Why Bioware’s ‘ending’ to Mass Effect 3 was ingenious and how EA’s greed possibly ruined it

Now before anyone questions my Mass Effect loyalty, I’ve played ME1 three times and ME2 five times, so yes, I am a fan. With that out of the way, there has been a lot of backlash lately about Mass Effect 3’s ending; many people are up in arms claiming there was a “lack of ending” and no closure. Others have stated that your choices through the first 2 games don’t have an impact on the third, or at least the ending, either. The final  quarrel, was the fact that there was Day 1 DLC that was supposedly included in the game, but removed in the 11th hour to generate more revenue.

When I started my initial playthrough (which was 2 days after the official release), I had a lot of the negative feedback stuck in the back of my mind. Although I didn’t know what the ending was at the time, I knew people were angered at it. Upon finishing the game 32 hours later (I don’t understand how people finished it way faster, but then again I took my time), I was actually quite content with the “ending.” I took what people said and ranted about and really mulled over it for a bit. The ending to me was brilliant, but there was still unanswered questions and a lot of grey area.

Something about the “ending” didn’t seem right, things were out of place so to speak. The first notion of this was that in my final choice, controlling the Reapers looked like the Paragon option and destroying them was Renegade. The second was how Captain Anderson was able to get the Citadel controls with there being only one path to it. I would have seen him as he made his way there. Another question I had was that when I assaulted the beam, I don’t believe my squadmates were with me, yet in the ending cinematic you see them step off of the crashed Normandy. How did they get on the Normandy? There was no way that the Normandy swooped down, picked them up and took off.

These are just a few of the things that burned inside my head, just as I’m sure it did for many people. After deliberating over this for about a day or so and speaking with a few friends that had beaten the game as well, I started dwell on the thought that it could be a hallucination or a dream. I started doing a lot of research searching for answers, which then led me to believe that Shepard had become indoctrinated. It was the only plausible explanation, I just needed to compile my findings into something intelligible so that others could understand  where my train of thought was coming from. I was having a bit of a hard time connecting the dots until I came across this video which was the concrete evidence I needed to properly explain my theory.

If you are any bit of a Mass Effect fan, do yourself a favor and watch this video. Further down, I discuss my opinion of the furor that was created and the fallout that occurred as well as the possible reasoning behind it.

That is pretty much the indoctrination theory thoroughly explained. Yes, I do believe this to be the “ending” that Bioware intended for Mass Effect 3. But not entirely. Leaving the game in a “cliffhanger state” leaves the door open to sell DLC, which in turn generate a lot of revenue. Had the game continued after this event and then properly concluded, it would have made for possibly the best mindf*#% of an ending in video game history to date. It’s like that “WTF” feeling you got in Knights of the Old Republic when you find out that you were Revan the entire time.

Unfortunately, I honestly think that EA had a hand in chopping the ending to dish it out at a later date as DLC so they can make more money off of it. If this is the case, then there is a logical explanation for the DLC “fix” that Bioware promises in April; there was already a plan in place to release that content. Ever since the backlash started, Bioware has stated that they are “listening to fans” and are working on an “explanation” to what everyone saw at the end of ME3. In my opinion, the DLC to be released is the actual ending of the game that not only explains the on-disc “ending,” but also brings closure that everyone wants. They aren’t working on a new ending or a fix, they’re just buying a bit of time to do final preparations on releasing the “closure DLC.”

In regards to Day 1 DLC, I believe there is a fine line to be walked. Bioware stated that because they had extra time after completing production of ME3, they were able to work on extra content called “From Ashes,” and was released the same day as the game. Many people were angered because there was code found on the disc, implying that the content was removed to be sold separately as DLC. According to Bioware, the coding on the disc was for the character model only and that the entirety of the DLC had to be downloaded, which I agree with. I’m not against Day 1 DLC at all, but I am against what the content actually was. The extra character and mission was based around a Prothean, the dominant civilization that came before current species. Protheans are so prevalent to the story, it’s almost an atrocity to have people pay extra for something so important (unless you had the Collector’s Edition which came with it). I would have been fine if the DLC was for a mercenary or some other non-important character, but a Prothean? That felt like a slap in the face.

I can empathize with how some fans were up in arms especially with the Day 1 DLC, but I don’t think that many understood the ending properly either. I already foresee that once the ending DLC is launched and everyone plays it, people will say that this is how the ending should have been. In reality, it’s the ending that Bioware had planned all along and EA’s greed messed up what would have been a prolific ending to an awe-inspiring series.

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