I have to link to this ongoing analysis of ME3’s ending, if only for this quote:
It’s inexcusable. Part of what drove me to write this analysis is that it is inconceivable to me that a professional writer could have produced this staggering degree of literary incompetence and I truly want to believe that it’s all part of the plan – not necessarily for the sake of the Mass Effect story, but for the sake of my continued faith in human competence.
Personally, I favor the ‘cock-up before conspiracy’ rule for broken narratives, but there is a healthy appetite in humanity for conspiracy theories. It is unpleasant to view our fellow humans as powerless or incompetent, so we invent reasons for their behavior, and even better future outcomes than what might be expected. It is not dissimilar to how religion works.
It is very difficult to maintain logical consistency over all aspects of a lengthy narrative that contains dozens of characters. Simply resolving plot lines is hard enough; doing so without violating common sense is even harder. It takes a lot of time and work. I just finished reading Martin’s A Dance With Dragons, and I can appreciate the delay in its publication; he’s working with well over a hundred characters, with perhaps two dozen of those critical, and making all their decisions and utterances make something resembling sense, and happen in a reasonable order and time, is incredibly time-consuming. It helps a little, of course, when genre conventions allow for character incompetency, covering up the occasional authorial mistake with low expectations.
So, in short, it’s probably still a cock-up, barring evidence to the contrary.