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What Mass Effect 3′s Ending Taught Us: Statistically Speaking

By Jon Ireson in RGN Exclusive

Mass Effect 3, perhaps one of the most loved and talked about titles in Bioware’s history as game developers, can’t seem to shake the heat when it comes to fan reception of the title’s ending. With positive response from the Citadel DLC the EA published developer has redeemed themselves with fans and given a satisfying evidence of proof that they will take the series in the direction fans want with future titles. This pleased fans and opened new hope for Mass Effect 4 (whenever it eventually becomes announced) being the genre-defining branching-storyline game they all know it’s capable of being.

However, Bioware’s speaking towards the ending of the title did originally mislead some by claiming that most fans were okay with the ending to ME3. It should be noted that this poll is proof that the ending was not okay with the literal statistical majority of fans. It’s important going forward that Bioware and fans all recognize that the new direction the Citadel DLC takes is what is needed for future installments of the title.

The increase in potency of decisions made and how they effect the game-world are paramount. Because of this innovation shown in the Citadel DLC fans were able to forgive, but a repeat of the ME3′s ending later in the series will put a sour taste in any gamers’ mouth. These numbers should be taken as a warning reinforcing that:

“Endings suck, we want a brighter one.” - 68,432 votes – 91%

“Endings are fine, we just want the Normandy on Earth or somewhere near Shepard.” - 4,461 votes – 6%

“Fine as it is.” - 1,767 votes – 2%

Click here for the full size, unedited image of the poll which was created and filled out at Bioware’s Official Social Forums by Mass Effect fans who have been actively engaged in enjoying and discussing the title since its release.

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Your Comments

  • The poll is asking the wrong question.

    I think a lot of people don’t even really know why they felt robbed during that ending.

    The real reason for me was that they introduced an amazing enemy in the reapers and crapped on the opportunity to flesh them out in a way that wasn’t stupid.

    This series had the potential to end SMART – like classic sci-fi (blade runner, dark city) instead it was just a stupid , stupid ending unworthy of the great foundation it was built on. I would have been comfortable with an ending that wasn’t a happy one, as long as it was an intelligent , provocative one. Didn’t come close.

  • The real complaint is the promise of the players decisions making a real difference in the ending…..IE, not just “pull lever one” or “pull lever two”. Happy ending or not has nothing to do with it. A cop out , cheap @ss , lame ending has everything to do with it.

    • Jon Ireson - Article Author, RGN Editor-In-Chief

      Yes. As Andy stated so clearly, it’s about branching technology being used better in the ending as original promised. That is, the effect of your decisions throughout the series actually resulting in many different endings (again, as originally promised). I think Bioware really understands this now based on the Citadel DLC taking advantage of more branching story technology, and I think ME4 will benefit from them learning from this.

  • I was satisfied with the ending to Mass Effect 3. I also would never ask an artist to change his painting/drawing/design. We don’t demand movie endings be changed if we’re dissatisfied with them. Why should a game be any different?
    The reasons I was satisfied with ME3 was this: THE REAPERS COULDN’T BE DEFEATED CONVENTIONALLY. The writers pointed this out from the first. Keep in mind thousands and thousands of cycles tried and especially closer to the beginning could’ve posed a legitimate threat. I myself believe in the Indoctrination Theory. Even if it isn’t true, however, and we can take the endings for what they are, I really don’t mind. Things were about to get even messier in the ME3. What we saw was still a fighting chance dwindling. Thessia was occupied, all fair sized cities on Earth were decimated, Palaven would soon fall, Batarian worlds were theirs, the vorcha in their own lands were extinct, and the hanar, elcor, and volus would not stand a chance. IF they let us see the galaxy be defeated, people would have been VERY pissed. A galaxy united wouldn’t be entirely unique to the ancient Reapers. The Reapers were just too powerful and I can easily foresee the cycle continuing in that way.
    Shepard was the anomaly, as is frequently stated. Others seem to have received the chance to use the Crucible but as I believe only Destroy would do it. They either hadn’t made it or were Indoctrinated. In a strange way I always felt as Javik might’ve in Shep’s shoes if he had been at the right place. More and more people would be revealed as Indoctrinated and the effort would fall in on itself over the course of many years. Essentially, bringing the majority of warriors to the Citadel would cut the Reapers’ problems in two. No, I thought that the Ending was done cleverly and was the only real way we could even IMAGINE (IT or not) the Reapers being defeated.

  • It’s about the journey itself, not the destination.

    Believe it or not, Mass Effect affected our lives in various ways, we were taught many lessons during this adventure.
    It is shallow to judge ME by its ending, because we were promised greatness. The ending makes sense according to the lore, the crucible was built just so we can have this simple ‘pull lever one’ mechanism, that’s what was intended. As players, we must have some common sense, we make decisions to see how we reach the end, not to affect the end itself in this case. Inviting a journalist onto the Normandy or not will not force the reapers to change their grand scheme.
    There could have been more variety, let me make an example of a fairly branched out ending: Witcher 2. Yet it’s meaningless, because ME isn’t the Witcher franchise where we have to investigate to be able to decide what to do, because from start onwards, from the moment lasers fell upon earth’s sky, we had one goal, one target, to stop the reapers, there was nothing more to it, any decisions within the game are to ensure we counter the threat according to our morals, our ethics, ourselves not as players, but as people.

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