Massively Ineffectual

Shepard in N7 armor

Mass Effect 3 is finally here. The effects are pretty much as predicted; an attendant shower of hype and commensurate drops in productivity. The juggernaut is thundering through, and there's little or nothing to be done but let it roll by.

What has been effective (possibly even SUPEREFFECTIVE) was the user rating system on Metacritic. New users have created accounts just to post extremely negative scores and vote others who did same up, until anyone who reads the user reviews is greeted with a wall of red zeroes. The avalanche of down-checks dropped the user rating to 3.6 as of this writing, while the professional rating is over a nine.

This isn't the first time this has happened. Portal 2 received a similar treatment, mostly from PC users complaining that the game was a console port and others complaining about the day-one DLC. Bastion and Toy Soldiers: Cold War both had similar problems last fall, but Metacritic found the culprits and removed the reviews that were skewing things. Metacritic is investigating the Mass Effect 3 situation, and we'll see what they do.

Any big aggregator with user input systems like this is vulnerable to this sort of abuse, and it's not even limited to games. Amazon's ratings system has been used as a club to beat people in many media, many times. And who cares? It's just anonymous user input, right? Not necessarily. In the case of Metacritic, there is another layer of complexity and some bigger issues outside this box that make the comparison a little more invidious.

Amazon isn't purporting to be an authority on the official critical reception of the item. Metacritic does. But they don't just pull in all the scores and take an average. Metacritic grades on a curve, and grades the cheerleaders higher than the geeks (I thought I got past that nonsense in high school). They're not shy about it, either.

Then the can of worms gets the whole top half torn off when you realize how many business decisions game publishing companies make based on those numbers. Everything from funding choices, royalty payments, PR decisions — you name it — is bound up in in chasing that little green box. It's so crucial that last fall Telltale was caught trying to up their own scores on the site.

Good news: As a player you aren't trapped in that quagmire. Since you're not a game dev trying to get a word in edgewise with one of the great green-belching publishing gods, you can decide how big of a bucket of salt you want to take with all of Metacritic's numbers.

And you control how the game plays at your house. When you're facing the dilemma of how to handle the additional romantic possibilities in your own playthroughs, I have a secret trick to help you. If you don't want any homosexual sex, then don't flirt with anyone in the same gender. Really. It totally works. Not only that, but if you buy into the notion that any commander who starts playing with his "privates" that way is just looking for trouble regardless, you can simply not flirt with anyone at all.

Don't worry. You will not accidentally make one wrong choice and wake up somewhere awkward. None of your potential partners in this endeavor are slinking around on the Normandy's bridge so they can try and trip you and beat you to the floor. It takes some serious attention to the steps of the mating dance to get that short, lame-o cutscene, and there's no guarantee of success with any of them.

There are similar tactics you can use for the other issues I've seen raised. If you don't want to participate in what you see as a cash grab with that DLC, then don't buy it. The game plays just fine without it. If you're feeling particularly pithy, instead of an ephemeral entry in a dubious anonymous forum that will be washed away by their rose-colored scoring system, you could try a sternly worded note to EA as to why you voted with your feet and didn't buy it. If you don't like the fact that your actions in multiplayer affect your single-player game, don't play multiplayer until you've finished it. Some people might even consider that a sort of ExtraHard mode and give you a little e-cred. Or heck, just play the game in Story mode and avoid the whole issue if you want.

==== Warning: the next few paragraphs make a lot of vague assertions about the ending that may or may not count as spoilers. ====

The various endings of the game have the opposite effect. I've earned two of them, and now that I know the score, I'm not sure I'm going to go after the third. I spoke to a friend of my son's on St. Patty's Day, and we discussed his feelings. He's frustrated and angry. Not to the point of reporting it to the FCC or joining a class action lawsuit, but genuinely upset. I see it as two separate problems.

First off, it makes all three games seem pointless. You've made thousands of choices to shape your character and their story through all three games, but you end up at the same spot whether you're a jackbooted thug or a knight-in-shining-armor. Then you make what they try to build up to be a great final choice, and all roads lead to the same place. They even use a lot of the same footage, which doesn't help this impression.

Second, none of the choices feel like you actually won. This, I think, is the real key. The game was about saving the universe, but no matter what you choose in the end you're left staring at a shattered galaxy. Whether your Shepard lived or died didn't matter in the face of the rest of it.

The genre set certain expectations. People were expecting to bulls-eye a few womprats and drop a torpedo down the exhaust shaft. At worst, they would have faced their own Kobayashi Maru and tricked or fought their way through it. They were not expecting Seven Samurai, and they feel betrayed.

I understand where people are coming from, but I don't feel it. I thought it was kind of ballsy, myself. I see a lot of value in the fight to get there, and I'm not under any illusions that all battles can be cleanly won. I'm old; these days I'm not sure any battle can be considered "won" at all.

==== End Warning ====

The whole thing confuses me. With one hand they gave us more choices, and everyone complained. For people who seem so attached to the notion of having the freedom to choose and taking control of our own actions, we sure seem scared of having to make those choices. Then they take it all away and make things simple, and we complain some more. And in both cases, the means of complaint don't send a clear message to the powers that be.

I've read rumors that they're thinking about going back and changing things somehow, but I don't know how that would make any difference at this point. They made their choices, and they're going to have to figure out where to go from here.

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All I have left to say is:
What a shame.

Spore suffered from same of the same problem when the restrictive DRM was announced. The Amazon rating was like half-a-star... before the game had even been released. Why Amazon lets people rate products that haven't been released I'll never know.

I most of the ire is that the game just is not as good as Mass Effect 2. It is simple disappointment over a mediocre game that had high user expectations and a ton of media hype. This game is the Return of the Jedi in the series.

I've always found that problem with user reviews. Even discounting the current trend of deliberate sabotage, they are too scattered and provide too much leeway for people who haven't even tried the product or service.

As for the ME3 talk, I agree that the complaints about the ending are recieving a fever pitch beyond rationality.

Spoiler:
For starters, the idea that it doesn't feel like you "won" at the end. Despite 3 games worth of material about how the Reapers are an unstoppable force, and how the galaxy didn't even properly prepare for their attack, no matter what choice you make, the Reaper threat is eliminated. The problem is that success beyond all odds comes at a price. The fact that people are clamoring for the typical BioWare "let's have a celebration for the universe being saved" conclusion is actually kind of distressing to me.

I'd personally be very disappointed if Bioware went and revised the ending. People are within their right to dislike an ending, but demanding narrative change...it just feels like a little much. I know Bethesda opened that floodgate with Fallout to make their DLC make sense, but I don't want anything about a game's narration or structure or story determined by the buying public.

Internet rage may be a new power in the hands of consumers. Is it effective? I have no real idea, but based on how DRM changed after Spore, the whole Penny Arcade controller thing, and other examples all seem to point that it may indeed have some effect.

For me, it's just a game, not worth the angst, and the journey is more important than the ending. In fact, there are very few games where the endings match the experience of getting there.

Second, none of the choices feel like you actually won. This, I think, is the real key. The game was about saving the universe, but no matter what you choose in the end you're left staring at a shattered galaxy. Whether your Shepard lived or died didn't matter in the face of the rest of it.

There's a strong analog here between the end of Mass Effect 3 and the end of last year's Deus Ex: Human Revolution.

Spoiler:
In both cases, the ending is determined not by your choices to that point but by a single final decision about some vaguely-articulated philosophical divides, and in both cases, there doesn't seem to be a good or best ending.

The different (and similar) reactions to both have been very interesting to watch.

Isn't what Bioware does all about the illusion of choice? None of the choices really matter in any of the Mass Effects. What Bioware really wants to do is tell a completely linear story but they don't have the sack just to tell their community that's what they are doing. Playing the Witcher 2 and Mass Effect 3 really demonstrates to me the gulf between what player choice is and what Bioware thinks it is.

heavyfeul wrote:
I most of the ire is that the game just is not as good as Mass Effect 2. It is simple disappointment over a mediocre game that had high user expectations and a ton of media hype. This game is the Return of the Jedi in the series.

Well, better Return of the Jedi than Phantom Menace at least.

gore wrote:
heavyfeul wrote:
I most of the ire is that the game just is not as good as Mass Effect 2. It is simple disappointment over a mediocre game that had high user expectations and a ton of media hype. This game is the Return of the Jedi in the series.

Well, better Return of the Jedi than Phantom Menace at least.

You really trust EA not to push a Phantom Menace-like ME prequel?

Clocky, that's where genre comes in. In a cyberpunk/dark future sort of milieu, like Deus Ex, you expect to get stuck in that sort of nihilistic dead-spiral. The hero ALWAYS gets screwed in the drive-thru by the powers that be. If he hadn't, it would have raised a serious eyebrow.

In this sort of space opera, even if it costs you dear you're supposed to be able to "triumph" somehow. You and your actions are supposed to matter. You don't have to make it easy, and you don't have to survive it. Think Bruce Willis, at the end of Armageddon.

Maybe they were trying for a dark, grim feel like Wingcommander or the new Battlestar Galactica. If that's the case, they missed it by a country mile. And even they were subject to this sort of convention.

momgamer wrote:
Clocky, that's where genre comes in. In a cyberpunk/dark future sort of milieu, like Deus Ex, you expect to get stuck in that sort of nihilistic dead-spiral. The hero ALWAYS gets screwed in the drive-thru by the powers that be. If he hadn't, it would have raised a serious eyebrow.

In this sort of space opera, even if it costs you dear you're supposed to be able to "triumph" somehow. You and your actions are supposed to matter. You don't have to make it easy, and you don't have to survive it. Think Bruce Willis, at the end of Armageddon.

Maybe they were trying for a dark, grim feel like Wingcommander or the new Battlestar Galactica. If that's the case, they missed it by a country mile. And even they were subject to this sort of convention.

Definitely. There's also the time invested: one game for Deus Ex, three games for Mass Effect. And too, Deus Ex was following in the wake of two predecessors that had already established the series' tone.

At the same time, while my experience with Mass Effect was limited to the first game, I would say they did make some efforts to establish the series as deeper and more complex than you usually get from a space opera. The strong emphasis on lasting moral decisions and the apocalyptic consequences of past decisions (the genophage, the fate of the Geth and the Quarians, the Rachni) were efforts to push the series into different territory. Then there's also the early advertising:

Dark endings with phyrric victories are no stranger to non-space opera science fiction. Look at something like Ender's Game or Dune, where the endings are a good deal more complicated than Armageddon or Star Wars.

Obviously whatever tone Bioware was trying to strike with Mass Effect is clearly different than what they achieved. But don't forget that a lot of people strongly objected to the ending to Human Revolution partly because of the way it seemed to undermine your moral decisions but also partly because there wasn't an obvious "good" or "right" choice. Genre aside, some fans just aren't going to be happy with anything less than a victory fanfare, a parade, and the hero's babies running around a quaint countryside cottage.

I learned a new word today: invidious.

However, I need to teach the americans present, including momgamer, that the abbreviation for Patrick is "Paddy", not "Patty". The Irish in me and my Irish friends shake our heads every time we see this! (Hence the name "Paddy Wagon" from when the Irish were persecuted.)

Great article, momgamer - even if i disagree with your main thesis and your specific conclusions.

**Spoilers ahead!!**

I'll try not to get into nitty gritty of it all as I don't want to get bogged down in major, pages-long discussion fraught with spoiler tags and whatnot.... but my main gripes with the ending were literary and thematic (with some minor annoyances surrounding technical presentation and direction). The theme of all three games were pretty consistent... until that point: "pre-destination vs. free-will". Shepard just surrendered to the end of the game and "went along with it" without any input from the player until the choice. The logic presented at that last bit of the game was mind-bogglingly stupid. It was actually illogical, yet Shepard just accepted it - no fight, no discussion, no input. It rendered everything the Reapers did and said to us as players and characters as lies when the unfathomable was made fathomable to us in one simple sentence. Then illogic was built upon foundations of illogic and, despite all evidence gathered and observed within the experiences of the games themselves, this was just *it*.

God did meet Moses at the top of the mountain and laid out the rules on the stone tablets.... only the rules were different from what he had spoken before that time. But he is God and therefore we must accept.

I mean, they threw out the conversation system. They threw out the renegade/paragon system... they threw out evidence that they had presented themselves during the previous 120-odd hours of game that I had played.

For me, the ending of ME3 is as illogical and as far from the underpinnings that Bioware had built the series on as it would be for Back to the Future to end in a musical dance score set in London. Creatively and literally it is a disaster.

I can at least appreciate the cheapness of the ending in Deus Ex because it makes logical sense. You understand what you're choosing because the game has been building on those ideas and themes throughout. You understand the choices because they are explained to you and they make sense in the world you have been presented with. Mass Effect 3's ending comes out of left-field. It isn't (despite what some people argue on these boards) foreshadowed, it isn't logical in terms of set-up and those choices are not transparent or explained in any way. They do not build up to that event - or at least not the event you are eventually presented with.

Imagine the end of Quantum Leap, if there had not been any hints at paranormal intervention before that point in time in the series and then, bumph! Sam has been the agent of God all along!

Just finished it this morning. I liked the game a whole lot, more than ME1 or 2 in some ways even. I get all the complaints about the ending now though. I'm not going out to sign a petition or anything but definately felt a little let down with it. Mainly because IMO it left out too much that I wanted to know.

**Spoilers**

What happened to Wrex or Miranda for example? I knew what was likely going to happen to Shepherd going in and with the ending I chose (synthesis) him sacrificing himself to save the galaxy was exactly what I expected. I didn't like the whole god/kid angle though and wanted to know more about what happened to the rest of the crew. Overall it has a similar feel to what the last Matrix movie left me with, though not nearly as severe as that was.

Unfortunately, your links are broken, Hast. They're shortened (note the dots).
Found Musings for you.

[edit] Just to add a little to my thesis above... I think I may have figured ME3's ending out. Somehow M. Night Shyamalan managed to get onto the writing staff of ME3 and single-handedly crafted the ending. It's exactly his MO (I'm an expert because I've seen two of his films).

momgamer wrote:
Clocky, that's where genre comes in. In a cyberpunk/dark future sort of milieu, like Deus Ex, you expect to get stuck in that sort of nihilistic dead-spiral. The hero ALWAYS gets screwed in the drive-thru by the powers that be. If he hadn't, it would have raised a serious eyebrow.

In this sort of space opera, even if it costs you dear you're supposed to be able to "triumph" somehow. You and your actions are supposed to matter. You don't have to make it easy, and you don't have to survive it. Think Bruce Willis, at the end of Armageddon.

Maybe they were trying for a dark, grim feel like Wingcommander or the new Battlestar Galactica. If that's the case, they missed it by a country mile. And even they were subject to this sort of convention.

LOST and BSG covered unsatisfying endings pretty well these last few years.

In the case of LOST it feels very similar to what's going on here. Constantly you had creators, producers, and writers on the show talking about how answers were coming, how there was always a plan, how things would make sense. And while the final season had it's own little mystery, and while the final episode was a good season finale, it was an awful series finale, and the runup to it left so many more questions than answers.

Just like we have Bioware talking about choices mattering, and various endings (especially the ABC interview from Jan), and they did exactly the opposite of what they said they would do.

The end sequence feels like LOST but worse. Imagine if they'd introduced Jacob/MIB in the final 10 minutes of the last episode. As disappointing as LOST was, as least it wasn't totally out of left field like ME3.

Hast wrote:
The gamers deserved better than this. The story of Mass Effect deserved better. And the people who worked many years on these projects deserved a better ending to their long work. Throwing all that away to generate buzz is pathetic.

You have to deliberately take everything said in that Final Hours article in the worst possible context to come up with the idea that is was just made up to generate buzz. It painstakingly details that they spent months adjusting and reworking on it constantly to get it just right.

But I feel like this entire thing is people trying to take everything out of context to continue to fuel their own internal logic of the "downfall of BioWare", one they've been forcing with anythidecision BioWare has made for the past year or so.

Finished the game last night. Sigh... although I've read few posts regrading the ending being disappointing, I still remained optimistic. Then, however, I got to the end and realized that sometimes Internet rage has some validity!

I'm not going to restate what was said already, but i'll just mentioned that it all of the ending felt like this:

...

While I haven't actually played the game yet, much less beat it, I'm surely tired of all the vitriol regarding the ending(s). Seriously, what a bunch of spoiled little brats we gamers are.

Personally, I like bittersweet endings as they reflect reality a little more. If you want a sweet fantasy ending, you may be playing the wrong sort of game all together.

My two cents, is all.

Spot on, Nei. I liked the ending of ME3, but not as much as I expected to like it. Aside from the feeling that the last 80ish hours were meaningless, it also felt like there was supposed to be more. In my game, I romanced Miranda - she told me to come back, and that we could live life without running. I never got to experience that - which is both good and bad. On the one hand, I like that there isn't a "happy" ending per se. On the other hand, I wish that they had allowed for a more customized story. In my head, I was expecting to have her with me at the end, and I felt kind of let down that it didn't turn out that way.

However, the game designer in me says that to make the dozens of different endings necessary to facilitate all the choices that were made would be impossible. Or at least, it would require a ME4.

Spoilers ahead;

At first I though the ending of ME3 was pretty meh, but not too bad. To be honest I considered the story telling in the games to be engrossing and interesting. But ultimately on the level of pulp Sci Fi. So getting a amateurish ending where things didn't really make sense was sad... but not surprising.

But then I started digging into it and it seems like the ending was made intentionally vague and strange to make people "talk more" about it. You can read about this and the iPad app in the Bioware forums, Mass effect 3 : Final Hours.

What really brought it together for me though was this very well put together post "Musings of a screenwriter" where a poster discusses the ending from a screenwriter perspective. It's quite interesting to see it pointed out so well just what is wrong with this style of ending. (And yes, he pretty much state that this ending is wrong for the way the rest of the Mass Effect story is told. Although there are other parts of the story which is well told, such as Mordins story.)

We also have the problem that the ME team promised that we wouldn't get a "A B C" style ending. And that's exactly what we got. But in Deus Ex at least they recorded different voice overs for the different endings. In ME3 they simply put different color filters on it. (If anyone in your review crew is color blind they will have a hard time seeing any difference at all between the endings.) See them all here in YouTube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rPelM...).

Now for a specific complaint in spoiler tags:

Spoiler:
There are three parts in the end as I see it. The Starchild (trite and amateurish writing), the escape of the Normandy (which doesn't make ANY sense in the plot. All of a sudden your loyal crew abandons you? Even the guys who were just rushing the relay in London?) and then finally the epilogue which is another extremely amateurish and trite "Ohh it all happened long ago".

The gamers deserved better than this. The story of Mass Effect deserved better. And the people who worked many years on these projects deserved a better ending to their long work. Throwing all that away to generate buzz is pathetic.

While I was playing ME3 I couldn't wait to replay ME2 and 3 again. (I just did a new run through of 1.) After the ending I really don't feel like playing any of the games again. And that's the saddest of all because up until the last 5 minutes it really is a good story.

Edit: Fixed links, sorry about that.

brokenclavicle wrote:
While I haven't actually played the game yet, much less beat it, I'm surely tired of all the vitriol regarding the ending(s). Seriously, what a bunch of spoiled little brats we gamers are.

Personally, I like bittersweet endings as they reflect reality a little more. If you want a sweet fantasy ending, you may be playing the wrong sort of game all together.

My two cents, is all.

Did you watch LOST or Battlestar Galactica? Are TV fans and critics spoiled brats for saying the ending of those shows sucked and could have been better written?

Did you see the 2nd and third Matrix films? Or Terminator 3? Are movie fans and critics spoiled brats for feeling the sequels didn't live up to the first and criticizing the story and the way they ended?

Maybe you should play it before you judge a whole group of people. And while a few people are wanting a "happy ever after" ending... most people just want an ending that makes sense. And more than 3 different endings, like they were told they would get less than 2 months ago (so after the game was mostly done) by the people in charge of the game.

Alas, Stele, there are a lot of posts about how Bioware lied, and even a filing with the FCC over the ending, which, yes are fringe, but make it hard to take much of the criticism seriously.

For the record, BSG = Suck, Lost = Eh, that was fine.

FTC, not FCC

kaptainbarbosa wrote:
Hast wrote:
The gamers deserved better than this. The story of Mass Effect deserved better. And the people who worked many years on these projects deserved a better ending to their long work. Throwing all that away to generate buzz is pathetic.

You have to deliberately take everything said in that Final Hours article in the worst possible context to come up with the idea that is was just made up to generate buzz. It painstakingly details that they spent months adjusting and reworking on it constantly to get it just right.

Yes, I'm sure that their goal wasn't to make a bad ending. It's obvious that they intended for it to be good. They wanted to create an ending that would make people continue to talk about the game after they had played it. If you find some of the actual notes from the discussions they clearly write "Brave new world + End of first Matrix" as well as "Lots of speculation from everyone" at the end of the note. Unfortunately they managed to recreate the end of the third Matrix instead.

I can also not understand how they could spend months and months on the ending and still get basic stuff completely wrong. Like how the Normandy is suddenly doing a hyper jump. I mean WTF? That makes absolutely no sense in relation to the story. And that still takes up half of the ending scene. Personally I detest movies were the scripwriter / director is unable to maintain a coherent world for 2 hours or so. Here they didn't even manage 5 minutes!

It's also quite clear that they were rewriting the ending until the 11th or at least 10th hour. If you ware working on a big story like this DO NOT DO THAT! Write the ending first, or at least know how you want it to end so you can make the rest of the story tie into that.

Finally I really recommend that anyone interested reads the Musings of a Screenwriter: The Ending Thread post. Just the first post is enough because it goes over the fundamental problems with the ending of the story. And it's pretty damned big problems, like how the last scene completely changes the fundamental structure of the game. Really, just read it, he touches on many points about how the ending of ME3 can be used as a school book example of How Not To Do It for a Scriptwriting 101 class.

And that is all ignoring that none of the choices you make in the games matter in the end besides your "war strength rating". (Actually how you handle the Illusive Man and if you kept the Reaper base matters a bit, but mostly as potential additions to your rating.)

An example of a story decision in ME3 which was actually well made IMHO:

Spoiler:
The conflict with the Geth and Quarians OTOH has several components. Including decisions you made in ME2 when you resolved conflicts between Legion and Tali. This creates a situation with multiple real outcomes. Legion dies, Tali dies, all Geth die, all Quarians die, Geth become sentient and you can manage to create a truce between the two.

Up until the last 5 minutes (Even the final confrontation with TIM has multiple outcomes.) your decisions have multiple outcomes and real consequences. Except for the final decision in the game.

And none of this even touches on the sad state that the galaxy is after the events at the end. But I can accept that, and I can accept that Shepard can die (even if it is thematically against the character). My gripe with the end is not that it's sad or bittersweet, it's that it is just plain bad. And I can't understand how the same people made all those other interesting stories in the Mass Effect games can make such a bad ending.

Anyone interested in the "People talking" should look through the Mass Effect 3 Indoctrination ending theory which is well made and interesting. At least more interesting that the real ending. Although from what I've understood it's not the intended "real ending". And if it was the real ending then I guess Family Guy put it best.

For the record I don't really want for Bioware to make a new ending. The damage is done. But it would help if they cut the crap and actually told what their intentions with the ending were. And hopefully the people involved either learned their lesson and become better for it. I know that I will be very reluctant to get any new titles from them day one in the future, but I guess there are always Steam sales if they make something worthwhile.

Hey, I was close. One of them F's.

Either way, the growing and honestly chilling narrative mounting is that creators are not just responsible for their narrative, but accountable to us in concrete ways. It's troubling.

Stele wrote:
Maybe you should play it before you judge a whole group of people. And while a few people are wanting a "happy ever after" ending... most people just want an ending that makes sense. And more than 3 different endings, like they were told they would get less than 2 months ago (so after the game was mostly done) by the people in charge of the game. ;)

And it isn't even 3 endings, it's pretty much one with different colours. (Or two if you're generous.) You can find them all playing side by side on YouTube.

All possible ending permutations:

Spoiler:
Earth can be destroyed (if you go with the red ending), "devestated" or fairly ok. You only see these differences for perhaps 10 seconds max though. Then the blast is different colors, but the blast itself is almost pixel by pixel identical. If you have high rating you can get a "Shepard survives" ending, but you never see Shepard only a body breathing in rubble. (Apparently Shepard can survive a fall from high Earth orbit.) Then we see Normandy fleeing from a different colored bubble having abandoned it's post in the battle (which is completely against Jokers personality). After they crash on an undefined planet (which can't support Turian or Quarian life), some of your crew exit the ship. If you select synergy Joker and EDI exit the ship. Otherwise Joker is followed by your most recent love interest and your two companion from the last rush (again WTF?). This is followed by credits and then you get another cliché where and old man is telling the legend of the Shepard to his grandson.

Personally I count 0 choices which are interesting in that sequence. Even something as basic as what the Fallout games did when you got a short "this is what happened afterwards" which reflects your choices would have been ok. As it is it pretty much takes all your choices over most likely over a hundred hours and tosses them in the bin. (And many of your choices are even made completely irrelevant by the A B C choice in the game.)

brokenclavicle wrote:
While I haven't actually played the game yet, much less beat it, I'm surely tired of all the vitriol regarding the ending(s). Seriously, what a bunch of spoiled little brats we gamers are.

Personally, I like bittersweet endings as they reflect reality a little more. If you want a sweet fantasy ending, you may be playing the wrong sort of game all together.

My two cents, is all.

I haven't finished ME3 (hey, it's still sitting sealed on my desk) but I don't really see how you can judge people for being disappointed in an ending. I've done my share of whining about games that advertise a promise of meaningful choice throughout and then throw away all the significance of your actual actions at the end of the game - Fallout 3 (before the retcon) and Deus Ex: HR come racing to mind.

I don't really even know if that's an accurate summary of the problems with ME3's ending; I'm careful to skim and only catch the vaguest glimpses of what people are frustrated by so I can try and approach it with an open mind. But I do certainly understand in a general sort of way where they're coming from.

While I don't think an ending should ruin a game completely, it can certainly tarnish my memory of it, and as a "last impression" of a thing I otherwise enjoyed it can etch a vague sense of disappointment on top of the entire experience. A poor ending is even more frustrating with an otherwise great game, which FO3 and DE:HR certainly were.

SpacePPoliceman wrote:
Either way, the growing and honestly chilling narrative mounting is that creators are not just responsible for their narrative, but accountable to us in concrete ways. It's troubling.

I think the fundamental problem is that the fans feel lied to. Casey Hudson said last year that they didn't want the end to be an multiple choice ending (IIRC this was when the end to Deus Ex was discussed). And it is. It's even worse than Deus Ex
Spoiler:
because at least there the choices made thematic sense with the rest of the story. And it wasn't that they just introduced a new magic character in the last 5 minutes.

They also said that there would be at least 16 endings (I count 1 with 3 diffferent colors).

And I think it's good that creators are accountable for what they do. In many ways they always have been, but this is just the latest example. (IIRC people were not all that happy about the Star Wars prequels either, and in many ways it caused the Star Wars franchise to loose a lot of popularity. And many lost interest in anything George Lucas produces.) And I'd say the same goes for the Wachowski brothers (the Matrix guys).

What goes around comes around.

Hast wrote:
Things In Response

Skipping around spoilers, Hast, because I haven't played DE, but want to, I have 2 reactions.

RE: "Being Lied To". I'm very skeptical of this. Game society is remarkably savvy and jaded, but suddenly in the wake of this, we're suddenly dewy-eyed maidens who've had our virtue and trust violently savaged. I like Bioware, I trust in them (and it should be noted here, I don't have all that many issues with the ending), but I also know not to take what creators say at face value. Did everyone else forget? I avoided spoilers, so correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't recall this promise being adopted as gospel.

RE: Accountability. Those are perfectly fine bits of, I'd say, "soft" accountability. But, again, FTC (Ha!) filings? User Review Bombs? There's a sense that, on top of not executing the ending to satisfaction, people are Owed an ending to their satisfaction. And that, I can't get behind.

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