The Retake Mass Effect Child's Play donation drive has come to an unhappily premature but still wildly successful conclusion.
The Retake Mass Effect Child's Play donation drive was a pretty amazing thing, turning a sustained but otherwise relatively conventional outburst of nerd rage to a worthwhile purpose: Raising funds for the Child's Play Charity. And we're not talking about chump change, either; a stunning $80,000 has been brought in so far. Alas, that is where it will end.
In a message posted last night, the man behind the donation drive announced that it would be capped at $80,000 and then brought to a halt. The decision was made at the request of Child's Play, not because the charity was unhappy with the drive but because of mistaken assumptions of a connection between it and Retake Mass Effect, and the potential slippery slope the donation drive creates.
"[Child's Play] pointed out that several sources are incorrectly assuming a link between the charity and the petition, or outright support of the petition by the charity. This has been the source of some difficulty for them, and it has been requested that we wind this effort down," the founder, going by the name Robb, wrote. "Again, I want to stress that the charity is not unhappy with our work, they are exceptionally pleased with what we have accomplished."
A message posted by Jerry "Tycho" Holkins of Penny Arcade, one of the founders of Child's Play, confirmed that the drive had caused confusion among some Mass Effect fans and headaches for the charity itself. "Apparently some of the people giving to the cause seemed to think that they were paying for a new ending to Mass Effect," he wrote. "[Child's Play] has been asked what the goal is, and how much they need to raise in order to get the ending produced. We've also been contacted by PayPal due to a high number of people asking for their donations back. This is in addition to readers who simply couldn't understand how this was connected to Child's Play's mission. We were dealing with a lot of very confused people, more every day, and that told us we had a problem."
Child's Play rep Jamie Dillion tried to clarify the situation on Reddit, where she said "our decision was not about bowing to pressure from anyone," and also on Forbes. "It's true that we received some negative feedback about the RTM fundraiser, but the real issue that it brought to light was our policy surrounding attaching other, unrelated causes to Child's Play. What RTM was doing was very cool and an amazing show what an active community can do, but we were concerned about the slippery slope," she explained. "For instance, if someone were to create a 'support (insert cause X) by donating to Child's Play,' you can see how this could cause issues for us."
Despite the belief among some supporters that the end of the donation drive was somehow engineered by game journalists in support of EA [and I'm disappointed to say that I'm not making that up], Robb declared the effort a victory. "We have shown our sincerity and passion. We have brought positive attention to the Retake Mass Effect movement," her wrote. "Retake Mass Effect is not over by any means; Dr. Myzuka's statement was welcome, but did not directly address our concerns. You have been heard. Now it is time to make sure they get the details right."
I still think that demanding a new and "better" conclusion to Mass Effect 3 is silly but I'm sure not going to take issue with the results, and Robb and everyone else who helped make it happen deserve a big congratulations for their efforts. It's unfortunate that the drive had to be stopped short, but $80,000 for a very worthy charity? That's a big win by any measure.
Thanks to Uszi for the tip.