Jimquisition: Changing A Game's Ending And Destroying Art

 Pages PREV 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 NEXT
 

RT-Medic-with-shotgun:

Raika:

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

*hands Raika a helmet*
Hope i am not too late in delivering this, but at 7 pages i somehow doubt i got you this in time.

I'm good, dude, but thanks.

A very reasonable, well thought out change of tune from Mr. Sterling. I enjoyed it, and agreed with what he had to say. Amazing what happens when folks in the game industry actually take the time to play the end and listen to ME3 players instead of writing them all off as entitled, children in adult form. Well played sir, well played.

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

Jim, there are many times I dislike you and don't agree with you. However, I have to take my hat off to you this time. You've listened to the fans, examined the grievances, and accepted some of them and shown how it's not wholly invalid. I didn't expect you to agree completely, but I'm glad to say you where very reasonable. Thank you.

I agree with you.

Also, while we are talking about constructive criticism, I feel that the images are totally random. I know another show on this site tries this LOL RANDUMB!!!!11 thing and it is really distracting. That being said, your show appears to have improved dramatically from the time of its initial airing.

By Javik I think he "gets" it.

Shogun Total War 2 - Art
Mass Effect 1 & 2 - Art
Ultima 7 and Part 2? - Art

Mass Effect 3 - Almost art, buried under a sea of pretentious junk added in willy-nilly. Which in turn acted like narrative bricks, ultimately sinking the ship. There is so much that is "conflicted" in this work, that it is hard "not" too see some serious management issues, especially concerning focus.

Convinced that Bioware just cannot, no... WILL not work within a reasonable matrix of sequel cannon-ology. Perhaps a parable of the Hyena? Dragon Age 2 had similar problems when it goes "on the rail" in narration.

Problems with "artistic vision"

Brad Mcquaid - hero to zero a man who had "A Vision"

Sword of the Stars 2 - Publisher rewrites it's contracts for 3rd party developer's the debacle was so bad.

Arena Net - Showed the Sylvari race for Guild Wars 2 at pax... some people boo'd 1~2 months later, total redesign, everyone is happy.

Yes, it is art. Also an "art form", which implies a utility in talent to work within a medium. Ultimately the end user, for better or worse, makes the call with their wallet.

Mass Effect 3, so poor in the second act, and ending on... well... if the idea was to sell DLC or to continue with the multi-player there has to be something to encourage further engagement with the material. That is not happening, thus financially, it could perhaps be considered another brick around the companies neck.

Visions, and "being artsie", is not the same as art or conducting the act of creating art, as ME3 fails to convey a message other than "too lazy to care".

Casey Hudson, background in Architecture... no wonder he wrote himself in as the "Architect" at the end of the game. Are not artist and designers repeatedly warned "NOT" to write themselves into a narrative?

Are artist creating a product for themselves? Or for an audience? It's a trend at Bioware. Shrug... money to slosh around I guess.

Jimquisition is probably my favourite video series on here now.

I'm personally not too bothered if a new ending is made or not as it's highly unlikely it will be changed to something I rate any better. But I honestly don't understand how anyone can be massively upset about it being possibly changed. A developer releases a game and a large portion of the fans dislike the ending and deem it unacceptable, so the developer decides to change it to address fan concerns. Setting aside the whole 'artist integrity' argument for second how on earth is that a bad thing?!

370999:

J.d. Scott:

Oddly enough, I concur with Moviebob (and actually took it a lot farther) on that particular point. A lot of people have acted like (and don't take this the wrong way - I'm quoting myself on this) "whiny entitled b***hes" on this.

Oh they have. However with Bob that accusation can be made straight back at him. and as I said before, a lot fo the naysayers have acted equally whiney and annoying, with shrill declartions of "entitlement" and "art ruined forever"

People hemmed and hawed and felt that Bioware betrayed them on "From Ashes", even though they know that's an EA hardline policy, that Bioware's never shown a propensity to betray them before, and before they ever actually saw it. From Ashes is literally nothing. A character that was overpowered and unlikable, and an hour's worth of faffing about in some recycled mapping from ME2.

Which there was a lot of information was cut from the game. Look I can't complain if people are very suspicious with Day one DLC particularly when it involves a character who seemed like he was going to be crucial to the story. He wasn't but before it came out I was very much uncomfortable with it.

A lot of gamers have been really incredibly silly about the ending. The "demanding" or "retaking" baloney is just the first step, like you have any position to demand, or you ever had enough of the game to be able to "retake" it. There was a lot of pretention, and a lot of ego in some of the things that were said.

I will agree with you that fans don't own it, so to me they literally can't demand change as they have no effective way of making Bioware change it. We are not talking The Satanic verses territory here but rather that it people disliekd the ending and wanted it changed. And i for one think that is perfectly valid.

Just a note on the retake position, that name was very much based on the ME3 add campaign about "retake Earth". So yeah it is misleading and some people do honestly believe it, but it was always intended to be more of a punny title then anything.

Part of it is Bioware's fault - Casey should have never lied in that interview - I just think he doesn't know how to properly "answer without answering" a question. It was stupid. He should have apologized already, and I think Bioware should have jumped on the issue way before now from a PR perspective.

Agreed. People make mistakes. But not admitting to them is bad form.

I'm sure there's a bunch of you guys that had nice, nuanced opinions over there, but there's an incredible amount of ego and pretention and entitlement there too. I never even tried my hand at the Bioware Social boards, because literally, there were so many posts I disagreed with on so many levels that if I started, I'd never get out. The ratio of good post to bad post was not 1:1 and it leaned heavily the wrong way. Small sample size, maybe. I'm willing to admit I didn't give it more then about ninety minutes of hard reading.

And that applies equally to your camp as well. I think people who don't respect the fact that other people have usually valid reasons for their opinions are idiots whetever they agree or disagree with me. There are some people on this forum's whose zealotry about this issue makes me uncomfortable.

But don't pretend this is one way. I'm going to have a hard time respecting you if you act like Bob was without any fault in how he presented it.

And those gamers who are on the bad side of things really needed to be taken to task. If you really were one of those gamers who were polite and constructive, don't take Bob's words to heart (or mine for that matter) - I personally, though I have a tendency for broad generalization (mostly for effect), certainly am not speaking about every one who commented to Bioware, but to you "whiny entitled b***hes" - you know who you are.

Without wishing to sound overly dramatic here, prehaps you should get your house in order before advising on others.

For the record, I've spewed some incredible vitriol towards people on the opposite side of this (although, not for presenting reasonable arguments), so I'm no saint. It's partially because I tried some reasonable discussion strategies and people just went "NAH-UH! Casey Hudson lied!" or the equivalent. The other reason, and this is the big one is that I feel that this is an incredibly bad precedent for the gaming industry especially. To steal a quote from earlier -

Well, given that the guy apparently working on "Bioshock: Infinite" was one of the defenders of EA on "Mass Effect 3" I suspect he's kind of "on notice"

The idea that this could already make developers on other triple-A titles such as AC3 (arguably, none of the AC's have had great endings) or Bioshock scares me a great deal. The fact that your fanbase already acknowledges that you could do this again terrifies me. The fact that this would affect Ken Levine's work on Bioshock at all offends me.

This could be a great turning point that turns games from a medium where incredibly dynamic and challenging stories could be told while simultaneously allowing interactivity. Especially something like Bioshock, which is about an underwater, objectivist, art-deco world. It comments on labor movements and abuse thereof - the nature of an individual in a collective, and other high concept thoughts that have suddenly become more complicated to want to present to an audience post-Retake.

We already know that Infinite provides commentary on jingoism and American exceptionalism in the early 1920s-1930s. What if a subsection of gamers misinteprets that as anti-Americanism or anti-patriotism. All it takes is one conservative commentator to comment on it (and Fox News loves attacking video games...) and this same type of thing could pop back up.

I wish I could be optimistic about this - that this will tell developers not to half-ass endings, but I think the opposite is true - it'll make developers want to say as little as possible - to provide you with as little narrative, as little choice, and as little thought-provoking or high-concept thought as possible. The less someone says, the less room there is for critique.

When you feel that this is the end outcome of all this nonsense, as a lover of games that break the mold and challenge the medium, you want to say you fought back as best you could. Everyone wants to be Winston Churchill - nobody wants to be remembered as Neville Chamberlain.

(And no, I'm not drawing a direct parallel between this and Britain fighting Nazis in WW2 - just the value of conflict vs appeasement)

Wow. This is the first episode of this series I actually got something out of. Granted, I've only seen two others; the one on piracy (eh) and the very first one, which I already commented on.

I have yet to play Mass Effect 3, and all the whining made me upset because I was fearful for spoilers. However, given the (relatively) reasonable statements you've made in this video, I'm now willing to wait for a version with a new ending to be released. Because unlike in your first episode, you didn't simply rant about it. You put it in terms I could understand without spoiling anything.

I respect and appreciate that. I think I may just start watching this series on a weekly basis.

depends if its supposed to be a sandbox with massive amounts of content and side missons it should have post endgame exploration after you beat the main quest. if it didn't then changing the ending is ok. to the devlopers of Fallout New vegas GIVE US DLC LIKE BROKEN STEEL!!!!!!

J.d. Scott:

For the record, I've spewed some incredible vitriol towards people on the opposite side of this (although, not for presenting reasonable arguments), so I'm no saint. It's partially because I tried some reasonable discussion strategies and people just went "NAH-UH! Casey Hudson lied!" or the equivalent. The other reason, and this is the big one is that I feel that this is an incredibly bad precedent for the gaming industry especially. To steal a quote from earlier -

I would say any spewing of vitriol is wrong. It makes me find your argument of "move on" to eb very hard to accept if you are equally guilty of the same over emotional response.

That word precedent mean exactly that. It is a precedent. We are not talking about law. We are talking games.

Well, given that the guy apparently working on "Bioshock: Infinite" was one of the defenders of EA on "Mass Effect 3" I suspect he's kind of "on notice"

The idea that this could already make developers on other triple-A titles such as AC3 (arguably, none of the AC's have had great endings) or Bioshock scares me a great deal. The fact that your fanbase already acknowledges that you could do this again terrifies me. The fact that this would affect Ken Levine's work on Bioshock at all offends me.

The fact that you think Levine is so weak willed offends me. How exactly will he be forced to change his games. Levine (and Bioware) are the ultimate determinate in their art. They decide what happens. Anyone who suggests otherwise is insane. So you seem to be guilty of the same behavior you criticize the retake ME crowd, conflating the role of the audience, with the role of the artist.

People can make as much noise as they want, it doesn't mean the artist will (or should) change the end product.

This could be a great turning point that turns games from a medium where incredibly dynamic and challenging stories could be told while simultaneously allowing interactivity. Especially something like Bioshock, which is about an underwater, objectivist, art-deco world. It comments on labor movements and abuse thereof - the nature of an individual in a collective, and other high concept thoughts that have suddenly become more complicated to want to present to an audience post-Retake.

Again you seem to be acting like any admission that sometime the fans are right and elements don't work, means the complete surrender of creative control to fandom.

We already know that Infinite provides commentary on jingoism and American exceptionalism in the early 1920s-1930s. What if a subsection of gamers misinteprets that as anti-Americanism or anti-patriotism. All it takes is one conservative commentator to comment on it (and Fox News loves attacking video games...) and this same type of thing could pop back up.

And Levine can say "I refuse to change it", and that finishes the matter.

I wish I could be optimistic about this - that this will tell developers not to half-ass endings, but I think the opposite is true - it'll make developers want to say as little as possible - to provide you with as little narrative, as little choice, and as little thought-provoking or high-concept thought as possible. The less someone says, the less room there is for critique.

Conjecture. Developers will be artists and come up with different ideas, Publishers will support the one they think will generate the most cash return for the least investment.

When you feel that this is the end outcome of all this nonsense, as a lover of games that break the mold and challenge the medium, you want to say you fought back as best you could. Everyone wants to be Winston Churchill - nobody wants to be remembered as Neville Chamberlain.

(And no, I'm not drawing a direct parallel between this and Britain fighting Nazis in WW2 - just the value of conflict vs appeasement)

I would hope so as you accusations that the retake ME crowd are whiny and over the top is well incredibly hypocritical.

I am a tad amused at how, the very concept of an artist saying "maybe the fans are right on this issue, maybe I should change it?" is completely wrong and sets a horrifying precedent, yet you profess to love the idea of challenging the medium. In my eyes anything that can make a product better is a good thing, and in this case, IMHO I know you disagree, this infinetly would.

people tend to misunderstand the phrase "bad ending".

It doesn't mean unhappy, it means bad. It was shit.

i was not expecting what i heard from this vid. Honestly thought it was going to go the other way. I am delightfully surprised, way to go Jim. (^.^)b

Raika:

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.

I'll certainly miss James' contributions if/when the column comes back. What annoyed you about him?

Jim, please stop with all the penises, I don't want to be distracted by them, all I can think about when I see that is, "Whats going though his mind when he draws these? Does he take his precious time making sure it looks like he wants it?" Then I laugh thinking of you saying

"That's too big...not enough foliage"

no Jim you are wrong, mass effect 3 is what it is, if you change that, is no longer mass effect 3, is no longer bioware idea, your show had bad feedback but you never changed previous episodes. what mass effect fans want is the ending to be changed. is like if someone didnt like the epilogue from harry pottr and because of that JK Rowling took the alredy released book, shred the last ten pages and stapled some fanfiction she took from the internet. that book is still Harry Potter and the deadly hallows?, no it isnt, but if she writes an 8th book telling the story of some other kid in hogwarts that is ok. i am not against Bioware wanting to deal with this, but i dont aprove a new ending, an epilogue is the right solution

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 fear the day when it ceases to be a Slippery Slope, and becomes a legitimate "trend" in the business.

Jimothy Sterling:
snip

Thank God for finally giving Jim some sense. Funny how a lot of critics after actually seeing the ending stop and think that maybe the Retake ME3 movement isn't just a bunch of chimps throwing feces at Starry Night. Good show Jim you have not run me off yet. Now maybe you can smack some sense into Bob with his whole "thanks again for setting games as an art back"

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

Thank you, Captain Obvious. You gonna tell us that Bioshock 2 was a rushed cash-in now?

Nice.

When this show started, everyone was damning it to hell, but now that he agrees with the general public, it's suddenly "Oh Jim, truely you're a god among men. Thank christ for you."

SamuelT:
Nice.

When this show started, everyone was damning it to hell, but now that he agrees with the general public, it's suddenly "Oh Jim, truely you're a god among men. Thank christ for you."

Partly, maybe if you read most of the responses you'd see it's "thank god he actually took the time to see the other side of the arguments point"

As opposed to almost every other games journalist who's primary argument is still "You all just wanted a happy ending whiny entitled brats!"

Ive yet to decide whether or not this game is art in the first place. Games can be art but that doesn't mean all games are and arguments for defending the game because it is art seem kind of circular. I think the art title is being used too often to defend and to revere what is essentially and sometimes in actuality shit on a plate.

Darkcerb:

SamuelT:
Nice.

When this show started, everyone was damning it to hell, but now that he agrees with the general public, it's suddenly "Oh Jim, truely you're a god among men. Thank christ for you."

Partly, maybe if you read most of the responses you'd see it's "thank god he actually took the time to see the other side of the arguments point"

As opposed to almost every other games journalist who's primary argument is still "You all just wanted a happy ending whiny entitled brats!"

I've read most of the responses, it's just that I don't really agree with the statements being made. I agreed with people like MovieBob, that an artist has to back his or her work for it to be an artwork.

But I don't want to force anything on people. I just found the switch from devil to god notable..

I.Muir:
Ive yet to decide whether or not this game is art in the first place. Games can be art but that doesn't mean all games are and arguments for defending the game because it is art seem kind of circular. I think the art title is being used too often to defend and to revere what is essentially and sometimes in actuality shit on a plate.

One of the funniest parts of all this to me is the debate over whether games can be art was apparently settled. And whether ME3 was art to has been settled, and again whether the ending too is art and whether art can misrepresent it's medium and miss it's audience.

All has apparently been settled in a debate I would have loved to have seen it must have been a real sight, all that decided on mass in the span of days.

SamuelT:

Darkcerb:

SamuelT:
Nice.

When this show started, everyone was damning it to hell, but now that he agrees with the general public, it's suddenly "Oh Jim, truely you're a god among men. Thank christ for you."

Partly, maybe if you read most of the responses you'd see it's "thank god he actually took the time to see the other side of the arguments point"

As opposed to almost every other games journalist who's primary argument is still "You all just wanted a happy ending whiny entitled brats!"

I've read most of the responses, it's just that I don't really agree with the statements being made. I agreed with people like MovieBob, that an artist has to back his or her work for it to be an artwork.

But I don't want to force anything on people. I just found the switch from devil to god notable..

I don't find it amazing that people react better when they are listened to, instead of ignored and mocked.

I should add that's it's a twisted irony that these same journalist's jump down the various media outlets of the world for turning a blind eye to the logical arguments made against them by the industry only to then do the exact same thing on mass to fellow gamers.

Jim...do yourself a favour and remove the crappy paint images. You make several very good points and the juivinille penis drawings really take it away.

Minor Point: Why does everyone insist Mass Effect is art? Are we really at a point where having a half-decent story tied to your 3rd person shooter is enough to call it art?

Nice to here you pseudo apologize. You lash out way too much without actually investigated what you were lashing out at. You bitched about something you literally knew nothing about.

Also, Gabe apologized for L4D2's unique release and pricing. Stop using that as an example of gamers being stupid.

I'm happy to see some people in gaming media are finally giving some credence to fans on this issue and not just writing them off as whiny haters of art. There's been a fair amount of that on this site between this Jimquisition and the last Mass Effect 3 podcast (but then there is Bob).

If they released a new ending as paid DLC, I'll be torn. I'll want it. I'll really want it, because this ending is literally the only major blemish on the series for me. There are some little nagging issues I've had, but this is my favorite game series for a reason. And while I'm not even close to the opinion that the ending ruins the entire series (or the rest of Mass Effect 3. I really this this is a hyperbolic reaction that will blow over), it's definitely not a fitting ending in terms of tone, lore, or quality.

But paying for a new ending would be a nasty precedent. I don't think even as big a fan as I can support that kind of move.

Jim, you're my hero. I don't know why I ever doubted you!

Mikeyfell:

J.d. Scott:

Since I don't really feel like discussing plot points, I'll skip that.

However, the thing with Moviebob bothers me, only because that seems to be the general consensus from the RME side about the other side, that we're just some group of assholes trying to repress your legitimate free expression. I don't know how many times I've said "You have every right to complain." since this mess started, but it's a lot. I have a lot of friends who want the revamped ending, so I've been in a LOT of debates, online and otherwise. I know Bob said that at least four times in that video, even taking the time to step on the obnoxious voice effect pedal or thing for emphasis.

It bothers me because apparently nobody can seem to look at some of the things that were said and done in the RME community as members, view them objectively, and admit that there's a significant portion of the one side (which is by far the majority - I've seen less then a dozen other gamers admit they support my position) that have acted like entitled whiny bitches. It is not a tiny subsection of your group that's been out of line - some a lot more then others.

If you can't really see that and understand that, then I wonder if there's any way to preserve the artist/consumer relationship in video games - because if you can't see it other people, how can you objectively judge your own actions. If you feel that it's fair to demand a new ending. If you feel that games are commodities and subject to the same rules as a sandwich you didn't like or a pair of shoes that don't break in well, if you feel that Bioware owes you this new ending, if you feel the fact that Casey Hudson wasn't honest in an interview gives you permission to do these things - then I think the gaming community is in big trouble, because this is going to affect every major game going out.

Would you be disappointed with a new ending, regardless of what it was?

This argument does have it's fair share of childishness going around but most of it isn't being directed at Bioware. Most of it is being pointed at your side of the argument. (I mean shit, the first line is my post was "Jim was right." which implies that you and MovieBob were wrong. Which isn't true, because these are opinions)

This is the weirdest case I've ever seen on the internet, mostly because all the "Logical" points are in favor of the "entitled" side side. It's an argument from Bizarre-o-World.
Now I doubt that this will lead to anything world shaking, even if Bioware does change the ending. Because let's be honest "Major game" these days probably means Multyplayer focused Military FPS. Not so much room for emotional attachment to characters and events in a 5 hour campaign.
Mass Effect was a trilogy of games that gave you real emotional connections to all the characters in that galaxy (Because you spent more than half the game talking to them). With the ending being blue balls 5 years in the making, people were pissed, deservedly so. (Depending on who you ask)
I don't think this is going to bleed over into any other games.

Yeah. It depends in a lot of ways. I don't have a really defined opinion on this - like "If they'd do this, I'd go burn down their facilities" or somesuch. There's part of me that hates the idea of this, simply because of reasons already stated - it sets a dangerous precedent.

However, a lot of it depends on what they get. I'm not some idiot that goes "the ending was best evar". I get the arguments. There are plot holes. Your C&Cs don't really effect the ending. At one point, a lot earlier, I proposed a six pronged ending.

A paragon ending (3000 EMS, must have resolved Geth/Quarians peacefully, must have encouraged Joker/EDI relationship, 100% paragon rating) - Shepard convinces the Starchild that the problem is resolved, and that synthetics and organics can live peacefully, and he turns Shepard into a demi-superbeing in charge of the Reapers with the responsibility of making sure the inevitable synthetic uprising never happens.

A renegade ending (3000 EMS, must have sided with the quarians, convinced EDI not to pursue a relationnship, 100% renegade rating) - Shepard convincing the Starchild that the problem is solved, that organics have resubjugated synthetics, and he turns Shepard in a demi-Superbeing....etc, etc.

A military ending (5500+ EMS only): Shepard tells the Starchild to go fuck itself and Victory Fleet goes all-in against the Reapers. Victory Fleets get wiped, but it cripples the Reapers and Shepard sacrifices himself to use the crucible to obliterate the Citadel and the Crucible (and Human Reaper attempt #2) and basically while everyone in the plot dies, eventually the unified front destroys the Reapers.

And then three other endings.

The three endings, I'd modify in the following ways.

1.) In all six, I'd have the Starchild explain what he is (I made him an AI designed to control the Reapers).
2.) In all but the military ending, Shepard tells Joker and Edi to grab the crew and bug out.
3.) I'd only imply that the Mass Relays were destroyed in the Red Ending. Now they may not work after blue or green, but since in both endings the Reapers are available, Victory Fleet just has to sit and spin while the Reapers fix it.
4.) I'd have each of the three color endings talk about the ending theme that they're supposed to represent - Red being sacrifice, Blue being control and power, and green being unity.
5.) I'd also increase the length of the snowfield scene to help people understand that this is a retelling. I'd probably have the person who was the "old man" voice in that section do the ending VOs explaining #4, so you understand the parable nature of this.

This was what I came up with. I designed it to retain as much as I could and fix as much as I felt needed fixing, but even if they used my idea, I'd still be cautiously reserved. It's just that at the end of the day, I don't want any part of any creative effort to be changed at the barrel of a gun. However, since Bioware didn't exactly offer much to say (I'm sure Ray Muzyka made sure that any internal debate did NOT make it outside the walls), it's hard to really tell what they felt about it, aside from the guy who heaved Casey Hudson and Mac Walters under the bus, and I hope he gets his.

In the end, no matter what ending is made, I may like it or I may not. I can like the ending and not like the circumstances under which it's made. As for the "major game" product, I think that's at least an affect of the issue. Military FPS's cater to the least common denominator - they can provide all the fanservice they want in context, since it's all just explosion porn anyway. The more we backbite at companies trying to do better, while simultaneously undermining any attempt they undertake at making money as corporate profiteering (seriously - "From Ashes" gets hundreds of complaints, and COD:Elite gets next to none), the more we're going to get bland shooters and the like.

Jimothy Sterling:

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.

I have to say, I've enjoyed the show since it first started showing up on the Escapist, but it was a bit of a shock at first. I wasn't quite sure what to think. But taking so many hateful statements and using it as a way to improve your work... that's something I can definitely respect. So many other people would've likely taken one look at the comments and either quit or thrown a massive hissy fit. *laughs* So well done you on turning hatred into something constructive and please keep the great videos coming.

More on topic, I may not agree with all that was said in the video, but I can certainly understand it. Really, no matter what side of the fence you fall on, it's an interesting thing, seeing this rage against Mass Effect 3's ending and the thought that Bioware may just take fans' opinions into account and at least make an attempt to right the situation in the eyes of those who've felt slighted. It's a brave move, if anything, I'd say.

370999:

J.d. Scott:

For the record, I've spewed some incredible vitriol towards people on the opposite side of this (although, not for presenting reasonable arguments), so I'm no saint. It's partially because I tried some reasonable discussion strategies and people just went "NAH-UH! Casey Hudson lied!" or the equivalent. The other reason, and this is the big one is that I feel that this is an incredibly bad precedent for the gaming industry especially. To steal a quote from earlier -

I would say any spewing of vitriol is wrong. It makes me find your argument of "move on" to eb very hard to accept if you are equally guilty of the same over emotional response.

That word precedent mean exactly that. It is a precedent. We are not talking about law. We are talking games.

Well, given that the guy apparently working on "Bioshock: Infinite" was one of the defenders of EA on "Mass Effect 3" I suspect he's kind of "on notice"

The idea that this could already make developers on other triple-A titles such as AC3 (arguably, none of the AC's have had great endings) or Bioshock scares me a great deal. The fact that your fanbase already acknowledges that you could do this again terrifies me. The fact that this would affect Ken Levine's work on Bioshock at all offends me.

The fact that you think Levine is so weak willed offends me. How exactly will he be forced to change his games. Levine (and Bioware) are the ultimate determinate in their art. They decide what happens. Anyone who suggests otherwise is insane. So you seem to be guilty of the same behavior you criticize the retake ME crowd, conflating the role of the audience, with the role of the artist.

People can make as much noise as they want, it doesn't mean the artist will (or should) change the end product.

This could be a great turning point that turns games from a medium where incredibly dynamic and challenging stories could be told while simultaneously allowing interactivity. Especially something like Bioshock, which is about an underwater, objectivist, art-deco world. It comments on labor movements and abuse thereof - the nature of an individual in a collective, and other high concept thoughts that have suddenly become more complicated to want to present to an audience post-Retake.

Again you seem to be acting like any admission that sometime the fans are right and elements don't work, means the complete surrender of creative control to fandom.

We already know that Infinite provides commentary on jingoism and American exceptionalism in the early 1920s-1930s. What if a subsection of gamers misinteprets that as anti-Americanism or anti-patriotism. All it takes is one conservative commentator to comment on it (and Fox News loves attacking video games...) and this same type of thing could pop back up.

And Levine can say "I refuse to change it", and that finishes the matter.

I wish I could be optimistic about this - that this will tell developers not to half-ass endings, but I think the opposite is true - it'll make developers want to say as little as possible - to provide you with as little narrative, as little choice, and as little thought-provoking or high-concept thought as possible. The less someone says, the less room there is for critique.

Conjecture. Developers will be artists and come up with different ideas, Publishers will support the one they think will generate the most cash return for the least investment.

When you feel that this is the end outcome of all this nonsense, as a lover of games that break the mold and challenge the medium, you want to say you fought back as best you could. Everyone wants to be Winston Churchill - nobody wants to be remembered as Neville Chamberlain.

(And no, I'm not drawing a direct parallel between this and Britain fighting Nazis in WW2 - just the value of conflict vs appeasement)

I would hope so as you accusations that the retake ME crowd are whiny and over the top is well incredibly hypocritical.

I am a tad amused at how, the very concept of an artist saying "maybe the fans are right on this issue, maybe I should change it?" is completely wrong and sets a horrifying precedent, yet you profess to love the idea of challenging the medium. In my eyes anything that can make a product better is a good thing, and in this case, IMHO I know you disagree, this infinetly would.

To be fair, I thought Casey Hudson and I know Ray Muzyka to be fairly strong willed guys, and they caved like a souffle in a Metallica concert. Do I know whether Ken Levine would do the same thing in the same position - no. Do I want to put him and Irrational Games to the test - not particularly. Here's the thing, a guy like Ken Levine and the Bioware guys have enough influence in the industry to stand up for themselves, but smaller developers, especially smaller developers with large publishers will not. And I don't think if Casey or Mac or Ray came out and said - that's the ending that this would have ended. It wasn't like anyone suggesting to the RME crowd that this was a terrible idea stopped anyone from going forward with their terrible ideas.

I'm not totally opposed to an artist going back, looking objectively at his work, and modifying it based on whatever criteria they choose, including fan reaction. It happens a lot - Ridley Scott cut and recut Blade Runner so many times it was silly. Clive Cussler (and don't confuse this with art necessarily - I think this novel series is TERRIBLE) brought back a major character from the dead many many books later (Dirk Pitt's wife). However, there's a difference between an artist doing that because they want to and being forced to. In this case, Bioware didn't exactly offer resistance, so I have to think they're complicit in the idea. I worry about an artist being pressured into making a more commercially acceptable ending, because the goal of art shouldn't be universal acceptance, but I'm in a holding pattern on all of this. It'll be interesting to see what Bioware does.

In the long game, this could be all much ado about not much. It could be beneficial to the games industry in the fact that game buyers won't tolerate bad or incomplete writing. It could also be very poisonous. I worry that the long game result of this will be less Mass Effect 3s and more Modern Warfare 3s. Mass Effect 3 was a game that played out less like wish fulfillment and more like the third act of an opera or greek tragedy - it was about suffering, sacrifice, and death, and the character's major hope was that their death would bring about the desired change. Modern Warfare 3 was a mindless shoot-em-up with a thin plot, clearly defined right/wrong (you right, evil russians wrong) and recycled gameplay.

However, one appealed to the masses, and the other got appealed to by the masses. Activision/Infinity Ward are making money hand over fist, while Bioware is spending money to make a new ending (and let's see the reaction when they try to charge for it...)

And the thing is, these super-publishers (Activision, EA, Ubisoft) don't really care too much about art. They really really care about money. They control the purse-strings in this industry and any reluctance to create a high-concept game because of fan interference will inevitably make them make more conservative, safer, less interesting gaming decisions.

You might think it's conjecture, but look at the music industry for the last 20 years or so. Companies who had no real vested interest in music (Sony, RCA, Seagram's) snapped up record labels because profitability was really incredibly high in the crest of two big artistic movements - grunge and gangsta rap. The tide of public opinion swung the wrong way on both movements and new technology changed the way people get their music. Music companies started focusing more on image-based, easily consumable music that appeals to a younger, less content-savvy base. Slower developing artists were relegated to independent labels or not signed at all.

Now let's try this, but change a few words.

You might think it's conjecture, but look at the game industry in the next 10 years or so. Companies who had no real vested interest in good games (EA, Ubisoft, Activision) snapped up developers because profitability was really incredibly high in the crest of two big gaming trends (the rise of the MMO, and online multi-player-heavy first-person shooters). The tide of public opinion swung towards these products and away from artistic content, and new technology (iPhone/iPad/Android) changed the way people get their games. Developers start to focus on more image-based, easily consumable games that appeal to a younger, less content-savvy base. Higher concept games were relegated to smaller platforms (portables, cell phones, or Steam) or not made at all.

You're welcome to be optimistic. I'm just not. It's already starting to happen in the game industry.

(As for challenging the medium, there's a big difference in artists challenging the limits of the what the medium is capable of in terms of storytelling and player effect and fans challenging the limits of what the medium entitles them to for their purchase price. There's no direct correlation whatsoever. You just used the same term to justify a bad argument.)

Just a thought here. What if Jim said - I took some time, studied the other side, and it reaffirmed the opinion I already had? Would you all still praise him for studying the issue to it's fullest? There's a base assumption that people who disagree with RME don't understand it that I don't think is entirely true (in some cases, it is - I happen to like Bob Chipman a lot, but maybe he should have played the game first - it's not hard to have played the game and reach the conclusion he did...)

I think a lot of you are praising him only because he's on your side and damning others because they're not.

Its a game. That makes it first and foremost a product. A Very advanced toy so to speak.
Games are not simply "art". The rules of art do not apply here. Yes they can display pieces of art - beautifully crafted terrains, models, art direction and yes, even story telling. However it still is a comercial product and if a product is not up to customer expectation, said customer can demand fixing.

If mr artsy hudson can't live with that fact, he should go back to writing books.

Credossuck:
Its a game. That makes it first and foremost a product. A Very advanced toy so to speak.
Games are not simply "art". The rules of art do not apply here.

I must ask: "What rules of art?"
They had better not be more of that arbitrary nonsense; I've seen more than my fill of those sorts of "Definitions of Art" this last week alone.

Thank god jim got a haircut. He no longer looks like a little boy.

 Pages PREV 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 NEXT

Reply to Thread

Log in or Register to Comment
Have an account? Login below:
With Facebook:Login With Facebook
or
Username:  
Password:  
  
Not registered? To sign up for an account with The Escapist:
Register With Facebook
Register With Facebook
or
Registered for a free account here