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An Open Letter to BioWare regarding the Mass Effect 3 ending (and side note to the complaining fans)

Dear BioWare,

I know you’re taking a ton of flak for the Mass Effect 3 ending. I know there’s a lot of fans complaining. I know a lot of those same fans are demanding you change the ending.

Don’t change the ending.

Let them complain. That’s their right. Let them bitch until they’re blue in the face. Let them file complaints with the FTC and BBB, even if it is one of the silliest things I’ve ever heard. (I mean, really, who does that?)

But DON’T change the ending.

Because if you do, then you’ll be giving power to the insanity. You’ll be validating a bunch of people bitching about the ending to a video game that that you spent copious amounts of time and money and man hours creating with the ending you currently have.

It’s easy for them to complain. They bought the game. They played it. They experienced the entire thing and then — once they’re done, they want you to change the ending?

Because they paid $60.00 for it? Is $60 the going price for corporate capitulation now?

Let’s put this into perspective for a moment.

You go to dinner and you order a drink, appetizer, entree and dessert. You eat the entire meal. You get a cup of coffee at the end of the meal. The coffee is burnt because it’s been in the pot too long. If you complain to the manager and expect your entire meal to be comped because the “burnt coffee ruined the taste of your meal”, is that rational?

Here’s a better one…

You go out on a date. You pick the girl up, you take her to dinner and then you take an amazing walk on the beach. You talk into the late hours. You laugh, you have so much in common. You like the same movies, the same music, the same games. You spend 6 hours together on what might be the best date ever. Then you drive her home and, after a good night kiss, she calls it a night.

Do you then bitch her out because you thought those 6 hours were going to result in you getting laid and, because you didn’t, now she’s just a gold digging bitch who only led you on?

That would make you an asshole, wouldn’t it?

So, BioWare, don’t change the ending.

If people are really upset, then let them show it the way consumers show it. Let them show it with their money. Let them decide not to buy from you again. Hey, they might. That’s possible. Even probable. And maybe you’ll have to take a look at the numbers and say, “Well, guess the ending to ME3 wasn’t what the fans wanted and maybe we need to keep in mind just how happy we need to keep them in future games.”

You made a choice with that ending. You thought it was valid and you had your reasons. You may or may not have to take a hit for those reasons, but stand firm and stand behind the decisions you made.

If you cave — if you change the ending because of fan uproar — you pretty much broadcast to the entire gaming community that any time fans don’t like what you create, you’ll change it to suit them.

For $60.00.

And a word to the people out there bitching that BioWare sucks and it “isn’t fair”.

I have two things to say to that:

1) Life isn’t fair.

2) In the words of Denis Leary. “Life sucks. Get a fucking helmet.”

p.s. The post that prompted this rant. You can blame ars technica ;-)


  1. BR9000 –

    I’ll admit, my rant (and I did admit it was one) was directed at the number of fans who were going to insane lengths. I tend to fight nerd rage with nerd rage sometimes.

    After looking at the situation, and BioWare’s comment on it, I amend my statement.

    I still don’t want them to change the ending, but expansion and explanation — to give fans a better sense of why it ended the way it did — makes sense.

    I’m a fan of reasoned debate. I think if I had seen more people like you in this situation, I’d have written a different post.

    The point may have been the same, the way I said it would have been different.

    ::grin:: Kind of like what people want out of the ME3 ending.

  2. BR9000 BR9000

    Miss Diva — I think you’re missing some of the points. Most of the arguments really have been based on well-reasoned and politely articulated disappointment.

    Up until the final ten minutes, the game is a masterpiece of storytelling. The final section is an illogical mess that’s full of plot-holes and narrative dissonance. It’s jarringly out of place.

    A lot of the folks chirping at BioWare to ignore the pressure probably haven’t spent as much on BioWare products as we have. We’re the folks who preorder and buy the collectors editions and all the DLC that goes on offer. We’re the ones who ask our friends to try the game out.

    And BioWare knows that. Go to their forums read posts from Hollywood screenwriters and literary critics and other professionals.

    This isn’t a case of people who want a happier ending. We want an ending that makes sense after 100 hours of gameplay and about $180 to $240 in spending.

    Who are they going to listen to? Those of us with six registered games and SWTOR subscriptions, or the random twitter feeds and people who have rented the game?

    It’s commercial reality. You can’t just push your *core* customer base under a bus.

    Besides –most of their writing team wasn’t involved in the final, final content. This isn’t about some artistic principle: it’s about some members of a creative team making one of the biggest errors since ET for the Atari platform in 1982. Only this time, the ending has soured an otherwise epic, amazing, perfect gaming experience across three titles over the last five years.

  3. Hexed13 Hexed13

    Life sucks isn’t an answer. Life does suck, that’s why we escape into fantasy. You know where the good guy usually wins and justice is served. Do we really need more suck in our lives, if there is a chance to avoid suck wouldn’t we take it. The thing that angers me is that most video game reviewers have what most of us would consider a dream job. At any rate, it’s a lot better than the soul sucking jobs most of us have to deal with. So we get life sucks because that’s every freaking day, do we really need to be reminded of that when we are trying to escape. Is it that important to be reminded of something that most of us spend 9 to 13 hours doing. Most of us are drowning out here, thanks for pouring water on our heads in the name of “art”.

  4. Baronesa –

    Now see, that I can deal with. Reasoned debate is amazing.

    And yes, I know I ranted and now I’m saying this, but this is why I have a blog. ::grin:: So I can be conflicting away from the general public.

  5. Well, it depends where you look… Bioware opened a full thread for people to leave suggestions… You should look into it.. most of the response are not only lengthy but polite. The analysis of why the endings do not work are also polite and very insightful… funny thing is… they got what they wanted… LOTS OF SPECULATION FROM EVERYONE.

    From someone who keeps reading the BSN forum, the amount of rawr insanity is limited and has only sparked for a few reasons or comments, most people just give reasoned analysis of what things work and don’t work about the endings.

  6. Matt-

    I totally understand and appreciate your point. And I acknowledge that I was on the rant side of this because it was a response to the insanity of some of the reactions.

    If fans were approaching BioWare in a rational manner, and as clearly and concisely as you do, I’d likely be more understanding.

    To me, if they change it now — or if they don’t find some amazing way to spin new content — then it’s a capitulation to people who I pretty much think will bitch regardless.

    So, in my mind, it sets a precedent.

    Additionally, this was the ending they planned. If they do create something, then there’s more time, money and man hours involved.

    Do they offer that for free? Do they take the hit?

    It’s a tough balance.

  7. While there is certainly an argument to be made that Bioware shouldn’t change the ending of ME3, I don’t agree with the way you’re making it.

    First, it’s not just $60 that most of the fans who are angry have spent — it’s at least three times that much, over three games, and with some probable added cost for DLC. And it’s not just money, but a whole lot of time, energy, and emotion that’s wrapped up in the Mass Effect trilogy experience as well. And those are far harder to put a value on.

    As for the examples you give, they only hold up to a point. If I have a bad cup of coffee at the end of dinner, I wouldn’t ask to be comped the price of the whole dinner. Nor would I get pissed in the date situation you mention. But in either case, the experience isn’t unique: If I go to the restaurant on another day, the coffee could be fine, or I could not order it. If I go on another date, things might end differently. But no matter how many times you play ME3, the ending will still be the same.

    Unless they change it, of course.

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