[ME3] Leaks, fanrage, and has there ever been a scifi epic with a good ending? (no spoilers)

I was musing today whether there has ever been a Sci-Fi epic in either books, films, or TV where fan opinion was that the ending was brilliant.

I remember the outcry at the ending of Battlestar Galactica (updated version), Star Wars made a decent hash of the original trilogy (as you’d expect, following the heroes journey so closely) but clearly George Lucas still felt he had more to say, Babylon 5 also had its detractors – the final episode was good but was set 20 years after the rest of the story. As far as literature goes, Dune was good but they kept adding more books, and it’s been so long since I read it that I can’t remember what happened at the end of Foundation.

This week Bioware releases Mass Effect 3, which is the final installment (barring DLC or the oft-rumoured MMO) of the space epic action-RPG in which Commander Shepard saves the universe. I don’t think anyone really doubts that Commander Shepard will in fact save the universe (again) at the end, so it’s just a case of how bittersweet the ending will or won’t be in addition to that.

There are already reports of widespread pirating, leaks of old scripts, and pre-emptive nerd rage on 4chan from people who feel betrayed by Bioware.

But still, I was surprised to see a 500 page forum thread of fury on the Official Bioware Forums (ME3 spoiler forum) from people who have heard at second, third, or fourth hand about the ending and they don’t like it. Note: there may be spoilers in this linked spoiler thread, since neither I nor most of the contributors have played it, we don’t know. The complaint is that it’s too bitter for some people; BSG-style, the universe is saved and the adventures come to an end but the cost is too high for some fans.

I do find it odd for people to judge a story or a game purely on the basis of the ending, when you haven’t experienced the story arcs that got things to that point. I understand why people do it, and some stories do hinge on a surprise twist, but still, the kneejerk reaction of ‘Goddamn it, I want the ending where Shephard saves the universe and cures cancer and everybody lives and sends her birthday presents, even the people she killed in ME1” is a really interesting one for an observer.

Bioware could surely have made a lot of fans happy by providing a 100% upbeat and “Fuck yeah, you saved everyone!” ending. If they haven’t done that, then it’s rather brave storytelling.

But then, that’s actually one of the things I like about their games.

8 thoughts on “[ME3] Leaks, fanrage, and has there ever been a scifi epic with a good ending? (no spoilers)

  1. “I do find it odd for people to judge a story or a game purely on the basis of the ending, when you haven’t experienced the story arcs that got things to that point. I understand why people do it, and some stories do hinge on a surprise twist, but still…”

    I don’t understand it. To me it just seems wrong, like convicting someone of murder without hearing any evidence first.

    And this is more of a personal preference thing but I wouldn’t mind at all if the ending was somewhat bitter (I have no idea, I haven’t even played all the way through ME2 yet). The ending should be *right for the story*, whether that happy, sad, neutral or whatever.

  2. I have read through most of the leaked stuff and have been part of the discussion on the 7 different endings. Here is the problem boiled down without spoilers.

    There is no happy ever after ending for Shepard. Much of the rage is centered around this. They want the possibility of getting a happy ever after ending.

    What we don’t know is how good the ending are at getting emotions from the players. To me if they are able to make me feel something then they did a good job. If I leave the game and feel nothing then they let me down.

    • It was really depressing, made worse by the fact that it doesn’t reflect a single choice you made throughout the games.

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  4. I played it, I beat it, and I was disappointed. It wasn’t just solely the ending that got me feeling this way. It was the fact that… well, honestly, the choices I’d made throughout the games didn’t matter. At all. I could have let everyone die at the end of Two, I could have pissed off every race in Three and had NO ONE in my fleet, and I would still have the same three ending options. It was upsetting. The whole supposed point of ME was the immersion, the role-playing, the fact that you are making your own story; Bioware sort of promised that would continue.They laid the groundwork, and it just doesn’t. The game isn’t bad. Don’t get me wrong; it was a hell of a ride, and I loved every minute, but I did feel extremely let down. Nothing I did mattered, and then the finale was bittersweet, minus the sweet. And any kind of closure.

    • pretty much this. and it was bad enough reading about it. playing through it was even worse. I have zero motivation when it comes to importing other Shepards. hell, I lost motivation to play any bioware game, including SWTOR. at the latest count – facebook group set up in support for better endings has over 10,000 likes. original ending poll has over 25,00 people who voted and only 2 % are satisfied with the endings. 85% want more, newer, lighter endings.

      I have friends who actually like dramatic, hero dies endings and they are STILL going “what the hell just happened there…” you get no variation even throughout 3 choices, other then different colors within a cutscene, and yes, none of your prior choices have any real effect. well… they end up to a number that unlocks all 3 endings? except you can accomplish the same thing, simply by playing multiplayer a lot. and the ending pretty much retcons the first 2 games. and all 3 choices basically completely reset the galaxy.

      the ending doesn’t fit the franchise. the ending doesn’t fit the build up. the only way it makes sense if its seen as hallucination.

  5. Pingback: Killed in a Smiling Accident. » Blog Archive » I once told a friend that nothing really ends, no-one can prove it

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