Developers reaffirm BioWare’s right to leave Mass Effect 3 ending as it is

Wednesday, 21st March 2012 03:34 GMT By Brenna Hillier

Irrational Games boss Ken Levine and Mythic creative director Paul Barnett have both defended developers’ creative right to tell stories as they choose – regardless of community backlash.

In a question and answer session at the Smithsonian American Art museum, as reported by Vox Games, one audience member asked Barnett and Levine what they thought of call for BioWare to change Mass Effect 3′s ending.

“If computer games are art than I fully endorse the author of the artwork to have a statement about what they believe should happen,” Barnett said.

“Just as J.K. Rowling can end her books and say that is the end of Harry Potter. I don’t think she should be forced to make another one.”

Levine said he felt the discussion came at “an important moment” and argued that gamers wouldn’t be satisfied with a changed ending.

“I think if those people got what they wanted and [BioWare] wrote their ending they would be very disappointed in the emotional feeling they got because they didn’t really create it,” he said.

“I think this whole thing is making me a little bit sad because I don’t think anyone would get what they wanted if that happened.”

A fan campaign to pressure BioWare into creating a new ending has raised over $74,000.




  1. alterecho

    My thoughts exactly! Godfather wouldn’t be Godfather If it had a different ending.

    #1 3 years ago
  2. Aimless

    It’s really a more nuanced argument than can be tackled in a sentence or two. I’d encourage people to give this article a read as it gives a pretty good overview of the situation.

    Personally I’m for BioWare altering the ending, but also believe they should stick to the direction they chose. In other words a director’s cut where they edit the finale to better realise the developer’s intent with the ending, because as is I feel it’s very half-arsed and I can’t imagine everyone at the company is happy with it either.

    #2 3 years ago
  3. bugmenot

    The Godfather sucks. Mass Effect sucks. They’re about on the same-tier. Ego-inflating kitsch. A harmful distraction from solving real-life problems. :) ;)

    #3 3 years ago
  4. BubinTheElcor

    I think this article makes a good point, a good unbiased read

    #4 3 years ago
  5. Sini

    you bitches want your own endings? make your own fucking game.

    #5 3 years ago
  6. diego-rbb-93

    @1, Alterecho:

    Godfather ending was brilliant for the movie, just the perfect hit that make you see how the movie just worked on you to arrive to that point.

    Mass Effect 3 has nothing to do with that for the moment.

    #6 3 years ago
  7. Froseidon

    @ 1 & 5 – Too true.

    #7 3 years ago
  8. Malmer

    It is certainly their right not to change anything. It is also their right to not listen to the majority of the fans (not a vocal minority here). It sure is.

    But then again, it is their “right” to not sell any additional dlc, since the ending makes it so that nothing matters. It is their “right” to sell fewer copies of dragon age 3. It is their “right” to make any spinoff in the mass effect meet a wall of resistance. It certainly is their right.

    But is it the smart move?

    Fans have legitimate concerns over the ending. An ending that makes no sense at all if you think about it more than five minutes. Making an optional other ending could fix some of that.

    #8 3 years ago
  9. OrbitMonkey

    Their is no legitimate concern, their is no nuanced argument. The fans want to see their hero run off and live happily ever after with their fuck buddy of choice. That is it.

    Please don’t dress it up as anything else.

    #9 3 years ago
  10. Vapsyvox

    Sure, some players would like to see their Shepard and his/her partner move to some cute bungalow in the ass end of space, but please don’t hastily assume that it’s what everyone wants. Those who actually played the game and took the story seriously know that their Shepard probably wouldn’t survive, and they are okay with that. But they are not okay with some tri-colored, half-assed ending that is riddled with plot holes and no conclusion whatsoever.

    Casey Hudson promised 16 different endings where the player’s choices from the previous games mattered. What we got was cheap space magic, Jake Lloyd and three endings that differed only in color.

    #10 3 years ago
  11. endgame

    Well, it’s hard to act on this matter. I think both parties are right about something. I as a gamer and a massive Mass Effect fan think that the ending (my ending) was maybe not bad but certainly incomplete. What happened to all of my friends? What happened to Garrus, Tali, Grunt, EDI, Jack, Samara and so many others. I would like to know. On the other hand I wouldn’t want them (Bioware) to create a new ending. What’s done it’s done. Just move on. Or maybe release some free cinematics-only DLC showing us what happened to them. What I would really love would be high-res textures. The game looks horrible. And now Texmod doesn’t work with masseffect3.exe which means that the modders can’t help us anymore.

    Anyway, one thing is certain. There will definitely be more Mass Effect games in the near future. If not, than the ending is not only incomplete but bad as well. :)

    #11 3 years ago
  12. Malmer

    I have no problem if shepard dies. Let him die. In pain and agony tortured by reaper spiders. Whatever. But I want to see Liara grieve over it. Or Tali get killed. Or Wrex killing husks. Something. Some closure. And the whole premise, kill organics now so synthetics don’t do it later. And Shepard is just fine with that. Seriously?

    That’s our problem. Not that we didn’t se shep eith blie babies. And why not? Why don’t have that as one of many possible outcomes? Sidequests in the game are better written and with more different outcomes.

    #12 3 years ago
  13. strikkebil

    the whole thing is just embarresing… change the ending cos u didnt like it? if the game wasnt finished or glitched out yes, there would be reason for refunds. but just cos u dont like it?! that gamers even suggest changing the ending, instead of asking bioware for dlc to explain more says alot about them as a group. and yes i said them, cos i dont wanna be assossiated with gamers anymore.

    #13 3 years ago
  14. Vedexent

    Let`s distance the issue from video games for a second. Lets talk about cars.

    If a series of cars came out, and the 2010 and 2011 models came with a particular feature, and the marketing for the 2012 model talked ALL about this feature being in the that model as well, and you bought one based on that advertising and then found that they had yanked that feature and not told anyone, would you not think that you had a right to complain? Would you not potentially want to return that vehicle? Would you not possibly want to manufacturer to fulfill what they both implied through their past design choices (this car being one of a line), and explicitly stated in their advertising material?

    Any consumer product which is defective, or is substantially different than advertised would receive this reaction.

    Video games are not “sacred”. Game writers,producers, and marketers cannot lie to their customer base and hide behind the classification of “art”

    The book & movie analogies that some people invoke are flawed.

    While we have ABSOLUTELY NO RIGHT to expect movies or books to change to match customer desires, Bioware specifically built a line of games which incorporated customer choice into the game. We didn`t shove our choices at Bioware, they invited them. They asked for them. They told us that we were supposed to be part of the story building process. They relinquished a portion of artistic control in order to more completely engage their audience – and for many fans this is what sold Mass Effect to them.

    Then in the last 5 minutes they decided to re-assert sole artistic control, but still expect us to buy their product and react as if it was still the same interactive story telling? Please.

    Many people have stated that it isn`t about a Happy ending – it`s about a story-consistent ending, which offers closure, even if that ending is still a bleak one (regardless of what IGN and some of the more vitriolic industry paid lapdogs would have you think).

    I can only assume that some of the more vitriolic anti-fan responses here are trolls, astro-turfers, or people who lack the ability to think critically about the fan complaints and evaluate them as CUSTOMER complaints when a manufacturer`s advertising lied.

    #14 3 years ago
  15. Phoenixblight


    Car analogies suck and should never be used in the context of games. 5 years of payment for a vehicle that you had hopefully researched before you buy =/= a 60$ game that gives you hours of entertainment.

    You need to replay all of Bioware games and start to think critically about the choices being made every single one of them didn’t matter they were all superficial if you think otherwise you are lying to yourself.

    Killing the original council, who you picked for Councilor, what you did with the Collector base, all those ending “choices” never matter hey if you like to drink diet coke and think that its original soda that is your business but that is not the case here. You are fed with the illusion of choice. People have romanticized or hyped the ending to be such a spectacular thing of epic proportions and then reality slapped them across the face and told them “no”. If you actually thought there was going to be so many different endings based on the choices you made throughout the ENTIRE series you were lying to yourself because all the choices you made throughout the series had been answered just not in the ending and those choices were not relevant for the choice being made at the end.

    People claim that this protest is of the vast majority then why in all my classes and work with the people I speak to daily, I have only spoke to one person who seems to have romanticize the ending while totally disregarding Bioware previous game endings.

    Bioware should stick to their guns for the ending. If anything give us an epilogue explaining what happened to the team members, races and galaxy as a whole. I didn’t enjoy WItcher 2, Batman Arkham Asylum, SKyrim’s ending and I know I am not the only one. I have yet to see anyone to throw any protests for those games and two of them are games based on choices. Life goes on.

    #15 3 years ago
  16. absolutezero

    This entire thing rankles because of everyone saying that developers should be untouchable.

    Like Brian Sewell should hang up his jacket because artists are without reproach when it comes to criticism.

    “Its what they wanted to do, who are you to offer ideas, constructive criticism and advice?”

    mmmmmmm logical.

    EDIT, im pretty sure that one of the major decision from the first game (to kill or free the Queen) made next to no fucking difference at the end of the game. Its talking an entire series based around choice and then removing all the choices for the end. Which turns out to be foolish when the end is badly written, poorly rendered and filled with plot holes.

    #16 3 years ago
  17. viralshag

    @15, If the choices you make mean absolutely nothing, why do I see two completely different outcomes at the end of the Quarian missions based upon my decisions?

    Why can’t the same thing be applied to the options at the end?

    #17 3 years ago
  18. absolutezero

    You really want to know why?


    Its because they can. No one is allowed to question that either because its in the game and if its in the game then they obviously wanted it to be exactly like that. So sit down and shut up we have some DLC to sell fucker and you better damn well buy it.

    #18 3 years ago
  19. Phoenixblight


    Because the choices throughout the game have all gotten their consequences you are asking for Bioware to collect the 60 different choices made throughout the entire series and make a ending with that in mind. If Bioware was going to do that they would have just dsone the slideshow which people have also hated. They never win.


    I never said that but the next game I do buy from the companies that had made the games I mention I will know better and not expect anything out of them or I will just not buy their games ever again like the Fable series.

    #19 3 years ago
  20. Aimless

    I imagine this will get its own article, but Dr. Ray Muzyka has published a good level-headed open letter on the issue.

    #20 3 years ago
  21. viralshag

    @19, Well I think you will find that’s exactly what people were expecting. Not every decision has to have an impact but surely you would at least expect a difference between whether you’ve been Paragon or Renegade… That’s pretty much what most decisions throughout the game amount to anyway – whether you’re Paragon or Renegade.

    Why could they be bothered to make some decisions change the course of the story throughout the game but then regardless of what you choose you just get three stock options at the end?

    You’re making out like they COULDN’T have done it… even though they already did…

    #21 3 years ago

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