Spoiler Warning: Mass Effect 3’s contentious ending

I finished Mass Effect 3 last night. I think the whole controversy is a bit past its expiration date, but since I told a few friends I would blog about it, I feel committed to follow through. So why not add one more voice to the cacophony? In case the title didn’t set off your spoiler alarms, and you’ve somehow avoided all the talk so far, let this serve as your final warning. Thar be spoilars!

(As a side note, I’d be happy to talk about this. But if you reply, please do it here or on my Facebook page. Tweet replies will only spoil it for people who see them.)

First, I should review which ending I went for. I had more than a full army, and my Paragon rating was high enough to convince the Illusive Man he was indoctrinated. He turned his gun on himself. When presented the choice with the Catalyst, I went for Synthesis, since it aligned with the way I’ve been playing Shepard. He wouldn’t feel right about using the Reapers, or wiping out a sentient race, but he would recognize self-sacrifice as necessary. All in all, I felt like it was a satisfying conclusion with an interesting final set of stakes.

Now, I liked the ending pretty well. You might not have. It was a bit boilerplate sci-fi, but I think it touched on the themes of the series with a sense of finality. I’m not trying to convince anyone to like it, but I will address a few of the common complaints and why they didn’t bother me. So let’s get right to that.

Complaint: The endings are all the same

I’ve watched each of the endings via YouTube, and to be honest, I couldn’t disagree more. I can only assume that people are confusing the similarity in presentation with similarity in consequences. The endings are all aesthetically very similar and cut between similar scenes. Some of this is because the same things would be happening (Shepard remembering his crew, soldiers on the ground of earth), and sure, some was probably a time or work saving effort on the part of BioWare. But in terms of plot, the actual choice you’re presented with results in three extremely diverse implications for the universe.

I carefully considered my choice, despite knowing that this is the last game and there is roughly a 0.0% chance that it will impact anything in any future games. I was invested in the story, and so it mattered to me. BioWare knew that we wouldn’t personally feel the consequences in the next game, so they made the stakes larger than ever before. You are literally determining the fate of all life in the universe forever.

Complaint: Your choices up to this point don’t matter

I would agree to some extent that the major driving factor in the ending of this game — your War Readiness — isn’t as refined as the more mysterious system in Mass Effect 2. A status bar was a little too clean, too mathematical, too much “video game” logic. If it comes down to it, I probably preferred the complex flow chart of ME2, and it would have been nice to see a similar impact with my war choices; making strategic decisions of which armies to send and when, etc. But as far as I can tell, people are complaining more about the Catalyst choice onward, so my personal minor issues with the way they dealt with the armies is moot on that front.

As for choices regarding characters, that’s always mattered. Those have mattered throughout the entire series. It matters during and all throughout the game itself. Listen to the latest “Games, Dammit” podcast for a long conversation on the many permutations of the game’s plot, which are at least as complex and branching as ME2’s flowchart, if not more so. The ending, though, is a different matter. Whether or not Tali is alive doesn’t make a difference in whether you destroy an entire type of life. Why should it? Those choices were removed from the rest of the game to set them apart. They don’t just impact your crew, they impact the galaxy.

Complaint: The ending is too short

I suppose that depends on when you start measuring. I considered “the ending” pretty much everything starting from the ill-fated charge towards the Citadel beam, and that was probably about 20 minutes. I considered the ending mission sequence to start when I attacked the Cerberus base, and from that point, it was about 3 hours. It all seemed to come to a conclusion pretty naturally, so I didn’t feel like the story suddenly cut off.

Complaint: Plot holes

One friend asked me why the crew was on the Normandy, and why it was warping. I hadn’t even considered this as a plot hole, because the answer seemed obvious as I was watching it. We know Shepard and Anderson got aboard the Citadel, and Coats told everyone else to pull back. (It could have been made clearer that your two companions weren’t running alongside you, to be fair.) At that point, the only logical thing for the Normandy crew to do is head back into space to be near the Citadel to retrieve Shepard. Once the proverbial crap started hitting the fan, and not knowing what exactly was going on, Joker opted to get the hell out of there. It’s not explicitly spelled out, but does it really have to be? People may be referring to other plot holes that I haven’t considered, and if so I’d like to hear them.

Complaint: It doesn’t matter how I’ve been playing Shepard

I suppose if your Paragon rating isn’t high enough, you have to use a Renegade action to shoot the Illusive Man. But mine was, so I talked him out of it. If yours wasn’t, I can only assume you didn’t do enough Paragon actions to get your rating high enough for that option, which would mean it does very much matter how you’ve been playing. And this is without having taken Paragon actions every single time.

Complaint: BioWare promised 16 endings

I’ve had trouble digging up a place that BioWare claimed this, since any search revolving around “Mass Effect 3 endings” results in this controversy. But a friend claimed they had and I’m assuming he’s right. If so, this is one complaint I think is more-or-less valid, since it implies more variation than we actually saw. Still, I felt the three “main” endings were a solid final choice, as I said above.

Complaint: It’s sad

Yes. Yes it is. I suppose this didn’t bother me because I went into the game assuming everyone I cared about would die. That’s how these epic final chapters tend to work. The fact that anyone survived was more of a shock to me. If anything, I’d say it wasn’t sad enough, because the ending didn’t hit me with the more subtle emotional punch of Mordin or Thane’s deaths.

Complaint: Lack of closure

It’s hard to have more closure than “dead,” and I actually liked seeing the Normandy crew crash on their jungle planet. They’re all together, and they’ll survive together. But then, I tend to like a little bit of imagined continuation in my endings. Conclusions that wrap up everything in a bow bore the crap out of me.

Complaint: The epilogue was stupid

I like the idea behind the epilogue much more than the execution. The notion that civilization moves on, having taken a giant step backwards, is a nice bit of thematic relevance to the whole thing. The voice acting and writing were both pretty poor, though. I suppose that just didn’t bother me enough to overshadow the experience as a whole.

Any other complaints I missed? I’m still trying to wrap my head around the hate for the ending, mainly because some of it just seems so extreme and hyperbolic. I’ll have more thoughts on that in a moment.

My Own Cons and Pros:

Cons: Like I said before, I would’ve rather had more say in the military decisions, like a strategy RPG augmented on top of it. I think having the Catalyst appear as the child was a bit hokey. (I didn’t mind the dream sequences themselves, but at the end it was a cheese enema.)

Pros: I liked the final choice, the stakes of the last battle, the way they dealt with Illusive Man. I also thought the post-credits sequence was a clever way to set up DLC, even with the terrible voice acting. We all know it’s coming, so as far as devices to set the stage, it’s a creative solution. They’ve created a system in which Shepard’s stories don’t necessarily need to fit neatly within the timeline. He’s a “legend” now, which gives them more freedom to stretch out and try fun things with the DLC.

Now, some people think the DLC will “fix” the ending. I doubt it. So far, BioWare’s statements on the DLC seem like they’re setting out to do what the ending already implied: tell other Shepard stories. Maybe that will appease the angry fans, maybe it won’t. Frankly, I hope BioWare doesn’t cave to the demands. I would lose a lot of respect for them as storytellers.

This brings me to a more serious point. If you disliked the ending, more power to you. If you somehow think that disliking the last 10 minutes of a game erases the 100+ hours of fun you had with that series, I think you’re a little nuts, but that’s your prerogative. But going to the FTC? Demanding refunds from Amazon after finishing the entire game? Campaigning BioWare to change it? Those steps are all going beyond the point I’d call reasonable.

This might sound tough, but BioWare doesn’t owe you anything. When an author pens a story, and you purchase it, you are doing so with the inherent calculated risk that you might dislike it. Beyond all the talk of owing the fans satisfaction, the complaints boil down to one simple notion: “I was looking forward to this, and then I didn’t like it.” Guess what? That happens. It has happened to everyone dozens of times before, and it will happen to everyone dozens of times again. This medium is not more pliable simply because it is interactive. The artistry in games is making a guided experience, and mistaking that controlled degree of flexibility for true authorship is dangerous. It undermines the artistry of the medium itself. It risks making authors beholden to us as consumers, rather than to their own creative impulses. In short, it makes video games more “product” than “creation.”

One friend of a friend thought I was too harsh to use the word “entitled.” I use it because it fits. The word means you are owed something by right. You have no right to an ending that you like. You paid money for a story, you experienced that story. Transaction complete. If you dislike the story, let BioWare know. Maybe they’ll learn a lesson and take into account for the next time. But demanding that a creator alter their creation is just a step too far, and I can’t imagine anyone who respects the medium actually wanting that.

And that’s my take on the ending, the controversy, and so on. (If you’re curious about how I felt about the game as a whole, it was very nearly the perfect experience I wanted out of a Mass Effect game.) Like I said, I’m open to talking about any of this. Just try to stay civil — I won’t reply if you’re not — and keep your spoilers out of Twitter where unsuspecting friends might see.

Speaking of artistry, my feature on the Smithsonian went up today. I’m pretty pleased with how that one turned out, since I got to flex my art critique muscles a bit. It’s been years since I’ve done that formally.

  • I haven’t played a SimCity in a long time, but this video looked hot.
  • Dragon Age 2 is another BioWare game that gets more hate than it deserves, but I can’t say I blame them for canceling an expansion. Too far gone, too much bad press. It would be a losing proposition at this point.
  • Yes, Ken Levine. Yes. Fill BioShock Infinite with dialogue, and let us drink from it.
  • It would probably be overlooked by most of the audience, but I thought this story about free apps’ battery life was one of the more interesting things to run today. The actual findings seem obvious, but the degree of difference it makes is pretty shocking.
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9 thoughts on “Spoiler Warning: Mass Effect 3’s contentious ending

  1. Adam Hobson says:

    The more I think about it the more I kinda really like the ending. It’s very Asimovian in that the actions of one man do not really end up affecting the history of a trillions of beings… Not a perfect fitting, but it works in my mind.

    I think this was easily the best of the series, and ended up fixing a lot of little details that I never thought were broke.

    My two minor complaints was that Bioware still hasn’t figured out side-missions – but at least this time they were less distracting then scanning every single planet – and that James Vega was a completely useless character for both game-play and store-play. It was weird having this new character that I had no prior emotional attachment to handing around. The DLC Prothean character was new, but just having a Prothean to help take down the Reapers was some poetic justice for the story line. And EDI may have been a new quest-able character, but you already had some emotional attachment to her from ME2. It was just James that stook out like a sore thumb. I was never really interested in talking to him or bringing him along on missions.

    Other than that, this game was great. Which lead me to think that any ending would have pissed players off. I know for myself that after 100+ hours of this series (really 300+, due to my multiple play throughs) creating huge emotional ties to the game and its characters, and the intense last battle which got some adrenaline flowing, just having the game end at all was going to create an emotional depression. This probably led many to anger that the game is over, and they took that anger and emotional low out on the ending.

  2. Maverick-jin8 says:

    Can’t believe I missed seeing this.

    “Complaint: The endings are all the same”
    But they are. Red/Blue/Green laser, Reaper attack is stopped in all 3, Normandy warps away and winds up on a planet.

    “Complaint: Your choices up to this point don’t matter”
    I made sure the Quarians and Geth got along, I even hoped for it as soon as I met Legion in ME2. I also saved the Rachni. So where were my Geth and Rachni forces in the final battle. Also if I created peace between organics and synthetics, that kinda tells the stupid kid that he’s wrong about what he’s forcing me to do. No matter what choices you made in the game, unless they got you killed in ME2, you got the Red/Green/Blue choice in the end.

    “Complaint: Plot holes”
    You actually see your squad members on the floor after the laser hits. Not to mention your shuttle pilot is dead so your team had no real way to get back to the Normandy. I could go further and say why would characters like Garrus retreat to the Normandy if he was willing to follow you into hell, but that’s pushing it. It’s just mind boggling why Joker would leave the system when there is no where left to go, why would he suddenly run for the relay because the reapers stopped attacking? Why would he even go through it if he saw it blowing up. They were in the Sol System, and the Citadel is gone, there’s really no explanation for that shit. This was the last stand against the reapers.

    “Complaint: BioWare promised 16 endings”
    Actually if you read the initial Game Informer with the first news of the game, they SPECIFICALLY said they weren’t going to have an ending where you could say “Oh I got Ending A B or C” They said our choices would matter. We basically got the ending they said they weren’t going to give us.

    “Lack of closure/Epilogue”
    Okay so the Normandy is stranded on a planet. What happens to everyone on Earth? Are they dead from the explosion that may or may not have happened? Are all the Turians and Quarians totally fucked due to lack of foods they can eat?
    Hell, if you have 5000 War Assets and choose Red/Destroy, Shepard LIVES. So now he wakes up on the Citadel wondering where his crew is.
    Also you know… Where was the big showdown with Harbinger? Entire game, you only ever really “fight” Destroyers. They have this huge set up with Harbinger in ME2, and then he never talks in 3, never direct controls anything.

    Random lines-
    “When an author pens a story, and you purchase it, you are doing so with the inherent calculated risk that you might dislike it.”
    But wait, how many movies have had their endings or content edited after shown to a test audience. Can you imagine what would have happened if Harry Potter died in the final book?

    “One friend of a friend thought I was too harsh to use the word “entitled.” I use it because it fits.”
    It would only fit if you have maybe a few people screaming bloody murder, but SO MANY people are complaining. People cancelled their TOR subscriptions, said they won’t buy anymore games. People keep using that “Gamer Entitlement” shit, but every time they use it it’s always someone who doesn’t understand why people hate the ending. Just because a character died (in all but 1 ending) doesn’t mean that’s why people hate it.

    Random other thoughts-
    A better ending would be if you failed and the next cycle found Liara’s data pods and started building the Crucible earlier (where the crucible isn’t a fucking kid that may or may not be a reaper indoctrination).
    Guess what part of the game most people hated? The KID. It’s like with Other M and Samus going THE BABY constantly. Maybe my Shepard doesn’t give a fuck about the crater on Virmire and shot Mordin in the back and killed Wrex, he shouldn’t give a fuck about a kid.
    I’ll admit it, I fucking loved everything from Mars to Cerberus (Fuck Kai Leng and his mary sue cutscene powers).

    “Now, some people think the DLC will “fix” the ending. I doubt it.”
    Yeah, I doubt it too. But not for the reason you do.

    And you know what, despite all these journalists from Kotaku/IGN/etc telling us how much we are wrong, BIoware still came out and said they fucked up. Well, barely said it, but they at least know they’ll lose all future sales if they don’t do something about it. (Kinda like how I don’t buy Capcom games anymore)

    And some links
    http://social.bioware.com/forum/1/topic/355/index/10084349/1
    http://www.forbes.com/sites/erikkain/2012/03/23/do-positive-mass-effect-3-reviews-reveal-a-conflict-of-interest-in-gaming-journalism/

    (Btw this took me like an hour, so it’s probably all over the place, and I probably forgot to mention some stuff. And if there’s too many bad words, it’s cause I REALLY hate the ending)

    @Adam Hobson

    “This probably led many to anger that the game is over, and they took that anger and emotional low out on the ending.”
    I disagree. I got to the scene where the kid starts giving you the choices. All of my fucking happiness just disappeared. I wanted to fucking KILL MYSELF because the choices he gave me were so bad. I fucking sat there for ten minutes because I didn’t want to do any of that shit. And I was depressed for 3 days after. And none of it is because the game ended. It’s because the last 5 minutes made me physically ill.

  3. sporkyreeve says:

    I didn’t realize I had to approve replies. In fact I didn’t have to approve Adam’s, so maybe there’s some kind of profanity filter? I don’t know. Strange. To be honest I’m a bit sick of the whole thing, because it’s become this weird intractable argument between people who feel personally offended and people who don’t see what the big deal is. But what the heck, I’ll at least bite once, since you took the time to reply.

    “But they are. Red/Blue/Green laser, Reaper attack is stopped in all 3, Normandy warps away and winds up on a planet.”

    I suppose I’ve never seen the Mass Effect story as one that varies that greatly. In the first game, you choose whether the council dies and who to nominate for a seat. In the second game, your entire crew can get wiped out or your entire crew can live. In both cases, you get to the same end point regardless. Mass Effect is a series of minor variations, moving the needle slightly within a framework. I never expected anything more, so I wasn’t disappointed by it.

    “I made sure the Quarians and Geth got along, I even hoped for it as soon as I met Legion in ME2. I also saved the Rachni. So where were my Geth and Rachni forces in the final battle.”

    This goes back to my previous comment about how I’d rather have the War Readiness thing work more like a tactical RPG. I’m more-or-less with you on this, I think.

    “Also if I created peace between organics and synthetics, that kinda tells the stupid kid that he’s wrong about what he’s forcing me to do.”

    I’m not sure brokering an uncomfortable peace for a week is enough to tell a timeless being that he’s wrong about the pattern that he’s seen repeat itself through time immemorial. It would have been nice if they’d addressed this somehow in the writing, but I’m not sure I can say the Catalyst was outright “wrong.”

    “No matter what choices you made in the game, unless they got you killed in ME2, you got the Red/Green/Blue choice in the end.”

    Again: Minor variations. That’s how the series has always been.

    “You actually see your squad members on the floor after the laser hits. Not to mention your shuttle pilot is dead so your team had no real way to get back to the Normandy. I could go further and say why would characters like Garrus retreat to the Normandy if he was willing to follow you into hell, but that’s pushing it. It’s just mind boggling why Joker would leave the system when there is no where left to go, why would he suddenly run for the relay because the reapers stopped attacking? Why would he even go through it if he saw it blowing up. They were in the Sol System, and the Citadel is gone, there’s really no explanation for that shit. This was the last stand against the reapers.”

    So your squad members got recovered and evacuated by someone else. I don’t need everything spelled out so explicitly for me. As for Joker turning tail and running, you’re thinking of it from the perspective of what we know. From his perspective, an outsider, the Citadel was emitting a strange light. He would have no idea what was going down, even if the Reapers were retreating. Jumping the hell out of there makes sense to me.

    “Actually if you read the initial Game Informer with the first news of the game, they SPECIFICALLY said they weren’t going to have an ending where you could say “Oh I got Ending A B or C” They said our choices would matter. We basically got the ending they said they weren’t going to give us.”

    Then the fault is with that promise, not with the ending.

    “Okay so the Normandy is stranded on a planet. What happens to everyone on Earth? Are they dead from the explosion that may or may not have happened? Are all the Turians and Quarians totally fucked due to lack of foods they can eat?”

    Again: I don’t mind a lack of closure in my endings. If you do, great, but I really don’t, so pointing it out isn’t really going to impact me one way or another.

    “Hell, if you have 5000 War Assets and choose Red/Destroy, Shepard LIVES. So now he wakes up on the Citadel wondering where his crew is.”

    Yep. Sad ending. Too bad.

    “Also you know… Where was the big showdown with Harbinger? Entire game, you only ever really “fight” Destroyers. They have this huge set up with Harbinger in ME2, and then he never talks in 3, never direct controls anything.”

    I never really thought of Harbinger as a major force that would come back in ME3, though I could swear he had a cameo somewhere or other. At any rate, any of the resolutions would naturally deal with him as well, so I don’t need to explicitly see it happen.

    “But wait, how many movies have had their endings or content edited after shown to a test audience. Can you imagine what would have happened if Harry Potter died in the final book?”

    Unfortunately, test audiences are a product of commerce. You’re responding to a point I was making about artistic integrity and vision, which is about as far from commerce as you can get. If Harry Potter had died, then Harry Potter would have died. That would be the end of his story. I would be fine with that.

    “It would only fit if you have maybe a few people screaming bloody murder, but SO MANY people are complaining. People cancelled their TOR subscriptions, said they won’t buy anymore games. People keep using that “Gamer Entitlement” shit, but every time they use it it’s always someone who doesn’t understand why people hate the ending. Just because a character died (in all but 1 ending) doesn’t mean that’s why people hate it.”

    I’m sorry, but no. Numbers don’t automatically grant the righteous high-ground. You are demanding that a creator alter their work. Either that is always wrong, or it is always right. You don’t get to use the shield of artistry to protect the medium and then abandon it the moment you dislike something. If you want to tell BioWare the ending sucks and boycott their products, go for it. I use “entitlement” specifically towards those who feel they are owed something, because that is the literal definition of entitlement. It would remain entitlement if it were 1% or 100% of the people complaining.

    (Also, I’m really not convinced that it’s a vast majority, or even a plurality. No one has done formal polls, so all we have to judge by is the loudest members. But a vocal minority can give the illusion of being the majority, whether it’s true or not. Maybe in this case it is the majority, but it’s silly to claim a majority without knowing for sure.)

    “A better ending would be if you failed and the next cycle found Liara’s data pods and started building the Crucible earlier (where the crucible isn’t a fucking kid that may or may not be a reaper indoctrination).”

    Sure, you’d like that ending better. I could probably write an ending I’d like better. But neither of them would be the creator’s intent, which is the most important thing.

    “Guess what part of the game most people hated? The KID. It’s like with Other M and Samus going THE BABY constantly. Maybe my Shepard doesn’t give a fuck about the crater on Virmire and shot Mordin in the back and killed Wrex, he shouldn’t give a fuck about a kid.”

    I like to think that Shepard’s “Renegade” status is more of the person who goes badass to get things done, not an outright heartless bastard. Killing Mordin or Wrex were both functional, “necessary evil” decisions, which is a far cry from feeling helpless about an innocent victim.

    That said, yeah, the kid as the Catalyst was pretty cheesy. No argument there.

    “I’ll admit it, I fucking loved everything from Mars to Cerberus (Fuck Kai Leng and his mary sue cutscene powers).”

    Kai Leng was a really bizarre inclusion. I’m sure he was from one of the novels, and either I didn’t read that one or I forgot him entirely. They seemed to imbue him with a lot of value, but as someone not familiar with the character it was out of no where.

    “And you know what, despite all these journalists from Kotaku/IGN/etc telling us how much we are wrong,”

    To interrupt you there, I don’t think anyone is telling you that you’re wrong to hate the ending. They’re telling you that you’re wrong to demand a change to a creative work. Frankly, the series could end with Shepard dropping his pants and relieving himself onto the audience and I wouldn’t support changing it, because I don’t think an audience should feel entitled to demand such a change. It’s not an issue of quality, it’s an issue of respecting the creator’s ability to do as they please with their creation.

    “BIoware still came out and said they fucked up. Well, barely said it, but they at least know they’ll lose all future sales if they don’t do something about it. (Kinda like how I don’t buy Capcom games anymore)”

    I think that was more the product of pressure than feeling they made a creative mistake, but like I said, I’ll wait until I see their plans for DLC before judging what they’ll do.

    Thanks for your thoughts, and like I said, feel free to hate on the ending all you want. If you didn’t feel satisfied by it, I say exercise your rights with your dollar. Boycott all their games from now on if you want. My bone-pick was with insisting that they have some obligation to change it. I enjoyed my time with it, and I think the execution was off in a couple of places. To me, it was still a very satisfying game on the whole. I don’t need to convince you it was great, and you don’t have to convince me it was awful. Different strokes and all.

  4. Maverick-jin8 says:

    “Then the fault is with that promise, not with the ending.”
    This is the whole thing right here though. If we were promised something, isn’t it wrong that they did not deliver?

    “You are demanding that a creator alter their work. Either that is always wrong, or it is always right. ”
    Sure should, since they didn’t even have the original writer to begin with. No different than say a comic book artist getting in trouble for doing something fans didn’t like, where he was an artist of something he didn’t originally create. (I wish I could find some kind of example here) And I suppose you have no problem with the changes Lucas makes to Star Wars every new edition?

    “To interrupt you there, I don’t think anyone is telling you that you’re wrong to hate the ending. They’re telling you that you’re wrong to demand a change to a creative work.”
    This is no different than going into Capcom’s SDCC chat room the day after they cancelled Legends 3 and being told to “stop trolling”. This is what it feels like for everyone who wants the ending changed.

    “Also, I’m really not convinced that it’s a vast majority, or even a plurality. No one has done formal polls, so all we have to judge by is the loudest members. ”
    http://social.bioware.com/633606/polls/28989
    Poll on Bioware’s on forums has 63,000+ votes towards “Endings suck, we want a brighter one.” Only 1470 people thought it’s fine as it is. And this is Bioware’s own forums, where people believe Bioware can do no wrong.

    Oh and then there’s that “app” that got released about the last hours of creating the game or something. The response on Bioware’s forums was so bad they had to close the forums for a few hours.
    http://www.gameranx.com/updates/id/5623/article/the-final-hours-of-mass-effect-3-sheds-light-on-controversial-ending/

    In the end it comes down to you believing that just because someone wrote a story, they can do no wrong. And I think gamers are entitled as fuck to a better ending if Bioware wants people to ever care about the series again, which clearly they are going to continue. These games are $60 each, plus DLC. I’d say I’m definitely entitled to something that doesn’t make me blind with rage.

    Also I think there’s something REALLY wrong with the only people who don’t seem to have a problem with the ending are those with voices in media.

    And I still don’t think that any DLC they make, if even related to the ending, will fix it.

    One last link I guess, since this guy is WAY better at talking than I am.
    http://doycetesterman.com/index.php/2012/03/mass-effect-tolkein-and-your-bullshit-artistic-process/

  5. sporkyreeve says:

    “This is the whole thing right here though. If we were promised something, isn’t it wrong that they did not deliver?”

    Sure. So if you don’t trust them to deliver, don’t buy their product next time.

    “Sure should, since they didn’t even have the original writer to begin with. No different than say a comic book artist getting in trouble for doing something fans didn’t like, where he was an artist of something he didn’t originally create.”

    I’m not sure that’s particularly relevant. Whether they had the original writer or not, they are undeniably the creators of Mass Effect 3. You’re demanding changes to Mass Effect 3. So you are demanding changes to their creation, whether they originated the concept or not.

    “And I suppose you have no problem with the changes Lucas makes to Star Wars every new edition?”

    That’s an interesting example, because I half-suspect that most the people demanding changes to Mass Effect would stand up and shout about artistic integrity towards Lucas’ changes. That alone implies that they only feel the “art defense” applies when they like it, which isn’t really how art is supposed to work.

    But speaking personally, I think you have my position a bit backwards. I don’t think a creator is *obligated* to change their work, and personally I’d rather they not do it. Still, as the creators they have that right. Lucas is free to do it if he wants to, and I’m free to think his changes are stupid and not buy his Blu-Ray boxed set. I’d just hate to see a creator cave due to commercial reasons, as BioWare may do, rather than genuinely believing they’re making the right artistic decisions, as Lucas seems to believe.

    “Poll on Bioware’s on forums has 63,000+ votes towards “Endings suck, we want a brighter one.” Only 1470 people thought it’s fine as it is. And this is Bioware’s own forums, where people believe Bioware can do no wrong.”

    Opt-in polling tends to attract only the passionate, and I don’t know anyone who passionately loved the ending. I liked it alright, but I didn’t love it, and I see some of its weak spots. When I said no one has done a proper poll, I was referring to scientific methodology, which would include a random sampling across various regions in the country. That will never happen, because Gallup and PPP don’t care about us nerds and our fights over video games. 😉

    “In the end it comes down to you believing that just because someone wrote a story, they can do no wrong.”

    I think in general I’ve been pretty fair and reasonable here, Jin, so don’t put words in my mouth. I’m not saying BioWare can “do no wrong.” I’m saying that creating a work gives them the final say over that creation. Whether it’s good, bad, or somewhere in-between, the fans are not owed partial authorship.

    “And I think gamers are entitled as fuck to a better ending if Bioware wants people to ever care about the series again”

    Which again, goes back to my problem with the entitlement mentality. If BioWare makes a new ending, it will be because the market demanded it, not an artistic choice. If they genuinely believe that they should have done things differently, then it’s their right to change it, but this seems more like strong-arming them into it. If games are artistic creations, then that is implying that you have the right to demand changes to any artistic creation for any reason. It’s an all-or-nothing scenario. As I said, you can’t just use the artistry shield when convenient.

    “Also I think there’s something REALLY wrong with the only people who don’t seem to have a problem with the ending are those with voices in media.”

    Adam isn’t in the media, you know. There are fans who liked the ending just fine, they just aren’t being nearly as vocal. They’re not wrong for their opinions any more than you’re wrong for yours.

  6. Maverick-jin8 says:

    My last comment wasn’t directed at anyone really, I don’t even know who Adam is aside from his post here. It’s more or less IGN, Kotaku, all the other major websites, Penny Arcade, and various youtube groups not taking our side. (Btw I actually got banned on Kotaku for calling some guy out for creating an article complaining about XIII-2’s DLC before buying it, so they aren’t even professional at all.)

    You keep mentioning art. But it’s not art. It’s a product sold to make money. A product advertised as a “good starting point” for the series. If they are “strong armed” into changing it then the industry isn’t as lost as it seems. They are in the business of making money, they need to listen to their fans if they want to continue making money. It’s like Oscar Nominated and Summer Blockbuster. Most people only consider one of those to be art. Mass Effect isn’t the same as say… Shadow of the Colossus or Journey.

    Shit, how many characters come back to life in any form of media due to fan demand?

    “Whether it’s good, bad, or somewhere in-between, the fans are not owed partial authorship.”
    How about when the entire story is a choose your own adventure 😛
    You might have convinced TIM to kill himself, but pulling that trigger for the Renegade option felt much better. And then Shepard is raised into the sky and the entire game goes to shit.

  7. sporkyreeve says:

    I guess that’s where we differ, Jin. I don’t think that some games are art and other games are not-art. I think the medium itself is art, and all inclusions in that medium fall under that umbrella. A crappy game is bad art, not un-art. If we relegate the title “art” to only include the greatest examples of each medium, it means “bad art” doesn’t exist.

    But that’s really a whole other subject. If you draw distinctions art/product in that way, there’s no way I would convince you because I’m just coming from an entirely different perspective. At any rate, good catching up with you (kind of) with a contentious subject.

  8. Maverick-jin8 says:

    I stick to not all video games are “art” because shit like Imagine:Babyz, CoD, and yearly sports games aren’t art. And bad art would be… JFK Reloaded.

    I still want a better ending to get the taste of betrayal out of my mouth.

  9. […] Cut,” and wanted to be able to speak with some level of authority in my writing. Plus, I was outspoken in the past about the ending, so I figure I owed it to myself. I sped through it today as soon as I […]

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