Mac Walters On Mass Effect 2 Ending: ‘What The Hell Were We Thinking’

Mass Effect 2 has been a source of tremendous debate here at GameFront. I’ve been back and forth on it, but I’ve lately become convinced that, though I love it, particularly in the wake of the odious The Arrival DLC the endings of Mass Effect 2 really did need focus, and that detracts from the overall experience considerably. Particularly the fact that the worst possible ‘successful’ outcome of the final mission – Commander Shepard dies and it’s implied the galaxy has to find a way to stop the reapers without them – isn’t able to be transferred into an ME3 game with all that entails. Why did they bother making it an option in the first place? Simply dying during your game and deciding not to continue serves the same purpose and doesn’t waste the player’s time going for an optional outcome that ends up doing nothing for them later. Save the hero’s death for the final chapter, I say.

But I don’t have a problem with the optional key party member deaths. It’s an expanded version of a Mass Effect feature I rather like, though I can understand why it might cause considerable problems for the writers to deal with in game three. In an interview with the Official Xbox Magazine, BioWare’s Mac Walters, lead writer for Mass Effect 3 confirms as much when he commented on the way the endings of Mass Effect 2 constrained the writing of ME3:

Sometimes they’re hurdles that we’ve given ourselves, so we kind of smack ourselves in the head and say ‘What the hell were we thinking? Why did we do that?’

The classic example is ‘Hey, let’s make the ending of Mass Effect 2 a suicide mission where all your henchmen can possibly die, and Shepard can even die!’ Oh right… and then we’re gonna do another game after that. What the hell are we gonna do with all those guys?

Like I said, I don’t have a problem with that. I’m more concerned about the fact that the horrible The Arrival DLC forces you to commit genocide regardless of whether you take the Paragon or Renegade path. Lame, guys.

Incidentally, the interview also confirms that we’re going to see more of the Citadel in Mass Effect 3 than we did in Mass Effect 2, thanks in part to the inclusion of new Citadel-based content originally planned for ME2 but cut to make room for, I’m guessing, stupid crap like the optional “Commander Shepard really dies!” ending. On that topic, Walters says:

There was a Mass Effect 2 plot that was a kind of callback to the first Mass Effect that was going to be on the Citadel, and we cut it. But now it’s made a resurrection in Mass Effect 3, so I’m happy, but I can’t say what it is.

Care to speculate which one? I’ll guess it has to do with the Consort, or with one of the three bio-specific side quests that only show up in an email reference in ME3. But what do you think?

Via VG 24/7

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1 Comment on Mac Walters On Mass Effect 2 Ending: ‘What The Hell Were We Thinking’


On November 29, 2011 at 11:03 pm

Yeah I never had a problem with the everybody dies ending in Mass Effect 2 because that was literally a ending that you had to be trying to get. Unless you are just outright stupid, you would not get this ending on your first try in the game. You literally have to do everything wrong. Also I can’t see this actually taking other content away from the game considering that it was only a few extra cinematics and nothing more. All the gameplay in the game up until the very end would have generally been the same no matter which ending you were aiming for.

I do agree about how close ended the Arrival DLC is. Whatever choices you make in that dlc make little difference to the overall outcome of the dlc. It would be nice if we were actually offered a paragon and renegade ending for that DLC that would be generally different than each other.

As for the new Citadel content? I’m hoping we get something with the Consort personally. She gave Shepard some sort of trinket during Mass Effect 1 that would apparently help him in his darkest moments or something like that. I’m kinda hoping this has some sort of importance in the third game.