This article does not contain spoilers about the Mass Effect series.
Never in a fit of rage have I jumped into a car a drove to a local Best Buy to buy a game. Well first, I wasn’t legally able to drive for the first three quarters of my life, and second, no developer in recent memory has ever succumbed to the criticism of its story ending. As a player, what the hell do I know? Sure I criticize games, but developers each have a creative vision, and there are reasons for why they have made the choices they did. As the week progressed, petitions were formed and complaints to the FTC were filed in regards to the ending, and I had hoped dearly that BioWare would not buckle under the pressure. But then news spread quickly that a new ending was in the works to address the complaints many people had.
I was going to wait until after exams to pick up Mass Effect 3, I wanted to play it for hours and hours and not have to stop for school work or studying. But I can’t wait two more weeks; I need to see how bad this ending really is that people saw fit to demand a redo, a retry, a rewrite of the ending that was decided upon by the team at BioWare.
With a copy of Mass Effect 3 sitting beside me, I wanted to express my thoughts before I started to play; to see if my resistance to a new ending would still be as strong after I have seen it. In some ways I regret not playing it earlier; it now has sort of become more about seeing the ending that is really terrible, instead of just enjoying the sequel to a game that might arguably be one of my all time favourites.
Looking from the perspective of someone who has not played Mass Effect yet, I can’t imagine the ending being so disappointing that it has ruined the franchise as a whole. Does it spoil the entirety of the Mass Effect 3 experience? I find those notions hard to believe, especially since the Mass Effect franchise is probably one of the best things that has happened to this generation of games. There are no other games that I can think of that carry over your characters and story choices in the same way Mass Effect does. Sure the impact of those choices might not be as significant as we were first lead to believe, but it’s a step. No matter how bad the ending is, it cannot take away the innovation in story telling Mass effect brought to the industry.
If I go along with the notion that the ending to Mass Effect 3 is complete garbage, what happens if the new ending does not “fix” it? What if the ending is worse than said bad ending? A part of me hopes for the latter just so BioWare learns to stick to their design decisions, though the former seems the more likely situation of the two. So if the ending does not properly address complaints, does that mean people will continue to complain or file another complaint to the FTC? I imagine the problem with the ending being related to the fact that it does not take into account the decisions a player has made. BioWarewants to end the story a certain way as it might conclude to fit all stories, rather than the one that is unique to each player.
So I sit here getting ready to play Mass Effect thinking “is the ending really that bad?” Mass Effect 2 is such a great game that I’d hate for the trilogy to end on a disappointing note. As someone who has been there from the beginning, there is nothing that can stop me from finishing this story, I am far too invested to stomp around my room with my arms crossed, swearing to myself that I won’t play another Mass Effect game.