I've written this story three times now. I'm so tired of writing it, and not because I've run out of words to write. I'm tired because it's emotionally draining to eulogize something that was spectacular before turning so unfathomably not-spectacular. Mass Effect was great the same way Weezer was great. Fuck.
It's N7 Day again, like November 7 always is. Two years ago, I called it The Saddest N7 Day. Last year, I clung to a quote from BioWare GM Casey Hudson where he postured that the studio is "dreaming about what the next great Mass Effect game will be." This isn't the order of operations. Denial's not supposed to come after depression and acceptance.
Mass Effect is a tragedy because tragedy needs to end unfair and unexpected. No one ever cries when the bad guy dies. Mass Effect was the brilliant kid busting out of his small town trap, destined to change the world. The community roots for that kid, hinges their identity on that kid. In 1986, Len Bias died from a cocaine overdose two days after being selected second in the NBA draft. That's Mass Effect -- incredible potential tragically cut short before any of it was fully realized.
This year, the extent of the N7 Day celebration is a handful of overpriced Mass Effect skins in Anthem. That's like picking up a few flowers, going to the cemetery, and dropping them by the tombstone of your old friend -- except you screwed up and set them down at an adjacent grave. It's memorial in the most misguided way. Your pal deserves better.
I suppose it gets a little easier with each passing year, as these things do. N7 Day still stings but you're just more numb. Once a celebration, N7 Day now feels like reliving a funeral. It's a marketing gimmick inadvertently weaponized to bum us out.
Take today to remember Shepard and Garrus and Jack and Joker and--there are too many good friends to possibly name them all. You know which ones you loved, so don't let those memories grow more and more distant. Whatever you do, don't drop Mass Effect's flowers on Anthem's grave.