Feedback: Mass Effect 3 Ending Controversy

Posted: April 4, 2012
Feedback: Mass Effect 3 Ending Controversy
Blair Herter and the Feedback crew finally addressed Mass Effect 3's controversial ending.

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  • L44

    Bioware has stated that there is no "canon" for the Mass Effect games. Everyone makes their own canon experience. That's the problem with the ending. If there is no canon, then why is the ending limited to three choices that aren't vastly different? The fact that Bioware made such an amazing experience possible for three entire games should be considered "art." There was no need to go for some farfetched ending that leaves so many questions...even if the DLC is supposed to answer them. Not to mention how flawed the "god child" is. When making the final installment of a trilogy, it's not a good idea to introduce such a ridiculous concept and then build the entire ending of the series around that.

    Stephen doesn't have a problem with the ending...he wanted Shepard to sacrifice himself and have a crazy sci-fi twist. That's just fine. But there's no reason everyone shouldn't have been able to forge their own ending...seeing as how they all forged their own gameplay experience. As Nikole said, she played the game a certain way. That should've earned her the possibility to have the ending she was going for. Why should someone who skipped the first two games have the same ending experience as someone who played all three and did every side mission? There would've been nothing less "artistic" about making drasticly different endings...and it would've made it possible to satisfy so many more people.

    Posted: April 4, 2012 1:52 PM
  • WilsonBone88

    I think Nikole is judging the ending based on the achievement, rather than the story itself. For her, it was about achieving the "high score" of Mass Effect by doing every possible thing to earn the best possible end score. Granted, I can see the frustration from the lack of quality of ending versus quantity of effort. But she kept saying "best ending", which was "best" for HER, not best period. Stephen earned the ending that he considered "best", and was perfectly happy with his experience in the series.

    I completely agree that game developers should take risks and it IS a form of artistic expression. YES, games are a business, but If games were tailored to the "middle" as Stephen stated and made simply to rake in cash, then we'd have nothing but Call of Duty and Madden clones every year. I think it is very sad that Bioware was hounded AND even sued because they didn't cater the end of THEIR game to what the people consider to be "best". It is a VERY fine line, but it IS possible to make a game that is artistically sound, please the audience, and sell well.

    Posted: April 4, 2012 1:51 PM
  • silver6kraid

    I can really see both sides. I agree more with Nichole, but Stephen's opinion isn't less valid. I'm very split on the ending. I want to like it, and I think it could have been really great if there were more clarification and explanation as well as an epilogue that explained what happened after Shepard died/took that breath. I do want to see it changed though, or at least added to. Something similar to what happened to Fallout 3's ending I think would be satisfactory as Broken Steel effectively fixed that game's ending and even added what is in my opinion the best piece of DLC for that game. At the end of the day though, the ending didn't ruin Mass Effect for me because I refused to let it. The entire series leading up to that is still my favorite scifi trilogy of all time and I don't regret any of the money I've put into this franchise at all. I am still playing ME3 and I'm certain that I will continue to play the Mass Effect series for years to come.

    Posted: April 4, 2012 1:49 PM
  • musim

    Too be this isn't longer and the room was more even with who liked and disliked the ending (3 likes and 1 dislike, not so far or representative of the populace). Its crazy to me how well the Christ metaphor goes over with game reviewers. For the record, I didn't know that there's a second ending to The Dark Tower. I thought the first ending was great. It made sense and it upset a lot of people. I couldn't tell if the host was angry to be doing the show in the first place or if everyone really was in that much of a rush.

    The issue with down talking the people who signed the petition or the guy who filed a court case against Bioware is that people are including everyone who disliked the ending into those buckets. There's no discrepancy included in the dialogue for it. And I mean every single professional member of the videogame press that I have listened to so far who has enjoyed the ending are making no effort. I appreciate it being brought up on this podcast even if it wasn't given validity.

    I think the last 15 minutes of ME3 are terrible. I actually would have liked it if it had ended with Shepard reaching for the console in the Citadel. Artistically, critically, the ending was horrendous.

    As for changing the ending to something compromising itself as art, not so much. Take Blade Runner, Anchor Man, remix CD's, Douglas Adams, for just a few examples. The idea that games don't already go through a review process is false. When you have more than one writer you already have a test audience and games have more writers than most of the movies out there. Gameplay is constantly tested throughout the development cycle with players.

    Mass Effect established a relationship with the player that lasted 3 games and relationships make people act crazy whether they go right or wrong. It took me a week before I realized that I could in fact still enjoy the game, I just had to come to terms that the ending is bad art.

    Posted: April 4, 2012 1:43 PM
  • kcunha

    I really wish you guys could have talked about the indoctrination theory, because if it all was indoctrination, it means the ending everyone is complaining about is all a dream. I felt that was an important topic to consider.

    Posted: April 4, 2012 1:41 PM
  • YueRion

    Now see I didn't hate my ending, I mean sure I would have love the Return of the Jedi ending, Kaidan and Shepard live happily ever at. But I knew Shepard would -spoiler- die -spoiler- from the get go, no one spoiled it or told me about the ending but I knew, and the goodbyes with everyone was very heartbreaking because I knew my shep wouldn't come back. I found it a very powerful ending Shepard dying to save everyone (except the synthetics...sorry EDI and the geth). MY problem was, okay well...what is gonna happen now that I've wiped the AI off the face of the universe and stranded the almost the ENTIRE GALAXY in our solar system, and normandy being in BFE like...I WANT ANSWERS. Like I saved everyone, stopped the reapers but umm....that's a lot of aliens in one solar system...I don't hate the answer but I want an ending that was an ending not a billion unanswered questions.

    Posted: April 4, 2012 1:38 PM
  • coolerdude

    Wow. It really shows in this episode that Steve clearly didnt do his homework.

    We get it, he plays like 50 games a a time, writes about other games for a living, etc. But it really is prevalent that his opinion isnt as polished as Nikoles. He is just spit-balling ever typical game journalistic opinion that has really has no emotional investment in the product in question.

    Posted: April 4, 2012 1:32 PM
  • QuanManChu

    Hmmm..seems to me that Nichole Zivalich is the only one on the panel that makes any sense. Hope G4tv executives consider having her co-host either X-Play or AOTS. Why? She isn't a "Yes woman".

    Posted: April 4, 2012 1:31 PM
  • Ender.Wiggin

    Thanks for a great episode of Feedback. It was a good discussion on the ending. It's been awful the last few weeks trying to have any dialogue about the ending, as press, fans of the ending, and critics of the ending have been locked in a nasty shouting match. To see a reasonable debate over the ending was appreciated.

    There were some good points brought up from everyone. I'm with Nikole, personally, in that I did not like the ending for a myriad of reasons too numerous to list. But while I dislike the ending immensely, as I too cannot will myself to go back and replay it, I do respect comments made by Stephen. While I do somewhat disagree with him, as ultimately the role of a commercial creator is to please his audience, this does not preclude art coming from commercial ventures. It's improtant we don't lose the ability to create challenging art because of focus groups. I love a good, dramatic, sad ending. If someone wishes to make that, I don't want to stop them because it might upset people. But the issue with this ending is more complicated than that, when player agency in the narrative is involved.

    It's a growing pain of an industry that's still finding its footing in taking what makes the medium special and being able to tell a story with that. I think the main problem that caused this ordeal was that Bioware ultimately forgot that they were not alone the storytellers after they invited players to join them. Having an ending that largely ignored the player is a fundamental lapse of judgment in how people approach a medium where they are an active participant, as both a player and storyteller. If they had instead only told a story, or only let players tell it through choice, this backlash wouldn't have occurred. The combination of both was problematic.

    Anyways, it was a good discussion, and Blair's frank discussion on critics and consumers was great. Really refreshing and honest, and worthy of revisiting sometime. To hear the gaming press talk positively about gamers as people capable of critical and analytical thought is good. Good job, guys.

    Posted: April 4, 2012 1:27 PM
  • niklee89

    INDOCTRINATION THEORY PEOPLE!!!! YOU HAVE IT ALLLLLLL WRONG! look it up in youtube, "indoctrination theory" Mass Effect 3

    Posted: April 4, 2012 1:26 PM
  • yayap001

    Steve's argument was flawed on so many levels.

    Posted: April 4, 2012 1:23 PM
  • QuanManChu

    SMH......I really hope you guys are kidding...right? This is just sad. I survived the video game crash of '83 and what was true then is true now. Rushed games suck. And what Mass Effect 3's ending did..was totally derailed choice. And nice...you poke fun of those disappointed in it with an Inception reference...it doesn't chance the fact that our choices prior to the ending choice are pretty much rendered pointless.

    Posted: April 4, 2012 1:20 PM
  • clivodimars

    Such good show you guys. I was laughing and shouting at the screen the whole time. Team give me more ending.

    Posted: April 4, 2012 1:19 PM
  • thezeppo1138

    I feel Nikole got overshadowed. I wish she had more time to argue her points. I feel they didn't get into why most people feel the ending was bad. I wish she would have got them to realize how screwed you left everyone in the ME universe at the end. I wish there was a let the reapers win option. That would have been better than the other 3. Everyone would get obliterated quick instead of staving to death and killing each other over resources. Uniting the galaxy was pointless and I just wish that was discussed.

    Posted: April 4, 2012 1:18 PM
  • IntelliMoo

    That old guy makes some good points, but no matter what your final choice was it still doesn't make the ending as satisfying as it *should* have been. Instead it just is what it is, which feels like a letdown.

    Posted: April 4, 2012 1:15 PM
  • Labeasy

    This episode was really disappointing, the actual talk about the ending and the game was 5 or 10 minutes and the rest was just arguing about the roles of consumers and critics which is just pointless. Also really no discussion of the indoctrination theory? For a much better discussion watch this video http://www.thebitbag.com/2012/ 03/15/the-minority-show-specia l-mass-effect-3-spoilercast/ and http://www.thebitbag.com/2012/ 03/27/the-minority-show-specia l-2-mass-effect-3-theory-discu ssion/

    Posted: April 4, 2012 1:13 PM
  • Jahbu

    I agree with Stephen. Loved the endings.

    Posted: April 4, 2012 1:13 PM
  • Buckeyes67890

    You loss

    Posted: April 4, 2012 1:12 PM
  • velazkid

    I completely agree with Stephen on all his points made. I will totally agree with Nikole however, on the fact that there are multiple plotholes that need explaining. When you hear a story, how many endings does that story have? One. If Bioware made 15 different endings, the entire series would have been done a disservice, by making every ending unique to the player, no one could rally around the ending, because of how dissparate they could be. This has the ultimate effect of making the ending completely forgettable. Eventually to be lost to time.

    10 years from now, if the game had 15 endings, no one could look back to the ME series and say "that had a good ending", because the ending was different for everybody who played it. Look at ME the way Stephen sees it, as well as I, as a story told within an interactive format. Not an interactive format with a story attached to it. From a story perspective it makes complete sense not to have 15 endings, from a gameplay perspective, the players have been conditioned to have their choices matter. When this did not happen to the effect they thought it would with the ending, this is when the use backlash started.

    I loved the ending, for all it's flaws, it could not have been better.

    Posted: April 4, 2012 1:12 PM
  • krashofny

    Nikole: epic win
    Stephen: epic fail
    nuff said

    Posted: April 4, 2012 1:08 PM