Federal Complaints Over Mass Effect 3’s Ending?

Nope, not kidding.

If you haven’t been following the Mass Effect 3 saga, without spoiling the ending, a lot of people aren’t happy.  Now it’s to the point where there’s a complaint to the FCC and the BBB.  Someone’s going through the alphabet here – and is calling for support.  As I’m seeing a lot of complaints, he may well find allies.

More beneath the break – to avoid any spoilers.

From what I’ve heard about the ending, I’d be pretty annoyed too, but in a more abstract sense this is something that brings up a variety of issues about modern media:

  • Multiple-ending games and game sagas are going to raise certain expectations – which game companies may not fully understand.
  • I’ve felt people are increasingly aware of legal issues, recourses, and conflicts in the real of IT.  I think this may be a good example of the trend – I wouldn’t have expected this, say, five years ago.  Now it’s not exactly surprising.
  • I think the dissatisfaction with the ME3 ending spread quickly due to the internet – another factor changing how people deal with expectations of electronic media products.
  • If this “has legs” (and isn’t corrected in DLC), I’d like to see if it affects any other game companies.
  • I myself am a firm believer that a multi-ending/multi-ordinal game should get radically divergent in possible endings.  But marketers and programmers may not feel that way since they’re trying to broaden appeal – and may worry about annoying people.
  • People may not always play games to the end, but a game that is about plot is going to get more negative reactions for a bad ending.  When you promise customization, it ramps up the anger.
  • It’s often been a joke that games can have bad, weird, or incomprehensible plots.  The promise of multiple endings and player impact changes expectations.  A lame “on rails” ending is forgiven as everyone gets to deal with it – an option-driven ending is something much different.

As for my reaction, I am not an ME3 player, but having read up on it, it sounds like the ending actually is pretty disappointing in many ways, and really doesn’t bring closure or a sense of accomplishment.  It feels as if the ending was supposedly “safe but dramatic” but ended up not really having the proper sense of feel or impact of action.

Now I’ve been disappointed by the ending of games many times, but I do think ME kind of wiffed it’s promise in the conclusion.  To sum it up without going too far, “Heroism is often breaking the cycle, not repeating it.”

Steven Savage

Steven Savage Steven Savage (2616 Posts)

Steven Savage is a Geek 2.0 writer, speaker, blogger, and job coach. He blogs on careers at http://www.musehack.com/, nerd and geek culture at http://www.nerdcaliber.com/, and does a site of creative tools at http://www.seventhsanctum.com/. He can be reached at http://www.stevensavage.com/.


  • http://www.jasanmateo.com Jose San Mateo

    YouTube the ending to the Sopranos. The reaction to that was pretty similar to ME3. Mass Effect fans are a little bit more rabid about it.

  • Vander

    You miss an important point: Bioware peoples have blatantly lied about the ending.

    Exemple: “It’s not even in any way like the traditional game endings,
    where you can say how many endings there are or whether you got
    ending A, B, or C.”

    Source: http://www.gameinformer.com/b/features/archive/2012/01/10/mass1525-effect-3-cas5ey-fdsafdhudson-interviewae.aspx?PostPageIndex=2

    And it was not a year ago, so the excuse ofchange during the developement. And you can find many more of this sort.

    So its not just about what sort of ending you can expect from this type of story.

    I don’t think the FCC will do anything, but the guy do have a point…

    Ps: Sorry, my english is a little rusty. Nice site by the way.

    • http://www.stevensavage.com/ Steven Savage

      I didn’t go into the legitimacy detail as I don’t play the game and was still gathering information – but frankly, it does seem Bioware may have set themselves up for this. We’re so used to hearing wild promises about games that people making them may forget the audience takes them seriously. I’m not entirely sure the complaint is legitimate – based on how the promises were made it may not technically be actionable – but it does bring up a lot of important points that people in the industry need to consider.

      Frankly, based on what I’ve heard on the ending, they could have done better at the very least.