Monday, March 26, 2012

Random Shots: Change/Don't Change

  • We're back in no spoiler territory for ME3. However, there are spoilers for Blade Runner and Wall-E, so read accordingly. Yes, I'm still writing about that game. No, I can't get it out of my head.

  • One of the craziest things to come out of the Mass Effect 3 ending fiasco was the backlash from game journalists when Dr. Ray Muzyka stated that Bioware would revisit the ending in some capacity due to feedback from the fans. Several of them took to Twitter to whine about how Bioware had caved to the fans instead of sticking to their artistic intention. It was just as embarrassing as all of the people making threats and attacking Bioware. They seem to think that changing the ending would be a fatal blow to the "games as art" position.

  • It is amazing to me that so many people forget that Bethesda sold a new DLC ending for Fallout 3. People hated the ending so much that they were almost required to clear it up somehow. And it should be no surprise that Bioware would consider changing the game since they committed to patch the novel Mass Effect: Deception due to numerous errors.

  • I suspect that what everyone fears is that the changes will end up like those made to the theatrical release of Blade Runner. The original cut ends with Deckard and Rachael making a run for it, not sure how long she'll live, whether his fellow blade runners will come for them, unsure whether he's really human or not. Test audiences were so dissatisfied with this ending that the studio demanded a happy ending be tacked on. It is still a towering achievement in science fiction cinema, but the eventual director's cut showed that Ridley Scott's original vision was greater still. Tacking some inane happy ending onto the end of ME3 will make some people happy, but it's not what we really need.

  • Instead, the paradigm people (and Bioware) need to keep in mind is that established by Wall-E. When that movie was tested, fully half of the audience believed that the humans returning to Earth were so incapable that their deaths would so follow the end of the film. Director Andrew Stanton, not wanting to leave audiences with that impression, added the end credit sequence that shows human civilization growing and flourishing after the movie ends. It is great bit of animation and it leaves no doubt about how the ending should be viewed.

  • If anyone at Bioware is smart, this is template they will follow. The ending of Mass Effect 3 left so many people, including myself, with the opposite impression from the one they were intending. I can't say that I'm looking forward to their solution. But it will be interesting to see if they can pull it off.


  1. There's really no way for BioWare to win in this situation. Someone's going to be upset regardless of what they do.

    1. @ Blue Kae - Yeah, it's kind of a bummer no matter what. Of course, Dr. Ray did imply that the upcoming DLC was already planned...