The controversy behind Mass Effect 3’s ending (SPOILERS AHEAD)

Posted: June 26, 2012 by Joel Kost in Gamenomics - Video Games, Microsoft/Xbox, Nintendo, Sony/PlayStation
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Today is a big day for Mass Effect fans; the free, extended ending DLC for Mass Effect 3 will be available for download for Xbox 360, PS3, and PC. In case you haven’t heard, Mass Effect 3’s conclusion made many fans feeling disappointed, confused, and even betrayed. This new DLC isn’t exactly a new ending for the game, but rather an extension, giving players more dialogue options and showing the fate of many characters seen throughout the Mass Effect trilogy. But why did fans demand such an action to be taken? Lets go over the reasons as to why Mass Effect 3’s ending is the most controversial finale this generation of gaming has seen.

If there is one thing that makes the Mass Effect series unique from other role-playing games, it is the amount of choices that the player is faced with. They could range from life and death, to who hacks a computer system. Either way, all three Mass Effect games have a seemingly infinite number of choices, and the choices you make can have major consequences in the future. With that in mind, one would think that the player would be able to have a plethora of options when it came down to the final instance of this epic sci-fi saga. For once in the series’ history, however, this didn’t happen. Instead the game only offered three choices: control the Reapers, destroy the Reapers along with all other Synthetics (robots), or fuse the Organics (biological beings) and Synthetics into a new hybrid species. And on top of that, no matter what option you choose, all of the Mass Relays that take you from solar system to solar system will be destroyed. Don’t like any of those options? Well too bad, you have to choose one. Even after all you’ve done for the universe, you’re given three lousy choices that all lead to Shepard’s death. The guy has been through a lot, I think he deserves to live a happy retirement.

Probably the most frustrating element of Mass Effect 3’s ending is the lack of clarity regarding the overall status of the galaxy. The player doesn’t know the fate of Earth (which you spend the entire game trying to save), the fate of the alien races that aided Shepard, or the fate of your crew. While we can all speculate that Earth will eventually recover and that the alien races will go back to doing their own thing, there is absolutely no reason why we shouldn’t know what happens to Shepard’s crew. During the course of three mind-blowing games, we have come to love and care about our squad mates, and not knowing what will happen to them is honestly heartbreaking. Even though we do see some members of the Normandy step off of the ship onto a new world, we don’t know anything. If Shepard had a love interest, how will the character react to his death? How will all the men and women aboard the Normandy survive? Unfortunately, we never find out.

I don’t know how Bioware is going to fix this disaster of a conclusion, but I sincerely hope the developer have listened to its fans. After all the time and support that loyal Mass Effect fans have given to this series, they deserve a new ending. Good luck today, Bioware. I hope you receive much better praise this time around.

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