Behold The Mass Effect 3 Happy Ending Mod
Here’s something we’ve been waiting a long time for; a happy ending to Mass Effect 3. No, it’s not an official add on that finally gives players the option to actually feel like all those hours of play could possibly have a satisfying ending, but it’s – kind of – the next best thing.
The Mass Effect 3 Happy Ending Mod inserts a new ending cobbled together from assets taken from the three original endings, the extended cut, and elements from Mass Effect 2, plus snippets of newly recorded dialogue. It removes the catalyst and makes the destruction of the Reapers the only outcome. It removes the crash-landing planet. It removes the implication that destroying the Reapers also kills Edi and the Geth (and adds the option of seeing the Geth and the Quarians being totes best buds). It also does something that damn well should have been in the final game, namely adds a scene after the war with Shepard being reunited with the crew and their love interest. As the modder puts it, “it is a real bitter-sweet ending with the emphasis on “sweet” rather than on “bitter”".
It’s not remotely perfect, being as it is a collection of reassembled assets with little professional polish, and it kind of misses the point of the Mass Effect series, since it removes choice entirely from the end. But it’s definitely an impressive work in progress that gives players the option, at least, of experiencing something close to the kind of ending whose absence sparked the greatest backlash in gaming history. If you do’t feel like installing it, you can watch it all in the videos below.
Watching these videos, I have to ask myself ‘how hard would it have been for BioWare to have done something like this?’ Honestly, at this point one has to conclude the only reason for not doing so was pique. And just in case someone wants to argue against the concept of a happy ending, a quick refresher:
* Mass Effect is a choice-based RPG.
* The series promised from the onset that your choices would dramatically impact the outcome.
* Gamers didn’t want a singular, happy ending, but they did want to know that after all the effort, all the time spent playing, all the choices they made, it would at least be possible to get to a genuinely happy ending, even if it did take a hell of a lot of work to do so.
* Instead, gamers got 3 largely identical endings, all of which were incredible downers. You got nothing but a confusing, same-looking outcome with zero closure and a billion plot holes (not to mention at least 5 inferred holocausts).
* BioWare clearly understood that point and ultimately came to agree with it, because despite claims to the contrary, the Extended Cut really did change quite a bit of the original endings. Just one example: animations that clearly showed Mass Relays blowing up were removed entirely.
So I repeat myself: there was never a justification for not including just one unambiguously happy and – and this is most important – character-focused ending that doesn’t require the player to ignore the previous 100+ hours of play.
Yes, the Mass Effect 3 ship has sailed, and there will never be an official happy ending that allows the player to see their personal journey carried through to the final moment. But it’s nice to see that even this far past the controversy, some fans still care enough to try to make one anyway. You can download it for yourself here (obviously, PC only).