On the New Mass Effect 3 Ending

So it finally happened. The collective supergeek cried out and shattered the shield. Bioware was defenseless. They retreated, started remixing and photoshopping, and now we have a new downloadable set of endings for the Mass Effect franchise.

And they aren’t any better than the original one.

Here is what I gathered from all the controversy over the original endings to Mass Effect 3:

1. The choices you made during the games were nullified by the literal deus ex machina at the end of the games.
2. Why did Shepard die?
3. What was all that stuff with the Normandy flying around and landing on an alien planet at the end?

Obviously there were numerous other complaints, most of which were Lord of the Rings-style complaints aka “I need everything line up in perfect order in this fantasy world so my life makes sense” complaints.

In any case, I never thought any of those complaints were valid (and I think the ending change was bad for everyone). The choices you make are nullified by the intersection with an eon-spanning race of creatures who are beyond good and evil. Shepard dies because that’s how stories end. The Normandy flew to some planet because shit was going down. These are conclusions that you can come to with about five minutes of analysis during the incredibly boring parts of the ending where a beat-down Shepard walks toward whatever arbitrary choice to decided to make.

Lo and behold, the Extended Cut came out and Bioware has thought those thoughts for you. They appeased all of the major criticisms by rendering visually the conclusions that anyone should have been able to come to on their own. Nothing special happened when I played the ending again. I did the same ending bit to find out what if there was anything different. There was nothing new. Instead, there was explicitness where once there was interpretation; there was a rigid meaning where the mind was free to go wild.

Why would you want a world based on strange science fiction concepts to be limited and imaginatively smaller than it was before?

That said, the “do nothing” ending where Shepard says “NUH UH SPACE ILLUSION MONSTER, I’M GONNA HAVE SOME FREEDOM!” and dooms the galaxy to a slow death at the hands of assimilating forces is pretty great. It also makes absolutely no sense. Wouldn’t freedom mean the “red” ending (killing all the Reapers and synthetics)?

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