Jimquisition: Changing A Game's Ending And Destroying Art

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Changing A Game's Ending And Destroying Art

Does changing the ending to a videogame destroy it as a creative endeavor? Does altering a videogame to cater to fan demand set interactive art back a decade? How much influence should an audience have over a creator, and are gamers entitled to their opinions? In this spoiler-free video, Jim Sterling tackles Mass Effect 3 for the final time. Yes, it's the FINAL time. No more. Finito. Done. Thank Christ.

Watch Video

And that is why the whole "You can't change art!" argument doesn't hold water. Artists change their stuff all the time, sometimes by outside reaction, sometimes by their own accord.

I hope this will be the lasts ME3 shit PERIOD. Then we can start taking bets on what the next "OMG [GAME] IS [OPINION]!" Topic will be.

Who would have guessed, Jim is right again.

So we have Jim and MovieBob with polar opposite opinions, what ever happened to Extra Consideration?

You wouldn't talk about ME3 again if they did something crazy and stupid with their new ending(s)? Regardless I felt obliged to say in the beginning I was one of those people who couldn't stand your show, but I watched it every week and now its one my favorites. Everything you said today I agree 100% and I do thank God for you =D Keep it up.

Thank God for Jim. He finally said what I've thought every day watching this... situation stew, "The best thing about art is there are no rules." Thank you saying that. Changing/adding more to the game's *ending* does not compromise anything. It just changes/adds an ending. Why is THAT a bad thing or a GOOD thing? It's just an action, the judgements being levied on it are meaningless in regard to artistic integrity because artistic integrity is in the eyes of the beholder.

Qitz:
And that is why the whole "You can't change art!" argument doesn't hold water. Artists change their stuff all the time, sometimes by outside reaction, sometimes by their own accord.

I hope this will be the lasts ME3 shit PERIOD. Then we can start taking bets on what the next "OMG [GAME] IS [OPINION]!" Topic will be.

I'll put my money on it being Bioshock: infinite.

But Mass Effect 3 did set a high controversy bar. It might not be until Halo 4

Mikeyfell:
Who would have guessed, Jim is right again.

So we have Jim and MovieBob with polar opposite opinions, what ever happened to Extra Consideration?

That's a really good question. Without that insufferable James Portnoy involved, Extra Consideration can only get better.

Why do half the drawings on here have penises? It just seems a little juvenile and detracts from the intelligent point being made.

I was begging to think about something along these lines. I mean, if it invalidates your game to edit it, does that mean skyrim is invalidated if they fix the bugs? Or any other kind of DLC sacrifices the game to "appease the fanbase"? I still think, at the end of the day, that bioware has the right to stick to these bad endings if they want to, but having looked at this, I've come to the conclusion that it wouldn't be bad for them to change them.

Biowares intention from the start was to have a crap ending so they could milk us for more DLC. It's a really sad state of affairs and it seems to be the new trend in dlc

Thank you Jim, Thank you.

It's actually pretty fucking refreshing for Jim to admit that his initial impressions about the people wanting the ending changed were wrong and that he can even see where they're coming from once he'd LOOKED INTO IT A BIT MORE*

Fair play to you Mr. Sterling.

*Caps'd and bolded on the off chance that Moviebob comes into the thread and gets a clue about the proper attitude to have towards something like this.

He is right, I think, I believe he even gets it... :)

The ME ending felt rushed and left fans with mostly a "meh"
And from what it sounds like Bioware are able and maybe even willing to make changes to the ending, witch means they were probably not so convinced about the end themselves...

Mikeyfell:
Who would have guessed, Jim is right again.

So we have Jim and MovieBob with polar opposite opinions, what ever happened to Extra Consideration?

With that said, I would love to see a Jim V Movie Bob debate, or shouting match as it could get into, about stuff.

Would be worth a vid or two.

You know in a way I don't want them to change the ending, or at least have an option to play the original if they do. Because when I eventually (eventually) play ME3, I want to see what all the hubbub was about.

Thank Jim for Jim. At least one professional is understanding, even if it is a little delayed. I'm glad your show improved too, it's one of the best things on this site.

I've been wondering about EA's role in this. Could it be that an exec got nervous after reading the fan outrage? Disappointment could put a damper on sales. Most journalists see it as a given that people will buy future DLC nonetheless. That may be true for a core group, but then there are people for whome Mass Effect is not the first choice. I for one won't even buy the game, after reading the fan reviews. And finally there's the merchandise. While not as important as it is with movies, the publisher would surely like to expand on that, and the current ending is not helping.

Jimothy Sterling:
Changing A Game's Ending And Destroying Art

Does changing the ending to a videogame destroy it as a creative endeavor? Does altering a videogame to cater to fan demand set interactive art back a decade? How much influence should an audience have over a creator, and are gamers entitled to their opinions? In this spoiler-free video, Jim Sterling tackles Mass Effect 3 for the final time. Yes, it's the FINAL time. No more. Finito. Done. Thank Christ.

Watch Video

It's a good thing that more of the gaming journalists are coming back to the table. I'm not in the "re-take" group, but I really did get the feeling that far too many people were lumping the legitimate grievances together with the small handful of "happy ending advocates" whining because there weren't enough rainbows.

However, I'll see your "Maybe Developers Will Learn" and counter with "...that they can monetize their endings." If BioWare releases this ending fix as paid content, we'll travel farther and faster down that slippery slope where developers sell us an unfinished product at full price, and then charge individually for the missing pieces.

Ending / Epilogue content is not DLC. Prologue? Sure. A bit of "meanwhile" stuff that shows what the rest of the crew was up to while we were chatting with the Big Bad? Also fine. But not the ending, especially not if BioWare is admitting that this is at least partially a fix -- you don't make people pay for patches.

An article that has been on the site for days is on the homepage and this is basically hidden. Dear Escapist, I still don't like your new website. :(

I also never thought about what it must have been like to read all those early comments... Even I was a hater. Sorry about that. I'm glad you kept going, Jim.

I'm very tired of the ME3 debate (or any Bioware related debate for that matter) and don't feel like going into that again.

And this is why you truly are a god amongst men, Jim. Also, who are these clowns that made you stop showing us your handsome face for 6 minutes?

ForensicYOYO:
You wouldn't talk about ME3 again if they did something crazy and stupid with their new ending(s)? Regardless I felt obliged to say in the beginning I was one of those people who couldn't stand your show, but I watched it every week and now its one my favorites. Everything you said today I agree 100% and I do thank God for you =D Keep it up.

I actually watched the first few episodes and hated them then had it with one of the skits he decided to do. Then a couple months later I was like hey hes still here lets see if hes gotten better. And have watched most of them since.

ThreeKneeNick:
I also never thought about what it must have been like to read all those early comments... Even I was a hater. Sorry about that. I'm glad you kept going, Jim.

It's pretty funny, looking back. It was pretty venomous, but after a while, I took it for what it was and I see it as an overall positive thing. As a game reviewer, professionally, it was humbling to have my own original work torn to pieces like that. I think it allowed me to have a greater respect for what I do in my writing, to see it from both sides.

It was challenging and a chance to self improve. I can't bear the community too much ill will for that long-term good the comments served.

Thank you Jim for taking the time to understand why the fans are pissed about the ending. You are entirely right, the ending was shit and Mass Effect deserved better.

Azex:
Biowares intention from the start was to have a crap ending so they could milk us for more DLC. It's a really sad state of affairs and it seems to be the new trend in dlc

Shit, and I thought I was cynical. Considering the sad state of affairs among the big publishers these days, this scenario does have an air of plausibility about it (well, for me at least). I have read that ME3's ending could be simply the result of the writer leaving the project halfway through. Which is kind of a big deal. And it rather nicely explains how ME3 went completely off-the-rails in terms of narrative. A new ending may improve things, but it probably won't come close to "fixing" the game. You'd need a Director's Cut for that (pre-order now, and get some more cheap plastic crap!).

Wait, that was...insightful...and respectful of both sides of the argument. But I thought that I hate the Jimquisition because Jim's an annoying blowhard? I'm really confused right now.

Spot on. Art has no rules, and if BioWare actually liked their ending, they should have the balls to stand by it. Caving so quickly sends the message that they either don't like the ending either (perhaps those rumors about two of the team writing the ending and not allowing others to give feedback on it were true?) or just see an opportunity to cash in on some DLC.

Plus, I once again point at Fallout 3's shitty ending and Broken Steel coming along to fix it. Where were all those pious journalists writing their stupid articles about threatening artistic integrity then? This whole ME3 situation does just seem like they're taking a chance to shit on a bunch of fans without actually doing the research. It sure was decent of Jim to actually look into the whole thing and change his initial thought once he saw that this isn't the same kind of "boycott L4D2 because it's coming out too soon after L4D1", "boycott SEGA because Sonic's eyes are green", and "boycott MW2 because no dedicated servers oops we all bought it anyway" bullshit that's made movements like this look stupid in the past.

As far as ME3's ending goes, I'm still not sure if I want it changed or not. Yeah, it sucked. More explanation would be nice. I'm certainly not looking for a "happy" ending like so many condescending journalists write in their articles. But what I find most interesting about all this is what BioWare is going to do with this ending without upsetting people even more and starting some kind of "retake the retaken Mass Effect 3 ending" thing from people who don't agree with the changes. BioWare's in a tough spot, they're probably going to piss people off no matter what they do now. Should be interesting to see what they do, if nothing else.

anthony87:
It's actually pretty fucking refreshing for Jim to admit that his initial impressions about the people wanting the ending changed were wrong and that he can even see where they're coming from once he'd LOOKED INTO IT A BIT MORE*

Fair play to you Mr. Sterling.

*Caps'd and bolded on the off chance that Moviebob comes into the thread and gets a clue about the proper attitude to have towards something like this.

Yeah, right. Personally, I gave up on anything intelligent coming from MovieBob after this fiasco. Specifically, the part where he says:

Even the tutorial mode of most "hardcore" games assumes one is already familiar with the last few years of whatever the genre is, and God forbid the Tutorial isn't 100% skippable or "hardcore" gamers are garaunteed to pitch a fit about it - as though it's inconcievable that people without their specific prior experience might want to play, too.

Because asking to be able to SKIP a tutorial is the same thing as saying that their should be NO tutorial and fuck all newcomers, right? Having a tutorial be SKIPPABLE is not the same thing as having NO TUTORIAL. Skippable means if you don't need it, you can skip it, but if you do need it, it's there for you. That's the way it should be, because everybody wins. But that fool takes up this condescending tone acting like it's some great injustice to want to be able to skip a tutorial in a game you already know how to play.

So yeah, if I was you, I wouldn't hold your breath on MovieBob getting that clue.

Urh:
Shit, and I thought I was cynical. Considering the sad state of affairs among the big publishers these days, this scenario does have an air of plausibility about it (well, for me at least). I have read that ME3's ending could be simply the result of the writer leaving the project halfway through. Which is kind of a big deal. And it rather nicely explains how ME3 went completely off-the-rails in terms of narrative. A new ending may improve things, but it probably won't come close to "fixing" the game. You'd need a Director's Cut for that (pre-order now, and get some more cheap plastic crap!).

...If that's true, why the hell did they change that? That ending sounds a lot better than what we got. Still has plenty of desperation in there. Not a boring "everything is sunshine and rainbows" ending that uninformed journalists say people want. And it doesn't boil down to the completely nonsensical explanation of:

Klitch:
Wait, that was...insightful...and respectful of both sides of the argument. But I thought that I hate the Jimquisition because Jim's an annoying blowhard? I'm really confused right now.

If there's a big enough poll, I'll change it to something more straightforward. :)

Dastardly:

However, I'll see your "Maybe Developers Will Learn" and counter with "...that they can monetize their endings." If BioWare releases this ending fix as paid content, we'll travel farther and faster down that slippery slope where developers sell us an unfinished product at full price, and then charge individually for the missing pieces.

I can't remember whether it was Erik Kain or Paul Tassi from Forbes who said it, but releasing a sucky game and asking people to pay to make it suck less is a trick which you can pull once.

I mean gamers are a bunch of brand slaves at the best of times, this is true, but even we wake up and smell the cookies eventually.

It may also turn out that "releasing a highly anticipated narrative driven game with a shit ending" is a mistake Bioware may eventually learn not to make (the lesson of Dragon Age 2 possibly not having taken first time), as the new retail price of Mass Effect 3 on Amazon UK is bombing, it's lower than Syndicate and Kingdoms of Amalur now. Turns out if you piss people off they may glut the second hand market of your game, even if you do charge for an online pass. (Hilariously though, the multiplayer of Mass Effect 3 is probably more worthwhile than the singleplayer, since the only way that will let you down is if the EA servers drop you in wave 11. Again.)

I can see you've thought long and hard on this issue Jim.
Thank-you. There is a difference between art and property and change is not fundamentally good, bad or wrong.

anthony87:
It's actually pretty fucking refreshing for Jim to admit that his initial impressions about the people wanting the ending changed were wrong and that he can even see where they're coming from once he'd LOOKED INTO IT A BIT MORE*

Fair play to you Mr. Sterling.

*Caps'd and bolded on the off chance that Moviebob comes into the thread and gets a clue about the proper attitude to have towards something like this.

He won't. We all know Bob doesn't respect fan outrage unless it's his own.

Thanks Jim, this was a good episode that shows that good things for the medium as a whole can come from this, and yet warns about going too far.

GloatingSwine:
I can't remember whether it was Erik Kain or Paul Tassi from Forbes who said it, but releasing a sucky game and asking people to pay to make it suck less is a trick which you can pull once.

I mean gamers are a bunch of brand slaves at the best of times, this is true, but even we wake up and smell the cookies eventually.

Do we really, though? As a whole? I hope you're right...

Thanks Jim.

Your show started off a little slow, but you're now one of my favourite contributors.

Keep up the sexy work.

How curious. I just recently watched your BOYCOTT! episode while this one was loading and i was expecting you to follow your OWN advice of looking the subject without dismising everything as bitching and trolling. And here is it, an episode about what Mass Effect 3 ending that actually looks a bit further. Took you a sweet ass time isnt it? then again, when you have videos about art and gushing over Journey i guess its a more noble cause to do a video per Monday than the Mass Effect fiasco(to me at least)

I hope Bob sees your video, because he wasnt able to read my carefully crafted gem of a comment on the situation on his section.

I haven't played it all the way through. The way I understand it, no matter what you do, the ending is the same shitty ending. Which goes against what Mass Effect is at this point. It's decisions that matter in ME games, or at least that is how they are always billed. While I'm fine with the concept as games that can also be art, it's delusional to think they are not trying to make a product that compromises between art and consumer demand so they can make money. Art is a funny thing. A society who's first concern is art is a very decadent society that also has at least partially lost tough with reality.

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