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Post by Steve Farrelly @ 11:42am 21/03/12 | 35 Comments
You may have heard, or been an active member, of rumblings regarding a large number of gamers disgruntled at the ending[s] to Mass Effect 3, so much so, that a large group has managed to raise some USD$70,000 in charity for Child's Play in a bid to have BioWare rewrite the game's endings to what they want.

The topic has divided gamers everywhere, with many in support of an update to the game's ending arguing that BioWare has not delivered on the promises they made over the course of the series' life, while others are happy to deal with the narrative BioWare crafted, including Irrational's Ken Levine, creator of the BioShock series.

Speaking at a Smithsonian panel in Washington DC, Levine argued that any change to the ending would leave gamers "very disappointed in the emotional feeling they got because... they didn't create it".

"This whole thing is making me a little bit sad because I don't think anyone would get what they wanted if that happened," he added.

BioWare's Paul Barnett openly rejected the idea of community-driven narrative changes, or direction arguing that story should be in the hands of the creator.

"If computer games are art than I fully endorse the author of the artwork to have a statement about what they believe should happen," Barnett told the audience. "Just as J.K. Rowling can end her books and say that is the end of Harry Potter. I don't think she should be forced to make another one."

Drop your own thoughts on the topic in the Comments section, but please be mindful of spoilers.

Source: Vox Games.

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Latest Comments
Posted 11:59am 21/3/12
Yeah, I think its ridiculous that people think they should have a say in how Bioware structures the narrative of the game. Love it or hate it, thats the story of Mass Effect, and that story is theirs to write (and end) however they want. If people think they can write a better sci-fi epic then by all means, please do, because we can always do with more awesome sci-fi.

I also think no matter what Bioware did, they'd never please people, because whatever ending they wrote would never live up to what people have imagined in their heads. It happens pretty much any time any long running popular series ends, theres always an uproar about the ending because it never lives up to what people have built in their heads.
Posted 02:02pm 21/3/12
The audience (probably) aren't stupid Khel. Bioware could at least give the more rabid of their audience (im guessing thats where this forum writer abuse issue started) the ending they are asking for as a DLC for later, or whatever. Every studio that has given their community the tools to write their own sub plots or "choose your own adventure" type of thing have only gotten more fans and possible buyers of their overpriced media content product.
Posted 02:06pm 21/3/12
I think Bioware should embrace the community and the charity and say, "If you can raise $250,000 for Child's Play we will make a special alternate ending." Or something like that.
Posted 02:35pm 21/3/12
The game has 3 ending apparently, I don't see why they could not add another 1 or 2 through DLC, make some money from it as well.

Mass Effect 1-2 had official cannon, for example, Wrex dies on Virmire. That is cannon in the mass effect universe, but not in my save game. (As if you wouldn't save Wrex) Bioware can have their "ending" as cannon but that should not stop them from adding other endings. It is afterall the last Mass Effect game with "Shepard" in it. I hope there are more ME games to come.

I still have not finished the game but I am close.
Posted 02:45pm 21/3/12
The audience (probably) aren't stupid Khel

I wasn't implying they were? But the thing is everyone has their own Shepard and their own idea of how things should end, so whatever Bioware did, they're not going to live up to those expectations.

I'm not saying the ending was perfect, it had a lot of holes in it, but that doesn't mean I think it should be rewritten. I'd like some DLC that maybe fills in some of the holes and fleshes things out more, but I think they should stick to their guns and keep the ending the way it was written.

I'd like to see some DLC maybe that shows what the Normandy was doing after it dropped Shepard off on Earth and how it got into the situation it was in during the ending cutscene for example. Theres stuff like that they could do which would fill some of the holes in the ending and flesh it out, without actually changing the ending.
Posted 02:51pm 21/3/12
If this was just people raving mad about the endings and calling for them to be changed/a new one added then I would say who cares. But if they have given $70k already and will donate that to charity then cmon bioware, write a unicorns and rainbow farts ending. I won't be replaying to see it but don't let that money just sit there.
Posted 03:09pm 21/3/12
only in a medium lke gameing do the players/readers feel entitled to dictate how the game ends. its stupid to entertain such entitlement
Posted 03:24pm 21/3/12
Comparing the ending of Harry Potter to ME3 is a bit rich. The ending of Harry Potter gave a sense of closure and made f*****g sense, that's why there wasn't any need to release a new book.
Posted 03:31pm 21/3/12
Comparing the ending of Harry Potter to ME3 is a bit rich. The ending of Harry Potter gave a sense of closure and made f*****g sense, that's why there wasn't any need to release a new book.

Pretty sure you missed the point entirely.

only in a medium lke gameing do the players/readers feel entitled to dictate how the game ends. its stupid to entertain such entitlement

+1 to that

I mean give them choices within the confines of the narrative, sure, thats one of the benefits of telling a story in a medium like this versus reading a book or watching a film. But its a still a set narrative with a set beginning, middle and end, you don't get to write it yourself or dictate how it ends, you're just along for the ride.
Posted 03:32pm 21/3/12
And if those people have already raised $70k they should stop being such pricks and use their powers for good and donate it to charity anyway, instead of trying to hold game developers hostage with guilt.
Posted 04:20pm 21/3/12
Every cent donated has already been given to the childsplay charity. The money isn't being held to ransom, as each donation is instantly transferred into the charities paypal account.

"only in a medium lke gameing do the players/readers feel entitled to dictate how the game ends. its stupid to entertain such entitlemen"

Well this is patently ridiculous. Every story telling medium has had similar instances where an audience has been unhappy with an outcome and demanded changes. George Lucas suffered a major backlash when the Star Wars prequel trilogy was released. The TV series Lost was criticised for its ending by a large portion of its viewers. Even Sir Arthur Conan Doyle had to whether public backlash after he tried to end his Sherlock Holmes stories.

Also, I have noticed that the word 'entitlement' is being thrown about a lot in relation to this issue. It's not 'entitlement' to be dissatisfied with something you have paid money for, and to ask for something to be done about it. Only amongst the gaming medium is there a notion that we as consumers have no right to complain when we feel strongly about something; or we'll get labelled as 'entitled whiners'.

This is a mindset that we as gamers need to grow out of if we have any chance of being recognised as a legitimate medium by mainstream society.

This article illustrates my feelings on the issue far more eloquently than I ever could:
Posted 04:24pm 21/3/12
Even Sir Arthur Conan Doyle had to whether public backlash after he tried to end his Sherlock Holmes stories

I read that he tried to do it multiple times and kept bringing him back, that's why he falls to his death something like 3 or 4 times only to come back with a "lol got you, was just fake". Which is strange because how the hell do you fake a fatal fall?
Posted 04:32pm 21/3/12
Its not entitlement to be dissatisfied with something, by all means complain about it, criticise it, be unhappy with it. It becomes entitlement when people start thinking they deserve a new ending to be made for them because they're special and they're too good for the ending Bioware wrote.

Just like in those examples you stated, people were unhappy with the ending of Lost, and people were unhappy with the changes George Lucas made to Star Wars, and people were unhappy with the way Battlestar Galactica ended, but its not like they went back and changed it. It is what it is.
Posted 04:32pm 21/3/12
Bioware seems like they want to be stubborn, but cynical game companies take note:
Make the canon ending to your story driven main game suck balls, and then advertise the DLC as fixing the ending of the story for conversion rates to skyrocket.
Posted 04:35pm 21/3/12
Haha this ME3 saga is crazy. It's one thing to complain about the ending, but another to demand that they change it.
Posted 05:00pm 21/3/12
I maintain that Bioware are heartless studio muppets with their eyes on the retail success of the game while their fans ride along in the trunk with no input into anything other than the till at gamestop / eb / whatevs.

I for one will be sailing into the bay of swashbuckling pirates for this ones release day spoils party.
Posted 05:19pm 21/3/12
while their fans ride along in the trunk with no input into anything

Why should they get input into anything? This is what people are talking about when they throw around terms like "entitlement", why do people feel like they have the right to have input into the development of a game? Do you expect into into how a movie is made before you spend your $20 to see it at the cinemas? Do you expect input into how a book is written before you buy it?

By all means complain, criticise and attack Bioware for the ending, but I don't see where people get this idea from that they have some kind of right to get a say in how the game is made. Thats just pure arrogance.
Posted 05:43pm 21/3/12
I'd like someone to explain the practicality of the community driving how the story is written.
Is the gaming industry supposed to set up some sort of JCP style process where draft scripts are submitted (look out, spoilers!) and voted on by a bunch of game designer hacks? What happens if nobody is happy with any of the endings?
Completely ridiculous.
Posted 05:47pm 21/3/12
I've been thinking about the ending I got and while my first reaction to it was wtf is this s***, after thinking about the last half of the game as being the ending instead, It's sort of grown on me in a way. I still don't like the sudden wtf who is this? introduction to that last character since it doesn't make any god damn sense to me, i'm now happy with how it ended. Though since my shepard blew the f*** up how can there be another story of "the shepard"?

Even if I still hated it though that doesn't give me the right to tell bioware how to end their story. Their game, Their story, Their universe to do with it what they want to. Will be interesting to see what DLC comes out for this though.
Posted 05:47pm 21/3/12
Because EYE bought THEIR product I deserve better customer service. This includes catering to my every need, like change the story to include a lesbian sex scene and also some thick *** shots.
Posted 05:50pm 21/3/12
lesbian sex scene

You obviously didn't hit up that trayner chick as femshep since you 2 root in the shower
Posted 05:59pm 21/3/12
Posted 06:11pm 21/3/12
Jeebus Khel I don't care enough about the game to do any of that waffle you are harping on about. I have already played the genre superior mmo. I dont need for any epic story telling excessively capitalist studio rubbish that they need all the help of their marketing machine and game media spinsters an give them to help sell. This entitlement word you are baulking at is just you not understanding how to listen to assertive constructive criticism. Don't take it personally and get your knickers in a knot like its some kind of desecration of your precious values. Its not arrogant to think that a studio that wants to pedal a game that will take up a lot more time out of their life than say passively watching some movie or reading someones book can probably go a little bit further for their customers and add in what they want to see as a value added bonus. Lazy developers not working hard enough :p
Posted 06:41pm 21/3/12
+10,000,000 to Khel. There is so much "entitlement" these days with games it's sickening. The whole "community input" thing into a "Story Driven, Single-Player, Narrative" is ridiculous. This isn't MP where balance is an issue. I agree that community input is needed for MP games, but for people to demand change from a SP game just shows how "entitled" and "special" people really think they are. If people want a different ending then write some rubbish fan-fiction then. That's what a hardcore fan of something else in a different art medium would do (literature, film etc.).

I thought the ending was fine except for the Normandy plot hole. That was the only thing that didn't make any sense. Some people wanted their "War Assets" to actually mean something? Throughout the whole game you're told that the Reapers have been carving up everything and even when you do get your whole galactic allied fleet together and fighting on/above Earth it's still not enough to defeat them.
Posted 07:34pm 21/3/12
Khel i agree with you on most points, but that said its hardly arrogance. Gaming studios as whole, more so Bioware than anyone else have stated they take player feedback into consideration, more times than not they act on it when they make there (sequel) games. While i agree some people take this to the extreme, entitled or not the studios set the precedence. Mind you they tend lash out when they get negative feedback and say they don't give a s*** about what the community want blah blah and then hastily back track.

In the end they can b**** and moan about it on both sides of the debate, in the end both sides usually get what they want; x content/retcon and more money.

With all that said i did enjoy it, granted i would've made the various endings more defined.. changing the colours doesn't count, more akin to what the original fallout's did, I don't think any player driven story has done it more eloquently.
Posted 07:37pm 21/3/12
It wasn't the ending anyway.

There's a ton of evidence to show that it was indoctrination.
Posted 09:11pm 21/3/12
Posted 09:54pm 21/3/12
And if those people have already raised $70k they should stop being such pricks and use their powers for good and donate it to charity anyway, instead of trying to hold game developers hostage with guilt.

They already are giving it to charity.
Posted 10:20pm 21/3/12
Yeah, I don't buy the indoctrination thing, most of the "evidence" seems to be pretty circumstantial at best and requires a fair few assumptions and leaps of logic to be made. If it turns out to be true than I stand corrected, but I'll need a confirmation from Bioware before I start believing that, cos most of the evidence I've seen so far is just people making assumptions and making connections between disparate pieces of information. Mass Effect was never that deep meaningful anyway, it never required interpretation, it wore its story on its sleeve, so I have trouble believing they'd craft this convoluted indoctrination ending that needed so much figuring out.

Khel i agree with you on most points, but that said its hardly arrogance

Yeah, thats a fair cop, I was expecting to be called out on that :) I was probably over-exaggerating a bit by saying it was arrogance, was just trying to make a point. I just think its a bit much for the players to expect they should be allowed to dictate to the direction the game should go in, that just seems to be overstepping the bounds of the creator-consumer relationship a bit. I mean feedback is all good, but I would imagine its mostly useful regarding balance issues like ZeeDoktor was saying, or issues with game mechanics (like how they tweaked the scanning in ME2 after people complained about it).

And yeah, about the War Assets, I was just thinking about this today and I reckon it might have gone down better with people if things like the galactic readiness and the Effective Military Strength (the score you build up from your war assets) was actually hidden from the player. I think it ended up feeling like your choices were devalued and you can end up feeling the only difference between option A or option B is how much war assets you get and how much your EMS goes up by. I think if it was instead not visible as a number to the player and tracked behind the scenes, it wouldn't pull them out of the narrative so much. Like they would judge their successes and failures by the effect it actually had on the galaxy and not the effect it had on their EMS score. And when you get to the end and different stuff happens, it would be like "Oh yeah, such and such a thing happened because I kiled the geth instead of saving them" rather than "Oh yeah, this happened because my EMS was under 5000". It would have made the choices feel more important I think, even if behind the scenes it was still tracked using a EMS type of system, I don't think it should have ever been visible to the player. Like if you wanted an update on how your readiness was going and what your military strength was like you could call Admiral Hackett or something and he could be like "With the Salarians on our side we're now holding back the reapers in a few territories and winning some key victories" rather than just going to the War Assets console and seeing your score is now 4371 or whatever.

I understand why they did it the way they did, essentially so you could see the impact multiplayer has on your single player game, but I think overall it hurt the game more than it helped.

They already are giving it to charity.

Yeah, I didn't really know what was going on, just someone elses post made it sounded like they were using it as leverage against Bioware in a "If you do what we want we'll give this money to charity" way, which is a bit of a d*** move. But if they've already donated it mad props to them! Respect where respect is due
Posted 10:37pm 21/3/12
Meh, I liked the endings. I thought they were fitting to the choice of what should happen.

People are arguing about how their choices didn't matter etc.. etc.. they shaped the *entire* game up to that point. Ultimately it put the choice of ending back into the players hands and they chose what they wanted to do. I sat there for at least ten minutes deciding what to do - all while saying to myself "Holy f***, holy f***, holy f***".

Meh, it followed exactly how their convo tree worked, a paragon, a neutral and a renegade end.
Posted 11:42pm 21/3/12
well i just finished the game and don't know wtf to think atm. felt like i was in a no one situation no matter what choice i made. i eventually decided on destroying the reapers though. instead of b****ing, i'm going to go watch the other endings on yt.

apparently there's 16 or so endings. wtf
Posted 12:07am 22/3/12
There are multiple variations of the 3 main endings. So really only 3. 2 of which only differ with shepard living or dying and the colour of the explosion/science.
Posted 10:45am 22/3/12
Co-Founder of Bioware - Ray Muzyka has his say on the matter
Posted 10:45am 22/3/12
Co-Founder of Bioware - Ray Muzyka has his say on the matter
Posted 11:41am 22/3/12
Where's the excitement and suprise of completing a game that you not only know the ending of - but what happens along the way too?

It's like buying your own birthday present.
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