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Opinion Game Dev Mass Effect director Mac Walters hopes Legendary Edition changes your feelings about the infamous ending

Nico_D

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Sorry but I don't get the talk how there were only three different endings when the whole third game was the ending. It was the result of your choices, who lived and who died. What happened to different races (particularly three of them).

The lore ends before the final fight. From there it is more about Shepard's story arc.

The ending isn't the last 15 minutes or so. You may hate it if you like but saying your choices didn't matter at all is just wrong.
 
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GeorgPrime

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Ahead of Legendary Edition's release, I chatted over Zoom with project director Mac Walters and with character and environment director Kevin Meek about those emotional attachments, the changes they've made to the games, how they think Mass Effect 3's ending will go down in 2021 and the chances of its multiplayer mode making a return. Here's a transcript of the interview, edited for clarity.

Depends on the guy who spoilers the ending to me. xD Want to know before i buy
 

martino

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The whole game is the ending and you can decide how to end pretty much all dilemnas you encounter in the series in it....
You need a recap of what you did in the whole game ? let me just laught at you then.
 
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GeorgPrime

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The whole game is the ending and you can decide how to end pretty much all dilemnas you encounter in the series in it....
You need a recap of what you did in the whole game ? let me just laught at you then.

Mass Effect 3 ending was so bad it made me hate playing it.

So as long as they didnt change the ending for the better iam not going to buy that edition. Iam not a fan a rebuying finished games to begin with.
 
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martino

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Mass Effect 3 ending was so bad it made me hate playing it.

So as long as they didnt change the ending for the better iam not going to buy that edition. Iam not a fan a rebuying finished games to begin with.
 

scoobidoo112

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Keep hoping Mac, just like D&D are hoping that one day, people will appreciate the last season of Game Of Thrones. Any day now...
 
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Horatius

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the worst part of ME3, worse than even the ending, was that fucker kai leng

just fucking cringe garbage. shoehorned ass character, have to read fuckin shitty books or comics or whatever the fuck they were to understand who he even is. otherwise he just shows up. thrown in for "inclusivity", but ended up being a literal asian stereotype. shitty kung fu ass ninja cliche. they even managed to give him a fucking slit-eyed mask lmao. i'm not sensitive to that kind of thing and even then it was blindingly obvious they fucked it up. god he was trash
 

brian0057

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It's amazing watching the games devolve in real time from superb yet imperfect space opera RPG to a banal shooter vying for Gears of War's mediocre throne.

It's even more amazing watching people unironically say that the only bad thing about the series was the ending, glossing over the obvious decline in quality from entry to entry.
 
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Even 4 endings are lazy compared on how big this IP was.
Just take a look on how Fallout NV handled the ending with mutiple factions without making it a mess AND this was only made in 9 months with a fraction of the ME3 budget.
 
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Madflavor

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The journey was more important. Shitty ending is shitty ending, but it doesn't take away from the greatness that came before it.

1. Choices throughout the trilogy only amount to a war score point system.
2. The entire intro is written for new players, which is why Shepard acts completely out of character that first hour. He'd rather stay on Earth and go pew pew, rather than uniting the galaxy.
3. Kai Leng is a cringy edgelord.
4. ME2 characters are completely pushed to the side.
5. Game keeps forcing you to feel sad about some random kid on Earth, writing your Shepard for you, even though the player had no personal attachment to the kid.
6. The final level of the Mass Effect Trilogy, the grand epic last battle that we've been building toward since we first saw Sovereign on Eden Prime in Mass Effect 1, amounted to shooting a bunch of husks on few streets of London.
7. The Crucible was a big smelly asspull of a Reaper Off Switch by the writers, because they wasted ME2 not setting up a proper way to fight the Reapers.
8. Dialogue choices are dumbed down.
9. Jessica Chobot.
10. The was obviously poor communication between the writers, because on one hand the game constantly hammers home to you that the Reapers can't be fought conventionally, and on the other hand there's Codex Entries of the current war, chronicling how some species are effectively fighting and destroying Reapers, conventionally.

But sure, the game was greatness before the ending.
 

Portugeezer

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1. Choices throughout the trilogy only amount to a war score point system.
2. The entire intro is written for new players, which is why Shepard acts completely out of character that first hour. He'd rather stay on Earth and go pew pew, rather than uniting the galaxy.
3. Kai Leng is a cringy edgelord.
4. ME2 characters are completely pushed to the side.
5. Game keeps forcing you to feel sad about some random kid on Earth, writing your Shepard for you, even though the player had no personal attachment to the kid.
6. The final level of the Mass Effect Trilogy, the grand epic last battle that we've been building toward since we first saw Sovereign on Eden Prime in Mass Effect 1, amounted to shooting a bunch of husks on few streets of London.
7. The Crucible was a big smelly asspull of a Reaper Off Switch by the writers, because they wasted ME2 not setting up a proper way to fight the Reapers.
8. Dialogue choices are dumbed down.
9. Jessica Chobot.
10. The was obviously poor communication between the writers, because on one hand the game constantly hammers home to you that the Reapers can't be fought conventionally, and on the other hand there's Codex Entries of the current war, chronicling how some species are effectively fighting and destroying Reapers, conventionally.

But sure, the game was greatness before the ending.
I meant the trilogy, ME3 was the weakest out of the trilogy for sure, but ME1 and ME2 were brilliant.
 

Rest

All these years later I still chuckle at what a fucking moron that guy is.
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10. The was obviously poor communication between the writers, because on one hand the game constantly hammers home to you that the Reapers can't be fought conventionally, and on the other hand there's Codex Entries of the current war, chronicling how some species are effectively fighting and destroying Reapers, conventionally.
This really bothered me. If reapers are physically impervious to attack, why can I put a super laser on my ship that cuts them up? Shouldn't we be trying to figure out how to hack them? Or trick them? Or hide from them? Or find out how their psychology works to be able to scare them off or change their minds or some fucking thing?
 

Horatius

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This really bothered me. If reapers are physically impervious to attack, why can I put a super laser on my ship that cuts them up? Shouldn't we be trying to figure out how to hack them? Or trick them? Or hide from them? Or find out how their psychology works to be able to scare them off or change their minds or some fucking thing?

definitely, the lack of creativity from the scenario writers completely undid all of their build up and retroactively poisoned how much i liked the first two games.

we went from one reaper nearly annihilating the galaxy's armadas in ME1, to the entire reaper invasion being a powerful but relatively conventional military in the course of literally no development at all, it just kinda happened

they massively powered them down just so they could make a boring "unite the galaxy to fight off the bad guy threat" story work, even though uniting the galaxy should have done precisely diddly squat based on their own writing. shat on their villains in service of the most generic bioware plot imaginable. just disgraceful.
 

Nico_D

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Now in a Polygon article Walters says he never even considered the indoctrination theory.

I love the trilogy and firmly see indoctrination as the only thing that makes the ending make sense and also make it logical and make the trilogy have character level continuity.

But if a writer, who is making a game where indoctrination is a huge part of the lore, doesn't even consider it, that's bad. On a professional level. Like when finding the ending you go through all the options you yourself have created and then decide whatever.

And he didn't even consider it? Ouch

Anyway, that is still my ending and I will just call it a happy accident.
 
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Kataploom

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It's a shame, because if there was any games worth replaying this is it.
Sure, some day in like 5 to 10 years ahead from now or so, but I'm very happy with the experience I got, honestly, and just want to know current changes. Also I would have to buy the game... which I just can't right now, literally surviving on gaming with game pass.
 
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Kagey K

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Sure, some day in like 5 to 10 years ahead from now or so, but I'm very happy with the experience I got, honestly, and just want to know current changes. Also I would have to buy the game... which I just can't right now, literally surviving on gaming with game pass.
To be fair there are a ton of games to play there and thus trilogy will also likely be free there in a year.

You aren't going to miss the meta or the players as it's strictly single player.
 

Secret_Lover

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I thought it was rad when I aligned myself with the Illusive Man in part 2 and then at the start of the next game he just automatically becomes an enemy and they have some throw away line about "Damn you Illusive Man! You´ve gone crazy off-screen". Then your ships AI transforms into a sex-robot or some shit. Very cool.

There´s also that awesome part where Liara is all "Yo Shepard I was rummaging through my garbage earlier and I found this secret blueprint that can destroy the reapers." Wow. And who could forget the magnificent Kai Leng who was super cool and totally not lame as hell. Kino.

Replacing the ambient sci-fi soundtrack with generic hollywood feelbadpls piano music was also a brilliant decision.

The game is top to bottom ass and the ending blows chunks. Surely some HD textures will fix all these problems though.
 

STARSBarry

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To me Mass Effect 2 was the big game that I had fun playing where you explore and while yes your trying to save the galaxy but your allowed to have fun while doing it... in Mass Effect 3 everyone is being wiped out and it's just this constant depressing atmosphere where there is just constant death and very little hope.
 

JohnnyFootball

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It will probably make me hate it more, to be honest. One EASY thing they could have done is slightly change it such that Shepard DOES survive and then make the Citadel the true ending. That would have been reasonable. With that in mind, I always recommend anyone doing a complete trilogy playthrough just save the Citadel for after the final mission and treat that as the true ending.

Mass Effect 3 had far and away the worst writing in the series. Mac is good at telling smaller stories (the comics he wrote with Dark Horse were outstanding), but telling a giant story was rather terrible. To be fair, in terms of moving things forward Mass Effect 2 really didn't accomplish a whole lot.

Writing issues aside from the ending I had with ME3:
1. The Rachni out of all the meaningless choices from previous games, The Rachni choice from ME1 needed to have a far more meaningful impact than a mission that is more or less identical whether you saved or destroyed them. They could have had them show up in the final battle and aided in a serious moment.

2. The crucible itself. The fact that there was a MacGuffin (The crucible) tells you how weak it was. If the entire trilogy had been building up to the Crucible that would have been one thing, but it's a device never hinted at or discussed, it just appears as the plot device to save everything. To be fair, this was an area that they kind of wrote themselves into a corner.

3. The fact that the Quarians and the Geth were STILL fighting in ME3 even if you did everything perfect in ME2 to soothe that over really felt lazy and dull to me.

4. Kai Ling was only powerful because he did his most damage when control was taken away from the player. Never liked him, but that was the point.

5. Making Javik DLC was an absolutely terrible choice in terms of how it hamstrung the story. Being the catalyst would have made things interesting.

6. The dream sequences with the kid were stupid and pointless, never gave even a little crap about the kid. It would have been far more effective if it had been the ME1 squadmate who died on Virmire.

There are more,
 
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nowhat

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I played these on a modded+banned 360 back in the day, so I was unable to get DLC or any patches (which also means no "extended" ending). I've now played through this like one and a third times (first all the games back-to-back, then starting from the suicide mission in ME2 to the end trying different paths in ME3 - and also because I made some terrible calls in the suicide mission first time around with predictable results). So, now I have seen all the DLC and the extended ending (two variations of it in fact). And I have to still agree with Mr. Horse:


I understand the challenges BioWare faced with the ending - having a meaningfully branching story in just a single game is hard, let alone if player choices must be tracked across three games. So I guess up to a point it was inevitable that it was going to be a "choose from these few options" kind of thing. And yes, how much you grind the games may alter the outcome of that choice, although how meaningfully can be debated. My problem is that once we learn what the Reapers are really about, the explanation seems quite convoluted and illogical. Sovereign said "There is a realm of existence so far beyond your own you cannot even imagine it. I am beyond your comprehension." - no, it is really quite easy to comprehend, it's just dumb.

I think the Leviathan DLC does do a much better job of explaining the reasoning behind the Reapers than the space kid (which is why I think it should have been a part of ME3 originally), but it still doesn't make the eventual choice that much more palatable. Also I'm a bit uncertain how the different endings would work in practice, especially the green one, but it's not like ME is 100% hard scifi so I'll let that pass.

But apart from whether the choice presented to you makes sense, one thing the ending lacked then and lacks now (even with some added footage) is that there really doesn't seem to be that much, if any, closure for Shepard and his companions. I'm not saying there needs to be a happy ending for all, or that there should be a lengthy epilogue, but by that point you will have spent easily 50+ hours with those characters and will probably really like at least some of them - it would be nice to know something about what happened to them (if they survive) in a world that's very different from the one you knew them in. No need for fancy cutscenes or anything, some simple "where they are now" cards would do.

As it is, for me the Citadel DLC (which was amazing) will henceforth be my official ending if/when I replay the trilogy later on. It isn't really an ending as such, but it's such a great distraction, you get to hang out with your buddies and have some hilarious conversations. So my headcanon from now on is that Shepard & co really fell off the wagon and just kept on partying - meanwhile the Reapers completed the cycle, but it was totally worth it, it was a hell of a party.
 

JohnnyFootball

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Just finished Mass Effect 3. Gameplay wise it is outstanding. All of the freedom you get with weapons and powers is outstanding.

1. The story in ME3 is pretty weak. It's clear that Mac Walters is not the writer that Drew Karpyshyn is. Too many retcons/inconsistencies from previous games.
2. The rachni was the main part of the story that was hideously bad. They needed to have a much bigger impact.
3. The DLC (its not really DLC anymore) is really good, but sadly they could have been so much more. Leviathon should have had a much bigger impact on the main story. Omega should have been a 2nd hub world.
4. Things that used to bother me but didn't as much, was the Quarina/Geth are still fighting subplot was so stupidly awful, but I wasn't bothered. Same with Thessia and Sanctuary. I didn't mind them
5. Priority Earth is still complete and utter crap. That section was a trashy bland corridor shooter.
6. And yes, the ending was still awful even with the extended cut. The worst part was not the Starchild, but the part on the way to the beam that was not in the original where Shepard calls in the Normandy to pick up the injured squadmates did not make ANY sense in that moment. Itg would have been easier to have created a scene where the squad doesn't join the run the beam. Marauder Shields was still a pain if only because of the awful forced slow walk. I hated that so much.
7. However, if you treat the Citadel DLC as the true ending then the game ends on a much better note. It was bad and cheesy storywise but it worked in that moment. My only disappointment is that you couldn't choose Grunt, Samara, Miranda or Jacob to join. They only appear at the party. The Citadel DLC doesn't remove the bad ending, but it does end the game on a much higher and more fun note.