MovieBob's thoughts on the ME3 ending controversy

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Art can suck!

Moviebob has blown this one out of proportion a bit. The ending was shitty, can't blame people for getting pissed about it. They tried to pass the game off like it's is a great story, if it's such an epic story the ending is damn near one of the most important parts of the whole. Bioware deserves some serious flack for dropping the ball so hard and so far.

I'd have a much easier time defending the ending of Mass Effect 3 as misunderstood art if it wasn't such rubbish.

Here's the thing. Like, 8-10 months ago I wrote a diatribe on these forums calling Bioware to task for their lazy, hackneyed storytelling. I was sick of the black and white morality, sick of the simplistic conflicts and trite resolutions, sick of the one note characterizations. I wanted more from them. I wanted some fucking ART from them. Instead, I got the ending of Mass Effect 3, which is about the furthest thing from "Art" as Freddy Got Fingered.

The whole thing reminds me of this old Penny Arcade:

image

Bioware just plain fucked up the ending of their trilogy. They fucked it up in ways I didn't even think it was possible to fuck it up. And now, I guess some people want to throw a blanket called "art" over the mess and call it a day. Instead of just, you know, FIXING it, and leaving it something worthy of praise, instead of scorn.

Yeah what a blow for the industry that would be.

Since everyone's unloading on him, I might as well outline his main failings.

He shared his favorite genres awhile ago I think his tops were 2d platform, shmup and fighters. But only seemingly old school shmups, AKA ones with extremely shallow scoring systems. And I can make a good guess that he isn't exactly an expert on fighting, he pretty much only wanted Tatsunoku because lolanime.

Likes JRPG over WRPG (that speaks for itself.)

Hates FPS and pretty much all PC games. RTS, TBS (Civ) any Sim.

He claims to be a proponent for "old school" challenge but:
Hates most multiplayer and doesn't seem to play competitively in any serious fashion
Hates complex scoring systems
Hates the most complex genres in the industry (PC-centric)

Expecting this guy to provide a balanced and comprehensive view on the industry is hopeless. That's his number one failing. His commentary on art is also pretty terrible even if it is a little better than most.

I find this guy pretty charming when he waxes nostalgic about Mario's giant shoe, so his dumbness actually makes me pretty sad :(

Ouch, that's a bit harsh.

I honestly don't understand why everyone is jumping up to defend something as lazy as the Mass Effect 3 ending. It's not artistic to end an epic in numero uno, the exact way you said you wouldn't and numero two, pull something out of thin air and say, 'Oh, BTW, here ya go. THE END'

I understand that productions get tight and sometimes things have to be cut and snipped to work into the schedule.

Honestly, this is just as appalling as the more extremist set of distraught ME3 fans.

This just in:

Script changes based on test screenings setting the medium of film back decades.

Zhukov:
This just in:

Script changes based on test screenings setting the medium of film back decades.

LOL, man, that was awesome. I almost spit out my pop on that one.

Zhukov:
This just in:

Script changes based on test screenings setting the medium of film back decades.

But gamez r art and pepul need to see this b4 they r artz!

DustyDrB:
I'm gonna do something crazy and say...I understand both points of view and am pretty conflicted about it myself.

Not crazy at all. I'm in the same boat as people who say that video games are art, I've argued Bob's side on that issue previously. I'm experiencing a little bit of cognitive dissonance between "games as art" and "making a consumer demand" regarding asking them to change it, but I'm mostly able to resolve it with the following rationale:

1. I recognize that AAA title video games are corporate art, made for profit.

2. I recognize that as art, video games are often modified via updates, DLC and expansion packs, purely on the basis of profit and not on the basis of artistic license or expression.

3. I recognize that major triple A titles are made for entertainment purposes, not artistic statements.

4. I recognize that the interactive nature of video games, especially roll playing, choose your ending games, involve a different relationship between the artists who made the game and the players who enjoy them.

The thing is that a big, AAA game title is less like an artistic movie (we'll say, War Horse) and more like a summer block buster (Transformers: Dark of the Moon). Once you realize that ME3 is less like Citizen Kane and more like Avatar, it takes a lot of the piss out of Bob's anger.

Anway, Bob is being ridiculous if he is trying to seriously say we were set back 10 years. We've had extremely artistic games come out recently (I'm thinking of Journey recently, Limbo earlier, Minecraft maybe (if you want to talk about games made by "auteurs"). One game isn't going to set the medium back, and regardless.

Honestly, lets say this:

George Lucas announces tomorrow that given all of the fan backlash against the Prequels, he is releasing a remake of the prequels, where he's vetted the top talent in the field to assist in writing and directing the new version of the prequels so that they do a better job of living up to the original saga.

Would anyone seriously claim that films are no longer art? Who would not be happy? Who'd rather have the prequels as they are because they're "art?"

Cryo84R:
Art can suck!

BloatedGuppy:
I'd have a much easier time defending the ending of Mass Effect 3 as misunderstood art if it wasn't such rubbish.

Bioware just plain fucked up the ending of their trilogy. They fucked it up in ways I didn't even think it was possible to fuck it up. And now, I guess some people want to throw a blanket called "art" over the mess and call it a day. Instead of just, you know, FIXING it, and leaving it something worthy of praise, instead of scorn.

Yeah what a blow for the industry that would be.

Sorry, last post, but these are all seperate thoughts and they'd create an infinite wall of text if I posted them as one thing:

You're right! If we're going to let the endings stand as "artistic expression" then we have to also acknowledge that as art the end of ME3 is objectively terrible. It plays out like the ME3 writing team went to TVtropes.org and ordered the Pu-Pu Platter of cliche plot devices, then put the amalgamation in the microwave for half the recommend time and served it to us half frozen.

I'm kinda torn here. I wouldn't mind new content that at least gives some closure and maybe makes more sense of the endings. Since I didn't think they were too bad, just poorly developed.

On the other hand... I'd want someone to respect my artistic creations for what they are, so I can see the other side too.

That aside, I still say it was planned this way by EA more than likely. I doubt Bioware would try some under handed tactic like this, but then maybe that's my old love for Bioware... which to be honest has been waning lately. Of course if they make it for free, then there doesn't seem to be much profit involved, and then I retract... but I doubt that will happen.

I can understand where he's coming from. Every week he gets barated for having differing opinions, stating opinions in undesirable ways, or the story segments in his game overthinker blog. When you go through that it is hard to not come away with the idea that fanboys are just whiners that expect every piece of entertainment to be tailor made to them and thus should be ignored in the name of the artist's vision.

That said, the idea of seperation of art and commerce has always been an aggogant assumption that by tailoring anything to the audience, you can't call it art anymore. It's a holdover from the idealistic days of creative people doing creative things to push new ideas and bring joy to the world, instead of people that found a career path where creativity can yield a paycheck. Face it, in his main medium of film, there is a LOT of shilling from brockbusters after big bucks to Oscar bait to secure noteriaty. Ideally both can be acheived (good in an artistic sense, while playing to the crowd to be financialy viable.)

How much this is damaging is questionable. It's hardly a new phenomonon. Series as old as Sherlock Holmes and the Oz books had influences of fan demand (extending both beyond the wishes of the authors.) As this is the latest tangent we've gone off on, I don't know how damaging it can be as something is bound to set us off every couple of months or so on some entitled bitchfest, and in all honesty, could someone outside looking in not sympathize with hating a shitty ending from a film, book or TV show?

Anyone know how I can get in touch with Moviebob directly? I would like to borrow his time machine and need to know how much it would cost to have it shipped to where I live. I would ask for his crystal ball but I can't trust it would make it through the shipping intact and I'm sure he'd hate to be without it.

Seriously though, Bioware hasn't "caved" to anything and we have no idea what the future plans for ME3 are. If you actually read the Bioware statement, it doesn't say anything about them changing anything. It says they are considering the fan commentary and have plans to extend the game with DLC.. you know, the sort of plans they probably already basically had in place before the game finished initial development. A day ago everyone was spinning the Bioware statement as nothing but empty PR speak. Now it's supposedly a blank page tossed to the fanbase such that the players will be rewriting the entire series. Could we please decide exactly what it is we're all up in arms over.. or is it really the need to be butthurt that's driving all of this. (Yeah, it's the latter. I know)

Maybe they will actually honestly change things. Maybe they will *gasp* do so because, in retrospect, they feel some of what the fans have said is right. Why would that be so wrong? Why would that be "caving" to fan demands? Last time I checked we were living in an age where art can be changed once it's been let out into the wild, and were talking about a medium driven by, at it's base level, a mix pf developer intent and player interaction.

boag:
wow, movie bob can be very near sighted sometimes.

Think that has anything to do with his glasses?

What about the game that the people at bioware made and the changes EA probably went through and said nope change that. Why is it we the people can't change something we don't like but the people who own the game company can? shut up I know the money.

So if it come's to the point where we paid the money fr the product in some small part we own the game, if enough of us say we want a change then what's wrong with that. Again yes I know we don't own any part of the game but in a small way we do.

I must respectfully disagree with Movie Bob (at least his twitter post).

The main backlash with regards to the endings is that we received a a substandard product, when we were promised something a lot more better. for $60 bucks a game, I better receive what was promised.

The fact of the matter is that videogames are an interactive medium and when you encourage even more interactivity, you only set the bar higher.

What we can take away from the "Ending Saga" of Mass Effect 3, is the developers are going to be a little bit more cautious with regards to the Mass Effect level of interactivity within a product. Those that commit to such level, are going to find themselves against an even higher bar of quality.

As a consumer, I applaud this.

Retcons are not unusual, and being influenced by popular opinion means that, perhaps, your original work was kinda...just shitty art.

You don't have to be influenced by money: give the true-ending DLC away for free and then you'll see true art at its purest. Won't happen, but that's the solution.

Even then, why is monetary influence a bad thing? If you make a shit product, you shouldn't expect massive amounts of money until you improve it. If you're selling your art (and Bioware IS), then you're opening yourself up to criticism.

Zhukov:
This just in:

Script changes based on test screenings setting the medium of film back decades.

Of course! Didn't you know that the film industry is currently back in 1432?

BloatedGuppy:
I'd have a much easier time defending the ending of Mass Effect 3 as misunderstood art if it wasn't such rubbish.

-snip-

The whole thing reminds me of this old Penny Arcade:

image

Yes and... Thankye kindly for reminding me of that Penny Arcade strip! That one needs to be posted in all threads someone says "don't change ME3 because it's AAWRRT!".

because such views are silly, you see.

Frankly, I'm going to say 'Fuck Yes Bob'.
Artistic integrity or not, the day that people should cave into fans is the day Fan-Fiction gets published in paperback novel form.

To quote Yahtzee; "Fans are clingy, complaining dipshits who will never ever be grateful for any concession you make. The moment you shut out their shrill, tremulous voices, the happier you'll be for it."

This whole thing has been blown so far out of the water its hard to take seriously, its hard to discern between a reasonable argument and rabid fan mouth frothing.

MrHide-Patten:
Frankly, I'm going to say 'Fuck Yes Bob'.
Artistic integrity or not, the day that people should cave into fans is the day Fan-Fiction gets published in paperback novel form.

To quote Yahtzee; "Fans are clingy, complaining dipshits who will never ever be grateful for any concession you make. The moment you shut out their shrill, tremulous voices, the happier you'll be for it."

This whole thing has been blown so far out of the water its hard to take seriously.

after thinking about long enough i have to agree with that last part

If somebody tells me they're going to paint a beach, and they hand me a painting of blue water with some white canvas, am i holding the medium of painting back by asking for him to add the sand on the beach? (Keeping in mind that there is still white on the canvas for him to add the sand)

Zhukov:
This just in:

Script changes based on test screenings setting the medium of film back decades.

That would be a clever analogy if test screenings for a movie and a released game weren't very different things, considering the entire purpose of a test screening is to see if changes need to be made.

Zen Toombs:
Yes and... Thankye kindly for reminding me of that Penny Arcade strip! That one needs to be posted in all threads someone says "don't change ME3 because it's AAWRRT!".

because such views are silly, you see.

Yes, they are silly, which is exactly why people aren't saying that (outside of hyperbole in arguments against people who defend the ending).

HalfTangible:
If somebody tells me they're going to paint a beach, and they hand me a painting of blue water with some white canvas, am i holding the medium of painting back by asking for him to add the sand on the beach? (Keeping in mind that there is still white on the canvas for him to add the sand)

That would also be a clever analogy if the game didn't have an ending, but it obviously did, you just didn't like it. If they painted a beach and then you demanded that he repaint it because you want it to be different to suit your opinions, then you'd be on the right track.

Well, I used to like MovieBob. Then I read this. If asking for a conclusive, complete and meaningful ending to what is arguably a marriage of Star Trek and Lord of the Rings is considered 'setting the medium back a decade', then bomb us back to the stone age.

Zhukov:
This just in:

Script changes based on test screenings setting the medium of film back decades.

Ha! I never thought of that!

Well I guess movies are not art either! the medium is being set back decades! oh and authors who let their publisher recommend changes? sets the medium back centuries! /sarcasm

OT: wow, I normally have a little respect for the guy, but this is too much. He derides people for acting with near-sighted rage, and yet he does exactly that.

Wow Bob, calm down a bit man.

After Ken Levine's weighing in on the possibility of Bioware amending ME3, I wrote

Congratulations, now there's overwrought sentiments on both sides of the issue.

Apparently I should have waited on that comment. Bob's response makes Levine's look about as overwrought as a recitation of warehouse inventory.

...Ah.

You know, there are times I really enjoy Bob Chipman's work, whether it's as "MovieBob" or "The Game Overthinker" or... whatever you would call him when he does "The Big Picture". Just "Bob" I guess? Annnyway... He can be clever, witty, insightful, thoughtful, knowledgeable.

But sometimes, it just seems like he gets in a snit about something and pulls out all the stops, vilifying anyone who disagrees with his point of view, dismissing any legitimate claims or ideas they might have or conjuring strawmen in their place, making absolutist statements about what a medium needs or a genre needs or a series needs, displaying these immense blind spots and prejudices seemingly without ever doubling back to say, "Whoa, did I write that?"

I'm far from coming down on one side of the ME3 "issue"; I'm not really in a good position to do so. But I don't think the topic is getting clearer or more mature for a critic deigning to thunder from on high about what the mindless plebians are doing to the face of art.

This whole conflict has risen to the point where this is not just a question about artistic integrity, it's a question about videogames as a medium and how users and developers approach them.

I think it's a positive step forward for the industry, because not only does the feedback show an enormous amount of dedication from the fans, but it gives the developers at Bioware perspective on how to improve projects in the future. That could include future DLC for Mass Effect 3, or upcoming Bioware titles.

If Bioware feels it is necessary to improve there own game, more power too them. Thanks to todays technology they can do that. Given all the time they probably have to put together some decent DLC, I look forward to what the future holds. Sorry Bob, but I think you're dead wrong on this one.

HalfTangible:
If somebody tells me they're going to paint a beach, and they hand me a painting of blue water with some white canvas, am i holding the medium of painting back by asking for him to add the sand on the beach? (Keeping in mind that there is still white on the canvas for him to add the sand)

This actually brings up a good point about this whole deal that makes it distinct from most other forms of the mighty retcon. Video games are one of the few mediums where you can release an altered version of a product and expect the majority of your audience to receive it with almost no hassle or wait, or even having to replace their old version of the product in any meaningful way. The canvas always has some white space left, so to speak. It opens up new avenues for response to criticism, for better or worse.

I'm not sure how he's in any position to call anyone else a crybaby when you can just imagine the tears welling up in his eyes as he's typing out those messages. It's a pretty hollow insult that lacks any self awareness when you whine about what whiners other people are being.

The game's deadline had a far greater impact on the content of the ending, so why doesn't that financially motivated factor compromise Bioware's artistic integrity?

The basic message is, apparently - It's totally okay for investors to influence game design because they think they know what will appeal to the consumer base, but it destroys art if the consumer themselves influence game design.

lolwut.

Games are both art and a consumer product. Money will always influence their development.

Deal with it.

i can understand his reasoning even as a mass effect fan

Fantastic. Just Fan-fucking-tastic. And Fallout 3 loses the great mood, setting, and the dozens and dozens of great narratives in it because Bethesda's publisher didn't jerk them around and they were able to respond to fans' feedback on the game.

To all of you people who are in favour of a change to the ending: This is what it's like to be a believer in God on the Internet. Gang-rape warfare. People who you both agree with and respect most of the time honing in on one issue of importance to you and obliterating you on a personal level for daring to express a different viewpoint than theirs. They lump everybody in your category together, despite the fact that there are many different manifestations of it, then savagely insult you when you come back with facts either shortening the pedestal they're on or attempting to keep the discussion civil.

I've lost Destructoid, Kotaku, and IGN to this mess. I've been put against one of my personal favourite Internet gaming figures, Adam Sessler. I watch Jim Sterling, Bob, Yahtzee, and even many YouTube and Games Radar content through a filter now that I know they think people who have this one common notion are less than them. In less than a month, I've gone from nearly 20 well-respected pieces of gaming media to identify with, to one. Exactly one. So that's it. I'm done. I'm not arguing these points anymore, I'm not seeking neutral ground. I'm taking my God damn ball and going home. I'd say it's been fun, but it hasn't, Escapist.

One more thing:

image

I think I know why the Escapist is so sympathetic to the cause of a publisher fucking a developer of content around concurrently with a dip in the quality of their ARTISTIC, PRODUCT.

I will never take anything he says about gaming as a whole seriously. Hell I hardly take him seriously in his movie reviews.

He's completely ignorant about video games and it shows in his terrible game overthinker videos.

I will never know why people like this guy, he's always full of himself, insults other people when they disagree with him, and very arrogant. Sometimes, he might make good points, but those points are mute when he continues to act like a Internet tough guy.

Wow Bob sounds like a whiny little bitch...oh the irony :P

Bah ME3's ending wasn't art it was a fill in the bubble >.>

Phlakes:

Zhukov:
This just in:

Script changes based on test screenings setting the medium of film back decades.

That would be a clever analogy if test screenings for a movie and a released game weren't very different things, considering the entire purpose of a test screening is to see if changes need to be made.

Irrelevant.

My point is that they improve their product by making changes based on audience reaction, by "caving in" to the "crybabies". Yet somehow they aren't setting their medium back DECADES by doing so.

If DaVinci had drawn a mustache on the Mona Lisa, I probably would have put up an outcry for him to take off the mustache (not really though, that would actually have been awesome)

Point is, art can suck. And they just so happen to charge money for this "art". A lot of money.

And he just chose the wrong side of this argument. I wonder what the backlash is gonna be.

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