Delivering on the promise of true multiple endings
While it seems that the dust is finally settling towards the anger about the Mass Effect 3 endings, this dust has left an uncomfortable taste in the lungs of many. The combination of the three color conclusions and the boasting of multiple endings did not fare well with a chunk of the fan base. Many finished BioWare’s last installment of the Mass Effect trilogy disappointed; wanting more for than what they were given.
Here’s the thing, if you boast you have 14 endings… have 14 vastly different endings. While technically subtle differences in endings are well – different, if they don’t vary enough, people will feel lied to. You don’t want your fan base feeling like that. You want your fan base to be jolly and content. A role playing game that has choices and decision making should reflect those hard decisions with results in the end. Then once it’s all over, said and done, a player should be able to see the consequences and reap the rewards. What I’m saying, is that if there are multiple endings – I want to see greatly differing multiple endings.
On June 13th 2012, the ASA ruled in favor of Mass Effect 3’s endings, saying they were "thematically quite different." The argument revolved around the Effective Military Score (EMS) rating in game. Since the score could be raised by past choices in previous games which ultimately affected your ending, this was proof enough to the ASA that the past games did in fact matter. They added "We also acknowledged that there appeared to be a large number of minor variations in the end stages of ME3, and that those were directly impacted by choices made by players earlier in the game(s)." So there it is – it’s official.
Despite my distaste for the endings of Mass Effect 3, the series is still one of my all-time favorites – hands down, and BioWare getting sued over this still feels ridiculous. While the ending is a big deal, I can’t just simply throw the rest of the experience away due to it.
I recall a much simpler time though; an era that didn’t depend on fancy graphics, motion sensors, or even internet connectivity. The height of the Super Nintendo was easily the era of the console RPG. Another game on top of that list of all-time favorites is Square’s Chrono Trigger. This game, now ported for both PlayStation and smart phones, is the RPG that arguably blazed the path for successful future role playing games.