Rewriting History: Three Game Endings That Changed

16 Mar 2012

BioWare has been taking a lot of flak over Mass Effect 3's ending (Kotaku called it "damn terrible" and there's even a "Retake Mass Effect" charity campaign that has raised $53,000 to date), with many gamers calling for it to be rewritten so that they can feel better about the hundreds of hours they've invested in the trilogy. That concept has prompted GameSpy to pen this piece that profiles three cases (including Fallout 3 and Star Wars: KotOR II) in which the developers or the fans altered a game's ending to provide more satisfaction for its playerbase. A sampling:
When I first played Fallout 3's ending, I was infuriated. There I was, faced with a classic no-win situation ripped from Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan: for the greater good, someone would have to walk into a room and push a button that, along with saving the world, would flood the room with lethal radiation. I had to decide whether to nobly sacrifice my own life, or send in Sarah Lyons to take the heat like a coward. The problem? There was a giant radiation-proof Supermutant companion, Fawkes, standing right there who could've strolled in, pushed the button, and come out smelling...well, still pretty terrible, but no worse than when he went in. When I asked him to exploit this obvious loophole in the no-win scenario, he simply refused, saying this was a decision that I must make. Just like that the ending went from a noble sacrifice to effectively being murdered by my own companion's inaction.

Bethesda, for whatever reason, didn't think this was a problem before release, but after being chastised by reviewers and fans alike a decision was made to retroactively change it in the Broken Steel DLC. Not only was the ending changed so that if you or Lyons had pushed the button, you'd wake up good as new and ready to go on post-ending adventures, but Fawkes (and Charon, the equally radiation-resistant ghoul companion) would now agree to your very reasonable request to push the freaking button.