So by now, if you are a gamer, you have heard of the ending controversy surrounding Mass Effect 3. My thoughts on the ending are that it really really needs work. I'm not here to go into all the details on why that is, there's no point in repeating the thousands of others who have voiced their opinion on Little Lord Fauntleroy Starkid.
Instead I want to know why is it so hard to write the ending to a series? Mass Effect 3 obviously has this issue. I already know someone out there is saying "They are making a Mass Effect 4, so it's not the end to the series." In my mind the first game is the establishing episode where characters and lore aren't fully developed yet, but Mass Effect 2 and 3 are all about Shepard and this was the ending to his/her series.
Bioware knew we were attached to the character and yet the endings did not give people the ending they expected for the character after so long. And it may be the end of Shepards arc, but it's also the end for so many other supporting characters that there is a lack of closure (which it seems Bioware is hopefully addressing).
So Mass Effect bit off more than it could chew, but what about another series? Anyone here remember Myst? It is without a doubt one of my favorite gaming universes (though I must admit it because that thorough reading of the first book, The Book of Atrus). They made it up through 6 games (Myst, Riven: The Sequel to Myst, Myst III: Exile, Uru: Ages Beyond Myst, Myst IV: Revelation, and Myst V: End of Ages) and yet the final chapter kinda fell flat by introducing a new gameplay mechanic and a strange subplot that was supposed to answer questions people had but instead left many more.
Heck, you want a more mainstream example? Take a look at Star Trek. True, many of the individual series had decent endings, Next Generation had an amazing series finale with All Good Things, but the ending to the final series really didn't feel right. It left many questions unanswered and honestly just felt off (the inclusion of a slightly overweight Will Riker being the most jarring). Now I realize here that the finale to Enterprise was not meant to be the series finale, but rather a season finale that just happened to become a series finale when the next season never happened.
I understand there's a commercialization to the industries I'm talking about here, and they there's always the chance the next game or season won't happen. I'm not arguing that producers should bleed money for artistic integrity, and it certainly wasn't the problem with Mass Effect. I just want to know why so many people, when writing an ending, try way, way too hard.
We didn't need the Bahro in Myst, we didn't need the tablet writing, and honestly I found Yeesha to be annoying almost every time she was in a game (Myst III not counted as she was an infant and not crying :P).What was wrong with the mysteries of D'Ni writing being a mystery to the player the whole time? Mass Effect did not need a magical entity to control the reapers and give the reapers a purpose, they were perfectly fine as shadowy bad guys. Why does everything need to be explained so exactly and indepth?
It could be argued they want to leave no questions but I don't think anyone was asking for either of the twists Myst V or Mass Effect 3 brought to their respective storylines.
The funny thing is I'm designing a game series now and it's possible I may fall into the same trap. I hope not though, we need better endings to our game series these days.