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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

[Mass Effect 3] Oh, Dear Yahtzee

I've been somewhat amazed at some of the aggressive response against the Mass Effect community's desire to see a different ending for the epic franchise.

Then I read this ... and yes I know I'm like a month late to the party, but I've been travelling.

"But I doubt the fanbase of Mass Effect were dismayed because they wanted an appropriate ending to the story. Rather, they wanted some kind of appropriate closure for the many-storied and I would argue unnecessarily lengthy process up to this point. Perhaps some epilogue where we get to see what all the characters we met along the way got up to after the events of the series, which I imagine would be easier if they hadn't pretty much all been killed off. I've been given to understand that Bioware are talking about changing the ending under the massive pressure from the idiot fanbase, and I hope like hell they're just talking about doing something like that, an epilogue appendix style thing just to square away the subplots.

Because it would set a horrible precedent if they're serious about actually changing the ending in line with some kind of democratically agreed upon alternative, rather than merely expanding or adding to it."
-- Mass Effect 3 Gets An Ending

At this point, I should probably warn that this post will have some swearing.

Yahtzee ... you can bite me. To try and mount an argument by reducing a very large group of people with a shared and reasonable opinion about what might possible be the most disappointing ending to what could have been a crown jewel of gaming writing as the "the idiot fanbase" absolute devalues anything you might have had to say in a two page article. That you end the article also referring them as "cockheads" who "are just going to have to accept that there are people who know better than them" and by association I'll just have to assume, you mean yourself ... you've clearly devolved from a somewhat unique entertainer to your typical Internet troll with an atypical megaphone by which to broadcast your trolling.

The fanbase of Mass Effect, or at least a large contigency of it, is dismayed not because they wanted one specific thing or another, or that they would have preferred character X had story ending Y, or that they wanted an epilogue which neatly ties everything together, or that they're a bunch of entitled whiners or pretty any of the other theories that I've heard assembled out of thin air and then wailed against the objecting fans.

Since you don't have (according to you) have a cock for head, it shouldn't really be that hard to grasp. But since it seems to be, and it seems to be beyond a lot of games journalists to be bothered to actually try and read through the Bioware forums to ascertain what the gamers are actually complaining about - let me put it into troll terms for you.

Gamers are upset about the Mass Effect 3 ending because the Mass Effect 3 ending was pure bullshit.

100% low quality pure bullshit. It stinks of being written, produced and delivered under concerns related to budget and timelines and showing absolutely no evidence of having any concern for the actual integrity to writing that the rest of the series has been known.

That any gamer is fine with the ending is less of an indication of the possible merit of the ending, or even a any insight into the mind of said gamer, and more of a reflection on the otherwise low quality of gaming writing in general.

That there are now reams of prose being spouted out about how changing the ending in a way that might actually reflect the quality of the rest of the series is a "dangerous precedent" set by "gamers which have no rights to request it of game publishers" is absolutely nothing shy of simple fearmongering and absolutely unqualified and unjustified devotion to the game publishers. You suggest that if Bioware were to go back and rewrite the ending that it would effectively have no ending.

Are you fucking kidding me? Did you actually write that and publish it?

If Bioware changes the ending, according to your non-cock ridden head it will effectively have no ending because the "sanctity of the creator's original intention is made meaningless".

Are you that full of yourself? You're willing to snap logic in half to make the point?

Again, let me put that in terms that a troll will understand.

Let's say you are at a play. And the play is going pretty well. Good lighting, good acting, good writing.

Then in the last ten minutes, the grand finale of the play is one of the actors taking a dump in your lap.

No! No! Says Yahtzee! You don't understand ... despite how utterly shitty this situation is, I am fine with it. For I must preserve the sanctity of the creator's original intention. I AM YAHTZEE.

Well, good for you sir. And how dare anyone else have an opinion that might differ. Surely that an ending might be so bad that it could result in nothing less than a full on player revolt, players who are willing to spend not just energy and time into expressing their opinion ... but money as well. And the movement has been a surprisingly positive one for the most part, despite being attacked by most of the mainstream (if there is such a thing) gaming press and non-cock crowned individuals like yourself.

There are two things that would occur if Bioware changed the ending to any degree, including a complete and utter rewrite (which is what I believe it deserves).

  1. A new ending would be available to players who download the DLC.
  2. For players who don't download the DLC, nothing would change.


And that's it.

That's fucking it.

Game writing isn't going to take a blow or be horribly disfigured. For one thing, that's kind of like saying that the chopped up corpse in the freezer might be inflicted with some frostbite. By pretending that game writing has achieved some kind of high art which must be defended by the idiot rabble at all costs, you've only proven that you are completely blind to the fact that most games still have pretty awful writing.

Mass Effect was supposed to be the game that bucked that trend.

Mass Effect was supposed to be better.

Hell, 99% of Mass Effect was better.

But what we got was a nonsensical ending with a color shift cutscene which looks potentially cobbled from footage left unused from other portions of the game. If that was Bioware's precious "original intention", it doesn't deserve to be defended. It deserves to be shot in the woods and left for dead.

People have made a lot of assumptions about gamers being unhappy because the ending is too bleak. You suggest that it is because they wanted multiple endings - which is kind of odd since one of the most common complaints is that the multiple endings are lifted directly out of Deus Ex, only handled far more miserably from a narrative point of view and displayed with some very shoddy cutscenes.

Personally, I would have been fine with a singular ending where the entire Earth exploded, taking with it the Reapers and even the crew of the Normandy - but the final cutscenes are of the other races taking back their homeworlds.

And if you don't think that's more suitable than the current ending to the themes presented in the game ... then I'm not sure you've really been paying attention. But that's not the point.

You, and many other professional game writers, pundits and cartoonists seem to think the point is this:
Fans of Mass Effect do not deserve nor should they have any avenue to rewrite the ending of Mass Effect 3.

The thing is - like most trolls, you fail to realize that nobody is actually arguing that point. It was never even up for debate. The point is this:

Fans of Mass Effect 3 deserve Bioware to go back and rewrite the ending of Mass Effect 3.

Because any cockhead can see that they did poorly, on the cheap and by ripping off a game published twelve years ago. That some gamers are fine with that ending is, again, not any kind of poor reflection on them. It's just proof of the awful low bar we have set for writing games, the very bar you have now so passionately defended. If you and I went to the same play, apparently you will defend the original vision whereas I will simply state it was fine for a few acts before it turned literally to shit.

Anyway, I just wanted to write and say that it had been a few years since I've seen an episode of Zero Punctuation and having read your opinion on Mass Effect fans, I'm rather glad for it.

4 comments:

Steve S said...

#ebertwasright

Josh said...

Well, there's an interesting intersection there.

If the movie press treated Star Wars fans the way the gaming press is treating Mass Effect fans - they would have called them an idiotic rabble of entitled cockheads for hating Jar-Jar.

Unknown said...

The problem people like Yahtzee have with the complaints are simple. No matter what you (the people upset about the ME3 ending) deserve, it doesn't change the fact that you paid $60, got bamboozled, and are endlessly complaining about it. Should things have been better, yes. But they aren't it was a disappointment. And calling for them to go back to the drawing board and redo it is not only a clunky way to solve the problem of a bad ending to anything, video game or not, it's also not a good in principle. You can't make them do anything, you can either not buy their products or, having already paid for it, be angry at then for not keeping their promise.

How it should be: Mass Effect 3 should have been better.

Reality: ME3 screwed up in the final hour. It wasn't the first piece of media to do this, nor will it be the last. Mourn for what could have been and move on instead of vilifying the developers to do what they should have done the first time around, but didn't for whatever reason the had. Even if you got something now, it'll be bittersweet. The memory has been tarnished.

Josh said...

Actually your position is far more reasoned and justifiable than most of the mainstream responses. Yahtzeee isn't saying that gamers were wronged, he is saying gamers are too stupid to adequately judge a writer's work and should just accept that the original vision must be preseved.

That the ending wrongs gamers in any way is something the press has refused to acknowledge. My only argument against your position is that DLC offers publishers a chance to do a great many things, and providing an alternate ending is certainly one of them. That it might be somewhat bittersweet I do not deny, but it would still be preferred.

My real concern is that Bioware will offer DLC which pleases nobody. It will add in some scenes to clarify things like whether or not most of the galaxy was destroyed in the destruction of the relays. But it will keep the stupid cosmic kid, the space magic and the idiotic last minute explanation about synthetics which makes the entire plot seem convulated and shallow.

The haters will be angry because Bioware chaned anything at all, apparently putting the snowy white integrity of game writing at risk. The gamers will be angry because the ending will be twice as long and just as stupid.