This article contains no spoilers about Mass Effect 3’s ending.
Internet forums and small blogs have been discussing the ending of Mass Effect 3 in a very extensive way ever since the game came out. But there is something deeply disappointing about the fact that so many people are discussing the ending and the way in which it could have been much better. It’s not that respected journalists have talked about; it’s not that fans have complained and started petitions to get a new one; it’s not that many developers have made reference to it. The problem is that Bioware has officially stated that they are going to change the game’s climax.
What’s the problem then? After all this isn’t the first game which ending has been changed because people dislike it? True, Fallout 3 had a terrible ending that everyone actively complained about and eventually was replaced for a “better one.” But two wrongs don’t make a right, so shouldn’t a big company like Bioware make a game and finish it in the way they want? Of course they should. They should also ignore every single one of the people who requested that the game receives a new ending.
And more importantly, why do fans of the series think they have a saying in all this? I understand that they have been supporting the series since the original Mass Effect came out in November 2007, but even when they are paid consumers, fans aren’t entitled to change a game’s ending just because they don’t like it. After all, how can we expect the medium to grow if we change games every time its audience makes unreasonable demands?
On the other hand, many have stated that games should become more interactive, they should be malleable and they should change accordingly. I understand companies releasing patches, updating graphics or rebalancing gameplay, but changing an ending seems much more drastic. At the same time, there have always been dissatisfied fans and there always will be. Companies shouldn’t expect their audience to remain unresponsive to change, but they also shouldn’t heed every single complaint they have about a finished product. There will be valid concerns that may be taken into account for upcoming games, but Mass Effect 3 is a game that is already out. And like it or not Bioware owns it.
Now the audience wants a very specific part recreated just because they didn’t like it. Bioware officially stated that those concerns will be addressed. Apparently, this means that the climax will be revisited, reshaped or altered to provide “closure” and appease the myriad fans who are dissatisfied with the game’s ending.
In my opinion, this initiative represents a step backwards for the industry. If a big company like Bioware is willing to make such important changes and alterations to a title that was trying to make a statement, they are hampering the whole experience just to pacify the concerns of thousands of fans. This shouldn’t be happening and it’s hard to take a company like Bioware seriously when they are obviously trying to please consumers. Although there aren’t a lot of details about the way in which the game’s ending may be addressed, this is simply disappointing. Companies should have convictions. They should stand up for their rights and fight for them, even if it means making a lot of people angry.
Finally, here’s Dr. Ray Muzyka’s letter to Mass Effect 3 fans.