The ending to Mass Effect 3 has made for one of the most interesting video game controversies in recent memory, with fans revolting against developer Bioware because they didn't like the game's outcome.
Now, Bioware says it will address players' complaints with additional content for the popular sci-fi action RPG.
In a blog post, Bioware co-founder Ray Muzyka wrote that the Mass Effect 3 team is working on “a number of game content initiatives that will help answer the questions, providing more clarity for those seeking further closure to their journey.”
Muzyka said Bioware will have more details in April, and that the content will be provided in addition to other content the company is already planning to release. “We’re working hard to maintain the right balance between the artistic integrity of the original story while addressing the fan feedback we’ve received,” he wrote.
It's still unclear whether Bioware will change the existing ending or simply add to it. My guess is the latter.
Choices Until the End
Unlike most other games, the Mass Effect series presents players with a number of choices that reverberate throughout the entire trilogy. This may be a minor spoiler, but the complaints I've read say that players' choices don't matter much in the end. (I haven't finished Mass Effect 3 yet myself, but having already played through the previous two games, I can understand why players would be upset by the lack of an emotional payoff.)
The controversy's been impossible to avoid on gaming blogs and forums. On the Mass Effect Facebook page, nearly every post is flooded with comments on the game's ending. The most notable backlash comes in the form of a petition, paired with a charity drive, to “Retake Mass Effect.” At the time of this writing, the petition has raised over $76,000 for the charity Child's Play from nearly 4,000 contributors.
On the bright side, the backlash has made for lots of interesting commentary on the effect players should have on the outcome of a game. Gamasutra's Leigh Alexander argues that Bioware set itself up for a controversy by giving players so many choices, thereby creating a sense of control over the story. “If you promise your players agency and involvement, they are going to take it seriously,” she wrote.
Still, the Bioware's decision to appease angry fans is likely to create its own backlash from players who think the developer should stand behind its artistic vision. As Penny Arcade Report editor Ben Kuchera snarked on Twitter: “Bioware will offer each player a choice of 20 different endings. Each ending is $2. You can buy as many as you want.”