Sessler's Soapbox: Mass Effect 3 Wrap Up

Posted: March 13, 2012
Sessler's Soapbox: Mass Effect 3 Wrap Up
Adam discusses Mass Effect 3's day-one DLC, its controversial ending, and how well it handled same-sex relationships.

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  • Spybreak

    Lol I was talking with friends about all the Mass Effect games and something funny came up, related to the same sex relationships. Ok how many people here felt kind of uncomfortable with Jacob and Shepard's dialogue sequences. It looked like, when you think back to it, that Bioware wanted to push that relationship on you no matter which gender you were playing. Just odd and no I didn't have any issue with Steven Cortez. I just told him I'd rather look at the beautiful asari woman gyrating on moving platforms lol.

    In regards to the ending, and being a fan since the get go, I felt like the ride up to this has been one of my most favorable, memorable and quality experiences in my gaming career (hmm lifetime?). That's why the ending just looks so out of place and/with the lack of a closure based on the player's set choices previously (spoilers - curing the genophage, reuniting the Geth&Quarians, etc). True we got to see little nods to previous characters and events from the first but there really wasn't any player choice for the ending where it seemed like Bioware's writers wanted to say sorry this is fate you can't do anything about it. Plot inconsistencies at the end, followed by the look forward to DLC prompt, are also strange and it's just too bad because this tarnishes a vastly great series. Up until the end I was thinking ME3 would be 2012's Game of the Year but just like Deus Ex and the Matrix, lol, the audience is left wanting.

    Posted: March 21, 2012 6:42 AM
  • Heartland

    Adam, you simply don't understand.

    Video Games are so different from any other entertainment medium out there, you can't apply this problem to any other example; they are special because they offer you interactive entertainment and a story.

    THIS IS ALL ABOUT how an industry is pushing it's limits in how far it can exploit these qualities for a consumer/fan.

    They wait and watch to see how the media (IGN, G4TV, GameTrailers etc...) and the overall fan base reacts. The former, in an effort to appear sophisticated and intellectual, have talked down to fans who don't get these games in the mail for free (as the free copy circulates around the G4TV office) but we have to spend now $70 on a copy IN A recession; for probably the only game they'll get for next few months.

    This is a disgrace for Bioware, and for G4TV for not voicing a stronger opinion in favor of Art and the consumer, who deserves better.

    Note: I'd happily trade Same-Sex relationships and the Jessica Chobot Cameo for a competent and satisfying ending that lasts more then 3 minutes after it all fades to black.

    Everyone in the media sounds too afraid to offer any support for the backlash. Hmm... why does this sound like it might resonate throughout the future.

    Posted: March 20, 2012 12:04 PM
  • onepiece226

    I 100% agree. What's even more of a shame is anyone with a good comment about how Mass Effect fans should calm down get so many negative comments and thumbs down but it's the truth.

    It's one thing to campaign to include an old character or how Epic had that poll to decide weather or not Carmine should die or be saved, it's a whole other story to complain about an ending enough to bring it to the FTC. I'm sorry wether you liked the ending or not that's ridiculous and as a gamer i'm ashamed.

    That's why older gaming was superior to now. You had a playstation or nintendo. No online. No DLC. Just a disc or cartridge and you played. If you didn't like the end, tough. That sounds so jerkish but it's true, as a whole we whine way to much about stupid things. If a game dosent come in 1080p these days we automatically denounce it as horrible. If the online part sucks it's a bad game. And now this.

    All you see on here is that Bioware sucks. EA sucks. Mass Effect 3 sucks. and if you don't agree with me you suck. Anyone in support of this FTC thing IS taking a step back and truly keeping gaming from ever truly being called an art. As an artist the only person on the face of this earth that you have to please with your art is yourself and wether or not Bioware changes the ending, if they were pleased with THEIR ending then i'm fine with it.

    Take it like this guys. And I KNOW i'm gonna get crap for this but I don't care. You guys complaining are somewhat like those girls on My Super Sweet 16. Everything about the party was absolutely PERFECT...........then you get the wrong car..................or the color is wrong..............and now everything sucks.

    Take it or leave it.

    Posted: March 19, 2012 12:15 PM
  • qeylis

    This bares repeating. It shouldn't be buried in a reply tree. Thanks to Angry Jessie for the original post.

    "For anyone with perspective, I know I m belaboring a point a bad ending can ruin all, from prose to play but the sad fact is: no other professional review of Mass Effect 3 factored this ending into their universally positive ratings for the game, even though many acknowledged it as a problem. Not being one to claim conspiracy is to blame, I d rather point to the more obvious culprit: ineptitude. A critic that can t realize that narrative is often as important as gameplay especially in an RPG and that poorly constructed endings tarnish narrative quality especially as it is the last thing the audience sees is a poor critic indeed."

    Source: http://calitreview.com/24673
    I think the problem here, is we asked video game reviewers to rate our literary story. A video game reviewer is not equipped to review these epic stories. We need a literary reviewer to review story driven games. This shows that video games have become art. That is a good thing.

    Now we just need our video game reviewers to keep up with the trend that they have been talking about for years. Video games are art, and should be reviewed as art. A bad enough ending does spoil the entire work of art, and should be counted in the score of the game.

    One more point, Casey wanted a "Speculative Ending" for this game? Why? This wasn't "Lost." This was Mass Effect. The game was not Speculative. Lost was a Speculative show, and most people hated the end, because now the mystery was gone. There was no mystery in Mass Effect. No Smoke Monster. No out of place Polar Bear. There were Reapers. Your mission, Kill The Reapers. No speculation, get a gun, and put a hole in the Reapers.

    Lost could not pull of a genre change at the last second, what made Casey Hudson think he could pull it off? That is some serious Hubris.

    Posted: March 19, 2012 8:20 AM
  • roguekad

    There is precedence for this exact same instance which is not limited to games and also went on to be very successful. Fallout 3, Prince of Persia prime video game examples of this. Both have gone on to sequels and in Prince s case a Hollywood movie.

    In literature, Sherlock Holmes was brought back by Doyle for the fans and Dickens changed the ending of Great Expectations. Sherlock was already heading toward being a classic, but I bet it didn t hurt and now we have two movies and a very well written BBC series. Never mind all the things it has inspired including but not limited to the classic Noir Detective novel and House. In Dickens case who hasn t heard of that book or been made to watch the Ethan Hawke film for class, it helped canonize it.

    As for TV in her autobiography Elisabeth Sladen said it was her producer saying `think of the fans that lead to her doing The 5 Doctor s 20th anniversary of Dr Who. If you re a Whovian think were that last one lead, slew of radio plays/ audiobooks and very popular kid s series for the BBC which ran until her death mid last year. I d all that lucrative for the BBC

    Personally if you say this erodes artistic integrity I d say not only do Doyle and Dickens raise issues, but it seems most of these video game journalists are forgetting that successful series have done just this prospered from it. I m not saying everyone prospers from reediting (Star Wars), but this kind of takes the wind outta the sails when major canonized works of literature were re-edited after release.

    Posted: March 19, 2012 8:03 AM
  • Daniel_N=

    It s time to realize that what is going on in the Mass Effect fan community isn t a simple wave of discontentment. It s a tsunami.

    I ll say that again. A tsunami.

    This reaction is, in a way, testament to the greatness of Mass Effect. There is a huge emotional attachment of the fan-base to this series, to its characters, to its universe. But there is more.
    There are valid, rational arguments being raised about the deficiencies of the ending. Nobody can, in good faith, disregard that as simple fan rage or a childish sense of entitlement.

    The way I see it - and no matter what the EA PR machine is strategizing right now - BioWare has to do this: Casey Hudson must face the community.
    He must release a video statement, look into the camera as if looking into the eyes of the gamers, and take a stand. There are two alternatives:

    Alternative A - Stick with your ending:

    You say this is the ending we envisioned all along, this is our creative vision for this series and we will remain faithful to it. Here s why we think it is a valid ending, sorry that some of you didn t like it, whatever So you defend your vision. And face the consequences.

    Or you choose

    Alternative B - Commit to change:

    You acknowledge the arguments raised by the community, you gallantly accept to revise the ending, commit to release an alternative extended ending, set a date and go to work.

    And then, on new ending release day , we ll all have a party and drink a few beers and move on with our lives. And start replaying Mass Effect 1, 2 and 3 dozens of times like we love to do.

    Posted: March 19, 2012 6:52 AM
  • KaptainMorganWo

    In very short order, people have compiled tomes of reasons why the ending blew, but the biggest problem isn't that this feature was missing or that character didn't get the scene we wanted, it's that it is so clearly another symptom of Bioware's resources being diverted away from what make them great.

    EA has been murdering my favourite developers for five years now, and after both Dragon Age 2 and Mass Effect 3, I think we need to call the CSI team in for Bioware.

    Writers leaving, shoehorned-in multiplayer, shallow dudebro characters added for no reason, stock assets, pointless pretty faces added for no reason, recycled assets for multiplayer and (in Dragon Age 2's case) single player, incongruous character behavior, blatant lies about content, rehashing plot points, knocking characters from the main event to jobber, and worst of all, sticking constant bloody DLC hooks in the hope that if you repeat your demands enough, people will follow through.

    Chock up one more victim of the EA killer.

    Posted: March 19, 2012 2:36 AM
  • Seluhir

    My biggest problems with Mass Effect's ending were the following:

    1) The cinematics were just reskins. All 3 of the cinematics are identical, take no account for what decisions you make, and don't give you any sense of any impact of that ending. The cinematics are about 90% identical aside from the different colour. It doesn't even INCLUDE any details based off of the choices you made. If they'd kept the same ending choices but had the cinematic feature some additional cinematic content that gave a bit of... personalization... to it, I think a majority of the people complaining would've been satisfied, even if not overjoyed.

    2) The fact that squadmates who are with you on the ground are somehow magically back aboard the Normandy - who was nowhere near the planet's surface - for the ending really gives a huge sense of disconnect and discontinuity.

    Posted: March 18, 2012 8:49 PM
  • Heartland

    Folks, enough about the ending.

    THERE IS A REAL CONCLUSION. You don't just fade to black mid-climax in the third installment of a game whose characters people have grown emotionally attached to. These writers went to college, therefore they know that in an epic of multiple installments you always have to end a trilogy -- or follow up a climax -- with a conclusion. They wrote an ending, and produced it; and they're sitting on it right now.

    It'll get released in a few months, I promise you, to make it look like they were working on it after launch.

    Posted: March 18, 2012 8:12 PM
  • Angry Jessie

    Storytelling Suicide.

    Posted: March 18, 2012 8:09 PM
  • Blue_King

    Ending = H.O.R.R.I.B.L.E!!!

    All "3 choices" end the SAME! (Unless of course you rush to do final mission and fail and everyone dies)

    This was a TERRIBLE ending to what was one of the greatest game series of this generation.

    The first 2 games took OVER 60 hours to complete, 100% missions etc.

    This game took a little over 30. HALF THE TIME! I could have written a better ending and more missions for EA for free if it would mean that the game ACTUALLY would be well done, not rushed.


    2/5 at best


    Posted: March 18, 2012 3:53 PM
  • T_Dawg135

    The problem with the endings is an issue of how dark or dismal the choices feel. It's not even about the bizarre lack of information that they provided and their complete and utter lack of closure (even though, personally, I hated both of those things).

    It's about the lack of choice.

    You're given three choices, that they all play the same video (the bizarre one mentioned above). No matter how you played the game or what choices you made throughout, you get the same end. Your final choice isn't even really a choice.

    Oh, and your crew simply ran away from the final battle for no apparent reason. Go figure?

    Posted: March 18, 2012 9:22 AM
  • MalPardy

    touching on the DLC and the gay "issue"... I don't have an issue with either, I like DLC, the fact that there is dlc coming out first day does not bother me. I do want my DLC to mean something I want it to have weight. Fall out 3's broken steel comes to mind I like dlc that expands and give you value for the money we end up spending. bioware seems to do pretty well with it's dlc so like I said, non issue with me there.

    as for the gay issue... I don't see one, who cares, why do people always talk about this stuff! bioware has been putting this stuff in there games for a while now... how often do you have to do something in order for people to stop being surprised by it. so in a way I agree, I am glad they made it just an aspect of the character not the defining characteristic.

    Posted: March 17, 2012 11:51 PM
  • MalPardy

    I am still thinking about the ending... the music is one of the large aspects for me, it's haunting. as I sit here writing this I am still hearing it. I loved this series, I loved the characters, the music, the humor. if I had to complain about something it would be a serious lack of material for Kenneth Donnelly! but seriously I loved my shepards story, and while some complain about the choises I saw none, I would not attempt control, (I just got finished arguing against it with the Illusive man). I just spent the last 30-40 hrs saving every race, healing old wounds between the geth and the quarians and helping EDI find her own path to defending altruism and finding love with joker, committing wanton genocide and murder just to save my ass or as a means to an end is not who I am. synergy wrapped the galactic story up, but there is just one problem... I would claw myself back from the gates of hell to get back to my love interest. the ending just did not present that, it did a great job of letting you know just how important you were to each other and how much chemistry was there. I feel like they wrapped up shepards influence in the galactic story but I feel there is more to tell with the personal one... do I feel he should go down like that even with the decision being made by the person I have build through the course of the 3 games? NO, I feel like bioware has alot that they could do with shepard yet. but I have to ask myself, am I as one consumer amongst millions entitled to DEMAND that they tailor a ending based on what I envision my shepard to be or can I just imagine it on my own... and is that enough?

    Posted: March 17, 2012 11:28 PM
  • Tmidiman

    I didnt care for the ending.

    Day one DLC, yeah that's EA for you.

    Gay thing, yeah it was casual and that was cool. All the shoving ones sexuality into people's faces we have these days is just immature. Just do what you want to do. I just don't need it shoved in my face. Instead of being a special interest group try just being a considerate human being.

    Posted: March 17, 2012 10:41 AM
  • ackka

    adam you completely missed the whole point with the ending this isn't about artistic integrity or any of that bs, the ending has so many many logic holes all over the place it's not even amusing.

    After that ending and after playing ME1 and ME2 probably 6 times and having the entire universe just completely destroyed was like getting punched in the gut.

    Every company or artist has a responsibility to the fans, if they don't, well i don't have to buy a single product from bioware again in my life and the developers who made ME3 can be homeless bums for all I care.

    Change the ending!!!!

    Posted: March 17, 2012 12:04 AM
  • DrowNoble

    http://www.gamefront.com/mass- effect-3-ending-hatred-5-reaso ns-the-fans-are-right/

    If Adam (or anyone else) is interested the above is a very well written article about why the ending has "problems". I would love to hear Adam's comments about the ending after he reads that.

    Posted: March 16, 2012 4:55 PM
  • BlizzCo

    Great example with Little Nelle!

    Posted: March 16, 2012 2:56 PM
  • Tempe


    Well, I signed up because a question has been bugging me for a while. First I would like to start by saying I ve always had respect for your show, for the sincerity of your reviews, and for the obvious fact that you actually play games compared to other sites and shows that seem like they didn t even play the game they review. So I tend to listen to what you say about the games and trust that your opinion of the game is how it is, and I can base my preferences on the review and know that what I m buying is how your review said it is. But for this game, I ve seen a lot of fans voicing their complaints about it. Sure, every game has fans that complain about it, but not to this extent.
    It s taking away the credibility the game has with the fans, it is loosing the trust of their fan base.
    So decided before buying it I would look up what s upsetting so many fans and see if I agree, and I have to say I do. The problem is not with the ending itself, but how it conflicts with the advertised selling point of the game: choice .

    From the very first time the game developers talked about the mass effect game, they talked about what you pick and how it would effect your Shepard s story, about how what you picked would change things not a lot but enough so it s like you re affecting the story and accomplishing something.

    Now I m not saying that we fans are necessarily entitled to an ending we want, but what happened to the choices we made throughout the series that would give us a different ending for what we did? For me, I understood from what they said about the Mass Effect trilogy, is that what we do in the game will have repercussions and an effect on how our Shepard s story will end.

    I mean, one of BioWare s selling points for Mass Effect was that there wasn t any set ending; that what you choose throughout each game would affect each of our endings. Now, I didn t start playing Halo for instance, thinking I would affect anything in the story because they never said we could and it was a linear story; the plot was already set. With Mass Effect, on the other hand, they said we could affect the ending and they have had that so far throughout the series. After looking up the ending (I know terrible :P , I ve been going over the same question, why?

    Why take choice away from us at the very end, after they put so much love and care in their games for so far? I thought it was a flowing story that can change. The thought I get from the endings (*cough* ending * cough*) is that no matter what you do in the end it s pointless and it changes nothing. Now maybe I m wrong, I didn t play it after all, but wasn t giving us the choices supposed to make the ending different for each player? So it turns out that if I didn t kill the council or if I did in the last game, it s not going to change the end, if I kept the collectors base it s the same as if I didn t? What was the point in saving all the people I did and all the hours spent doing all the quests if in the end it s the same as if I went around killing everyone and taking what I want? It s just kind of weird to be honest.

    I mean, in the other games every time I had to make a hard choice it was thrilling because I had no idea if it would end well in the third game( would saving the council help me in the fight or just slow me down? Would keeping the base make the fight that much easier, in the next game or condemn us?) Instead it seems like it really didn t matter either way? Now I might be wrong, I haven t played the game, but this is really stopping me from even buying the game (even when the rest of the game is as amazing as the first two). It takes all the joy( and sadness) out of the story part of the game, at least for me, because after all why would I care if the gameplay is amazing if the story( the reason I started playing Mass Effect in the first place) just leaves me wondering why I even played though the games with so much thought if in the end it s just ends the same no matter what I do? After all they did say all the time that the choices we made in the games matter and all evidence pointed to Mass Effect being a flowing story based on choice. That ending would be ok if this wasn t the end of Shepard s story but it is. They said trilogy, as in three, then end it, so why make it like they plan on making the story last longer?

    So again after all the rambling, I d like to ask why would they want to change their game theme of choice in the last fifteen minutes of the story? I mean there has to be a reason right? It takes away the credibility of the game, and destroys the trust of their fan base.

    Posted: March 16, 2012 12:43 PM
  • Mucci1234

    I thought mass effect 3 was fine and i loved each ending so if evrybody is complaaning about the ending why dont you go get make your own videogame and see how much time and money it takes and heart they put into games and the its the end of a trilogy so they have to bring it to an end somehow and they were leading up to that in the final half an hour of the game. So in short keep on making great games Bio-ware and Adam keep that beard growing it looks wonderful.

    Posted: March 16, 2012 8:46 AM