During a recent Reddit AMA, ex-BioWare writer and sci-fi/fantasy author Drew Karpyshyn revealed an early, discarded alternative to the somewhat controversial ending of the Mass Effect trilogy.
Karpyshyn was the lead writer on Mass Effect 1 & 2 but left the studio before the release of Mass Effect 3 and would ultimately return to BioWare to work on ANTHEM... before leaving again.
When asked how he would have concluded the Mass Effect trilogy, Karpyshyn had the following to say:
"Basically, it involved luring the Reapers through the Mass Relays then detonating the entire network to wipe them out...but also destroying/damaging the relays and isolating every galactic community from the others.
"But we still had to figure out a lot of the details, and there were some issues with that option... like what we would do in the next series of games."
Some fans were disappointed with the original ending of the Mass Effect trilogy, feeling that BioWare had overpromised and undelivered, reducing the myriad choices players had made to just three outcomes.
BioWare would later release the Extended Cut version of Mass Effect 3, which sought to close off some lingering plot threads and tie up loose ends.
What do you think of this less optimistic ending to the ending of the Mass Effect saga? Do you think it would have sat better with fans? Rewrite history in the comments section below.
[source reddit.com, via eurogamer.net]
Maybe I'm just tired and not reading it well but that doesn't sound very different from the ending the game shipped with? Relays destroyed. Civilizations separated. The only difference I see is the lack of an emphasis on one of the infamous three colors.
I was one of the few that actually wasn't bothered by ME3's ending. Was it perfect? No. I would have liked the storyline it seemed like they were building in ME2 with Dark Matter to have played some sort of part as that always felt just sort of left behind but I was not in the group demanding it be changed. That said I liked the added context the Extended Cut provided.
It never should have been a trilogy, the reaper war was wrapped up far too quickly. Mass Effect 3 should have been the start of the invasion, and then followed by at least one more, to allow for galactic misery to take hold. Think Marvel's 'Infinity War' and 'Endgame.' But whatever, it was what it was.
I finished the ME trilogy only last year for the first time without the extended ending.
It did feel somewhat anti-climatic but upon reflection I think people expect too much of the writers. Are they really going to be able to develop so many different endings based on the vast number of choices people make throughout the trilogy.
Ultimately it could be seen to be that no matter how you got the job done the ending was also going to be the same, as the Catalyst alludes to.
@korgon I agree with you, it wasn't that much different (if you took the destroy ending which I imagine Bioware will make canon for ME4).
I really don't see the issue with the endings. You have three options, pick which one you like the best.. or least hate, anyway.
It doesn't distract from the fact that it's a fantastic trilogy and, in my opinion, ME3 being the best one.
johns military training and experience through the 3 games would have led him.... no not into spoilers or giving out spoilers 🙂
bioware today isnt the bioware that gave us mass effect or dragon age. E.A has destroyed another great team! remember visceral games?????
meh to many suits not enough gamers running E.A.
@Mauzuri there is no 3 without 1, or 2.
and fingers crossed your game save migrated across. corrupted on me ps3 and xbox360 a few times over the years 😭😂
Aahh no, that sucks!! I think i've had that happen once on PS3.. Urgh. But yes, no ME3 without 1 and 2, that's for sure.
Unpopular opinion: I think ME2 is the worst of the trilogy.. but still a damn good game.
For me, the game started its decline when Shepard started spouting lines without any player input. I know in ME1 that the dialogue choices were basically saying the same thing but that illusion of choice kept Shep being personal to the player. Many times in ME3, my Shepard would say stuff on her own that was completely out of character with the way I was playing her in the previous two games. I know this isn't a major problem for most people but for a game series known for its dialogue choice, this really ruined my enjoyment of ME3 more than anything else.
@The_Moose I agree with you on some point but i can understand the dissapointment. I have no idea if they promised a catered ending if so dont make these promises, if not just except it and get dissapointed and move on. I had many some movies that where totally ruïned by a botched ending you win some you lose some.
@ApostateMage There will always be a problem with that in the end they need to steer to something or make several endings which can be a reql headache i think.
@Mauzuri Like the article says, players made numerous choices throughout three games, which then didn’t really have anything to do with the three endings presented. It’s not that surprising to imagine how that would’ve bothered people.
Obviously it would’ve been crazy to have like twenty endings depending on all your choices, but they probably could’ve tried at least something different.
My gripe isn't so much the colors. It is the Galactic Readiness meter. Seeing all my choices boiled down to a meter and then having to choose between endings where I can't even experience the consequences of my actions really REALLY sucked. It's why ME3's endings, even with the Extended Cut DLC, can go **** itself forever.
We did see something very similar to what ME wanted to do in the Witcher games. Which carried over things from at least Witcher 2. Those choices in Witcher 2, really felt like they mattered I'm 3, and you picked endings as well, and experienced your consequences.
Mass Effect made a promise since the first game. That promise was: your choices matter. ME3 broke that promise.
They should have just told us to eat it years ago, and drop it.
The ending is where i'm done with a game, so if it's "bad" I don't care what so ever, its over anyway.
That being said, most games have tedious stories, witch I never cared about.
mass effect trilogy is very much about enjoying the amazing journey rather than the destination
Hi all, first time posting.
I played the entire trilogy when it came out but didn't experience the extended cut until last year when I played the Legendary Edition.
I had no issue with the original ending at the time and have no issue with the extended cut either, now I have played it.
Mass Effect 3 was really good at tying up the loose threads from the prior two games. It's not a perfect story, nothing is, but if you take Mass Effect 3 as the final act (which it is) it makes complete sense to me to extend the ending of the trilogy over the course of the game, rather than tie it all up in the last hour or so.
Each to their own I suppose, I was happy and still am. Plan on replaying it again this year.
Mass effect legendary edition is free on pc with amazon prime gaming along with need for speed heat & grid legends atm
Edit* they were for prime day but aren't anymore that didn't last long
I was completely satisfied with the original ending. I understand the grudge if they promised something else but I was unaware of this at the time. I respect all endings in movies, books and games. It is what it is and I'm only experiencing it as it was made.
Nowadays it feels like people expect writers, musicians and other artists to ask them beforehand what they want to see, hear or experience and make the end product to satisfy their needs. It's ridiculous and it's killing creativity.
@trev666 This is the correct answer. An ending to fit all the consequential choices made over three games was never a realistic possibility. I love that trilogy, and I feel bad for gamers who let the ending get in the way of the fantastic hundred hours that came before. Because twenty comprehensive endings were never in the cards, and the ones we got were fine space opera endings.
I never understood the whole outrage with the original ending. Was it perfect no, but in the grand scheme of things did it really matter? You didn’t like it, too bad, move on.
Yeah, I didn't mind the end at all. Not when I played it back on PS3 shortly after it released and not when I recently replayed the trilogy on my PS5.
The biggest issue ME3 had was Bioware had very little time to put it together. There was a three year gap between 1 and 2 but only two years before 3 was out. Considering it was supposed to be the game that tied everything together, EA should have given them an extra year or maybe 2 to flesh it out. If they had done that I think we would have got more detailed and varied endings.
@trev666 No... just no. We deserved more than just a "choose A, B, C" ending after all that buildup.
I think this brings up a valid issue with games, movies, and books — the creative freedom of writers and creators is often hampered by the corporate intervention to make sure that options are left open for a sequel. Gotta be able to extend the story in case we want to cash in more on the series in the future. I think it happens a lot, unfortunately.
I liked the original destroy ending because of the music, 'an end once and for all' is such a fantastic musical piece.. it goes perfectly with the final cutscenes, great stuff!
I suppose there are a great many choices that you make in the trilogy that won't make a difference in the grand scheme of things. For example, you can choose to have Chakwas or Michel as your ship's doctor in the third one (providing either survive to the third game), but realistically you're taking about maybe a couple of casualties difference if it were real life. Hardly going to make a dent in the final story beat, which comes down to the choice of one person anyway.
People seem to be misunderstanding why people were mad at the endings. I was on the BioWare forums at the time, and shared in the disappointment. The main things that pissed people off were: the Star Child being pulled out of someone’s ass, having everything explained to you in the last 15 mins of the game with nothing really set up earlier in the story to give you food for thought on what option to choose, the Illusive Man’s really disappointing character arc, all endings merely being different colours, and that the Indoctrination theory that fans developed being a far better explanation of some of the game’s events than what was actually written.
Honestly, people would have been fine if there was a single ending to the game, whilst the subplots could vary, but the execution of it was really poor. Considering some of the forethought that had been put into previous games’ outcomes, it felt rushed. People didn’t want 100 different endings, that’s just a mischaracterisation of fan sentiment at the time. They just wanted a at least one satisfying one.
I don't hate the endings but i do find it dissapointing and a bit of a downer. All that said Mass Effect 4 is set after the game and will continue the story so we will see how far reaching the ending actually is, i wouldn't be shocked though if they retcon most of it and have the statue quo of Shepard, the Normandy and her crew restored after a few hours.
@ShadowofSparta Personally i think the 4 endings you can get should have been pre-decided for you based on subtle not too obvious choices you make throughout the game, the 4 endings are still there you just don't get to decide whitch one you want at the end.
I never finished 3 toward the end of 2021 I bought and completed the trilogy on ps4 and that ending was depressing as hell. After playing that I played the Final Season of Walking Dead by Tell Tale and that was even worse. I try to only play happy games now.
I pretend in my mind that the game ended with the Citadel party DLC and forget about the Reapers. I didn’t enjoy any of the endings. That DLC was probably one of my favorite gaming DLCs ever. Bloodborne is up there too. Such a great way to interact with characters I adored
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