You could make a convincing argument that the ongoing theme of the Mass Effect series is the hopelessness of escaping from the terrifying cycle of existence. It's constantly implied throughout the series that while the Reapers are, on the surface, a force of destruction devised to wipe out all organic life for no understandable reason, it may be the case that there's some unavoidable, essential purpose to their actions. I believe it's only in ME3 that they come right out and say that the Reapers exist to wipe out all advanced civilizations before they get too uppity and fuck everything up, leaving all the rock suckers and mouth breathers to fill the gap, and that this cycle has kept life in the universe in stable existence for longer than anyone can contemplate. The theme of inescapable cycles can be seen elsewhere in the series, such as the implication that ending the Krogan genophage will cause the Krogan wars to happen again.
Taking this as the series' theme, the ending of ME3 makes sense. In fact, it would make even more sense if everyone had just gotten wiped the fuck out and the cycle is shown to start again. It would show that even Commander Shepard, a man with all the resources available to anyone in the universe, the greatest technology, the greatest minds and the greatest navies at his side, is powerless to overcome the inevitability of entropy. Alternatively Shepard could save everyone from the Reapers and the universe would immediately descend into the very apocalyptic infighting the Reapers were created to stop.
But I doubt the fanbase of Mass Effect were dismayed because they wanted an appropriate ending to the story. Rather, they wanted some kind of appropriate closure for the many-storied and I would argue unnecessarily lengthy process up to this point. Perhaps some epilogue where we get to see what all the characters we met along the way got up to after the events of the series, which I imagine would be easier if they hadn't pretty much all been killed off. I've been given to understand that Bioware are talking about changing the ending under the massive pressure from the idiot fanbase, and I hope like hell they're just talking about doing something like that, an epilogue appendix style thing just to square away the subplots.
Because it would set a horrible precedent if they're serious about actually changing the ending in line with some kind of democratically agreed upon alternative, rather than merely expanding or adding to it. I'm not as incensed about this concept as Moviebob has been on Twitter lately, but I can definitely say it's a bad idea. Because if it's established that the creators of a story can be pressured by constant browbeating by the audience, then the sanctity of the creator's original intention is made meaningless. The series will effectively have no ending, just a big gap with the words "Audience: Fill In Your Preferred Ending Here". This may be a time of politically correct inclusion of all points of view, but sooner or later the cockheads of the world are just going to have to accept that there are people who know better than them. You know. People who don't have cocks for heads.
Yahtzee is a British-born, currently Australian-based writer and gamer with a sweet hat and a chip on his shoulder. When he isn't talking very fast into a headset mic he also designs freeware adventure games. His personal site is www.fullyramblomatic.com.