Expanded Mass Effect Endings — Didn’t Help

So EA/Bioware are now on my permanent fecal roster.   Ty Franck offered me valuable advice regarding the expanded DLC for the end of Mass Effect 3.  He said he wasn’t going to download it because the company would track the number of downloads, and if there are a lot of them they will take it as vindication of their crappy ending.

So I waited for some game site to comment and upload the “expanded” endings.  Someone did.  I watched them, and — Do they think we are morons?  That they can satisfy an epic fail with a few more pictures and some thrown together voice overs?  And trust me the condescension toward the players just drips off every line of the voice overs that have been provided.

They do add a new ending where you refuse to choose and then the Reapers eat the galaxy.  Oh, that’s nice.  But the other three remain the same, but with boring V.O. by Hackett, EDI or Shepard.  It seems that Shepard does live in the destruction choice, but they are coy about it.

I just hate to see something terrific get wrecked at the end.  It happened to Battlestar Galactica with that awful angel/she’s Eve! ending, and now it’s happened to what had been my favorite game.  It had edged a nose ahead of Dragon Age because I’m more of a sci fi girl than a fantasy girl, but maybe it’s time to replay Dragon Age, and remember how a good game works.

Or maybe I’ll play Deus X, and just stop expecting coherent story telling from video games.  They really better start hiring real writers.  This is a new art form, it had the potential to be great, but not if they continue like this.

And I’ll go back to writing on my Mass Effect story.  It, at least, is fun, rewarding and coherent.


19 Responses to Expanded Mass Effect Endings — Didn’t Help

  • Farbautisonn says:

    …mirror mine. I wish I could say I was surprised but after the countless fiascos in the last few years, Bioware has really gone down the tube. They used to be the “gold standard” in Storytelling. Now that title has gone to CD Projekt and Obsidian.

    And the worst part is that I wont trust anyone of biowares current or recent employees who list this game as their “work experience” to deliver anything good.

    ME3 retroactively destroyed a franchise. Not even Lucas managed that and he tried pretty hard. Its impressive… but in all the wrong ways.

  • Melindas says:

    It was Dragon Age: Origins that cemented my love for these games. I came late to this because (ironically) I was hired by EA to write a Lord of the Rings game. They read several hundred spec screenplays, picked m based on my Wild Card script. I went ou to CA, and spent two days working on a giant white board and explaining story and how it has to work to the team. They all said — “Wow, now we see why we need real writers.” Then EA cancelled the game. But I was intrigued so I bought an XBox 360 and fell down the rabbit hole. Played Left for Dead, then several Halo games, and then DA. I’ve now played it through 4 times. Loved the DLC Awakenings. Then I played DA2, and went WTF?! Talk about a pointless story, and a mess of an ending. I have long post here on the blog about everything that was wrong with the structure and story of that game.

    Meanwhile I discovered Mass Effect. I’ve always been more of science fiction girl, then a fantasy reader so I was sucked in immediately. My Sheparad is so real to me, and I imported him through all three games, and then I hit the final ten minutes of the last game. I have other, more extensive posts on all the ways this game failed, but the failure to understand how villains work, to a structural analysis, etc. etc.

    I have to say, I’m glad I found your posts, but the EA site is so hard to navigate and to have an actual discussion with people. So hi, and welcome.

  • Jeremy says:

    This was really enjoyable to read and interesting it’s interesting to get a writer’s perspective on what was once my favorite video game series before the ending. I look forward to reading more of your stuff. Thanks.

  • Melindas says:

    Like you Jeremy, this was my favorite game. It nosed out Dragon Age only because i like science fiction better than fantasy, but then I hit that terrible, horrible, very bad end, and now Dragon Age: Origins once more stands as the the best video game every made.

    Thanks for stopping by, and welcome. Join me on my page at Facebook I tend to put my more in depth thoughts about writing, games, movies, and books here on the blog because it’s like writing in dust over on Facebook. (Which coincidentally is the title of the story I have George R.R. Martin’s Old Mars anthology. Actually it’s Written in Dust, but close enough) Blah, Blah. I hope you will read more of my stuff. I have my own books in the Edge SEries, and I write for and co-edit Wild Cards with GRRM.

    Back on Bioware. I want to love them still, and Mass Effect was so amazing so that’s why I’m writing a fanfic story about my Shepard and Kaidan because I don’t want to let them go, and I want to take the bad taste out of my mouth from the actual ending.

  • Random Visitor says:

    that even published and professional writers can act like whining, entitled fanboys and fangirls on their own soapboxes. Condescending jackasses, eh? I guess you must post from a position of expertise, Melissa. Brava.

  • Melindas says:

    Hello, Random. My name is Melinda, not Melissa. It’s usually considered polite to get that right when addressing someone. All that aside. I’m upset because I think the fans received a lot of abuse that they didn’t deserve. They had committed money and time (which is also money) to these games. Promises were made — explicitly by the designers, and implicitly by the story itself. None of those promises were kept. That’s the one inviolable deal with make with our readers/viewers/players. This was as brilliant franchise through three and three/quarters games. Then it just collapsed with a literal deus ex machina that had never been even hinted at in the preceding games. I’ve been on a lot of TV shows. I know when something was rushed. This was rushed. Perhaps by a decision at EA, but suddenly basic rules of story telling were violated, and it’s a damn shame. This could have gone down as possibly the greatest game franchise ever.

  • Xiomara says:

    Awww. Looks like you upset a little biodrone.

    I’m not downloading the new endings either. What’s the point? Nothing has changed. I’m not angry about the whole ME3 debacle, I simply don’t care anymore. I’m over it and I’m over Mass Effect. I never thought I’d feel that way about what was once my favourite videogame franchise, but there it is. It sounds like you are quite apathetic about the situation too.

  • Melindas says:

    It’s okay, Xiomara, I was very disappointed, but it was the slagging of the disappointed players that really bothered me. I also think that just saying, “wow, we really messed up,” wins you a lot of good will. There are these strange hints coming out of Bioware about how Shepard does survive in the red ending, and could be reunited with their love interest. It’s like they are schizophrenic about whether this franchise is continuing or not.

  • Christopher says:

    We would welcome a writer of your ilk at HTL . We are in process of converting the site into a Gen game advocacy site . 🙂 – Chris @ HTL

  • Melindas says:

    Tell me more, Christopher. What is HTL? Can you give me a link? I do have a movie to write, and a book to finish and another to write, and I need to get a proposal out for my big space opera, but I do love video gaming.

  • Douglas says:

    HTL stands for Hold the Line, a movement that arose in response to the ending of ME3, with the stated goal of convincing Bioware into creating a proper ending for the trilogy. Given that Bioware has released the EC and doesn’t plan to readdress the issue, there has been a little talk of becoming a gamer advocacy group in general. Hopefully it gives consumers more clout in the video game market. HTL can be found here. http://www.holdtheline.com/

  • Melindas says:

    I had read about Hold the Line. (Which is also a great military phrase.) I’ll check it out. Although I wouldn’t be too sure about EA not playing more in the Mass Effect sandbox. Now they are coyly talking about Shepard does survive in the destroy ending, and might be reunited with the love interest. And since the soap opera is what I really love in these games this draws me back in even though I sense I probably shouldn’t trust this.

  • Jo says:

    The great problem is those real writers are all under the power of stupid jackasses that regard themselves way more than they deserve. And they shackle those real writers to their simpleton will.
    If you watch the new Extended Cut and compare to the original ending, you can see those real writers made a pretty good job sorting and improving the original crap.

    What makes me sad is that such potential was wasted for the producers demand that the end would still be crap. I wonder where it could go if they had the right to wipe out everything after Cerberus Base and make an end of their own.

  • Melindas says:

    I wish they could just rewind to Cerberus base, and try again. Actually I don’t even mind fighting my way to the Citadel Beam. It the Deus Ex Machina at the very end with the arrival of this AI that had [u]never[/u] been even hinted at, that wrecked the game so completely.

    There is great power in someone being able to simply say — “Hey, we screwed up.” You win a lot of good will that way, and if they had done that people would have cheerfully given them months to craft a new, proper ending (or series of endings).

    Now Bioware/EA is coyly making it clear Shepard doesn’t die with the destroy choice because I think they realize that they may just have utterly killed the franchise. As much as I loved this complex, interesting universe I probably won’t buy any more games set there because I don’t trust them. I think they’re seeing that, and trying to figure out a way to go forward with Shepard — with whom players had bonded — and to try and keep the universe intact. It certainly wasn’t intact with that first ending. It was very clear the relays were [u]gone[/u],and the Normandy was marooned.

  • Lil One says:

    Just found this but I have to post… I felt much the same as you when I played, and then the end – or The Haltenning as I call it – hit. And it hit hard. I had accepted certain things until then, I could have lived with them, but that … “ending” .. put the spotlight on all the flaws I had willingly overlooked. So I am glad you, Melinda, an established author, could put into words what I felt as a player, showing it was not just me and others like me.

    P.S. Love what you did for ST:TNG and especially Data’s trial! ;D

  • Melindas says:

    Thank you for the kind words about the Data script. I’m about to head out to C.A. and do commentary on the extended version of The Measure of a Man.

    That’s another bitch I had with ME3. Where was the trial of Shepard for either killing all those Batarians or working with Cerberus? They dropped that huge plot thread too. And the dying sun in ME2, and scanning the Keepers in ME1. The Keepers should have played a key part in the solution of the problem, or at least added to the problems. It just seemed that any kind of coherent plotting was beyond them.

    And the end. God, it still makes me mad. It is also so creepy — particularly the synthesis choice. Seeing everybody with glowing green eyes just made my skin crawl. They broke the contract with the audience. They promised me a chance to defeat the reapers, and then never gave me a satisfying way to accomplish that.

    Anyway, welcome. We also have a lot of discussion about games over on my Facebook wall too.

    • Angelo says:

      Long MMO projects don’t mean wokrnig 60-80 hour weeks for 4-5 years. That is a company problem not a genre problem. Top tier MMO’s for the amount of content players expect though are going to take in the time range of 5 years unfortunately. Personally I can work for about a single week at most at 60 hours before my productivity is seriously impacted and I’m performing at less than I do with a normal 40-45 hour work week. As well, this isn’t unusual as studies on overtime have shown so companies still encouraging it are crazy.Will state the rumors for SWTOR do not sound good. And the videos keep making me think of WoW except with Star Wars lore. Scares me when you can shoot a Stormtrooper and another one 20 meters away just ignores your actions. Just a mechanic that really bothers me that is still prevalent in MMOs.

  • Lil One says:

    I know! I remember thinking “wait, what have my Shep been doing all along?” and everything that follows that question! Keeper, yes, part of solution, that is what I felt too, and those suns. Nowhere to be seen.

    Ha, I know the feeling! I finished the game “once” — all [s]endings[/s] three colours with one character, hoping to see [i]something[/i], but Synthesis sort of freaked me out. Forced changed, all hail Saren’s vision? And the big slogan, “retake Earth”, even that was nowhere to be found. I wish they had had the courage to go with the “traditional, safe route” with the endings (a la Dragon Age: Origins, it rules!) — I bet few would have complained then and remembered the great story told instead.

    On to something positive, to save the day! I am thrilled to hear about your commentary on the extended version of The Measure of a Man, delightful! Godspeed and all the best!

  • Melindas says:

    I really think they could attract more women to video games if they played up the character moments. Keep all the fighting, but give us more time interacting with the other characters. That’s why I loved Dragon Age: Origins so much. There was all this chatter in the B.G. that gave you a real sense of the other characters. You could talk to people, and they had things to say. I get so tired of my sweetie Kaidan just saying “Right behind you!” (which is an unfortunate choice given that I have a male Shep and romanced him in ME3), or “On your order.” Write some dialog, damn it.

    And yes, the end of DA: Origins was damn near perfect. You could pick self-sacrifice, you could take Morrigan’s bargain, you could use Alistair to strike the final blow (or Loghain), but the designers paid off the promise. Within 30 minutes of starting that game you know what you have to do — kill the Archdemon.

    And now that I’m replaying Mass Effect from the beginning it’s such a violation of the contract. They keep talking all through the games but particularly 2 and 3 that you are going to “kick the Reaper’s ass” in the apt words of Joker.

    So I comfort myself by writing on this ME story. I was going great guns, but paying work has intervened. I hope to start posting it after the World science fiction convention. It’s soap opera about all the things that happen when Shepard and Kaidan get married, but there are serious points about PTSD. And how does a warrior stop killing? And what does a hero do with the rest of his life? There’s a bit of gun play because there has to be :), but mostly it’s a story about recovery.

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