Mass Effect: Andromeda is out soon and I’m certainly excited about it. Some people, however, still aren’t over Mass Effect 3’s ‘pick a colour’ ending. One of those people is Ty Franck, the co-author of The Expanse sci-fi novels. You know, the ones that have been adapted for a Syfy TV series.
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The backlash over Mass Effect 3’s ending was so loud that BioWare ended up patching in some extended scenes. That didn’t stop it becoming notorious among videogame fans, though.
Franck says it put him off the entire series. “The first two and a half games promised so much and set up such a fantastic universe, and then the end of the third one, it just… It made everything that had come before irrelevant,” said the author in a Glixel interview.
“It was just a f**king terrible ending. It really felt like there was a fantastic ending that I had been promised, and then when I got to it… You know what? The ending of Mass Effect for me was like the ending of Lost, where [you] became aware that they really didn’t know where they were going the whole time and they’d kind of just been making things up.”
Franck goes on to say that he has nine books planned out for The Expanse, with the ending all mapped out already. “Endings are so important – you better know what your ending is and you better be setting that ending up right from the beginning,” he says. “Otherwise it just feels muddy and unsatisfying.”
Elsewhere in the interview, Franck talks about how The Expanse started life as a pitch for an MMO. It was around the time WoW came out, so a sci-fi setting meant they didn’t have to compete directly with Blizzard’s gas giant.
The thing is, the game was far too ambitious for the time. It was essentially Star Citizen, but in 2004.
“Even in the books, you can still see some of the bones in there,” Franck explains. “This is how I know World of Warcraft was out because I was aware of it and I knew that in there were two factions. There’s the Alliance and the Horde. I was like, ‘Oh well, we’ll be better, we’ll have three factions.’ That’s why we have Earth, Mars, and the OPA.”
There’s loads more background in the Glixel interview, so go have a read.