I…I don’t think I ever wrote about the ending of Mass Effect 3.
I didn’t just sit up in bed and think that. Forbes had a post detailing a fan’s 118,000 word rewrite of Mass effect 3. To give you an idea, Sorcerer Rising is right around 125,000 words. Anyway, it is available as a PDF, a ridiculously large PDF, and does a really interesting job of bringing it to a similar, but different, conclusion.
I’ll admit, I’m still torn over the ending. On one side, I want to respect the creator’s right to end their creative work however the wish. On the other, I think that same creator does have the responsibility to fulfill the promise they’ve made to their fans. And, frankly, if you were expecting a yee-haw, kick all them aliens to hell, go back and marry your alien princess (totally would have married Tali), well, you were going to be disappointed. It hadn’t built up to a happy ending really. It was just too big of an issue.
That said, the DARKNESS that was the third game was very different in tone and truly failed to take advantage of all the things that’d been built up in the first two. All the characters from the previous games were very formulaic one off visits and I hated, absolutely fucking hated, building the catalyst. It was a facebook game, filled with boring, grayish numbers. The only exception I really see to this is how you approached the Geth and the Quarians. I also did enjoy seeing Jack again, especially since I hated her in 2.
There is a certain promise given in any creative work. I’m in the midst of creating it with my work. You’re going to have certain expectations for Virgil and his world. Sometimes, I will…violate those expectations, to say the least. For the most part though, I want to be a steward of that good will. I want you to enjoy my work, in other words. I don’t know a lot of people that enjoyed Mass Effect 3. There are many works that aren’t supposed to be enjoyed, Schindler’s List come to mind, but was Mass Effect really one of those? I don’t think it needed to be that dark, I was all about marrying my alien princess and sending the aliens to hell.
Let me give a point of comparison on this. I enjoyed Mass Effect, bought it when it first came out but never beat it. The second one was completely off my radar until they started releasing videos on how the classes would work, at which point I got interested. I bought it, beat it in a week, went back and beat the first one, then beat it like five more times.
Seriously. I love Mass Effect 2. It could do no wrong. If they would release DLC chapters outlining a whole new third game on the second’s model, would buy em’ in a second. Anyway, I’ve only beat Mass Effect 3 once. I tried going through a second time with a different class and it was kind of a slog getting through the story and the bs side quests. I spent most of my time in the multiplayer, which I was actually a really big fan of. Spent more time doing that than I did playing COD: Ghosts.
That’s a bit of a different conversation though.
In the end, I felt like the ending was a bad move. It left a bad taste in my mouth for the franchise. This is where business meets art, and in this case both really fall on that side for the ending. It left a good majority of the players, reader, viewers, disappointed and hurt the product as a whole. Sure, people bought the patches meant to soften the bitterness of the ending, but I’ll bet you would have made more with another game without this ending than with the DLC that repaired it. And the real expectation that failed was the cookie cutter nature of it. It felt like fan fic. I hate to see a good ending, a bad ending, and a neutral, hate it even more when none of them took into account any of the individual decisions we made with characters, side quests, or major plot points. And for those that say that all the Mass Effects always funneled down into that single ending, well, they had to with 1 and 2. Those were going to have sequels and you couldn’t make a completely different story to facilitate multiple endings. But this was the end. This was the one opportunity to branch in as varied and multiple endings as you wanted.
It was lazy.
I want to blame this on EA, but I don’t think that’s fair. EA had Bioware during Mass Effect 2 as well.
Like I said, I’m still torn.
Maybe they were being artsy and it went over everyone’s head…