BREAKING: BioWare To Address ME3 Ending via April DLC

Fans who absolutely hate the conclusion of Mass Effect 3 have for two weeks waged a dogged campaign, including a very effective fund raising effort for Child’s Play, to convince BioWare and Electronic Arts to change the endings. Today, it appears they may have finally succeeded. Minutes ago, BioWare co-founder Ray Muzyka posted a lengthy statement to the BioWare social forums that goes far beyond the previous, tepid official statement made by Casey Hudson late Friday evening, outright acknowledging the scale of discontent and more importantly, promising to do something about it.

“[I]t’s incredibly painful to receive feedback from our core fans that the game’s endings were not up to their expectations,” Muzyka says. “Our first instinct is to defend our work and point to the high ratings offered by critics – but out of respect to our fans, we need to accept the criticism and feedback with humility.” He later continues, “to that end, since the game launched, the team has been poring over everything they can find about reactions to the game – industry press, forums, Facebook, and Twitter, just to name a few.”

And the kicker? “Building on their research, Exec Producer Casey Hudson and the team are hard at work on a number of game content initiatives that will help answer the questions, providing more clarity for those seeking further closure to their journey. You’ll hear more on this in April.” Interestingly, April is the release window for the rumored ‘The Truth’ DLC. BioWare did ultimately deny the rumor, but it is very possible that this coincidence suggests there may have been a grain of truth to it.

Granted, this statement still hides behind the critical response to the game. This isn’t surprising, as one wouldn’t expect BioWare to say “yes, we agree that we gave you an inferior product”. But it’s telling that the counterpoint to the mention of fan outrage isn’t other fans, but critics. That suggests whatever BioWare is admitting publicly, the majority of the non-professional responses they’ve received have been negative. The devil is in the details of course. We still have no idea what these changes will actually entail. But that this statement is not only BioWare’s first real acknowledgement of the magnitude of fan dissatisfaction, but a promise to do something about it, is reason enough to conclude that Retake Mass Effect has accomplished a significant victory.

Here is Ray Muzyka’s statement in full:

To Mass Effect 3 players, from Dr. Ray Muzyka, co-founder of BioWare

As co-founder and GM of BioWare, I’m very proud of the ME3 team; I personally believe Mass Effect 3 is the best work we’ve yet created. So, it’s incredibly painful to receive feedback from our core fans that the game’s endings were not up to their expectations. Our first instinct is to defend our work and point to the high ratings offered by critics – but out of respect to our fans, we need to accept the criticism and feedback with humility.

I believe passionately that games are an art form, and that the power of our medium flows from our audience, who are deeply involved in how the story unfolds, and who have the uncontested right to provide constructive criticism. At the same time, I also believe in and support the artistic choices made by the development team. The team and I have been thinking hard about how to best address the comments on ME3’s endings from players, while still maintaining the artistic integrity of the game.

Mass Effect 3 concludes a trilogy with so much player control and ownership of the story that it was hard for us to predict the range of emotions players would feel when they finished playing through it. The journey you undertake in Mass Effect provokes an intense range of highly personal emotions in the player; even so, the passionate reaction of some of our most loyal players to the current endings in Mass Effect 3 is something that has genuinely surprised us. This is an issue we care about deeply, and we will respond to it in a fair and timely way. We’re already working hard to do that.

To that end, since the game launched, the team has been poring over everything they can find about reactions to the game – industry press, forums, Facebook, and Twitter, just to name a few. The Mass Effect team, like other teams across the BioWare Label within EA, consists of passionate people who work hard for the love of creating experiences that excite and delight our fans. I’m honored to work with them because they have the courage and strength to respond to constructive feedback.

Building on their research, Exec Producer Casey Hudson and the team are hard at work on a number of game content initiatives that will help answer the questions, providing more clarity for those seeking further closure to their journey. You’ll hear more on this in April. We’re working hard to maintain the right balance between the artistic integrity of the original story while addressing the fan feedback we’ve received. This is in addition to our existing plan to continue providing new Mass Effect content and new full games, so rest assured that your journey in the Mass Effect universe can, and will, continue.

The reaction to the release of Mass Effect 3 has been unprecedented. On one hand, some of our loyal fans are passionately expressing their displeasure about how their game concluded; we care about this feedback, and we’re planning to directly address it. However, most folks appear to agree that the game as a whole is exceptional, with more than 75 critics giving it a perfect review score and a review average in the mid-90s. Net, I’m proud of the team, but we can and must always strive to do better.

Some of the criticism that has been delivered in the heat of passion by our most ardent fans, even if founded on valid principles, such as seeking more clarity to questions or looking for more closure, for example – has unfortunately become destructive rather than constructive. We listen and will respond to constructive criticism, but much as we will not tolerate individual attacks on our team members, we will not support or respond to destructive commentary.

If you are a Mass Effect fan and have input for the team – we respect your opinion and want to hear it. We’re committed to address your constructive feedback as best we can. In return, I’d ask that you help us do that by supporting what I truly believe is the best game BioWare has yet crafted. I urge you to do your own research: play the game, finish it and tell us what you think. Tell your friends if you feel it’s a good game as a whole. Trust that we are doing our damndest, as always, to address your feedback. As artists, we care about our fans deeply and we appreciate your support.

Thank you for your feedback – we are listening.

Ray

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33 Comments on BREAKING: BioWare To Address ME3 Ending via April DLC

Tali (@Locolobo_2)

On March 21, 2012 at 9:08 am

That’s exactly what I thought when I read, “April”. At the same time though, I don’t know what to believe. I feel happy about this statement, but at the same time, I don’t feel right. I don’t want just closure to the end (which I hope isn’t the only thing they’re promising). I want no plot holes. No contradictory statements by the AI child to previous statements by Harbinger or Sovereign. I’m still not completely satisfied by this statement as it could still leave room for their maneuverability. However, I am glad RetakeME is getting to them. (For note, I like Bioware, I don’t like EA, I’m not satisfied by endings).

Michael

On March 21, 2012 at 9:22 am

Sounds like cosmetics. The problem that Shepard subjects the galaxy to one of the sick choices concocted by the genocidal AI that he spent three games trying to defeat will probably remain.

Kyle

On March 21, 2012 at 9:24 am

Yes, I am very pleased he addressed the negative feedback. But, a lot of the wording suggests we are about to get some DLC endings that will be in spirit with the original. A La, more arbitrary canned choices that have nothing to do with your Shepard’s journey or the Mass Effect lord and canon. I don’t know and I’m still skeptical. However, Bioware accomplished exactly what they wanted to with this statement: I’m going to hang on to my copy of Mass Effect 3 for at least another month and purchase at least one more DLC.

miguel

On March 21, 2012 at 9:31 am

Well that’s a fascinating response.  I also agree that the appeal to critics responses to the game is a bit disingenuous.  Just say you’re proud of the hard work your team has put in the game.  It almost sounds like an argument that Bioware is making to itself rather than fans because they need to reassure themselves about the quality of their work

Sounds like it will definitely be a topic of discussion on the PAX East panel (hopefully it will be civil, but I have my doubts).

But keep in mind, all he said is we will *hear* about this in april, not that it will necessarily anything will be released in april.  Though if it does get released in an april/may timeframe, I think we can all safely conclude the giving a vague and unclear ending and then providing a “real” ending later was their plan all along.

Brian

On March 21, 2012 at 10:08 am

Clarification =/= revision. These guys are still hedging. EA/Bioware’s main focus here is how to sell more product, and how to establish a new game in this disheveled and discontinuity-addled universe.

OMGrant

On March 21, 2012 at 10:33 am

Tali’s drunken rant: “I didn’t like her (keelah) she was such a . but I respected her. Sometimes that’s better than liking.”

I don’t have to like the ending. All I ask is that you give me one I respect. I’m not looking for more closure either, I’m looking for an ending that doesn’t carve holes into 5 years of gaming experience.

Chris

On March 21, 2012 at 10:44 am

There is no more room for error BioWare. I hope they realize that they have the opportunity to make this “junk” (I won’t even refer to it as an ending because it is not) in the last 10 minutes of the game into one of the most creative endings an epic trilogy like Mass Effect has ever seen. I am 99.9% sold that the indoctrination of Shepard was their true intention for the series and this DLC will not change the last 10 minutes, but simply continue right where it left off, from where Shepard is lying in the rubble back on Earth from Harbinger’s beam. Even if the Indoctrination Theory is wrong ( which I doubt by now because of all the evidence found that supports it), I really think BioWare completely changing the last 10 minutes would be wasted potential because the last 10 minutes never really happened in reality! The end of the game is still yet to come people. Sure, they may have messed up by not adding an ending to the disc, but I would hold on to your copies because I am certain if you don’t you are going to miss out on one of the most epic conclusions a video game series has ever seen.

Tali (@Locolobo_2)

On March 21, 2012 at 11:15 am

I almost don’t even care if the Indoctrination Theory was their intent all along… I just want them to implement it anyway so we can all feel Wowed by the amazing-ness. And although free content would be awesome, I would totally pay for the indoctrination theory ending…

Tom

On March 21, 2012 at 11:30 am

This shouldn’t be a hard decision for BioWare. This has become a PR nightmare, and they should be trying to remedy the situation. If BioWare made a statement along the lines of “We screwed up, and we will provide closure through DLC”, then I think the fervor would begin to die down. It’s their move, and they better make the most of it.

Docmeff

On March 21, 2012 at 12:08 pm

They didn’t say that the endings were changing. They said they would provide more information to clarify the endings. That sounds like they are going to try to bail themselves out and put some bogus filler nonsense in there to try to pull the wool over our eyes. I hope I’m wrong.

Peter

On March 21, 2012 at 12:09 pm

I’m Commander Shepard, and this is my new favorite article on the “Retake Mass Effect 3″ movement.

“You all know the mission, and what is at stake.

I have come to trust each of you with my life — but I have also heard murmurs of discontent.

I share your concerns. We are trained for gaming; we would be legends, but the records are sealed.

Glory in online battle is our way.

Think of our heroes; Leeroy Jenkins, who defeated a raid group with a single pull.

Or Rick Astley, who kept excited gamers at bay with hidden Rickrolls.

These giants do not seem to give us solace here, but they are not all that we are.

Before the network, there was the Atari. Before video games, there was D&D!

Our hours of gameplay stopped Saren and Sovereign, but before that we held the line!

Our influence stopped the Collectors, but before that, we held the line!

Our influence will stop Bioware and Mass Effect 3′s crappy endings; in the battle today,

WE WILL HOLD THE LINE!!”

Freddonad

On March 21, 2012 at 2:44 pm

First the whole Indoctrination Theory that have you, the player, in a accept-your-fate-and-submit situation, much like those that were indoctrinated in-game (assuming that the theory strikes true).

Then there’re those who resisted and went to gather people across the globe to fight a seemingly impossible cause… and is actually accomplishing things…

Even if nothing good comes out of it after all, still it was amazing to watch these events unfold. If that’s BW’s idea of the ultimate storytelling, they really did it (along with pissing off half the globe).

Zibanitum

On March 21, 2012 at 3:31 pm

It is almost sad how this is trying to deflect from the greater issue. BioWare made BIG promises in its advertising about the end game scenario and failed to deliver on those promises. This statement from Dr. Muzyka reads like they are hurt fans want them to live up to those big claims and that their customers should be happy with being sold a broken product. Well. As “Gamers”, if games have taught us anything about life giving you lemons, well…

“…When life gives you lemons, don’t make lemonade – make life take the lemons back! Get mad! I don’t want your damn lemons, what am I supposed to do with these? Demand to see life’s manager!…”

When you break these kinds of promises:

“As Mass Effect 3 is the end of the planned trilogy, the developers are not constrained by the necessity of allowing the story to diverge, yet also continue into the next chapter. This will result in a story that diverges into wildly different conclusions based on the player’s actions in the first two chapters.” – Casey Hudson
“I honestly think the player base is going to be really happy with the way we’ve done it. You had a part in it. Every decision you’ve made will impact how things go. The player’s also the architect of what happens. “Whether you’re happy or angry at the ending, know this: it is an ending. BioWare will not do a “Lost” and leave fans with more questions than answers after finishing the game.” – Mike Gamble
“There are many different endings. We wouldn’t do it any other way. How could you go through all three campaigns playing as your Shepard and then be forced into a bespoke ending that everyone gets? But I can’t say any more than that…” – Mike Gamble
“This story arc is coming to an end with this game. That means the endings can be a lot more different.” – Casey Hudson
“Its not in any way like the traditional game endings, where you can say how many endings there are, or weather you got ending A, B or C.” – Casey Hudson

Well, they should take the chance to live up to them.

ManiacFive

On March 21, 2012 at 3:52 pm

This

““There are many different endings. We wouldn’t do it any other way. How could you go through all three campaigns playing as your Shepard and then be forced into a bespoke ending that everyone gets? But I can’t say any more than that…” – Mike Gamble”

There can be no greater contradiction than that. Unless Mr Gamble genuinely believes that having a varying degree of destruction on Earth come the final moments of the trilogy counts as ‘many different endings’

totalhypocrite

On March 22, 2012 at 12:13 pm

given the number of perfect reviews from critics i can’t help but wonder if they actually managed to complete it.

still points to Bioware for changing, unless this was one big PR stunt from the beginning of course

A Krogan Mob

On March 22, 2012 at 12:23 pm

With all due respect to Bioware
My problem with the ending is this: In a game that’s based off of player choice, in a universe where you can shape the fate of the entire Galaxy piece by piece, you can choose to save or destroy entire species, you can choose the fate of worlds and individuals, you can shape galactic politics and even the economy in any way you see fit, you can pursue relationships with characters that feel as real as life in any way you want to! And then you’re left with no choice in the third game. You can solve the issues you’ve been waiting to solve for years and then at the end, what does it all matter? All the hours I put into this franchise, all the money I poured into it, shaping and molding a world that seemed all my own, pursuing relationships, after being promised a trilogy and an ending that would be different from everyone else’s, after EVERYTHING I did, I’m left with nothing. Im left with more questions then answers, I’m left with so many plot-holes I don’t know what to make of it, and most importantly, in a game based off player choice, I’m left with 3 irrational, copy-and-paste endings that make me feel like none of my choices in any of the games mattered. What’s the point of saving the Rachni Queen? Whats the point of appointing Anderson to the council? What’s the point of my war assets? So what if I destroyed the collector base? Why did I pursue a romance with Tali again? What was the point of re-writing the Geth? What was the point of uniting the Quarians and the Geth? Do I care that I undid the genophage? Why should I save Ash over Kaiden again? Why did I go through all of that, to be left with the same thing as everyone else? Why did I go through all those choices when it doesn’t even matter?
Here’s my constructive criticism, you want to please your fans? Keep your promises.

kh2

On March 22, 2012 at 12:55 pm

Now is it free !? I don’t think so but any way at least they’ve listened.

Carter Hanson

On March 22, 2012 at 2:15 pm

I thought all of the endings were great and that Bioware has created the greatest science fiction tale ever told. I honestly cannot believe how much negative feedback everyone has given. I was emotionally grasped and thoroughly entertained with all the endings. How do thick headed do you people have to be? Did you actually think we could destroy the Reapers conventionally?? Did you actually believe that there would not be any great sacrifices and mass populations lost?? The entire game led up to The Crucible and finding the Catalyst. What did you guys want the Catalyst to be? I really think that nobody here is a real fan and nobody realizes the power and amount of Reapers the Milky Way has been faced with. All of your war assets can only help so much when the Reapers have an incalculable number of fleets. The child VI at the end is only a message from a form of being so advanced that they have exceeded the realm of existence we know of and have no way of communicating with beings that still exist in the consciousness we know of. Why don’t you guys do a second playthrough and see what really happens instead of ing at the developer and wasting your time???

Fletcher

On March 22, 2012 at 4:12 pm

@ Carter Hanson
If you liked the endings than good for you. However, everyone is entitled to their own opinions on the ending and it just so happens that a great deal of people aren’t satisfied with them.

I also think you are missing the point. From what i’ve gathered it isn’t the overall plot of the game that bothers people ( Building the Crucible, finding the Catalyst, etc.) it’s simply the last 10 to 20 minutes of the game. The ending opens up more questions and the Catalyst/God Child has some of the most absurd logic especially if you did manage to unite specific elements of the galaxy. Then of course there is the issue that your choices really aren’t seen in the final outcome of the game. People wanted to see their united force of different races and factions coming to fruition. Instead, people mostly just got the same cutscenes with a different color effect at the end of the game.

Whatever though. You just said everyone here wasn’t a fan of the series. So I guess all those people that donated a ton of money to charity aren’t true fans. I guess we are all just a bunch of Whiners flailing around angrily. The vast majority of the people who liked the ending seem to think this is the case. It’s actually really beginning to annoy me how people barge in and instantly assume that people that aren’t happy with the games ending are just Whiners.

John

On March 22, 2012 at 5:49 pm

@Carter Hanson

Two quick comments–okay, three:

1. Calling fans who are dissatisfied “thick-headed” is merely an ad hominem argument that’s logically invalid and offensive. Just because someone disagrees with you doesn’t make them thick-headed.

2. The game’s ending made me think of the expression, “Just because no one understands you doesn’t mean you’re an artist.”

3. The difficulty that fans have (that I have, at least) is that there’s no emotional payoff for having invested 100+ hours (and nearly $200) in a series of games where we consistently have been given the message, “Your choice matters. This is YOUR world and it will be shaped by what YOU do.” The last ten minutes of Mass Effect 3 make clear that nothing we’ve done makes any difference. I’m not certain what the writers intended, but the ending is neither awe-inspiring nor wondrous; it’s a coldly intellectual, emotionally vacuous conclusion to an otherwise highly emotional and generally excellent series. Put another way, it’s the worst case of video gaming blue balls that I’ve ever seen.

Lizz

On March 22, 2012 at 6:08 pm

I was alright with the ending. I mean Soveriegn was a pawn used by the Crucible which was the one in control, and people die. I believe the ending after the credits clears it up; that the Mass Effect games were an elaborate story told to a child. He’s telling the legend of Shepard. All heroes die, some sacrifice themselves for what they think is right, like in the movie ‘I am Legend’ he sacrifices himself and becomes a legend, a hero; so does Shepard he/she becomes a hero from their ultimate sacrifice. I was actually pleased with the ending that they made up their mind to have your character become a legend instead of Dragon Age Origins where it looked like you had to sacrifice for the life of others then Morrigan comes in and says ‘wait! I’m going to offer you something completly random that wasn’t hinted at or had a mention of earlier’ Ok, I’m happy your character could live, but I’m happy they made up their minds instead of having a random Morrigan based card and really it makes sense; the game takes place in the future, so no magic witch to bail you out. It was Shepard that started the game and it has to be Shepard that ends it, even if it’s death, it was a good way to die, sacrific for the sake of others

phroderick

On March 22, 2012 at 7:11 pm

DLC plot prediction: Shepard wakes up and realizes the game’s ending was just a bad dream, then goes out to a different (more credible) conclusion. Plot cliché saves the day for Bioware!!

Michael

On March 22, 2012 at 7:33 pm

@Lizz
Shepard was sent to defeat those responsible for destroying the galaxy every 50K years.
Shepard was not sent there to capitulate and implement their newest plans.

Mordin in the end realizes that he was wrong to impose his genophage “solution” on the krogans no matter what seemingly rational reasons he thought he had. This lesson about self-determination is one of the major plot elements of the story (obviously only if you chose these particular options). Likewise with saving the geth and unshackling EDI.

But here we have Shepard imposing the solutions dictated by the AI on the galaxy again. At least Mordin had convincing reasons, the AI can’t even get the premises of its confused logic straight.

Kolby

On March 22, 2012 at 11:24 pm

I have spent more hours playing the mass effect series then any other game bar none. Naturally I was disappointed with what I thought was the ending as well. Bioware, idk if the Shepard indoctrination theory was your plan, there’s a lot of evidence in its favor either way, but you should go with it. If it was your plan then it was ballsy and quite frankly genius. If not, then pretend it was! The video and forums about it are abundant and convincing. Sure that means you’d have to create a whole new ending after Shepard fights off indoctrination, but quite frankly it needs one. Sieze the moment and go down in history as the gods of the rpg genre.

(Still) loyaly and repsectively,
Kolby

Disappointed Volus

On March 23, 2012 at 5:41 am

Bioware have created a great game but the end of ME3 just leaves so many plot holes and continuity errors the big one being:- ME2 destroy the ALPHA relay you destroy the system but shepard destroys all the relays so surely all life would die anyway with the resulting explosions but as we see at the end life survived (all be it on another world)

i am now hoping that this DLC coming in the next month will give me the ending i wanted in the first place :- shepard chilling with liara and their blue babies on earth knowing that the universe is safe from reapers. maybe with a cut seen showing joker and edi, garrus , tali on her home world with the geth, ash or kaiden, wrex and grunt as fathers ( would be funny) and anderson back on the council ( but he dies which annoyed me)

PLEASE bioware heed the voice of the millions and change the ending so that all our decisions are reflected.

from
a hopefully not disappointed volus

Rekonnor

On March 23, 2012 at 10:06 am

so, if they really make something up, i hope they dint forget dr. chakwas: she wants to drink with you sometime in the game. if you say “let’s wait until we won”, i want a scene where they have that damn drink ^^

Dragonman

On March 23, 2012 at 11:58 am

I don’t care about the ending: what happens, happens. Everyone dies, everyone lives, Reapers die, Reapers live. I really didn’t care what the ending would be since I THOUGH IT WOULD BE EPIC, BUT IT WASN’T. The thing which annoys everyone and me primarily, seems to be, lack of sense: the ending itself is nonsensical! So many contradictions and plotholes to what has been said, a famous one being ‘Yo, I created synthetic Reapers to kill organics so they aren’t killed by synthetics!’ just what the hell… there is no logic anywhere in the ending… and the classic god child at the end, why? who is this ‘child’ that ‘created’ the reapers? is it god? is it some omniscient prothean mind? just what is it?

Bioware just made such a hype about decisions and because their script leaked at end of 2011 (i think it was december) they postponed the game release (most likely reason I believe) and took 3 months to come up with this crap ending! No closure, no sense: almost pure BS. We all want to know what happens to crew members and love interests… we all want to know what happens to the races of the galaxy.. we all want to know what happens to Shepard properly damn it! I would’ve been pleased with a classic one or two paragon and one or two renegade endings where Shepard lives or dies and everyone lives or dies and reapers live or die.

I wish the DLC was free but I’m guessing it won’t be so I guess i’ll just have to youtube it…. (i was almost put off playing any ME games because of this.. somehow I got back to playing ME3 and finishing off some bits in ME2 to import to ME3..)

Samuel Jordan Ciraulo

On March 23, 2012 at 6:52 pm

If they go with the indoctrination theory then I will be content and they can take my money.

I paid 80 damn dollars for this unfinished game, if this is what I paid for, I will never buy from them again. an ending can fulfill or break a game, and this ending as it is has shattered the mass effect universe. You seriously could not destroy the mass effect universe any more thoroughly then they have by those endings. So if they stick with the ending im boycotting Bioware and EA.

Ill also play this for the next month.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VMM2ut1-Sro&list=FLgqGfglBcUaNQRqYkOPWqrw&index=196&feature=plpp_video

ME123

On March 26, 2012 at 3:20 pm

From the moment I started playing ME1, all the way to ME3 It was a pure joy ride for me. I loved the game so much, I willingly put everything else behind (aka school work, as an engineering student this is a fairly big deal, failed a midterm and missed out on a couple of assignments) and just kept playing until I finished the game.

But why do I have this bitter taste in my mouth after finishing ME3?
It’s almost as if I just finished ME2 and I am just getting pumped for the next sequel, except that in this case there will be no ME4.

I don’t know… Though I do believe that the whole ME trilogy was nothing less than EPIC… For some reason I am not completely satisfied with the way the ‘epic journey’ came to an end.

I will hold my breath though. I now have something to look forward to, something that might happen in April 2012.

Von Salza

On March 27, 2012 at 4:15 am

There’s only one possible way to solve the ending problem…ME4

racing

On March 27, 2012 at 10:35 am

Hey learned something newjust now now I’m happy for now. Best Wishes!

Kasey

On March 27, 2012 at 1:23 pm

Why is the critics reponse so different?

Kevin

On March 28, 2012 at 10:18 am

I find it fascinating that the majority of people who say the ending shouldn’t be changed haven’t even played the game. If they had, they would’ve seen it isn’t a matter of being good or bad. The ending doesn’t even make sense.