All This Mass Effect 3 Insanity Is Setting A Nasty Precedent
I have just one question, for everyone who has taken a side in this long and complex debate:
Where does it end? Will you draw a line and if so, where?
Back when the Mass Effect 3 ending backlash was just starting, I did an article kindly asking my fellow gamers to enjoy their hobby. Despite what you may think, that was the only message I wished to convey. And I really won't be taking a public position on the issue at hand. But I do wonder what gamers - and in turn, all consumers - think should come of this; I worry that such a rise-up can generate a nasty precedent that is not in the best interests of the art community.
As usual, there's a slippery slope with which to contend. It may begin with a petition to change the ending in a video game, but could very well end with thousands, if not millions, of annoyed individuals demanding Stephen King to change his latest climax, or Martin Scorsese to change the last fifteen minutes of his dramatic effort. If we get that far, it has gone far beyond entitlement; it's not just selfishness or anything so juvenile and adolescent: it is flat-out stifling what little we have left of the art world.
If we're really going to let the masses determine how our artists should produce their work, we're in serious, serious trouble. An artist creates something to covey a message, to have an impact; he or she puts a piece of himself in anything he produces, whether it's a sculpture or a painting or even, indeed, a video game. The start of Oscar Wilde's classic, "The Picture of Dorian Gray" is a great example. The artist will occasionally make something only for himself but as it is a form of communication, it is most often for public eyes.
However, we never have - and never will - have any right whatsoever to walk up to any artist and say, "I demand you change something I don't like." No. Just no. If the work didn't resonate with you, that's unfortunate, and perhaps you can even claim the artist failed, but you are the viewer, the participant. It's not an active role. I think the fact that video games are interactive, and the fact that gamers have more control than ever (customization, user-creativity, etc.) has confused things but the fact remains, a story is a story. It's art, regardless of the medium.
And while everyone is entitled to an opinion on a piece of art made public, nobody has any say in its final result. Nobody, that is, but the artist or team of artists that created it. This can never change. The minute it does, art ceases to become art. It becomes some hideous, mutated, mass-generated assembly of likely sophomoric compromises.
I will end by saying that if you haven't read or seen a performance of Henrik Ibsen's "An Enemy of the People," I strongly suggest you check it out. We need to remember its message.
Related Game(s): Mass Effect 3
3/19/2012 8:56:46 PM Ben Dutka