Mass Effect 3: Vindication, One Fan Fixing Mass Effect

Jack talks about Mass Effect 3: Vindication, the work of one very dedicated fan to “fix” some of the problems in Mass Effect 3.

Now slow down there. Before you rush to the comments to attack me or to launch your own tirades about the problems in Mass Effect hear me out. This is a look into the mind of Gerry Pugliese, video game enthusiast, aspiring industry member, and Mass Effect super fan, and his attempt to retain the spirit of Mass Effect that he felt was lost in the third installment.

I had a few questions for Gerry, which you’ll see below, and he has been more than open to discussing any of his ideas, inspirations, and motivations.

He has been more than open to discussing any of his ideas, inspirations, and motivations.

You can find his twitter with a link to his work here.

At what point did you realize you were going to write almost a textbook’s worth of information about ways to improve ME3?
“I never thought ME3V would grow into a 500 page book when I started. I figured it’d be a hundred pages at most, with a few sketches and pieces of concept.

But as I rewrote one thing, I quickly realized it would lead to fifty more things.

But as I rewrote one thing, I quickly realized it would lead to fifty more things. I decided to keep Anderson as Councilor, sounds simple, right? Not really. To keep him as Councilor, his looks needed to be altered and then various pieces of dialogue needed to be adjusted, and then what the hell do you do with Udina!?

ME3V snowballed and I decided to just go where it took me. I never really worried about the length or size of the project. I just went with it. Eventually, I convinced myself that I was going for both quality and quantity.”
Having read much of Gerry’s work now, the attention to detail is truly impressive. As Gerry points out, with so many parts interlocking within the Mass Effect universe, even one adjustment might lead to ten others, making this a truly impressive undertaking.
Have you received any resistance to or criticism of your own additions and reworkings? How do you respond to those that argue that ME3 doesn’t need fixing?

Big press endorsements mean nothing if it doesn’t hit home with Mass Effect fans.

“The response to ME3V has been great. Nearly all the emails and tweets I’ve received are super positive – two people even said my endings moved them to tears. That’s pretty damn humbling. Sure, the coverage in Forbes was fantastic, but big press endorsements mean nothing if it doesn’t hit home with Mass Effect fans.

I’ve gotten a few nasty emails, and obviously comments can be nutty, but I just don’t read them. I don’t care. If somebody rages and calls me names over a video game fan project, well, it’s safe to say they have other issues, and I’m not looking to play shrink.

Mass Effect 3 needed fixing. If it didn’t, Extended Cut wouldn’t exist. Even someone at BioWare thought there was problem. Not just me.”

I happen to agree with Gerry in this case. I had no problem walking away from the ending of Mass Effect 3…and maybe that was an indication of a larger problem. Gerry’s revised endings do, indeed, resonate much more with the Mass Effect fan inside me. However, personally I was not brought to tears but I have about the emotional range of a Geth so…make of that what you will.
You state, quite explicitly, that you are interested in a job in the field of video game development. Are you concerned at all with offending future co-workers or possible employers by reworking their product? Also, what role or position would you be happiest in?

“Someone asked me if I could go work at BioWare after this. Yes! Of course I could. While ME3V is a criticism of BioWare, if BioWare, or any other gaming company, reached out to me, I would approach them with my hat in hand, and promise to give them the same work ethic and intensity I used to create ME3V. I have no problem walking in the lion’s den, so to speak.

I’m willing to do whatever. I have no delusions that a company will offer me a top job – that would be insane. I think a low-level assistant type job in writing or producing would be a good fit. Throw me into the creative mix, and we’ll see what sticks.”

Mass Effect Wallpaper

With the exception of a few major plot points (Starchild) you seemed to focus mostly on the smaller details, why is that?

Mass Effect, and a lot of these hyper-role-playing games, are heavy on nuances, so I think when you take on a project like ME3V, you have a responsibility to the characters, and the story as a whole, to acknowledge the small details as much as the big details.

For example: giving Miranda a new look is more than just a character re-skin. Miranda is on the run from Cerberus; new clothes would naturally help her hide, but also gives us a hint that she is concerned, and maybe shows a little bit of fear. So those new clothes instantly add more depth to her character.

When you take on a project like ME3V, you have a responsibility to the characters, and the story as a whole, to acknowledge the small details as much as the big details.


Make no mistake, this book is the work of a true fan. More than just a fan, someone who cared enough to take in as much of the universe as he could, deconstruct it down to the bare pieces, and adjust them into a shape much more in keeping with what the game needed to be and what fans deserved.

FemShep, the only real Shep.

FemShep, the only real Shep.

What games to you play when you have to get away from all this Mass Effect stuff? On a related note, are there any other gaming universes you would like to examine more closely or are you more interested in trying your hand at creating your own? What are some of your inspirations?

“Just to be clear, I’m not in any sort of entertainment industry right now. I have an ordinary nine-to-five at the moment. Blah.

ME3V consumed a lot of my time, so I am behind on my gaming. However, I just finished Dead Space 3. I am a huge Dead Space fan. I’m trying to get into Dishonored – so far so good. I love Fallout 3 and Fallout New Vegas. Dragon Age and Dragon Age 2 are also great.

Some people might call me crazy, but as big of a Mass Effect fan as I am, I think Dragon Age 2 is a better game. Heresy, I know! Oh, and I’m still waiting for a new-new Jagged Alliance to come out, damn it!

I’d like to try my hand at creating something unique, whether it’s my own idea or working as part of a team on something. I’m a team guy. I like working with people on a big project. I think that would be a great next step for me.

I like working with people on a big project. I think that would be a great next step for me.

I’m a big Simon Pegg fan. Even though they’re silly comedies, I relate a lot to the characters he’s played in Shaun of the Dead and Run Fatboy Run. I’m an antihero guy. I identify most with underdogs and dark horses. Garrus is probably my all-time favorite video game character though; his struggle with seeing the world as black and white hits home with me…I don’t know what to do with grey.”


As a fan of the Mass Effect series, I’ll admit I was pleasantly surprised by Mass Effect 3: Vindication. The idea that a fan could alter the work of BioWare in such a way that would make me appreciate the universe even more than I already do was too hard to believe.

But Gerry actually pulled it off. I’m sure Vindication isn’t perfect. I’m sure Gerry missed details or focused on the wrong things at certain points but I sure didn’t notice. If you love the Mass Effect universe, even if you liked the endings, Vindication is more than worth a browse to say the least. Check it out and see what you think. After all, we’re all just fans expressing love for a game. No one would bother if it wasn’t worth appreciating.

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About Jack Rooney

I am a truly avid video game player with a critical eye and an internet connection. Loud opinions will be shared. Check my stuff out by visiting and by listening to Gamemoir's Couch Co-Op Podcast. Follow me on twitter: @JackofCouchCoOp

There are 4 comments

  1. Nick Verboon

    Very nice piece. The industry could use more of that kind of passion and talent, It’s interesting that someone who is such a massive fan appears to see BioWare as some kind of enemy to be bested, but that attitude has been pretty common since EA bought them. I was also shocked that he loved Dragon Age 2. I thought I was the only one!


  2. smudboy

    Sorry, but Gerry’s changes or “fixes” were largely cosmetic fluff, appealing to an audience who favors mindless, juvenile romances with completely optional reporters (Khalisah al-Jilani or Allers?), while devoting a massive amount of detail to endings that are essentially the same as the original.

    Replacing the Starchild with just another VI doesn’t fix squat; it merely shows he doesn’t know why the endings don’t work in the first place. Devoting 1/3 of the doc to merely expanding upon the already existing nonsense is just that; more nonsense.


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