Mass Effect 3 ending unexpected, says voice of male Shepard

Mark Meer, the male voice of Commander Shepard in the Mass Effect series, says the ending of Mass Effect 3 wasn't what he expected.

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Update: Added additional comment from Meer regarding DLC recording sessions. The ending of Mass Effect 3 surprised many people, including the actor who played the male voice of Commander Shepard, Canadian actor Mark Meer. He has been working with BioWare since the inception of the Mass Effect franchise, giving vocal life to the many choices Shepard has faced throughout the trilogy. But even Meer didn't expect Mass Effect 3's controversial ending. "As an actor, it's pretty much my job to help bring the vision of the writers to life," he said in an interview with Shacknews. "It wasn't necessarily what I expected, but then again, I didn't know what to expect."

Mark Meer

"It wasn't really my job to figure out where the story should go," he told us. "I didn't personally object to the ending, but Bioware's certainly aware of those who did, and the purpose of the upcoming Extended Cut DLC is to address some of the fans' concerns and desires for clarification." Meer is reprising his role for the upcoming expansion, but due to an NDA, he can't reveal anything about the expanded ending. "If I break my N.D.A. to talk about E.C. D.L.C., I might be arrested by S.H.I.E.L.D.," he joked. He did add: "Actually, I have had a couple of DLC recording sessions thus far - one was done while I was in England for the most recent London Improvathon. Luckily, I did my recording BEFORE I stayed awake performing for 50 straight hours... Shepard might have sounded more like a Vorcha." Although Meer has been with the franchise every step of the way, he has yet to play Mass Effect 3 and experience its original ending from a player's perspective. "I'm still waiting for a chance to sit down with the third game," he told us, after telling us he's played both ME1 and 2 on Paragon and Renegade playthroughs. "I tend to like at least an 8- to 12-hour window of free time for playing RPGs, and those have NOT been common lately. Soon, I hope."
Contributing Editor
From The Chatty
  • reply
    May 31, 2012 12:00 PM

    John Keefer posted a new article, Mass Effect 3 ending unexpected, says voice of male Shepard.

    Mark Meer, the male voice of Commander Shepard in the Mass Effect series, says the ending of Mass Effect 3 wasn't what he expected.

    • reply
      May 31, 2012 12:14 PM

      It's pretty cool to read that he actually plays the games he's in. Most voice actors never touch them, from what I've read previously.

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        May 31, 2012 12:27 PM

        He probably plays as the Femshep

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          May 31, 2012 12:31 PM

          Well, she should! Femshep is the best shep.

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        May 31, 2012 12:44 PM

        I wonder if he ads dialogue as he's playing.

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          May 31, 2012 1:05 PM

          Well the actor who played Jenson in Deus Ex HR said he does that sometimes.

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          May 31, 2012 1:12 PM

          Lost shields!

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          May 31, 2012 1:26 PM

          That would be so cool! Even cooler if some voice actors were Shackers and made sound audio clips referring to us and posted them here :D

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            May 31, 2012 1:32 PM

            Invader Zim did that. Though he wasn't a shacker, just a cousin or friend or something.

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        May 31, 2012 12:46 PM

        Mad props.

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        May 31, 2012 2:44 PM

        Yeah, makes me sad that I think he was a shitty voice actor :/

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      May 31, 2012 12:24 PM

      Finally finished the game and I have no idea what the fuss was about, the ending was fitting and brought to mind many of the great sci-fi story endings...

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        May 31, 2012 12:26 PM

        Fitting for your version of Shepard. Not mine.

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        May 31, 2012 1:24 PM

        I don't think funneling you into A, B, or C, and even after that making all three the exact same, was very fitting at all.

        I mean if you play it once, assume your ending is unique, and get the neat cut scene with the sweet piano theme, you might be satisfied with it.

        I think a lot of the complaints were silly, and were just people begging for a happy, easily-spelled-out ending.

        My issue was the laziness of it, and the needless addition of that confusing Normandy scene at the end that made no sense. After all, the crew on it were just on the ground, and two of them died running into the beam. But, they're fine now!

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        May 31, 2012 1:35 PM

        Yeah, it fit mine too. Though it could be expanded and I don't like multiple choice endings. We'll see what the DLC brings. I'm not butthurt about it.

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        May 31, 2012 3:01 PM

        What other great sci-fi story endings? Voyager? Battlestar Galactica?

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        May 31, 2012 7:36 PM

        Id say its possible to like it, but fitting isnt a word you can use to describe it. It really had little to do with the core tensions set up during the games (making moral or pragmatic choices - the renegade/paragon stuff, the responsibility for unforseen consequences - krogan, quarians, the struggle between loyalty on different scales -galaxy, species, organisations, friends, and actually the only interesting thing about the reapers (from the first game) - that they were an unstoppable incomprehensible force.)

        With the ending as it is, all of a sudden the games become "about" synthetic vs organic life, which was only really set up in 4 or 5 lines of dialog earlier, and isnt really all that interesting because it hasnt been explored in a way that explains the motivations and outcomes of the choices. Its like the ending to another sci-fi plot that happens to mention the reapers. It would almost fit better in something like The Matrix.

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      May 31, 2012 12:41 PM

      I used to play in some games (mostly Amber and some Marvel superheros and drinking games) with Mark at university since he was in the gamers club there. A funny, multi-talented guy, who liked to party and was good at improv. He could open his throat and down a pint of beer in about 5 seconds. His wish/dream back then was to buy a chunk of hash as big as his head. He's actually pretty good at drawing, and used to do a comic strip for the university newspaper. I probably haven't seen him for about 10 years though.

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      May 31, 2012 12:47 PM

      I loved ME3's ending. Sure, there could have been more differences between the endings other than beam color, but over all, I didn't mind that all the choices I made didn't matter in the long game. After all, that's life right? We live our lives do good things etc, but whether those things matter are kind of outside our control sometimes. They matter temporarily, and that's really what should be important.

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        May 31, 2012 1:26 PM

        Not what they promised incesantly during the year before release.

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          May 31, 2012 1:27 PM

          What did they promise?

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            May 31, 2012 1:28 PM

            This is the most relevant of quotes: "There
            are many different endings. We wouldn’t do it any other way. How could you go
            through all three campaigns playing as your Shepard and then be forced into a
            bespoke ending that everyone gets? But I can’t say any more than
            that…"

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              May 31, 2012 2:07 PM

              And guess what.. they gave us a bespoked ending. Sigh...

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              May 31, 2012 2:13 PM

              Maybe that's one reason why I'm not all that disappointed. I had no idea they said these things. Oh well, they were definitely puffing their game.

              I still love that thematically choice was an illusion.

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              May 31, 2012 3:04 PM

              To be sure, they have 9 different endings. Too bad they are all shit

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                May 31, 2012 3:43 PM

                they're just variations of the same three colours

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        May 31, 2012 1:35 PM

        So you don't care that...

        potentially EDI dies and Legions sacrifice was in vein be cause you choose the "Red explosion"? That REALLY pissed me off and forced be to make the Blue or Green choice.

        OR

        Joker some how runs from the fight with squad mates in tow who some how leave Shepard in his hour of need so that they could make a break for the mass relay?

        OR

        The fact that the Mass Relays destruction srands all the ships in the SOL galaxy with a Earth in ashes and little to no resources forcing the remaining troop to ether kill themselves or go mad?

        OR

        The destruction of any Mass Relay supposedly has the force to wipe out a solar system?

        • reply
          May 31, 2012 1:47 PM

          I don't mind that you have to make a tough choice.

          I don't think it's clear what preceded Joker's escape or how your squadmates got back on the ship. Sure, that could have been bridged better.

          I don't mind that all those parties are stranded there in the Sol system. I also don't mind the fact that the entire Citadel is wiped out.

          I don't think I remember anything about the destruction of the relay wiping out a solar system.

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            May 31, 2012 2:23 PM

            You didn't play The Arrival DLC then.

            The Batarians are all nomads now because Shepherd blew up a Relay to delay the arrival of the Reapers for a while but it destroyed their home system.

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          May 31, 2012 2:05 PM

          -Yeah, I didn't pick red.

          -Well if there's a large explosion, maybe you want to gtfo and don't have time to rescue anyone.

          -Thems the breaks. Pretty sure they still have limited FTL - just have to find an abundant fuel source - or they would pool resources and rubble to come up with a new way of getting across the galaxy.

          -True, but maybe it was more of a self-destruct? Or this boy-god thing designed them, so it knew how to prevent an explosion of that magnitude.

          I do agree it all could be explained better, and in the DLC - it hopefully will be.

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            May 31, 2012 2:14 PM

            Mass Effect 2 "The Arrival" DLC. Mass Relays go boom. Galaxy goes boom.

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              May 31, 2012 2:28 PM

              That's because of a fucking asteroid hitting a relay. That does not mean that the relays will always blow up like that when they're destroyed.

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                May 31, 2012 2:46 PM

                "If asked why destroying a Mass Relay would destroy the system, Kenson will say that they are the most powerful mass-effect engines in the galaxy and the energy released from destroying one would probably resemble a supernova. There are three hundred thousand people on the colony in the system, and the resulting explosion would probably kill them all. "

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                  May 31, 2012 3:08 PM

                  You're still talking about stuff that happens in Arrival, which really has no bearing on the ME3 ending at all.

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                    May 31, 2012 3:26 PM

                    They made it pretty clear even from ME1 that the Mass Relays have make pretty big booms if they're taken out. It's not just in the Arrival, read up on them in the codecs.

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                      May 31, 2012 3:30 PM

                      Yeah, I don't buy DLC typically - unless it's like $1.

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                      May 31, 2012 5:25 PM

                      If they're destroyed through conventional means, sure. What happens in ME3 is unlike anything any organic has ever encountered.

                      Don't forget, the Codex is written as though it were for an audience without the player's knowledge. In ME1, Sovereign is described as a Geth ship. It isn't meant to be a 100% reliable source but rather a device for delivering background info in a more immersive fashion.

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                    May 31, 2012 3:31 PM

                    you're just being difficult. Arrival is canon, not just something you can ignore because you decided not to play it.

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                      May 31, 2012 3:56 PM

                      to be fair, it's entirely possible that it was a "special" kind of explosion at the end of ME3 that wouldn't result in the destruction of everything in the same system.

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                        May 31, 2012 5:20 PM

                        This is exactly what I am talking about. How The Crucible works is a complete unknown, applying the knowledge of the single data point from Arrival doesn't make sense.

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                          May 31, 2012 5:56 PM

                          some things are better left unexplained but after going through that ending, i wanna know how star kid does this shit. it's a shame you couldn't (and probably won't be able to in the dlc) tell star kid to fuck off.

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                          May 31, 2012 6:12 PM

                          You're right. I just watched the mass relays explode and did the math.

                          But even if you disregard this entirely, there are plenty of other holes. Like Anderson arriving at the crucible control panel before Shepard, even though he beamed up after you, when there was in fact no other way to get to the panel but the way you went. The conversation with the Illusive Man where there was little to no choice and almost no consequence for any major decision in the prior 3 games. The fact that after spending time collecting resources to fight the last battle, that none of that plays into the final battle sequence at all. The fact that none of your choices prior to the one you make on the crucible matter at all or have anything to do with the end result of any of the 3 choices, you're given the same cutscene with different colored explosions.

                          And what sucks is they managed to do this correctly at the end of ME2. For every loyalty mission you finished, you more or less saved a life in the endgame. For every ship upgrade, a clear indication of when that would have fucked you over as the Normandy navigated toward the Collector base. For every major decision, a consequence in both the end of ME2 and later on in ME3.

                          And then in the end of this incredible series, they put you in a hallway that goes one direction, to have a conversation my Shepard never would have participated in (my Shepard would have killed the Illusive Man the moment he saw him) due to a new limitation placed on the player by the Illusive Man that not even the Reapers themselves could do (they can indoctrinate and take over a body, but they don't play freeze tag with you first).

                          Why is the resolution with Kai Leng or whatever his name is so much more satisfying and awesome than the one with the Illusive Man himself? Why doesn't Shepard get to destroy Harbinger personally? Why did they introduce a new character (the little ghost boy) in the final 10 minutes of the game and reveal new information about the nature of the universe, making most of your work up to then totally irrelevant and mostly a waste of time. Remember saving the Krogan? That was a pointless waste, because you've stranded the only female on Earth. Mordin's sacrifice? Worthless. Remember helping Jack and the kids from the school escape to safety? It hardly matters because wherever they ended up they are stuck there forever (as is everyone else in the universe thanks to Shepard). Remember wandering around the Citadel in ME3 helping all of those refugees and keeping the peace? Oops, they are all dead and the Citadel itself has exploded into pieces, killing millions of humans and aliens as it disintegrates and falls into Earth's atmosphere.

                          Why did the final battle take place at Earth at all? Why didn't the Reapers destroy the Citadel as soon as they arrived in Citadel space, thus destroying the only object that could prevent them from carrying out their mission?

                          Did you think about the endgame at all in context of everything else you did, or did you just turn the game off and move on to the next one without thinking at all about the useless waste of an ending you just watched. How can you watch this and not be disappointed after all of the choice and consquence leading up to the end of the series?

                          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rPelM2hwhJA

                          • reply
                            May 31, 2012 6:18 PM

                            For Shepard to just stand there and take everything the computer tells him at the end at face value and give up after letting me create and play the character differently fucking sucks. No matter how you played it, paragon or renegade or neutral, shoot first or talk your way out of situations, putting humans first or helping everyone no matter what race they were, in the end, you pick the color you like the best and watch a pretty movie and hopefully you don't load a savegame to see one of the other endings so you don't find out they are all the same (even the Synthesis one ends with the destruction of all Mass Relays!)

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                            May 31, 2012 6:23 PM

                            I think you can find just as many plot holes or things that make you go hmmmm in the other two mass effect games.

                            a contra-esque end game boss??? Wha!!!

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          May 31, 2012 2:24 PM

          Wait so your idea of a good ending can only involve utopian outcomes where everyone lives happily ever after?

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            May 31, 2012 2:35 PM

            My idea of a good ending would be an ending that took into account all of the choices I made. Bump the Red, Blue or Green pill. Kill the god-child putting two in the chest. let me ride out. Honestly, I didn't expect any one to make it.

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        May 31, 2012 2:22 PM

        But it's a story presented to you via a game. Not real life.

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          May 31, 2012 2:33 PM

          No, but it carries with it symbolism of that. Isn't that what sci-fi is all about?

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            May 31, 2012 2:36 PM

            Sci-Fi is about the future, unless its in the past.

            The game has always been about your actions and decisions affecting yourself and others. You chose who lives and dies for one. Well in the end, you don't know that. Also there's also the matter of the Indoctrination Theory which seems like what BioWare intended from the start but then dropped but kept everything supporting it in.

            This game was rushed is the bottom line.

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              May 31, 2012 2:46 PM

              Even though you had choice, there is still a strong narrative that you can't change in the game. The ending related more to that than your decisions of how to handle the immediate concerns.

              Either way, sci-fi serves as a great allegory for the issues facing modern man. I thought the game presented a great lesson in what choice really means through the lack of choice and the subsequent similar endings, each one bad to a great extent.

              I think it's great when developers use gameplay as well as traditional narrative to deliver a message. It's one of those things that makes video games a unique art form. Kind of how Bioshock's narrative and your actions made the "would you kindly" thing so impactful.

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                May 31, 2012 5:40 PM

                What about the choice of choosing to do nothing or choosing to disagree? Shepard HAD to pick a path? Bull. The developers chose to concentrate on DLC and multiplayer.

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                  May 31, 2012 5:44 PM

                  Are you ever presented with the choice of doing nothing in the game? Seems to me that most times you're given a binary choice, with a few opportunities to finesse those choices.

                  I guess you could turn off your PC/PS3/Xbox or just accept the GAME OVER screen if you don't want to choose.

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                    May 31, 2012 5:46 PM

                    Heavy Rain. You can't always win.

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                      May 31, 2012 5:50 PM

                      Heavy Rain is just as guilty at giving people the illusion of choice. I missed a QTE once, and then knew, that no matter what, once I exited the warehouse, I'd get shot because I didn't lay down on the ground like I would have if I actually had control over the protagonist.

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                    May 31, 2012 5:51 PM

                    Dead Rising. If you aren't paying attention, a lot of people could did including you.

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                    May 31, 2012 10:35 PM

                    You have a choice to do nothing all the goddamn time with those paragon/renegade interrupts.

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        May 31, 2012 3:15 PM

        if you spend more than 10 minutes thinking about the ending and what it means in the context of everything else they showed us, you will start to see the flaws.

        for example, in The Arrival DLC, Shepard is forced to destroy a mass relay by crashing an asteroid into it. the resulting explosion kills hundreds of thousands of Batarians (basically every life in the star system that the mass relay was located in), which is why Shepard is grounded at the beginning of ME3. he faces trial and court martial for making the decision to destroy the relay (something that was not optional for players, making this event part of the canon and not just something they threw in for fun).

        So we've learned that mass relays have the capability of destroying millions of lives if they explode and what is Shepard's choice at the end of the game? actually, you don't have one because no matter which ending you select, and no matter how you played the previous three games (or didn't) in every ending of Mass Effect 3 the relays are all destroyed. you see them explode from a map of the entire galaxy.

        Now based on the fiction they had already established, all of the lives in all of those systems were probably lost when the relays detonated, meaning Shepard was a more efficient killer of humanity and the other alien races than the Reapers ever were. meaning Shepard, in the name of stopping the reapers from partially annhilating every advanced race in the galaxy, did exactly that by destroying the mass relays.

        This is just one of the holes in the ending, and there are many more.

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          May 31, 2012 6:20 PM

          I think your conclusion that the mass relay explosions took the galaxy with them is incorrect. My understanding is that the catalyst's charge caused them explode in a different way, which spread the charge from node to node. The last sequence with joker was him outrunning that charge wave and escaping threw a relay just before it exploded.

          Ps I thought about it more than 10 min.

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        May 31, 2012 8:59 PM

        It made absolutely no sense whatsoever based on everything that led up to it. I'm not sure how anyone could have thought that was a "good" thing.

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          May 31, 2012 9:23 PM

          This.

          Godchild: "You can either disintegrate yourself to turn into the Reaper Control Signal, rape everyone in the galaxy by forcibly changing their structure (and blow up all the relays), or kill all synthetic life, no matter how friendly...oh, and blow up all the relays, too. And yourself."

          Canon Shepard: "Uh....I...don't know."

          Most people's Shepards: "What the f***ing h*** are you smoking? You created a race of synthetics to destroy organics to prevent them from being destroyed by synthetics? Are you out of your f****ing mind? Tell those f***ing cuttlefishes to fly back into dark space and blow themselves up and stop destroying organics, you f***ing idiot!"

          Gets even better if your Shepard made peace between the Geth and Quarians, because you're basically a legend to them now who'd make a great ambassador to establish real trust and all that.

          But of course, Shepard just goes 'uh dur....okay....'



          That is not good. No, that is not good at all. It's abso-fucking-lutely terrible.

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            June 4, 2012 2:09 AM

            This needs to be put on several small sized billboards and set up throughout the BioWare offices. And in addition, printed on every page of a newspaper, rolled up, and smacked over the head of the person who made the final decision that these ending options were a good idea.

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            June 4, 2012 1:58 PM

            Wasn't the original plan to have the reapers be created to prevent dark energy destroying the galaxy, hence all the foreshadowing about it in ME2? They'd probably have creepy star kid though.

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        May 31, 2012 11:13 PM

        It's an interesting lesson if it was intended. However, i don't think it was an appropriate ending after playing all three games.

        The entire trilogy has been about the player being able to make decisions that affect the world around them. Almost every single major decision would influence what happens next. You can't lead the player along like that for 100 hours and then suddenly take all that away in the last 10 minutes. There was never really any deep symbolism or anything fancy up that point. Mass Effect has always been fairly solid science fiction with some magic thrown in.

        The current ending just doesn't fit in with the rest of the series.

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      May 31, 2012 12:59 PM

      This story was part of a bigger interview I did with him regarding a Mass Effect fan film he is working on. More details coming on that as well.

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      May 31, 2012 2:04 PM

      he seems pretty cool. I'm glad I played as male shep all this time. I bet femshep never played through them.

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        May 31, 2012 2:04 PM

        femshep is too busy ravaging liara IRL

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          May 31, 2012 2:07 PM

          I'll be in my bunk. This was my romance choice in ME1 and ME3.

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      May 31, 2012 2:06 PM

      video game news

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        May 31, 2012 2:08 PM

        i know rite?

      • reply
        May 31, 2012 2:21 PM

        Video game site.

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          May 31, 2012 2:35 PM

          I mean in the sense of "some vaguely-related guy said a thing!"

          • Ebu legacy 10 years
            reply
            May 31, 2012 3:31 PM

            Vaguely-related?

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            May 31, 2012 3:39 PM

            It seems similar to "Actor see's his film, disappointed by the ending" showing up on a movie news website.

            *shrugs*

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              May 31, 2012 3:40 PM

              see's sees. :(

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              May 31, 2012 3:57 PM

              yep, I'm not seeing anything out of place with this article at all.

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                May 31, 2012 4:15 PM

                It's pretty light weight non-news.

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                  May 31, 2012 4:30 PM

                  it's a fluff piece, yes, but not every article needs to be a masterpiece of hard hitting journalism.

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                    May 31, 2012 4:49 PM

                    Fair point. Stuff like this just feels a bit like pulling at straws to try to get linked by Kotaku though TBH.

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                      May 31, 2012 5:28 PM

                      Could care less about Kotaku. Was aiming more for Mass Effect fan sites ;)

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                        May 31, 2012 5:45 PM

                        You could or couldn't care less?

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            May 31, 2012 10:24 PM

            One moment while I post a link of Matt Damon chiming in on the economy

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      May 31, 2012 2:06 PM

      I wonder if the face model of male Shepard plays the game while looking stoic.

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      May 31, 2012 3:03 PM

      The problem with ME3's ending wasn't that it was "dark" or had "limited choices", it didn't even make any logical sense and was full of so many plot holes you could drive a semi-truck through it. It was insulting to the fans and was quite frankly, one of the dumbest endings I've seen since the end of "Lost".

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        May 31, 2012 3:17 PM

        i think its worse than the Lost ending because at least in Lost they set up that ending across the final season

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        May 31, 2012 9:53 PM

        At least Lost had a 'happy' ending. The ME3 endings were far from happy or even dark. It was just stupid.

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      May 31, 2012 3:05 PM

      Interesting as the originally said there would be no more 'extra Shepard added' I guess they realised, that no amount of rewriting was going to work, unless he was involved. I jut pray it makes some sort of sense..

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      May 31, 2012 5:19 PM

      Meer of course said something very neutral so he could keep his job.

      Personally, I won't forgive him for stealing Beattie's job as the voice of Mordin.

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      May 31, 2012 11:28 PM

      wait WTF he DIDNT play 3 yet?

    • reply
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