You know when you whine that you want something changed, and then it gets changed, but then you realize that the original was way better in the first place?
Well, that’s what the Mass Effect 3 Extended DLC feels like, to me anyway. I feel like we asked Bioware for the ending we wanted, and then when we got it, it turns out it wasn’t anything that great after all. And that the original endings were just the right level of ambiguous and made the mystery of what was to happen next more sparkly and magical. Now we now how it all played out, it just feels like such a fizzled out ending.
But hey, some people prefer that. Some people want to know that when you choose such-and-such ending, you were going to get such-and-such conclusion. They don’t want to see that you explode into a tiny billion pieces, with no one giving half a shit about you, and your best buddies surviving and going off to do their own thing. They want to see people crying over your “dead body”, leaving a plaque of you onboard the Normandy, AND THAT THEY SHOULD REMEMBER YOU SACRIFICED YOUR LIFE. Gamers don’t want to leave that mystery of what happens next to whatever-obvious-money-making sequel Mass Effect 4, they want to see the different races rebuilding the universe in the aftermath of your decisions, because that shit cray.
Whereas before it was overtly ambiguous, now it feels like it’s too blatant and spelled out. The Catalyst literally tells you “if you choose this ending, nothing bad will happen, so you should totally choose it” or “if you choose this ending, this will happen, but it ain’t so bad”. Of course, you can even choose the “fuck these choices, I’m my own man/woman. I want complete player agency”. If you choose that, spoiler alert, the entire universe blows up and everyone dies and your hard work over 3 video games is all for naught. But at least you feel satisfied inside that you died a free being and didn’t get indoctrinated or whatever. But it just feels like Bioware’s trolling, like they totally got that the gamers wanted freedom, but here’s what freedom does if you chose it LOL.
I know Bioware’s done a lot of other shit leading up to the extended endings too, but to be honest, I don’t really think it matters all that much. I still liked the time I got to spend with each character in the lead up to the big end fight in London. I think it was poignant enough, and I treat the choices I made all those months ago as canon. I got over those endings by writing a huge chunk of text about it, and for all you know, my interpretation could be shit in light of these extended ones. But it doesn’t matter, my Shephard concluded his journey all those months ago. Though I feel like for those who are just coming to the game for the first time, they’ll get these new endings and it might be a totally different experience from those who’ve played through already. That’s interesting to consider in its own right.
But what’s more interesting, is what this means in the larger scope of the game industry. I mean Bioware’s doing this out of goodwill, folks. They made these extended endings cause they didn’t want their gamers hating on ’em. God knows we already do, after the big booboo that was Dragon Age II. But hey, let’s not do this again. Let’s not get emotional, shout at the top of our lungs and stamp our feet for game developers to change the endings to the ones that we want. I know I know, we bought the mothafuking game so we get some ownership. But why should we get game devs to change the endings if we don’t get filmmakers and TV producers to change their shows for us? Because it’s mothafuking art. We don’t get a say. And I don’t want to have a say. If we make art democratic, it will be shit.
And that’s all I’m going to say about this.