Former BioWare writer Drew Karpyshyn recently talked about the controversial ending to Mass Effect 3, the final game in the series' original trilogy. Karpyshyn was the lead writer on the first two Mass Effect games, as well as a senior writer on Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, but he didn't contribute to Mass Effect 3, having left BioWare prior to the game's development.
The conclusion to Mass Effect 3 caused an uproar among the devoted fan base, namely because it abandoned the long-term impact of player choice that the series had built itself upon. Moving from each Mass Effect game to the next, choices the players had made carried on and influenced certain situations and characters. But the ending of Mass Effect 3 - in which an AI, in the form of a child, announces itself to be the creator of the universe-threatening Reapers - largely ignores the myriad difficult decisions that players would have made leading up to it. Many players, in turn, considered it a disappointing end to the critically-acclaimed trilogy.
In an interview with The Inner Circle Games Network, Karpyshyn offered a possible explanation for the ending's seeming inconclusiveness, ultimately suggesting that the writing team simply lacked the time to flesh out the story prior to launch.
"You need a lot of time and I’ll be honest, I don’t know that they were given the time they needed to pull it all together. I feel like, and this is me speaking as someone who wasn’t a part of the project and didn’t see what was going on, because there’s a lot of really good stuff in Mass Effect 3, like it as a game, it’s a really great game. But the last thing you see is that ending and it didn’t work for a lot of people and I understand why.”
Karpyshyn added that, unfortunately, the ending has stuck out in people's memories more than the game's triumphs have. "Most people, if you had stopped it five hours before the game was over and said, ‘What do you think so far?’ They would have said ‘Awesome!'” Life for the Mass Effect series didn't get any easier after Mass Effect 3. The first follow-up to the trilogy, Mass Effect: Andromeda, has widely been branded a disappointment. Eventually, news of the game's rushed development came out. So, if Karpyshyn's theory of time crunches is correct, then BioWare may have a troubling pattern on its hands.
Last month, BioWare briefly confirmed that the studio is, in fact, working on new Mass Effect projects. Moving forward, it's important to keep in mind that, despite the loud criticism that elements of Mass Effect 3 and much of Andromeda received, both games have plenty of merit. What's more, a bit of a break might be precisely what Mass Effect needs in order to return revitalized. The original game's ability to surprise and introduce refreshing changes to established genres and tropes was what made it so compelling in the first place. As long as BioWare is afforded the time they need to flesh out the story and gameplay, then, hopefully, gamers will have another acclaimed Mass Effect series on the way.
Source: The Inner Circle Games Network