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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

Tags: mass effect 3, me3, mass effect 3 ending, game endings, gaming industry

3/19/2012 8:56:46 PM Ben Dutka

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Comments (107 posts)

5TAY3R
Monday, March 19, 2012 @ 9:34:02 PM
Reply

Yeah and you provably don't realize that it was EA's decision to do a vague ending with huge plot holes like this so that almost all the diehard fans will be forced to buy an 'extended ending dlc', i have no problem with that ending but soo many freaking plotholes and questions in my mind that don't really make any sense, Ben i guess you never invested that much time in masseffect universe, soo for you it doesn't matter but for us the fans it does, and we are not asking them to change anything we just want some answers, thats all

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Heiffeweisen
Monday, March 19, 2012 @ 9:39:29 PM
Reply

I utterly disagree with this article. The ME3 ending is crap. They pulled a McGoohan's Prisoner on the ending- the events have no connection to the rest of the series, subvert the storyline, and just don't make for a good gaming experience. I don't care how you try to use your english degree to justify the argument that "16 different endings" are just three colors, it's either a marketing ploy to sell further DLC or hurried programming. Either way, CRAP.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Monday, March 19, 2012 @ 9:58:31 PM

You can't "utterly disagree" with something you obviously didn't freakin' read.

It has absolutely nothing to do with ME3. Try again.

Last edited by Ben Dutka PSXE on 3/19/2012 9:58:52 PM

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Palpatations911
Monday, March 19, 2012 @ 10:07:03 PM

Isn't the title of this article "All this Mass Effect 3 Insanity Is Setting A Nasty Precedent"? It is also the only game that was mentioned in the article.

He may or may not have read the article, but most people with a brain would associate it with Mass Effect 3 when you consider the timing of the article and the use of the Mass Effect name. :)


Last edited by Palpatations911 on 3/19/2012 10:17:18 PM

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daus26
Monday, March 19, 2012 @ 10:14:06 PM

I read the article, and I definitely see your point Ben. However, I don't think you can blame them for relating this article to ME3, since it seems to be the one exception to what this article is about, or the fact that it's generated by it.

That said, I don't think this matter will go to that scale, in which gamers and fans will actually start demanding to change an artist's "vision." I haven't played the game, but in the case of ME3's ending, it doesn't seem so much as relating to the direction or envision of the artist(s), but as some kind of ploy for future sales or something.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Monday, March 19, 2012 @ 10:14:44 PM

This really has nothing whatsoever to do with ME3's endings. I specifically said I won't take a position on that issue.

Please, READ.

Last edited by Ben Dutka PSXE on 3/19/2012 10:15:35 PM

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daus26
Monday, March 19, 2012 @ 10:26:29 PM

Alright, sorry (really), but I have read it. I'm just saying it's hard not to talk about something that's the cause or root of the discussion.

Again, my position on this is that I don't think this will go as far as you're projecting this to be. My thoughts is that gamers in general will always appreciate an artist's vision. In this case, the "art" you mention and multiple plot holes described by the fans may be two different things. If the multiple plot holes IS considered art to Bioware, then that's where I'm wrong.

*edit
Yes I mentioned ME3 again, but it was needed to explain my position on this.

Last edited by daus26 on 3/19/2012 10:30:15 PM

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Monday, March 19, 2012 @ 10:44:56 PM

daus26: That reply wasn't really meant for you. :)

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daus26
Monday, March 19, 2012 @ 10:52:24 PM

Oh ok, my bad. I'm just having an off day not to realize that I guess. But I still do apologize for possibly not wording my argument to the best of my ability as I tried to keep as relevant to your article as possible.

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Pandacastro
Monday, March 19, 2012 @ 9:46:12 PM
Reply

I'm find with the ending. I just want it to feel like it wasn't rush. If they could patch it to fill in the plot holes or make it that the indoctrination theory is real, I be find with it.

Last edited by Pandacastro on 3/19/2012 9:49:22 PM

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aaronisbla
Wednesday, March 21, 2012 @ 1:52:34 AM

there's too much evidence that the indoctrination theory isn't real

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daus26
Monday, March 19, 2012 @ 9:50:57 PM
Reply

It sounds like this has an even more questionable ending than FFXIII-2. Anyone here played both and got to the ending? Do their endings really seem that incomplete?

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Palpatations911
Monday, March 19, 2012 @ 9:51:29 PM
Reply

If we all had a dollar for every time a fan asked for a new version of FFVII, we would be rich! I've at least heard it several times on this site...Even from the editor(s). No offense!

ME transcends all genres and virtually anybody can enjoy it. It brought us incredible storytelling, the ability to explore planets in a vast universe, and amazing "Holy ****" moments that I will never forget and while I haven't played ME3 yet, I believe they could continue to innovate the industry by providing people with an alternate ending. It would be so unique and it would pay homage to everyone that has invested $180.00 in that franchise ($60 for each game)

i digress, but I still need to pick that game up. I want to see what all the fuss is about with this ending :) Plus, I need closure to the series :)


Last edited by Palpatations911 on 3/19/2012 9:54:13 PM

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WorldEndsWithMe
Monday, March 19, 2012 @ 9:59:52 PM
Reply

This would make sense if it was just an ending people didn't care for, but in this case it seems it's an actual case of false advertising. You make all these choices through 3 games and it comes down to something that most people think is absolute rubbish.

The thing is, gamers WERE supposed to have a say in how this series ended. They were promised that, and it didn't come to pass.

There's no precedent to be set here, only an injustice corrected. And that is something that rarely actually happens in gaming. We never get apologies for the ruination of series we like.

There's no connection to be had here between a sense of gamer entitlement and the fact that Bioware screwed up royally. If that were the case then there would have been a great many more petitions and demands over the years.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Monday, March 19, 2012 @ 10:05:25 PM

Online petitions are relatively new. And ALL fans complain and bitch and whine and moan when something doesn't go their way. Been that way since Superman died.

And this has nothing to do with ME3 or entitlement. The next step is, quite clearly, petitions against any piece of entertainment that doesn't end the way the fans want it to.

I really don't give a crap what the fans think they deserve. The artists should never be dictated to. And I'm someone who wants Square-Enix to burn for what they've done to FF, too. ;)

Last edited by Ben Dutka PSXE on 3/19/2012 10:07:00 PM

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WorldEndsWithMe
Monday, March 19, 2012 @ 10:27:36 PM

I guess the way I took it was that, in your opinion, this Mass Effect 3 backlash could be the little snowball that becomes an avalanche. That would mean people would carry over their experience with that game into other petitions and demands for other games. I'm just saying the slope isn't as slippery as it looks because ME3 is a special case with fans.

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daus26
Monday, March 19, 2012 @ 10:39:38 PM

That's it. What WorldEndsWithMe said is what I'm also trying to say. I'm just not as good as putting it into words. It's hard for me not to mention ME3, but like WorldEndsWithMe said, it's a special case, so we needn't to worry about such dilemma.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Monday, March 19, 2012 @ 10:46:30 PM

But that's exactly the problem. Each and every case will be considered a "special case" by the fans, because in truth, they're just unhappy and they're looking for reasons. And all those reasons will be somehow unique.

The bottom line is that this involves a petition to change something I consider an artistic product, and that's the way the mainstream press and people unfamiliar with gaming will see it, too.

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daus26
Monday, March 19, 2012 @ 11:00:17 PM

I see what you mean, because for every petition, it does seem like there's always some type of special case. Then again, petitions usually end up nothing more than just a whiner's statement as you say. I think in this "special" case, fans are upset, but like in most cases, it can be remedied, whether it'd be a next installment or free DLC.

For it to be problematic, it has to be something that is much harder to resolve. The day this becomes a real problem is the day fans complain about a "complete" ending, or at least complete enough. It would then be more about marketing practice, rather than an artist's vision.

Last edited by daus26 on 3/19/2012 11:04:25 PM

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Temjin001
Monday, March 19, 2012 @ 11:10:30 PM

hehe, oh yeah, Superman did die.. =)

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Palpatations911
Monday, March 19, 2012 @ 11:15:15 PM

Superman died? ****

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WorldEndsWithMe
Monday, March 19, 2012 @ 11:40:24 PM

Maybe it was time for Superman to die, but there is NEVER a good time to put pants on Wonderwoman.

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Jawknee
Tuesday, March 20, 2012 @ 12:26:03 AM

"Superman died? ****"

LOL! Oh you youngin's crack me up.

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Jeffy
Monday, March 19, 2012 @ 10:05:45 PM
Reply

Yes well, see you aren't quite grasping the problem here. People aren't let down by what happened in the ending, they are let down by what DIDN'T happen. It's not the "bittersweet" story of the ending, it's the lack of closure, the amount of plot holes and unexplained parts of the ending, and most of all the fact that none of your choices over the past 3 games really count for anything in the final culminating moment (all things Bioware promised to deliver, and didn't). The entire game, scratch that the entire SERIES, was nothing short of amazing, but the final moments of the trilogy were simply a letdown. There are a ton of problems and unexplained bits of it that just make no sense, but looking past that, no choice you have ever made really even counts for anything here. Hell even the ending choice doesn't change much, you just get a different color blast depending on your choice. The ending clearly has a ton of problems, which doesn't make sense considering how amazing the rest of the game was, so the actual endings were probably rushed to meet a deadline. Which is even more supported by the fact that there are bits and pieces cut out from the final release which actually explain some things, the ending looks like they patched together what they had and shipped it out. People aren't DEMANDING Bioware changes the endings (there are some actually, who don't deserve a damn thing if they think they have any right to do so), they simply want all their choices and hours put int this series to matter for something in the final conclusion.

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tes37
Monday, March 19, 2012 @ 10:09:24 PM
Reply

I don't think Bioware should change the game. It's their creation and it should end the way they wanted it to.

I understand people are disappointed. I think they're going a little too far with this by asking for an ending that's not Bioware's intended direction for the story.

If they do this, will they ask for fan approval before implementing it?

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Jeffy
Monday, March 19, 2012 @ 10:16:09 PM
Reply

And comparing this type of video game to "art" (a painting, a play, a movie, etc.) doesn't fit. I understand that some video games can be considered true art in the modern world, but it is a different type. This series in particular, while a painting, or say a play is a story that just goes along. It's like scenery in the background, while enticing, it simply happens. But this is a different form, meaning it is shaped by creator and viewer. Like an interactive play where the audience shapes the outcome. But for that play just to end in the same preset way regardless of anything the audience has put in, is simply diminishes the meaning of the entire thing. Bioware themselves understand why the players were let down by the ending, they get why it doesn't feel like a true ending and I think they would truly want to end the story on a better note for everyone.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Monday, March 19, 2012 @ 10:18:05 PM

No. All games are art, as far as I'm concerned. And I think ME fans would be pissed if you said the franchise didn't qualify.

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Underdog15
Monday, March 19, 2012 @ 11:35:11 PM

I can guarantee you there are many more arguments FOR video games as art than there are against it.

I say that with 100% confidence.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Monday, March 19, 2012 @ 10:17:10 PM
Reply

Okay, I'm not going to say this again, so if you make a comment dealing with the ME3 ending (which I didn't even talk about in the article), I won't respond.

This isn't about ME3 or its endings. It's about starting something where people think they can dictate to people creating something in an artistic realm. It's easy for that to spin out of control. That's all.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Monday, March 19, 2012 @ 10:24:13 PM

But if that's the case, why do they continue to release statements (not just Bioware but others as well) that they take fan feedback seriously?

If it means something to them then it ought to be said shouldn't it? Notwithstanding the idiocy out there.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Monday, March 19, 2012 @ 10:47:52 PM

I'm not saying it shouldn't be said. As I said in the article, everyone is entitled to an opinion. In fact, opinions are essential.

But nobody is ever entitled to a demand of the artist. That's a VERY different thing, and that will never be true in my eyes.

Last edited by Ben Dutka PSXE on 3/19/2012 10:48:23 PM

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WorldEndsWithMe
Monday, March 19, 2012 @ 10:58:55 PM

It is an interesting case because changing an ending has never happened to my knowledge, and hasn't even been possible until this gen. I'm still not sure how I feel about it, changing things now would sort of cheapen the whole vision. It will be something else entirely if they deliberately held back important stuff to sell as DLC. I'd be okay with any demand that that sort of practice be abolished.

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jimmyhandsome
Tuesday, March 20, 2012 @ 9:05:47 AM

What about the Sopranos ending? I felt a little slighted by David Chase!

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xenris
Tuesday, March 20, 2012 @ 9:23:10 AM

The very dictating you are talking about is already happening Ben. Shareholders and men in suits are telling developers what to do to make their games more profitable for the publisher and for the shareholders.

That is why you see more streamlining, more shooters, and less original ideas. This to some degree happened with the Mass Effect series. They are just trying to reach a much wider fan base, but they really don't care about their fans, if they did they would cater to the ones that helped them reach their fame in the first place. The people who praised Baldurs gate, and the original Mass Effect, the people who through word of mouth crowned bioware king of story telling and compelling RPGS.

If you look at the drastic change from ME1 to ME2 its clearly done in a way to cater to NEW people and shooter fans, not to the people who really loved the first one for its RPG and story telling features.

This is all relevant to your topic, but you don't have to respond. The people who are actually buying the games and have half a brain to realize that we are being screwed in favour of corporate profit and planned future DLC, have a right to call BS on a games ending that is so convoluted and full of holes that fans are hoping that it is a dream sequence.

If you actually pay attention to the ending, the writing is so bad and so nonsensical that if its not a dream sequence or something surreal, then Bioware must have been drunk when they crammed it in.

If you want to compare it to art, how about this, would you feel cheated if you watched a movie that didn't really end, and then the director said don't worry in 2 months we will be completing the story, you just have to pay 10 bucks to see it?

Or how about someone painting a picture for YOU, but leaving half of the canvas blank, and says well you can pay me to finish it or just accept it as a new artistic direction.

Its all foul play ben and its not snowballing people are just waking up.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Tuesday, March 20, 2012 @ 9:52:49 AM

Sorry xenris, but nothing what you're saying is factual. It's just your opinion.

And what facts there are, you're wildly overstating. You're making it sound as if the "suits" are just standing over BioWare's shoulders when they're making the design for an enemy, or programming movement, or whatever, and going, "no, don't do it that way." That of course, is and was never the case.

The rest really is just you criticizing the ending. And as I've said a million times already, you have every right to criticize. But again, THIS IS NOT ABOUT ME3. This is about a much larger issue.

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xenris
Tuesday, March 20, 2012 @ 5:37:01 PM

All the plot holes in the game? Fact not opinion, and not an overstatement. You didn't even finish the game if I remember correctly so how do you know?

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1QT4IUepvrU1pfv_B95oQj0H84DlCTUmzQ_uQh1voTUs/preview?pli=1&sle=true

Read that for the plot holes.

No the suits don't tell them how to animate but they do dictate the direction of the game, and key choices. If its going to compromise profit they wont integrate ideas. The suits also are the reason for this planned DLC nonsense.

Hardly any of the money you pay for for the game and the DLC goes to the developers. Most of it goes into making the shareholders happy, and getting the shareholders more profit.

My main problem is stuff gets locked on the disc and you saw this with FF13-2 where they don't give you a complete ending and want you to pay for it later in DLC.

Its not that the artist isn't allowed to express themselves and end the game how they want, its that this is obvious that they are making certain choices in order to make shareholders more profit. I know that bioware if they had freedom away from EA would make quite different games, why? Because their old games were way different than their games now.

Again in this case it is like you going to see a movie and it just ending. Then when your leaving the theatre they are advertising that in 2 months you will get to see the ending, for 5 dollars.

On a side note for one of the obvious things that the "suits" influenced were the Thermal clips or the ammo that they added was purely to appeal to the shooter crowd. It was sloppily handled, and the back story contradicted what ME1 laid in place.

I know this ISN"T about mass effect, its about people not giving the artist the freedom to create what they want because they don;t like it. But honestly this is a different case. Its becoming more obvious in mainstream gaming that the shareholders are running the show.

I think that in videogames we are allowed to be upset when they screw the ending and we can demand they change it. Especially, when the ending and the intentions of reapers, not only isn't anything close to what ME1 set them up to be BUT is a complete rip of word for word from an older anime.

Plus the way they were sloppy with tali and using the walking dead poster and copy and pasting shepard on it for their marketing picture. It is just sloppy and they cut corners because they are trying to spend the least amount of money and get the most profit. This ending smells of being rushed and having cut corners. This is FACT not opinion. You can be satisfied with it, but facts are there are glaring problems with the ending.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Tuesday, March 20, 2012 @ 8:21:00 PM

Keep thinking you can change what they do and that you somehow have the right.

I really don't care anymore.

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xenris
Wednesday, March 21, 2012 @ 5:12:02 PM

Sherlock holmes was killed off in one of the original books, but the fans hated the ending so much that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle brought him back to life and kept writing books. Officially he never died in the books, the last book basically just has him going off to solve more mysteries.

So yes you can have an effect.

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xenris
Wednesday, March 21, 2012 @ 5:24:47 PM

Did you read that google document? It isn't my opinion that the ending is terrible, its objectively terrible. Its either set up so they can sell us more DLC, which they announced today that they would do, or its the worst writing in the history of gaming.

Not to mention its the dozens of quotes that bioware stated that makes people demand something better. Here are some quotes.

"As mass effect 3 is the end\ of the planned trilogy, developers are not constrained by the necessity of allowing the story to diverge yet also converge into the next chapter. This will result in a story that diverges into WILDY different conclusions based on the players actions in the first two chapters." Casey Hudson

"We wouldnt do it any other way. How could you go through all three campaigns as your shepard and then be forced into a bespoke ending that everyone gets? I can't say more than that..." Mike Gamble

"its not even in any was like the traditional game endings, where you can say how many endings there are and say you got A B or C." Casey Hudson

That last one is a laugh in a half, as the ending literally is an A B C choice deus ex rip off.
Bioware went on record saying they wouldn't pull a lost and create more questions with their ending than answers.

They also said everything will be given answers too. This was not achieved, there are countless questions that were not even close to addressed.

There was almost no closure, yes things were answered in the game, but things that got brought up in ME3 didn't all get closure. What happens to your squad, did the krogans begin to thrive again, how about the quarians? Those are just two of many examples.

THIS is why people are doing what they are doing and demanded satisfaction.

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PSTan
Monday, March 19, 2012 @ 10:45:46 PM
Reply

Ben, I liked the example of "Enemy of the People" you used to relate to your point. It's one of my favorite plays, even though I haven't seen it in a while.

As for the ME3 issue, personally, I'm not done with the game (I'm at the penultimate mission), but I think I'll judge for myself when the credits roll. Sure, people didn't really expect what was coming, so they do have a certain right to complaining and stating their opinions.

On the other hand, where do we draw the line for this issue? How much can you change something to your liking without destroying its original intention? It's a fascinating issue that definitely extends beyond games and art and permeates our lives.

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Norrin Radd
Monday, March 19, 2012 @ 10:47:01 PM
Reply

It's a fine line. Games are art. They are also a product. Games are made to make developers and publishers money. There is nothing altruistic about the game industry.

SO, as World notes, game makers DO listen to fan feedback. If they don't provide a game the fans want to play, they don't sell games. If they make games no one buys, they can still be making art - just like all the other starving artists in the world.

I guess my point is - game making is a business first, art factory second. And that factory don't run on hopes and dreams. SO, inevitably, the big wigs will decide the issue the way they always do: by determining which course of action makes the most money.

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Temjin001
Tuesday, March 20, 2012 @ 1:19:29 AM

Jack Kirby Silver Surfer guy. I like the cut of your jib =)

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BEEZ
Monday, March 19, 2012 @ 10:54:30 PM
Reply

Just wanted to point out that if you don't want people to comment about ME3 and read the actual debate instigated in your post, you may want to rewrite the title, drop the name-dropping of ME3 in the article and axe the picture.

When you name drop the biggest game of the year in the beginning of your article, that's the first thing many casual news readers are going to notice, especially if they are passionate fans of the series.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Monday, March 19, 2012 @ 10:56:33 PM

Of course it's the first thing they're going to notice. That's the point of a headline.

After that, they're supposed to READ. It's not my problem if they don't. This has become a nation of headline readers, and the lazy (no offense intended) act like it's somehow the fault of the journalist when the reader makes snap judgments based entirely on the headline.

Last edited by Ben Dutka PSXE on 3/19/2012 10:57:27 PM

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Pyro361
Monday, March 19, 2012 @ 10:58:20 PM
Reply

Now before you start your bitching about me not reading the article...i most definitely read you article about your problems with Human Nature And yes im well aware that aparently this article has nothing to do with ME3 im just making a point. Yeah us Humans can be selfish, but thats not ever going to go away, it will be a part of humanity, people will always complain about something they dont like, i have learned to deal with it, and you should too. there is nothing anyone can do to stop it. Me personally: sure i dont like the ending, but im not complaining about it. Now however, You make a valid point, although, an item that doesnt sell is not good for the artist either right? Lets say for example a painting...if people dont like what they see, they clearly dont buy it. Any "artist" has to consider their fans opinions right? One who does not do that will most likely barely sale anything if its not in the consumers interest. I absolutley cant stand all those people who have to go an just write all negative things about certain situations just to stand out from the crowd.

Last edited by Pyro361 on 3/19/2012 11:17:58 PM

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Monday, March 19, 2012 @ 11:17:16 PM

The artist can paint another painting. He would NEVER, not in a million years, not if he had even the tiniest shred of pride in his work, change the first painting.

So in this case, of course I believe BioWare should listen to the fans and take their issues into consideration when making the next Mass Effect or in fact, any game they do in the future.

But the ME vision is done. Whether everyone hates it or not, it's over. The artist is done painting. We have no right to demand a change, even if we despise the result. All we can do is hope the next painting is better.

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Pyro361
Monday, March 19, 2012 @ 11:31:31 PM

Yes on some aspects i do agree with you people are taking this way out of proportion but if they feel so strongly about it why deny them? but then again you cant make everyone happy which is another good point you are making. But i rather have a few people unhappy than over 50,000 unhappy. However some people have changed things from the originals, not talking in terms of paintings but in terms of movies and video games, one example is fall out 3. People are always going to complain about something they dont like, you just got to learn to accept that and just flat out ignore them.

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xenris
Tuesday, March 20, 2012 @ 9:46:27 AM

Ben its hard to use this analogy with paintings because once you see a painting you know if you want it or not, and there are many different styles and you can just go and find one that suits your tastes. Games you need to play to know if you like it or not, or trust reviewers or the critics.

So to make the analogy work, it would be like a famous artist one whose previous two masterpieces were favourites among his fans, has his painting with a sheet over it, saying that this was his best work yet. Everyone who had seen it and all the critics raved that it was also his best piece yet. But you the customer have to pay to see the painting or to buy it without seeing it first.

Now if that painting is not in your eyes even close to the standard that the famous artist(bioware)was known for in the past, then you have a right to be upset that you spent your money on it. More specifically in this case the famous artist clearly did not finish the painting and is now promising to complete it for an extra 5-10 dollars depending on what the shareholders feel is suitable.

This is how I feel about the industry as a whole actually. You have people who don't play games dictating the direction they go in, in order to maximize profit. Not inventive developers trying new things. Why do you think Indy titles are some of the most thoughtful and revolutionary games? Because they don't have a corporate leash on them.

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SaiyanSempai
Monday, March 19, 2012 @ 11:09:53 PM
Reply

I definitely agree with you Ben. So the developer/publisher didn't make a perfect game. People seem to be so upset because they spent a lot of time in a game that has a fully realised universe but a shi**y story. (or flawed story, at least).

It's not the first time and it won't be the last.

Complain all you want, but don't put out a petition to change someone else's creative work.

Put your voice in your wallets. If you read the bad reviews or have problems with what is said via word-of-mouth, don't buy the game.

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maxpontiac
Monday, March 19, 2012 @ 11:15:58 PM
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There is an old phrase along the lines of "don't let the inmates run the asylum".

Seems fitting in this case, does it not?

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Monday, March 19, 2012 @ 11:17:40 PM

Pretty much the main point of "An Enemy of the People." ;)

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WorldEndsWithMe
Monday, March 19, 2012 @ 11:43:00 PM

What if the inmates are being abused?

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Tuesday, March 20, 2012 @ 12:35:23 AM

The inmates always think they're being abused. So it's a moot point.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Tuesday, March 20, 2012 @ 12:45:37 AM

haha, but sometimes they are.

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Chewie
Monday, March 19, 2012 @ 11:27:29 PM
Reply

Don't want to argue about the classification of games as art - however, there is a fundamental difference between art that hangs in a museum or a collection and those that are sold en masse directly to consumers. These are not one-of-a-kind Art pieces here. No, it's a business, plain and simple, and running a business requires you listen to your customers. You can bet that Steven King (or at least his editors) DOES listen to his readers. Of course the fundamental difference between a book and a game is the immersion factor, but let's not get into that. Let's just say that fans of Harry potter or lord of the rings would CERTAINLY have revolted if the ending of those series did not do justice to the story or the characters (hence the long drawn out endings for both!!!). They both know this is a commercial enterprise first, and you can be sure bioware knows as well

And with regards to altering works of art due to fan feedback - I submit for your consideration Sir Arthur Conan Doyle "resurrecting" Sherlock due to fan outcry, or Dickins rewriting the ending of Great Expectations because of criticisms that it was too sad. Even the alternate ending that made it on the I Am Legend DVD. All of these rewritten endings have now become cannon and have not led in any way shape or form to an end of the world as we know it. In fact, they had an opposite effect of really showing that the author knew the work's place in the world (that it's not some self centered enterprise but that his work had a significant impact the audience, and that the audience deserved better) and VALUED his audience. Kudos to Bioware if they make this right. For now, even though I would have DEFINITELY purchased From Ashes (despite all the hullabaloo about release day DLCs), I am holding off on doing so until I see Bioware make this right. Why should I spend more of my hard earned money on a company that has such low regard for its customers?

Note that fans always have complaints or things that can be done better. For ME, a lot of people are upset at the short shrift given to the love interests, ESP those from ME2. However, do you hear about a movement to change that? No. The endings are just so bad, so disappointing, that enough number of people have come together to protest. This is generally a one time phenomenon rather than a precedent - getting people so riled up and passionate does take some effort!

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Monday, March 19, 2012 @ 11:43:47 PM

Just because this is a business doesn't change that at least part of it is art. That's first.

Second, the Dickens rewrite is a matter of GREAT contention among purists and literature historians, who agree that the author should never have bowed to the whims of the masses. In fact, many say that damaged his reputation forever.

The idea that the masses are somehow on the same level as the artists who create something singular is a fallacy. That's not anti-public; that's a fact. If you don't like it, I say, do something better YOURSELF.

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Gamer46
Monday, March 19, 2012 @ 11:30:58 PM
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Have to agree with Ben on this point, it's ridiculous to be demanding a new ending for ME 3. What's done is done, the big issue here should be developers purposely releasing an incomplete game so they could feed us the real ending through DLC, which is exactly what's going on here. We should be demanding an end to this nickel and diming crap.

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Palpatations911
Monday, March 19, 2012 @ 11:35:39 PM
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I guess you can stop supporting an FFVII remake then.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Monday, March 19, 2012 @ 11:40:21 PM

I have no idea what that even means.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Monday, March 19, 2012 @ 11:42:01 PM

Yeah, bringing an old game up to date is a bit different unless they end it with Sephiroth and Cloud getting married.

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Underdog15
Tuesday, March 20, 2012 @ 12:45:54 PM

Why would anyone even be against it? What a strange thought. I can see someone not caring, perhaps. But against it? How odd.

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Chewie
Monday, March 19, 2012 @ 11:40:27 PM
Reply

http://www.unigamesity.com/mass-effect-3-fallout-did-the-gaming-media-fail-gamers/

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Underdog15
Monday, March 19, 2012 @ 11:40:31 PM
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@Ben
Oh, I'm aware of Ibsen's play. I'm aware of many of his plays. :p

Late 19th century theatre is extremely well known for it's commentaries on society and politics. Ibsen is very much a part of all that. He's right up there with George Bernard Shaw and Samuel Beckett. (They all lived at the same time, obviously)

Most of these plays still apply to our cultures today at an alarming capacity.

@Everyone here
Ben's advice is sound. Anything by Ibsen is worth a read, let alone just "An Enemy of the People". "A Doll's House" and "The Wild Duck" are my favorites.

Actually, Ben, when it comes to a community of complainers and people who think they know everything, "A Wild Duck" might be more fitting! (Plus it's a little shorter for any of our friends with smaller attention spans)

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Monday, March 19, 2012 @ 11:47:12 PM

Nobody here - nobody that supports the ridiculous idea that artists should bend to the will of the public - would want to read or see something that shows the masses for what they really are.

It's why Ibsen took so much flak. Simply for saying that "uh...no, NOT everyone is capable of doing everything."

Such a fact really annoys "the people."

Last edited by Ben Dutka PSXE on 3/19/2012 11:48:49 PM

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Underdog15
Tuesday, March 20, 2012 @ 12:48:11 PM

lol yeah. That's like... the entire theme of most 19th century drama, too. Major Barbara is another good play that relates to that issue.

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Pyro361
Monday, March 19, 2012 @ 11:43:40 PM
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Really? you are complaining about the petioners of Mass effect 3 while you are complaining about FF...i see some irony here...

Last edited by Pyro361 on 3/19/2012 11:45:30 PM

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Monday, March 19, 2012 @ 11:48:20 PM

Nobody is complaining about FF. And nobody here at PSXE has EVER issued a petition or any sort of absurd demand that S-E go BACK and change an existing FF. No, just to change future titles...which is ALL the ME3 complaining should consist of. That and nothing more.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Monday, March 19, 2012 @ 11:49:09 PM
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And if you want to know what unregulated business practices look like, play Bioshock :)

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Jawknee
Tuesday, March 20, 2012 @ 12:24:31 AM
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I was just thinking this very same thing today. This whole thing is just bizarre.

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Chewie
Tuesday, March 20, 2012 @ 12:32:19 AM
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http://www.forbes.com/sites/insertcoin/2012/03/13/why-fan-service-is-good-business/

I really think that the insistence that games are art and therefore immutable is just a way to deflect arguments to the contrary (aft all, if you strongly hold to this view, nothing anyone else says can make a difference as just STFU and take what these artists give to you). This argument is similar to telling someone who had a bad service experience "too bad, it's their prerogative, suck it up". Nothing is created in a vaccuum, and even artists need to understand this. The central premise of your article is it sets a dangerous precedent, HOWEVER 1) there ARE already precedents for this and 2) I don't think you will see mass protests on the street every time a new work is produced, if that's what you worry about - people need to be passionate enough and disturbed enough to rally, and how often does that happen. As someone in the gaming press, I think you should be celebrating the fact that games have come so far that people feel such emotional attachments to them. Never in my decades of game playing have I seen this. People are literally writing lengthly missives on why ME3 was fantastic but they were let down by the ending. In the past the level of fan involvement stopped at "the endings sucked balls"

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Tuesday, March 20, 2012 @ 12:39:30 AM

That's complete crap. You've been playing games for decades and you think only NOW people are forming emotional attachments to games? ...maybe you weren't paying attention.

And to compare public service to art is not only inaccurate, it's completely insulting to any artist. That means Tolstoy and a waitress are in the same category, and just because you can send back soup, you think you can demand a new ending to War and Peace.

I'm sorry, but this mass generalization and lumping everything together is nothing more than a guise. That's it. Just a way to go, "We're allowed to demand whatever we want, whenever we want, because we're 'passionate' and it's the job of everyone else to listen and respond."

I'll celebrate intelligent feedback and discussion among people who enjoy a HOBBY (which is exactly what this is; taking it to extreme levels of seriousness means people don't have enough to DO), and have something worthwhile to say. I will not celebrate whining, and I absolutely will not give Godlike power to the masses, in which all original ideas and concepts by the talented FEW have to be molded to the whims of every Tom, Dick and Harry on the street.

Just... No.

Last edited by Ben Dutka PSXE on 3/20/2012 12:44:57 AM

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Temjin001
Tuesday, March 20, 2012 @ 12:47:11 AM
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All of this poopiness with people wanting games changed may become me tommorow when I play NG3. If the game play does suck a big one I'll want and expect TEam Ninja to re-release it as NG Sigma 3 with improved combat and less suckiness. If hayasashi-San doesn't submit and doesnt relinquish whatever lame idiot vision he had for NG going forward Ill hope he gets demoted and someone else put in his place who'll do the series justice as the ardent fans expect =)
As for the art thing. I don't have any strong opinion. I'd say it's probably not a good idea to change art. But I also think if the ME3 endings do have flaws and holes, maybe they should be patched up because the quality is below par for what fans of the series expect. If I looked at a piece of art and everything looked great EXCEPT for that unfinished lookijg crappy looking hand that doesn't look right, I'd like the artist to go back and fix it.

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Damedius
Tuesday, March 20, 2012 @ 2:12:13 AM
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It ends when companies stop releasing incomplete games that end in a cliffhanger and advertise DLC that contain the "ending".

Now I got one for you. When will "journalists" that hide behind "art" come up with a decent article that doesn't echo some other article I read a week ago?

Now obviously we have nor right to change Mass Effect 3. However we have every right to critique it to death, suggest that it was poorly written and should be rewritten.

If Bioware ignores our suggestion we have every right to never spend another dollar on another Bioware product.

Last edited by Damedius on 3/20/2012 2:18:40 AM

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Tuesday, March 20, 2012 @ 9:14:58 AM

I thank you for the insult and the implication that I rip off my ideas from elsewhere.

I also thank you for proving your idiocy by being a complete hypocrite, saying one minute you have no right to change ME3, and in the very next breath, saying it should be rewritten.

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Oxvial
Tuesday, March 20, 2012 @ 2:33:15 AM
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Wow. I'm glad I was never fan of this franchise.

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Him
Tuesday, March 20, 2012 @ 4:04:29 AM
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Good god, this is the reason I love this site. So many intelligent discussions, so very few moronic people.

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ataoaoca
Tuesday, March 20, 2012 @ 4:40:00 AM
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I think there is a slippery slope in the other direction were artists become so disconnected from there audience that they start creating artworks to appease themselves and a ever shrinking community.

TLDR is incoming,

Art is not a solely author driven activity, the context that the work is created in determines how much influence the various stakeholders have in the piece.

With any movie a director, writer, and creative team have only so much freedom and technically speaking the company has the final say in all matters. This slippery slope has already reached its maximum but we still see excellent works coming out of massive companies.

Working with your stakeholders is important and as customers we provide the money that makes these works viable. Without consumer interest there would be no art in the form of videogames, movies, etc...

The main issue with Mass Effect 3's ending is not artistic freedom,consumer entitlement, or some careful plan. It quite simply is a display of an incomplete and rushed work. The quality of the ending in a purely technical sense is rushed with bugs and graphical glitches that can completely ruin the experience (Say bringing back people from the dead, the space scene smearing itself across the skybox, adult model and kid model are the same, etc...)

Another fact about video games as an art is that it is unique in that it is a direct participatory work were the author creates a world and the players act out the game through actions, cut scenes, dialog, etc... to ignore the person playing the game is to ignore what games are about.

Changing the ending to a video game has and can be done due to the unique nature of a game being that it is updated, patched, DLCed to correct technical errors and plot holes that were not caught during production. To refuse change would set a precedent for games to be left unfinished and unpolished because "that is what was intended".

Finally there is a monetary and goodwill aspect that the media appears to be forgetting. Ignore your customers and the loss of goodwill has an incalculable cost. Cause people to become depressed from the quality of your work and people will not become returning customers. Providing additional content and products is all cash.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Tuesday, March 20, 2012 @ 9:22:31 AM

This is the problem with modern thinking, right here: the belief that art has to be "connected" to an audience.

The minute that happens, it becomes the community's piece of art, not the artist's. You admit the slippery slope has already begun but we do NOT see all this excellent work you speak of. We do, but it's getting harder and harder to find, isn't it?

"Working with your stakeholders?" Are you kidding me? Tell that to any of the artists who never lived in an age where every last individual of the masses thinks they have a say in EVERYTHING, in an age where everyone is constantly connected, and in an age where art is forced to suffer because the art audiences are now considered "stakeholders."

No art if consumers aren't buying it? That's it? All artists only work to sell things? Look, an artist has to feed himself so to some extent, yes, he has to sell things. But NO artist wakes up in the morning and FIRST considers what OTHER people want. Not if that artist has a shred of dignity or talent.

Last edited by Ben Dutka PSXE on 3/20/2012 9:23:40 AM

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Underdog15
Tuesday, March 20, 2012 @ 1:05:37 PM

You might try to market an experience or entertainment, but art is not. The whole reason we are drawn to art in the first place, is because of the artists honesty.

If it's created without a connection to the artist, it is already set up for failure.

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xenris
Tuesday, March 20, 2012 @ 8:28:55 PM

The problem is that this isn't just art. It is entertainment. Your acting like this is a painting or a song or something. Its not the same, not even close. Yes it is art but you can't use painting analogies because its completely different how paintings are purchased. You don't buy a painting that you can't see before you get it right? You don't buy a painting that was promised to be something but was something completely different but you didn't find that out because you weren't allowed to open the package until you got home right?

Its an interactive entertainment experience, and the fact that that experience is FACTUALLY full of plot holes and isn't close to the standard bioware has set in the past, your darn right we can ask them a big WTF, and demand they make this right.

Problem is I don't want them to do something about the ending, because I know that was their plan. They want an obscure ending so they can sell DLC to hungry fans who want closure.

Its a sad day when the diehard fans hope and pray that the ending to the game was a dream or something else surreal because of how nonsensical and full of holes the ending is. Its even more sad that this was probably intended so it could be retconned into something else in order to make more money.

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Underdog15
Wednesday, March 21, 2012 @ 8:58:53 AM

@Xenris

People order paintings all the time from artists before they see the finished work. Whether it's a painted version of a photo, or something else, people often order paintings before seeing it.

The risk is that you have to pay for it whether you like it or not, so you have to know the artist. If the artist doesn't deliver, you're sunk, and you have to decide whether you would ever go to them again.

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xenris
Wednesday, March 21, 2012 @ 11:12:56 AM

Exactly, and thats how I think people are feeling with mass effect 3 you know?

I have never really heard of people doing that, as my dads an artist and people come look at his art shows and stuff. I was not aware people just order stuff without knowing what they were getting.

However for some people maybe the mystery is what they do it for? Paintings can also grow on you or if you don't like it you can sell it.

But with the ending of a game that you have invested hundreds of hours in, AND you were promised certain things, well thats where we can't use the painting analogy so easily anymore.

I personally think they should just leave the game, but I also think people can demand DLC closure and critique the heck out of it.

I also firmly believe that this wont leak into other mediums. Video games are a different beast than books and movies. I think thats what bens concern is. That artists need the freedom to create and I dig that. However I see a lot of good gaming ideas either fail or never get off the ground because it wont "work" in todays market. Its not mainstream enough.

We are lucky heavy rain even got made, and even more lucky sony appreciates creative vision.

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Razorwind
Tuesday, March 20, 2012 @ 5:04:31 AM
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i dont think this will be that much of a threat to artists in general as we have seen before the internet is a powerful tool and can be used to effect change

but as we have seen before the masses are fickle and everyone is convinced that there idea/veiw is the superior one

this is likely to go the same way the campain awhile back to make sure Xfactor didnt get the christmas number one sure the first time everyone gets behind the idea but next time everyone thinks there song/idea is the best resulting in thousands of them with 1 or 2 supporters each meaning they have no real bite

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JohnRDark
Tuesday, March 20, 2012 @ 5:27:44 AM
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Without looking at any of the previous comments, I leave my own response: Video games are an art; yes, but with patches, DLC, and the like, a company can change the unpopular and anticlimactic ending of a series without the need to reprint or reissue copies of the game. While I agree, artists should be allowed to write their own endings, should they not be open-minded enough to re-write said ending to give the overwhelming majority of their fans an ending they can better relate to? Don't you think Leonardo Da Vinci would have repainted the Mona Lisa had he originally given her a hair-lip and found it to be unattractive or displeasing? Or perhaps Beethoven would have recomposed the "Ode to Joy" after he discovered it sounded terrible in drop-D? Cavemen drew stick-figures, artists in the Renaissance painted Renaissance style pieces. As a rule, the masses dictate art. So it has always been, so it should be with games.

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PC_Max
Tuesday, March 20, 2012 @ 7:35:35 AM
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As much as the term "Art" is so overly used with everything these days that its meaning is now .... meaningless, Bioware set themselves up for this. Art is usually and "individuals" expression of themselves. Mass Effect series was created by more than one individual, with people coming in and leaving the "art" team, be they 2D artists, 3D artists, writers, Level Designers, etc.

Okay, Bioware decided they were going to make a game where the user determines the outcome. Be it through choices and success or not on missions. This is limited somewhat because to create a series you need to have a conclusion that can be continued in to another story with, in this case, returning lead characters. Fine so far and they did that to a degree.

Mass Effect 3, which I have not played yet, apparently took much of what Bioware has built on away from the player where choice is not really affecting a diverse ending. It would seem choices do not matter much, according to some that have played the game, and left plot holes and a singular ending.

Success!!! They have created a series that has made gamers so PASSIONATE about the game. The players love the characters, they care about them (fictional as they are), enjoy the game play and dynamics. Bioware should be commended for that. They are one of a few devs who truly engaged players and brought them in to a universe where which they wanted to stay and play.

Conundrum! They gave players through the series the impression that THEY, the player, was in control of the game, where there was choice and choice that mattered. lol I remember from Star Trek 2 when Kirk said that he did not believe in a no win scenario. Bioware gave the players that impression. Yes, you could lose, but you could play again and win if you did things differently. It would seem ME3 took that away. I don't know since I have not played the game, but thats the impression I get.

That all said, its possible Bioware has something planned and/or some surprises for players either giving back the choice or filling in the plot holes with spinoff games. Who knows? That may be revealed in the coming months.

Criticism can be pointed to both sides. Bioware for giving then taking away the elements that made/make their games special. Players for realizing its Biowares game/series and they want to take it to new places or just try something different. They own it. As long as they do not do a George Lucas. :)

I commend Bioware for a fun series and for what they have tried to do. I commend the passionate players who want more what Bioware has and is giving. Both parties care. Thats a big deal. Its exciting to see what looks to be a "family" quarrel. Yes, the ultimate game would be where we determine the outcome of the game, affect the environment we play in. We are not quite there yet, but Bioware and other devs are looking towards that.

Keep up the passion, listen to both sides, and play. :)

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rab357
Tuesday, March 20, 2012 @ 7:42:52 AM
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I understand the point Ben is making, but it's going to be a hard sell when Bioware has spent, what, five years telling us it's OUR story. I believe it was a writer on Kotaki who said it best, and I summarize/paraphrase: the problem is that two groups of people were creating the story, the Bioware writers and the players. And, at some point, the writers had to take over and finish it.

Why does this all have to be labeled 'insanity'? Yes, there are a few dummies who think filing with the FTC will get them more attention, but many of us are simply participating in a very interesting discussion (albeit passionately). Why can't an ending be changed? Is it written somewhere in the Artist Bible? Artists are beginning to tinker with their work constantly: George Lucas has added to his films (ironically to his fans' eternal frustration). We've just never seen this precedent before because the tools weren't available and it wasn't practically possible: the ending to Pride and Prejudice can't be changed b/c Jane Austin is dead and you'd have to take all of the books off the store shelves, add the new ending (possibly scrapping all of the old copies) and re-release it. But video games have that capacity, so why not? If Bioware doesn't want to change the ending of ME3, they won't. And, for the record, I absolutely hated the ME3 ending but don't think Bioware should change it.

What, are we afraid authors, film directors and painters will look down on us if we change the ending to a game? Who cares? Their industries don't make nearly the kind of money video games do and I'll bet they'd beg for the fan devotion that video games have. Are we worried about being respected? When you have Steven Spielberg dabbling in game design I'd say you've earned a little bit of respect.

Lastly, I really don't think we'll see fans jumping up and down to change game endings now as a new rule, or "art" in general. I would say this is a different circumstance b/c the endings were, in my opinion, that off-base and that unfulfilling.

And Ben, please stop denouncing people who discuss ME3 in the comments. You used the ME3 situation as a launching board to make a broader argument, but that broader argument still rests on what's happening with the ME3 ending, so your readers are using the same model, which will require them to discuss the ME3 ending.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Tuesday, March 20, 2012 @ 9:17:26 AM

No, it does NOT require them to discuss the ME3 ending because it's entirely irrelevant to the broader issues you yourself alluded to.

And you can't honestly think you're making any point whatsoever by saying that because Jane Austen is dead, her work is safe, but someone like George Lucas isn't because he's alive and can cater to the EVER-changing requirements of the public.

I don't care what "tools are available." ART NEVER CHANGES. And if we think we can change it, or make it change, we have bigger egos than I ever thought possible.

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oldgamer
Tuesday, March 20, 2012 @ 7:55:40 AM
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Ben, I read both of your articles, thank you for laying out the salient points of this issue. We do not have the right to dictate to artists the direction of their Opus or Opera (opuses), yes that does include the hard work brought by producers, writers and developers of a software company. I heard that George RR Martin often gets multitudes of emails from fans that want to "suggest" what direction to go or to add/delete pieces of his works. The author I speak of writes "Game of Thrones series. He states, his work is his work, not a hive mind collection of choose your own adventure. Group-think cannot be the standard for any creation. To the point of Bioware's decision for the dlc, the ending, etc., at the end of the day they are an Entertainment company, which is beholden to time and resource contraints. I was okay with the ending of ME3, yes there were some things that were left unanswered, but with the scale and scope of this project, that was bound to happen and I understand that. You will never, ever get 100% of the fans 100% on board with ANY ending you choose. Possibly more books will come out that can fill the gaps, and hopefully that satisfies the masses. Oh what a interesting business opportunity (hint) Unfortunately Drew Kaparshyn won't be penning any more books for the foreseeable future.

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Comic Shaman
Tuesday, March 20, 2012 @ 9:16:43 AM
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The Mass Effect 3 conundrum reminds me in many ways of the way that Neon Genesis Evangelion ended. Some people defend the ending, many people attack it, and the creators have tried several times to "patch" the ending. They're in the midst of a reboot now, and we'll see if the story actually comes together this time around.

My question is whether or not it is possible for Bioware to make a better ending under these circumstances. I get the feeling that the best we can hope for is that they have something in mind for the continuation of the Mass Effect series, and a greater reveal of their future plans may help clear up some of the confusion. And I think they could do that without compromising the artistic virtue that Ben is talking about.

But going back and recreating an ending to that makes the player choices matter more? I just don't see it. That would require so much effort and unraveling of what they have in place that I can't see it having a good outcome. What happens when fans also hate the patched ending (and I can guarantee many will)? Another patch, another outcome?

Some things can be patched. The dismal anticlimax of the Tali reveal, for instance... yeah, they could (and should, I believe) fix that. And peeling back the curtain a bit more on their future plans might help.

All in all, though, I'd say that crappy endings are a risk of storytelling. I'd say the "fix" for Bioware is to acknowledge they blew the ending (I know it has defenders, but the extent of the outcry leaves no doubt to me that they failed to achieve their goal of satisfying the majority of their fans), learn from their mistakes, and mature as artists in their next project.

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JackC8
Tuesday, March 20, 2012 @ 9:21:39 AM
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Art has been criticized for thousands of years. By its very nature, criticism suggests that the creator of the work should do things differently in the future. I think the issue here is that it's the unwashed masses doing the criticizing this time - they're not showing the proper amount of submissiveness to the authority of the professional critics as they should. That's hardly precedent setting either though.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Tuesday, March 20, 2012 @ 9:39:03 AM

Nobody ever said people shouldn't criticize. Exactly the opposite, in fact. That's not what I take issue with.

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SirLoin of Beef
Tuesday, March 20, 2012 @ 10:21:31 AM

Jack, I don't think the issue is that there has been criticism. It's that some are making demands the BioWare change the story BW wrote because they (they players) didn't like it. At least one has suggested that they go to the FTC and at least one wondered if a lawsuit could be filed. I believe those are representative of the actions Ben's talking about.

It's one thing to say that a portion of the game is poorly written. It's another to make demands on the author that they change it because you didn't like it.

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PC_Max
Tuesday, March 20, 2012 @ 2:06:54 PM
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Enough calling it art. Its entertainment, a game. Reaction to this is similar to that of George Lucas' changes to the original Star Wars movies, for better or worse. Just in the reverse.

Its great that people are passionate about the game. ME3 is a success because people bought it, for good or bad. The game may not have ended the way many would have liked. Many games are like that. They do not satisfy everyone. You stick with the series or move on to other game. Devs make mistakes with their games and they make some great successes. They try to have their hand on the pulse of gamers and other times try some experimentation (Quantic Dreams).

If Bioware wants to change the end or not, let them go either way for whatever their reasons. If fans decide to sell their copies of the game and move on to other games, Let them and see what happens.

Its a business, supple and demand sort of thing. Devs supply what they think the masses want and/or will enjoy. Hit and miss. Really! If devs do not make something the gamers want... they won't buy it.... most of the time. :/

Currently the game ends the way it does. Lets see what Bioware does regarding what the fans have said, lets see what they have planned for the future, and lets see how fans once again respond to it.

In the meantime...

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Heiffeweisen
Tuesday, March 20, 2012 @ 2:54:00 PM
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On my own little reacting post, I don't think even if the game is art that we can't criticize it. Thousands of artists who were paid had to deal with their audience- Italians had their patrons, and modern artists who get paid for their work often get told, "Nope, change all of these things..." I don't know why this particular piece of art is exempt, especially since we paid money for it. I'm not going to ask for my money back- but I am NOT going to buy from the company again if they put out such a subpar product that had so much potential and call it enough. Consider that my own little criticism of the ending of this piece of... art.

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Laguna
Tuesday, March 20, 2012 @ 8:40:38 PM
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Its not setting a precedent because this isn't going to happen very often.

No one is demanding new endings for God of War III, Uncharted III, FF XIII-2,Resistance 3, Halo 3, Gears of war 3.

This is one extreme case. So much hype and anticipation will create such hysteria.

I don't foresee this happening again anytime soon.

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JackDillinger89
Tuesday, March 20, 2012 @ 8:58:30 PM
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Correct me if im wrong but didn't Hideo Kojima say games arent art their entertainment? Or he considered games entertainment more than art? Just saying.

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rab357
Tuesday, March 20, 2012 @ 10:51:29 PM
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Ben, my overall point is simple. Art can be changed. Should it be changed? That's another issue...but it can be changed. Some forms of art, like paintings or books, can't be changed...not really (thus the point of my Jane Austen analogy)while others (anything digital; particularly film, video games and anything else made on a computer) can be changed.

And I don't think any "precedent" is being set. As Laguna said, this is just different. As I've stated previously, Bioware did everything possible to convince fans that this was THEIR story: to take it and own it as their own. My Shepherd is MY Shepherd. Thus, by Bioware's own design, players became very attached to their ME stories. Film directors, musicians and sculptors don't approach fans and say, yes, you have a hand in this...you helped create this.

It's just a different situation...but one that needs to be talked out. And much of the gaming media's dismissal of the impassioned fans as simpletons who need to move out of their parents' basement is not helping. At all.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Tuesday, March 20, 2012 @ 11:14:25 PM

Whether you CAN change it is completely irrelevant. The only issue is whether or not it should be changed.

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Nizati
Wednesday, March 21, 2012 @ 1:25:16 PM
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I have been connected here to read this article by a friend of mine. I myself have not played the Mass Effect games but have heard much about it, and the significance of it. To be as fair as possible, I will focus on Ben's comment about the artist's rights as opposed to the fan's/buyers/commissioners.

I do believe that yes, if an artist makes a product that is stand alone, it is up to the world whether they like it or not and will buy/popularize accordingly. That still happens with games/movies with many strange and unique titles being created and enjoyed all the time. But if an artist/author makes a series, or if they are commissioned to do a piece of work which is of equal standard to other works they have done, that commissioner or those buyers have the right to say "This is not the product I agreed to purchase. Do it again or I want my money back." This has been the way of the world for years. Sherlock Holmes was brought back from the dead as fans demanded it. Many artworks have gone to the trash because the commissioner who had ordered it believed it was not up to par. Is it wrong? From a business standpoint; no. Standards of quality breed excellence.
As for the example of Mass Effect: Having so many people make an outcry on a very specific matter in a series shows they care deeply about the work created. They know the creators, their style, and that they can do better as they have before. Isn't that a compliment in itself? And indeed, don't they have some right a product of the same quality they have paid for all along? Tis something to think about.

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Laguna
Thursday, March 22, 2012 @ 10:16:12 AM
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Are we sure if Bioware is making a new ending or just making DLC post ending?

If thats the case then we can be technical and say Bioware changed the ending of Mass Effect 2 with the Arrival DLC.

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Ludicrous_Liam
Thursday, March 22, 2012 @ 11:20:27 AM
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Uh - I'm afriad to comment on anything tangibly-related to this article, so...


HI! xD

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RobN
Friday, March 23, 2012 @ 11:01:40 AM
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Something you're missing is that for the movie industry, fan input is already changing the way movies are made. Movies are test screened and edits made -- endings even rewritten and refilmed -- based on the input from test audiences. So in fact, a studio may already be telling Scorsese (or at least other, less established directors) to change the last 15 minutes of their movies.

Whether or not this is a good thing is a legitimate argument. It may improve some movies, as no director is infallible and it's possible that more input will help them identify problems they overlooked -- but the phrase "too many chefs in the kitchen" also comes to mind, and it can just as easily corrupt the original vision of the director.

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poisonedsodapop
Friday, March 23, 2012 @ 11:34:30 AM

That's actually a good point. Lots of movies get edited when they don't get the fan appreciation they expected. Disney movies have to be screen tested a lot as you can imagine.

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poisonedsodapop
Friday, March 23, 2012 @ 11:40:42 AM
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I personally haven't played my ME games yet but I can understand the hatred the third one is getting (which I don't own yet due to not wanting to deal with Origin and not playing the first two). I watched all of the endings and obviously not understanding the series I didn't get what was being said. What I got was that they were all essentially the same with very VERY minor differences. If your choices were supposed to have an effect then why are all the endings the same?

I'm an artist myself so I can understand not wanting to change something in your piece but even then if I paint something and it looks "wrong" and another artists points it out then I may want to adjust it. Critique has an impact on you whether it be for your current piece or a finished one. One of my teachers once told me an art piece is never truly finished. While I don't like that idea I can understand where he's coming from. You can usually make adjustments to works done in most media. When you're an artist you'll always be a student. You're always learning something new, especially when in a community of other artists.

Honestly it's a terrible place to be right now for Bioware. There are gamers who see the backlash online who don't own the game and wonder "is this worth my money if so many hate it?" There's the writers who don't want to destroy their vision. There's the angry fans who are demanding a "fix" to this situation. And there's the rest of the industry looking at them to see if they cave to fan demand. I think right now they're in a very delicate place where they can screw up and lose a lot of support from their fanbase. But we'll see how it's handled when the new ending is released and what effect it has on the gaming industry.

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Goofball
Friday, March 23, 2012 @ 4:42:10 PM
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I'm sick of all these whiny manchildren with neckbeards living in their parents basements complaining about freaking video games, here's a tip if your that upset over a videogame ending well then I'd say you have some other real serious problem going on.

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Jacius Ceed
Friday, March 23, 2012 @ 5:32:04 PM
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It's a question of quality.

If 90% of something is of high quality but the last 10% drops the ball is it really finished artwork?

This whole thing might become a moot point if the ME3 ending turns out to be planned a cliffhanger to get people to analyze it and talk about it so that it would grow into a huge social experience. They have a chance to make this a masterpiece. They have proven that they have the talent there to really make something amazing like they kept saying they would. Hype hype hype. The end was lacking and was just the ending to Deus Ex. The epilogue felt lacking, as did the illusion of choice.

Harry Potter had a good ending, but the big hoopla was that the epilogue also felt lacking.
What was written was great, but we craved more.
As others have stated, Doyle.

Also, don't forget about editors and publishers. If an editor does not think that paragraph goes well they would suggest a change that might change the feel and message. A publisher that does not want the writer to use certain plot devices or established characters or locations etc. would limit the artistic ability of the writer.

Influence is part of the artistic world, it can be ignored but may hurt the work if the opinion truly could add to it.

Also take a look at all the games you have played that you did not enjoy, if it got bad reviews it did not sell as well as it could have, and/or the next game in the series or by the developer did not sell that well.
But no one really made an effort to change that game, they may have hoped that the next game would be "improved" in x way/s.

The reason that ME3 and other works have had such a crazy amount of attention paid to one part or another is that people are passionate about them, they fell in love with the creation and were let down after all the hype and after such an amazing journey.

This will happen again but just as it is now it will not be a common occurrence.


(You mentioned ME as a way to start the article on the subject of changing "finished" art right? Well by doing that you made a connection between the content of the article and the situation surrounding the game. There are valid points there that are most easily pointed out when using ME3 as an example.)

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Bigimpactpooch
Friday, March 23, 2012 @ 8:03:37 PM
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I think the ending is just a cliffhanger as well. I think that whole "inodroctination theory" is there present...but it wasn't explained in the game so it left people confused as to why the fu** was the last part wierd as hell. I think Bioware were going to reveal it in the next game but all that bad press people talking negative about it and such made them to want to explain it so the fans would be "ohhhhh shit now I get it, thats brilliant!" as they said there not changing the ending just explaining in the next dlc. Giving the fans some closure.

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