Given the six part series I wrote on the original ending of Mass Effect 3, a post on the new ending seems long overdue. In response to the criticism levied against the ending, Bioware released a free DLC, Mass Effect 3: Extended Cut, which sought to “[provide] more clarity for those seeking further closure to their journey.”
After playing through the various new endings, it became very clear to me that, if this content had been in the game from the very beginning, the majority of people would have been satisfied. The new endings gives a mix of happy and sad options, based on the player’s actions, and provides cut scenes that summarize the main character’s lasting impact on the universe. Additionally, a few sequences were added in an attempt to smooth over glaring holes in the story (most notably, that the main character’s crew went from being on Earth to crashing on a remote planet in the span of a short fight.)
All in all, I’m glad that Bioware released this new content and happy with what’s contained in it. It went a long way to fix the damage that they had done by taking their fans for granted. It showed that they could and should have put more effort into the ending initially and that doing so wouldn’t have hurt their artistic vision. It also let them bring back some disenfranchised fans just in time for a different DLC that cost $10.
That being said, I stand by my assertion that the story ended poorly. It was (and remains, despite the new ending) an example of an author brain dumping all the facts and back story of their world that they didn’t reveal during the narrative. I clearly remember the main bad guy in Mass Effect 1 saying “You cannot grasp the nature of our existence” only for it to be plainly defined in the final few minutes of the series. The ending robbed the magic and mystery from the world.