When I booted up Mass Effect 3 this morning, the first thing I did was check the multiplayer store and see if my Commendation and Victory packs had come in yet. (I’m hoping to upgrade my Valiant). That should tell you everything you need to know about my hopes for the Mass Effect 3 Extended Cut DLC.
I’ve since played through the ending from Cronos Station, as well as re-starting the ending from inside the Citadel, and I’ve watched the other endings posted to YouTube. And all I can think of, now that we’ve officially been given our ending is: What was the point? BioWare made a large stink about artistic integrity and standing by their product when the controversy first broke. When they realized that fans weren’t just going to let them be, they announced they would be adding to the ending, which made those who were fine with the ending angry that BioWare was caving in to fan pressure. Which is an argument I can understand. If video games are ever going to be considered art, we need to give those who develop video games room to take risks without jumping down their throats. And it shows a tremendous amount of interaction with their community that BioWare even acknowledged fan anger and promised to fix the plot holes and provide closure. To their credit, it was great seeing my crew still alive and able to leave that stupid jungle planet that they were stuck on. However, having now seen all 3 endings as well as the “secret ending,” I can point to exactly 1 of the numerous plot holes that has been patched (why Joker left the battle at the Citadel), and seeing my crew alive and well was the only portion of the closure sequence that I actually gave a damn about.
My friend described his feelings toward BioWare best. He said, “I feel like Carlos Mencia, talking to Kanye West in South Park. ‘C’mon man…just get it!’” Despite making the new ending, BioWare just doesn’t seem to get it. Now is not the time for ambiguity, BioWare. How is my Shepherd still magically alive at the end of the game and you still don’t expand on that? Why is the destroy option really the bad option, as it gets the most of my allies killed. How can I control the Reapers when basically everything in the galaxy says I can’t? How can what Saren was fighting for be the “best” option? Why, why, why? There are still so many questions left unanswered. Still so many plot holes that haven’t been filled. There’s still a giant, lurching, disorienting change in tone during that last 5 minutes, no matter how many lines you have Lance Henriksen record.
And there’s the biggest problem, BioWare: Why do it at all? You change no more than one or two plot points, mostly as lip service to the fans. You’ve somehow managed to piss off the people who wanted a new ending to the game, AND the people who wanted you to stay true to your artistic vision. Why spend all that time and money and marketing on something that doesn’t fundamentally change the ending, but still manages to make people angry on both sides? And why go to the trouble to release it once the controversy has mostly died down? Are you trying to re-open that can of worms? I hope you realize that largely because EA bet most of the farm on several of YOUR games, they are in the crapper. The day-one DLC and ending controversies on ME3, Dragon Age 2 being what amounted to a $60 filler for the gap between 1 and 3, and the Old Republic hemorrhaging players because they’ve lost interest. Within the last year EA has lost 60% of it’s share price, and it’s no secret that BioWare has been a big cause of that. Don’t you get that, BioWare?
With this end of this article, I am officially over Mass Effect as a franchise. You may say that another game could be in the works, but really, despite all your talk of artistic vision and fan acknowledgement, you can’t possibly justify your business decisions, either to your fans or to the company that’s bankrolling you. And if you keep this up, you may just be another name added to EA’s ever growing list of ex-developers.
C’mon, BioWare…Just Get It.