the best game out of the trilogy “kills” what made the games great. All those choices are thrown away by an ancient computer saying, no you have these 3 choices, and they all suck. The endings, all of which are nearly identical, spell disaster to the universe that the fans have invested much of their time in. The entire fleets of all the cousil races are in earths outer atmosphere, battling the reapers, hoping that once the fight on earth is done, humanity can come and aid the rest of the galaxy. Now those thousands and thousands of aliens are stuck with no way home. This spells doom for especially the quarians an turians that have come to help in the fight, well, because there is no life support in our solar system for dextro-amino acid based life, so they all starve. Palevan and Thessia are in compleate ruin along with many other council worlds, all of wich by now rely heavily on mass relays for comerce. There are thousands of krogan stuck on the moons of palevan with no way back to tuchunka just after they have been cured,”if you were kind enough to do so”. It just sucks that all the time and effort to make your story unfold is tossed aside to make the game more marketable as a “stand-alone” rather than an epic conclusion with closure. I’m shocked that BioWare didn’t see this outrage comming. Had I known that this was the way the game was going to end, I probably would not have purchased it.

  • https://www.facebook.com/DemandABetterEndingToMassEffect3 Ken McKim

    Thanks for publicizing this. We’re not asking for the moon here. We just want what we were promised when we all started out on this adventure 5 years ago; multiple endings that were fundamentally different from one another as a result of the choices we made along the way. That was the promise, and that is why gave BioWare our money and hundreds of hours of our lives playing the first two games multiple times. To have them renege on that promise in the last 20 minutes of the “last” game and have them force feed us three endings that have nothing to do with our previous choices is an insult to all the fans.

  • http://social.bioware.com/forum/1/topic/355/index/9724883/1 Souperintendent

    Great job on this article. Hopefully more websites will follow suit and we’ll eventually get a response from BioWare.

  • Nick Anto

    Thank you so much for representing our voices on a more professional medium. We’re far from an angry minority, there’s a 17000+ response thread (just one thread) on BSN with thousands of different players begging for a new ending. We also now have a poll on BSN asking about the ending, and over the past 5-6 days it’s now the TOP poll on the entire website (leading officials polls, and polls which have been around 1+ years). Only 3% of players of these 11,000+ votes felt satisfied with the ending.

    Again, thank you.

  • Junon

    There could be more than visible on first sight :)
    http://social.bioware.com/forum/1/topic/355/index/9751583/1

  • Darius

    An epic rescue mission? – Yes I would buy that without a question. A paid DLC for an additional ending? – HELL TO THE NO!

  • Gray

    I see some people screaming for a happy ending, to ride off into the sunset with their LI and everything go back to being happy with the rest of the universe. While I don’t mind this ending, I’m not necessarily for it. [SPOILERS] Watching Shep die along side flashbacks hit me like a ton of bricks, it genuinely made me emotional to the point that I can’t even hear that piano song play without getting misty eyed. I think it says something that we as players have become so attached to these characters.

    That said, what I see ~more~ of, even above those screaming about lack of happy endings or the homophobic remarks, are people upset at the Deus Ex ending that is contrived and outside the bounds of the universe, and the complete and utter lack of closure with the ending itself. There was a prior matter involving Dark Matter in ME2 that was the setup for ME3, but ME3 completely abandoned this and instead created some magical space child with paradoxical beliefs about saving the universe; it felt very tacked on, and odd. “Synthetics will kill organics so we created synthetics to kill organics to save the organics from being killed by synthetics.” If your brain just exploded at that reasoning, you are now beginning to understand the rage of dedicated fans.

    Further, even above and beyond that, we know nothing about what happens after the Crucible. The galaxy is in the Sol system, in Earth’s orbit, fighting a battle. They are cut off from their home, and with the Mass Relays destroyed, they as of now have no hope of getting there. Most of those species can’t eat human food and, in the case of Geth/EDI if gone the Renegade ending, they’re all destroyed despite struggling right alongside you to win the fight. Does this mean everyone is going to die, anyway? What was the point, if no one can get home and survive (Quarian), rebuild (Turian), and repopulate (Krogan)? What was the point to anything you did before the end of the game if none of it mattered?

    None of this was well thought-out. Instead, it feels like previously passionate writers were simply ready to move on, and tired of the characters they’d spent 5+ years on. It feels like writer burn-out, that they simply stopped caring, and just needed a way for it to end so they could start over fresh. It’s certainly not that they’re terrible writers, people wouldn’t care as much about these characters if that was true.

    • Xaeb

      That was perfect. You summed up how I feel like you used some kind of psychic powers to pluck the jumble of feelings about ME3’s ending right out of my head.
      Very well stated.

  • eringal

    I am really disappointed about the options Bioware gave us for the endings, based on reading others reviews about the endings I have yet to buy and play the game, just can’t bear to see that type of ending happen for my shep and her love interest Kaiden and all their crew mates. Would rather not play the game than have such a miserable ending for them.

  • SpartanCommander

    They should change the stuff. When I saw the choices at the end it made me feel like I was suddenly in a Dues Ex game where you all get a series of bad choices to choose from. It was a completely different feel of the game. The entire ending for the choices just didn’t…fit for a lack of a better word.

    Not to mention it would be better if the military force you bring forth with hard work to stop the reapers should play a bigger roll in the ending. So far it just makes it feel like their’s…not much use in working so hard. the best ending you can get is not much different from the lower ones…after playing I just can’t feel I accomplished anything and without having a good ending where you feel like everything you did meant something…I just have a very hard time bringing myself to replay the game.

    If we can defeat the Reapers without such a large desaster being unleashed and avoiding killing yourself then. It would also be awesome if you also included a victory party scene where you can interact with every surviving character and ask them questions about what they did up till now and to their plans for the future.

  • http://andrea-smith.net Andrea

    I finished the game at around 8pm on the 9th. After about half an hour of sitting in stunned silence, I started poking around online, sure that I couldn’t be the only person who felt like she got punched in the face. At that point, the Facebook page had maybe 200 likes. There was no Twitter or Tumblr account. The only things really going on were the BSN polls.

    About two hours later, the polls had each raked in a few hundred more votes. That’s when I decided I needed to buy a rubber suit to protect against the oncoming shit-storm.

    I hope and pray for alternate ending DLC. While the endings Bioware gave us aren’t necessarily ‘bad’, they don’t offer any options. They’re all super depressing. My ‘canon’ Shep deserves a happy ending. With my second play-through Shep, who’s kind of a dick, I’m all for making the ultimate sacrifice. But I sure wish that wasn’t the only option.

  • Tim

    For me it felt like Bioware got lazy or instead focused on MP and combat, since now there were only 2 dialog choices to make if you got lucky to even have a convo with a character and right down to the stock photo they used of Tali. But the thing that gets me is that all the choices for me appeared to be the same the same stuff happens in every ending. So it feels to me that nothing I did truly mattered in the end, saving the council doesn’t now matter in the end since there’s now no council, getting Tali and her people back home doesn’t matter since the majority of them are now stuck at Earth. I like the heroic sacrifice angle but I didn’t have a choice in that either DA had that but at least I got to choose to sacrifice. But the most damning thing about the endings other that some of it doesn’t make sense is that they destroyed the universe that I loved no more relays means no more visiting other planets and all the races of the universe are now separated for good.

    • Danforth

      Also… I knew there was a reason why I hated that little smarmy kid in the beginning of the game, and got upset when the child reappeared in Shepard’s dreams. It wasn’t a “symbol for humanity” like the art-book says. It was a damn plot-device.

      This is what happens when a company starts going too commercial… content suffers. I think I might just go back and play Mass Effect 2. You already know what kind of ending you’ll get, even if you haven’t played the game before. You create your own ending based on how you have Shepard respond to what’s going on. That’s Literary Fiction. Junk/Pop Fiction is when you don’t know how the story will end, because the entire driving force of the story is plot devices and trying to give you cheap thrills. The ME3 ending sequence comes dangerously close to that definition. I did, however, like that Shepard can persuade Jack Harper, the illusive man, to kill himself, just like you could persuade Saren Arterius to do the same thing.

  • Danforth

    My problem with the endings is that first and foremost, it REEKS of the Fable Series endings.

    Also, BioWare claimed a lot of different outcomes for the game and forks in the plot, the end result of the game does not change in the slightest except for if your military strength is too low, you don’t get to choose the ending yourself.

  • http://keep.it.cx Joren

    If you take a look over at this poll on BSN – http://social.bioware.com/633606/polls/28989/ – you will notice that 88% of voters (that’s over 24.000 !!) want a new ending. I actually hope the bunch over at BioWare and EA fix this issue via the release of a (near-)future DLC or patch (prefferably free but no problems if it will cost).

    Only about 700 of the voters (2%) consider the endings as being fine and the rest (10%) are so-so.
    Well now, that should signal something serious here, no ? Only 2% of fans finding the endgame satisfying ?? I’d say they’ve seriously messed-up in the worst possible way.

    The higher you climb the harder you fall – same situation with ME3. You can’t not feel angry after all the series has accomplished. From epic experience to catastrophic disaster – it’s a great shame. No, it’s a complete insult to the fans, to themselves and to the game universe itself.

    Also, please vote !!

  • Danforth

    I agree with what you say here very much so. The destruction of the mass relays doesn’t really make sense… AND, in the Arrival DLC, destroying a Mass Relay destroys the entire star system… so wouldn’t most of the organic life have been wiped out anyways since they were battling on Earth?

    That, and it disconnects species and homeworlds alike, and the Turians, Quarians, and Volus are now all stuck on Earth… a planet that does not provide them with the right food or environment to survive in naturally.

    BioWare tried way too hard to make a huge, impacting ending, but they didn’t need to. The story and the characters are what made the series great, not the plot devices. Instead of just giving us the ending that the series was promising since the first game either the Reapers successfully harvest everyone, or they are defeated. Shepard dying wasn’t the problem, it was the whole “re-arranging the galaxy and playing God” theme that didn’t fit.

  • Ali

    Thank you so much for paying attention to the backlash and writing this article without belittling the fan response. It’s very refreshing.

  • Half-Synthetic

    I’ve signed every petition out there so far but I’m still not optimistic about the outlook. There is a chance however that this was exactly what EA wanted. Think about the money they could make by offering an alternate set of endings as a 1600 BP DLC. Maybe we are playing right into their hands…

  • Erick

    The endings where so bad, they did not even feel like the fit with the game. The tone did not match the game, Shepherd just basically gave up, the endings did not take int o account the choices you made in the previous two games at all. They can still have a bittersweet end which fits but the ending is nothing but bitter. They had the bitter part covered pretty well when we consider that due to the reapers billions maybe even trillions are dead, planets have been devastated and the galaxy will take centuries to recover. Shepherd dying is fine to as one ending but there should be like ten very different endings based on the choices from the first two games, and the choices made in 3 along with your EMS. Bioware’s Dragon age origins was fairly similar to Mass Effect in that both games are dark, bleak, and there is death everywhere. DA:O however ends based on your choices either with you living or dying based on your choices and still manages to get across that many people have died and there was a lot of sacrifice to achieve victory without the main character dying.

  • David

    I’m a loyal fan of Bioware and Mass Effect,from game 1 all the way to 3. I was blown away by the emotionality,action,and story telling.But I’m deeply troubled by the ending…I mean since ME1 I’ve been putting in so much effort,time,and money to develop my Shepard,and save the galaxy and whatnot….but when I saw the endings,(which took three whole playthroughs,I refused youtube for this) I was upset,when I saw what became of my Shepard,and Ashley,and the whole crew right down to Joker,EDI,and the Normandy.I honestly think there should be a new ending or two available because I put too much investment in everything for it to all just end like it did.Please Bioware,as a 10 year + fan of yours I ask you to fix this,and give us the chance for a happy ending to this amazingly mind-blowing trilogy.

  • David

    I’m a loyal fan of Bioware and Mass Effect,from game 1 all the way to 3. I was blown away by the emotionality,action,and story telling.But I’m deeply troubled by the ending…I mean since ME1 I’ve been putting in so much effort,time,and money to develop my Shepard,and save the galaxy and whatnot….but when I saw the endings,(which took three whole playthroughs,I refused youtube for this) I was upset,when I saw what became of my Shepard,and Ashley,and the whole crew right down to Joker,EDI,and the Normandy.I honestly think there should be a new ending or two available because I put too much investment in everything for it to all just end like it did.Please Bioware,as a 10 year + fan of yours I ask you to fix this,and give us the chance for a happy ending for our Shepard that we so loyally followed,and to this amazingly mind-blowing trilogy.

  • Gene

    I am a BioWare fan, and I loved the Mass Effect series ever since it first came out. I’ve spent a long time waiting for ME3 to be released, and I loved the game, especially meeting the characters I’ve come to know and love once again. But when it came to the ending, I must confess, I felt seriously let down by it. You see, the feeling I always got while playing ME and ME2 was that, yes it will be a hard fight, and anyone could die if I screw up, but as long as I make the right choice I will have victory; the clouds will part, the sun will shine and all will be well in the end. The end of ME3 didn’t have that, rather it felt like no matter what I did, Shepard was doomed, and all the time, effort and work I put into creating that ultimate happy ending didn’t come to pass; that I didn’t win anything. To be honest, the ending of ME3 felt like something out of Warhammer 40k, of which I am a huge fan of, but 40k makes it clear from the outset that a Pyrrhic victory is the best you can hope for, while in Mass Effect you always had that sense of hope that with enough work, the end will be a happy one. I sincerely hope BioWare make a DLC or a patch that gives us that happy ending, so that we as fans may have our faith rewarded.

  • Omegasama

    All I wanted was an epilogue, I wanted to know what happened to the others, the planets, the alliance between the worlds, the stranded races, the compainions, everything really, not some damn dream ending with some random kid and their granddad. Who cares about them? I sure as hell don’t. I care about Garrus, Kaidan, Javik, Liara and the rest of them.

    Give me a damn epilogue!

  • dnome3

    Ok look, if you do not like the endings because shep dies and you just plain out dont like it when your hero bites the dust then you have another thing coming. I challenge all of you (who hate the endings because of death) to replay 1-2-3 and have shep live. I have been a loyal fan since day 1 and my shep lived through the whole ordeal. Fact is, I thought this was all fitting given the possibility of me4.

    Question: would you change your mind if your hero (aka you in videogame form) lived?

  • mike

    I agree with everything here but no one has made mention to the very end of the game and i want to know what it means,

    SPOILER!!!

    At the very end of the game after the credits where the son and the grand dad are talking the little boy ask, and im not quoting cause i cant remember it all, but the kid says, “grand dad can you tell me another story on Shepard and the grand dad says “yes” and it ends, the key word there is ANOTHER.

    The ending may be crap but from that ending there needs to be another something

    If im wrong please let me know because im dying to know what it means.

  • guest

    yeah, only a small number of people. Only a few hundred, maybe a thousand. Not many.