Mass Effect 3’s Extended Cut Fills Some Gaps


After Mass Effect 3's end, fans of the series quickly raised complaints. I discussed my feelings on the ending a bit more here. Yesterday BioWare released the extended cut DLC, and it was exactly what they promised. Unfortunately, that wasn't too much.

To explain, BioWare promised the DLC wouldn't change the ending, only expand on it. They also anticipated not everyone would be happy with it. Much to the chagrin of many, BioWare was accurate. The endings are essentially the same, however the Extended Cut explains a lot more and fills in some of the plot holes.

Staring at the endings, I have to wonder why they weren't exactly like this when the game first released. A lot of what was added is storytelling basics. It's now complete, but only better on a technical level as opposed to a strict satisfaction level.

A fourth possibility arose with the new DLC as well. For those who wanted Shepard to say "no, I won't choose," BioWare added that option as an ending. I won't ruin what happens, but as a fun easter egg: you get the same ending by shooting the Catalyst now.

I'm glad BioWare caved and released the new DLC. It's a worthwhile addition to the game, and almost necessary for filling in the holes. While I would have loved for the Indoctrination Theory to be true, I can see why the company didn't go that direction. 

All in all, BioWare did the right thing by extending the endings, but didn't use this opporunity to go anywhere new. They patched up the endings which we can all appreciate, but I would have loved to see to see something new and exciting that would have given us a real "wow" moment. I give the company credit, and I certainly hope they use this experience to make sure Dragon Age 3 is even better!

About Stephen Crane

Stephen was hooked by the NES at a very young age and never looked back. He games on a daily basis and is currently trying to climb his way up the ranked ladder on League of Legends!

Outside of the video game world he actually likes running and owns a rapidly growing collection of toed shoes. Stephen Crane is the owner of Armed Gamer.

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  • Maniac9538

    Actually I’m pissed that Bioware caved on this. What ever happened to a company saying this is the ending deal with it. Now with this situation if a game has an ending that the people don’t like let’s all gang up on them until they change it to something we want. Artist ingenuity is now a thing of the past. Let’s all have endings that makes us happy. It’s a final game deal with the ending. I thought it was a great ending….we survived, shepard died and he’s now a hero and a thing of legend. I wish Bioware had stuck to their guns and said to those who cried over the ending to go screw themselves.

  • Lilgooberhead

    I agree. They shouldn’t have caved. The game was fine, I enjoyed it a lot. I like the endings. They had a very final feeling to the game, and it even made sense. The people complaining just cant be made happy. The true fans, they won’t complain.

  • Richard Frederick

    The game was great. at the end of 3 I was alittle sad at sheperd dying. i did want to see an alternate ending where he was on the brink and your actions in the games determined whether he was saved or not. or something as such. but the game did tell you,”there are going to be sacrifices before the end”. overall, it was perfect, something i hope DA3 will be.

  • Daniel

    something like “We need to get Shepard!” but then sees the explosion and statrs running. That’s better than what we got.2- MAKE OUR CHOICES MATTER (in the short run)There needs to be 3 things that allows us to feel that our choices matter. Firstly, show us how and why choosing Red/ Green/ Blue will alter what we know about the Mass Effect universe. If we pick red, show us all of the Geth going offline, having their lights go out one by one, show EDI dying in Joker’s arms, but then, to lighten the mood, show us all of the reapers across the Galaxy toppling over. Show us Harbinger ungulfed by the red flames, showing him stagger left and right before his four “eyes” flicker and crack, before a triumphant explosion, causing pieces of him to rain down from the sky.If we picked blue, show us the reapers leaving and some of the victory fleet chasing after them and trying to get a few shots in. Show us the Citadel closing up and having some small teams go inside looking for survivors in the cities and finding Anderson’s body. Have them on the god-child’s platform inspecting all of the Reaper tech and looking for Shepard, and show the Mass Relays being damaged, but not being destroyed.If we picked Green, show us all life everywhere being merged with machines, turning everyone into part organic part synthetic beings like shepard, show us the actual transformation of this, and the reaction of it between all the races of the Galaxy.Secondly, show some scenes of what happens after the Citadel gets fired, show us how the races and fleets come together on earth to “clean up,” looking for survivors, gathering (if any) reaper tech. Have them go out and inspect the Mass Relays and see if they are repairable, and then show scenes of them gathering materials to go and repair them. Like before, show how our choices helped. If you destroyed the reapers, have them gathering data and parts from dead reapers and bringing them over to the mass relay wreckage, if you control them have them on the catalyst platform gathering data from there on the god child, if synthesised, have them super intelligent (because of the merge with synthetic life) and have them repair them without reaper tech at all.Do they send out a rescue party for the Normandy? If so, how many days, months even years is it until they get to them? Does some of your squad die? Tali and Garrus possibly (can’t eat human food).Lastly what happens to Shepard if he survives? Does he regain health and set out to find he squad in the rescue party? Does he help rebuild the relays? Does he die a few days later from his injuries. Let this be experienced by the players, BioWare.Lastly, and this is probably the biggest point to be made, have your War Assets do something in the final battle? Have the Krogan going in taking on brutes and banshees unarmed with Wrex and Grunt, have the Turians destroy the enemy with overwhelming force, have The geth and quarians side by side using tech drones on the ground forces and helping repair vehicles, while their orbital fleets rain down superior fire power on the Soverign class reapers. Have the Mercs with Zaeed using dirty tactics on the reaper troops, with Vorcha jumping onto canibals and clawing at their eyes. Have Jack and her students helping by either being in the front line or helping the troops at the back with shields. Samara, taking on whole gangs banshees with just her biotics and nothing else. Miranda and Jacob with the ex-cerberus guys using a mix of tech and fire power on them. Kirahe holding the line with his Salarian STG. Kasumi, sticking to the Shadows and stealthally taking out ground troops who stray too far. This is one of the things that was needed the most, BioWare. If this isn’t in the EC in SOME form, you will lose a lot of points.3- A SATISFYING CONCLUSION (Explanation in the long run)This can be the easiest, but at the same time, the most important of everything needed. It can be done with slide shows if you really want. As long as what happens in the short term is explained with fully voiced cutscenes, this can be a picture then some text on the screen. Basically, it needs to highlight what was in point 2, but in more depth and what happens over the next few decades (or even centuries).Firstly, the final choices. If you picked destroy red, then there should be a scene that explains that the reapers never returned and that all were dead. They should say how the Quarians actually morned the loss of the Geth (if you had peace with them), and that they had an entire memorial dedicated to them. How Joker had a proper funeral for EDI on earth, and how technology was forever altered by Shepards choices. If he survives, tell the player about his full recovery, and what happens to his Synthetic parts (are they broken, do they get rebuilt by the ex-cerberus). If he survives, does he reunite with his crew after sending out a search party.If you chose control blue, do they study the Godchild and learn of it’s true intent? Do they come to actually control the God child? IS THE GODCHILD NOW SHEPARD? Do they see Shepard as a hologram on the Catalyst platform, giving orders to reapers? Does Shepard spend eternity using the reapers to help the galaxy, or does it corrupt him, causing the cycle to continue after a few hundred years?If you chose Synthesis Green, does the galaxy become the model of peace? With everyone escentially “the same” as eachother, do people live in bliss? Does everyone become super intelligent, and create an era of prosperity… or do they become like what the Geth were before they were independant, only living to obey orders, living as a hive mind. An advanced explanation of the following years after the events of the ending relating directly to the final choice.Secondly, what happens to all the other races. Depending on our choices, give us either bad news about each race or good news. Tell us about how the Krogan rebuilt Tutchunka with the help of Eve (sorry can’t actually remember her “krogan” name XD), and have Wrex tell stories to his children about the hero shepard. Or does Wreav take control, and lead the Krogan into a new rebellion which destroys entire parts of the Galaxy. Do they even get cured at all? Does the genephage end up whiping the krogans out completely?Tell us how the Geths and Quarians lived together and began living outside their suits, or if you chose one side, how the Quarians had to adapt over many many years or how the Geth live on Rannoch in peace and as individuals. Maybe if you do not help bring peace and side with Quarians, have a negative reaction to it and say maybe Tali dies because she tried to live outside her suit too hastely, while if they both live, she gets help from the Geth and recovers very quickly.Tell us about how Earth, Palaven and Thessia get rebuilt (if at all) and how the 3 races managed to rebuild their civilisations.Does the Citadel get rebuilt? Or is it just salvaged for scrap and materials?Lastly, and this is the biggest thing that will MAKE THE EXTENDED CUT COMPLETE is what happens to the Squad mates. This is a MUST HAVE. Without this, there will be no success with this DLC. AT. ALL.Tell us whether Kaiden/ Ashley become a spectre and become living legends like Shepard.Tell us what happens to Liara, how she helps the Galaxy with her influence as Shadow broker and helps rebuild the shattered civilisation.Tell us how Vega persues his military Courier, joining N7 and becoming a badass soldier, maybe even becoming a Spectre.Tell us whether Garrus actually retires to somewhere tropical, living off the fame and fortune. If you didn’t romance him or Tali, maybe they get together and live on Rannoch with each other (back off, Garrus, I’m telling you she’s mine >:) )Tell us whether Tali makes it back to see her Homeworld Rannoch, does he build a house there and live in peace? Does Garrus go and live with her (Garrus, I said OFF!)?If EDI survives, does she live with Joker? Does she become an accepted AI to live amongst organics, like the Geth?Does Javik stay with Liara and help her write a book about “The Last Prothean?”Tell us whether Miranda goes and li
    ves with her sister, Oriana.Does Jacob live with Dr Cole and name their child “Shepard?”(If he survives) Does Mordin go and study sea shells on the beach?Tell us if Grunt continues to lead Krogan armies under Wrex/ Wreav’s rule.Does Jack continue to teach her students?What about Samara? Tell us what happens to her after the war, and how she goes and kicks ass as a Justicar.What about cute little Kasumi? Does she keep taunting that Salarian Spectre, even though she fooled him into believing she’s dead?And let’s not forget Zaeed, tell us whether he continues fighting with Mercs, or does he actually retire like he said he would in LotS.However, despite all these great slides, the last one should be dedicated to a very, VERY special character. A character that has been with us the longest, and deserves an explanation more than any other, for he… or she… has done what nobody thought possible.The Last slide should be dedicated to Shepard, and how he/ she is remembered by the Galaxy.If Shepard dies in the Destroy ending, have an explanation of how they recover his body (this should be done in a cutscene, but if not put it in here), and how they have a funeral for him. Depending on his success depends on who attends, does his crew return in time for it? Or are they still stuck on that planet?If he survives the Destroy ending, he should have an explanation of what happens now in his life. Does he get married and live with his LI? Does he retire? Or does he go and kick more ass as a Spectre?! Just outline what he does up until his death day.If he choses Control, does it say how he is now like the new “god child?” Does he act as someone who controls the Reapers for good or for evil? Tell the player how Shepard spends the rest of eternity as the new “overlord” of the Reapers.In Synthesis, no one probably even knows if he is dead. They label him MIA and have him in a memorial service back on earth, for all the soldiers who gave their lives protecting not just earth, but the whole galaxy.And on this slide, there should be a explanation on how he was remembered. Was he remembered as a peace keeper who spread love and understanding everywhere he went? Was he remembered as someone who stood up against the galaxy when everything was at it’s darkest and succeed? Or was he remembered as a badass who got the job done at any cost?This is important stuff, all of it. With everything in here in mind, this could be a good 15 to 30 minute cutscene for the ending. It won’t be perfect. But it will be damn, DAMN close. If the original ending was considered as standing outside a sewage plant with a extremely heavy stench coming from it, this extended cut (with all of my suggestions put in) would be like sitting next to a guy who farts, but you also sit next to an open window. You know that the original fart stinks, but by the time you get first wiff of it, it’s already on it’s merry way out of the window. You still remember it, but it’s at least not in the room any more.I hope people actually took time to read that XD

  • Yus

    Joker is out of the Sol system? It looks to me that he was just haunlig ass as fast as the Normandy could go to get out of the explosions range. Plot Hole #2 This was is admittedly problematic, but not impossible. The best I can come up with is either your squad mates held back to push back enemy forces that were advancing at the rear (thus giving Shepard the best shot at making the beam and not betraying him/her), or they were both shot down by Harbingers beams (or other reapers forces that were around) early in the run. When they came to, they were too far back to make any realistic shot at reaching the beam (if 20-30 healthy people couldn’t make it, 2 injured people won’t either, remember that Shepard always harped not to throw your life away). So they decided on a temporary retreat to make another attempt. Being desperate, they decided that the Normandy itself would serve as a decoy for Harbinger. However, when the Normandy arrives, EDI picks up signals from Shepards radio and determines that he/she is on the Citadel. Thus the Normandy picks up the squad members in case they need any muscle for Shepard’s pickup. And really Joe, you see that ending scene and come to the inevitable conclusion that Joker is going to f$#k your love interest? You know, they couldn’t possibly still be in the Sol system, and then fix the Normandy so they can get back to earth (or just be straight up rescued), nope, Joker and your love interest glance at one another so that means they’re f#$king. I’m sorry Joe, but saying that really makes you look shallow. Plot Hole #3 All I can say is that the Citadel is a gigantic mass relay that blew up directly beside earth, and yet the earth is still remains. We explicitly see a scene where this supposed wave of destruction washes over the earth killing/re-purposing the reapers, and leaving the overjoyed soldiers very much alive. So this explosion must be some kind of different reaction than forcefully exploding a relay like in the Arrival DLC. Just add in some classic sci-fi techno-babble, and boom problem solved. Believe it or not, civilization existed for hundreds of thousands of years prior to mass relays, so I don’t think they are necessarily screwed . Quite frankly, the destruction of the relays makes sense. The energy wave has to cover the entire galaxy into order to completely eliminate the reapers. Otherwise, the reapers on the other various planets will just regroup and retake the galaxy anyways. Thus this explosion is really the only way to do it. Also, with the relays being reaper tech, it makes sense that they are destroyed along with the reapers. Plot hole #4 Do you remember the scene of Shepard opening the Citadel arms? The destruction was massive, and the galaxy fleet was obliterated. I would think that earth would be able to support the few survivors left. It was mentioned many times that the Reapers only focused on the heavily populated areas of earth, thus the farmlands and natural resources are more than likely still intact (reapers likely wanted to keep them intact so they could harvest them for their next 50,000 year stint in dark space). Wrex’s little comment there was very likely, in my opinion anyways, made in jest (you know, because Wrex NEVER made jokes from time to time). Also, there are other planets in the Sol system you know. The quarian/turian issue is a legitimate question. Really though, in a universe where f#*king biotics exist, they can’t come up with the solution to this? The quarian/turian home worlds are carbon based too, they can’t possibly come up with a way to transplant and grow dextro-amino acid based foods on earth? Like using hydroponics or something? Maybe there is another planet in the Sol system that can. Gamers just seem to think that people in the game are made of cotton candy. They are more resourceful and tough than you give them credit for. They will find a way, and if not, they died for the futures of their home worlds. And no, it wasn’t entire races in the final fleet. The Quarians (if you played your cards right) now have a home world on Rannoch. Do you really think they would send their children into battle, and not leave them on Rannoch? The other races had to leave people behind to defend their home worlds as well. Hence, it is very feasible that they could maintain viable populations on these home worlds and avoid extinction.Reason #5 This is subjective, so I can’t really comment on it. Sorry the game didn’t live up to your astronomical expectations here. I also don’t think all the endings are the same. They do have the same cut scenes, but conceptually they are VERY different.Reason #6 Again, subjective. An open ending makes sense to me in that this game is supposed to be the players, (though that is only an illusion, but I digress) so isn’t it only fitting that the player determine what happened? Is the concept of using your imagination so foreign to today’s ADD society? Quite frankly, even if Bioware decided the squadmates fate, the players would never accept them anyways. They would cry about perceived plot holes, that their vision of any particular character would never do what Bioware is claiming they do, blah, blah, blah. So just let the players come to their own conclusions. Also consider the ridiculous amount of resources that would have to be dedicated to these endings. There is only a finite amount of time available here, It’s logical that Bioware prefer to dedicate it to the core game and not the ending of your dreams. I guess I just have a hard time understanding the concept of players deserving more in this particular scenario. They have played a damn game for 30+ hours (100+ throughout the series). Gaming is not f*$king work. Gaming does not give you inherent rights. You have just completed a large selfish endeavor. The game is not broken, you just disagree with the narrative. This b#%ching screams of first world problems . I mean really, listen to yourselves. If this paints me as a Bioware/EA mindless slave, then so be it. By the way, your Why the F&#k not a happy ending comment pretty much explains your whole list. You didn’t get the hollywood ending, so you b#%ch about all the details as you lash out. Don’t lie and say you wouldn’t mind a bittersweet ending, because that is what the ending is. Reason #7 Again, you say don’t mind a sad ending, and then continue to complain about why you didn’t get the hollywood ending. You’re contradicting yourself. Just admit it Joe, you’re mad there isn’t a hollywood ending. Plot hole #8 I’ll try not to make this as too long, but I’ll try to explain my (condensed) theory for the origin of the God child . I believe the God Child is a VI, like Vigil on Ilos, that was created to control the Reapers. Both the VI and the Reapers were created by the first major ORGANIC and hyper advanced civilization. This civilization created the cycle as they deemed it organics best chance at continued existence as they were in a massive (and losing) war with synthetics. So no, this God child did not materialize from nothing, it was created by organics. The cycle is the harvesting of organics THAT HAVE THE ABILITY TO CREATE SYNTHETIC LIFE. They don’t destroy all organic life, as that wouldn’t make any sense. The game doesn’t definitively conclude that synthetic life will always destroy organic life, it’s THE REAPERS AND THE CIVILIZATION THE CREATED THEM THAT REACHED THIS CONCLUSION. Bioware is simply giving the Reapers a motivation for their actions that goes beyond we’re evil . That motivation has always been there, the Reapers just didn’t deem an explanation as necessary as they always deemed themselves as superior. The three choices for the ending are were not created by the God child . They are the result of all of previous civilizations that developed the crucible. The God child itself says that these options were only made available to it when it joined with the crucible. Hence it’s only telling Shepard what the crucible can do. It does make sense in that the maj
    or factions are covered. There are the organics that wish to destroy the Reapers, the organics that wish to control the reapers (remember that the VI on the Cerberus ship said that there is always a faction of organics that wish to exercise control of the Reapers in every cycle. Perhaps in some cycles that group wins the organic civil war and that is reflected in their designs of the crucible), and the Protheans with their desire for a unified galaxy, perhaps created the synthesis option. The current galaxy could have likely made it’s own solution, but by the time they did it would have been too late. So don’t blame the God child if you don’t like the options, blame the crucibles creators. You are also probably wondering why the God child would just willingly surrender. Yeah, good point. Well, you must remember that the cycle is an attempted solution, not a punishment or absolute. It is not inconceivable that the God child VI be programmed to submit to a civilization that it deems as potentially more advanced. With the God child determining that the Crucible could indeed defeat them (a conclusion it and it’s creators likely deemed impossible), it came to the conclusion that this civilization is advanced enough to provide a better answer than the cycle . Plot Hole #9 Again, the God child didn’t create these options, the crucible’s creators did. To not use the crucible would make the entire last push by the galaxy fleet meaningless. The fleet was never going to defeat the reapers in a straight up fight (THIS IS POINT HAS BEEN HAMMERED DOWN THROUGHOUT THE ENTIRE SERIES). If they did miraculously defeat the Reapers it would have been a GIGANTIC plot hole. The whole point of the final attack was to buy enough time to use the crucible. So if Shepard doesn’t use it, it’s the same thing as waving the white flag. Shepard doesn’t have any other choice but to use the crucible, it is the ONLY WAY to defeat the reapers. Shepard DOES have the option to reject the notion of an organic/synthetic eternal conflict. It’s called the destruction option (and hell, the control option does it too). It destroys the reapers (with the unfortunate result of synthetics getting destroyed too as they likely share too similar a physiology (if you will) with the Reapers) and leaves the status quo to forge their own path. Reason #10 Again, subjective. If you really sit back and think about what would result from any the choices, I think you would realize they are VASTLY different conclusions. Does Bioware really have to explain every little thing? It’s funny, Joe explains that the endings are all the same yet he goes into a diatribe about how he believes the synthesis option is a bad decision. I thought they were all the same Joe? He also claims it is a rip off of Deus Ex. I haven’t played the game so it can’t comment on this, but if the game ended as Joe wanted, what would it be ripping off? Oh yeah, 90% of all movies, games, books, and all the other various forms of entertainment in existence. Again, subjective. You’re decisions matter. Entire races can be wiped out if you don’t do things right . Your relationships continue. Earlier game references are all over the place. Bioware’s love of the series is entirely evident in the game. Like it or not (in real life or not), even if you do everything right it does not guarantee a fairytale ending where everyone lives. This is a realistic outlook (and one that is constantly mentioned in the game). Look at the entire game as the conclusion, and not just the explicit ending to the game. The strongest argument that the ending haters have is the early overzealous comments that PR made about the game. They are indeed half truths at best. I guess I can only say this, if they had said that the game was going to have one major but multifaceted ending scene that can be interpreted in multiple ways, and leaves the players to decide for themselves the fates of their crew members, would you not have purchased the game? Also, I ask this, is the game as it is now not worth the sticker price? Haters of the ending will likely say, absolutely . Fair enough I guess. But yeah, in my mind I’m screaming YOU ARE SO FULL OF SH&T! So yeah, I respect Joe’s opinion, and he is free to express it. I’m just providing an opposing view. It doesn’t answer everything with absolute certainty, but I do think it shows that logic in the ending can be found (I really don’t think I’m pushing the boundaries of believability much at all). So now if Bioware reconstructs the ending to give players their fairy tale ending, (and likely shattering my understanding of the ending in the process) I’m going to be upset. But what does it matter right? I’m just a blind Bioware/EA slave.