Mass Effect 3 ending fury sparks BioWare rethink

A fan backlash has prompted changes to the ending of Mass Effect 3. But who owns a game, film or gadget: fan or creator? (No spoilers!)

Mass Effect 3 may get a new ending as fans revolt over mass denouement disappointment. Despite conquering the gaming galaxy with positive reviews, the climax has prompted fans to demand changes -- and don't worry, this story is spoiler-free.

The game's developer BioWare is working on "game content initiatives", which is likely to mean extra downloadable content. The extras will "maintain the right balance between the artistic integrity of the original story while addressing the fan feedback", but it's not clear whether the actual ending will be altered.

BioWare says you can "rest assured that your journey in the Mass Effect universe can, and will, continue."

Disgruntled fans even opened their wallets to protest against the game's ending, raising nearly £50,000 for charity. The charity campaign was named Retake Mass Effect: a telling title, as it highlights how we as fans claim ownership of the things we love. But does that give us a greater claim over the game -- or film, or gadget -- than the creators?

In the age of the Internet, fan feedback is a powerful force. Just look at the Star Wars prequels or, in our technology world, the hullabaloo over Ice Cream Sandwich updates on the Samsung Galaxy S2 to see how vocal fans can be when they think they've been short-changed -- and rightly so. The question is, is there a difference between a product that you want to be improved, and a piece of art that simply didn't meet your expectations?

A recent ending to draw almost universal anger was the climax of horror film The Devil Inside, which -- spoiler alert -- ended abruptly with a web address to find out more. It's clearly deliberately intended to be provocative. Horror films are intended to shock and disorient, so in that sense the ending makes sense, but that doesn't assuage anyone who's parted with a tenner to be entertained. Despite the outcry, no-one's seriously suggesting director William Brent Bell reshoots the ending.

Meanwhile, the problem with Mass Effect 3 doesn't seem to be that the ending is disappointing, but that the posssible endings don't reflect the work players put in. With three alternate endings on offer, the myriad choices made by a player over the course of the game seem to count for nothing as you search for closure.

Some critics have also complained about the game's story being muddied and confused by spin-off material, including comics, iOS games and animated films that aren't even out yet.

Are you hooked on Mass Effect? Has the ending disappointed you? And should fans dictate changes to games, films or gadgets? Tell me your spoiler-free thoughts in the comments or on our Facebook page. And for more gaming goodness, press start with our button-bashing buddies at GameSpot.

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