Jimquisition: Changing A Game's Ending And Destroying Art

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Jim did make a lot of valid and good points in this video. I do understand how disappointing, (to put it mildly), the ending(s) is/are. I also understand why people are asking Bioware for a "real ending." However, I still believe a number of the "Retake Mass Effect" crowd are going too far, or going to odd, in many ways.

Demanding donations back from Child's Play after finding out the money is not going towards funding a new ending: Too far!
Sending death threats to Bioware: Definitely too far!
Sending Bioware symbolic cupcakes: Just... what?

Sylocat:
Here's the problem:

All that Jim said about "showing that endings matter" would be a great lesson... but that's not what publishers or gamers are going to take away from this. The precedent that actually WILL be established is: "Publishers will change an established game to popular specification, if the fans scream loud enough!" That's the only lesson that's going to be learned from this.

And if the publishers start caving to THAT precedent, then no writer worth a damn will ever work for the big-name publishers. They're ALREADY incredibly risk-averse, and this will just make things even worse. They may churn out a lot of garbage now, but you would not believe the garbage they'll be knocking off if they think that their work can be tossed out at the whim of internet hatedoms.

There isn't going to be a happy ending to this mess, but this campaign is the ultimate in short-term self-gratification against long-term potential.

Also this is a valid concern.

I can promise you that in the future, and I mean near future, there will be another outcry over a game where self-entitled drones will demand a change. This demand will be unreasonable and petty, however, the number one counter to any argument against said demand for change will be along the lines of, "Well Bioware changed the ending of ME3 because people wanted it. So there!"

The worst part? That will actually be considered a valid argument by many even if the demanded change is, for example, to completely change the art style from odd-ball whimsical to gritty CoD-style realism for the Psychonauts squeal.

The idea that a simple petition signed, multiple times, by a few selfish people is enough to force an artist to compromise their vision, which he/she is happy with, is frightening.

While change is not always a bad thing, change is also not always a good thing.
Unquestioned change and change for the sake of fanservice are rarely harmless.

Ill probably write off all of Bioware's integrity if they change the ending as it will have proven that they have 0 backbone and are willing to placate to fans because they sent them cupcakes or whined at them. If this happened I would probably not take that internship I was going to take there (I live near their studio in Edmonton) because I would not want to have anything to do with them. They have absolutely no reason to change the ending (you already gave them the money, I didnt I boycotted it because of Day-1 DLC). The only way I would be happy with them changing the ending is if they make it even worse on purpose to give a big "fuck you" to the fanboys.

EDIT: Ill also be okay with the ending changes if they release it as paid DLC so I can harvest my QQ farms.

I like when I agree with you. Other things you could bring up are remixes or more specifically electronic music singles. They often come with a radio edit, original, and extended version in addition to entirely different mixes.

I think people tend to forget that when a piece of art is sold to millions of people it also happens to be a product.

J.d. Scott:

Exterminas:
Do any of you guys know Sherlock Holmes?
Of course you do.

He stems from a series of short stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Do you know that Sherlock Holmes died once, because Doyle had lost interest in the absurdly popular character and wanted to move on? Holmes fell down some freaking huge waterfalls.

Doyle wrote another book in which he retconned that stuff, several years later, since he admittedly wanted to make money. (They have documents to prove that was his intention) So Doyle changed his Art to cash in on some more Holmes stories.

The point of this little story is that art changes in demand of fans since there is art. The whole idea of independent art, of different streams is all centered around the demand of the consumers.

Granted, most of the time you don't see movements to change a given piece of art that has already been finished.

But in most artistic projects, that seek to turn a profit, the interests of the consumers come up during the production. To the point where it very well might compromise the artistic vision (whatever that might be).

TL;DR:
If we want lots of art of high quality, we need commercialized industries to produce art. For these industries to be profitable, they have to listen to their consumers. So while it might not be desireable to compromise artistic vision in favor of fan demands, it is a neccesary evil to maintain this level of quality.

I don't think one example justifies another. Just because say Dickens edited Great Expectations because his first reader said the ending was too bleak, or Han/Greedo shooting first, or a recut/reshoot of a movie that got a poor test audience doesn't make that a rule or a justification. Each artist gets to make their own choice. I'm sure there's hundreds of times where an artist has told their editor or test audience that it's going out this way, and it worked out best for the artist.

And there's situations where it backfired. Bethesda altered their admittedly terrible ending to Fallout 3, to a slightly different but still just as terrible ending to justify adding the Broken Steel DLC. A lot of Bethesda fans lost their minds, mostly because the only change to their terrible illogical ending was to wedge in DLC. A lot of people didn't buy it. I haven't bought a Bethesda product since. In this case, it didn't work as expected.

More importantly, I don't think an artist should cater to the whims of the public in order to create popular art. That's actually, against the point of really good art, which is to present new perspectives and new ideas and challenge the consumer. If artists cater to the masses too much, they'll end up creating art that only caters to the lowest common denominator, since that will appeal to the most people. Do you really want all your games to be a string of mediocre thoughtless sequels, like so many VH1 Reality Shows, Stephanie Meyer novels, SumBlink18241 records and Modern Warfare games?

I think that's why the game journalists were quick to write this off as fan whining: we've been here before and we'll be here again, and yes, despite the whining we loved the visuals in The Wind Waker and Metroid's jump into 3D and ... well.. moved beyond Raiden taking over MGS2 and appriciate the power of Aerith's death. Even as early as this year, how many gamers were raging that Resident evil seemed to move into the Call of Duty area. It's that concept of art that game us Mass Effect in the first place as (while it didn't break totally new ground) it focused on adding character and stroy to the shooter genre / dragging the RPG out of the Dungeons and Dragons roots.

That said, when one takes the artistic route, one HAS to do it well and even supporters of the ending have to admit, it was handeled poorly both in and out of game, and I think Bioware knows it. If Moviebob's tweets had come out of their office I would completely understand, but they've seemed to have little interest in defending what they've made. I don't know if it's due to planned DLC already in the works, the inability to argue criticisms rooted in critical analysis not nitpicky complaints, or the simple realization this wasn't the time or project to let a writer/producer go rogue. Dragon Age 2 didn't damage Bioware's brand that badly. They could still stand up for the ending if they chose to.

If anything that may be the larger point. This is a colaberative project in which a couple of people vetoed what came before and did their own thing. So artistic integrity got killed already for someone else's artistic integrity. How many people at Bioware are just as pissed, if not more than us about this because their hard work and planning got tossed for something half baked? I'm at least hopeful that while they may still have to run me ten bucks for this, at least they are willing to fix something they agree is damaged.

DugMachine:
How suprising. Someone who doesn't agree with changing the ending "OH YOU JUST DON'T GET IT" and then Jim here agrees with y'all and "OH MY GOODNESS THANK YOU, SOMEBODY FINALLY GETS IT <3." This whole ending thing is just silly. You beat a game, you either like it or you don't, then you play another. Sheesh

It's more to do with the fact that Jim ADMITTED that he "didn't get it" and the proceeded to look further into the subject. In fact he's the only person I can think of who has done more than just spew out "entitled whiney babies etc." and leave it at that.

The one thing I'm worried about is DLC endings in the future. You know EA would pull that shit. They just need to mold gamers just a teency bit more.

And, thanks to the ignorance people spread like this, EA has won the battle. After this, you can bet your sweet ass that more false endings with true endings DLC are comming.

I really don't see why we call gamers, gaming community since there is no community to be. I just see a lot of whiners, even more dumbass ragers and most of all crapton of assheads. All together, people who don't know when to praise, and how to critique without being retarded.

I can clearly see how Mass Effect went downhill from the first game onward through Bioware's complying to the fans critique.

In first game most critiqued things were repetitive environments, loose physics in vehicle sections (it had to be loose to traverse the terrain which had to be mostly computer generated or those planets would take way to much resources), huge inventory and elevators. Guess what got cut out?

It was similar with ME2.

Yes, the end sucked, but the ride was great (could have been awesome though, if they kept repetitive environments, loose vehicle physics and planets with surfaces and even elevators for some great conversations and concentrated on things that matter in great storytelling. Useless inventory could be ditched though.). And both Steven King's and Den Simmons endings often make Mass Effect 3 ending look like a masterpiece yet all their books sell like hot cakes.

We, the gamers, are partially, if not mostly, to blame for may things that happened that we hate and which are forced upon us. From online passes to crappy DLC most of those things are either publishers reactions to our actions or our passive acceptance to be used as money generators like robots used humans to generate electricity in Matrix saga.

You know a fella has an actual SPINE when he clearly makes it known that his initial position was off the mark and is now changed because of new information becoming available to him. This is how it's supposed to work all the time but for some unfathomable reason it doesn't.

My hat's off to you, Jim. Very quickly climbing up my list of Escapist-must-watch shows!

Would you repaint the same portrait if everyone said it was shit?

I'm really impressed by the insight and balance of this week's Jimquisition. Normally it's a bunch on one-sided arguments and images of penises. Can I retroactively change my vote on the poll to 'no'?

Wow. Jim has always been good for a laugh, and the odd decent point, but this was just such a well put together, calmly articulated episode. It completely sums up how there are no absolutes, looking at both sides and making a very well stated argument. More angry people on both sides of this issue should watch this.

Mikeyfell:

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

Yeap, either Far Cry for its acid runs, GTA, the next CoD or Halo 4.

CardinalPiggles:
Would you repaint the same portrait if everyone said it was shit?

That depends. Am I trying to sell a lot of copies of the portrait?

Or am I selling it to one person and that person says it's shit?

Blade_125:

CardinalPiggles:
Would you repaint the same portrait if everyone said it was shit?

That depends. Am I trying to sell a lot of copies of the portrait?

Or am I selling it to one person and that person says it's shit?

It's your portrait buddy :)

CardinalPiggles:

Blade_125:

CardinalPiggles:
Would you repaint the same portrait if everyone said it was shit?

That depends. Am I trying to sell a lot of copies of the portrait?

Or am I selling it to one person and that person says it's shit?

It's your portrait buddy :)

I assume you mean it's my art that I have painted (and not a self portrait).

In which case if I am trying to make money off of it, then yes, I would repaint it. If I was doing it for my own enjoyment then I would paint until I liked it.

I don't think it's fair that someone should have to buy something they don't like just so I can earn money off a painting.

This might be your best episode yet.

Blade_125:

CardinalPiggles:
Would you repaint the same portrait if everyone said it was shit?

That depends. Am I trying to sell a lot of copies of the portrait?

Or am I selling it to one person and that person says it's shit?

And that is difference between Art and Pop-Art. Art is meant to be expression of one's self and his ideas. Pop-art has, first and foremost, task of being liked, then translating ideas and then, if there is any room left, for expression of one's self.

So are games Art or Pop-art? I say both. Just like movies, music or paintings, there are works created for art's sake and works created for commercial benefit. They are not mutually excluded (if anything Mona Lisa, often considered greatest painting of all times is commissioned portrait.) but in many disciplines works of pure art are not generally popular.

Unfortunately, big budget games are to expensive too be pure works of art because you must return the investment but still some games are really close to being exactly that. And bad ending does not make them less so.

Pandabearparade:

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

Bob shouts down from an ivory tower, he doesn't actually address rebuttals.

Actually, Bob has seen the video and made a reply on his gaming website.

http://gameoverthinker.blogspot.com/2012/04/yes-i-saw-jimquisition.html

I think that both Jim and Moviebob had good points. Since I haven't played any of the Mass Effect series (just never got into them), this is all I'll put for input

carnex:

Blade_125:

CardinalPiggles:
Would you repaint the same portrait if everyone said it was shit?

That depends. Am I trying to sell a lot of copies of the portrait?

Or am I selling it to one person and that person says it's shit?

And that is difference between Art and Pop-Art. Art is meant to be expression of one's self and his ideas. Pop-art has, first and foremost, task of being liked, then translating ideas and then, if there is any room left, for expression of one's self.

So are games Art or Pop-art? I say both. Just like movies, music or paintings, there are works created for art's sake and works created for commercial benefit. They are not mutually excluded (if anything Mona Lisa, often considered greatest painting of all times is commissioned portrait.) but in many disciplines works of pure art are not generally popular.

Unfortunately, big budget games are to expensive too be pure works of art because you must return the investment but still some games are really close to being exactly that. And bad ending does not make them less so.

I won't argue with that, which is why all this fighting over artistic integrity is foolish.

Bioware and EA made the game to make money. Same with 99% of the other game designers, movie producers, musicians, writers, painters, architects, etc.

image

I stopped watching this after your first few episodes were essentially Movie Bobs Big Picture, without the pictures.

I took a chance on this episode, and I'm glad I did.

The amount of insight, and you're one of the few gaming journalists who've actually stopped, listened to what people are saying, done some actual research and then given a good and backed up opinion on whats going on.

I may start watching this more often now...

Thank you, Jim. I've had to watch a lot of other people I have respect for completely miss the point, it's nice to see somebody actually LISTENED to the legitimate arguments behind the issue.

CardinalPiggles:
Would you repaint the same portrait if everyone said it was shit?

If I thought they had a point, and I certainly wouldn't hold it against them for pointing out flaws.

Almost every artist I know will tell you that becoming a good artist involves learning to take constructive criticism.

Throughout the video I was thinking about the Mona Lisa and (If I remember correctly) a Famous dada interpretation of it that added a mustache. And then he pulls out the Mona Lisa and changes it himself.

I agree with the concept he's trying to get across due a tiny bit in part to dadaism but mostly because artists are already changing their and other peoples art to make something better or a whole new thing. Simple examples could include song mashups and internet-abridging.

Also I don't quite get what he didn't like about the left-4-dead 2 boycott. Was it that it's members caved and invalidated the concept by doing so? Was it because Jim didn't like the original reason behind the movement? I thought there was some validation behind the reasoning for that, simple "it's coming out too soon" and no other argument aside.

Question is whether anyone would really say that Mass Effect 3 can really constitute as a peace of art. There are certainly games out there that could be considered art, but I don't think I'd say that any Mass Effect game is up there.

As such, I really don't see any problems with altering the game in whatever way the developers thing will shut up the fanbase the quickest. Maybe they could release an expensive, alternative ending DLC. That ought to satisfy people.

I think any company that decides to change the ending of a game to pander to fans makes me lose all respect and dignity towards them. That is the story that they chose to make, you don't play MGS3 and then complain to Konami because you didn't like the ending, or any other game so I understand why the fans have called the waaaahmbulance over this.

DVS BSTrD:
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.

Actually Bob and Jim arn't saying opposite things.

Jim points out the fact of the matter that the ending sucked and why it sucked. He also pointed out how it was still the Artists choice to change it and if Bioware felt it was the right ending they would and should have kept it.

Bob just focuses on how fans are acting possessive as if it was their choice whether or not to change it. That we because we like something very much doesn't make it ours.

The 2 messages go fine with each other.

Well said Jim. Well said.

Here's to hoping Mass Effect 3 will be the new Alien 3, and not the new Little Shop of Horrors.

Questions of artistic integrity lose their relevance when you accept that ME3 probably wasn't overburdened with artistic integrity to begin with, which I think the retake movement is implicitly doing by attempting to seize the reigns from the authors.

Once you get over that then, the only question left to resolve is will changing the ending do any good? After all, it's going to be made by broadly the same people who made the first (*ahem*) set of endings, and you've already seen those - you can't unsee them. So it's not going to have the dramatic impact you want from the culmination to an epic series like this. It's going to be like all DLC - at best, a nice thing to have but with an awareness hanging over it that you wouldn't really have been missing out if you'd passed it up.

People are right to bitch and moan that the ending sucked, a fact the reviewing press largely ignored, but, questions of artistry aside, I think they're wrong to expect they can undo this misdeed. In life, stuff happens that you hate but can't change. It's a sign of maturity to move on.

Mikeyfell:

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

Or The inevitable CoD:BO2. (See http://www.t3.com/news/call-of-duty-black-ops-2-release-date-leaked-as-november-6th . Looking forward to the outrage once it is announced!)

OT: Good episode! Looking forward to what you cover next week.

I came into this expecting the same knee-jerky condescension I've been getting from The Escapist for the past few weeks (excluding Shamus young). I was pleasantly surprised.

My hat goes off to you Jim

I'm not a fan of this show since I don't think crudely drawn MS penises make for compelling entertainment, but it's nice to see a contributor to this site who hasn't either immediately dismissed the fans or begun to decry a request for a logical conclusion as the bane of all artistic creation. I never even bought or played Mass Effect and even I was mildly offended by that ending. Throwing out something so rushed and nonsensical just shows that they have no artistic integrity, let alone any that needs protecting.

TL;DR: Draw better penises.

Pandabearparade:

xaszatm:

Actually, Bob has seen the video and made a reply on his gaming website.

I stand corrected. Though the reply in question just further cements what a pretentious douche Bob is.

I dunno, I don't think it's really fair to say he's douchey for having his own point of view. If he disagrees with the points raised in his video then that's his prerogative I guess.

What I WILL say is douchey however is the way he opens up his post, mentioning the "trolling" he's been bombarded with for the past two weeks. I mean "trolling"? Really?

Here's a thought Bob, maybe if you hadn't gone on Twitter and started insulting people while having no knowledge regarding the matter of why said people were upset, perhaps then they wouldn't be "trolling" you.

CarlMinez:
Question is whether anyone would really say that Mass Effect 3 can really constitute as a peace of art. There are certainly games out there that could be considered art, but I don't think I'd say that any Mass Effect game is up there.

As such, I really don't see any problems with altering the game in whatever way the developers thing will shut up the fanbase the quickest. Maybe they could release an expensive, alternative ending DLC. That ought to satisfy people.

The problem is that your opinion doesn't and shouldn't matter. The only opinions that should matter whether a game is art or not is the people making it. If they hold the line on this, you should respect it. And one of the reasons I'm saying this is that I agree with MovieBob. This will NOT be the last we hear of this idea. The instant Bioware caved, they just gave carte blanche to a whole group of fans who will have no problem demanding new endings, changes in plot and characterization and who knows what else to any other game designer out there.

Now in a year, this might blow over. There may not be a another triple-A title with a horrible ending, but if I'm over at Ubisoft Montreal, I'm fortifying the walls before Assassin's Creed 3 comes out. They've never been particularly good at endings, and their fans are just as nuts as Bioware's. This could good be an incredibly BAD turning point for the industry, and for game writing in general. I wish I could be as optimistic as Jim is.

anthony87:

Pandabearparade:

xaszatm:

Actually, Bob has seen the video and made a reply on his gaming website.

I stand corrected. Though the reply in question just further cements what a pretentious douche Bob is.

I dunno, I don't think it's really fair to say he's douchey for having his own point of view. If he disagrees with the points raised in his video then that's his prerogative I guess.

What I WILL say is douchey however is the way he opens up his post, mentioning the "trolling" he's been bombarded with for the past two weeks. I mean "trolling"? Really?

Here's a thought Bob, maybe if you hadn't gone on Twitter and started insulting people while having no knowledge regarding the matter of why said people were upset, perhaps then they wouldn't be "trolling" you.

I seriously don't think that bothers Bob. His twitter account has been a nest of vitriol for a while now. I think he was more mocking the fact that the people trying to troll him had no idea what they're talking about.

People with strong opinions often get a fair amount of hatred. I think the man is pretty thick-skinned by now. You should have seen the hatred the Other M thing generated.

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