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BioWare alters Mass Effect 3 ending after fan outcry

- March 21st, 2012

At what point does addressing fan concerns compromise artistic integrity?

That’s the underlying debate born today out of BioWare co-founder Ray Muzyka’s announcement via an open letter to fans that Mass Effect 3′s ending will receive changes.

In the wake of fan outcry regarding the core of the game’s conclusion (which I won’t spoil here), Muzyka said the Edmonton-based studio is “hard at work on a number of game content initiatives that will help answer the questions, providing more clarity for those seeking further closure to their journey.”

mass-effect-3-ending

In my opinion, BioWare -a company lauded by gamers as being more open to fan feedback than most game developers- is not only aware they’re walking a fine line by addressing fan complaints about the ending of Mass Effect 3, but they’re doing so with care and honesty.

Muzyka highlights how proud he is of the team and the conclusion they’ve crafted, but he also understands that the fans are “deeply involved in how the story unfolds” and “have the uncontested right to provide constructive criticism.”

The negative feedback BioWare has endured over the ending since the game’s release was a surprise to everyone at BioWare, Muzyka said, and “Unfortunately became destructive rather than constructive.”

It’s an issue that obviously hurt the development team to some degree and while Muzyka believes in the team’s artistic choices, BioWare is “working hard to maintain the right balance between the artistic integrity of the original story while addressing the fan feedback we’ve received.”

While developers make changes to their games all the time via patches or downloadable content, it’s almost unprecedented for a development studio to make major changes to a game’s story due to fan feedback, especially a studio as big as BioWare.

In short, BioWare doesn’t need to do this. They want to, and I applaud them for it. Muzyka isn’t saying BioWare is going to rewrite the ending. From the letter, it seems they want to help present or explain it better to fans.

I finished the game last week and while I can say I was happy with the conclusion to my Shepard’s story, I’ve had a number of difficult discussions with friends over what was exactly going on in the final hour of Mass Effect 3.

Personally, I find the ending isn’t disappointing as much as it is confusing and I’d be happy to receive clarification from BioWare rather than spin my wheels trying to discern what happened for myself.

I don’t believe they’re buckling under fan pressure to rewrite the game, but rather understanding that the confusion surrounding the ending(s) has really pissed people off and left fans feeling bitter over a game they’ve invested so much time in.

Executive Producer Casey Hudson said they wanted people to discuss the ending after the fact, but I don’t think they anticipated the frustration those discussions would ignite. While we won’t receive more concrete details on how or what is being altered in the game until sometime in April, I trust BioWare enough to let them try.

Leave your comments below or email me at matthew.dykstra@sunmedia.ca or follow me on Twitter @SUNMattDykstra.

 

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7 comments

  1. Gen | March 23, 2012 at 4:43 am

    I’m really glad that they’re doing this; I waited 5 years for a good ending, and really didn’t feel like I got one. The ending I got wasn’t TOO terrible, but I was confused about a few different aspects of it.

  2. Wabbit | March 23, 2012 at 11:21 am

    When a company starts to not listen to it’s customers. It soon finds that it’s no longer a company.

  3. Hizzy | March 25, 2012 at 12:44 am

    its nice that they’re changing it but i don’t think everyone is going to be satisfied with it… honestly i wish they had focused more on the story instead on gameplay mechanics, i’m sure that everyone would’ve been happy if me3 played like me2 if the story developed nicely and there was multiple endings that were deeply affected by the player background you chose…

  4. adfshl | March 28, 2012 at 12:30 am

    whats the problem? you have 3 choices.. join them, kill them all, or try to control them. choose. i predicted that ending in ma1.

  5. Mom | March 29, 2012 at 10:48 am

    My daughter will be so relieved. It’s all I’ve heard about for the past weeks.

  6. Grave_Priest | April 1, 2012 at 2:35 pm

    I’m glad they are doing it, I’ve put alot of time into these games and loved them all. I wasn’t confused by the ending but I was highly disapointed. I was expecting the most epic thing I’ve ever seen, the ending that a game this great deserves. But what I got was, I shot a cable and was blown up……….And the normandy crashed on a planet. Not very exciteing. But I still loved the game and will play through it several more times. I look forward to seeing what new things they can come up with.

  7. Anon | April 3, 2012 at 7:52 pm

    What artistic integrity? If it could even exist in the first place, it was defeated on two levels already prior to shipping the game.

    Their own writers are the ones that compromised the series after a script leak. The original ending was superior. Instead they took the ending from Deus Ex and pasted it into the Mass Effect universe.

    Also, you cannot mention artistic integrity when the publisher (EA) pushed the game out the front door before it had time to be finished.

    Finally, any “art” where one has an active role or supposedly active role in the outcome, cannot be distanced from the perceiver/player. They are as much a part of it as the game. Therefore, if events occur which are
    incongruent with the rest of the series, or previous events of the game, the player is not wrong to demand that the incongruencies be corrected.

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