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Top 7 endings more controversial than Mass Effect 3’s

GD Library Error: imagecreatetruecolor does not exist - please contact your webhost and ask them to install the GD library Top 7 endings more controversial than Mass Effect 3’s

With fans of the Mass Effect series losing all perspective and dedicating their lives to getting a “proper” ending to their game, the subject of “endings” seems more relevant than ever. The conflict between the vision of the artistic minds behind television series, movies and games and their rabbid fan-base can reach boiling point. Those that create need to balance the expectations of the fans with their own ideas about how they can craft an ending. On one hand they can create something that pleases the fans but has little artistic merit, pandering to the demands of fan boys and creating something that is pure fan service. On the other hand they can exclude and anger their fans by creating an ending that fails to answer the fans questions, or challenges them too much. Mass Effect 3’s ending was controversial, but here are 7 endings even more so.

7. Halo 2
Lets start with another game almost as controversial as Mass Effect 3. Halo 2 had a troubled development cycle, and hype for the game was similarly high. It was the sequel to one of the greatest games of all time and every website and magazine was full of rumours, previews and speculation about this huge release. Another similarity to Mass Effect 3 was the theme of taking the fight back to Earth. Sadly, early demos of the game that showed battles on the streets of Earth never made it to the final product. Worst of all, the denouement of the game left the player with a horrible cliffhanger ending, teeing up the third game but offering no closure whatsoever. Until Mass Effect 3, this was by some distance the most controversial game ending of all time.

6. The Soprano’s
Christ allegories abound, from the way that the onion rings are eaten (like communion wafers) to the music. Deliberately obtuse and intentionally ambiguous, there are hints throughout the series about what the ending could mean. The key here is the blank, black screen that the writers wanted to last much longer than they were allowed because studio heads were worried that people would change channel thinking their television had broken. This was a brave and much debated ending, and fans of the series (by and large) hated it.

5. The Matrix Trilogy
Few doubt the quality of the first Matrix movie and there are many still willing to sing the praises of the seconds movies meandering plotline, but few defend the third movie and most especially its ending. Again its an explicit Christ allegory, and a somewhat over-baked one that shy’s away from any the questions the Wachowski’s asked themselves throughout the series. Its hard to top of a trilogy without some element of disappointment, but the Wachowski’s pleased no one with their non-committal conclusion to the series. Even the self referential ending of the videogame The Path of Neo had a stranger, better conclusion that reworked the Wachowski’s original ending.

4. The Dark Tower
What to say, what to say? Despite the ending I still think this series of books is worth reading if only for the ideas Stephen King is still able to come up with. The ending is something that is difficult for anyone who has read all of the series to accept though, especially if they have been reading them over the many, many years that King has been working on them, waiting each time for the next book. I can’t imagine how acute that disappointment must be.












3. Neon Genesis Evangelion
The details of the ending of this series are far too long to go into here. In brief, the original ending to the series seemed rushed, cheap, poorly animated and intentionaly obtuse. Although series director Anno said he was happy with the initial ending he made, the whole thing was redone in a project to complete the final episodes with a bigger budget and more satisfying ending. This ending was still challenging for the audience, and elements within it suggested Anno was mocking the expectations of the series fans. Despite this, the new endings remain intensely complex and left fans debating their meaning for a long time to come. Neon Genesis was an intensely personal project for Anno and although it left many fans feel let down, I think in the end he achieved what he set out to do and it is my personal favourite ending of all the entries on this list.

2. Lost
Two words for the ending of Lost: Fan Service. The writers may have claimed that they cared more about the characters than answering the questions posed by the series, but as a program that seemed to exist purely to generate unanswered questions this was a massive cop out. What was the secret of the Island? Who cares, lets all just meet up in non-denominational heaven for a big group hug that makes no sense, but will make our viewers feel warm and fuzzy. Pure pandering.

1. The Prisoner
The reaction to the rest of the entries on this list pale into insignificance compared to the public outpouring of rage directed at the ending of The Prisoner. Series star and primary driving force Patrick McGoohan asked difficult questions about individuality, free will and rebellion throughout the series, as well as setting up mysteries far more intriguing than those of Lost. In fact Lost was directly influenced by The Prisoner, but McGoohan’s challenging series had fans even more desperate for answers to questions like the location of the island, the secrets that Number 6 refused to give up and the identity of the enigmatic Number 1. McGoohan had a creative vision that he stuck to tenaciously, and while the ending of Lost was pure fan service, the ending to The Prisoner was the opposite. Enigmatic, dream-like and frustratingly vague, when examined closely it was in fact openly confronting the audience about their own expectations. Brechtian in nature, it directly challenged the conformity of the audience who themselves were succumbing to the same implicit manipulation as the prisoners on the island. Suffice it to say the audience were not happy with this and McGoohan experienced threats to his own safety and that of his children before escaping to the safety of mountain isolation until the situation calmed down.



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  1. Feefers says
    03/26/2012, 1:57 PM

    What’s intresting about Lost is that it finished exactly the same time as another series which had almost a similar ending, the BBC series Ashes to Ashes, however whilst it was greatly praised for it’s ending Lost was derided.


    Because of how it was handled, in Ashes to Ashes it’s built up and feels like a proper climax that answers a lot of why things are happening, in Lost it comes just out of left field and ultimately leaves more questions still unaswered.

    Simlarly Mass effect 3, assuming you’ve played from the first game you could have more then a few days of real time game logged for playing it, for those days of playing dedicated to a game to come down to one of three re-skinned endings is going to be a disapointment.

    I see where the story is coming from and understand the need to clean up the universe and deal with The Shepard, making room for … well whoever else will be along next.

    But a lot of the questions about how the choices i’ve made from the start of the game are going to be unaswered, there’s limited closure.

    I can see why people are upset.

  2. Varun says
    03/26/2012, 6:26 AM

    Lost is the only thing (games, movies, series) that left me so dissapointed. I generally do not care about these things a lot, but Lost was something i truly liked and the last season left a sour taste in my mouth :(

  3. Profile photo of Tom
    Tom says
    03/22/2012, 1:56 PM

    I totally agree though MrBauer. Epic game, terrible ending.

  4. MRBAUER says
    03/22/2012, 1:34 PM

    appologies about kotor, first one was bioware, second got handed over to obsidian entertainment, should have looked it up first time round. the ending was still a major disapointment.

  5. jojo says
    03/21/2012, 11:30 PM

    Halo 2 pissed me off and the Dark Tower….why oh why did I keep reading after he told me to stop….?

  6. Matt says
    03/21/2012, 10:50 PM

    Halo 2. That ending still pisses me off.

  7. Profile photo of Tom
    Tom says
    03/21/2012, 10:23 PM

    Bioware didn’t develop KOTOR2.

  8. mrbauer says
    03/21/2012, 9:33 PM

    nobody saying KOTOR 2? the first one was very good but the second one suffered from (if memory serves me right here, correct me if i am wrong) incomplete endings that just ended abruptly 30odd hours of gameplay. If memory serves the development team (Bioware, draw your own conclusion…) were leaned on to release the game before they were happy it was finished to make a release deadline. whole sections of dialogue were not integrated into the end but left on the disc as they simply ran out of time. really should have made the list given its link to Mass effect.

  9. dieger says
    03/21/2012, 12:10 PM

    seriously losts ending was retarded unless they are making a spinoff or a sequel to it if not then RETARDED!

  10. Alec says
    03/21/2012, 9:17 AM

    Kyle Xy’s ending. ‘Nuf said

  11. j rock says
    03/21/2012, 4:38 AM

    Let’s go literary here: Lord of the Flies, anyone? Great book, awful, awful ending.

  12. Adam says
    03/21/2012, 4:20 AM

    Seriously, Soul Reaver should have been one of the top fails in endings… TO BE CONTINUED? WTF!

  13. D says
    03/21/2012, 12:19 AM

    Trash Article.

  14. smoly says
    03/20/2012, 10:24 PM

    Lost’s ending was masterful. Such a satisfying send off for one of the best shows of all time. If you really cared about all the “unanswered” questions then you would go on the internet ( or just think about it and figure them out for yourself. Almost every thing in that show can be answered.

  15. me says
    03/20/2012, 9:51 PM

    Really the dark tower????? I thought the end was great.

  16. Wally says
    03/20/2012, 9:12 PM

    Really? You have a list of worst endings and soulReaver isn’t even on it, let alone in the top spot? dumb list.

  17. Hm says
    03/20/2012, 9:08 PM

    I think that most true Sopranos fans have come to appreciate if not downright love the ending of the show for it’s bravery and brilliance. It just sealed the deal that The Sopranos was the finest TV show ever written, at least up to that point. That’s why people still talk about it today in a way they don’t with most show’s endings.

  18. Elias says
    03/20/2012, 7:34 PM

    Halo 2 was the middle part of a trilogi, nothing wrong with ending it in a cliffhanger. The rest of the list are film, series and books, not the same things. And none of those had the player making descisions throughout them, spending time getting that perfect save. And in the end none of it matters. And for what, because the writers though having a big and epic conclusion all with a boss fight would be to “Video-gamy”, well shit sorry for expecting a videogame when I buy a videogame. It’s essentially like buying an orange peel it and find a goddamned potato inside.

    I understand this article is about the sheer controvery of said endings, but I just wanted to get that out of my system :P

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