Monday, April 2, 2012

The Ending of Mass Effect

(If you haven't finished the game I apologize there are some SPOILERS in this discussion)

There has been this huge discussion about the recently released game Mass Effect 3.  It was a huge hit with game critics and an absolute turn down for players.  The biggest reason being the ending of the game.

I have played it through once and seen the possible endings of the game afterward from people recording their choices on YouTube.  While there are a lot of holes in the endings, particularly pertaining to the scene with the Normandy flying between Mass Relays, there is something that a lot of the people who played the Mass Effect line have left out.  The fact that not every story has a completely happy ending.

I felt fine with my choice and the end of the game.  With a series so immense as the Mass Effect series is, to accommodate for all the choices a player could have chosen while playing would have been astronomical.  But the true fact of the matter is, it is the writers of the story that have planned out what ending it will ultimately be.  The fact that the writers left an Easter egg at the end of one of the choices just means that that ending was the one they had planned the whole time.    Not to mention the possibility for future games and spin offs.  

Yes, I know that the game was made to shape the galaxy into how the player wanted to, like deciding which species gets to live and which doesn't or who you want to befriend or not.  But its similar to the saying, "you can't bring money with you".  Meaning that you can't take money with you through the grave.  So whatever you do in the game will ultimately not matter at the end because the threat you have to face at the end will either destroy you or leave you limping and bleeding afterwards.  Yes, limping and bleeding is better than being dead but what I'm saying is even if you've won you still had the crap beat out of you.

As many of the players who really looked into the game, aside from playing it through to romance some alien chick or shoot up space meanies, should know from the Star Trek franchise that there is sometimes a no win situation.  So when Shepard dies at the end and strands the massive fleet he brought with him to Earth that is a no win situation.  Yeah, the threat to the galaxy is gone but sacrifices had to be made to do so.  That's what Admiral Hackett had been saying for the entire game.

You may say you hate the ending of the series but what you're not seeing is that the writers did exactly what writers are supposed to do.  Draw out your emotions and feelings so that they can be felt by you and, if they can pull it off, those around you as well.  What the players are kicking and screaming about is that they didn't get a 'Hollywood Ending'.  Not every story has a 'Hollywood Ending' and that's great. Not having happy endings is something that people remember.

All of this is not to say that writers shouldn't take into consideration what their audience feels.  If they didn't, they would get lazy.  As we've all seen with absurd amount of remakes and reboots of older movies coming out of Hollywood.  If writers didn't take their audiences' views into consideration the literary world would dissolve into too few actually creative books.  Much like what is coming out of Hollywood.  This point may not be pointed at the writers as much as producers not willing to put out movies that are original either way there has to be new ideas to promote growth.  But back to my main point.  What I'm saying is that even though a story is the work of a writer, the writer still writes the story so that other people will read it.  There has to be a trust for the writers to write something that will move the audience, whether to make them happy or sad or even angry, and an understanding that if something is written with an upsetting ending that it will still be well written and not just a cop out.

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