Mass Effect 3 Ending Controversy: The Game Front Primer

BioWare has finally announced the launch date of the Extended Cut DLC for Mass Effect 3, something for which fans of the series and detractors of the ending have been waiting for months. Coming June 26, BioWare has repeatedly said that the free DLC will not include new endings, however, just extensions of the three extremely similar existing ones.

Here at Game Front, we’ve devoted quite a lot of coverage to the Mass Effect 3 ending controversy, the fan responses and actions, BioWare’s treatment of the issue and the treatment of the discussion by the games industry and journalistic spheres at large. We’ve compiled everything we’ve written and researched into one place: right here. Catch yourself up on the ending controversy in preparation for the new content’s release. And stay tuned on June 26, when we’ll have much more Mass Effect 3 coverage from all angles.

What Happened

Player Starts Poll Asking BioWare for New Mass Effect 3 Ending [UPDATED]

On March 6, Mass Effect 3 was released to a whole lot of glowing reviews — including ours. About a week later, when fans finally started finishing the game, it became apparent that many were dissatisfied with the ending. BioWare developers had mentioned in the past that the endings would be varied and take into account all the player’s decisions up to that point. Many felt that wasn’t what was delivered.

The Mass Effect 3 Ending Backlash Continues To Gain Steam

Mass Effect 3 Ending-Hatred: 5 Reasons The Fans Are Right

We agreed. Much of the Internet and gaming press did not. There was a great deal of talk about “entitlement.”

Did Mass Effect 3 Really Deserve All Those 10/10 Review Scores?

We also analyzed whether Mass Effect 3 really deserved some incredibly high review scores.

Group Pushing For New Mass Effect Ending Raises $10K+ For Child’s Play

Almost immediately, a group of players turns their online protest into a fundraiser for Child’s Play, raising more than $10,000 in hours.

Casey Hudson Finally Talks About Mass Effect 3 Ending. Uh Oh.

After more than a week, Mass Effect 3 Director Casey Hudson finally comments on the ending controversy.

Videogame Reviews Aren’t the Exciting Spy Thrillers You Want Them to Be

Jim Sterling explains that there are no devious back-room deals when it comes to reviews.

RUMOR: Mass Effect 3 DLC ‘The Truth’ Due In April (UPDATED)

Rumors of new endings start to circulate.

BioWare Issues First Official Comment On Mass Effect 3 Ending

The developer claims it is “listening to all feedback,” but commits to nothing.

Mass Effect 3 Ending: Analyzing The Indoctrination Theory

We pick apart a theory about the Mass Effect 3 ending that floating around the Internet and BioWare forums.

Casey Hudson Makes Official Statement On Mass Effect 3 Ending

Hudson says fans need “closure.”

BioWare: We ‘Have Not Made a Decision’ on Mass Effect 3′s Ending Change Requests

While reaffirming that it’s listening to feedback, BioWare is again noncommittal.

Fan Files FTC Complaint Against EA Over Mass Effect 3 Ending

A fan reportedly files an FTC complaint regarding the game’s ending and its misrepresentation before Mass Effect 3′s release, triggering another wave of discussion in the “entitlement” debate.

Fans Write Comprehensive Take On The ME3 Ending’s Logic Problems

Some in-depth fan analysis.

BREAKING: BioWare To Address ME3 Ending via April DLC

BioWare’s first hints that ending DLC is on the horizon.

BioWare Was “Genuinely Surprised” by Reaction to ME3 Ending

BioWare’s Ray Muzyka talks about BioWare’s perspective on the controversy, but is still a bit cagey on the whole issue.

Mass Effect 3 Ending Outrage Makes BioShock Creator Sad

BioShock creator Ken Levine sees the ending controversy as being about artistic integrity.

Did a Mass Effect 3 Writer Slam The Ending?

A deleted forum post suggests the ending was not something all the Mass Effect 3 writers agreed upon.

How Mass Effect 3 Protesters Raised $80K for Charity

As the Child’s Play fundraiser grows, we talk to the organizers and members of the community behind it.

Retake Mass Effect Fundraiser: Why Child’s Play Shut it Down

Only a day later, negative feedback to the fundraiser and other issues cause Child’s Play to ask for it to be ended.

Full Paragon Gives Mass Effect Fans a Charity Without Retake Involvement

A new charity, related to Mass Effect but unrelated to the ending controversy, springs up in the Child’s Play fundraiser’s wake.

Why Changing Mass Effect’s Ending Won’t Compromise Art

We tackle the discussion of Mass Effect 3′s artistic integrity.

Retake Mass Effect Trolls BioWare with Cupcakes

This is kind of fun.

The Mass Effect 3 Ending Change: How Bioware Can Get it Right

We analyze what BioWare needs to do to fix the game with its DLC release.

BREAKING: BioWare Makes Mass Effect 3 Ending Change DLC Official

BioWare finally makes its official announcement and gives some details, emphasizing that no changes will be made to the endings.

Aliens: Colonial Marines Writer: Players Have ‘No Right’ To Petition Endings

Aliens: Colonial Marines writer Mikey Newman chimes in.

Is EA’s DLC Worse than Illegal Foreclosure?

Electronic Arts is voted the worst company in America, and Mass Effect 3 is part of the discussion.

Fans React: ‘Optimistic,’ ‘Infuriated’ over Mass Effect 3 Ending DLC

We reach out to the fan community for their reactions to BioWare’s DLC announcement and the state of the Mass Effect community.

ME3 PAX Panel: BioWare Offers Few Details, Lots of Speculation

BioWare’s Mass Effect 3 panel at PAX East 2012 actively avoids discussion of the ending, leaving many fans angry.

Is “Clarification” DLC Enough for ME3? Forum Poll Says No

A fan poll discusses whether BioWare’s explanation is satisfying.

Mass Effect 3 Ending: Change Could Have Empowered Game Writing

We discuss how game stories on the whole could have benefited from BioWare reworking Mass Effect’s ending.

Child’s Play Confirms Only ‘Handfull’ Of ME3-Related Refunds

Despite a claim from Penny Arcade’s Jerry Holkins, Child’s Play confirms there was not a run on refunds from the Retake Mass Effect fundraiser.

Retake Community to Send a Message With Mass Effect On/Off Event

The Retake Mass Effect community continues to organize protests.

Lance Henriksen Is Recording Dialogue For New ME3 Ending

Details start to emerge about the Extended Edition DLC.

Leaked Info on Mass Effect 3 “Earth” and “Extended Cut” DLC

More rumors about the DLC appear.

ASA Rules in Favor of EA: No False Advertising For ME3

In the UK, the Advertising Standards Authority rules that EA didn’t falsely advertise in relationship to ME3, despite fans’ assertions that it did. The discussion circulates the Internet, reigniting the discussion about the controversy.

Mass Effect 3′s Advertising Was Never the Issue

We analyze the ruling and the discussion appearing on the Internet and on video games websites.

Other Coverage

Mass Effect 3′s Prothean Character Unlockable Without DLC (PC Only)

There was also some controversy regarding Mass Effect 3′s Day One DLC pack, “From The Ashes.”

Mass Effect 3 PC Review: Prettier, But Pretty Much the Same

Our review of the PC version of the game.

Re-Dubz 17: The Real (Fake) Endings of Mass Effect 3 (VIDEO)

The Game Front video team takes on the ending controversy.

Malukah Sings Awesome Mass Effect Tribute Track (VIDEO)

An awesome fan-made Mass Effect 3 song you should definitely listen to.

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4 Comments on Mass Effect 3 Ending Controversy: The Game Front Primer


On June 25, 2012 at 6:18 am

everytime I see someone trying to defend the ending with ‘artistic integrity’ I show them this video:
and ask them to explain me why artistic integrity means to recycle nearly every aspect of the ending

thanks for all those posts and coverage of the controversity… this is the only gaming site I’ve found who won’t backstab the player at the end of the post by blindly siding with the publisher/developer

I used to buy BioWare-products without a second thought… but after Dragon Age 2 and running though the recycled areas over and over again and now ME3 with its recycled ending I’ve lost faith in the company and won’t buy anything from them unless people I trust confirm it’s good


On June 25, 2012 at 6:22 am

Likewise, Kakyo01.

I bought both DA 2 and ME 3 without hesitation. But now, I doubt I will buy either bioware’s, or blizzard’s for that matter, without waiting.


On June 25, 2012 at 8:04 am

Once again, I congratulate you guys for covering this matter. You’re the only site who treated this professionally. As I said before, you’re now my first source of information.

Now, regarding the controversy, here are my feelings/thoughts:

After playing ME1 and 2, I was very excited about the ending of the trilogy, and I couldn’t wait to get my copy of ME3. While I was waiting, I created different Shepards just to see how the story would change depending on the decisions I’ve made.
March was getting closer and I was hungry for news regarding the upcoming game, so I spent (maybe wasted) a lot of time reading Priestley/Hudson’s comments about the game on FB, Twitters, watching trailers, etc.
A few days before the release date, I’ve heard some rummors about the nonsensical ending, but I decided not to pay attention to them…
March 6th was here and after having LOTS of issues when trying to purchase a copy of the game through Origin (I live in Argentina), I managed to get a ME3 copy through Amazon.

I started the game and even though I couldn’t import my Shepard’s appearance due to a bug, I was so eager to see what would happen to my character, his teammates and each of the races.

It was March 9th when I reached the ending. My first reaction was confusion, then sadness (because I couldn’t believe it was really the way the trilogy ended), then came denial (I looked/navigated every site, every Youtube video explaining the ending just to convince myself tha I was wrong). Then I noticed how some Games media websites/journalists sided with BW/EA and disregarded what I think is constructive criticism.

Months passed after the game was released, and I couldn’t touch the game again, not even the MP.
The worst thing is that now I can’t even play ME1 or ME2…
A game that in my opinion was an “interactive Sci-Fi movie that could beat Star Wars”, was ruined.

What did I learn from this?
Next time I don’t preorder a game from EA/BW unless I have done some research first…

PS: My apologies for my english.


On June 25, 2012 at 3:00 pm

I will say this: Thanks, Game Front. When you look at how much, and the type of coverage you have devoted to this, it’s pretty obvious why I’ve become an avid reader of your articles.

One thing that this coverage highlights is that how Bioware, and other companies, handle such things is perhaps even worse than the problem itself. No, you can’t please everyone, and some were bound to be disappointed with just about anything, but you can make it look like you put some effort into it. More importantly, you can at least act like you “listen” to your fans. That doesn’t mean giving in to every demand, but it does mean opening up a line of dialogue. It doesn’t mean hiding behind twitter and only acknowledging positive feedback. It doesn’t mean releasing vague PR statements, and it doesn’t mean taking every criticism as a personal attack. When somebody can point to a pre-release statement like “it won’t be just A/B/C” and show you that it’s blatantly false, you owe your fans an answer, at least. It’s possible to disagree without making enemies.