Mass Effect 3’s Controversial Ending Explained

By Matthew Byrd

While many fans see Mass Effect Legendary Edition as a chance to replay a beloved RPG trilogy, others dread having to relive the most controversial ending in video game history.

Following the success of Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, developer BioWare decided to develop a new sci-fi epic set in an original universe. Mass Effect was meant to challenge them.

Mass Effect's most ambitious feature was the idea that almost every choice you made would have galaxy-wide consequences. Even the game's name refers to that feature

The first two Mass Effect games were widely praised for their dynamic choice systems. Players became invested in seeing how their decisions would affect the ending. That's where things went wrong.

Mass Effect 3's ending forced players to choose between three options that determined the game's ending. Unfortunately, those choices barely accounted for the decisions players made along the way.

After countless hours, players were stunned to learn that Mass Effect's story ultimately came down to three options presented at the very end of the trilogy. Many felt they had been lied to.

Former Mass Effect writer Drew Karpyshyn theorized that Mass Effect 3's developers just didn't have enough time to complete their vision. Others say the idea was too ambitious from the start.

Fans were so angry at the game's ending that they took their complaints to the FTC and BBB. Fans didn't win any major legal battles, but BioWare did respond to their complaints in two notable ways.

First, BioWare released an extended cut ending designed to address certain plot holes. Many considered it to be better, but it didn't address some of the biggest issues.

Next, they released a lighthearted DLC called Citadel. While not technically a new ending, some fans saw this as a more fitting conclusion for the trilogy than either "official" finale.

While the DLC helped, Mass Effect 3 is largely remembered for its controversial ending. It didn't help that the next game, Mass Effect Andromeda, was seen as an all-around disappointment.

Some hope Mass Effect Legendary Edition will help fans remember the best parts of the Mass Effect games and not one of the most maligned endings ever. However, the memories may be too strong.