Brace for giant wall of text. I just wanted to post this because I got a lot of questions and feedback already after the release of the first version. I thought I might take the second post to answer a few that came up repeatedly.Why the hell did you make a mod like this?
I - like lot’s of people on (and off) these forums - was really upset with the ending of Mass Effect 3 for several reasons. I love this series and I love this universe and after realising that BioWare was not going to change the ending significantly after the admirable but ultimately (in my opinion) failed attempt that was the EC, I decided that the most efficient solution that would work for me was to simply alter the ending and implant my own. After spending about 2 weeks figuring out how to manipulate sound and dialogue files, I was ready to alter the game sufficiently to implement the minimum of what I wanted to achieve. MEEM is the result of that effort and while I ultimately made it out of self interest, I hope there might be some others out there who may enjoy it as well.The changes that were made are not what many people wanted – why not go all the way and make the perfect ending?
The answer to this question is threefold:
1. While BW’s handling of the ending outcry was atrocious and disrespectful to the community IMO, they were right in one thing: You can’t please everyone. As I said, in the end, I made this mod for myself and it is adequate for my tastes.
2. Many people (me included) wanted a happy ending but I actually respect BW’s decision to make the final choice hard, dark, imperfect and full of sacrifice. What bothered me about the ending are three things. First, It is utterly and completely incoherent and illogical. It doesn’t fit into the ME plot and it opens heaps of plot holes on it’s own, also the catalyst itself and it’s arguments don’t make much sense (I don’t want to discuss this here since there are lot's and lot's of threads dedicated to all these aspects but I just can’t stand it). Secondly, not only is the ending logically incoherent, it is also narratively incoherent. It is isolated from the rest of the game and even the narrative structure of the endings on their own is deeply flawed. I have nothing against a dark and gritty choice but don’t try to sell me a happy ending just 1 minute later, no matter which of the atrocities I just commuted. It is unbelievable and sends a very disturbing message (an error introduced especially by the EC and the main reason I consider it a failure). Thirdly, Shepard’s behaviour! In the pivotal moment, the climax of the story, suddenly the behaviour of our character which we controlled for the whole trilogy gets taken away from us and replaced with this weak and docile stranger. The implication is that Shepard had a breakdown just before the end, just when his resolve really got tested (evident in replies like: “So ... The illusive man was right after all?” or “I ... don’t know”). This is unbearable in my opinion and takes all dignity from the character of Shepard, our hero.
So these are the main three things I wanted to change. First, make things fit together, Secondly, tie them into the ME plot as well as show fitting consequences to the choices and thirdly make Shepard act forceful, inquisitive and more in control of him/herself again. There are many smaller issues, some of which (by far not all) the mod takes care of but these are the main three.
3. The third reason to stick close to the original is due to my technical limitations with this mod. While I learned a lot about the file structure and manipulation of the game with a lot of help from very dedicated people in the community (who may eventually be able to make more extensive mods in the future), I am very much constrained by what is possible to change with the kind of control I have. The easiest thing to change are sound files and dialogue. I can change visuals to a very limited extend (see the new look of the ex-catalyst) but in general, I had to stick with the visual material that was already there. I cannot alter scripts, animations, (most) dialogue timing or complex skeletal models, etc. Thus, the mod as you see it is a compromise between the things I wanted to do and the things I was able to do. That said, it is sufficient for my needs as t is and I don’t plan major content changes at this point (unless unforeseen opportunities were to present themselves).But this will never work with any new material that BW will release that plays after ME3!
Frankly, at this point, I don't see how any future Mass Effect could move onward in a meaningful way without canonising one of the “real” endings (in which case, my mod is just another non-canon addition). Also, while I will keep an eye on future ME products, I am less than inclined to really go forward with the universe as it is at this point (at least for now).Your mod gives even less closure than the original ending. This is stupid!
This is true and given that we will probably never see a conclusion to the big unresolved issue (unless there were to be more fan fiction), I see the point of people making this argument.
However, the way I see it, it still concludes Shepard’s story. Shepard set out to stop the reapers. One way or another, s/he does just that (and only that). In BW’s endings, s/he creates a perfect galaxy in the process (no matter the choice safe refuse). In my endings, Shepard will not solve every single issue in the galaxy (in fact, the player is meant to keep wondering if they made the right choice here). There are still problems to be solved, challenges to be faced and obstacles to be overcome. IMO, this is what keeps the universe alive after finishing the story. After ME2, I was ecstatic, full of ideas how the story would go on, how Shepard would continue. After ME3, I felt empty, not only because the endings were so bad but (especially with the EC) there was just nothing more to imagine about the future that would be meaningful, not only about Shepard (the trilogy was supposed to end his/her story after all) but about the whole galaxy. Oh there is a lot of stuff to reflect about in retrospective and of course, you can always come up with your very own story in the future (maybe even in a synthesis one) but there is no connection there. I wanted to keep that connection, I wanted to have a hook for people to think about the future. To be honest, I am actually really surprised that BW did not take the obvious opportunity they had in setting the stage for future stories. My motto was: Shepard’s story is over but the universe still has a lot to do... And you get the chance to set the conditions for how they will be able to do it.But IT/the puzzle theory is way better than this!
I agree. If BW ever decides to pick up the threads and go with either IT or the puzzle theory (or anything else that we haven’t come up with yet), I am the first to cheer and throw this fan fiction on the trash heap. However, indications at the moment are that this is not the case and as much as I like the concept of the IT and the PT, without the proper DLC, finishing the story, it’s just an unfinished one which is not better than the bad endings we got without it. So until BW pulls a miracle out of their collective ... uuhh hats, I’ll go with this imperfect but IMO better solutionWhat about DLC like Leviathan?
I have not purchased Leviathan and I don’t plan to in the near future because I don’t have the time or the muse to play it at the moment. Thus, this mod is made for the EC version of Mass Effect 3 without Leviathan. It does work with the latest patch though and I ran it - Origin and everything - countless times by now without problems.
I heard that Leviathan changes the ending dialogue slightly so I guess they changed the file locations again in which case the mod won’t work and even if it would it’d be screwed up with the new dialogue. Also, I have no idea if the new plot would still work or how much it gets contradicted by Leviathan. Once BW releases their last ME3 SP DLC, I am planning to get them all and then adjust the mod if possible.Quick summary of the plot changes (trying to avoid too many spoilers:
- the star child is gone and replaced with a VI
- he "Synthetics vs. Organics" premise is gone
- The motivations of the reapers now have to do with Element Zero
- The reapers are and can no longer be controlled by anyone (not the star child, not Shepard, not anyone)
- As such, the control ending is gone and replaced by what is called "integration"
- The consequences of both control/integration and synthesis are changed (and somewhat more grim), the epilogue VO is changed
- Refusal is slightly changed to make the sacrifice less meaningless
- The technicalities of how the crucible works and its origin are now explained
- You will learn a few new things about the protheans' and the asari's mind melt capabilities
- Certain plot points that were left open from ME2 are now wrapped up (including Mordins genetic data on humans and Tali's dark energy data from Haestrom)There are new/more plot holes in this ending!
I have gotten quite a few comments about plot holes in the mod after the first release and I had a few very interesting discussions with people about that in the old thread. There is a lot of stuff in the new conversation that is just inferred or hinted at, lot’s of things the player has to deduct on their own and extrapolate from the information that is given but I have not found any actual major plot holes yet (just some very minor things). I am eager to hear from anyone who finds any (e.g. after the first release, we had a very intriguing discussion about plot points after this post
). In fact, I am eager to hear any feedback, especially critical (unlike BW however, I won’t promise to listen
Edited by MrFob, 10 October 2012 - 11:30 PM.