The news has been all over gaming websites and blogs for weeks now: a very vocal group of gamers is really, REALLY mad at the ending to Mass Effect 3. The hatred for this ending has gotten so out of hand that a gamer has complained to the FTC about it, and it has even begun to spawn an internet meme. A recent poll at C|Net.com showed 83% of fans wanted a new ending to the game. Bioware has finally caved in to the demands of this insane fan base, and intends to do a new ending by updating the game online at a later date.
I personally have been a huge fan of the Mass Effect series, and I am currently playing through the game despite all of the hatred for the ending. While I still have yet to see the ending to the game, I am strongly against Bioware giving into crybabies and changing the ending. Even If I dislike the ending, I can’t deny the game is still very fun to play. The main complaint people seem to have is that they don’t feel the choices they have made during the trilogy make that much of a difference in the ending overall. The thing is, the first two games pretty much end the same way despite the choices of the player. The differences are always vague at best, and have little impact on the flow of events in the next title, with the exception of some dialogue changes and certain characters being present or not present further in the story.
Bioware giving into fans also presents other issues. First off, what makes gamers feel they are so entitled that they deserve everything tailored exactly for them? The creators behind this series have poured years of blood, sweat, and tears into this trilogy, and they deserve to be able to present the ending they thought was appropriate. The group of gamers that begged for a new ending are like the jerks that buy a movie on DVD, get mad at the ending, return the DVD to the store demanding money back and then giving the film a bad user review on Amazon.com.
Another issue I have with Bioware caving to these rabid fans is that they have literally opened the gates for this type of behavior to become acceptable and more commonplace in the gaming community. Are all game developers from here on out be subject to criticism that forces them to change their creation’s on the whims of deranged fans? How many developers are going to be thinking twice about how they decide to write the story lines to future games?
Overall, I am going to say that the way this entire controversy played out ended with a disservice to both gamers and developers. Gamers have now made an image for themselves that only makes them look juvenile, selfish, and whiny. Bioware has put developers into a position where they could be subjected to levels of scrutiny that simply are not reasonable, and have taken a major step back in the realm of freedom of creativity. I certainly do not want to see a future of gaming where “majority rule” is the standard template for game development. It’s bad enough I only get to play a couple of decent JRPG games each year so everyone else can drown in a sea of Call Of Duty clones, and now the few western developers looking to make something different will have to worry about fans being backseat drivers in the development process.