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Mass Effect 3 Ending


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#1 blarkfase   Members   -  Reputation: 139

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Posted 20 March 2012 - 04:14 PM

There is a lot of grief going on about it. Your opinion?

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#2 Washu   Senior Moderators   -  Reputation: 5179

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Posted 20 March 2012 - 05:01 PM

That's nice. How about you post an opinion first.

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#3 blarkfase   Members   -  Reputation: 139

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Posted 20 March 2012 - 06:32 PM

(I'll go ahead and warn of vague spoilers and possible deterrents in this post...)

Well, I haven't played through all of the campaigns to have as much of an established opinion as I should and I especially haven't played through ME3, so I don't really have a solid established opinion on the matter.

From the research I've done though, it seems like the ending was extremely lack luster and disappointing, especially given the game-play and story that made up the rest of the franchise. I've seen the alternate endings and they are all the same and don't seem to make sense when put into context.Their logic and approach to the end of it just seemed extremely abrupt and not well thought out at all. There seem to be lots of contradictions in the thought process of the new character that is introduced at the end that negates whatever you have done throughout the rest of the game (or series). I've also seen a lot of people complaining about not getting any closure at all in the ending, which is something I don't mind a lot in stories or games, but I think they took it way too far here.

Granted all of this may have come from a disagreement in the company that ruined the story or they ran out of time or something drastic like that, but it is disappointing to see a series that has done so well and promised so much in the way of a cohesive ending, just give in and make up some BS ending that allows for DLC that you have to buy and play through.

It's like the death of a comic book hero. That should be it and they should just stay dead, because that's what death is, but it never turns out that way.

#4 madshogo   Members   -  Reputation: 126

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Posted 22 March 2012 - 06:10 PM

Too many questions unanswered. The list would exceed the post size limit, even without whitespace. But there is more than that. What bugs me the most is this :

*SPOILERS AHEAD if you haven't played at least ME2*
The Reapers have periodically eradicated all advanced civilizations from the galaxy, some of which amounted to trillions of individuals according to Javik the Prothean. Every 50,000 years. For millions of years. Let's suppose it has lasted for 5 million years, and the average death toll at the end of each cycle is one trillion people. That's 500 trillion people dead. So Bioware has created a universe where 500 trillion people died at the hands of relentless, immortal machines who, according to the ones Shepard talks to, have a good reason for doing what they do. This poses a MASSIVE philosophical problem, questioning the very value of life and suggesting the possibility of a superior mode of existence, the reapers', that would justify mass murder of such a scale ! Yet Bioware didn't judge it necessary to provide an explanation.

Which leads me to think that they simply do not have an explanation. They had no reason to write this story in the first place, other than becuz it wuz kewl to hav biggazz macheenz destroy everything and make the player fight them. No reason.

The truth is, I could come up with several endings each a million times better than Bioware's, and I'm not the only one. They started writing the plot without knowing where it would go. At least they could have winged it somehow and come up with a story at the time they wrote Mass Effect 2 or 3, but no... All they could give their fan base is a deus ex machina telling the player, in essence, "we kill you so you won't be killed".

#5 Promit   Moderators   -  Reputation: 7182

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Posted 22 March 2012 - 06:45 PM

I did not find the ending disappointing. I did find it awkward and half baked, like a first draft that was never revisited. I see what they were trying to do and I think the idea was good, but the execution was botched.

First: Of the three endings, only synthesis makes any sense. The other two are token choices that aren't actually worth existing. The destroy option is struggling to be interesting, and the control option is just plain idiotic. That doesn't even begin to touch on the insulting point that you couldn't tell the endings from each other anyway. So I'm only going to talk about the synthesis ending.

Across the three games, a couple themes are set up: control vs destruction, organics vs synthetics. To end the game by exposing these choices as false is an interesting, somewhat subversive, very Deus Ex approach to ending the game. I like this basic concept, and the fact that it was considered is what makes the other two choices token. The Quarian-Geth conflict does the most to set up the idea of unavoidable stand-offs between organics and synthetics, although the way it's written makes the Quarians seem like insane irrational douchebags.

For Shepard to close the story by transcending the conflict entirely lends a sense of meaning that is intended, I think, to make both the Illusive Man and Anderson seem petty and short sighted. They do a reasonable (but not subtle) job on the Illusive man, but not so much with Anderson. At the time the ending hits, you are very much sympathetic to Anderson, for good reason, and to place "his" choice on equal footing with the Illusive Man doesn't quite work. He's too eminently reasonable and good natured throughout the whole thing. For this to work, Anderson needed to be set up as a much more ruthless, battle hardened Renegade style leader -- but that was never his character. BW tries to haphazardly and quickly give you that impression in the final conversation with the Illusive Man and it simply doesn't work.

Then there is the idea of synthetics versus organics, and the final conversation with the Citadel/Catalyst itself. This could have been extremely interesting, if the approach wasn't completely botched. The idea that the Reapers themselves are subservient to a greater conflict, one that cannot be avoided by simply destroying them because it is inherent in the system of life itself? That is awesome. But the game doesn't bother to set it up. There is, by my count, ONE line in the entire game (delivered by the Prothean VI) that hints at what is going to happen. The one Reaper you kill personally also sorta hints at it. Yeah it's an RPG and every prophecy comes true, but this was sloppy. Again, the Quarian-Geth conflict could have gone a long way to setting this up, as could have the conversation with the Reaper, conversations with the Illusive man, conversations with the Prothan VI, etc. The game and story needed to be suggesting from the beginning that something else was leading the whole conflict, and that didn't happen. Instead it simply crashes on you at the end of the game like a cartoon piano. Something needed to happen, so here it is. And it happens too fast to provide any actual context or closure.

Which actually brings me to the real problem with Mass Effect 3's writing: a lot of things happen because Bioware says so, without the proper setup. Why are organics and synthetics doomed to fight? Because the dude said so. Why are you sad and emotional about that kid at the beginning? Because the game says so. Why is James a good marine? Because Shepard says so. Show, don't Tell is just forgotten entirely.

ME3 works best when it's bringing closure to things that you are already emotionally invested in from the previous games (which suggests that if you didn't play them, this is a shitty experience). You are emotionally invested in what happens to Wrex, to Mordin, to Tali, to Legion, etc. The second game in particular spent a lot of time getting you invested. But the characters in this game? They show up out of the blue and the game tells you to care -- but you don't. James is supposed to be a complex character with an interesting back story, in some sense a reflection of Shepard before the events of Mass Effect. But he's not. He's just a generic space marine shoved into the game who has a minimal number of not very interesting lines. Ditto Cortez, though maybe that's better if you follow the romance plot. The game never bothered to invest you, they just tell you to be invested because arrr Reapers.

The most blunt version is probably in the meeting with the Lawson family at Sanctuary, because it places a character you care about smack in the middle of a conflict that you don't give a shit about, involving people you've never met. Why is Henry Lawson evil? Because he just is! Why does Oriana Lawson need saving? She just does! What kind of danger was she in? The game doesn't even bother to explain. You're running around doing stuff because that's what you're supposed to do.

So when you get to the final conversation and decision point, it's a tough decision. Because the game said so with a mangled hologram that is apparently some AI? And the Crucible modified it somehow because shut up and don't ask questions. They've just dropped a crucial new character on you, out of nowhere, and they give you absolutely nowhere to take that. The context of your ultimate choice? Some kid told me to do it. They don't even give you the option I wanted -- walk away from the choice entirely. Tell the AI to solve its own problems and let the battle go on its own. DXHR does give you this exact fourth option. But the epic final decision is only interesting if the game has been properly written to set it up, to foreshadow and hint and tease, and finally give you what you've been expecting. ME3 just pops up with it out of nowhere.


Incidentally, I found this article to be quite interesting.

#6 madshogo   Members   -  Reputation: 126

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Posted 22 March 2012 - 07:27 PM

Why are organics and synthetics doomed to fight? Because the dude said so.

You said it all, and contradicted yourself in doing so, didn't you ? You said that only the synthesis option makes sense, but it has no reason to be in the first place ! So why is this ending any better ? Emotionally speaking, I find it's the most bland of all three... In addition to that, the "we are synthetics and we kill all organics so they won't be killed by their synthetic creations" rationale is not exactly what I'd call sensible...http://i1001.photobucket.com/albums/af134/gnosblax/yodawgme.jpg

But that's not what I mean to say here. The only occurrence of synthetics VS organics fight is in Geth vs. the Quarians and reapers vs the galaxy. Turians, Salarians, Asari, humans and Krogans (and Protheans !!) do not hold a grudge towards synthetics in particular just because they are synthetics. They do fear AIs somehow, as shown in several side quests and sometimes in dialogue, but the fight against synthetics is in no way an essential arc of the story, until the ending. It's simply the Quarians' fight. In much the same way as the Krogans' fight is against genophage and against their own desire to crush Turians and Salarians, because what they need is to reconquer their pride as a species, not through war but through reconciliation with the other species, and this is what Wrex has understood and strives for.
Same for the Salarians, whose fight is against their intrinsic weaknesses, which they have a history of compensating through the immoral use of technology as a weapon (STG, Mordin's regrets, Maleon's guilt, the Deletress).
The Turians' fight is against their contempt towards lesser races like Krogans (seen as brutes) and Quarians (seen as nomads, bohemians) and newcomers like humans, and towards acceptance, because they have to accept cooperation (the Turian councilor in ME1, executor Pallin in ME1, the Primarch, sorry for spelling mistakes i didn't have subtitles turned on).
As far as the Asari are concerned, I can't think of any specific ordeal they face, but they tend to alternate between bursts of racial pride and belittling themselves for being superficial, foul beings (the Ardat Yakshi are both powerful and criminal in a dirty way... they epitomize this paradox). The Asari in general are the "promiscuous biotics" of the galaxy...

So all in all, I believe this "synth vs organics" pretext at the end of the game was BS. The part of the game that revolves around it is way too small for it to justify the atrocities committed by the reapers. And it's not even the least bit explained. I really think the ending was rushed, maybe because of EA, and that Bioware came up with the "Reapers annihilating everything" story (some time between the middle of the development of ME1 and the start of the development of ME2 surely) without any other reason than just because it made for cool antagonists.

#7 Promit   Moderators   -  Reputation: 7182

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Posted 22 March 2012 - 08:31 PM

So all in all, I believe this "synth vs organics" pretext at the end of the game was BS. The part of the game that revolves around it is way too small for it to justify the atrocities committed by the reapers. And it's not even the least bit explained.

This is really what I was getting at regarding the ending. The ending suggests that it should have been a central theme throughout, but it wasn't. The places where it would've been possible to make it a central theme, it wasn't really even present. It simply shows up at the end and is supposed to be a big deal because projected hologram kid said so. "Synthetics will destroy all organics." Why? There is no reason. But they said it so it must be true. I am projecting my own desires for how I wanted the game to go onto that ending, I will admit. I love what that ending could have been.

The most emotional part of the synthesis ending is actually Joker and EDI, and has nothing to do with the Reapers or Earth or Shepard.

#8 madshogo   Members   -  Reputation: 126

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Posted 22 March 2012 - 10:04 PM

Ok sorry for the misunderstanding. I can see soooo many alternate endings for this epic saga ! I'm full of ideas. I'm definitely gonna write one and post it in another topic. Ultra-long and complete. Taht would be weird though, because gamedev.net is about developing new games, not about "re-developing" already existing ones.

#9 Net Gnome   Members   -  Reputation: 769

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Posted 25 March 2012 - 06:02 AM

Basically, Promit is lamenting the -fact- that the ME3 writers pulled the biggest taboo of writerdom: the Deus Ex Machina (God out of the Machine). Its a literary term for what Bioware did: pulled a game-changer/ender out of their ass at the last minute that was non-alluded/non-expected/non-probable that completely changes the way the story is handled. This is often seen as extremely poor writing.

So you can imagine the general let-down from a fanbase when a company known for its stories, pulls one of the largest story taboos.

#10 jefferytitan   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 2123

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Posted 25 March 2012 - 02:55 PM

I'm not really a Mass Effect guy, but it's interesting from a writing perspective.

I feel that it has been done better in sci-fi before, for example:

**** VARIOUS SPOILERS ****

Alastair Reynolds in his Revelation Space books has a machine intelligence which killed technologically advanced races only (not primitive ones) because it had a massive engineering task to perform (stopping the collision of the Milky Way Galaxy with another galaxy in a hundred thousand years from wiping out all life) and it viewed space-faring civilisations as too short-sighted and an unpredictable risk to it's project.

Babylon 5 had the Shadows, whose goal is not to kill all life but to strengthen it by weeding out the weak.

Ender's Game had aliens with a hive mind, who considered killing a few humans as no more terrible than killing a few skin cells during a handshake.

Various books have had AIs created for a war which continue long after their creators have gone extinct. All aliens are considered enemies.

Various books have had aliens or AIs that considered our civilisations as low-intelligence pests, or were too vast to comprehend that we were intelligent.

#11 Washu   Senior Moderators   -  Reputation: 5179

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Posted 25 March 2012 - 05:18 PM

Alastair Reynolds in his Revelation Space books has a machine intelligence which killed technologically advanced races only (not primitive ones) because it had a massive engineering task to perform (stopping the collision of the Milky Way Galaxy with another galaxy in a hundred thousand years from wiping out all life) and it viewed space-faring civilisations as too short-sighted and an unpredictable risk to it's project.

Nope. They weren't there to stop it, even they couldn't do that. They were there to prevent space faring life from interfering with their work, which was to move stars and planets around to avoid the extinction of life when the two galaxies DID collide (Andromeda and Milky Way specifically, which is actually going to collide with us). It was an interesting idea, although the wolves eventually failed when the greenfly emerged.

Ender's Game had aliens with a hive mind, who considered killing a few humans as no more terrible than killing a few skin cells during a handshake.

Well, they considered the first humans they contacted to be drones. As their own species was primarily composed of drones which were controlled by the queen and thus weren't actually individuals.

Babylon 5 had the Shadows, whose goal is not to kill all life but to strengthen it by weeding out the weak.

Well, the Shadow and the Vorlons had different ideals about how life should evolve and grow. The shadows embraced struggle as the mechanism to cause a species to grow and advanced.

In time the project grows, the ignorance of its devs it shows, with many a convoluted function, it plunges into deep compunction, the price of failure is high, Washu's mirth is nigh.
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#12 jefferytitan   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 2123

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Posted 25 March 2012 - 06:39 PM

I worded the first point clumsily and you seem to have misread it. They were not stopping the collision, they were stopping it *from wiping out all life*.

Interpretation aside, I feel they are examples of more plausible directions the writers could have gone, rather than "we're killing you to stop you killing yourselves". There doesn't seem to be a plausible win condition by which the Reapers save more than they kill, at least in any way that the putative creators of the Reapers would approve of.

#13 Zethariel   Members   -  Reputation: 310

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Posted 12 April 2012 - 06:53 AM

Various spoilers ahead:


The biggest logical fallacy I see here is the kid (or whoever it was) saying that there is only salvation through destruction -- yet, one of the choices is merging synth and organic, to which the Reapers seem to be okay. Did such a possibility pop out of nowhere, or was it just a gigantic troll plot from the Deus ex Kid?

Before I commited to the ending, I gave it a lot of thought. Destuction was obviously a no-go, spent too much time brokering peace between the retarded Quarians and Geth. Synthesis, while probably easy, is a gigantic change in everyone's life -- a choice too big to take by a single person "because he/she thought it was good". It is akin to a man being granted a choice by God to change every human into females or males (reproduction issues aside) -- there is just too many voices and opinions and lives at stake. So, the control option seemed kind of legit, as the only one affected would be Shepard him/herself, and the Reapers would at least for some time go away.

In fact, controlling the Reapers could pretty much counter what each and every ending does to the game world -- destruction of the Mass Relays, effectivelly killing travel, commerce and galactic civilisations. With the Reapers under controll, the relays could be rebuilt (their technology after all) and galactic civilisations pushed even further in technology thanks to some selfless Reaper sacrifices. Then, people would eventually find out how to hybridize organics and synthetics, allowing the choice to become natural.

Eh, as the others said above, it is sloppy story-writing. hopefully the summer DLC will rectify things with a *TrollFace* "You thought that was the real ending? THINK AGAIN LOLOLOL".
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#14 NaturalNines   Members   -  Reputation: 334

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Posted 12 April 2012 - 12:19 PM

Two notes to make: ***Spoilers***

1) the Reapers do not extinguish ALL life, just advanced life. Synthetics or Organics alike, if they're advanced at the 50,000 year mark, they are harvested and/or destroyed. This is why the Human, Asari, Turian, Salarian, etc. races were not extinguished despite Javik (the Prothean) having had knowledge of their existence. They existed during the last Reaper harvest, but were all primitive races at the time, so the Reapers left them alone. The theory is that synthetic life, should it engage in warfare with organic life, would not have such restraint and would instead eliminate all sentient organic life.

2) ***BIGGER SPOILERS*** If you get the Geth and Quarians to work together, rather than taking a side, and later talk to Tali, she notes how the Geth, being software, are transferring into Quarian suits to assist in repairing the Quarian's atrophied immune system. This seems to me to be a big push towards the synthesis option, as the game is constantly changing who your enemies and allies are. Think ME1, you largely fight the Geth and Cerberus, and yet in ME2 you end up teaming up with both. ME2 you often find yourself fighting mercenaries, whom you enlist in 3. This is also the same with every race you ever fight in ME2, since you unite the galaxy agains the Reapers. With the Collectors being represented by Javik, the only enemy you have yet to team up with is the Reaper army, who your former ally the Illusive Man believes can be controlled and is right.

Just a thought.
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#15 NewBreed117   Members   -  Reputation: 416

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Posted 19 June 2012 - 07:22 PM

I am going to put my thoughts into it, after looking at all the endings and what not i believe that it is the "Indoctrination Theory". Shephard has had a lot of contact with the Reapers, there has to be some sort of indoctrination happening to him. I believe there will be a fourth game (or DLC but i doubt the DLC part) where you will play as a completely new person where you find out that the ending of ME3 was a lie, to try and convert Shephard into accepting the Reapers (ex: synthesis and control options) the right choice was to destory them, to completly reject them. I have my reasons for all of this so if someone wants me to explain them just ask.

#16 Burning Hand   Members   -  Reputation: 265

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Posted 22 July 2012 - 12:31 AM

I think the whole ending should have been scrapped and the big weapon should actually have been a big weapon with a big boom and a lot of blown up reapers. Close out with a touching cut scene and everyone would have had their warm and fuzzies.

I think previous posters were right in pointing out that the reapers may well have been the antagonist just because they are really cool. If Bioware didn't hire enough philosophy/lit double majors to figure out something better, then they should have gone with their first instinct and done what was cool, big booms.
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#17 Mito   Members   -  Reputation: 853

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Posted 24 July 2012 - 10:38 AM

well, the endings per se wasn't bad, but i really think bioware should have adopted the indocrination theory.

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#18 NaturalNines   Members   -  Reputation: 334

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Posted 24 July 2012 - 01:39 PM

I think the whole ending should have been scrapped and the big weapon should actually have been a big weapon with a big boom and a lot of blown up reapers. Close out with a touching cut scene and everyone would have had their warm and fuzzies.

I think previous posters were right in pointing out that the reapers may well have been the antagonist just because they are really cool. If Bioware didn't hire enough philosophy/lit double majors to figure out something better, then they should have gone with their first instinct and done what was cool, big booms.


Have to side with Burning Hand on this one. They went for artsy/deep and we got a jar of piss with ME1 and 2 in it. At least, had the secret weapon been an actual weapon, we would have been granted the satisfaction of taking down more Reapers, something that had been maintained even through ME3 as an incredibly tough feat. Gives you that ol' RPG sense of progress and accomplishment.
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#19 Mito   Members   -  Reputation: 853

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Posted 25 July 2012 - 04:30 AM

if the crucible was a real weapon, humanity would lost. think, a gun that is the size of the citadel shooting reapers that are engaging the last fleet at earth's orbit. the reapers wouldn't be the only ones to be destroyed,

#20 slicer4ever   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 3885

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Posted 25 July 2012 - 06:21 AM

I personally love the new reject ending. I didn't care for the old endings, but with reject sure we lost, but the entire series set it up that we were in a losing battle. The Prothean's lost, and were far more united then us. what we did do though is setup the next cycle to win the conventional battle, they are told straight up that the crucible does not work, so they'd never bother to build it(as i disagree with anyone whom claims they just made the same decisions in that cycle for victory). They were given schematics for the reaper weapons, the tatic's used in our battle's. and on top of that, from reading the codex, it's likly the next species to become space faring were the Yahg, a violent and highly intelligent species, who would build the weapons necessary to defeat the reapers.

so at the end of the day, we lost, for them to win. and i'm personally cool with that.

Edited by slicer4ever, 25 July 2012 - 06:22 AM.

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