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

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5TAY3R
5TAY3R
9 years ago

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

Heiffeweisen
Heiffeweisen
9 years ago

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.

Ben Dutka PSXE
Ben Dutka PSXE
9 years ago

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

Palpatations911
Palpatations911
9 years ago

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

daus26
daus26
9 years ago

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.

Ben Dutka PSXE
Ben Dutka PSXE
9 years ago

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

daus26
daus26
9 years ago

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

Ben Dutka PSXE
Ben Dutka PSXE
9 years ago

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

daus26
daus26
9 years ago

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.

Pandacastro
Pandacastro
9 years ago

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

aaronisbla
aaronisbla
9 years ago

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

daus26
daus26
9 years ago

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?

Palpatations911
Palpatations911
9 years ago

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

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
9 years ago

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.

Ben Dutka PSXE
Ben Dutka PSXE
9 years ago

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

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
9 years ago

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.

daus26
daus26
9 years ago

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.

Ben Dutka PSXE
Ben Dutka PSXE
9 years ago

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.

daus26
daus26
9 years ago

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

Temjin001
Temjin001
9 years ago

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

Palpatations911
Palpatations911
9 years ago

Superman died? ****

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
9 years ago

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

Jawknee
Jawknee
9 years ago

"Superman died? ****"

LOL! Oh you youngin's crack me up.

Jeffy
Jeffy
9 years ago

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.

tes37
tes37
9 years ago

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?

Jeffy
Jeffy
9 years ago

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.

Ben Dutka PSXE
Ben Dutka PSXE
9 years ago

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.

Underdog15
Underdog15
9 years ago

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.

Ben Dutka PSXE
Ben Dutka PSXE
9 years ago

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.

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
9 years ago

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.

Ben Dutka PSXE
Ben Dutka PSXE
9 years ago

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

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
9 years ago

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.

jimmyhandsome
jimmyhandsome
9 years ago

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

xenris
xenris
9 years ago

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.

Ben Dutka PSXE
Ben Dutka PSXE
9 years ago

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.

xenris
xenris
9 years ago

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.

Ben Dutka PSXE
Ben Dutka PSXE
9 years ago

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

I really don't care anymore.

xenris
xenris
9 years ago

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.

xenris
xenris
9 years ago

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.

PSTan
PSTan
9 years ago

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.

Norrin Radd
Norrin Radd
9 years ago

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.

Temjin001
Temjin001
9 years ago

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

BEEZ
BEEZ
9 years ago

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.

Ben Dutka PSXE
Ben Dutka PSXE
9 years ago

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

Pyro361
Pyro361
9 years ago

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

Ben Dutka PSXE
Ben Dutka PSXE
9 years ago

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.

Pyro361
Pyro361
9 years ago

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.

xenris
xenris
9 years ago

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.

SaiyanSenpai
SaiyanSenpai
9 years ago

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.

maxpontiac
maxpontiac
9 years ago

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?