Update on Mass Effect 3’s Ending and the Extended Cut DLC

Before going further, please read my previous post on the infamous ending to Mass Effect 3.

Bioware recently announced they are working on an expansion for Mass Effect 3, partly to appease fans who were let down by the game’s ending, and also to provide some answers to the myriad of questions that were suddenly raised.

At any rate, Bioware still seems intent on keeping to their nonsensical ‘nose-dive’ resolution to the series’ plot. I’ve since posted the following on the Bioware Social Forums thread where fan suggestions for the upcoming “new” ending are ostensibly taken into consideration.


Mass Effect 3: A Loose End and A Few Good Ideas

SPOILER ALERT: If you haven’t experienced the ending of Mass Effect 3 and wish to forestall the inevitable shock, you may want to leave.

If you have seen the finale and somehow managed to walk out satisfied, I would ask you for a hug. It’s what I need after seeing all my hopes and expectations, countless hours of gameplay, and thoughtful decision-making get shredded by the most disappointing ending in recent gaming history.

Still, Mass Effect 3 is overall a fantastic game. I won’t deny it’s a worthwhile gaming experience. All the great elements are there: top-notch visuals, great combat, an engaging story and stellar voice-acting, as well as an outstanding soundtrack.

Nevertheless, instead of delivering the expected grand payoff, the last 10 minutes of the game baffle players with the most bizarre and confusing sequence in the whole Mass Effect saga. Most players, especially those who’d stuck along the series since the very beginning, were left in utter disbelief and frustration.

After five long years: "closure."

Casey Hudson, the game’s project director, recently stated that a “bittersweet” conclusion had always been the intended goal. I’m perfectly fine with that! A melancholy outcome is still a fitting end to any story so long as it is well-executed and brings true resolution to the plot. That was certainly not the case in Mass Effect 3.

Any semblance of denouement is instead replaced with a mess of a dialogue that adds a new “twist” to the story arc of Commander Shepard while unraveling the entire mythology in the process. And finally, as a send-off, players are asked to make one last choice; one of three possible “solutions” to the series’ conflict. The catch is that all three create more problems than they solve.

To top it all off, we never really see the aftermath of Shepard’s galaxy-shattering decision nor do we learn the fate of the other characters we’ve come to know and love. All we get in the end is a few minutes stretch of sloppy exposition littered with more plot holes than the Star Wars prequel trilogy.

The players’ reaction to the so called ending was virtually unanimous. The vast majority felt aggravated by the lack of any real closure. Some even speculated Bioware might be keeping the actual ending to the game under wraps till the apt moment, in what would indeed be a hairy marketing strategy.

"Heavy risk, Bioware... but the prize."

Another group of players came up with the “Indoctrination” theory asserting that all events following a specific moment in the epilogue were merely a representation of Shepard’s struggle inside her mind to counter the Reapers’ attempts at subverting her free will. As improbable as the theory sounds, it is still much more satisfying and makes a hell of a lot more sense than the “ending” we were presented with, which felt so out of place, almost as if players had crossed over to a different universe. Deus Ex? The Matrix? Okay, I won’t go there.

Still, I can’t shake off this eerie feeling that at some point during production of Mass Effect 3 Bioware decided to “rewrite” the original ending, concocting this silly new spin. I would be so grateful if Mac Walters, who’s done an admirable job as lead writer for the series since Mass Effect 2, could allay my doubts. It just seems implausible that a company known for coupling great video games and solid storytelling together would be so remiss in one of the most epic and awe-inspiring Sci-Fi franchises to date.

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Mass Effect: A Look Back

The culmination of a year’s work, and coinciding with the launch of the highly anticipated Mass Effect 3, the first in my series of retrospective videos on Bioware’s epic space opera, is finally here! So please, have a look!

Mass Effect 3: Retrospective

As of today, the release of the highly anticipated Mass Effect 3 is two months away. The last act in Commander Shepard’s story is expected to conclude with a bang and a deluge of tears. All the choices, all the decisions made throughout the series will be brought to bear, and the consequences therewith will either thrust Shepard to save the galaxy from the Reapers once and for all, or give way to another loop in the cycle of galactic extinction. No pressure.

The time is perfect to take a look back on all the events and decisions that ultimately lead to the (hopefully rewarding) culmination of Shepard’s journey. And what better way of illustrating said journey than by a retrospective video tribute?

Coming soon!

The Journey to Mass Effect 3 (Project Update 3)

Making tribute videos is hard. And when the framework is a universe as large and as engaging as the Mass Effect franchise, the process can be quite daunting. But the muse has already been summoned, so I might as well avail myself of this deep reservoir of ideas I seem to have tapped into.

Nonetheless, more often than not, inspiration can be difficult to find. There are times when I find it challenging just to keep in mind that in the end, despite all the setbacks that come with every personal project, the upside to creating the ultimate fan tribute does outweigh its downside.

Unfortunately, I recently seem to have hit an unlucky streak that has dragged on the concretion of this long overdue video. To become more proficient as an editor is in itself a very gradual and strenuous undertaking, but frustration is abound when your video editing software becomes uncooperative.

I only find solace in holding onto the thought that all of this serves to give my patience a much needed workout.

The Journey to Mass Effect 3 (Project Update 2)

Last month was exactly a year since my first playthrough of Mass Effect, Bioware’s acclaimed space-based RPG. Little did I know back then that in a short time I would set out from being a mere inhabitant of this fascinating new universe I had stumbled onto to become maker of my own fan-inspired videos, and that I would  soon after share them with countless Youtubers and fellow Mass Effect enthusiasts.

The ongoing video rendition currently runs a length of 138 seconds. The finished “product” should serve both as a fan trailer and a showcase for three versions of Commander Shepard (stemming from the Paragon, Renegade and middle-of-the-road alignments). This work is also a tribute to Jennifer Hale, the voice of Commander Shepard and my reason for playing as the right gender.

The Journey to Mass Effect 3 (Project Update 1)

This is the first in what I hope will be a short series of updates on my latest Mass Effect video work. Although July 22 was the date I had originally intended for wrapping it up and uploading it on to my Youtube Channel, a few hiccups have set the culmination of the work back. Like it or not, fate often puts crimps in one’s plans. Regardless, the project is still ongoing, the strain of making it my most elaborate video yet notwithstanding. The video showcases Commander Shepard’s heroic –and at times, not so heroic– deeds along the storyline of Bioware’s acclaimed space-based RPG.

The Mass Effect Experience

For those of you that may have been living under a rock or somehow managed to stay disconnected from reality for the past couple of years, let me light your way. Mass Effect is a game trilogy published by Electronic Arts and developed by Bioware Corp., leading company in the industry and creator of many popular titles such as Dragon Age, Jade Empire and Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic. The first two in the series have already been released and garnered tons of awards since, with the much-awaited final installment coming out on March 6, 2012.

Tailored as a role-playing game/third-person-shooter hybrid, Bioware’s landmark product offers players an experience so customizable that it could easily become the most re-playable game ever. The outstanding way it grants players the chance to reap the benefits and consequences of every decision and witness how they overall affect the outcome of the story is what gives the Mass Effect experience its weight.

Although each installment functions as a standalone game, Mass Effect was specifically rigged to enable players to carry all their decisions from the previous game over to the sequel, thereby dipping players further into the story as it unfolds in a unique way. Even the seemingly trivial side quests most went all the trouble to solve have a definitive impact in the subsequent story. No other game rewards the player’s investment in such a remarkable way.

In addition to a streamlined character build-up system, intense action and decision-making process, and all the essentials that make up the backbone of any worthwhile role-playing/shooter game, Mass Effect 1 and 2 deliver a powerful storyline so enthralling that the player is bound to find irresistible and actually care about. The core story was developed by renowned Canadian writer and novelist Drew Karpyshyn.