FTC complainant calls Mass Effect 3 ending 'complete'

The Mass Effect 3 FTC complainant talks to Shacknews about his thoughts on the "Extended Cut" endings, his remaining quibbles, and whether he feels comfortable with more games in the series.

You may not know the name Spike Murphy, but you almost certainly know of him. He made headlines when he filed a Federal Trade Commission (FTC) complaint against EA for the ending of Mass Effect 3. In doing so, he crystallized many of the complaints against BioWare -- and the backlash against those complaints as well. He is easily one of the most vocal figures against BioWare's contentious ending, so now that the company has released the Extended Cut, we wondered what he thinks of the changes. "I liked the new endings," Murphy told Shacknews. "Many plot holes were filled in, and a lot of the sequences seem so organic and natural to the story that it seems shocking they didn't include them in the first place. Most importantly, there's a real epilogue now, one which gives context and consequence not just to our final choice, but to all the choices we had made to get there. The ending feels complete, whereas before it seemed rushed, unfinished, and frankly like they didn't know what to do." For better or worse, most fans' reactions will compare the new endings to the old. The original ending, which can still be viewed without the downloadable content, was fairly divisive. Even in light of the improvements, Murphy feels the old ending was "incomplete and full of holes." It wasn't just a bad ending for Murphy and some fans, it was a slap in the face. "We all needed that cathartic release of seeing the results of our actions, of giving everything we had done context and meaning, and in their attempt to be vague and mysterious they instead robbed their entire narrative of meaning." That passion drove him to file with the FTC, and later the Better Business Bureau. He doesn't make a serial habit of this, and told us that this was his first time filing such a complaint. Not that the new ending is quite perfect. Murphy says he has "minor issues" with it, including one major plot point that fans raised about the ending. "I wanted the Catalyst to address the fact that the Quarians and Geth made peace, invalidating its argument." He also thinks it "would have been nice if you could beat the Reapers when you choose to reject the Crucible," but reiterates that none of these problems bothered him much. The most important question for BioWare is whether the controversy has lost some of its fans. Whatever people thought of Murphy's FTC complaint, it was coming from a place of love for the series. BioWare doesn't want to lose its most ardent supporters, and the Extended Cut was a way for the company to show their concerns were being listened to.

Mass Effect 3

Murphy's feelings toward the future of the series are mixed. He says if BioWare hadn't changed the ending, he probably wouldn't have bought another Mass Effect game. "I feel that there is a much greater amount of trust and faith asked of gamers as opposed to other art mediums because of the large investment of time and energy necessary in playing through a game and thereby appreciating the art," he said. "Because of that, a betrayal of that trust between artist (the designers) and their audience like we found with the original ending of ME3 is far greater than, say, having a bad ending on an otherwise good movie. As it stands, I'd be open to another Mass Effect game." BioWare has at least mostly convinced one of its harshest critics. As the controversy fades further into the past, it remains to be seen what lasting legacy is left on the Mass Effect series, and if emergency repairs to the ending regain the fans' trust for future installments.
From The Chatty
  • reply
    July 2, 2012 9:00 AM

    Steve Watts posted a new article, FTC complainant calls Mass Effect 3 ending 'complete'.

    The Mass Effect 3 FTC complainant talks to Shacknews about his thoughts on the "Extended Cut" endings, his remaining quibbles, and whether he feels comfortable with more games in the series.

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      July 2, 2012 9:06 AM

      I like how "plot holes" now means "things that aren't explicitly explained."

      There was a bunch of events that people should have been able to infer from the endings, but didn't. The updated endings mostly just add a single scene or a voice over explaining those things. I don't know if I'd consider them better, but I thought the internet rage was stupid to begin with.

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        July 2, 2012 9:55 AM

        I've always felt that the original ending was way too ambiguous which was uncharacteristic of the entire series. People came up with all sorts of ideas they couldn't prove. The indoctrination theory was full of holes and it was one of the more popular theories out there.

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        July 2, 2012 10:00 AM

        The updated endings were three things: a little more detail in the final conversations, a voice over for each choice, and I guess they compiled a list of dumb things in the ending cinematic and changed them.

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      July 2, 2012 9:10 AM

      Why are we enabling this jackass? Wasting taxpayer money trying to force someone to change their own creative work (and failing at it) does not warrant having your opinion published as news.

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        July 2, 2012 1:03 PM

        I don't think you know what an FTC complaint is . . .

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      July 2, 2012 9:44 AM

      The ending still do not connect at all to what you did in game but its now no longer an ending that made all most no sense other than it was rushed and they just did not know how to end it.

      The new sod it lets all die ending is nice as well.

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        July 2, 2012 10:19 AM

        The endings connect the final choice you make, but other than including your "love interest", they dont relate at all to any of the other choices at all throughout the series.

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      July 2, 2012 9:59 AM

      Wonder how much they paid him to say it.

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      July 2, 2012 9:53 PM

      Still hate the endings. The Catalyst is still the lamest piece of crap Deus Ex Machina ever.

      However, it's kindled by the fact that when you refuse the endings, Hudson and Walters become the Catalyst, throw a fit, and give you the bird.

      A small victory, to be sure.

      However, they can piss and moan about how we don't get their 'artistic vision' all they want. The fact of the matter is, they lost a lot of trust with fans. They've lost fans because of this. And they will pay for this arrogance in the future.

      Possibly not the point where EA will shut them down because they're not making enough money like Radical was, but enough where it will be a LONG time before Bioware is able to gain back the consumer trust they once had.

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        July 2, 2012 11:41 PM

        They have definitely fallen significantly. I told myself after DA2, that even if that series was a disappointment, at least there was still ME. ME3 was pretty disappointing. The Prothean DLC was offensive. The entire Catalyst storyline was pretty lame. The main ME3 villain being a less impressive version of original ME's villain was uninspired. The ending took a lame premise and made it even worse. I don't know what they're coming out with next, but I have no interest in any ME3 DLC. I won't buy anything they make at launch. I do hope that they make great games in the future, but it may be that their games will just be good enough to buy once they're on sale. If that.

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          July 2, 2012 11:46 PM


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            July 3, 2012 12:14 AM

            Given the importance of Protheans throughout the series, I thought it was in bad taste to make a day one DLC about them. If it had been another Krogan, or maybe a Salorian, I would not have been as annoyed.

            The overall plot for ME3 was mediocre. ME1 villain with a new name. Two huge examples of Dues Ex Machina. The extended cuts do make it significantly less painful, but I'm talking about future faith in the company. Can we really trust them to craft good stories? Can we trust them to have an ending worth a damn at launch? How brazen will their attempts to monetize get?

            I was a fanboy. Now I'm not even a fan. I don't know what their next big project is, but I have no excitement for it.

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          July 3, 2012 12:26 AM

          I lost faith with BW after the ME3 ending. Havent bothered to check out the new ending yet, will probably youtube them sometime. Fine, keep your so called artistic vision BW, I'll be keeping my money.

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            July 3, 2012 12:53 AM

            I'm the same way, but I do think the new endings are worth seeing.

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      July 3, 2012 10:55 AM

      hahaha the endings are still horrifically bad, and embarrassing for anyone who can appreciate literature above elementary school reading levels. If I had to convince someone of the merit of storytelling in video games, this would be the last thing I'd show them. Jesus, I'd be embarrassed to even show them to my parents. If this guy is appeased by even this level of quality, after going off the rails on the "original" work, he sounds like an even bigger wanker.

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