The 6 best game endings of all-time (and how BioWare would ruin them)

Video game endings tend to feel a lot like an afterthought. Whereas a bad movie only ever consumes two hours of your life, games can have you playing upwards of 100+ hours before reaching the finale, and quite often that payoff is woefully underwhelming. Two big-names examples in just the past few weeks include Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City, where the conclusion was given about as much attention as bug-testing in a Bethesda game, and Asura’s Wrath, which has a “true” ending that acts as nothing more than a gateway for “closure DLC.”

GamesBeat Weekly Roundup

Here are some of the stories that ran on GamesBeat this week. We’re running more articles exclusively in the GamesBeat section of VentureBeat, particularly when they’re mainly of interest to our game readers. The broader-interest posts will continue to run on VentureBeat as well. Please visit the GamesBeat section to catch up on the latest game news. We’re ramping up our game coverage, so you’ll find a larger amount of deeper news at GamesBeat.

Mass Effect 3: Character deaths

Now that Mass Effect 3 has been out for nearly a month, GamesBeat thought you might be interested to see what would have happened if Commander Shepard went right instead of left, zigged instead of zagged.
Below you’ll find all the various death scenes in the game (for characters that mattered, anyway).

Mass Effect 3: Romances

Now that Mass Effect 3 has been out for nearly a month, GamesBeat thought you might be interested to see what would have happened if Commander Shepard went right instead of left, zigged instead of zagged.
Inside you’ll find videos of all the different romance options. FemShep scenes are on the second page.

Mass Effect 3: Endings, analyses, and theories

Now that Mass Effect 3 has been out for nearly a month, GamesBeat thought you might be interested to see what would have happened if Commander Shepard went right instead of left, zigged instead of zagged.
Inside, you’ll find all three possible endings, as well as some extras discussing the endings and a popular theory among fans as to what really happened. It’s admittedly pretty interesting, even if it ends up not being true.

Mega Man would make a good War Asset (Mass Effect 3)

Mass Effect 3 is more or less about finding people and “space stuff” to help build a powerful final offensive against the Reapers. Everything from former comrades to Jessica Chobot count towards your total War Assets, but art blog Drawed Goods felt they could contribute a little more to Commander Shepard’s last hurrah. I’d rather take Mega Man into battle over Freddie Prinze, Jr. any day.

Gamers held the line: Mass Effect 3 ending is being addressed

Mass Effect 3 should have been a momentous moment for gaming, truly something to celebrate; not just for the countless gamers who have deeply invested in the universe and characters for five years now, but also for the many developers who have spent eight working on it.Instead, it has been plagued by one massive disappointment after another: day one DLC, the inability to import your Shepard, the inability to properly import your decisions from previous games, greedy watered-down multiplayer, and last but certainly not least, the ending. I say ending (singular)–even though there are three–because they’re almost completely identical, and they all had the same exact effect: fans hated them.After two long weeks of thousands of forum posts and articles and charities that raised over $60,000 for sick children, all in the name of demanding a better Mass Effect, BioWare has finally–begrudgingly–admitted defeat.Dr. Ray Muzyka, co-founder of BioWare, released the following statement this morning:As co-founder and GM of BioWare, I’m very proud of the ME3 team; I personally believe Mass Effect 3 is the best work we’ve yet created. So, it’s incredibly painful to receive feedback from our core fans that the game’s endings were not up to their expectations. Our first instinct is to defend our work and point to the high ratings offered by critics – but out of respect to our fans, we need to accept the criticism and feedback with humility.Muzyka goes on to point out (again) that he believes Mass Effect 3 is BioWare’s best game ever (take that, Dragon Age!), and that the feedback from fans was unpredictable and surprising, given how “more than 75 critics [gave] it a perfect review score.”BioWare has previously addressed the endings by saying “We’re listening,” but not necessarily that anything was being done about it. There’s an extremely interesting read on the official Mass Effect 3 forums where a former public relations agent breaks down BioWare’s careful manipulation and damage control tactics of the ongoing controversy.But having the co-founder of BioWare step in is undoubtedly the company raising the white flag (perhaps it was all those Amazon returns?). Muzyka doesn’t share exact details, but he does reveal that something aimed at alleviating the criticisms of the ending is coming.”…the team are hard at work on a number of game content initiatives that will help answer the questions, providing more clarity for those seeking further closure to their journey. You’ll hear more on this in April. We’re working hard to maintain the right balance between the artistic integrity of the original story while addressing the fan feedback we’ve received. This is in addition to our existing plan to continue providing new Mass Effect content and new full games, so rest assured that your journey in the Mass Effect universe can, and will, continue.”Notice that the ending is not being “changed” per se, only that additional closure (or closure of any kind, in this case) will be provided. Also a sequel/spin-off and lots of DLC have not so subtly been confirmed, by the co-founder of BioWare no less. That’ll help make people forget how angry they are, right?While this is a major victory for all those who felt wronged by BioWare’s ill-conceived finale, it’s certainly not the first time a developer has accommodated fan feedback. Bethesda did exactly that with Fallout 3, allowing players to choose an alternate ending and continue their adventure through a handful of expansion packs.

Star Wars: The Old Republic goes free-to-play this weekend only

BioWare has announced Star Wars: The Old Republic will be free-to-play from March 15 to March 19. The popular massively multiplayer game’s “Weekend Pass Free Trial” allows anyone to sample the opening adventures of the eight different character classes in the game, as well as some player-versus-player Warzones, and early faction-specific Flashpoints (four-man instances).

Mass Effect 3 is an unfitting finale for an outstanding franchise (review)

Mass Effect’s finale has been a long time in the making. Commander Shepard and developer BioWare have taken players on an interactive odyssey whose quality is rarely seen in video games, and impossible in any other entertainment medium. That alone infuses the third and final entry in this epic space saga with copious amounts of anticipation and nostalgia. But as George Lucas has taught us, high expectations and benefit of the doubt are two extremely dangerous practices.

Mass Effect infiltrates iPhone with lackluster results

Tempted to purchase the Mass Effect Infiltrator mobile game to aid your campaign in Mass Effect 3? Don’t. The spin-off app for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch feels more like a clumsy cash grab than an enjoyable extension of the Mass Effect universe. Instead of fighting the Reapers, you’re primarily fighting the controls.

Electronic Arts reveals new Mass Effect 3 and Star Wars online numbers

Electronic Arts chief executive John Riccitiello is feeling “awfully good” about the Mass Effect 3 launch.” Speaking at today’s Wedbush Technology, Media and Telecommunications Conference in New York City, Riccitiello estimated that the game sold 890,000 units during the first 24 hours in North-America alone, meeting the company’s expectations: “We anticipated it doing well, so we’re happy.”

Street Fighter X Tekken features MIA, 14 DLC characters already on the disc

While Mass Effect 3 is taking the lion’s share of lashback over shady business practices this week, Capcom has also found themselves on the wrong end of fan criticism. The highly anticipated crossover, Street Fighter X Tekken, released yesterday alongside Mass Effect 3, only the excitement was soon met with outrage when it was revealed that the 14 previously announced DLC characters (including Pac-Man and Mega Man) were already included on the disc.

Metacritic deleting Mass Effect 3 user reviews [update]

And the Mass Effect 3 drama just keeps on going! The game has been out for less than 24 hours and already thousands of Metacritic users have besieged the game with low scores. Metacritic has taken notice, and has started purging the system of any reviews deemed to violate the site’s terms of service.

What does $100 buy you in Mass Effect 3 multiplayer?

Mass Effect 3’s multiplayer mode employs a trading card-style unlock system, where you purchase “packs” of mystery items that include one-time-use boosts, new weapons, new characters, and new appearance customization options (don’t get excited — they’re mainly just different colors).

Gamers who customized Shepard in Mass Effect 1 may have trouble importing into ME3 (update)

Update (3/9/12): BioWare Community Coordinator Chris Priestly has acknowledged the face-code error in a post on the game’s official forum. In that thread, Priestly wrote that the development team is correcting the issue. In the meantime, he provided a link to a user-created tool that may solve the problem for PC players. Keep in mind that this is not the official fix, so BioWare won’t take any responsibility if it turns your lovely female Shepard into a repulsive abomination unfit for human or alien eyes. GamesBeat has contacted EA and BioWare to get a time frame on the fix’s release. We will update again once we have their response.

HeroEngine is the unsung platform behind Star Wars: The Old Republic

Star Wars: The Old Republic is one of the most ambitious undertakings in video game history. When the game launched in December, it was the fruition of six years of work by as many as 800 developers and an investment of an estimated $200 million. One of the secrets behind the successful development of the game was the HeroEngine, a development platform for building online games that was created by Maryland-based Idea Fabrik.

Use voice commands to play better in Mass Effect 3 (video)

Mass Effect 3 is one of the hot new video games coming this spring from BioWare, whose previous two installments have sold millions of copies. For the third time around, there’s always a risk that it could be boring. But BioWare’s team found a way to innovate using the voice commands in Microsoft’s Kinect motion-sensing system for the Xbox 360.

BioWare explains recent Star Wars: The Old Republic bans

Star Wars: The Old Republic developer BioWare is defending its recent decision to ban players for what is commonly known in the massively multiplayer online role-playing game community as “gold farming” — the practice of harvesting large amounts of in-game currency in order to sell the gold (or, in this case, credits) to other players for real cash.

Star Wars: The Old Republic drops 30 spots on the UK sales charts

Electronic Arts and BioWare’s long-awaited, big budget Star Wars: The Old Republic has seen an unprecedented drop down the UK sales charts. According to Chart-Track, the licensed massively multiplayer online game plummeted from 10th position all the way to 38th during the week ending on December 31.

Star Wars: The Old Republic attracts crowds, server queues require Jedi patience

Players seem to enjoy Star Wars: The Old Republic – once they can get on a server, that is. Yesterday the new massively multiplayer online game by Electronic Arts finally launched after a one-week early access period for pre-order customers. The influx of new Jedis, Bounty Hunters and Sith Lords resulted in waiting times between a few minutes and more than an hour on about half of the 130 North American game servers. Players enter a queue if their server is at capacity.

Review: Should you buy Star Wars: The Old Republic?

Blizzard Entertainment’s World of Warcraft could soon be feeling a great disturbance in the Force, as if millions of subscribers suddenly cried out and started heading for a galaxy far, far away. Star Wars: The Old Republic is an impressive and easy to play new competitor from Electronic Arts that makes great use of the Star Wars license. It is the most promising new massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) since World of Warcraft claimed the genre’s throne seven years ago.

10 of the most anticipated video games of 2012

Looking back, I think you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who doesn’t agree that 2011 was a great year for video games. It was a year that brought us Portal 2, Batman: Arkham City, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, and The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword. Minecraft finally left beta, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 and Battlefield 3 slugged it out in a grudge match for military shooter supremacy, and soon hundreds of thousands of Star Wars fans will be able to visit Tatooine and blast a few Sand People in Star Wars: The Old Republic. But now that the year is coming to a close and we’ve all done some science, improved our kill/death ratios, and filled our Skyrim houses with severed heads, it’s time to start looking forward to 2012. Here, in no particular order, are ten of GamesBeat’s picks for most-anticipated titles of the new year.