Imagine you wrote a book or you just directed a movie. You’re proud of what you’ve just accomplished and are more than happy to share it with the world. But once you do, thousands of people love ninety percent of it, but hate that last ten. They hate it so much that forget the huge part they love and vilify you for the ending. They demand you change it no matter how you feel about the ending that you wrote.
Mass Effect 3 has stirred up a ton of controversy with its ending. Complaints range from “that twist came out of nowhere” to “all that shooting and in the end you don’t do anything”. I’ll admit I’m not the biggest fan of the ending. There are plot holes and the revelation as to what the Reapers actually are ended up being a kind of deus ex machina. There’s one weird sequence of the Normandy crash landing on a planet, and I get what it means but after all this time we’ve spent with these characters that we love, we deserve more. But the ending isn’t tailor made for you or me. Bioware ended the game how they wanted to. The ending didn’t make me change my mind about the hundreds of hours I spent on all three games. The journey was well worth it and just because the conclusion wasn’t what I had in mind, doesn’t mean that the company is terrible or that I would boycott everything they do because of it. You have the freedom to take the game you waited so long for and paid for (and both previous installments) and trade them in. Or to toss them in the trash and set that trash on fire right after. I didn’t love the way that “Inception” ended but I won’t harass Christopher Nolan or Warner to change it. It’s his work he can end it how he wants, whether I like it or not.
And that’s the other thing. Fans have so many ways to reach creators these days. They can Tweet, post on message boards, or write blogs (like this) to get their voice heard. This is a freedom that has been given to us and some people are out there abusing it. Social networking works in both bad and good ways and its counter productive to use it to insult. Studios and some of those involved in making a game are on Twitter and make themselves available to all of us. They don’t have to but they do. And just because you paid 80 bucks or whatever for a game, that doesn’t give you the right to berate them. If you disagree with a creative choice they’ve made, be civil about it because you’re giving all gamers a bad name by flaming. I get that you want perfection in your games, but you should know by now that that is a rarity. We’ve been given the chance to have our voices heard and reach out to contact the people that have created the work we love so much. Let’s not abuse it.
“The Truth” DLC is rumored to “fix” the ending. I would love a different ending. I would love closure. I’ve been with these characters since 2007, and I feel a bond to this Commander Shepard. The franchise deserves a worthy ending. But Bioware wanted it to end this way and I would lose more respect for them for not sticking to their guns. It was written this way and so we should respect that. In games, there’s only so much choice we can be allowed to have.
GamesBeat 2014 — VentureBeat’s sixth annual event on disruption in the video game market — is coming up on Sept 15-16 in San Francisco. Purchase one of the first 50 tickets and save $400!