How does improving a piece of 'art', ruin 'art'?

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So how does improving a piece of 'art', ruin 'art'?

How does creating a thread with zero discussion value and on the exact same topic as several existing threads ruin... the, um...

...

Forgot where I was going with that.

Well, isn't "improving" something the opposite of "ruining" something?

Unless the word you're looking for is "changing"?

I'm gonna need more information here.

People want a better ending for Mass Effect 3, not a different one, just an improved one. How then does it ruin the artform if Bioware concedes to this?

EDIT: No replies. image

I don't know... the arguement is that asking for a different ending is turning this...
image

in to this...
image

(I quite like the lego one!)

Through space magic. Which, ironically, is what got us into this mess in the first place :P

As an aside, whether something is an "improvement" or not is totally in the eye of the beholder.

AD-Stu:
Through space magic. Which, ironically, is what got us into this mess in the first place :P

As an aside, whether something is an "improvement" or not is totally in the eye of the beholder.

But why would someone say it will ruin the artform, if you don't yet know if it's better or not?

I'm gonna drop the pretence that this thread is about ANYTHING but Mass Effect 3, if you guys don't mind.

So, with that in mind, why would "improving" ME3's ending be bad? Well, as you may have gathered from me airquoting the word "improving", "improving" is pretty subjective. Some people thought the ME3 ending was good, I certainly did.

My biggest gripe is that if BioWare "improve" the ending, then everyone will be playing an ending that BioWare didn't want, because they obviously wanted the ending that they wrote in the bloody first place. And if anyone puts out a creative work that they never originally wanted, well...that sucks. Artistic integrity and all that.

MiloP:

then everyone will be playing an ending that BioWare didn't want,

Here lies the problem.

We don't care what BioWare wants, they are not making games for themselves.

They make them for US.

We pay for them, we provide them with an income.

If ME3 was a free game then they can do what the hell they want. In fact, when all games are free they can all do what they want without complaint.

While they insist on charging 40 for a game then I care very little what "vision" they had for the game if that "vision" turns out to be absolute garbage then i'm going to complain.

Elmoth:
So how does improving a piece of 'art', ruin 'art'?

There was an artist known as Robert Rauschenberg, who made a piece of art called erased De Kooning when he was in school. He called up the, at the time, very well known abstract expressionist Willem de Kooning and asked for a drawing of his that he could erase. De Kooning sent him one, a very dark one, and he spent two months on the thing. Finally he ended up with a nearly blank piece of paper, with just a couple of smudges here and there.

image

The critics went wild.

So what you can do with art and still get a positive critical response is extremely flexible.

But, if this has to do with ME3, we must first address the question as to whether or not these changes are for the sake of art or for the sake of getting the butthurt fans to shut up. Because when was the last time you heard of an artist doing something that improved, as in made better, their work of art because of negative critical response?

Rawne1980:

MiloP:

then everyone will be playing an ending that BioWare didn't want,

Here lies the problem.

We don't care what BioWare wants, they are not making games for themselves.

Er...what? Just...what?

A top-tier, super awesome game developer becomes an awesome game developer PURELY BECAUSE they're making a game that they WANT to make. The passion from making a game that THEY want to make is what results in the awesome storytelling that happens. It's the same for everything, really. I'm sure if an author who really wanted to write a horror story was forced to write a romance novel, they'd do a really shitty job of it, because they have no interest in that particular medium whatsoever.

Rawne1980:

MiloP:

then everyone will be playing an ending that BioWare didn't want,

Here lies the problem.

We don't care what BioWare wants, they are not making games for themselves.

They make them for US.

We pay for them, we provide them with an income.

If ME3 was a free game then they can do what the hell they want. In fact, when all games are free they can all do what they want without complaint.

While they insist on charging 40 for a game then I care very little what "vision" they had for the game if that "vision" turns out to be absolute garbage then i'm going to complain.

You pay for what you get with video games. You aren't owed anything just because you purchase their products.

Lilani:
But, if this has to do with ME3, we must first address the question as to whether or not these changes are for the sake of art or for the sake of getting the butthurt fans to shut up. Because when was the last time you heard of an artist doing something that improved, as in made better, their work of art because of negative critical response?

Well, the good news is that probability is in their favor. The ending they have is so staggeringly atrocious that it would take an act of concentrated malice or legendary incompetence to actually make it worse.

MiloP:
A top-tier, super awesome game developer becomes an awesome game developer PURELY BECAUSE they're making a game that they WANT to make. The passion from making a game that THEY want to make is what results in the awesome storytelling that happens. It's the same for everything, really. I'm sure if an author who really wanted to write a horror story was forced to write a romance novel, they'd do a really shitty job of it, because they have no interest in that particular medium whatsoever.

"Bioware" is not a hive mind, nor a single entity with a single will and volition and set of preferences. Bioware is a collection of people, all of whom are going to have different opinions and passions and interests. To suggest that such a collection of people is incapable of being creatively flexible is a little silly. To further suggest that market forces or financial motivations never influence or direct their creative process is fundamentally absurd.

DugMachine:
You pay for what you get with video games. You aren't owed anything just because you purchase their products.

So there can be no expectation of quality control with video games? When did this law become writ? Or did you just make it up now, for the purposes of arguing online?

BloatedGuppy:

MiloP:
A top-tier, super awesome game developer becomes an awesome game developer PURELY BECAUSE they're making a game that they WANT to make. The passion from making a game that THEY want to make is what results in the awesome storytelling that happens. It's the same for everything, really. I'm sure if an author who really wanted to write a horror story was forced to write a romance novel, they'd do a really shitty job of it, because they have no interest in that particular medium whatsoever.

"Bioware" is not a hive mind, nor a single entity with a single will and volition and set of preferences. Bioware is a collection of people, all of whom are going to have different opinions and passions and interests. To suggest that such a collection of people is incapable of being creatively flexible is a little silly. To further suggest that market forces or financial motivations never influence or direct their creative process is fundamentally absurd.

Heh, BioWare as a hive mind. Totally got an image in my head of the BioWare studious being filled with geth.

But I digress. The point I was trying to make was that if even ONE person in BioWare feels like they have been FORCED by their own fans to change their game, then the quality is bound to drop significantly.

Kids in school only hate homework because it's forced on them, but they doodle awesome cartoons in the back of their textbook because they WANT too. Main point is, BioWare should not be FORCED to do anything, which is exactly what the ending haters and Retake Mass Effect are trying to do.

catchpa: that's enough

SERIOUSLY. THAT'S ENOUGH. CAN WE MOVE ON FROM MASS EFFECT 3 NOW.

MiloP:
Heh, BioWare as a hive mind. Totally got an image in my head of the BioWare studious being filled with geth.

But I digress. The point I was trying to make was that if even ONE person in BioWare feels like they have been FORCED by their own fans to change their game, then the quality is bound to drop significantly.

Kids in school only hate homework because it's forced on them, but they doodle awesome cartoons in the back of their textbook because they WANT too. Main point is, BioWare should not be FORCED to do anything, which is exactly what the ending haters and Retake Mass Effect are trying to do.

catchpa: that's enough

SERIOUSLY. THAT'S ENOUGH. CAN WE MOVE ON FROM MASS EFFECT 3 NOW.

How are they being "forced" though? Are they being held at gunpoint? The only thing that could "force" them is market forces. Fear of being abandoned by their player base, who would take their money elsewhere. Which is the one absolute right all consumers have, and the one absolute right people unhappy with ME3 are being advised by their detractors to take. The only way NOT to pressure them in this fashion would be lick our plate of shit clean and ask for another.

And really, that's their job, yo. There isn't a video game developer in the world that doesn't pander to their audience. We don't get Modern Warfare 11: Modernest Warfare Yet because that's the "artistic vision" of the guys behind the wheel. We get it because that's what the market bears. Who knows what games these guys secretly want to be making. Maybe Casey Hudson's first true love is farming simulators. They're making Mass Effect because Mass Effect is VERY MARKETABLE. This is a space cowboy epic, and it has jive talking aliens and robots with tits and Jessica Chobot. I think it's fair to say this is a fairly flexible product, artistically.

BloatedGuppy:

MiloP:
Heh, BioWare as a hive mind. Totally got an image in my head of the BioWare studious being filled with geth.

But I digress. The point I was trying to make was that if even ONE person in BioWare feels like they have been FORCED by their own fans to change their game, then the quality is bound to drop significantly.

Kids in school only hate homework because it's forced on them, but they doodle awesome cartoons in the back of their textbook because they WANT too. Main point is, BioWare should not be FORCED to do anything, which is exactly what the ending haters and Retake Mass Effect are trying to do.

catchpa: that's enough

SERIOUSLY. THAT'S ENOUGH. CAN WE MOVE ON FROM MASS EFFECT 3 NOW.

How are they being "forced" though? Are they being held at gunpoint? The only thing that could "force" them is market forces. Fear of being abandoned by their player base, who would take their money elsewhere. Which is the one absolute right all consumers have, and the one absolute right people unhappy with ME3 are being advised by their detractors to take. The only way NOT to pressure them in this fashion would be lick our plate of shit clean and ask for another.

And really, that's their job, yo. There isn't a video game developer in the world that doesn't pander to their audience. We don't get Modern Warfare 11: Modernest Warfare Yet because that's the "artistic vision" of the guys behind the wheel. We get it because that's what the market bears. Who knows what games these guys secretly want to be making. Maybe Casey Hudson's first true love is farming simulators. They're making Mass Effect because Mass Effect is VERY MARKETABLE. This is a space cowboy epic, and it has jive talking aliens and robots with tits and Jessica Chobot. I think it's fair to say this is a fairly flexible product, artistically.

True, no-one is forcing them, but if they change the ending just to keep a few paying customers on board, then that's the WORST possible thing they could possibly do. No matter how bad you think the ending is, BioWare compromising their artistic rights to make a quick buck is helluva lot worse.

EDIT -- But I'm not stupid. They probably will do that. Money is power. But I'm pretty sure BioWare have made lots of money and kept a lot of fans WITHOUT the need to compromise their artistic rights.

putowtin:
I don't know... the arguement is that asking for a different ending is turning this...
image

in to this...
image

(I quite like the lego one!)

I really like this post. In a way it neatly sums up what needs to be said. Art should not be changed after the fact because a couple people dislike it. Remember people a lot of the great works of art were not appreciated and considered utter shit during their time.

That being said video games are not art so people can feel free to bitch and moan about mass effects ending and get it changed for all I care. Personally I dont think the quality of the mass effect series ever changed even during the ending up 3. But mass effect 3 is a product meant to make money not art and if Bioware thinks that they can profit from making a new ending for the game then they dam well better make a new ending. People seem to forget that Bioware is in business to make money not create "art". They should do whatever will make them more money.

MiloP:
True, no-one is forcing them, but if they change the ending just to keep a few paying customers on board, then that's the WORST possible thing they could possibly do. No matter how bad you think the ending is, BioWare compromising their artistic rights to make a quick buck is helluva lot worse.

Were you here for the conversation we were just having? EVERYTHING about that game is a calculated exercise in fan service EXCEPT the ending, which is calculated exercise in ruining the future viability of your IP. Things can be art, and still have mass appeal, at the same time. And there's no more of an "artistic right" then there is a "right to have stories end the way we want". They have the "right" to sell us a story. We have the "right" to tell them what we think of that story, and, if we hate the ending, the "right" to tell them we won't be buying any more of their stories unless they fix it. If they then decide to fix it up to try and change our minds, NO RIGHTS have been compromised. Just a lot of people making CHOICES, for perfectly logical and defensible reasons.

MiloP:
I'm gonna drop the pretence that this thread is about ANYTHING but Mass Effect 3, if you guys don't mind.

So, with that in mind, why would "improving" ME3's ending be bad? Well, as you may have gathered from me airquoting the word "improving", "improving" is pretty subjective. Some people thought the ME3 ending was good, I certainly did.

My biggest gripe is that if BioWare "improve" the ending, then everyone will be playing an ending that BioWare didn't want, because they obviously wanted the ending that they wrote in the bloody first place. And if anyone puts out a creative work that they never originally wanted, well...that sucks. Artistic integrity and all that.

Some Bioware employee's said they had no input in the ending and are unhappy with it as well. Also, creating the ending was an iterative process. This means they changed it already before the game came out. So just because the game is out now, they don't want to change it?

Well, George Lucas is quite an expert at ruining his pieces of art by "improving" them.

What is Hayden Christensen doing at the end of Return of the Jedi?!? Noooooooooooooooo!

pilouuuu:
Well, George Lucas is quite an expert at ruining his pieces of art by "improving" them.

What is Hayden Christensen doing at the end of Return of the Jedi?!? Noooooooooooooooo!

You're actually arguing AGAINST authorial fiat by bringing up this example though. You're using a popular and well known example of a creator making flamboyant artistic errors regarding the quality of his IP.

The key difference between Lucas and Bioware is that Lucas is financially solvent. If all of us ceased to buy Star Wars merchandise from this moment onwards, Lucas could shrug and bathe away his misgivings in his solid gold Jacuzzi. Bioware needs their loud, demanding fan base in order to stay in business.

BloatedGuppy:

Lilani:
But, if this has to do with ME3, we must first address the question as to whether or not these changes are for the sake of art or for the sake of getting the butthurt fans to shut up. Because when was the last time you heard of an artist doing something that improved, as in made better, their work of art because of negative critical response?

Well, the good news is that probability is in their favor. The ending they have is so staggeringly atrocious that it would take an act of concentrated malice or legendary incompetence to actually make it worse.

MiloP:
A top-tier, super awesome game developer becomes an awesome game developer PURELY BECAUSE they're making a game that they WANT to make. The passion from making a game that THEY want to make is what results in the awesome storytelling that happens. It's the same for everything, really. I'm sure if an author who really wanted to write a horror story was forced to write a romance novel, they'd do a really shitty job of it, because they have no interest in that particular medium whatsoever.

"Bioware" is not a hive mind, nor a single entity with a single will and volition and set of preferences. Bioware is a collection of people, all of whom are going to have different opinions and passions and interests. To suggest that such a collection of people is incapable of being creatively flexible is a little silly. To further suggest that market forces or financial motivations never influence or direct their creative process is fundamentally absurd.

DugMachine:
You pay for what you get with video games. You aren't owed anything just because you purchase their products.

So there can be no expectation of quality control with video games? When did this law become writ? Or did you just make it up now, for the purposes of arguing online?

define quality control
did i not give you 90% amazing story
were the gameplay mechanics not very functional
was there some massive graphics bug that stopped you from playing.

No it hit baseline quality control standards of any videogames. Again the ending of anything does not negate what came before it.

And it certainly doesn't entitle you to anything in the slightest. You got what you paid for. If you didnt like it choose better next time.

bahumat42:
define quality control
did i not give you 90% amazing story
were the gameplay mechanics not very functional
was there some massive graphics bug that stopped you from playing.

No it hit baseline quality control standards of any videogames. Again the ending of anything does not negate what came before it.

And it certainly doesn't entitle you to anything in the slightest. You got what you paid for. If you didnt like it choose better next time.

You and I disagree that the ending meets basic standards for quality control. That's fine. I can respect your position. Are you capable of respecting mine? Because I see you busting out everyone's favorite and frequently misapplied insult, again.

Elmoth:

AD-Stu:
Through space magic. Which, ironically, is what got us into this mess in the first place :P

As an aside, whether something is an "improvement" or not is totally in the eye of the beholder.

But why would someone say it will ruin the artform, if you don't yet know if it's better or not?

I guess because they're overreacting, and choosing to ignore the fact that, for as long as there has been art, artists have been changing their works to meet the demands of their customers/patrons/whatever :P

Ask Star Wars fans

To summarize the relavent point from Yahtzee, changing a work of art to fit a/the community is safe. It's why summer block busters are formula, not challenge. It's why paintings from the Renascence would survive to this day but with clothes painted over the nudity.

If we're afraid of risk, we fail to explore and grow. We simply stagnate.

BloatedGuppy:

bahumat42:
define quality control
did i not give you 90% amazing story
were the gameplay mechanics not very functional
was there some massive graphics bug that stopped you from playing.

No it hit baseline quality control standards of any videogames. Again the ending of anything does not negate what came before it.

And it certainly doesn't entitle you to anything in the slightest. You got what you paid for. If you didnt like it choose better next time.

You and I disagree that the ending meets basic standards for quality control. That's fine. I can respect your position. Are you capable of respecting mine? Because I see you busting out everyone's favorite and frequently misapplied insult, again.

i would but it skates perilously close to the idea of product testing a story, and surely for all in intents and purposes a product tested story is one devoid of any soul.

Id much rather risk having a possibly bad ending than have a streamlined make everyone happy an appeal to the lowest common denominator one.

We already lost big hollywood to good storytelling, same with fps games, do you really want to lose that freedom in rpgs aswell.

I would say that the way ME3 could ruin games as art, is that developers fear that fans will do protests like now every time they dislike something. If it works once it will work again.
Since changing a game costs money, it might happen that the developers decide to go always a safe route in their games and try to not take any risks.
For example it could cause developers to always put a sweet and happy ending in the game instead of a sad one.

bahumat42:
i would but it skates perilously close to the idea of product testing a story, and surely for all in intents and purposes a product tested story is one devoid of any soul.

Stories get "product tested" all the time. You're familiar with the quotes from Hudson and Gamble in which they specifically state they consider customer feedback to be part of what shapes the narrative, and that they consider the player a co-author. Garrus and Tali are only romanceable because of a "product tested" story. DLC is often added due to "product testing". The entire game itself is a calculated exercise in market pandering. So it either still has "a soul" regardless, or it never had one to begin with.

bahumat42:
Id much rather risk having a possibly bad ending than have a streamlined make everyone happy an appeal to the lowest common denominator one.

That's a fallacious assumption, that a new ending would automatically be banal. It could just as easily be an improvement. In either case, a new ending would also be an OPTIONAL ending, available via DLC. So it threatens your own, personal canon no moreso than the ability to change Shepard's gender.

bahumat42:
We already lost big hollywood to good storytelling, same with fps games, do you really want to lose that freedom in rpgs aswell.

This is a silly, alarmist argument. Vapid storytelling is not a recent development, and good storytelling is still in abundance. Authorial fiat can give you Ulysses, it can also give you Jar Jar Binks. There are no absolutes in this argument.

Anybody who compares Mass Effect, or any game, to a painting needs to be kicked in the genitalia. Paintings have no narrative, no interaction. The CLOSEST style of art that games are close to would have been plays from the 1600s as they were done then. That's right, I'm talking Shakespeare. He CONSTANTLY changed things in each of his plays. Why? To make money and IMPROVE the qality of the plays. And yet now his surviving works are considered ART. If audiences really didn't like the art, they threw projectiles, ranging from rocks to rotten vegetables.

BloatedGuppy:

bahumat42:
i would but it skates perilously close to the idea of product testing a story, and surely for all in intents and purposes a product tested story is one devoid of any soul.

Stories get "product tested" all the time. You're familiar with the quotes from Hudson and Gamble in which they specifically state they consider customer feedback to be part of what shapes the narrative, and that they consider the player a co-author. Garrus and Tali are only romanceable because of a "product tested" story. DLC is often added due to "product testing". The entire game itself is a calculated exercise in market pandering. So it either still has "a soul" regardless, or it never had one to begin with.

bahumat42:
Id much rather risk having a possibly bad ending than have a streamlined make everyone happy an appeal to the lowest common denominator one.

That's a fallacious assumption, that a new ending would automatically be banal. It could just as easily be an improvement. In either case, a new ending would also be an OPTIONAL ending, available via DLC. So it threatens your own, personal canon no moreso than the ability to change Shepard's gender.

bahumat42:
We already lost big hollywood to good storytelling, same with fps games, do you really want to lose that freedom in rpgs aswell.

This is a silly, alarmist argument. Vapid storytelling is not a recent development, and good storytelling is still in abundance. Authorial fiat can give you Ulysses, it can also give you Jar Jar Binks. There are no absolutes in this argument.

Id rather take my chances with an artist loving what he's doing, than trying to appeal to the broadest possible market.

Because that would be what it would take to "fix it" or "not piss people off" a watered down half ending. And i don't want to live in that world, so im going to amular instead.

bahumat42:
Id rather take my chances with an artist loving what he's doing, than trying to appeal to the broadest possible market.

Because that would be what it would take to "fix it" or "not piss people off" a watered down half ending. And i don't want to live in that world, so im going to amular instead.

Except they have clearly been trying to appeal to the broadest possible market to begin with, which is why Mass Effect and Dragon Age embrace such clearly defined, populist tropes and are staged in such formulaic, familiar, digestible universes. You seem to be laboring under the misconception that the issue I have with the ME3 ending is that it's high brow and intellectual, and I'm yearning for cheese. Nothing could be further from the truth.

This is not a situation where I want pablum substituted for high art. This is a situation where I want TERRIBLE CRAP replaced by ANYTHING THAT IS NOT TERRIBLE CRAP.

putowtin:
I don't know... the arguement is that asking for a different ending is turning this...
image

in to this...
image

(I quite like the lego one!)

You realise that da Vinci was commissioned to do that painting and likely would have changed it if asked by the consumer, right?

It's weird, because a lot of painters were on the bankroll and did things to the specifications of their customers (No matter what Moviebob complains about), and yet Da Vinci's Mona Lisa is considered a great work of art, not something that ruined artistic integrity of the medium or set it back years.

Hell, the Sistine Chapel's ceiling is considered a great work of art, one of the greatests, but it was created by a man reluctant to take the commission and who historians tend to say did not have total control.

Holy crap, Michelangelo caved to the pope and set Renaissance painting back 500 years!

What a freaking sell out. This is clearly not a work of art.

Changing a piece of art ruins the original. Whether or not the change is for the better or the worse, the original is still gone.

In the case of recent Bioware games I think it's a moot point, because with all the DLC the concept of the original doesn't exist in the first place. The original is what the user makes of it anyway.

ravenshrike:
Anybody who compares Mass Effect, or any game, to a painting needs to be kicked in the genitalia. Paintings have no narrative, no interaction. The CLOSEST style of art that games are close to would have been plays from the 1600s as they were done then. That's right, I'm talking Shakespeare. He CONSTANTLY changed things in each of his plays. Why? To make money and IMPROVE the qality of the plays. And yet now his surviving works are considered ART. If audiences really didn't like the art, they threw projectiles, ranging from rocks to rotten vegetables.

Henrik Ibsen was forced write an alternative ending for A Doll's House, because the German theaters were considering rewriting it themselves. He claimed it was "a violation towards the play" and hoped nobody would use it, as the controversial ending is a huge part of the point the play tries to make. Essentially, they didn't like the message

Now, I haven't played ME3 and can't comment on the ending myself, but I'd imagine that would be pretty similar to the A Doll's House-case: people didn't get exactly what they wanted, and want it changed even though that might actually take away from the point the creators were trying to make. Both Yahtzee and Daniel Floyd wrote analyses of the endings that might be worth looking into.

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