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).

Via PC Gamer.

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13 Comments on Behold The Mass Effect 3 Happy Ending Mod

Wesker1984

On November 9, 2012 at 12:28 pm

Not official, not interested this BEEP will not change what we already have.

And get over it it just a damn game not a part of our life. I’m getting tired of all this insane buzz about the endings, the Catalyst or the plotholes discussions here. It been 8 months since the release of this game can you just let it go? For me Mass Effect 3 is over and i now wait for Mass Effect 4.

R.J.

On November 9, 2012 at 12:34 pm

I came across this a couple of days ago. It’s rather impressive. After watching it, I asked the very same question, “What would have been so hard about doing something like this?” I know Bioware spoke of “artistic integrity” and how they wouldn’t actually change anything with the EC, and yet they added the Refuse ending which wasn’t there before. Even though they basically took the appeal out of that option by making the next cycle use the Crucible, thereby negating the player’s choice, the concept of the Refuse ending came from specific requests by the fans. I don’t really see why that was ok and something like this wasn’t. One of the most common complaints was (and still is) that people didn’t feel like they really won.

As Ross correctly points out, nobody wanted this to be the one and only outcome, but they did want to have it considering there were supposed to be numerous endings and the series had already established that you could get through seemingly impossible situations through proper preparation. I’ve seen people on the Bioware forums attack the very concept of something like this, even though nobody was advocating the removal of the other outcomes. If people liked what they had, they are free to stick with it. People liked the Suicide Mission in ME2 because the outcome reflected what they had done. For whatever reason, Hudson and Walters decided that this would be “too video gamey” for this video game and dumped morally repugnant outcomes on each ending.

The greatest strengths of the series was the characters and the relationship that the players developed with them. Bioware has always been good at creating characters that people care about and has gotten by with gameplay that might not be so great or general plots that might be cliche because people loved the characters. Is it any wonder that when they decided that all outcomes would take that away that so many would be left wondering, “What’s the point of playing again or buying DLC?” Including something like this would have made a lot of people happy, and they would have likely forgiven what happened and become avid customers again. Heck, they could still just make something like this and win many people back. I know Hudson and Walter consider that as an attack on their “artistic integrity” but I don’t know that the repercussions would have been so heavy.

Even though I do not dispute that games are artistic, the fact is that they are also sold as products. Lots of things get changed in games because the publisher demands broader appeal and an opportunity to sell sequels, so is it truly so bad to actually give your fans and customers what they want? As Ross mentioned, Bioware claimed that they would only be expanding and clarifying, and yet certain things were changed or added. Obviously, they believed there was merit in what people were saying.

GarynDakari

On November 9, 2012 at 12:37 pm

While I respect the modders work, and as a modder myself, I find it pretty cool that someone could do this with an “unmoddable” game…

It makes FAR less sense than the real endings, and honestly, I would have been disappointed if the real endings were “happy”. That’d be far to stereotypical, especially for a Sci Fi story. Blow up the bad guys, save the universe, get the girl, very few good guy casualties.

No, I actually wanted a less than happy ending – Unless the “happy ending” was borderline impossible to achieve, making you really work for it, I would have been pretty disappointed.

Plus, like I said, it doesn’t even make sense anymore. People complained about space magic wiping out technology before? Well, how about now that it’s a magic space gun that only targets Reapers? That makes so much more sense now, doesn’t it?

I’m not trying to be a total sourpuss, or put down the modder’s work, I’m just a bit surprised at how happy most people are about this mod(Mostly referring to comments and coverage I’ve seen on other sites, like Moddb, or the Escapist). Was the biggest problem people had with the ending really just that Shepard died?

R.J

On November 9, 2012 at 1:00 pm

@GarynDakari

Certain aspects don’t exactly work, but there is only so much that can be done when there is zero mod support for these games and the only way is to cobble together scenes that are unchangeable. The modder admits that much of it is very rough because he was mostly working with the Bink videos that were in the game files. I’d cut him some slack on this.

And it’s fine that you wanted a less happy ending. Really, it is. All that people were asking for was the addition of something along these lines. Nobody wanted to remove the other outcomes since that would go against the concept of choice that the games presented and it wouldn’t be fair to those that were already satisfied. If Bioware did make something like this, there is no obligation for you to pick it. The idea of a happier ending that was very difficult to achieve is EXACTLY what people were advocating. It happened in ME2, and people loved it. I suspect that it didn’t bother you then, so I wonder why it bothers you now? Having something like this as part of the EC in no way threatens whatever outcome you picked.

I don’t really see how this would be any more space magic inducing than what we have. A weapon that targets a specific enemy because it is hooked up to the control center for that enemy is far more sensible than having it turn everyone into machine-organic hybrids. How does that make any real sense?

I don’t think the biggest problem for people was that Shepard died, but rather the Catalyst sequence itself. All outcomes were pushed upon people by forcing them to accept the offerings of the enemy like it made sense to do so. Refuse isn’t really a way out, since the next cycle goes ahead and uses the Crucible anyway, so that choice is rather moot. Even now, with the “clarification” we were supposed to get, the statements by the Catalyst largely boil down to “LOL, too bad.” The concept of a happy ending basically became a compromise that people were willing to accept. Bioware could keep everything it had already done intact, even if it made no sense, so long as people came out of it feeling like they won. They added one extra option despite claiming that no such thing would happen, so this wouldn’t really have been out of line.

Bruce

On November 9, 2012 at 1:05 pm

Ship has sailed. I play games for fun, Bioware decided to make a point… turns out that wasn’t so fun, so I’m out. Later Bioware!

PS. Halo 4 is how you do a good downer ending! All stuff, no fluff, and it completely makes sense.

James

On November 9, 2012 at 4:53 pm

A lot of people didn’t hate the ending because it was stark and not happy.

They hate it because it is forced, awkward, made no sense, and is so full of plot holes a Mass Effect Relay can comfortably squeeze through.

Swcloud99

On November 9, 2012 at 8:19 pm

Dragon Age Origins could have, and most of my playthroughs had, a dark ending. It was perfect and to get the perfect ending, you had to do something quite horrible.
That’s a good Bioware RPG and it made sense. then again, the voiced protagonist in Mass Effect insured the lack of real meaningful player interactions. Through the series, 90% of you choices didn’t matter. Of course the ending wouldn’t change that, what were we expecting.
I still don’t think it warranted the kind of uproar it got. It sucks, you realise it, you move on.
Simple.

Kill Yourself Please, Wesker1984.

On November 10, 2012 at 3:11 am

Wesker1984 – grow up, you stupid son of a . I am fed up of seeing your vacuous comments on every Mass Effect page childishly refusing to see anything wrong in what BioWare did. You and the rest of your blind fanboy masses are the reason the videogames industry won’t progress. You should be taken outside and shot.

The Death of Intellect

On November 11, 2012 at 4:25 am

This turd can’t be polished any more. Almost everyone who was ever naive or invested enough to give a damn about the story, characters and planets has now given up on the series. If BioWare’s main writing staff don’t care enough about their own game to give it a proper ending, and if the rest of the team didn’t care enough about the IP to stand up for it and try to prevent this from happening in the first place, then why the hell should anyone else care about it? The only people still championing this rubbish are the obedient mainstream press and their insular, sheepish fanboys who still think this is about artistic taste. The fact that the game looks likely to win Game of the Year in Official Playstation Magazine – which will almost certainly lead to another depressingly uninformed and deceitful attack on ‘entitled’ fans who don’t understand binary or some other such nonsense – is sad evidence that most of the people who played this series never gave a toss about the story to begin with, and just wanted to see the superficial emotional manipulation hyperbole that BioWare has now become infamous for. It’s no wonder writing in the videogames industry is laughed at when the very same publications who criticise games developers for not writing decent stories are contradicting themselves by mindlessly supporting the worst-written and most destructive ending to a piece of media – videogame or otherwise – in at least a decade.

quicktooth

On November 11, 2012 at 11:43 pm

Well, at last :D

Paul Morresey

On November 12, 2012 at 2:36 am

The only happy ending would be for BioWare to go bust, EA to tank, and numerous liars/spivs in the games press to have the rug pulled from under their shallow corporate existences so the real arguments can finally be heard on a larger public scale. The fact that magazines are STILL holding on to this ridiculous theory that the backlash was because it was “too sad” or because there weren’t “enough” choices (i.e. any choices whatsoever) is proof that their monolith of deception and laziness has to be challenged until it’s finally revealed to the uninformed masses who read their publications and never bother to cross-examine it with other sources. That’s the only way this can end happily, with a massive shift in the ideology of the industry and the end of the collaborative elitism of the mainstream press.

Sebastian Austin

On November 12, 2012 at 3:07 am

Jesus. I actually got chills when Shepard put Anderson’s plate on the wall. I’m convinced that even with all the melodramatic nonsense BioWare has become infamous for in recent years, they couldn’t have come up with an ending this genuinely bittersweet yet triumphant on their best day.

jlkawaii

On November 12, 2012 at 6:04 am

+1