'Mass Effect 3' game fans campaign for new ending

The studio behind hit videogame "Mass Effect 3" on Monday said fans who wanted a happier ending may get a slice of what they wish for, following an online campaign calling for changes.

The game's executive producer Casey Hudson acknowledged in an online post that the chosen conclusion to the gripping science fiction action trilogy had generated "a lot of discussion and debate," but stood firm on the decision.

"We always intended that the scale of the conflict and the underlying theme of sacrifice would lead to a bittersweet ending," he explained in the studio's first and only response to the campaign," on gamemaker BioWare's website forum.

"To do otherwise would betray the agonizing decisions Shepard had to make along the way," he continued, in a reference to the heroic character whose choices and actions are controlled by players in all three titles.

A "Demand a Better Ending for Mass Effect 3" page at social networking website Facebook had logged more than 42,000 "likes" by Monday and a "@RetakeME3" account at Twitter had 4,528 followers.

One fan took the campaign further, filing a complaint with the US Federal Trade Commission arguing that BioWare and publisher Electronic Arts had not been honest about how the trilogy would end.

Hudson, however, noting feedback from players that the ending was too bleak, said BioWare was working on new content that will be made available to download online to extend play beyond the current finish of the game.

"We'll keep listening, because your insights and constructive feedback will help determine what that content should be," he said. "This is not the last you'll hear of Commander Shepard.

"We also recognize that some of our most passionate fans needed more closure, more answers, and more time to say goodbye to their stories," Hudson added.

Originally launched in 2007, the final installment in the "Mass Effect" trilogy was released on March 5 and snapped up by fans.

The games pit the main character, a male or female version of Commander Shepard depending on player preference, against an ancient race of machines called "Reapers" intent on wiping out organic life in the cosmos.

Allies made or friends lost in one game changes who is at the side of a player's character, and thus their options, in sequels. Players can opt to not import characters' reputations from earlier games so they can start fresh.

Hudson said the game had been designed with a series of endings to key plots to allow players to "carry the knowledge of these consequences with you as you complete the final moments of your journey."

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