Goodbye Mass Effect, Goodbye Bioware.

They done goofed.
This whole Mass Effect 3 ending fiasco has had time to settle and Bioware have not, in my opinion, come out of it well.
Firstly, the ending of the game is poor, very poor. This is apparently the ending the Bioware have been working on for years… (!!)
Secondly, their handling of this entire situation has been really poor, one or two of their community moderators have tried doing their best, but have seemingly had no support from elsewhere within the company (i.e. Mr Casey Hudson – who was whoring himself out to every media outlet he could find prior to launch totally vanished when the game was released and the fans rose up).

It’s the combination of both of these issues that has brought me to where I am now.

Bioware Forum’s ‘cato_84′ user has compiled a good list of quotes from various people at Bioware prior to the release of Mass Effect 3 that, now that the game has been released and played, seemingly come across as outright lies. I really suggest you give it a quick read.
Sure, some of the older ones may have just naturally changed / become incorrect as things in the game changed, however there’s a lot of things said there that just didn’t come to be. Unfortunately, a lot of the things that they said we were going to get was the reason that a lot of people got the game.

And Bioware failed to deliver. And Bioware have not apologised – sure, they’ve released a ‘free DLC’ / ‘extended cut’ to try and make things better. It basically adds a few cutscenes and dialogue options that should have been in the game in the first place. It does not address any of the “quotes” outlined in the above linked post.

Bioware – I have uninstalled ME3 and wish i’d never bought it – never thought I’d say that about a)one of your games b)a Mass Effect game but there, I have and it’s done between us. You want this customer back you’ve got a long way to go… and I’m no longer going to be giving you or your games any air time on my blog.

Goodbye.

Mass Effect 3 – Extended Cut

So, three months have gone by – in which time the Mass Effect fandom has seemingly simultaneously imploded and exploded in the shit-storm that ensured after people played the end of the game (see my previous post Critial Mission Failure for more insight if you’re not sure what I’m talking about).

During this time, Bioware has been rather quiet, apart from eventually announcing that they’d release some free DLC to add “closure”. Even their community managers eventually disappeared from their own forums – not really a good sign, although after weeks of various Bioware bods saying “Yes, we’re listening to your feedback, don’t worry” – one particular employee posted a message (paraphrased here because I can’t find the original) “Just because we’re listening to you, it doesn’t mean we’re taking what you say on board“. Fantastic skills there…

Anyway, yesterday (26th June), Bioware released the previously mentioned free DLC.
It’s a hefty download and is primarily made up of a few additional cutscenes towards the end of the game, a few extra dialogue options during the final scene and some epilogues based on your end-game decision. Saying that it does add a brand new FOURTH ending to the game, one that a lot of fans had wanted – the ability to reject the original three (RGB) endings. Unfortunately this comes across as a bit of a “Fuck you for not liking our story” in the way it’s handled…

It doesn’t sound like a lot, and when you see it, you have to wonder why all this wasn’t in the game from the beginning. None of it is particularly ground breaking, none of it adds anything of the ‘oh my god that’s a revelation!’, it all seems to be there to add detail to the story they were originally trying to tell but were, for some reason, unable to coherently get across to their audience.

This in itself is a worrying fact. They were writing a story in a universe they had created to fans of said universe and were unable to tell the story sufficiently clearly for people to ‘get it’. Nevermind the fact that this story is inherently weak and flawed and inconsistent with the established lore and history of said universe.

There are a few telling changes that really highlight the original flaws though, the explosions of the citadel and mass relays are changed, you no longer see them explode completely, just partially – thus making clear that you haven’t just exterminated all life in the known galaxy. There is additional dialogue with the catalyst that helps shine some light on just who and what this character is (although sadly, not in any where near enough detail to actually explain very much).

The DLC achieves what it was set out to do – it adds clarity and closure. This it does very well, it’s just a bit sad that it add’s clarity and closure to a story that a lot of the fans just didn’t enjoy.

As to the changes to the three main endings…
Red – Destroy – Confirms that all synthetic life is wiped out (Edi, Geth, Reapers) but tech remains. Relays are severely damaged but not completely destroyed. All the races (somehow) manage to get home. No galactic dark age.
Green – Synthesis – all life, biological and synthetic are given a common genetic structure (machine based life has genetics? wtf?) – all this genetic rewriting still goes on without anyone else’s consent and still stinks of a hideous form of genetic rape to create a unified superior lifeform. It’s made even worse as the DLC reveals that all the Reaper-ised creatures (Husks, Marauders etc) gain freedom and sentience. I will just remind you that there are Reaperised Batarian’s out there who have a gun cannon for an arm – a gun cannon made up of a human being… this is pure horror stuff on so many levels. This ending is still presented as “the best ending” by the game.
Blue – Control – you now learn that a virtual version of Shep now controls the Reapers, using them as guardians of the galaxy and utilising their billions of years of knowledge and technology to repair all the damage that has been done to the Galaxy and make everyone’s lives as good as he can – this includes rebuilding devastated worlds and fixing up the Mass Relays.

Ultimately, in conclusion – does the ‘Extended Cut’ make things better?
Yes, in that in tries to explain some of the bigger plot holes and undoes some of the exceedingly misleading things that were shown previously. However, in my humble opinion it does not fix the basically poor ending that we were originally given.