Mass Effect 3: Extended Cut - Why Endings Matter

No self-respecting human being who has any sense of the history of narrative can ever claim that endings do not matter...

In only a few short days (indeed, probably the very day you read this), after months of protest and debate, Bioware will release their definitive ending to Mass Effect 3. Offered as a free addition to the current game this Extended Cut, said to be offering around ten minutes of content for each individual play-through, is an effort to appease fans of the franchise (in the interests of full-disclosure: like myself) who were decidedly unhappy with the original conclusion. Some had found the ending too abrupt; some considered it too vague; some (again, myself included) believed that the offered resolution was an abject reversal of all of the central themes that had played out in the trilogy up until that very point, a shocking and ultimately unjustifiable shift in the nature of the story being told. In response to the outcry that arose, Bioware agreed to adjust €“ although not alter €“ their ending, maintaining that their primary vision for the conclusion remained, but that they wanted to flesh out the details of that ending to offer their audience the closure for which many were pleading. In the past few months I've been reading an unsettling amount of articles in the gaming press decrying fans unsatisfied with the endings as being unjustly obsessed with one small element of the game. Indeed, one of the principle refrains I have heard from the people who criticise those unsatisfied with the endings (see most anything that IGN or Game Informer have written on the subject), or those that cannot see what all the fuss is about (see anyone who hasn't typed 'Mass Effect Ending' into Google in the past three months), is that ultimately 'it's all about the journey, not the destination'. The implication of such a statement being that (regardless of what you think of the ending of Mass Effect) in most any narrative it doesn't matter if the endpoint is nonsensical, or detached from the greater framework €“ if you've had fun along the way, that's all that matters. So I would like to take this opportunity to firmly, devoutly, over-adjectively call nonsense on that whole line of argument. You may defend the endings; you may think that people misunderstood them; but no self-respecting human being who has any sense of the history of narrative can ever claim that endings do not matter. Click "next" to read part 2 below...

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drayfish (Colin Dray) is a Lecturer in Literature at Campion College of the Liberal Arts, Australia. He enjoys breathing both in and out at sequential intervals, scratching when itchy, and can survive on a diet of instant coffee and handfuls of chocolate if his chair is periodically tilted towards the sun. ...And yes, he realises that his name is Dr. Dray. His blog can be found at: http://drayfish.wordpress.com/

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