Escapist Podcast: Bonus: Mass Effect 3 With Spoilers Part 3

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I'm listening to the podcast now, so I'm commenting as I go. I was massively (see what I did there?)disappointed with the ending. I've commented about, sure, but I agree that some of the outcry is pretty out there. However, the sheer scale of the rage does serve a purpose. It forces Bioware to take notice. And if the fans are upset, you lose business.

The outrage is, in fact, a unique occurrence, but its also a unique situation. Mass Effect is an interactive experience in which you guide a story of your own making. And as such there is much more emotional investment, especially after 100 hours of play. You just don't get that with movies or books. (Though I can imagine something similar happening if this happened with Harry Potter).

Having said this, I do believe the ending should be change / expanded upon. Not from an artistic standpoint, but from a business standpoint. The ending has alienated the base, and that's losing money. Regardless of whether you think it's art, it's a product for a large market and should be treated as such.

(As I progress through the podcast, I see some of these points are being made.)

What they could do with the entire "Continuing Mass Effect" thing, I think they could do another cycle. Say the Keeper cycle, when the Reapers were just starting out, and the galaxy still has an OK chance to actually overpower them. Being such a long time ago, you have plenty of space for choice and new lore-building, and it's not ultimately going to change the original ME trilogy. That'd have the problem of having you play as other (*GASP* NON HUMANOID?!) races, and balancing that to a familiar Soldier/Adept/Engineer system, but I think it has a lot of potential.

Or they could just re-vamp the universe and go via different possible alternatives, having a different story with different characters and maybe races, but you still being the guy/gal who is out to stop the Reapers. Except maybe here... I dunno the Genophage was never released and the Krogans have ended up conquering the galaxy, and you play as Comurdnot Wrepard.

You said there are 16-17 endings if you iterate through them.

INCORRECT

There are exactly 6 endings.

Destroy BAD - Everything is destroyed (based only on war assets)
Destroy Neutral - Reapers are destroyed (based only on war assets)
Destroy Good - Reapers are destroyed, Shepard wakes up (based only on war assets)

Control Neutral - Reapers are controlled
Control Good - Exactly the same, shot for shot

Synergy - Green version of the good endings from Control and Destroy.

All of these endings are based only on war assets.

Susan Arendt:

II2:
Escapist Podcasters:

No love for Jack? Sure, Miranda and Jacob and Ashley and Kaiden are fairly one dimensional plus exposition, but I thought Jack was really an interesting case of a character who grows signicantly between ME2 and ME3, psychologically.

She was a squad buddy through all of ME2 where I could take her and I loved the redesign for ME3, though I missed being able to have her on the crew. I can understand though from the point of view that the pure superbiotic squad mate role is fulfilled by Liara.

Did you like Jack, Susan? Did you think she was a well written character?

I do, actually, I enjoy the character...if not her costuming, which is at least better in ME3. I liked how she grew as a person, channeling her negative energy into a fierce "mama bear" role.

Thanks for the reply, I like your contributions to the podcast discussions and wanted your angle on Jack.

I'd speculate that, conceptually speaking, her character design in the ME2 one existed partly in order to showcase her tattoos and emphasis the "rawness" of her character rather than making her as deliberately sexual icon like Miranda. It runs into the "exposed midrift" fantasy female armour issue though, considering the variety of worlds you traverse where exposed skin could be extremely uncomfortable or downright hazardous.

----

To weigh in on the ending discussion, I think one low overhead solution that might provide players with some closure without having to drastically alter the existing production would be to introduce procedurally generated if-then-or "future history" codex entries: a multi-part image with voiceover slideshow narrated by the same voice who does the primary codex entries.

It might not be optimal for the formatting of ME, but it works quite well for decision rich RPGs... Fallout 1 2 and New Vegas used this technique effectively with pictures of relevant events accompanied by Ron Pearlman narrating what happened to the people in the aftermath based off the way you dealt with them during the game.

There's my $0.02 on a practical ending 'fix'.

I'm curious if caring about a fictional character is a psychosis of some kind. There's "I like this character" and there's "if this character dies I'm going to cry for days."

I thought the Bioshock ending was awesome.

The final bossfight was made of ass, but the actual (good) ending was beautiful and touching.

The other games that you mentioned had massive narrative issues prior to the endings. Bioshock had a good ending, it just happened before the game was over.

Bioware can do what they wish with the ending. They have no obligation to the fans or the customers, but they do have an obligation to their narrative. The end of ME3 was parceled off from the rest of the game, and changed both their narrative and game rules, to facilitate a deliberately ambiguous ending section. This comes off, as narratively dishonest.

Simply I think most of the fans want Mass Effect to end in a way consistent with the story and gameplay of Mass Effect.

N,B: Thank you for having a podcast about this that is not simply berating fans, and discounting their issues as entitlement and nerd nitpicking.

Just curious, I'm assuming there will be no normal, numbered podcast today?

An excellent discussion of the ending situation, and one that was quite fair to all sides. I mean, there was even some agreement with FTC Complaint Guy. Good stuff.

Favourite squadmate? Garrus was cool, but I have to say Tali. And no, I didn't romance her. I really liked her character and thought her growth throughout the entire series was excellently crafted. Miranda was also in contention as both my Shep's love interest but also as a much more multifaceted character than she often gets credit for. Her scenes in ME3 were all excellent and I was quite saddened by the fact that she didn't return as a squadmate even just for the last run once she'd taken care of her personal business.

Would a non game ending work? Not for me, no. First off, no traditional media format would be able to work with everyone's possible endings. Simple in game pages a la Dragon Age while not exactly exciting would at least be able to fulfil that purpose. Either way, there's also the question of interaction. I can appreciate that there are multiple media types built up into the ME universe at this point but when talking about the actual ending of a game, that ending should come in game.

Would I think less of Bioware if they did include some sort of altered ending? Not at all. In fact, I would probably gain even more respect for them. I know that any ending they did include would be of their creation and their choosing (and I wouldn't be shocked if they already had something in the cards before the whole uproar). I would not seeing it as caving in or selling out at all. To the contrary, I would see it as respect for their dedicated fanbase as well as their own game. Realizing that you've done something wrong, admitting to it and working changing it is a brave move.

Do I think it would set some sort of negative precedent? Not really. If anything, it might get develoeprs and publishers to think a little more about their fans when it comes to crafting something like ME. You never want to create art for a focus group but, at the same time, when you're talking about an interactive experience it's important to put some weight on the player side of the equation. And, as was said in the podcast, any decisions about both this situation and others in the future will be made by the developers. Fans can demand all they want but if what they want is impossible or totally against developer wishes, it still won't happen.. no matter how many baked goods are delivered.

...I liked Jacob.

MiracleOfSound:
I thought the Bioshock ending was awesome.

The final bossfight was made of ass, but the actual (good) ending was beautiful and touching.

I'm talking about the boss fight and the BS escort mission that led up to it. The stuff after the boss fight I like just fine.

Tanakh:

Susan Arendt:
Anything in particular you don't agree with? Or just that ME3 is a good game?

It's just we have too diferent tastes in games, and look different stuff there, almost diametricaly opposed.

In SW:ToR for example i leveled almost just in warzones doing only the class quests because after level 10 the voice and minor choices didn't made me forget i was grinding to level in MMO less polished than WoW or even Rift; i have yet to hear your SW podcast but will assume that is a way of playing not very appealing to you (with good reasons, I am probably seeing the weakest suit of SW).

And ME3 is a good game, generic doesn't mean bad, I also think The Fifth Element is a generic action Sci-Fi movie, and it is good; generic is kind of forgettable for me though and I use it for this game because even if well done I can't find a single innovation in it (and no, doing bad endings is not an innovation, videogames have been doing that since the beginning of times). To ME credit i must say that after losing my saves now i plan to play ME 1 and 2 because it is good enough to make me care about having a relationship developed with my crew, will probably happen when i am trapped on a cell with only a pc and those games though or when ME4 launches and it's the second coming of Christ.

To resume, you are just the kind of person that i like, but our tastes on videogames are so different i can't relate to even though i understand them, just as you probably can understand why i would say "SC II world finals are like watching a dance by Pina Bausch" even though you might think it's silly.

Edit: Pardon my english, non native and ortography and i aren't on speaking therms in any language anyway.

I don't play Old Republic.

Here's hoping they announce a new ending just so we can get a new podcast talking about it.

Rassmusseum:
Just curious, I'm assuming there will be no normal, numbered podcast today?

Nevermind, just checked the front page again. Two podcasts in one day? Love you guys!

Susan Arendt:

MiracleOfSound:
I thought the Bioshock ending was awesome.

The final bossfight was made of ass, but the actual (good) ending was beautiful and touching.

I'm talking about the boss fight and the BS escort mission that led up to it. The stuff after the boss fight I like just fine.

100% agreed, the entire final 2 chapters were a long, dull chore. But that final cutscene... wow. Actually the Bioshock 2 ending was amazing too. Had me in floods of tears!

Susan Arendt:
I don't play Old Republic.

Don't remember saying you did, was just describing a style and I would assume you are familiar with the concepts if not the specifics.

MiracleOfSound:

100% agreed, the entire final 2 chapters were a long, dull chore. But that final cutscene... wow. Actually the Bioshock 2 ending was amazing too. Had me in floods of tears!

I thought the Bioshock 1 ending seemed a little like it was hastily put together and didnīt fit well into the game I just played. It was also way too short for my liking.
I agree with Bioshock 2 though. Perfect ending. That game doesnīt nearly get the love it deserves.
I wonder if Susan finally came around and finished it.

I seriously doubt that if any new endings were released for Mass Effect 3, it's not going to be free.

I keep seeing this word "precedent" getting tossed around about these endings, and I find it curious. There is no obligation to precedence in the gaming industry, this isn't case law. I think that if you have created something and the vast majority of the people you are depending upon for your income are up in arms about the thing you created, then yes, you do have an obligation because guess what, no matter how much you throw around 'artistic integrity' or 'developer's rights' you are dependant upon the whims of your fans to keep yourself employed.

But that's beside my point, what I want to say is that there is no such thing as precedent, just because Bioware gives in to huge fan pressure, doesn't mean Bethesda and Square Enix are automatically going to, or even have to do the same. Hell even Bioware won't have to do it again if they don't get the majority of their fan base to shout them down.

-edit- Also, I am so gonna go find out about that nonstandard Game Over with the Crucible, because I sat there plinking away at that Star-kid for like five minutes and never got that...

-double edit- Holy crap, you mean I'm not the only person on the planet who has read about Honor Harrington?!?!

Loving the podcast, though sometimes I can't tell if Susan was being sincere or if she was just trying to play devil's advocate to make panelists back up their assertions. Whatever the case, it made for great listening.
Wholeheartedly agree that most of the complaints about BioWare come from a place of love for the series.

I've loved all of these Mass Effect 3 podcasts. I have never been able to sit through a whole one before. Great job!

My friend told me he felt like he had most in common with Jacob. I told him he shouldn't be so down on himself. :)

His romance made a lot of sense. He was never like Kaiden or Ash who seem to genuinely be in love with Shep. He refers to her as a prize, to me it screams booty call to me.

Rariow:
What they could do with the entire "Continuing Mass Effect" thing, I think they could do another cycle. Say the Keeper cycle, when the Reapers were just starting out, and the galaxy still has an OK chance to actually overpower them. Being such a long time ago, you have plenty of space for choice and new lore-building, and it's not ultimately going to change the original ME trilogy. That'd have the problem of having you play as other (*GASP* NON HUMANOID?!) races, and balancing that to a familiar Soldier/Adept/Engineer system, but I think it has a lot of potential.

The only problem with that is how that would call for all new character models and really creativity which cost money(as you said). Much easier to import the same models from the last game and to write for characters. Plus the game would lead to the death of whatever races you just made. Therefore the only viable cycle to do would be the prothians because in their cycle they were able to have a heroic sacrifice.

Also the prothians were the only race with space travel in their cycle that wasn't enslaved.

Whoo double podcats! So much fun as usual guys. I only started listening to these at the beginning of the month and they've become my favorite thing on the Escpaist and I've started looking forward to fridays just for this.

Gotta say, I quite literally lost it when Mordin died in my game. Pure paragon, peacemaking, warstopping, council-saving ParaShep. As soon as Mordin died, I snapped. It was weird. I didn't care what it took anymore. I was ending this war and I was winning it. At first I didn't even want to finish the game. But the next day, I tackled the game again and at some point noticed my Renegade scars......

Mordin, never forget.

@Susan

"I have a problem with the word 'lied'. But if you really believe to the core of your soul that Bioware lied..."

I stopped listening there. With respect, you evidently didn't pay as much attention to Bioware's promises as the fans did. I'm a rather cynical person and know better than to trust what developers say about a game before its release, but even I was surprised at how many bare-faced lies (yes, that is the right word) Bioware told about the game. One example (specifically regarding the ending of the game, to stay on topic): it is not possible to get the ending where Shepard lives without playing MP, despite numerous very clear statements to the contrary by Bioware. For Shepard to live you need 5000 EMS, but with 50% Galactic Readiness (no MP) the highest EMS you can get is less than 4000 i.e. not even close.

The obvious answer for a follow-up Mass Effect game:
You play Blasto, within a fictional film (or set of films) produced in the Mass Effect universe. Since it's fiction, Blasto's adventures can deviate from the canon timeline, they can reflect a distorted view of reality, and they can play a little looser with the lore like any schlocky movie might. Plus your imported Shepard can show up as guest star VI that can mimic the real Shepard's behaviour with 7% accuracy.

Justicar idea could be interesting, could even be parallel to ME3...have a Justicar that's avoiding the bulk of the war and just running amongst it in their own journey, coming across relatively minor but important conflicts on the way. Would allow them to avoid explaining the 'true canon' of the situation since it's still happening around you.

Probably won't happen, but it's plausible. Be interesting to see how the series continues considering all the roadblocks put in place by the choices...even if most seemed retconned in ME3.

Eric Morales:
Loving the podcast, though sometimes I can't tell if Susan was being sincere or if she was just trying to play devil's advocate to make panelists back up their assertions. Whatever the case, it made for great listening.
Wholeheartedly agree that most of the complaints about BioWare come from a place of love for the series.

Mostly just raising questions and exploring ideas. I wouldn't call it devil's advocate in every case, because I certainly don't know what the "right" answer to any of this is. But I think it has value to really understand why we think what we do about this whole situation. Plus, it's our last one of these, so we need to resolve as much as we can. :)

Guy Jackson:
@Susan

"I have a problem with the word 'lied'. But if you really believe to the core of your soul that Bioware lied..."

I stopped listening there. With respect, you evidently didn't pay as much attention to Bioware's promises as the fans did. I'm a rather cynical person and know better than to trust what developers say about a game before its release, but even I was surprised at how many bare-faced lies (yes, that is the right word) Bioware told about the game. One example (specifically regarding the ending of the game, to stay on topic): it is not possible to get the ending where Shepard lives without playing MP, despite numerous very clear statements to the contrary by Bioware. For Shepard to live you need 5000 EMS, but with 50% Galactic Readiness (no MP) the highest EMS you can get is less than 4000 i.e. not even close.

"lying" implies intent. It means that you know you were saying something that was untrue at the time you said it. It implies an intention to deceive. If you believe that's what happened with regard to the FTC filing, which is what I was referring to, ok. I don't.

Mikeyfell:
-snip-

Credit to the man for the formatting I'm going to use here.

FTC complaint

I'm of two minds on this issue:

First, the man was well in his right to complain about the issue. Legally, this is potentially snaring and there is precedent for it.

Personally, I think it's overkill, and ruins any sense of good faith between customer and company. But if this guy's in the beleif that that's already ruined, then seriously, why not? The government is there to keep companies from backstabbing their customer, and there are a lot who feel fairly betrayed by five years of hype that was ultimately let down upon.

Art Vs. Product

Why are we arguing this? The answer is Product.
A piece of art is a work created with the intention to exist as a statement. Whether or not it sells to a consumer is ultimately a non-factor.

A product is a craft work with the intention to sell to a consumer.
Ask EA which this video game falls under.

I'm sorry, I know we try to mar this topic with other sort of struggling debates but this is the plain and simple of it. BioWare may be artists, but they are crafting a product, and a product should appeal to its consumer base.

I want to take this one step further and state that this is not some ground-breaking precedent we're setting by this issue either. Movies have been changing their ending behind closed doors due to back reaction from selected release audiences for years. And endings often get changed pre-production - these both are altered from the original image of director/producer's work and still become stronger movie for it. The 'origonal intended ending' are often re-releaced as 'Director's Cuts' or "Alternate Endings" after theater release.

Some examples:

- Did you know that the Crop Duster from Independence Day was supposed to fly his crappy old plane, and NOT a fighter jet, into the Alien Craft? They had to do new takes and add some inventive film cutting to get the new ending to work.

- Dodgeball,a comedy originally had an ending in which the Cobra's won by a cheap shot WITHOUT the Double Fault and sudden death ending. The producer was told to go back and change the ending to appeal to its audience, hence why the ending causes a parody of 'happy endings' - because the writer wasn't happy that he had to change his message. But guess what, it happened, and the movie was better received for it.

But happy endings are not always the default Revision, nor does it half to be.

- The Butterfly Effect, also had an altered ending. In which the Director's version had a far darker idea for an ending than the actual theatrical release. I recommend watching both and sizing them up against each other.

Conclusion:

And here's the beef - there is no alternate ending to compare to here. Even Movies, a product that has a captive audience, have learned the value of having multiple endings when the concept of 'art' vs the concept of 'product' are clashed. A Video Game, which is already well reputable for having multiple options for endings, should have absolutely zero issues about adding additional endings for the sake of their consumer base. You can always call your intended ending 'canon' or 'director's version' and be done with it.

The issue here is that players were sold on the concept and promise of choice and consequence, and the last mission of that game both took that away from them in the present, and reduced all their previous decisions and consequences in the past down to a numeral value. - this was an incredibly poor design choice on BioWare's part and something they are being appealed to in order to remedy that fact.

Because, let's face it, other than this incredibly glaring issue the game is stellar.

A Personal Note: Susan, you're an awesome person, but your presence of opinion in this particular podcast was a bit suffocating. It bled into other people's sections and you provided what I felt was unnecessary pressure on the contrasting opinion (put bluntly, it felt like you were pushing on the guy's insecurities rather than the issue's flaws.) Someone who perhaps was more involved or had a more in depth perspective might have provided better counter-arguments for your statements.

Have you considered bringing on guests for hot topics like this? I just felt that the conversation lacked a bit of depth of perception because it was mostly observatory.

Anyways, thanks to whoever took the time to read this. I don't post in these forums often as they are fairly well maintained and I rather like to have my contributions, well, contribute something.

Just finished the Podcast, has anyone considered if the "Day-30 DLC ending ploy" (as I'm going to call it if it happens) is a ploy to destroy second hand sales? In other words, you buy the game, but nothing you do gets the ending till they release it, so if you do trade it in after a week, you won't have seen the ending, you have to wait for it to be released.

burningdragoon:
Not done listening yet, but I wanted to post this (again) before I forget by the end. I did some math on the ending(s). For funzies.

The final act of a play is not the ending. By the same token, the final arc of the Mass Effect 3 is not the ending.

http://storyfix.com/story-structure-series-4-%E2%80%93-the-most-important-moment-in-your-story-the-first-plot-point

http://storyfix.com/story-structure-series-5-part-2-of-your-story-the-response

http://storyfix.com/story-structure-series-7%E2%80%A6-the-part-3-attack

http://storyfix.com/story-structure-series-10-part-4-the-final-act

The destruction of Earth and the Mars incident are Part one. Everything else Shepard does is in Response to the attack on Earth and the incident on Mars until after Thessia. THAT is when he goes on the Attack. Both the Cerberus bases as well as the assault on Earth right up until the Conduit Redux are part of the Attack arc. It's not the ending. Only by utterly abusing the definition of END can you get those numbers.

Hyrist:
Why are we arguing this? The answer is Product.
A piece of art is a work created with the intention to exist as a statement. Whether or not it sells to a consumer is ultimately a non-factor.

A product is a craft work with the intention to sell to a consumer.
Ask EA which this video game falls under.

- Did you know that the Crop Duster from Independence Day was supposed to fly his crappy old plane, and NOT a fighter jet, into the Alien Craft? They had to do new takes and add some inventive film cutting to get the new ending to work.

- Dodgeball,a comedy originally had an ending in which the Cobra's won by a cheap shot WITHOUT the Double Fault and sudden death ending. The producer was told to go back and change the ending to appeal to its audience, hence why the ending causes a parody of 'happy endings' - because the writer wasn't happy that he had to change his message. But guess what, it happened, and the movie was better received for it.

I would like to point out that your definition of art excludes the Mona Lisa as well as all of Shakespeare's plays.

1. The crop duster would never have been able to pull the trick of straight up into the beam of light. Would have stalled. The fighter jet makes much more sense. Which I realize is just a bonus to the fact that a fighter jet looks much cooler, but still.

2. And the ending was better for it. Both endings work for the movie, but the winning ending is just much more satisfying. And hilarious, let's not forget hilarious.

ravenshrike:
I would like to point out that your definition of art excludes the Mona Lisa as well as all of Shakespeare's plays.

You're right -but what you fail to point out is that each of these works catered to their audience. In the spoken cases, the Mona Lisa was a commission, and the Shakespearean plays were built to appeal to the love of tragedy/comedy of the times (not to mention both works were done in times in which the audience was both far narrower with limited manner of feedback.)

Yes, they are works of art, but they were products first and foremost.

And I'm sorry, but it's also a very poor analogy to be comparing painting to video games. The Mona Lisa will always have an original, and be an original - it was designed for one person. Video games are designed, at their core, for Mass Production.

Saying the artist's say is more important than the Artist is taking George Lucas's side in his butchering of his work post-mortem. (IMO, George should leave his work alone, not because we should leave things alone, but that he should listen to the demands of his fans - and the FANS are saying leave it alone.)

1. The crop duster would never have been able to pull the trick of straight up into the beam of light. Would have stalled. The fighter jet makes much more sense. Which I realize is just a bonus to the fact that a fighter jet looks much cooler, but still.

2. And the ending was better for it. Both endings work for the movie, but the winning ending is just much more satisfying. And hilarious, let's not forget hilarious.

And both are good reasons for revising the ending, no? There are plenty of concise reasons why Mass Effect 3 should have more, different endings for what it has, whether you view it like a storytelling element, like a movie, or a video game, which already has precedent for multiple endings.

My argument here is that BioWare has no solid ground to stand on without going as far to say that their developers are more important than their customers. The precedent, the trends of the medium, and their own statements previous to launch are all against them here.

I mean, if they really want to say that they stand behind their product - they might try to view that as noble, but they're harming themselves.

The best way I see them getting out of this is to honestly create multiple endings for the game that are either patched in, or put in as part of additional DLC. It's not a perfect solution on behalf of the customers, but it will meet their demands and compensate them for the time they to do it justice.

ravenshrike:

burningdragoon:
Not done listening yet, but I wanted to post this (again) before I forget by the end. I did some math on the ending(s). For funzies.

The final act of a play is not the ending. By the same token, the final arc of the Mass Effect 3 is not the ending.

http://storyfix.com/story-structure-series-4-%E2%80%93-the-most-important-moment-in-your-story-the-first-plot-point

http://storyfix.com/story-structure-series-5-part-2-of-your-story-the-response

http://storyfix.com/story-structure-series-7%E2%80%A6-the-part-3-attack

http://storyfix.com/story-structure-series-10-part-4-the-final-act

The destruction of Earth and the Mars incident are Part one. Everything else Shepard does is in Response to the attack on Earth and the incident on Mars until after Thessia. THAT is when he goes on the Attack. Both the Cerberus bases as well as the assault on Earth right up until the Conduit Redux are part of the Attack arc. It's not the ending. Only by utterly abusing the definition of END can you get those numbers.

First off all, I hoped counting every slight variation as a different ending made it clear I wasn't serious in saying there were more than the 7 ending. It was more poking fun of the idea that we were literally lied to.

Second off, the 162 (already a ridiculous number) endings of slight variation is all from the "actual" end, so I'm seeing how that's abusing the definition of "end". Abusing the definition of "alternate ending" most certainly, but that was my point. Casey Hudson said no A,B,C and we got several very slightly different ways for each A B and C to go down. Moving the "ending" line back far enough to include all of Mass Effect 3 was purposely extreme, but it's also likely what CH was referring to in that statement. Lot's of significantly different variations on how everything can go down. Also, it's not a rule that only the very, very end is the end. Even Susan says in her review that Mass Effect 3 is the ending the series deserves.

And finally, the magic cupcakes endings (by the way, Susan, I love that term) may have been crappy and very ambiguous, and it really seems like the galaxy as we know it is completely over, but that doesn't mean some of the bigger choices made weren't going to have an effect on what happens afterwards. We aren't told anything and that sucks. It seems like it doesn't matter, and that really sucks, but that doesn't change the fact that some big events have occurred that will have some effect on the future.

Great series of podcasts guys, really enjoyed listening to your thoughts and experiences. Susan did a really good job of moderating the conversation too: making sure everyone got a say and that the conversation kept moving. Definitely gained a new listener here.

The question of whether Bioware should change the ending got me thinking. There's been a lot of talk about if it would set precedence or if Bioware would be harming their integrity by caving in to pressure.

It made me wonder, is everyone so sure that artistic vision is what we're getting with these endings? Surely there are already multiple factors that go into game development that can alter the outcome from what the creative team wanted; whether it's time, money, or technical constraints. Why should fan feedback not also form a part of this change?

Are we sure that what we got was Bioware's intended vision? As late as last October when the scripts leaked we know the Reaper's motivation was to stop dark matter from destroying the galaxy: that the first civilisation Reaperised themselves to prevent other races reaching a technological state where they would be exacerbating dark matter spread. Was Bioware's true artistic vision for the reapers anti synthetics/organic or space eco warriors?

We know that as late as November of last year they had a boss battle with the illusive man planned, a longer dying conversation with Anderson (which is still in the games data), a showdown with Harbinger, an indoctrination ending, and a longer investigation conversation with the catalyst. Were these elements cut for artistic integrity or because of money and time constraints?

The ending, in my mind, shows a drop in quality uncharacteristic for the series that suggests it was pieced together from numerous assets originally intended for another vision.
I guess, ultimately, if Bioware are happy with what they've done; if this is the ending the entire creative team at Bioware wanted, then no amount of fan displeasure should sway them from their course. I might hate the endings, but I would back them wholeheartedly in standing behind their product.

But if their original vision was something else, and changes were made due to constraints, or simply because they wanted to produce an "oooh thinky" ending then maybe they should give serious consideration to acting on fan complaints.

Just my thoughts.

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