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'Retake  Mass Effect 3 ' charity drive raises $30K in 24 hours
'Retake Mass Effect 3' charity drive raises $30K in 24 hours
March 14, 2012 | By Mike Rose

March 14, 2012 | By Mike Rose
More: Console/PC, Business/Marketing

A charity drive aimed at having the end sequence of EA and Bioware's Mass Effect 3 altered has seen a surge of donors during its first day, with over $30,000 contributed.

Mass Effect 3 launched earlier this month, and is the final game in the Mass Effect trilogy, ending the story of Commander Shepard.

However, a number of fans of the series are not happy with the way in which the story ends, and are petitioning for Bioware to add alternate endings to the game in order to provide better explanations and closure.

"We believe that it is the right of the writers and developers of the Mass Effect series to end that series however they see fit," explains the pledge page, with which these gamers are urging Bioware to add new endings.

It continues, "However, we also believe that the currently available endings to the series do not provide the wide range of possible outcomes that we have come to expect from a Mass Effect game."

The "Retake Mass Effect 3" campaign also acts as a charity drive for the Child's Play foundation, and people who donate to the cause will see their money go directly to the charity.

Gamasutra has contacted EA and Bioware regarding a response to the charity drive.

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Galaxy 613
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I err what. I heard rumors of petitions but this is crazy.

John McMahon
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I haven't completed the game, but I support them.

The game has had several issues and I'm not surprise that people would see the ending as incomplete or a lack of closure.

This is fairly interesting considering all the problems the last novel had.

Rebecca Phoa
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Well, I haven't finished the game--crazy I know. To give Bioware the benefit of doubt, I've played a whole bunch of games whereby the ending was not this 'big happy thing.' When I finished Oblivion, I was expecting this big parade because, you know, closing all the portals to hell was pretty tough--instead I got an elf telling me I'm the big hero and then abruptly leaving me to my own devices. I played KoToR 2 and finished it. The ending was blah, but it didn't suddenly make me think it wasn't a better game than the first (an extremely rare opinion.) Que the ending to Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge. Did anyone figure out if the world was saved at the end of Final Fantasy 7 after the 'last' cutscene?

Deus Ex (even though I love this game to death) had these three endings that didn't do much for me either. Same thing with DX2--heck, Chrono Trigger had 15 'endings' and a number of them were elaborate credit rolls. Am I surprised people are upset? Not at all. Am I surprised by the petition? Sure.

--DX: HR Spoiler--
There are 'a lot' of things in games that people don't like. People were unhappy about the boss fights in DX: HR. I get it--they don't reflect your actions if you decide to start tranquilizing them into submission. I lived with it because when I fought a boss, I came out guns ablazing so they made 'sense' for at least one person in the fanbase. What else could Eidos Montreal do? They apologized--so maybe Bioware needs to...apologize?
--DX: HR Spoiler--

Endings are just like anything else. Could be good, bad, or ugly. Honestly I'm probably missing something here, but I'd like them to fix the bugs and the problems with importing ME1-->ME2-->ME3 characters properly before tackling this issue

John McMahon
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Funny, when I imported my character I had no issues. Although she looks very similar to another blond in the game. Am I wrong or does BioWare just use the player character creator to make some NPC characters instead of customizing them like they did with David Anderson and Iconic Shepard?

Rebecca Phoa
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@John McMahon

Importing from ME1 to ME2 is fine. Taking that same character from ME2 to ME3 generates an error message prompting the player to recreate the character. Both of my saves failed to import the head. At least the decisions made were fine--I've heard otherwise.

-3-launch-marred-by-problems.aspx)People have been using 'facecodes' from ME2 and plugging them into ME3, or just straight importing--no problem. Mine didn't have a facecode when I imported from ME1 (which makes my save a little different). Attempts to obtain a facecode for import to ME3 by customizing the character in ME2, resets your imported character face back to the default (so you need to rebuild anyway).

Also the character generator is different in ME3 (certain properties are not in ME3 such as this dark brown iris colour I originally had, and the original ponytail style.) Even so, people typing in ME2 facecodes are getting slightly altered Shepards. There's a big thread about it on their forums.

Rebecca Phoa
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@Zack Durden

I know. I preferred ME1, ME2 was highly disappointing--nothing I did in ME1 affected ME2 and they turned it into a game I barely recognized. But as a 'customer,' there is little one can do other than air your complaints. If you owned 'a lot' of stock, maybe--you're an investor. I don't, so they won't listen to me. Why should they? It's about who and who isn't a stakeholder.

Fans are great--but it is much easier to have fans who don't complain. Who do you want to buy your product? Someone like me, who got all distressed over the removal of a top-down camera in Dragon Age 2 and waffled for months until the price lowered to $20 just to see if I was wrong about it?

Or someone who walks into a store, picks up Dragon Age II, and buys it because it 'sounds cool,' has 'awesome action,' and 'fantastic story' and bought it for $60? They don't know anything about the first game, never read all the complaints fans had with it on forums regarding the DA 2 demo, the bugs, the wave based enemy combat. They go on the Metacritic--82. Great--it's a buy.

If you want to make money, you want these people. Not me.

I had low expectations going into ME3. Because nothing I did 'mattered' in ME1--ME2, why would I think differently? It wasn't going to be this 'thing' for me. I accepted that it was going to be a game, not earth shattering, not going to make 'sense.'

Brandon Curiel
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In other news, petitions now raised to retroactively change the ending of Lost and the Sopranos.

Joe McGinn
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Lost yeah but Sopranos don't you dare ... best ending ever, man. It was perfect. That uncertainty of whether violence will explode now is their *life*, that's the whole point of the series, and all mob stories really. The ending is genius at work.

Ryan McClure
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Please don't go down the strawman route of imagining people are looking for a "happy ending."

The game has an *unsatisfying* conclusion that largely invalidates the entirety of the prior three games' worth of choices and decisions--a key staple of the games' engagement with players. Downer endings are fine, if they're done well.

The vast majority of Mass Effect 3 is executed brilliantly and BioWare has done an amazing job...but the end completely pulls the rug out from under the player's experience. It's a complete and total tonal, experiential, and thematic shift that *does not work* as presented.

Dismissing this issue as "players crying for a happy ending" demonstrates that one has entirely missed the point.

Mihai Cosma
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I've ranted on a ton of forums and sites and even made an article here on gamasutra about the endings, but i do have to mention the 'happy ending' shoehorn. It's totally not true.

As was said, it's unsatisfying.

Remember another Bioware game, Dragon Age. There, my hero knew that he was going to die early on, and in the end, after Morrigan's proposal which i promply disergarded i was set. I knew what had to be done to save the realm and i did it. My character died fighting the dragon mano-a-mano and we got a beautiful ending memorial ceremony and falloutesque clippings of what happened to characters. It was satisfying. I knew what i fought for and i knew what i died for.

While Mass Effect 3 indeed had more to its backstory, it should have been a major point in ending the series properly. While i felt the game was stellar in execution and gameplay, the fact that it ended on a poor note totally spoiled any and all good will i had towards it.

Our Shepard deserved better.

Caleb Goh
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Like many others, A wave of negative emotions sweeped through me at the end. I go with the "what's done is done" mentality, but I really fail to see how anyone, who have played through the whole series, would not feel disappointed at the very least!

As Mihai and Ryan has pointed out, it isn't about a happy or sad ending.

It's an ending that ultimately feels more like an ending of a random X-Files episode more then an ending to a saga. Perhaps they ran out of time. Perhaps they just got lazy. Perhaps they didn't have the resources to get what was expected done and had to change the script.

Or perhaps they weren't careful with how they handled a player's emotions in the game at the most critical point. Because I felt frustrated at how the ending was handled due to how my emotions were built up at the last moments of the game;

Blind optimism at first, which slowly leads to desperation, to full blown desperation, to desperate hope, to a sudden confusion and final acceptance of my fate.

And then suddenly I'm back on deck in the CIC, rearing to go again.

If you are going to kill off my Shepard, do it. If you want people to purchase and play DLC content after they complete the game, well then, shouldn't have decided to kill Shepard off eh?

Tore Slinning
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Sorry but...HAHAHAHA!

I shouldn't laugh because its sorta depressing.

If anything it shows how gameplay have been completely irrelevant to these people.

Bioware...for gods sake, start label your "Games" as DIY adventures and get it over with!

David Serrano
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This is about so much more than just how ME 3 ended. Its about consumers finally taking a stand and insisting the AAA industry accept the responsibility of delivering on their reasonable expectations for the games they purchase. The bottom line is this: all AAA games are consumer products first, "art" second. Establishing and maintaining brand / consumer loyalty is based on consistently delivering on reasonable expectations for a product. Expectations created by past experience with the manufacturer, the reputation of the manufacturer, how the product is marketed and advertised and perceptions created by word of mouth and the media. While professional story tellers need to stay true to their vision, they also can't ignore their work is a for-profit commercial product. This requires them to on some level, acknowledge they have a responsibility to address the expectations of consumers. Not the unrealistic, fantasy based expectations, the reasonable and logical expectations.

From the start, the premise of the ME franchise was player choices will have meaning. Choice will have a direct impact on the outcome of the game, and the trilogy. Bioware told players the impact of choices may not be clear or apparent until later in the trilogy. So players financially and emotionally invested hundreds of dollars and hours into the franchise with the reasonable expectation of being rewarded for it at the end. Even if this might require replaying each game to correct past mistakes. Unfortunately, every Bioware game developed under EA management has failed to acknowledge and deliver on the reasonable expectations of huge segments of the established audiences.

Ray Muzyka recently commented that "there is a lot of space to work with in the [ME] universe. When you deliver a game, and you deliver it for a player, you have to capture what they think is the possibility space. You need to let them do everything they think they should do, and you can't block them from doing anything they think they should be able to do. You have to nail all the features and content that should be in that possibility space." Then why didn't Bioware create and provide the option for achieving the most expected, logical and common sense ending for the trilogy, or a variation of it? How is it possible based on the premise they created and Muzyka's recent comments, they didn't understand they had a responsibility to deliver at least one straight forward, hero's journey feel good ending? The AAA industry is constantly pointing out games are not like movies or TV. Bioware had a golden opportunity to finally demonstrate this by creating multiple, radically different endings for the trilogy. Endings actually based on player choices and that addressed the expectations of all segments of the audience, instead of just one sub-segment of it.

With ME 3, the larger audience, the players invested in the story as much as the combat, have finally put their foot down and demanded to receive what they paid for. The difference between ME 2 and ME 3 is this time around, the press is reporting the story instead of dismissing or sugar coating it.

Honestly, my heart goes out to the people at Bioware. They're trapped between a rock and a hard place. Unfortunately for the key players, I think it has reached the point where they need to start weighing the benefits of behaving like proper EA citizens against the damage doing so is causing to their reputations and future prospects. Sometimes you just need to fall on your sword to maintain your dignity and defend the things you believe in. Telling the truth when asked instead of reading from EA public relation statements would be a good place to start.

Kris Morness
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I stayed out of it and avoided the spoilers, and was prepared for the terrible ending, but even I couldn't even be prepared for what bad it was. I did see several cool epic scenes leading up the finale, but the end of the game was so hideous and so brief, I just sat there in shock. I expected to see a bunch of "what happened to various races and key characters" based on the decisions one made throughout the trilogy. There was absolutely nothing in that regard. Boooo....