Sticking the Dismount: Avoiding Bad Endings

Warning: This post contains mild spoilers for Mass Effect 3, but not details.

The gaming world’s been on fire a while now about the end of Bioware’s Mass Effect 3 and has opened a lot of discussion about what makes a good ending and what makes a hasty ending hacked together because of executive meddling caring more about release dates than putting out the best possible product (not my words).

Full disclosure, I haven’t played Mass Effect; not because I’m trying to be internet cool and avoiding the fun, popular thing, but because my computer can’t keep pace with fun, popular things. I have, however, watched videos of the end and listened to the debates. All in all, I feel I know enough to use the ME3 ending as a flimsy excuse to talk about what makes a good ending and why.

Having written a lot and read, played and watched even more, I can attest to endings being the hardest thing to pull off well. Getting started is hard in a motivational sense, but endings are complicated by the need to resolve plot points, provide closure, and accent tones and themes built up over the course of the story.

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