|Mass Effect 3's Extended Cut DLC -- will it provide closure?|
So today marks the release of the Mass Effect 3 "Extended Cut" DLC. I was going to say "much-anticipated," but to be honest the absolute, undiluted passion that many gamers felt on this issue seems to have cooled to either apathy ("I don't know, I've sort of moved on...") or a vague, almost existential sadness ("I thought Shepard mattered to the universe. Clearly he didn't. I'm playing some Skyrim again, that's helping me... fill the void..."). Once the information on the Extended Cut came out, it became clear that Bioware wasn't fundamentally altering any of the much-complained about ME3 endings, but instead adding additional content that they hoped would provide dissatisfied fans with a greater sense of closure. This placated some people, and just sort of sapped the willpower of those fans who wanted a complete ME3 ending overhaul.
But I, for one, am very excited to get home from work today and grab the DLC. I think there are many different avenues that Bioware could take that would be really interesting while still staying within the bounds of the endings already laid out in the pre-Extended Cut version of ME3. Here are a few (somewhat unorthodox) ideas about how ME3's different finales could be thrilling, touching and resoundingly complete.
MANY spoilers ahead for the original ending(s) of ME3. I haven't played the Extended Cut yet, so everything besides the basic facts of the launch-version endings is pure conjecture, as will become apparent.
1.) You Reap What You Sow
|Pictured: a Reaper. Not Pictured: a Reaper-Reaper.|
This version of the ending occurs if you choose the "Destroy" route. Shepard opts to obliterate all non-organic life in the galaxy, from the geth to the Reapers to the android your pilot is in love with. And, at this point, unlike in the original ending, Bioware explains how exactly this feat is accomplished.
Instead of the much-maligned generic red shock-wave that kills all synthetics, what happens in this scenario is that the Crucible creates a new race of synthetics, called the Reaper-Reapers. You know how the Reapers look essentially like a race of giant robotic hermit crabs? Well, the Reaper-Reapers look like a race of even BIGGER robotic seagulls. The new ending shows thirty minutes of footage of Reaper-Reapers swooping down from space and devouring the Reapers. At this point there is a renegade interrupt prompt, which, if taken, allows Shepard to scream something about Harbinger putting that in its pipe and smoking it.
2.) Vacation Time
|Joker needs to take some time off to relax and trim his neckbeard.|
For all endings, there is content included that explains why exactly Joker has sped away in the Normandy with a few pals at the moment when Shepard is in the middle of trying to save all advanced life in existence.
Turns out, Joker has been working so hard for the Systems Alliance that he's accrued a bunch of vacation leave. The Extended Cut ending abruptly cuts to Joker on the Normandy during the Battle for Earth and reveals that he has become overworked and extremely on edge after all of the near-misses and suicide missions. Actor Seth Green expertly voices Joker's meltdown, delivering lines like, "I work my ass off, I almost got eaten by Collectors, and I haven't taken a three-day weekend since the Skyllian Blitz!"
So Joker decides that he's going to take the Normandy for a joyride -- however, he crash-lands on a beautiful, wild planet, and decides he'll start anew...
3.) Live Together, Die Alone
Speaking of that jungle planet that the crew are marooned on in the end -- that whole thing takes a really odd turn. As the result of a secret deal reached by executives from EA and ABC, in what could be described as the weirdest cross-over ever, the jungle planet Joker lands on is actually an alternate-universe version of the island from hit series Lost.
Commander Shepard is revealed to be a distant relative of Jack Shephard from the show. Joker falls in love with Claire and it turns out that John Locke is actually a turian. Shockingly, this ending makes more sense than the actual end of Lost.
4.) The Wrex Chronicles
|The new end of ME3 is essentially Wrex going on an endless pubcrawl.|
If you've kept Wrex alive until the end of ME3 and helped the krogan as a race, you'll be overjoyed to think of Wrex's unique position as a visionary leader of his people. He seems to have the foresight to create a new future for his kind, based not on war but on community, based not on hate but on pride.
Unfortunately, Wrex is on Earth at the end of ME3, and in every available ending of the game Shepard destroys the mass relays, making long-distance space travel impossible. So Wrex, the perfect leader for the krogan, is stuck on Earth, many lightyears away from the krogan homeworld of Tuchanka, unable to lead his people toward a new golden age or really do anything useful.
So, in Mass Effect 3's Extended Cut, Wrex gets super drunk! In a playable "epilogue," you (as Wrex) wander around post-war Earth filled with self-pity and rage, getting tanked at half-demolished London pubs and falling asleep in alleyways. There is no official end to this epilogue, though you do get a twenty-five point Achievement if you make Wrex drink so much that all three of his krogan livers cease functioning.
5.) More Alien Booty
|When in doubt, go SEX-AY.|
The developers decided to hedge their bets and, instead of clarifying plot points, just include 1.9 gigabytes worth of hot alien-on-human action. Ever wondered how a volus gives a human a BJ? Wonder no longer! (Cable news shows will cover the story extensively.)
By now, some of you have probably begun to experience the Extended Cut for yourself. What do you say? Did any of these ideas make it in there?