Mass Effect campaign demands new ending to series

 
A screenshot from Mass Effect 3 The Mass Effect series was launched in 2007

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Gamers angered at the ending of Mass Effect 3 have campaigned for an alternate conclusion - and raised more than $70,000 (£44,000) for charity.

Players have complained that decisions taken during the game have little effect on the ending - a key selling point of the series.

Canada-based developer Bioware has stood by the conclusion which it describes as "bittersweet".

However, they hinted extra material could be made available to download.

"We'll keep listening, because your insights and constructive feedback will help determine what that content should be," executive producer Casey Hudson wrote in a forum post.

"This is not the last you'll hear of [main character] Commander Shepard."

Since the series' first release in 2007, players have been able to make moral decisions throughout all three games - all with an impact on the end of the saga.

Owners of Mass Effect 3, which was released at the start of this month to great critical acclaim, could upload save game files from the first two titles so these decisions could be carried forward and impact on the new game.

Start Quote

Some of our most passionate fans needed more closure”

End Quote Casey Hudson Bioware

The campaign for an alternative ending is being publicised in the UK by Sebastian Sobcyzk, a boutique clothing store owner in Chelsea, London.

He told the BBC that gamers feel cheated by the game's conclusion.

"They just completely destroyed the whole game for us.

"If I wanted to get my soul crushed, I could just turn on the TV and put the news on."

Mr Sobcyzk said backers of the campaign had "voiced their displeasure with their wallet" by donating to Child's Play, a charity which provides toys and video games to children in more than 70 hospitals worldwide.

Backers had raised $70,000 (£44,000) by Tuesday morning.

Screenshot from Bioware Mass Effect 3, released earlier this month, is said to be the final instalment in the series

Mr Sobcyzk called for a downloadable patch to be made available to add additional endings. On gaming forums, fans of the series have complained that no matter how "good" you are during the game, the ending is still a sad one.

"The game is about choices and consequences," explained Mr Sobcyzk.

"You do good things and bad things. We were promised by the developers to have 16 different endings.

"All these choices you make and you get a choice of three different endings which are exactly the same, minus a couple of tweaks here and there."

Counter-campaign

Another disgruntled gamer, going by the forum handle of "El_Spiko", said he had filed a complaint with the US trading standards organisation, the Federal Trade Commission.

El_Spiko wrote: "After reading through the list of promises about the ending of the game they made in their advertising campaign and PR interviews, it was clear that the product we got did not live up to any of those claims."

However, not all gamers are pressing for change. A counter-campaign, Support Bioware's Mass Effect, is backing the developers' decision.

In response to complaints, Bioware's Mr Hudson said the "underlying theme of sacrifice" throughout the series as reflected in the ending.

However, he added: "We also recognise that some of our most passionate fans needed more closure, more answers, and more time to say goodbye to their stories."

Mr Sobcyzk said the time - and money - invested in the game by fans needs to be rewarded with a more fulfilling end.

"If this was a Hollywood film, and they had a test audience, they would have never released the ending like that. It would have just not happened.

"For the love of God, give us the good ending!"

 

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  • rate this
    +8

    Comment number 11.

    @2 - That happens more than you'd think. Studios use test screenings, then make changes after. Can't say I agree with that practice, but there you are.

    As for Mass Effect, Bioware were explicit in saying the ending would provide answers to all the questions players had, but instead chose to invent a space child and ignore their own internal logic.

  • rate this
    +10

    Comment number 10.

    The product that Bioware delivered did not live up to the expectation that Bioware created during the promotion of the the game. If this article was about any product (other than a game) that did not function as advertised, no one would say "sad people". The Quality of Games are going down - Game of the year 2011 was a bugged mess and yet the company was rewarded for poor QA.

  • rate this
    -14

    Comment number 9.

    These so called fans are blowing things out of proportion. There are in actuality 16 endings, the main 3 you see are because most people who finish the game have more than the required minimum conditions and thus get endings where the player achieves the final goal. If you don't meet certain conditions, there are in fact different endings which reflect failure.

  • rate this
    +7

    Comment number 8.

    I am someone who has become increasingly tired with the incessant whining that seems to follow every videogame release of late.

    That said, when I finished this game I could only agree wholeheartedly with the issues raised. Imagine Star Wars ending with Luke being forced to destroy the Force entirely, give into the dark side or fuse himself with the Emperor. Thats the best way of describing it.

  • rate this
    +38

    Comment number 7.

    I think it's fair to say people will have a strong reaction to spending 120+ hours of their life becoming involved in a story and having it torn to shreds in the last 10 minutes. I can certainly think of many products I spent less time/money on which people were extremely vocal about.

    Add to that the clear unmistakeable promises from Bioware that this would not happen, and you can see the issue.

  • rate this
    +8

    Comment number 6.

    Yes the whole thing is a bit silly. It just goes to show the quality of story telling we are used to from Bioware. The ending that we got from this game is rushed, looked lazy and was full of plotholes, its obvious that Bioware were unable to implement the of ending they wanted, for whatever reason. It boils down to 'Would you like ending A, B or C?', when they all pretty much do the same thing.

  • rate this
    +19

    Comment number 5.

    Having played all the games the end feels very far removed from the rest of the games, instead of having many hours of choices rewarded you are hit with a deus ex machina ending. Which is full of plot holes and makes little sense.

    There is no closure, no explanation or anything, all to reminiscent of the architect in The Matrix trilogy.

  • rate this
    -4

    Comment number 4.

    @1. Should you not be working now? ;-)

  • rate this
    +9

    Comment number 3.

    Glad to see Bioware is following the grand tradition of promising many features in the game, but making everyone pay for it as extra downloadable content.

  • rate this
    -16

    Comment number 2.

    People play that many games nowadays, that gaming is turning into their reality world. They may need reminding Mass Effect is a fictional game. If you don't like the ending then use your imagination to adopt an alternative, then simply move on to the next instalment in your gaming obsessive time. I can't remember a director of a film reshooting the ending because of poor feedback. Sad people!!

  • rate this
    -35

    Comment number 1.

    As a game developer (programmer - not at Bioware) I find this story hilarious. Good to hear that they raised money for charity, but people really should put their energies towards worthwhile causes... not the fact they don't like the ending of a video game!

 

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