The ending to MassEffect 3 is bad.

Seriously, This is well beyond internet bitching or disappointment. It’s a failure in storytelling in every way we measure this kind of thing.

I’m not here to convince you that the ending is bad, not only is it a given, but other people have gone into great detail about why, so if you need to get up to speed look here. here. and especially here.

I want to bring up another aspect of the whole thing, that Bioware brought this on themselves in a way not talked about yet.

A lot of people who don’t understand the upset this game has caused assume that fans have a false sense of entitlement, they get confused by declarations like “retake mass effect” and immediately counter with “retake?! it was never yours in the first place, jerks!” but that’s not what we mean by retake.

I could point out every quote from the advertisements and official statements about how we were promised we would be able to have choice at the end of the series and the like, but I don’t have to.

They didn’t need to say any of the things they did to get the kind of response from players for a very simple reason, they taught us to do it.

In this ad, Commander Shepard looks at a battlefield full of corpses that used to be a field of sunflowers. He picks up a toy left by a little girl, who if she was lucky, was simply murdered by these ancient robots from outer space instead of turned into a cybernetic monstrosity.

But Shepard doesn’t get angry, he’s past that.

With total dedication he goes into the battle, he’s going to take back his home from these sons of bitches or he is going to die on the battlefield. There is no in between, he is going to Take. Earth. Back.

This is the entire theme of the game, the stakes are higher than they have ever been and before the disk was in my hands I was ready to do whatever it took to get the reapers to stop. I went to every planet, spoke to every alien. bought and played every DLC so that I would have the best chance possible.

I lied and cheated, stole and killed good men. I spared the lives of villains so that their henchmen would help me, and I doomed entire planets in a quest to save the rest.

Finally, I was as ready as I could possibly be, I had the entire galaxy at my side and together we were going to end this nightmare or die trying.

So we fight.

We fight in space, we fight on the ground, we fight in the air, we fight in the center of galactic society, then shockingly we fight through the pain of a bad ending, we fight through the credits, through the realization there is no more game to play, and still it isn’t over.

Still the reapers indoctrinate us, they laugh, they tell us the game is over, but it’s not. Earth isn’t taken back. So we fight.

Still we fight on, right out of the game into the real world if that’s what it takes.

Yea it’s just a game, but the mechanic has taught us to keep fighting, that if we work together we can move mountains, so we do.

We go to the web, we gather war assets, we gather money, we go paragon, we go renegade, whatever it takes to make this right.

We will Take. Back. Earth. even if we have to Retake MassEffect to do it.

It’s your fault Bioware, we learned it from watching YOU.