Mass Effect campaign demands new ending to series

image captionThe Mass Effect series was launched in 2007

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 Hudsonwrote 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 togreat 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.

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 toChild's Play, a charity which provides toys and video games to children in more than 70 hospitals worldwide.

image captionMass 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."


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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