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MEEM - the 1st Mass Effect 3 Ending Mod - Mark II


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#1
MrFob

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Hey everyone,

This is the second edition of a thread, I opened about 2 months ago and it is for the second version of MEEM – the first Mass Effect 3 Ending Mod.
Download it here.


What is MEEM?
Essentially this mod is fan fiction. It is a re-imagined ending for Mass Effect 3 that can be added and will work directly in the game itself. Basically it kicks in when Shepard rides up the magic elevator and puts his/her conversation with the catalyst (which in the mod is no longer the catalyst) into a completely new context
The old version was only for male Shep with high EMS. The new version has the same content but has a couple of additions:
- FemShep version is now included (thanks heaps to FC_paragon for the VO)
- New MaleShep version (all credits for MaleShep's new VO go to NightHawkinLight)
- Corresponding epilogues for the Control ending (which is called "Integration" in the mod) for both, FemShep and MaleShep
- Low EMS with unique dialogue should work (I didn't have a savegame to test it though, so there might be a couple of bugs)
- Medium EMS should work as well (but again, it's not tested and I suspect bugs)
- New and improved Synthesis epilogue spoken by a "transformed Liara" (thanks again to FC_paragon, video link will follow asap)
- Changed Renegade conversation/Refusal epilogue to make the sacrifice of our cycle less meaningless (we still loose though)
- In game audio is improved (still not perfect but better than before)
- In-game subtitles added and partially corrected

Please note, while the mod is now "content complete" if you will, it's still a work in progress and I'd appreciate feedback in any kind or form. Thanks!

Don't like MEEM?
There is more and more in the works.
If you want to try your hand at any of this or just duscuss more modding beyond MEEM, check out this thread

Edited by MrFob, 10 February 2014 - 05:15 AM.


#2
MrFob

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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 solution

What 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.


#3
d1ta

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Holy cow!! Someone finally managed to mod the ending *fully amazed* too bad my pc's down at the moment and cannot download your work tomorrow :( *sad panda*
But here's a question I'm dying to ask though, is there some sort of a rescue/reunion scene for Shep in the high EMS destroy? Not looking for something specific or cheesy, but will my Shep finally can get out from that rubble?

#4
fil009

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Is there a twitter account we can reference? Its cool if you put a marketing person up to it and go hide from your own account until further notice. -LOL-

#5
davepissedatending

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MrFob wrote...

Hey everyone,

This is the second edition of a thread, I opened about 2 months ago and it is for the second version of MEEM – the first Mass Effect 3 Ending Mod.

What is MEEM?
Essentially this mod is fan fiction. It is a re-imagined ending for Mass Effect 3 that can be added and will work directly in the game itself. Basically it kicks in when Shepard rides up the magic elevator and puts his/her conversation with the catalyst (which in the mod is no longer the catalyst) into a completely new context
The old version was only for male Shep with high EMS. The new version which will be ready for download (hopefully) by tomorrow has the same content but has a couple of additions:
- FemShep version is now included (thanks heaps to FC_paragon for the VO)
- New MaleShep version (all credits for MaleShep's new VO go to NightHawkinLight)
- Corresponding epilogues for the Control ending (which is called "Integration" in the mod) for both, FemShep and MaleShep
- Low EMS with unique dialogue should work (I didn't have a savegame to test it though, so there might be a couple of bugs)
- Medium EMS should work as well (but again, it's not tested and I suspect bugs)
- New and improved Synthesis epilogue spoken by a "transformed Liara" (thanks again to FC_paragon, video link will follow asap)
- Changed Refusal epilogue to make the sacrifice of our cycle less meaningless (we still loose though, video asap)
- In game audio is improved (still not perfect but better than before)
- In-game subtitles added and partially corrected

Please note, while the mod is now "content complete" if you will, it's still a work in progress and I'd appreciate feedback in any kind or form. Thanks!

awww that sounds sick well done wish I had the pc virsion now Posted Image

#6
movieguyabw

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Wow, that was actually pure genius. ^_^ Loved the explanation you gave for how the different choices worked, and really liked the twist in there and how it relates to Dark Matter.

If only it were possible to have your version of the Catalyst's dialog with the original Shepard dialog - just to retain consistency in regards to Shepard's voice actor.

#7
thatdude90210

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Very nice. Better than the original "synthetic vs organic" premise that seemingly came out of left field. And I can almost stomach the inclusion of synthesis in this scenario, god I hate synthesis.

#8
MegaSovereign

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I appreciate the effort you put into this but you're essentially replacing one conflict (the Reapers) with another (dark energy) at the end of the trilogy without actually resolving it. That's (IMO at least) bad storytelling.

I believe that's ultimately why Bioware didn't go with the dark energy ending.

#9
Silentzo

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This is very well thought out.

#10
Dark Delta 06

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Did someone already created modding tool set for mass effect?
Also going to watch it :) ... And read that huge text wall.. :D

#11
movieguyabw

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MegaSovereign wrote...

I appreciate the effort you put into this but you're essentially replacing one conflict (the Reapers) with another (dark energy) at the end of the trilogy without actually resolving it. That's (IMO at least) bad storytelling.

I believe that's ultimately why Bioware didn't go with the dark energy ending.


It's better than replacing it with a conflict that's already been resolved.  No matter which way you look at it, the Synthetics vs Organics conflict had already been fixed:  (either the Quarians were dead, the Geth were dead, or the Quarians and Geth had made peace)   There really wasn't much other instances of the Synthetics vs Organics conclict in the rest of the trilogy.

#12
MegaSovereign

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movieguyabw wrote...

MegaSovereign wrote...

I appreciate the effort you put into this but you're essentially replacing one conflict (the Reapers) with another (dark energy) at the end of the trilogy without actually resolving it. That's (IMO at least) bad storytelling.

I believe that's ultimately why Bioware didn't go with the dark energy ending.


It's better than replacing it with a conflict that's already been resolved.  No matter which way you look at it, the Synthetics vs Organics conflict had already been fixed:  (either the Quarians were dead, the Geth were dead, or the Quarians and Geth had made peace)   There really wasn't much other instances of the Synthetics vs Organics conclict in the rest of the trilogy.


Organic vs Synthetic conflict can't be "fixed" with one instance.  It's an ongoing problem. Organics seeking to control their creations will always result in some sort of conflict.

Tech Singularity as the Reapers' motivations, IMO, is better than dark energy because the issue itself matches with the cyclical nature of the Reapers.


If you want my opinion on what the Reapers' motivations should have been, it would be neither tech singularity or dark energy. Instead it would be that as organics evolve overtime and develop technology, their flawed organic reasoning drives them to their own destruction through warfare on a massive-scale. The Krogan rebellions would be part of the ingame evidence of this issue. Organics trying to control their creations would just be one of the ways that organics screw themselves over.

Edited by MegaSovereign, 06 October 2012 - 06:32 PM.


#13
SpamBot2000

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Well, here's to this one, and many more to come.

#14
Yakko77

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thatdude90210 wrote...

Very nice. Better than the original "synthetic vs organic" premise that seemingly came out of left field. And I can almost stomach the inclusion of synthesis in this scenario, god I hate synthesis.


Yeah, it almost makes me want to choose Synthesis... almost!  ;)

Which is a huge step up from the absolute rage hate I have for it as originally presented.  The new end even makes the destruction of the Geth and EDI in Destroy more palatable in this version.

#15
MrFob

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d1ta wrote...
But here's a question I'm dying to ask though,
is there some sort of a rescue/reunion scene for Shep in the high EMS
destroy? Not looking for something specific or cheesy, but will my Shep
finally can get out from that rubble?


Unfortunately, no, there is not. Right now, it's very hard to change anything visual by more than a minuscule amount. You can change textures to some extent and you can make slight changes to the models but creating something like that would be very hard and time consuming. It might be possible to make something like a pre-recorded video or an extra epilogue slide and include those (or maybe go the other way and take out the breath scene altogether) but I haven't tried that yet. I imagine that would be feasible but I am not entirely sure how easy/hard it would be to find the right triggers.

movieguyabw wrote...
If only it were possible to have your
version of the Catalyst's dialog with the original Shepard dialog - just
to retain consistency in regards to Shepard's voice actor.


I know. Don't get me wrong, I am very very grateful to FC_paragon and NightHawkinLight for their help with the VO. They did an excellent job, given that we each sit halfway across the world from each other and communicate only via email and that we are recording this with off-the-shelf microphones (a webcam in my case :)) and I hope they'll post here as well.
However, while I tried really hard, with the equipment I have, it is not possible to digitally emulate the voices of other people to 100%.
Therefore, after finishing this version, I am going to try to put together the dialogue from audio from ME2 and 3 (I still have trouble extracting ME1 audio, unfortunately and would be grateful for any help in that regard). Mind you, I tried this before and I wasn't too happy with the result but I didn't spend too much time on it yet so maybe there is still a way to do it.

MegaSovereign wrote...
Organic vs Synthetic conflict can't be "fixed" with one instance.  It's an ongoing problem. Organics seeking to control their creations will always result in some sort of conflict.

Tech Singularity as the Reapers' motivations, IMO, is better than dark energy because the issue itself matches with the cyclical nature of the Reapers.


If you want my opinion on what the Reapers' motivations should have been, it would be neither tech singularity or dark energy. Instead it would be that as organics evolve overtime and develop technology, their flawed organic reasoning drives them to their own destruction through warfare on a massive-scale. The Krogan rebellions would be part of the ingame evidence of this issue. Organics trying to control their creations would just be one of the ways that organics screw themselves over.


1. I definitely see the argument with the new plot point and I agree that it is in fact bad storytelling to open up this can of worms right at the end (especially because it requires a huge amount of new concepts to be explained in the last 10 minutes of the game). However, I do agree with movieguyabw that (even if the conflict may come up again in the future), at least as far as the story is concerned the organics/synthetics issue has already been dealt with in ME3.
My reasoning to go with a (heavily modified) dark energy plot was a) I wanted the tie-ins to ME2, B) I wanted to show that the reapers think on a whole different scale and c) I wanted a situation where the new "solutions" actually help with the problem. The cyclic pattern works with noth IMO. I do like the warfare idea you suggest but I think in order to implement that, much much more deviation from the original endings would be required to make it feasible and I don't have the ability to do that.

Maybe we'll see other, more extensive mods in the future. On that note (and because someone asked for modding tools), the best we have at the moment is the ME3Explorer by WarrantyVoicer et al. over here. Things are a bit more complicated when modding DLC like the EC ending but that would definitely be your starting point.

Edited by MrFob, 07 October 2012 - 02:32 AM.


#16
christrek1982

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did you do or plan to do any work on the destroy ending mayde expand on the breathe scean for high EMS?

Edited by christrek1982, 07 October 2012 - 02:51 AM.


#17
MrFob

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christrek1982 wrote...

did you do or plan to do any work on the destroy ending mayde expand on the breathe scean for high EMS?


Unfortunately, as I wrote above, this would not be easy and constitute a rather extensive project. I am not saying it's impossible but I am not planning to start anything like that on my own at the moment.

BTW: Preliminary version is ready for download (see OP).

#18
Fedi.St

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This makes mac walters like a 2 month kid. Way to go OP. Dark Matter makes so much sense. More than the conflict we have at hand. The whole game up to the pre dlc of the mass effect 2 was buliding up to that.

Mac decided that he wanted to destroy the game.

#19
Noelemahc

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This is surprisingly awesome (with a minor issue in the non-matching VOs and a lot of insincerity on MShep's part) AND actually in-gamey. Congratulations, OP, on being the first to move from pipe dreams into actual action AND managing to make it so awesome.

If the original ending was this way, I'm sure I wouldn't've minded it as much. I also hope you don't mind if I spread the word of this to other sites =)

Also, reverse quadruple lazor bonus points for making Synthesis palatable. That alone merits an achievement badge or two.
Posted Image Posted Image

Edited by Noelemahc, 07 October 2012 - 01:05 PM.


#20
Fedi.St

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also the synthesis in this way makes some sense. Its not about changing life in galaxy. Is not about a synthesis philosophy like ieldra and hyr put it. Its a gun which has to be used again the eezo menace.

#21
MrFob

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Thanks guys!
Speaking of the eezo menace, I know I went pretty far out there with the whole subatomic life form thing. However, It was an idea I was kind of fascinated with since I was like 12 years old so I couldn't resist putting it in there. However, I kept it as a theory of the creators so each player can decide for themselves if they want to take it seriously or dismiss it as propaganda nonsense from an aeon old war.
Someone told me that this is similar to what Gears of War did. I never played those games however, so this is purely coincidence.

As for the endings, Unfortunately, I never got to implement my destroy epilogue since I didn't want to remove Lance Henriksen's VO and the old one works ... sort of.
However, it is a bit too nice, too secure for my liking. Also, I hated that the death of the geth/EDI was just glossed over. Here is what I would have changed it to:
The war is over, the reapers have been defeated. Against all odds and in the face of the greatest threat this galaxy has ever known we survived. We suffered many losses. The relays were severely damaged but we won. This victory belongs to each of us, every man, woman and child every civilisation on every world.
If this war has taught us anything, it is that we are at our strongest when we work together. We will need this strength for the challenges that lie ahead. Even in the exhilaration of victory we must remember that we face an uncertain future. Did we place our own hubris before the fate of everyone who comes after us? Did we sacrifice the future for the present? Or did we finally end a war that was fought over aeon old principles? I do not know. But I know that whatever the future holds for the cosmos, we must face it together.
And we will face it in honour of those who paid for it with their lives, who fought and died alongside us. And as I think of our losses, I know that the casualties were many and tragic. An entire race wiped out in the dawning days of their true sentience. But their memory drives us forward. And whatever problems lie ahead, we will find strength in the certainty that due to their sacrifice we have a future to fight for.

I had to cut a lot of stuff (like more exposition on the mass relays, the reapers and the crucible) to fit things into the games dialogue but maybe it's for the better. It's a giant info dump as it is.

#22
Obadiah

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Wow! This explanation makes much more sense than the original.

#23
Namz89

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You Sir, are awesome! Thanks so much for this.

#24
Fedi.St

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I'll keep posting here for the thread to return.

The dark energy plot as it is presented here ties all the loose ends from the game and really gives synthesis a moral and logical justification.

Whoever can't see this please don't troll. Just watch the videos from OP.

#25
Isichar

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Wow, very impressive OP, I applaud the incredible amount of effort that went into this.