Mass Effect 3's Ending Got You Down? Come Talk About it at Kotaku Game Club

Illustration for article titled Mass Effect 3's Ending Got You Down? Come Talk About it at Kotaku Game Club

Welcome back to the Kotaku Game Club's discussion of Mass Effect 3. We're finally here. Today we'll be talking about the game's last missions and its oft-maligned ending. Whether you loved or hated it, everybody seems to have their own idea of what should've happened at the end of this game.

As with all of our campaign discussions, this meeting will be crammed with spoilers. If you haven't seen the ending on your own yet, you might not want to wouldn't scroll down.


Joining the Game Club for the first time? Here's the deal: The Kotaku Game Club exists because no one wants to experience a game alone. Even if we're playing individually, it's always more interesting to share our thoughts and hear other peoples' perspectives. The Game Club picks a different game every month to play as a group so we can meet to discuss its narrative and mechanical themes and reactions to them.

We meet on Kotaku every Thursday at 4pm Eastern, and our discussions take place in the comments section of designated Game Club posts like this one.

By now, the salient details of Mass Effect 3's ending have been discussed to death. So rather than hashing whether or not the ending was good or bad, I have a couple of questions for you about the larger implications that have been brought forth by ending and the controversy surrounding it.

1) Are a "good ending" and a "satisfying ending" the same thing?

2) Do you think the final choice encapsulates the greater themes of the Mass Effect series as a whole?

When I announced that the Game Club would be looking at Mass Effect 3, I said that we wanted to take on an epic game. Needless to say, I think we hit the nail on the head. The last 15-20 minutes of this game raise more questions about Video Game narrative than many games ever do.

The final decision Shepard is forced to make isn't the one most of us expected. It doesn't break things down into paragon and renegade options, and doesn't necessarily let players feel the way they might have wanted to. It is however, and I know I'm skating on thin ice here, evocative. There was no indication of which decision was the best and, as a result, we were forced to think about it.


What did you think about when decided the fate of the galaxy? More importantly, did thinking about it change the way you felt about everything you'd done before?

This will be our last discussion of the Mass Effect 3 campaign, our final discussion will cover the game's new multiplayer offerings. We'll meet back on Kotaku next Thursday, March 29th, at 4pm Eastern.


Image Credit: Hellstern at DeviantArt.



I, personally, have no problem with the ending, though it's mainly because I don't think any of the "plot holes" were really plot holes at all. To address the major ones I've heard of:

Q: How did Normandy end up caught up in the Mass Relay explosion with the people who were on earth?

A: There are clearly some parts of the ending scene that the player doesn't see. There's two segments where Shepard blacks out between first running for the beam and his final choice. There's also a clearly defined scene skip between him rising on the platform and ending up where he meets the ghost child thing. These skips give room for an arbitrarily long period of time for Normandy to escape. Given that Normandy made it that far it seems that this is a reasonable series of events:

1. Somehow off camera(Shepard doesn't see this happen) the two squadmates you choose get separated during the run for the beam.

2. Everyone gets blasted by the Reaper on the way to the beam.

3. The radio calls go out saying Shepard, along with the rest of the Hammer team is dead, that nobody made it to the Citadel

4. The Alliance fleet calls for a retreat, intending to regroup somewhere else.

5. Normandy picks up the crew still on Earth, then flies out to the Mass Relay, takes it

6. The Crucible, along with the slower ships in the fleet see the Citadel arms open and figure(correctly), that this means Shepard actually survived and opened it.

7. The Crucible docks.

The rest you know already.

Q: Why did Joker run? Isn't this a change of character?

A: Not really. It makes perfect sense to run in order to try to come up with a new plan to fight the Reapers, rather than just giving up and going on a suicidal run against them. Everyone thinks Shepard is dead until the Citadel opens, and there doesn't appear to be any hope at all of catching the beam(it's unclear if the beam even stays on).

Q: Why didn't the Mass Relays exploding destroy every solar system?

A: I got the impression that the Mass Relays were destroyed intentionally by the ghost child, rather than as a side effect of Shepard's choices. It seems reasonable, considering the ghost child *made* the mass relays, that he would also know how to safely destroy them.

Q: Doesn't the destruction of the Mass Relays trap everyone where they are?

A: Yes. I'm... not sure how this is considered a plot hole? It's sad, but then it was the choice of the ghost child, not Shepard, that caused it.