The word gives images of bratty children, trust funds, and echoes of “You owe me.” It’s not the most picturesque concept, but here in America it’s just something that is expected to be there. We all live with it and write it off as the cries of the vocal minority. Look at the droves of “Trekkies” and Star Wars fans, “Pottermaniacs,” “Twi-hards,” and “filthy” liberals. Luckily, this type of issue has been more or less infrequent in the games industry. Yes, there have been occasions, see; backwards compatibility and PSP Passport program, but on the whole things have usually been quiet. Nonetheless, leave it to EA to bring the issue up again and in a big way with one of their biggest franchises.
Spoliers below for the Mass Effect Series…..You have been warned
Mass Effect 3 is supposed to be the culmination of hours of story and adventuring, a sweeping sci-fi epic that rivals Star Wars in scope, and bring to a close the story of the heroic, or ruthless, Commander Shepherd. Yet, if one were to read the boards, or, heaven forbid, metacritic, you would never hear about any of it. It seems that EA and Bioware have created a monster and no one knows how to deal with it.
First off, there is the issue with the day one DLC. Called, From Ashes, the DLC contains an extra character and respective mission. If it were that alone there probably would have been any issue at all, but things could never be that easy. See, the character is a Prothean, and for someone who is close to the Mass Effect universe, that’s a big deal. For those of you who don’t know, imagine it’s a dinosaur; they’re really cool and supposed to be dead. Anyways, the DLC was also released day one, and included for free in the collector’s edition of the game. Before Bioware announced/leaked that the character was a Prothean, it was assumed that the content would be something along the lines of the Cerebus Network with Zaeed, or Kasumi from Mass Effect 2; i.e. not essential and nothing is lost in not having it. Yet, with that announcement the game’s community attacked Bioware and EA. They felt that a character so tied to the mythos of the game’s universe is integral to the experience and thus thought that charging for said character was not only bad business, but poor form. This was obviously compounded when it launched with the game, leading to some to believe rumors that this could have been “on-disc” DLC. Nonetheless, the dust settled as Bioware and EA both stood their ground and you can purchase From Ashes on XBOX Live and PSN.
Of course, the biggest issue right now is Mass Effect 3’s ending. Let’s start off with a quick quote from “moua” on Metacritic,
“**** You, EA! Suck my balls hoe! You Damn money hungry **** Bioware, go ****ing get a new Damn publisher already you lazy **** Start explaining all those empty promises too. Enough said.”
If you’re curious, he still gave the game a two out of ten….
So, people are upset about the game and it’s ending, and it is echoing across the industry. To be brief and give some much needed context; at the end of the game, the player is presented with three choices as to how to conclude the story. All three decisions are very out of character for a Shepherd of any type, and the whole scenario is very much out of the player’s hands. The developer had a specific vision for how this was to all play out, and truth be told, that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. As much as I could understand that, one cannot look over some of the more gaping plot holes; How is my crew magically transported onto a ship when they were just with me, and bigger, I thought that when those mass effect relays blew up, they took out whole systems? I’ll even look over the first, but the whole intro to the game is built around that fact that Shepherd destroyed a relay and killed millions. It’s understandable that, like all entertainment mediums, there has to be some suspension of disbelief, but there has to be a point that someone cannot swallow what you are putting in front of them.
Clearly, the end of the game is not perfect, nor could it ever have been. The expectation for this game was incredibly high, and like all great conclusions, Lost, BSG, and Return of the King, people were going to be disappointed. The game makers had a story to tell, and knew going in that they could not please everyone. Yet, it is there response that is so drastically frightening. Rather than stick to their guns, like they did the with DLC, Bioware has stated that there will be expansions to the ending, if not a new ending outright, coming in the pipeline.
Just stop and think about that.
There was such a great outcry, Bioware opted to change the ending, or at least a very lengthy postscript to a game they have already finished and published. Nothing like this has ever happened, and if it has, it has never been on this sort of scale. What is inherently worrisome about the whole enterprise is simply that now that fans have won this fight, what’s next? I mean, what’s to stop someone from petitioning Nintendo and asking them to make sure that the princess isn’t in another castle, because it is very unlike an Italian plumber to go through all that for a girl he does not know? An exaggeration to be sure, but the point still stands.
For as much as Mass Effect 3 is a product to be sold, it is also a work of art that the developers have poured countless years into and it seems that according to many who played, “they did it wrong.” That’s got to be heart wrenching on some level. It is as if someone told Michelangelo that the Cistine Chapel was great, except for that one section that ruins everything. All that work, only to be told not only is it not good enough, but you are going to go back to make it all over again. It just doesn’t seem fair.
I don’t really like the ending of Mass Effect 3. I thought my choices had little impact, I thought it made no sense, and I was incredibly confused as to why some galactic super-being decided to look like an annoying little kid; but would I ask the game makers to change it? No. It was their story to tell, and I was luckily enough to go along for the ride. Just because you put in hundreds of hours into multiple games, like myself, it doesn’t mean you can have a say in how a game is made, let alone have any idea on what it takes to do so. We are only entitled the experience that comes in the box, nothing more.
So there you have it. With Mass Effect 3, EA and Bioware have set an interesting precedent, and it will fun to watch how this whole kerfuffle plays out and what will follow afterward. I will leave you with another rant from Metacritic, this one from user “peterrick”
“If i had wanted see sexual relations between two men i would have watched broke back mountain. If you liked the first 2 dont bother with this rubbish!”
………..yeah….he’s a goddamn idiot.