Mass Effect 3, the Mass Effect game we were all very upset about until they put out the next one, got a lot of flack for its endings. Fans said they were unsatisfying, that they didn't take your decisions into account, and that choosing between them was anticlimactic. Not unreasonable, but they all miss the real point: Why didn't everyone just kiss and make up?
Violet McVinnie, a former BioWare dev who now heads her own studio, clearly agrees. When she still worked at BioWare, McVinnie had a tradition of creating alternate ending videos for the studio's games that envisioned what would happen if everyone just snogged it out. Here's ME3's.
So I had an interesting habit when I worked at BioWare. The day after we finished making a game I'd always throw together a quick video envisioning what it would be like if our characters would just kiss and make up. I'd need to find the Dragon Age version again. pic.twitter.com/6i4mcGraeXNovember 23, 2022
Touching, heartwarming, overwhelming. A cinematic triumph, and a more emotionally resonant final scene than any of that nonsense about "Control" or "Synthesis". Seeing Shepard and The Illusive Man finally put aside their differences and embrace really puts the Mass Effect series' themes into proper perspective, whatever they were.
Well, alright, I'll admit even this ending leaves something to be desired. Naturally, I'd rather that the lover awaiting Shepard at the end of his long run past all his dying friends was Harbinger, the two-kilometre tall space-dwelling elder god bent on the extermination of all advanced organic life. I guess Martin Sheen will have to do for now. Maybe in Mass Effect 4.
Speaking of which, it was N7 day recently, and BioWare gave fans a few more crumbs to feast on in the form of some old concept art with a hidden message in it. In it, Mass Effect's Liara T'soni can be heard saying "Exactly, the council will be furious, although they should know by now not to underestimate human defiance," which didn't really clear up any remaining questions I had about the next Mass Effect game. We do know the next game will be made in Unreal Engine 5, though, and that a few Mass Effect veterans are returning to work on the game. Also, it probably won't end on a passionate embrace with the main antagonist. Sigh.