Thursday, December 18, 2014
Mass Effect 3 Writer Distance Himself From Game Ending, Blames Casey Hudson

Mass Effect 3 Writer Distance Himself From Game Ending, Blames Casey Hudson

BioWare writer Patrick Weekes is distancing himself from Mass Effect 3’s ending in wake of the massive scandal that’s rocked the franchise in recent days, making clear that he and other writers were literally ex-communicated when it came to writing the game’s ending, while executive producer Casey Hudson took charge, neglecting their many protests on how the trilogy should conclude.

The post was first written on Penny Arcade where Weekes is a frequent visitor known as user Takyris, but it was deleted and several other posts with quotes from the original post have been edited to steer clear of the controversial comments, however a screencap of Weekes’ comments was captured and sent to Gameranx by an anonymous source.

Here’s the entire text, unadulterated, giving great insight into what took place in the final days of Mass Effect 3’s development:

I have nothing to do with the ending beyond a) having argued successfully a long time ago that we needed a chance to say goodbye to our squad, b) having argued successfully that Cortez shouldn’t automatically die in that shuttle crash, and c) having written Tali’s goodbye bit, as well as a couple of the holo-goodbyes for people I wrote (Mordin, Kasumi, Jack, etc).

No other writer did, either, except for our lead. This was entirely the work of our lead and Casey himself, sitting in a room and going through draft after draft.

And honestly, it kind of shows.

Every other mission in the game had to be held up to the rest of the writing team, and the writing team then picked it apart and made suggestions and pointed out the parts that made no sense. This mission? Casey and our lead deciding that they didn’t need to be peer-reviewe.d

And again, it shows.

If you’d asked me the themes of Mass Effect 3, I’d break them down as:

Galactic Alliances


Organics versus Synthetics

In my personal opinion, the first two got a perfunctory nod. We did get a goodbye to our friends, but it was in a scene that was divorced from the gameplay — a deliberate “nothing happens here” area with one turret thrown in for no reason I really understand, except possibly to obfuscate the “nothing happens here”-ness. The best missions in our game are the ones in which the gameplay and the narrative reinforce each other. The end of the Genophage campaign exemplifies that for me — every line of dialog is showing you both sides of the krogan, be they horrible brutes or proud warriors; the art shows both their bombed-out wasteland and the beautiful world they once had and could have again; the combat shows the terror of the Reapers as well as a blatant reminder of the rachni, which threatened the galaxy and had to be stopped by the krogan last time. Every line of code in that mission is on target with the overall message.

The endgame doesn’t have that. I wanted to see banshees attacking you, and then have asari gunships zoom in and blow them away. I wanted to see a wave of rachni ravagers come around a corner only to be met by a wall of krogan roaring a battle cry. Here’s the horror the Reapers inflicted upon each race, and here’s the army that you, Commander Shepard, made out of every race in the galaxy to fight them.

I personally thought that the Illusive Man conversation was about twice as long as it needed to be — something that I’ve been told in my peer reviews of my missions and made edits on, but again, this is a conversation no writer but the lead ever saw until it was already recorded. I did love Anderson’s goodbye.

For me, Anderson’s goodbye is where it ended. The stuff with the Catalyst just… You have to understand. Casey is really smart and really analytical. And the problem is that when he’s not checked, he will assume that other people are like him, and will really appreciate an almost completely unemotional intellectual ending. I didn’t hate it, but I didn’t love it.

And then, just to be a dick… what was SUPPOSED to happen was that, say you picked “Destroy the Reapers”. When you did that, the system was SUPPOSED to look at your score, and then you’d show a cutscene of Earth that was either:

a) Very high score: Earth obviously damaged, but woo victory

b) Medium score: Earth takes a bunch of damage from the Crucible activation. Like dropping a bomb on an already war-ravaged city. Uh, well, maybe not LIKE that as much as, uh, THAT.

c) Low score: Earth is a cinderblock, all life on it completely wiped out

I have NO IDEA why these different cutscenes aren’t in there. As far as I know, they were never cut. Maybe they were cut for budget reasons at the last minute. I don’t know. But holy crap, yeah, I can see how incredibly disappointing it’d be to hear of all the different ending possibilities and have it break down to “which color is stuff glowing?” Or maybe they ARE in, but they’re too subtle to really see obvious differences, and again, that’s… yeah.

Okay, that’s a lot to have written for something that’s gonna go away in an hour.

I still teared up at the ending myself, but really, I was tearing up for the quick flashbacks to old friends and the death of Anderson. I wasn’t tearing up over making a choice that, as it turned out, didn’t have enough cutscene differentiation on it.

And to be clear, I don’t even really wish Shepard had gotten a ride-off-into-sunset ending. I was honestly okay with Shepard sacrificing himself. I just expected it to be for something with more obvious differentiation, and a stronger tie to the core themes — all three of them.”

Thanks, Josh.

About Ernice Gilbert

Ernice Gilbert here. Founder and Editor-In-Chief of Gamesthirst. Thanks for stopping by, make yourself at home!
  • nick

    hes got it spot on, whole point of ME3 and its ending was a for the greater good type of ending.
    thats what it should of been, so shepard sacrafysing himself for the greater good, to save the universe would of made perfect sense.
    this is suppose to be a dark gloomy game where the universe just scrapes through by the skin of its teeth!
    another thing that really disappointed me to was at the end, once the credits finished rolling i expected to see a transcript of what i had chosen in 1,2,3 and how that had effected my ending.
    but you dont see anything, so how are you suppose to know how your decisions effected the game?
    the loyalty mission for dr mordin for example.
    how would ME3 change if i did not do it, or if i chose to destroy the research instead of keeping it?

    as he said the whole game stinks of being rushed!
    ME2 left such a big mark on me because it felt real, it felt like there was so much history behind it!
    it was so deep, it felt like every single tiny thing about the game had been gone through a fine tooth comb and analysed 500000 times.
    everything felt perfect nothing felt out of place!
    ME3 though, quite the opposite almost everything felt like it was plucked out of a different universe and held together with sticky tape!
    ME2 was a single puzzle put together perfectly.
    ME3 felt like each piece was from a totally different puzzle and to make the pieces fit the were cut and glued together!
    so upsetting that such a awesome series had to end like this!
    now every time we look back on ME were going to remember this.
    not the awesome memories 1 left with us.
    not the awesome memories 2 left with us.
    but the massive disappointments 3 left with us.
    it would not of mattered if this was just another sequel, they could of done a sequel after this and all would of been forgotten.
    but this is the end of the series, end of comander sheppard, so every time someone says his name were going to remember the abomination he suffered in ME3.
    shame, to see such a awesome series concluded in such a poorly cheap rushed way!

  • nick

    and this goes to show EXACTLY whats wrong with games this gen!
    developers dont give a flying fuck about their games any more!
    im really getting sick of the ah if enough people complain we can patch it later BS!
    come on guys have some fucking pride in your work!
    for shame!

  • Ernice Gilbert

    Can’t disagree with you here. Can’t disagree one bit. It’s actually shameful.

  • nick

    saddest thing is ive paid for the DLC and i cant be bothered finishing it!
    so disappointing to see one of my favourite franchises finishing like this!

  • benzo

    The further I get into the game that less I want to play it. Kingdoms of Amalur has kept me more interested in playing than ME3. This sucks…BIG TIME.

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  • csm5673

    Fake. Those cutscenes are in the game. Just some raging fan posing as Patrick Weekes. Not actually the real guy.

  • Aidan

    Not exactly. You have to understand that this was posted when vanilla ME3 was released. The original endings were exactly as told.

    Bioware (flooded with consumer complaints), then decided to create extended scenes, followed by DLC for those who needed further closure. I DO like that the extended endings display more detail.

    However, does not matter how much one describes a piece of shit. It does not change the fact that it is STILL a piece of shit.

  • magnetite

    You’re indoctrinated if you think that ending was shit. Taking the ending at face value even after being told not to.

    Wanting more closure to a game that already provided closure for you. Think that’s the problem. A simple conversation or e-mail telling you what might happen after the war isn’t enough.

    People had to be spoon fed an epilogue on what happens to your squadmates to be considered closure. They had to be given epilogue slides to show that their choices mattered. The last 5 minutes is not the ending, but too many people seem to think it was.

    The whole game shows you your consequences from ME1+ME2. Just because it didn’t happen in the last 5 minutes doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. Not Bioware’s fault people have 10 second attention spans.

    Just look at why the Normandy was escaping. They had to have a DLC to explain that, even though you set off the Crucible 5 seconds earlier. During the game, you were told the Crucible has an ambiguous function. They weren’t sure what it would do, but it’s their only shot at defeating the Reapers.

    I mean a game this size would need a 2 hour epilogue to tie up everything. Some people even wanted a DLC just to explain everything for them.

    That’s the kind of knuckle-dragging neanderthals Bioware had to deal with. No wonder they came out and said you guys had unreasonable expectations. Bioware is not in the business of babysitting people to make sure everyone who buys this game understands what’s going on. They make the game, you buy the game. If the ending made sense to some and not to others, then it’s not a problem with the game. It’s a problem with the user.

  • Guest1

    Please stop with this nonsense about The ending being the fault of the player. The IT is false and you use that as an excuse for the writers contradicting much of their own lore. It is not the audience’s job to fill in details or make up the conclusion of the story. If Bioware would have bothered explaining some things about the ending and not relying heavily on contrivance, I might have actually filled in some of the details myself. They were lazy and made the catalyst up to have an artsy ending.

    At this point, the indoctrinated people are the ones who thought this ending was an indoctrination attempt.