Take Earth back, mankind's last hope, Dude, Where's My Super Star Destroyer, etc. - Ed

Or not, since I’m nowhere near completing the game. I do however want to talk about people talking about Mass Effect 3’s ending, and more importantly, people complaining about Mass Effect 3’s ending.

Mind if I start again, then? Thanks.

So everyone is totally freaking out about how crap Mass Effect 3’s ending is and it’s making me feel left out because I’m only 6 hours into the game. On the bright side, I’m very unlikely to share any spoilers with you in the next 600 words because I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT’S GOING ON.

BioWare has even responded, defending the narrative decisions made by its writers. Apparently they really wanted to make sure that nobody ever forgets the game’s ending. And apparently the only way to do that is by coming up with an ending that everyone hates? Riiiiight…

But it’s hardly unusual for people to dislike the way writers end their fictional works. Countless films, television series, novels and plays feature unsatisfying endings, but it’s fairly rare for gamers to get so worked up about the narrative conclusions that our media of choice serves up.

If anything then, I would call it a testament to just how great the Mass Effect story is, as a whole. When have gamers ever cared enough about a game’s conclusion to actually rewrite it and petition the developer to build it into the game? Yes, that actually happened.

And they took it a step further, by setting up a charity fund where players could donate money to save children or something, all in the name of changing Mass Effect 3’s ending! I really couldn’t make this stuff up if I tried.

A fellow local games writer called Mass Effect 3’s ending “the EPITOME of deus ex machina. What a cheap, senseless, inarticulate rip.” Ouchies.

Although another friend who completed the game over the weekend said that BioWare “needs to email a picture giving the finger” to all those complaining about the ending.

I’m not 100% sure where I stand on the matter, probably because I have not finished the game so I’m trying to reserve judgement. But I think there is a bigger question here, and it extends beyond just games. Just how much do writers owe us as consumers of their fiction? Having paid money for a story, do we deserve a satisfying ending? Or is it the writer’s prerogative completely?

I’m inclined to side with the writer on this one. It’s their story, their imagined world, and their invented characters. They’re simply sharing it with us, and just because we paid for the experience does not give us the right to dictate the creative process, right? We can wave our arms around and voice our distain for the story they gave us, but I think telling them to rewrite it for us is a little arrogant and self-indulgent.

"My god... What have they done?!" "I... I don't know. But we need to fix this for them. It's our only hope." - Ed

I’m well aware of how reaching the end of an epic journey only to be let down by an anticlimactic or clumsy narrative conclusion can be disappointing. I just think we should deal with it and move on. I’m not a big fan of Romeo and Juliet’s ending, but I’m sure glad that English peasants didn’t demand it be rewritten back in the 16th century when it was first performed.

I guess what I’m saying, is that stories don’t always end the way we all want them to, and that’s a good thing. But I’m still reserving judgement until I’m done

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