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Published on June 28th, 2012 | by Cameron Woolsey

Mass Effect 3: Extended Cut Now Available, But Does it Still Matter?

Not too long ago BioWare shipped one of the company’s biggest games of all time. Mass Effect 3 was a trilogy finale years in the making, and had amassed an insane amount of hype prior to its release. At first, the game went as well as anyone would have hoped. The story was beautiful, dramatic and arguably could change the way storytelling is presented in games.

However, a few days later a cold wind began to stir and the first signs of trouble began popping up on the Internet. To call the ending to Mass Effect 3 a disappointment was an understatement; furious gamers started online petitions that managed to bring in tens of thousands of dollars.

The Mass Effect 3: Extended Cut can now be downloaded for free on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC. It features new cinematic sequences designed to offer some clarity into the final moments of the game.

“With the Mass Effect 3: Extended Cut we are delivering what so many fans have asked for – more answers, more clarity, and a more definitive resolution to their Mass Effect 3 experience,” Casey Hudson, executive producer of the Mass Effect series, said in the official press release. “The team is excited for players to experience this final statement on the conclusion to the Mass Effect trilogy.”

I know that not everyone hated the ending, in fact some people rose up to defend it. The pack shouldn’t change their minds, but the Extended Edition wasn’t really designed to do that.

For everyone else, BioWare hopes that the Extended Cut will offer some much needed closure to the story of their Shepard character. However, closure for everyone is just not possible. While some gamers may be content with the added scenes, it’s not going to satisfy everyone.

Yet that is really what we should have expected all along. Back when BioWare first broke news on the trilogy, we should have seen disappointment looming on the horizon. I’m not talking about disappointment in the series itself, I’m talking about getting that “one ending.” Not the best ending, mind, but your ending specifically. BioWare probably knew long before even working on Mass Effect 2 that the project was too big to handle, too grandiose, with too many winding paths for the player to tread, to create an efficient ending that ties it all together in a way to make everyone happy.

Mass Effect 3 concludes a trilogy with so much player control and ownership of the story that it was hard for us to predict the range of emotions players would feel when they finished playing through it.”
-Dr. Ray Muzyka co-founder and CEO at BioWare Corp, March 21, 2012

Word is already spreading that those who have played the Extended Cut feel that the new scenes did nothing to really change how they felt about the ending. Which begs the question, did we really need them in the first place?

For others though, the Extended Cut may lessen and indignation felt by gamers who yearn for “their ending,” but it won’t be the fix they want. There may still be angry posts by fans who feel doubly hurt that they still didn’t get the ending they want. But that’s just the way it’s going to be.

Mass Effect 3 came out over three months ago and in the world of games that’s a fairly long time. The fact is, the ship has already passed; E3 has come and gone and now we all have new games to focus on. Ultimately, the Extended Cut may barely make much of a splash and be forgotten quickly. No, it really doesn’t matter in the end. Because ultimately, even though the ending wasn’t what we expected, the ride along the way more than made up for it.

The Mass Effect trilogy featured some of the greatest storytelling in gaming, with realistic characters and a branching storyline that turned a long trip in space to one of the most personal and rewarding gaming experiences we have ever had the privilege of undergoing. And that is what really matters.

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About the Author

Video game journalist since 2006, and gaming since he was old enough to use an Atari joystick. Follow me: @Cam_is_16bit

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