BioWare apologizes to fans for Mass Effect 3 ending, 'content initiatives' will close journey
- Posted March 21st, 2012 at 15:47 EDT by Adam Dolge
- 10 Comments
Can art bend to fans’ will? Better yet, should any art form bend to feedback? The co-founder of BioWare apparently thinks that’s just fine. Ray Muzyka, GM and co-founder of BioWare, issued an apology to Mass Effect 3 fans for the finale in the trilogy. He expressed his pain to the reaction from fans surrounding the ending of Mass Effect 3. He wrote, “Our first instinct is to defend our work and point to the high ratings offered by critics—but out of respect to our fans, we need to accept the criticism and feedback with humility.”
You can read Muzyka’s full note here, but beyond praising gaming as an art form and supporting the development team, he said we can expect “a number of game content initiatives that will help answer the questions, providing more clarity for those seeking further closure to their journey.” We can expect to hear more of these initiatives in April.
“We’re working hard to maintain the right balance between the artistic integrity of the original story while addressing the fan feedback we’ve received,” he wrote. “This is in addition to our existing plan to continue providing new Mass Effect content and new full games, so rest assured that your journey in the Mass Effect universe can, and will, continue.”
Is this simply pandering to fans’ disapproval? Could this start a new trend? Say you don’t like the ending of the next giant blockbuster title, can fans simply petition the developers and publishers to make an addendum to tell the story fans wanted? Do you see this in any other forms of entertainment? Perhaps it’s nothing more than lip service to diehard fans to keep them engaged in the Mass Effect world when the next money maker rolls into town.
But maybe there’s something more to someone’s relationship with his or her game than say a movie, or a book, or music. All of those forms of entertainment tell a story in one way or another, but videogames represent a new storytelling method where the player is taking a relatively active role in unfolding the narrative. We watch movies. We listen to music. We read books. We actively play games. A game like Mass Effect takes this idea to the extremes, in some respects. Three solids games with unique stories, hours upon hours of gameplay, and a rich world filled with interesting characters are only the basics of the Mass Effect trilogy.
Gamers are very protective of their characters, as they should be. It dates back to that little plumber attempting to rescue a princess in some far away castle. While the stories may be different today, the attempt at engaging people in some emotional level is pivotal and practically a requirement in modern gaming—for better or worse.
“The journey you undertake in Mass Effect provokes an intense range of highly personal emotions in the player; even so, the passionate reaction of some of our most loyal players to the current endings in Mass Effect 3 is something that has genuinely surprised us,” Muzyka wrote.
To be fair, BioWare isn’t making changes to Mass Effect 3, the company is simply adding content after the fact in reaction to fans’ protests. The development team has lurked around industry press, forums, Facebook, and Twitter, Muzyka writes, to learn more about fans’ reaction to the ending.
Some complain the ending didn’t answer enough questions. While it’s fair to want all the little pieces wrapped up, leaving some things to the imagination is a common practice in storytelling. If videogames are an art form—and at this point, the argument against games as art is left to those who still see it as something that rots minds—then this move by BioWare seems like compromise. From a business sense, it makes plenty of sense to keep fans happy. But, from an artistic level, why not stick to your guns and tell your story? The idea ... (continued on next page)
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- 4:27pm EDT - March 21st, 2012
damn, business is so disgusting me ... so they sell a game with a very bad ending, and voila! we sell you the DLC with the "good ending"
please gamers stop feeding these useless people, buy only the DLC you really need and forget the costumes for 3$, race track or golf course for 5$ and such overpriced minimal changes to the game
- 4:46pm EDT - March 21st, 2012
It's hard to read something like this, especially since I found the ending to Mass Effect 3 very realistic and progressive. At the end, I didn't want to know what happened to all of the little races in the grand scheme of things, because much bigger things were in place and it should have dwarfed anything else.
Having a massive amount of endings may help with replay value, but it desensitizes the entire experience. I would like to compare the ME3 ending to my experience in Heavy Rain. I didn't get what I wanted in Heavy Rain, and the reasoning was astoundingly realistic. Not EVERYTHING will be answered, and life has never been anything outside of that stance.
With anything that splits opinion so strongly like this ending did can only show how much closer the gaming industry really is to an art form. Even if the ending was not to one's personal appeal, it still holds fast significantly in one's mind as something that won't be easily forgotten. Indeed, the intent of BioWare may be somewhere that gamers don't traditionally want to go, since games like Call of Duty that draw in newer gamers don't give a similar ambiance, but these growing pains are what will take the industry into a level of storytelling that equates to deliveries in movies and literature.
BioWare is a major business company that trusted the story to its developers and storytellers. The intent of their work is shown in this ending, I was driven by the interactions between Shepard and her, in my case, interactions with different representatives from each race. Since most interactions either had the race obliterated or saved, that was represented by the official representative of each race either dying or living, respectively, throughout the plotline. Essentially, the story already told players what happens to an extent that doesn't feel convoluted, ingenuine, or abrupt. Hope is instilled up to the precipice of the story, and that hope can only be assumed at the end of the story, since the final endings are similar enough to not affect the lives of the races outside of the influence from the Reapers.
- 4:50pm EDT - March 21st, 2012
@TheTenth666 - Don't get your panties all bunched up in an uncomfortable position. Nowhere in either this article or the source note does it say anything about having to pay for whatever they have in mind. Once they announce something official, then you can comment.
Personally, I like that we live in an age where the developers can actively make their fans happy. However, it definitely begs the question of video games as a form of art. It is my opinion that the paying customers are trying to take control of the asylum (yes, the reference is a VERY appropriate one since most gamers are a little too crazy for their own good to be getting this worked up over the one game).
#1. You don't see directors reshooting the end of their films because audiences weren't happy with their ambiguous ending.
#2. You don't see books getting rewritten and republished because the readers weren't happy with the ending.
If the gamers aren't happy with the ending, they don't have to spend anymore money on the franchise. It's as simple as that. OR... they could trust the developers to make up for the lack of "answered questions" in the next installment. People are too impatient these days.
Scrubs42 | GlassGun
- 4:54pm EDT - March 21st, 2012
haven't played any of the Mass Effect series. But have read about this. My understanding was not that the fans 'didn't initially dislike the ending because it was a bad story' (however that does have it's own weight in terms of the Mass Effect universe)
But it was infact that the choices made within the first two games didn't actually affect how the story was told and led to an ending that was not representative of a character built over 100+ hours of gameplay that was bad.
So it's not a bending of the ending as it was a bad story, but the fact there wasn't enough options in the original story to be a good representitive of the character. Which brings in the argument that EA/Bioware delibretly had a bad ending so they could sell more DLC. DLC is good if it is an addition to the already existing universe. However EA/Bioware thinks it is suitable to 'cut' content for DLC. This happened alot in DA:O where you would go to start a quest with a character in the original and it would say buy this DLC pack.
I can't see Naughty Dog ever thinking of changing the end of the story if fans didn't like it. This is because the game that Uncharted is, is linear, no choices. Yet in Mass Effect + Dragon Age (more so in Origins) you have multiple paths to the multiple endings.
- 5:06pm EDT - March 21st, 2012
hould art bend to feedback? Do you know what you're talking about? This game was, as Casey Hudson said, "made by the fans" just as much as it was by the writing staff. Guess what? We helped remake the ending because their ending sucked and ruined the game for us "creators". This game is also a ROLEPLAYING GAME. Do you understand that? We get to have choice. This wasn't a choice. It was the same ending with different colors.
- 5:48pm EDT - March 21st, 2012
I'm upset, they should of left it as it was ..
- 6:06pm EDT - March 21st, 2012
"It's hard to read something like this, especially since I found the ending to Mass Effect 3 very realistic and progressive."
@ Tim Nunes
You thought that ending was realistic and progressive? I thought it lacked closure, variety, CHOICE (real choices, not color choices), lacked us seeing the results of our decisions, and was filled with plotholes. It's good that they're doing something about it rather than sitting their and crying that no one appreciates the ending.
Mass Effect 3 is an amazing game, but the ending provided with the game was dissapointing, doesn't matter if 1 in a 100 people (likely less) thought it was realistic and progressive. It wasn't fitting as the end of the trilogy, and honestly felt more like a slap in the face than satisfying.
TreKKiker | Helm_of_Darkness
- 8:59pm EDT - March 21st, 2012
If it comes as DLC, I will not download it until I experience the original ending.
If it comes in an update, I won't update until I experience the original ending.
If I ran BioWare, I wouldn't give in to the people who has their pannies in a bunch.
I would have left it the way it was.
- 9:08pm EDT - March 21st, 2012
Obviously some people in Bioware agree with the public and felt that something should be done. I agree that you really should experience the original ending if you want to understand what the big deal is. Honestly if someone hasn't beaten the game yet then they really have no place in this argument.
I heard people didn't like the ending, and I thought they were crazy, I had just made it to earth and so far everything was absolutely spectacular. I mean likely my favorite (or one of my favorite) game of all time at that point. I had high expectations for what would follow, and the last few minutes really shocked me in a bad way.
I doubt Bioware will do something too outthere with this. I am expecting some form of epilogue and perhaps more explanations and closure. Maybe a new option of some kind, or new dialog choices that will have some sort of impact.
- 10:54am EDT - March 23rd, 2012
Petra_Kalbrain1: I dont really care about mass effect or any of this BS, but I have to correct something you said...
Movies are shown to test audiences before they're released (usually) and those test audiences opinions generally change the scenes and outcomes in movies. You should go read up on it, it's ruined some very good movies. Books go through publishers which inturn will decide if they like a writers work and will tell them to amend parts of their book, a publisher might not be "the fans" who are causing the author to change but it's generally the same idea. This stuff happens all the time in ALL media because anything that is made for commercial gain is going to try and tend to the consumer
This will permanently ban this user and delete all associated comments. This action is irreversible, are you SURE you want to do this?!