Mass Effect 3 has to be the first game to get an award for the most hated ending of all time. But why is that? How did it come to petitions (although at least this is being done in a positive light, http://retakemasseffect.chipin.com/retake-mass-effect-childs-play) to a gamer actually bringing the issue to the Federal Trade Commission and Better Business Bureau claiming that the ending of the game does not live up to claims made in their advertising campaign and PR interviews. The user wants a new ending within 30 days or he plans to return the game (http://kotaku.com/5894278/mass-effect-3-fan-complains-to-the-feds-over-the-games-ending). But why all the hate? If you have not beat the game yet, do so them come back, this sucker is going to have spoilers leaking from everywhere.
Now what are the endings that everyone is so up in arms about. What has gamers all over ready to lynch a team that has given us so much great game play (30 hours in my case of Mass Effect 3). Lets go through how you reached the fork for the endings first.
Shepard has just destroyed the dreadnought that was blocking the beam to The Citadel, but your vehicle is toast and Harbringer just landed to protect the beam. During an all out dash to the beam soldiers and vehicles are getting pieced out left and right. You are almost there when BAM, you are out. A few moments later you wake up, badly hurt, your armor blown off, weapons missing, and powers deactivated. Standing up you grab a pistol and make your way to the beam. This “fire fight” involves taking out 3 husks and a marauder. Once at the beam you land in a room filled with human corpses and some Keepers. Anderson made it up as well, you both have a little talk, and then you finally have your heart to heart with The Illusive Man, in person. After that finishes you open The Citadel and The Crucible docks, nothing happens.
The Crucible was not meant to work this way way, it needs additional direction, and you are the man/woman to give it (whether you like it or not). Shepard is taken to a room that houses The Citadel’s intelligence and the Reaper’s boss, the Catalyst. It (in the form of a young boy that has been plaguing your dreams this whole game) explains that what is happening is done to prevent synthetics from destroying organic life. This is done by taking the advanced races and preserving them in Reaper form, destroying the synthetics and then leaving for another 50,000 years. The young races are given a chance to evolve and reach the same pinnacle as the advanced races before the cycle starts again. But the Crucible changed things and now the plan will have to change, and you are the herald of what will happen.
Choice 1: Destruction (Red Ending)
Shepard is given the option to destroy synthetic life. This will destroy the Reapers, the Geth, EDI, and himself (he is part synthetic thanks to Cerberus bringing him back). The Catalyst considers this a stop gap solution as synthetic life will be created by their children, but it will stop the cycle of death, at least for now.
Choice 2: Control (Blue Ending)
Shepard is given the ability to control the Reapers. He can control them and keep the future safe. This turns Shepard to ash, with the assumption that his consciousness is spread to all the Reapers in the galaxy. Now the Reapers can still be used to maintain order (maybe), but not at the expense of all advanced life in the galaxy.
Choice 3: Synthesis (Green Ending)
Shepard is told by adding himself to the energies created from merging The Crucible and The Citadel he can merge synthetic and organic life all over the galaxy. This will remove the separation between the two, and there will be no need for the cycle. Jeff and EDI get to be a happy couple and no one (but Shepard) dies.
Each ending has a corresponding color wave that shoots from The Citadel/Crucible combo and ends the Reaper threat. Then a beam shoots the mass relay which spreads the energy to the next nearest mass relay before exploding and sending the energy wave across it’s section of the galaxy. According to the Mass Effect 2 DLC “Arrival”, this should destroy the system that the mass relay is located in. But lets assume the “older then all current life AI that has been wiping advanced species from the galaxy for millions of years” knows a thing or two about the relays. The Crucible, which I bet it left the original plans for, would have been able to configure the energy that the relay releases to be non-destructive and instead do what was intended and not blow up a planet.
Galactic society is left unable to quickly travel from one side of the galaxy to the next, at least until they figure out how to build new relays. Here you get to see the one of four endings (the forth we will get to in a minute). All of them are nearly identical. The Normandy is fleeing the <insert color here> wave at FTL speeds trying not to blow up, and gets overtaken. Jeff crashes her on a planet with multiple moons, the crew walks out, they look up and the game ends. If you picked destruction EDI is missing from the crew, if you picked control EDI is there, and if you picked synthesis everything has a circuit board pattern on it and everyone has glowing/mecha eyes. The happy ending here (if you promoted this in your game) is EDI and Joker get to have a happily ever after moment since they are now both organic/synthetic combos. If you told them not to have a relationship you can be sickened, but I doubt you would have picked this ending.
What is not to like about these endings? Besides they give you no clue on how the rest of the galaxy actually gets along given Shepard’s choice? I mean who cares if you actually destroyed all VI’s as well as AI’s when choosing destruction. Or how people feel about the Reapers now being property of the Alliance (given Shepard is Alliance military). Then there is how the Quarians would feel about being partially synthetic after having lost their homes to synthetics over three hundred hears ago. You also have to wonder about alliances that were formed? If you had Wrex running the Krogan do they keep with the policies, or do you have a new Krogan rebellion on your hand? Do the Geth and Quarians live peacefully together? What would an Asari baby raised by Shepard and Liara be like? There are a number of questions left unanswered here, and I don’t know if you could really do a sequel given how this was left, unless BioWare forces a specific ending to work from on a new game. This would seem very out of character given their existing work on this series. So what should they do?
I will give BioWare credit, there is a certain finality about the way the game ended. There is no chance for a sequel. The universe, at least as we know it, is closed from this point forward. If also gives you a great impression of how total sacrifice is sometimes required to save all that you care for. But in a business sense, you cannot milk this cash cow if you close if off for good. This is where the forth ending comes in. If you go into the final mission with 100% fleet resources and choose destruction you get a small cinema after the normal ending plays. There is debris scattered every where, looks like a battlefield, perhaps London? The cinema comes up to a person. Wait, is that an N7 dog tag their wearing? All of a sudden the person take a sharp breath, as if they just woke up from a bad dream, cut to black. Is this how BioWare plans to give us a new ending? They are known for giving us new DLC, but this would be the first time it completely changes the game (or at least it’s conclusion). Recently Casey Hudson (Mass Effect 3 Executive Producer) has responded to the negative and positive (yes it exists) feedback on the ending. You can read it on the BioWare social forums at http://social.bioware.com/forum/1/topic/324/index/10089946, but in short it says they are taking the criticism seriously and you have not heard the last from Commander Shepard.