BioWare Did Right By Us

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undeadsuitor:

Dead_Lee:
I'm not going to read anymore of your comments about "artistic integrity" in a game that does this:
http://img43.imageshack.us/img43/4853/biowarequality.jpg

They are not artists. They are a business and, with KotOR, a service provider. I don't even know how you can defend this as an artistic vision when it's clear that no one in the writing team had a clue about the story.

I have never in my life seen a company treat their own fans as poorly as Bioware and EA do and act like they're saviours while doing it. This whole thing has just proven which video game "journalists" are the most spineless. ME3 is a terrible game, and by diverting all the hate towards the ending, Bioware's damage control has succeeded.

.....ahaha I'm sorry, I cant take anything that lists "modeled after a transexual" as a mark against "artistic integrity" seriously.

The "Perfect Woman" is modeled after a transsexual.

I think if I'd played the game with the EC originally Id be okay with it. Not entirely satsified, but I don't know if I'd complain much. In a way that's kind of the dumb part, without much extra effort the original game could have ended in a passable way, and avoided all the hate.

I must respectfully disagree. In the long run, I don't believe the EC really fixed anything. Yes, the endings are better, but that's like saying being struck by lightning is better than being set on fire. There are still massive plot holes, most notably with the Refusal ending (which was also passive-aggressive - something that doesn't help BioWare now), and we still have the wholly unnecessary Starchild to deal with in that universe, making the setting all the poorer for it. Furthermore, the fact that the endings to such a formerly brilliant series needed to be fixed doesn't speak well of the situation to begin with.

llagrok:

undeadsuitor:

Dead_Lee:
I'm not going to read anymore of your comments about "artistic integrity" in a game that does this:
http://img43.imageshack.us/img43/4853/biowarequality.jpg

They are not artists. They are a business and, with KotOR, a service provider. I don't even know how you can defend this as an artistic vision when it's clear that no one in the writing team had a clue about the story.

I have never in my life seen a company treat their own fans as poorly as Bioware and EA do and act like they're saviours while doing it. This whole thing has just proven which video game "journalists" are the most spineless. ME3 is a terrible game, and by diverting all the hate towards the ending, Bioware's damage control has succeeded.

.....ahaha I'm sorry, I cant take anything that lists "modeled after a transexual" as a mark against "artistic integrity" seriously.

The "Perfect Woman" is modeled after a transsexual.

1) The "Perfect Woman" in ME would be Miranda. Since she was genetically made to be perfect. The picture that was posted was Ashley, the gruff, manly, mostly unemotional military girl.

2) Why does it matter.

3) Why does it matter.

undeadsuitor:

1) The "Perfect Woman" in ME would be Miranda. Since she was genetically made to be perfect. The picture that was posted was Ashley, the gruff, manly, mostly unemotional military girl.

Well she was manly and gruff, until they turned her into a babe and included characters that look straight out of Jersey Shore in order to get a wider audience.

I didn't make the image I posted, it's just the one that goes around the internet. The other points still stand however.

There was a post on the BioWare Social Network that perfectly illustrates why I feel the endings are terrible, and the extended cut really didn't change that. I did not write the following post, but I agree with it wholeheartedly. Note - it's VERY long but extremely well written. I sincerely hope everyone takes the time to read it:

By "Made Nightwing"

So, my lit professor and I are nerds. I throw in 'but the prize' references on my essays about Odysseus and Achilles, he throws in Firefly references in his lectures, we get on great. Now, I've previously mentioned that he disliked the endings EDIT: He dropped in on the forum to correct my paraphrasing of our conversation, so I'm updating the OP to have his infinitely superior original words replace my own feeble attempts:

Drayfish, p.13:

I've never posted on this forum before, so I hope I don't embarrass myself or this discussion entirely - and I apologise for the wall of text that is to follow, but I'm an academic, and tedious tracts of self-important linguistic gymnastics is what we do.

My name is Dr. Dray, and I should start by saying: oh, dear, I've been cited for my nerd indignation. I'm surprised Made Nightwing didn't mention that my little fists were shaking with rage. But they were. They did. With feeble, pointless nerd rage.

I must point out though, that as flattered as I am to be referenced, were I still marking Made Nightwing's work I would have to circle this passage and remind him that these words are not in fact directly attributable to me: his phrasing is a paraphrase of our conversation rather than a quotation. ...However, he has an attentive mind, and I must admit that he has captured the majority of my issues with the ending, my penchant for hyperbole, and the general dislocation of the thematic threads that I felt violated the larger narrative arc of the trilogy. And I'm sad to say I did use the words 'thematically revolting' - although I've watched both the Matrix sequels and Godfather 3, so I've probably said that phrase quite a lot.

If you'll permit me then, I did just want to write quickly in my own words to clarify some of my issues with these endings, and why I thought that they erode the themes heretofore at the core of their series. Of course, all of these arguments have no doubt been stated numerous times by voices far more worthy than mine over the past few weeks, but as someone intrigued by the production and reception of literature in all its forms this has been a fascinating - if disheartening - time to be an enormous fan of this fiction. I'd also like to particularly commend Strange Aeons for the fantastic post. And that analogy: 'It's like ending Pinocchio with Geppetto stuffing him into a wood chipper'. What an exquisite image!

So, putting aside all of the hanging plot threads that rankled me (where was the Normandy going? why did my squad mates live? Anderson is where now? wait, the catalyst was Haley Joel Osment? etc), I would like to explain why, when I was offered those three repellent choices, I turned and tried to unload my now infinite pistol into the whispy-space-ghost's face. It was not because I was unhappy that my Shepard would not get to drink Garrus under the table one last time, or get to help Tali build a back-porch on her new homestead, nor that I was pretty sure no one was going to remember to feed my space fish - it was because those three ideological options were so structurally indefensible that they broke the suspension of disbelief that Bioware had (up until that point) so spectacularly crafted for over a hundred hours of narrative. Suddenly Shepard was not simply being asked to sacrifice a race or a friend or him/herself for the greater good (all of which was no doubt expected by any player paying attention to the tone of the series), Shepard was being compelled, without even the chance to offer a counterpoint, to perform one of three actions that to my reading each fundamentally undermined the narrative foundations upon which the series seemed to rest.

In the Control ending, Shepard is invited to pursue the previously impossible path of attempting to dominate the reapers and bend them to his will. Momentarily putting aside the vulgarity of dominating a species to achieve one's own ends (and I will get to complaining about that premise soon enough), this has proved to be the failed modus operandi of every antagonist in this fiction up until this point - including the Illusive Man and Saren - all of whom have been chewed up and destroyed by their blind ambition, incapable of controlling forces beyond their comprehension. Nothing in the vague prognostication of the exposition-ghost offers any tangible justification for why Shepard's plunge into Reaper-control should play out any differently. In fact, as many people have already pointed out, Shepard has literally not five minutes before this moment watched the Illusive Man die as a consequence of this arrogant misconception.

The Destroy ending, however, seems even more perverse. One of the constants of the Mass Effect universe (and indeed much quality science fiction) has been an exploration of the notion that life is not simplistically bound to biology, that existence expands beyond the narrow parameters of blood and bone. That is why synthetic characters like Legion and EDI are so compelling in this context, why their quests to understand self-awareness - not simply to ape human behaviours - is so dramatic and compelling. Indeed, we even get glimpses of the Reapers having more sprawling and unknowable motivations that we puny mortals can comprehend...

To then end the tale by forcing the player to obliterate several now-proven-legitimate forms of life in order to 'save' the traditional definition of fleshy existence is not only genocidal, it actually devolves Shephard's ideological growth, undermining his ascent toward a more enlightened conception of existence, something that the fiction has been steadily advancing no matter how Renegadishably you wanted to play. This is particularly evident when the preceding actions of all three games entirely disprove the premise that synthetic will inevitably destroy organic: the Geth were the persecuted victims, trying their best to save the Quarians from themselves; EDI, given autonomy, immediately sought to aid her crew, even taking physical form in order to experience life from their perspective and finally learning that she too feared the implications of death.

And finally Synthesis, the ending that I suspect (unless we are to believe the Indoctrination Theory) is the 'good' option, proves to be the most distasteful of all. Shepard, up until this point has been an instrument though which change is achieved in this universe, and dependent upon your individual Renegade or Paragon choices, this may have resulted in siding with one species or another, letting this person live or that person die, even condemning races to extinction through your actions. But these decisions were always the result of a mediation of disparate opinions, and a consequence of the natural escalation of these disputes - Shepard was merely the fork in the path that decided which way the lava would run. His/her actions had an impact, but was responding to events in the universe that were already in motion before he/she arrived.

To belabour the point: Shepard is an agent for arbitration, the tipping point of dialogues that have, at times, root causes that reach back across generations. Up until this moment in the game the narrative, and Shepard's role within it, has been about the negotiation of diversity, testing the validity of opposing viewpoints and selecting a path through which to evolve on to another layer of questioning. Suddenly with the Synthesis ending, Shepard's capacity to make decisions elevates from offering a moral tipping point to arbitrarily wiping such disparity from the world. Shepard imposes his/her will upon every species, every form of life within the galaxy, making them all a dreary homogenous oneness. At such a point, wiping negotiation and multiplicity from the universe, Shepard moves from being an influential voice amongst a biodiversity of thought to sacrificing him/herself in an omnipotent imposition of will.

(And lest we forget that the entire character arc of Javik (the 'bonus' paid-DLC character that gives unique context to the entire cycle of destruction upon which this fiction is based) is utilised to reveal that a lack of diversity, the failure to continue adapting to new circumstances, was the primary reason that his race was decimated. ...So I guess we have that to look forward to.)

And this was the analogy I made to Made Nightwing in our discussion (and which I have bored people with elsewhere): this bewildering finale felt as if you had been listening to a soaring orchestral movement that ended in a cacophonous blast, the musicians tossing down their instruments and walking away. I find it hard to conceive how the creators of such a magnificent franchise could have made such a mess of their own universe. The plot holes, thematic inconsistencies and a deus ex machina that was unforgivable in ancient Greek theatre, let alone in any modern narrative, all combine to erode the foundations upon which the rest of the experience resides. (It's a disturbing sign when apologists for such an ending have to literally hope that what they witnessed was just a bad dream in the central character's head.)

I'm sure in my diatribe with Made Nightwing I would have cited Charles Dickens being alert to, and adapting his writing in response to the floods of letters he received from his fans in the serialised delivery of stories such as The Old Curiosity Shop. And I know I mentioned F.Scott Fitzgerald extensively redrafting Tender is the Night for a second publishing after receiving negative critical feedback. Indeed, whatever you think of the final result, Ridley Scott was able to reassert a definitive vision of Blade Runner in spite of its original theatrical release. Despite what critics might burble about artistic vision there is innumerable precedent for such reshaping, even beyond fundamental industry practices such as play-testings and film test-screenings. If a work of art has failed in its communicative purpose (and unless angering and bewildering its most invested fans was the goal, then Mass Effect 3 has done so), then it cannot be considered a success, and is not worthy of regard.

And for those who would respond that I, and fans like myself, are simply upset because the endings do not offer some irrefutable 'clarity' that would mar the poetic mysteries of the ending, I would point out that I am in no way against obscure or bewildering endings: if they are earned. In contrast to a majority of viewers, I happen to love the ending of The Sopranos for precisely this reason - because, despite the momentary jolt of surprise it engendered, that audacious blank screen was wholly thematically supportable. The driving premise of that program was a man seeking therapy (a mobster, yes, but a psychologically damaged man) - indeed, the very first beat in that narrative was Tony Soprano walking into a psychiatrist's office. The principle thematic tie of the entire series was therefore revealed to be a mediation upon the underlying psychological stimuli that produces identity: whether the capacity to interpret and understand one's impulses can impact upon the experience of one's life; whether one can attain agency over one's life.

That ending might have been agonising, but it was entirely fitting that the series ended with a loaded ambiguity, inviting a myriad of interpretations in which we the audience were now placed into the role of the psychiatrist, suddenly compelled to reason out the ending of those final thirty seconds with the cumulative experience of the preceding six years of imagery. Did Tony die? Did he have a second plate of onion rings and enjoy his family's company? Did Meadow ever park that car? In its final act The Sopranos gives over the interpretive, descriptive function of its narrative to its audience, intimately binding the viewer to Tony Soprano's own (perhaps failed) attempts to comprehend himself and attain authorship over his life. ...But the only reason that they could even try this is because every minute of every episode to this point has been propagated upon the notion that Tony Soprano was a man with a subconscious that could be explored, and that motivated his actions whether as a loving father or brutal criminal.

The obscurities in the ending of Mass Effect 3 have not been similarly earned by its prior narrative. This narrative has not until this point been about dominance, extermination, and the imposition of uniformity - indeed, Shepard has spent over a hundred hours of narrative fighting against precisely these three themes. And if one of these three (and only these three) options must be selected in order to sustain life in the universe, then that life has been so devalued by that act as to make the sacrifice meaningless.

And that is why I shall continue to go on shooting Haley-Joel-Osment-ghost in the face.

...Sorry again for the length of this post.

I know it's extremely long but it is well worth a read and I sincerely hope this persons message is heard by BioWare.

Sseth:
Hey everyone, I frequent this site but until now I have been on the sidelines but I thought I'd chime in here with my own opinion.

I just beat Mass Effect 3 with Extended Cut DLC. What I mean to say is, I've never played Mass Effect 3 before the EC DLC version and I didn't spoil anything though it was impossible to avoid all the hubris over the ending in the past few months.

I thought the story was perfect, and the endings were very good. I have viewed the non-extended DLC versions on youtube and while I understand they have some plotholes I think this entire issue is ridiculously exaggerated. The main complaints are

1) No closure, plot holes that don't explain what happened to our crew members.

-Does not apply to me because my first play through was with extended cut! lol. That being said, I could understand the frustration over this but it was fixed with this DLC and I don't think it was big enough an issue for people to rise in arms like they did. The real issue was.

I never played ME 3 (did play the others) but here is the thing, rewind time and imagine you played it without the extended cut first. You've just had a massive adventure spanning three long games growing to love the characters and the world around them. Then at the very end no matter what you do all the mass relays explode and kill every living thing, assuming that didn't happen all the relays are gone anyway so all the trade lines and communication are scuppered leading to terrible strife, the whole fleet that fought desperately and heroically to save the galaxy are now stranded floating above a ravaged earth. And even assuming the ending somehow didn't indicate any of these things the worst thing is not being able to know. No closure at all. A tiny dialogue tree leading to three non-choices full of plotholes. Then the developers explain its "artistic" or "open to interpretation" or "bittersweet" although I struggle to see whats so sweet amongst all the bitter but kay. The old endings seem fine to you because you know what they all mean and how it's supposed to end, but when left in the dark a player is understandably frustrated (time money and care investment not paid back).

Anyway all that aside these new fully fleshed out endings are good. The endings never needed to be happy snugglefun where everything is fine forever but they needed what they got, an explanation.

Aldarionn:

I know it's extremely long but it is well worth a read and I sincerely hope this persons message is heard by BioWare.

That was fantastic, its astonishing how even now we learn more and more reasons why the standard endings (and even the extended endings) are fail to deliver. Its like the awfulness is so prevalent in every aspect of its design it becomes a multifaceted gem where every time you turn to look at it from a different angle you discover more flaws, new depths of wrongness to research and examine in full. Light catches it from another angle here or we see something in a facet there and suddenly we locate another thing wrong with it so deeply stupid we feel compelled to write a massive report about it. In a way the Mass Effect ending debacle has caused such dedicated study/rampant fury from every fan even remotely related to it that it has sparked interest and passion from the community in ways that go about halfway to refunding the misplaced emotional investment it trashed in the first place. Actually pretty cool when you think about it!

The amusing thing to me is that is still worth talking about
The root of their problem was the star child and vague attempts to be meaningful but managing to leave plot holes caused by this character unaddressed and giving unknowable vaguely cthulian horrors a purpose at all was a mistake - everybody should know this by now
The extended cut DLC did not fix this massive problem it only made the endings less sad overall which is a major miscommunication or just bioware being deluded. They did this even though just removing the star child makes the whole thing into an above average ending and they could have handed the whole plot into a primary school English teacher and have been told much the same.
I just don't understand how anybody could not see these things as a problem bioware fans or not

Of course if the star child was gone we wouldn't be able to choose what color the ending was but without the stupid little speech beforehand how much of a difference would this have made. I think this is kind of stupid in itself that you didn't spend the entire game building up to the choice rather than being informed by bastard mcplothole in the last twenty minutes. Just goes to show the ending was some last minute shite thrown together because who would purposefully miss out on building that kind of suspense.

Of course Shepard shot first,

and with "lot's of big guns!"

Out of curiosity, does the Catalyst explain why he's showing himself in the form of Shepard's nightmare kid now? Maybe that info was already there and I missed it but I'm pretty sure that doesn't come in conversation, which is odd.

Scars Unseen:

Diana Kingston-Gabai:

Scars Unseen:
Oh, and one minor nitpick about the EC... I see that in addition to Multi-Core Shielding, we have added some serious Plot Armor to the Normandy. Or did Harbinger just decide that the ship that carries the people that have been screwing with the Reapers' plans at every turn just wasn't worth shooting at? Maybe Joker had a Red Cross painted on the hull?

I actually attributed that to the Normandy's stealth systems - they've said many times that the only way you could detect the ship would be if you were looking at it, and Reapers don't have "eyes"... :)

The problem with that assumption is that the Reaper-created Collector ship could detect the Normandy just fine, even in stealth mode.

And that the shuttles that were used to bring sheppard and the rest of the ground forces were shot down. If I remember it right at some point in the game it's said that since me2 those shuttles got the same stealth system the normandy has.

I.Muir:

The extended cut DLC did not fix this massive problem it only made the endings less sad overall which is a major miscommunication or just bioware being deluded.

THIS

For the love of god Bioware needs to understand this. It was not a bad ending because it was a sad or unhappy ending in the sense that The Godfather had a bad ending, it was a bad ending because it was a terrible ending that contradicted the themes of all three games up to that point and made absolutely no sense.

I.Muir:

They could have handed the whole plot into a primary school English teacher and have been told much the same.

More like primary school student.

-Dragmire-:
Out of curiosity, does the Catalyst explain why he's showing himself in the form of Shepard's nightmare kid now? Maybe that info was already there and I missed it but I'm pretty sure that doesn't come in conversation, which is odd.

The Indoctrination theory was confirmed as being the original idea, which would have made sense. It still wouldn't have worked with the themes of the games story, as the long post on this page pointed out, but it would have made sense. Apparently it was cut, although I'm not sure why. I also read that the Prothean had much more to do with the story originally, as the Illusive Man was supposed to kidnap him, but because they made the decision to use him as DLC, they could no longer make him directly related to the game's plot.

Dead_Lee:

The Indoctrination theory was confirmed as being the original idea, which would have made sense. It still wouldn't have worked with the themes of the games story, as the long post on this page pointed out, but it would have made sense. Apparently it was cut, although I'm not sure why. I also read that the Prothean had much more to do with the story originally, as the Illusive Man was supposed to kidnap him, but because they made the decision to use him as DLC, they could no longer make him directly related to the game's plot.

Where did you get that information?

You can go to great lengths about why Bioware did a great job with extended cut, I'm sure. Only it doesn't make the story any more gratifying for those people why didn't like the idea of an ass-pulled character coming along at the very end of the series coercing the player character into arbitrary and extremely morally ambiguous decisions. All the while saying that synthetic and organic lifeforms will be ultimately at odds with each other even though Geth throughout the series are a very convincing example of how this is not the case.

This totally destroys the Reapers motivation, which as dark and scary as long as it has been unknown and now they look like complete morons, who can't even make out what's wrong with wiping all organics out, who could produce synthetics, who could wipe them out. And the most disturbing thing is Shepard swallowing this load of crap and going along with what Catalyst suggests.

Yeah, I almost forgot to mention the new endings with "the cycle continues". That one almost made me feel like Bioware needed to justify their stupid original ending by stating that either you agree or you die. Would have been all right if it was a book. But since it's an freaking role-play game they just totally spoil the fun of a person grinding through the whole series just to get to a point where everyone dies. Seriously, it would have been a lot better if they never implemented this ending at all, because it does have the sort of spit-in-the-face feel to it.

After watching the extended cut endings, it really struck me just how amateurish and incomplete the original endings actually were. The new endings were a big improvement but certainly had a "band-aid" feel to them at times. The epilouge sequences to synthesis and destroy made me cringe a bit due to all the unwavering bullshit. Control, previously my least favorite ending, was awesome, the space-guardian angle was the right way to go.

In the end, I still felt compelled to uninstall ME1, ME2 & ME3 from my hard drive. Another playthrough of the trilogy just isn't worth my time at this point. My original disappointment with the endings has permanently marred the series, and no attempt to fix them, even if fairly competent, will change this.

Neonsilver:

Scars Unseen:

Diana Kingston-Gabai:

I actually attributed that to the Normandy's stealth systems - they've said many times that the only way you could detect the ship would be if you were looking at it, and Reapers don't have "eyes"... :)

The problem with that assumption is that the Reaper-created Collector ship could detect the Normandy just fine, even in stealth mode.

And that the shuttles that were used to bring sheppard and the rest of the ground forces were shot down. If I remember it right at some point in the game it's said that since me2 those shuttles got the same stealth system the normandy has.

"You do realize that just heat emissions are masked right? The geth could look out of a window and see us coming" (ME2)

As for why they do not shoot at the normandy; I suspect the reapers were saving the best harvest for last, or planning to make shepard beg to be harvested after the rest of the galaxy is, starchild said that they were not aware of the crucible, if they were then they would have shot down the normandy. Either that or they knew that with the advanced shielding, kinetic barriers and armor they would not be able to bring down the normandy directly anyway!

Catalyst-Starchild still exists so...really, this is just damage control.
Good effort, but I think the damage is irreparable simply because it betrayed the series' original ambition ("Your decisions matter"...well, maybe TWO decisions matter now).

ME3 will eventually go down as something for hipsters and business geeks to argue over; an obvious case of business and greed overtaking the creative ambitions of its creators.

(the huge sudden emphasis placed on multiplayer in what was a personal story; the DLC money-packs associated with the multiplayer, the rushed hugely contrived "twist" ending.)

Priorities changed between ME2 and ME3, and it shows.

doggie015:

As for why they do not shoot at the normandy...*snip*

Just looking at all the explanations, I'm calling it a plot hole.

Why? If every explanation requires personal interpretation and blind assumption in order to work, then the outcome is ambiguous.

Which is fine for regular plot points and twists (even unintended ones *cough*Blade Runner*cough*); but not potential plot holes.

I'm gonna' say this right now, as someone who was as deep in the Retake trenches as anyone and who is still bitter at BioWare, I have to admit that they DID do right by the fans.

The ending is still stupid and ignorant and fucked up and the Baby Jesus bullshit is still insulting and forced...BUUUUT at least now it's a stupid, ignorant, fucked up, insulting, forced ending that MAKES SENSE.

And really that's all I personally wanted.

I said it before, if they at least explain why the Mass Relays blowing up didn't destroy the galaxy (here, they don't blow up, so the point is moot) why Joker left the battle (he was ordered) and if everyone starved to death or not (no, they didn't) then I'd be happy.

That doesn't make this a GOOD ending. I've read the original idea for the ending, it's better...the Indoc ending is better, and it's just "Loose Change: The Game of the Movie"...but that being said Bioware did the right thing.

And why shouldn't they: if they ACTUALLY cared about artistic integrity then they'd try and fix the plot holes...which they did. So they do. So at least I know Bioware didn't actively screw people over for money, to sell DLC as I had feared, they just did it because they genuinely, by no fault of their own, wrote a shitty ending due to ignorance and complacency (and due to politicking between Casey Hudson and his peers too) so I can forgive that, since God only knows I've made tremendous fuck ups in the past. I'm not one to talk.

So as far as I'm concerned, Bioware did the right thing, I'm not happy about it--I'd prefer if it had never been necessary in the first place--but I'm happy they owned up. It shows me they care about their fans and that matters to me, as a consumer.

So good on you Bioware, you did the capital letters Right Thing and that's what counts.

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