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I don't like to type large walls of text, so I thought it would be better to just record a commentary on my thoughts and some events that are going on in retaliation to BioWare's ending of Mass Effect 3.
Be warned: this video contains spoilers.
Ok I really wanted to start posting halfway through your video, but I listened to the whole thing and I'm glad I didn't. I agree with you on a lot of your points. Yes, if they intend to release a "closure" DLC that explains everything, then they did release an incomplete game and that's unforgivable. I agree that the PR has been pretty awful. I agree the ending was crap, but not in the same way you do.
The ending was bad because it wasn't clear. I personally accept the indoctrination theory and that makes the ending awesome to me. However, as I've said on multiple forums on this site, if an ending is truly great, it shouldn't need to be explained. Bioware needs to know who it's target audience is. They aren't artists and people with literature degrees who know how to read between the lines and see symbolism as complex as they portrayed. So naturally people are going to be mad about something they don't understand.
So I don't understand your argument that just because the fans put together a theory that it's wrong and it wasn't was Bioware was actually intending. The people who made this video are the people who played the entire trilogy multiple times and read all the comics and novels that came with Mass Effect. The ending would only be great to the truly hardcore, and the studio, because they literally know everything about Mass Effect. The problem with this is that the majority of your audience isn't the hardcore, so they're going to be lost.
Again, I agree that Bioware didn't deliver on their promise of multiple endings, AT THIS MOMENT. I'm not yelling, just emphasizing. This is the problem I have with gaming today. It's become ok to release unfinished products and fix them later. I'm sure the DLC they're releasing will provide closure and reflect your final decision in the game. But the fact that they're using this to explain the ending of an entire trilogy is garbage. I've yelled for ages about how DLC should be an ENTIRELY SEPARATE AND OPTIONAL PIECE OF CONTENT. It should not effect the next games story. I did all the DLC from Mass Effect 1 and 2, and they bring that up constantly in 3. If I didn't do the DLC, do they refer to Liara as the Shadow Broker? Why is Shepard relieved of duty if he didn't blow up the Mass Relays? I'm not sure if they come up with different stories, but if they didn't, that would be lame.
If it's true they didn't have time to put a proper ending on, that's sad. Especially when they had time to release paid DLC on day 1. Are you telling me a stupid one off side mission is more important that finishing the whole game? I'm more outraged about this other stuff than the actual end cinematic. I think people who are mad about the cinematic and just boil it down to "red, blue, or green explosion" just aren't thinking. I'm not being mean, I'm just saying. There are way too many plot holes to be there on accident. But again, the fact that they don't understand their audience and don't explain things better led to this outrage. Guaranteed, if the DLC explains the indoctrination theory, and gives closure to all of Shepards gang, everyone will be happy. It is just a shame that they're allowed to do this after the game is released.
So I don't understand your argument that just because the fans put together a theory that it's wrong and it wasn't was Bioware was actually intending.
I'm basing this off of the iPad app entitled "Mass Effect 3: THe Final Hours. The way I put it in words seemed different from my actual meaning. I love the theory, and would give anything for it to be true. What I really meant to say was along the lines of, "While under development, Casey Hudson, while brainstorming the ending, wrote down 'lots of speculation for everyone'. Now, you may take this differently than I do, but to me, this means that they were going for some sort of 'you choose what happens' kind of ending."
The part that really makes me think they chose this Inception-type ending over the Indoc. theory is that they had from the beginning of November 2011 until mid-February 2012 (when the game went gold) to incorporate it into the ending. It didn't have to be really complex; didn't have to be really long, just an explanation and a wrap up.
People may argue that three months was not enough development time. I agree. What makes me ponder this, however, is A) The size of their development staff (a simple cutscene and 10-minute gameplay sequence would have been easy to pull off in that timeframe), and B) Dare I say that Call of Duty, however much of a copy/paste it is, still has entirely new levels, cutscenes, and maps, and they manage to develop this in ten months.
Once again, I want to stress how much I want the Indoc. theory to be true. The video is put together very well and has a lot of thought and debate put into it. What pains me is that no matter how much I want to believe that it was planned all along, a part of me still rejects it because, frankly, while the theory works extremely well, something about the game's development just doesn't seem right.
Bioware shouldn't need to write a story so that "everyone and their grandmother" can understand what's going on. That would kind of hamper the story they are trying to tell and restrict them as storytellers. They even said the ending doesn't need to be explained, it was meant to be quite obvious (for anyone who paid attention). That's what they meant when the ending "speaks for itself".
So that's kind of why they didn't make a DLC to explain it, because they don't need to--it was meant to be obvious. Too many people think it's just about "resisting" indoctrination, and thus the game isn't over yet because the Reapers are still there. What can I say, people were told the game wouldn't end with "beat Reapers, proceed with closure", yet they're all up in arms that it didn't happen.
Many of Bioware's fans claim they are Bioware's target audience, but employees from Bioware have stated they are a niche market
^ Bottom third of page.
Choices don't affect the ending on multiple levels? The entire game is the ending, not the last 5 minutes. Read the Final Hours app. Clearly states instead of putting a fork in the road near the end of the game, why not have choices affect right from ME1 straight through the entire trilogy. That's how the game is supposed to work. Not, put a fork in the road near the end of the third game as many people expected. You guys read that book, right?
Statements said "choices from ME1 & ME2 will affect the war in ME3". ME3 is a galactic war where the price for failure is extinction. Your previous choices affected the game as a whole, so you got what you were promised. Might not like that they didn't do that in the last 5 minutes, but that's not what was advertised.
Closure came during the course of the game. Just because they didn't give you a Return of the King style epilogue detailing what happens to every living thing in the galaxy doesn't mean there wasn't closure.
Just for kicks:
Bioware trolled you all with that ending.
PS--I don't have a literary degree and I managed to understand the ending perfectly well. I guess I just paid attention to what was going on, while some people were too busy taking the ending at face value.
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