Monthly Archives: March 2012

Mass Effect 3 Ideas

Since Bioware has caved into fan demands to alter the ending, I thought of a few other things they could patch in order to make players happier.

• Reveal whether or not Ashley is wearing any pants in the hospital bed (my imagination ran wild).
• Get rid of the shallowly manipulative death scene at the beginning.
• Make the Reapers look more like dildos. Saint’s Row: The Third had one, you should too.
• Have the opening menu coo softly to the player and tell them the game loves them because their parents never did.
• Make the ending a Public Service Announcement, and the Announcement is just Casey Hudson with tears streaming down his face begging for fans’ approval
• Change the design of the EDI-bot; she doesn’t need to be so sexualized. Maybe Joker could just do her because he likes her personality…core. I guess.
• Tell your fans, individually, to pour hundreds of hours into a script, buy it from them, and then tell them to change it like in the case of EVERY HOLLYWOOD SCRIPT!
• Bring back the Mako with some minor modifications: replace the wheels with four Varren who just masturbate furiously. The vehicle still handles like shit.
• Display a link to this article: http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/116484-Mass-Effect-3-Outrage-Causes-Unrelated-Game-to-Change-its-Ending
• Tell your fans that promising certain things and merely failing at them, after trying, is not the same thing as outright lying to their faces.

If I angered you, I don’t care. I’m pissed at the game, too, but this has all gotten ridiculous.

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Bioware vs. Their Fans

How did this happen?

How did Bioware go from being one of the most respected developers in the industry to being one of the most vilified? I think it started in 2007, when they were acquired by Electronic Arts.

It was all downhill from there.

2007

Bioware introduced it’s magnum opus to the world: Mass Effect. An epic, brilliantly-written story-driven space opera, Mass Effect captivated gamers and introduced millions to a burgeoning franchise and one of the most-loved developers in the industry. Bioware was riding high after this success.However, Electronic Arts bought Bioware in October, and Mass Effect was released in November. The reason it wasn’t an EA title was because Microsoft fronted the money. That’s also why it is still only available on Xbox 360 and PC.

2010

Bioware released Mass Effect 2, which was simultaneously revered and despised for the same reasons: the removal of some RPG mechanics and improved shooting. I’m not going into what I think about the game, but I will say it was the beginning of the hatred that Bioware and Mass Effect would receive.

With this game developed under EA supervision, many fans saw them as the reason it was “dumbed down.” EA’s reputation for appealing to the lowest-common denominator and preference to hit release dates fueled their fire, but the game was mostly loved and devoid of controversy.

2011

Dragon Age II is released and the shitstorm begins. While it garnered good reviews, it was this game that got Bioware fans largely angered. Two game in a row, they saw their favorite company and franchises getting “dumbed down,” and now they had a whole container of gasoline for their flames. They derided it for many of the same reasons as they derided Mass Effect 2: simplified RPG mechanics, a lackluster story and a greater emphasis on combat. It even got to the point where EA Games Label President Frank Gibeau acknowledged the fans’ disappointment over the direction Dragon Age II took.

“As we think about where we take the franchise next, we’re going to take that into consideration and really engage them” he said in a statement.

Bioware tried to coo reassuringly to fans that the studio worked for their fans.

2012

Mass Effect 3 comes out and you can’t go to any gaming site without encountering the controversies tied to it. The most recent, and biggest one, is the ending. Or endings. Bioware has caved into fan pressure to change the endings. Fans made a petition and then took Bioware to the Federal Trade Commission on a false advertising complaint.

Over the past few years, Bioware’s relationship with fans has gotten so volatile that it resulted in a lawsuit. Fans distrusted Bioware, and Bioware’s acquisition by EA is what started it all. The games themselves came second, initially. Bioware then didn’t stomp this in the ground and just say “we are artists, these are our works.” They just placated them, mindlessly, like children.

Through miscommunication, childishness, patronization, and EA’s reputation, the relationship between Bioware and its fans has become adversarial and completely unhealthy. Unhealthy for the industry, for the games, for medium and for everybody involved.

Entitlement

After Mass Effect fans demanded that Bioware change the ending to ME3, a torrent of derogatory comments and overuse of the word “entitlement” have brought out adversarial relationships between games press, game fans, and game developers, with the fans on one side, alone. Who is right? To figure out, I decided to evaluate the acidic word that blows up Twitter feeds and forum boards even as I type.

What does it mean?

It is the belief that one is deserving of or entitled to certain privileges, according to the dictionary.

What are we entitled to?

When we buy a game (new), we are entitled to a good game. But if it isn’t good, or just doesn’t tickle our particular fancy, then we just learn our lesson. We get more critical about future purchases and we move forward, because that particular game didn’t meet our expectations. If we don’t like it, we should simply move on. To mindlessly bitch is unhealthy. Criticize, of course, but do it constructively.

The important thing is that quality is a matter of opinion.

Should they patch Mass Effect 3’s story?

No. Mass Effect 3’s story may be unsatisfactory (I haven’t finished it, yet, but that’s not the point), but that doesn’t mean it should be changed. It’s much different from patching a technical issue. A patch to fix matchmaking or a glitch should happen because that was unintentional. The story, whether you like it or not, is an artistic expression. It should be left to be what it is, and to change it because you don’t like it, is effectively censorship. (http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/censor)

If you consider video games as an artistic medium, you would understand this. If it’s just a service and soulless product, then you won’t.

Criticizing constructively should be the route taken, because a young, enterprising writer, or a seasoned veteran, could take well-reasoned criticism to heart and make future stories better.

Alternatively, think if you wrote a story that people felt had a lackluster ending. You mulled over it for weeks and felt that is the appropriate ending for your story. You published it, they bought it.Should you change it? Fuck no! It’s your story, not theirs. You made it for them, maybe, but it is still your story, that you thought out. Shepherd’s story in Mass Effect may be influenced by the player, and feel personal, but it is also the artistic expression of Bioware’s writers that made it possible.

There is also a difference between marketing and honesty; when they market a game, they hype it up and deliver hyperbole. They can defend this by saying “these were our goals” or “this is our opinion.” It’s not a fact. It’s also not a fact that the game sucked.

You can’t petition filmmakers to change endings. You can’t petition author’s or TV writers, either. Why should games get this treatment?

It’s immature, and it is the feeling that you are entitled to the game ending the way you want it to, which you aren’t. Neither am I. Nobody is. If you don’t like it, that’s unfortunate. It sucks that you feel let down, but maybe you need to stop worrying about it so much. You got other shit in your life to occupy that feeling. Let it go.