When Game Developers and Gamers Disagree - Anticitizen-One Blog - www.GameInformer.com
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When Game Developers and Gamers Disagree

Oh yeah, unless you've been living under a rock for the past week, yes, I am going to talk about all the sh*t that has been going on with the latest and first blockbuster release of the year. Mass Effect 3.

Excuse me for the vulgarity, but this situation has evolved so much to a point where I just find it absolutely annoying. And with the fact that nowadays consumers can explode in such a way and complain and rebel against whoever let them down in their purchase just makes social networks the perfect and most utterly clusterf*cked, unnecessary place to take this situation on. 

Once again, annoyance takes place on this century's most abused interfaces.

Now, I haven't finished Mass Effect 3. Hell, I'm just 4 hours in. Last thing I remember doing was fooling around the Citadel. Enjoyable game so far, some minor disappointments but that's more of a personal overview. So far, the $100 spent on this game have been mostly satisfactory.

But the topic of this blog centers around one of the most criticized and hated endings since, let me think, Red Dead Redemption. Although Red Dead's case is a lot more different than ME3's (or at least I think so, since I haven't beaten the latter) but I can testify for Red Dead since I've beaten that one and I don't think the way the ending was criticized by fans is in the same context as it's being done with the Mass Effect 3 one.

Honestly, I can't imagine how bad the ending may be. Everyone's saying the game is completely great until the last moments of the game. Jesus, they even say the last 20 minutes or so ruin absolutely the entire series. I can't picture this infamous ending.

But being honest, I kind of expected this in the end. I knew Mass Effect 3 was going to be one of the most awaited games by the most hardcore groups inside the gaming community, I trusted Bioware could deliver a solid game and a better one in contrast to Mass Effect 2. Like I said, I'm satisfied with my buy, so far so good. Bioware delivered there.

But ever so often different views and expectations towards the end of a trilogy can be... varied.

When you create, build and support this universe and story that has captivated millions of fans around, it's a damn tough road to deliver and satisfy each and every petition from the fans.

Expectations can be, in a big paraphrasing way, one tough son-of-a-b*tch to handle.

And in gaming, a place where medium is absolutely different and exclusive from the rest, for developers...

It must be god-damn stressful.

-So very appropiate for the situation.

Once again I say this: I simply can't imagine how "bad" or controversial the Mass Effect 3 ending might be. Thinking about it frightens me. Just think about it, how often do you see one of the most loved and respected franchises in a videogame turn into one of the most hated things ever for one, let's say, misunderstood ending?

BioWare's Casey Hudson stated he wanted the ending to be memorable. Something people won't be able to erase from their minds. Well, he surely accomplished that, but I don't think he wanted this overly "exciting" response from the public, like how he's been getting recently.

But I'm not here to discuss how Mass Effect and Bioware may or may not have disappointed the fans. I would discuss, and I'd like to, but with the actual context surrounding me in Mass Effect 3 which consists of walking endlessly around a space station while buying heart-shaped boxes of amino-acid chocolates really doesn't help me much in the on-going debate.

You see, gaming as a medium is absolutely unique. Never has there been such an active exchange of opinions, ideas and feedback between the capitalist and the consumer. Gaming as an interactive medium is absolutely unique also. An active narrative and experience is nowhere else to be found. This makes gaming one of the most loved industries of recent time. Of course it has its downs. Capitalists always found a way to.

When this one-of-a-kind relationship between consumer and developer takes place, some irregularities are bound to happen. No system is ever perfect. And that we're constantly reminded every day by just taking a look outside.

Consumers can sometimes... exaggerate their needs. People don't complain or call the company until they found something faulty in the product they purchased. And they want to overvalue their place in the market.

This tends to make gamers ask more than the company can even handle. They are in their own right to demand and provide feedback to their favorite series. But all to a point. Of course, no one does this. You see gamers outright insulting the development and those in charge of it. You can see them demanding more than than I'd call "human". Gamers are kind of d*cks sometimes. And I can justify this perfectly with the Mass Effect 3 controversy.

You're seeing a lot of people insulted and offended from BioWare's decisions on the last 20 minutes of the game. The last 20 f*cking minutes of the game! They go out insulting and denigrating all of the work and love that went behind the making of the game. From an economic perspective, they lose, because they already paid for it (hehe). But from an emotional and psychological perspective, this just harms the team behind BioWare. Just imagine what they must be going on through right now... all of those months, weeks, those extra hours, those long days without seeing their families.

We all know BioWare cares and love their fan base. It would be different if we were talking about other certain companies who certainly don't show this in any way. But it's BioWare; they show all of their commitment and love to the fans in every single dialogue spoken and written, gameplay mechanics, detail and textures in the game.

Remember those spoken Codex entries found throughout all the game? Jeez, just think about that dedication. And it's all towards the loving fanbase they have, or had, contemplating the recent outburst of angry messages and letters to the studio.

Personally, it's shameful, sad and depressing seeing this.

-I'm proud of this one.

Sometimes, we the gamers, the consumers, don't always see everything with a clear view. We don't always judge with the right mind. We are humans, imperfect beings. But there has to be some consideration taken when it's about criticizing and bashing the work of some one else. One has to consider absolutely every little thing that goes behind the creation. But let's face it, more than 95% of this exchange of dialogue is through the internet. And we all know the internet has never and probably will never be the ideal place for opinion-sharing.

Sorry If I can't stop emphasizing this, but it makes me sad seeing how gamers and fans can disrespect and bully BioWare in this way. To a point, their dislike might be justified. They have bought the 3 entries of the series, they put all of their trust and hopes in BioWare for delivering a satisfying conclusion to the story and characters they all love, they have faith in BioWare's work to put a happy ending to all those hours spent in the Mass Effect games. It's understandable if BioWare made a decision that was clearly insulting regarding the lore and universe of Mass Effect, but then again, I can't discuss this because I have not finished the game.

But think about it, if you have finished Mass Effect 3 and hate the ending, just for this moment, ignore it. Try to remember all those entertaining hours late at night exploring just "one more inch" of BioWare's well-constructed universe, all of those laughs and smirks from BioWare's undeniable sharp sense of humor. All of that, all of those kind words to BioWare down the sewage just for the final 20 minutes of the conclusion of the trilogy? Seems hardly ethical.

Of all the people, it's us that know how BioWare cares for the fans. And for the last time I'm going to bring up Rockstar Games for a quick example. Rockstar is indubitably one of the companies that is most loved by gamers, and in return, Rockstar is one of the most loving companies of the industry. I can't express all of this in a paragraph, but I can quickly summarize it with one of their most recent titles.

Red Dead Redemption's ending, without spoiling anything for those who haven't played it, was controversial too. But in a different way, in a good way. Like I promised, I'm not going to say the ending here, but the final moments of the game are not only one of the most poetical and memorable scenes in gaming history, it's one of the most scarring and tragic but realistic ends to the story of one of the most likeable characters ever. I remember the days where most of the buyers were wrapping up Red Dead's story. A lot of sad and troubled fans of the game were asking Rockstar for a change in the ending. Then again, all in a good non-hateful way.

Rockstar has always read, listened and cared for the community. And in return, they came out with quite possibly one of the most satisfactory, fun and original DLC's for a game I've seen: Red Dead Redemption Undead Nightmare. And in usual Rockstar fashion, not only do they deliver in all fronts and end up with one of the most loved expansions around once again (See: Episodes From Liberty City) they show and repay all of those worrying questions about the ending of the original game in the ending of Undead Nightmare.

But what I love is how they do it in such an indirect yet obvious and playful way. I'll just say this mini-spoiler from Undead Nightmare's achievement/trophy for beating the story, the achievement's name is: "All's Right with the World." If this line is taken in the proper context like the one I just gave to you, you can see one of the many, many reasons why Rockstar is one of the most unique and original studios in the world and why I love and admire them with such a passion to this day. But all of this talk is something I'm saving up for a very, very special blog for another day.

Wrapping all this up, BioWare's Mass Effect 3 case will surely be one of the most remembered in the history of videogame culture.

But like I've done in most of my blogs when I write them, I try to reach this persuasive-reflective approach on my texts, to make, you the reader, actually think about and reflect what's right and what's wrong, what's ethical and what's wrong regarding the situation.

Mass Effect 3's ending controversy has many stances from which it can be viewed from. But in the end whichever way this is interpreted from; there will always be one loser among the crowd.

And the loser in this occasion

Shamefully and unfairly, is BioWare.