Comment of the Week: Mass Effect 3′s Ending Isn’t BAD — It’s WRONG
Not to beat a dead horse, but Mass Effect 3′s ending has stirred up a maelstrom of controversy, with fans and reviewers duking it out over whether gamers have a right to demand a different conclusion to a series that has captivated hundreds of thousands.
Game Front’s Phil Hornshaw and Ross Lincoln have been staunch defenders of the fans, and Phil recently discussed how changing the Mass Effect 3 ending could have empowered game writing. Commenter The Doctor posted an insightful and thought-provoking theory:
Here’s my problem with the whole issue: it’s not that the ending is BAD. It’s just that the ending is so WRONG. In The Arrival, we saw how destroying a Mass Effect gate destroyed the whole system it was next to, killing over 300K people. In this, no matter which ending is chosen, all Mass Effect gates are destroyed, and presumably, all of the systems nearby go with them.
Throughout the entire game, you are presented with all of these wonderful pithy ideas about what constitutes life, what does sentience mean, how can we coexist, and all of this, and you work toward aligning everyone to tolerance and acceptance of one another and then you destroy all of the synthetics you just supported and even befriended throughout the game. Not to mention all the synthetics that biotics have implanted – they all die, too, presumably, including Shepard.
BUT: what if there really IS a plan here? As wrong as that is, it would be fun to think about this, and I haven’t really seen too many people bringing forth the idea. It’s pretty obvious to me that Liara/Shepard is the preferred pairing: no other relationship receives so much screen time, no other has such depth. At the end, if Liara was the love interest (whether through all three games or even just in ME3), Liara offers Shepard a final gift.
For me, this was one of the most touching, moving experiences I have ever seen in any game. That blissful moment of pause, of peace, while all the world was going to hell, and what might be their final goodbye… it was literally breathtaking. The light breaking over the horizon as the stars fill in around the pair while they are embracing, kissing… it was so beautiful it brought tears to my eyes (what weary soldier, knowing s/he is probably going to his/her death, would not love such a moment of rest in the midst of all that chaos?). But I can extrapolate one step further:
My Liara survived the ending, even though she was my active squadmate. Was Liara’s “gift” really just that beautiful moment? Or did she take that opportunity to record Shepard’s DNA, despite not being even close to her Matron days? Did she really mean to give Shepard a child?
Look at how ferociously she worked to retrieve Shepard’s body, because she couldn’t let Shepard go. Look at how she loves Shepard, stands with Shepard, no matter what. Maybe, Liara just can’t bear to let Shepard go and leave her with nothing left at all. Maybe Liara has Shepard’s little blue baby, and we go to ME 4 with her.
Actually kind of cool, if that’s where it’s headed.
Ross Lincoln believes this theory, while a reach, is just as plausible as the indoctrination theory — BioWare left so many gaping holes that fans feel the need to write the ending for them.
Farfetched or not, it certainly is a more emotionally rewarding ending. Kudos, The Doctor.
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