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LONG BLOG

Missing-the-point Effect 3: Player entitlement makes me sick

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I must say, the news that there are Mass Effect fans out there with the gall to think they can get the entire trilogy's ending changed just by throwing a hissy-fit really took me aback. I already made a reasonably sized post in the article's comment section, but I thought this issue warranted a bit more elaboration as to why I think those who are part of this "patch the ending" club are enormous bitches.

Before I proceed, I should mention there will most likely be spoilers, for Mass Effect 3 and other games, depending on what I decide to allude to. Proceed at your own risk.



First and foremost, who made you judge, jury, and executioner in regards to how the story is supposed to conclude? Are you working for BioWare? No? Okay then. I'm sorry things didn't work out the way your own private Shepard fantasies indicated they might, but that's too bad. There are these people called writers that work in the employ of a developer in order to create the story players have the opportunity to go through, a story that has to have an end before the game is pressed and shipped. There's only so much content you can fit on a reasonable amount of discs, and trying to account for every possible combination of decisions made by any given Commander in the earlier games and the final one would be an impossible endeavor. From what I've read (as I've not finished the games, personally, but was nice enough to spoil them a bit so I could vocalize a bit more justifiably), there are a few deus ex machina moments towards the end of the last installment that leave some room to be desired, but I found the fact that BioWare even gave a choice for players to make at the very end, rather than just roping people into certain endings based on their Paragon or Renegade status and whatever other factors may apply, pretty generous. They could've pulled a Bioshock, thrown you a good or a bad ending, and told you to suck it. At least you have some say in the matter this time around.

What I feel a great deal of the complaining crowd are overlooking is the fact that, even if one does think the finale feels a bit forced, that in no way invalidates all the choices and experiences a player has made up to that point. You still had three games' worth (or however many, based on which game you started with and how far you carried your save file) of time with the Shepard you wanted to be, essentially living a sizable chunk of a second life. To lack even a little bit of gratitude after all that, regardless of the outcome, is akin (in a much less severe way) to spitting in your parents' faces for bringing you into the world and giving you a real life to live.

And what of that outcome? Is it really something to get butthurt over? Oh no, in all but one instance, Shepard dies, and even in the good instances, it looks like Shepard and friends will not, for the most part, ever get to hang out again. I hate to break it to you, but ME3 isn't the only place you're going to run into that sort of thing.

SPOILERS:
Your loved ones? They're going to die one day. So are your pets. So are you.
Your high school sweetheart, first love, whatever? Not likely the person with whom you'll spend the rest of your life.
Your friends? Even with social networking out the wazoo, there are a fair amount of them you will end up drifting from and never see again.

Are any of these reasons to shut oneself off from the choices and experience living life and interacting with others can bring? Do they make the exercise of leading one's life a lie, or any less worthwhile? No, unless you've some sort of complex or disorder. These are all inevitabilities of life, and while they're brought to a somewhat extreme head for the sake of compelling storytelling, the ways Mass Effect 3 wraps up, and plays through to get to that wrap-up, speak a lot to the human condition, which may explain in part why so many people feel so connected to the series. The ending isn't what matters here. It's everything you did, said, and chose to get to that ending in the first place that should've been the focus, and what you should take away from the whole thing.

And finally, just the arrogance of such a petition is appalling in and of itself. How many other games have come out, both in serial form and as one-shots, that have had disappointing endings? Did anyone petition to get those changed? If you go to see a movie, enjoy most of it, but it wraps on a note you didn't like, do you pen a letter to the director and screenwriter telling them to "fix" it? Maybe you do, but if so, you've got bigger problems than just being upset at how a video game decided to end. And can any of you idiots even conceive of how much work it would take to build an entirely new ending to an established narrative? It's not like they can just pop a little patch in there and make things all good. Between the coding, new cinematics, and whatever else it would take to sate the whining hordes, such an undertaking would be ridiculously expensive, both monetarily and temporally, and a fairly pointless exercise given a) the game's done, shipped, and all over but the DLC; b) you already gave them your money to have something to bitch about in the first place; and c) it's the end of the storyline for those characters and therefore nothing really needs to be set up for a direct sequel. Let that stew for a bit, won't you?

I'm not saying people should like the ending if they don't want to. Your opinion is your opinion, and you're entitled to it. Even watching the cinematics for the various options, I couldn't really tell you whether they were genuinely good or bad in my opinion, what for lack of context. All I'm saying is that having, and even being vocal about, your distaste for Mass Effect 3's ending is one thing, and letting that distaste lead you to the conclusion that you can actually find enough like-minded people to change that ending to better suit your desires, and subsequently acting upon that conclusion in the tried and true format of the Almighty Online Petition, is another thing entirely. A very selfish, closed-minded, and immature thing, at that.

Besides, even if EA and BioWare did cave and change things, chances are at least half of you would still be pissed off, if not moreso than you were initially. Learn to suck it up, and realize some things won't go exactly as you want them to, regardless of how much time you invest in them. Fail to do so, and, well, I wish you luck surviving in the real world. You're going to need it.
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About nekobunone of us since 5:17 PM on 06.29.2007

Hi, I'm Chris, though I've been going by nekobun and variants thereof for so long, I kind of answer to both anymore.

While I've kind of got my own thing going in the realm of indie coverage, at least in the form of playing through (and streaming) (and writing about) the huge backlog I'm developing of games gleaned from various indie bundles, I try to keep my more mainstream, game-related features here, as well as opinion pieces on the industry at large, out of mad love for the 'toid. When I'm not rambling here or trying to be clever in comments threads, you can catch me rambling on Facebook and my Twitter, and trying to be clever in the Dtoid.tv chat.

Now Playing:
360: Halo 4
PC: F.E.A.R.
SNES: Secret Of Mana

Promoted:
I suck at games: PEW PEW LASERS
Improving game communities: Collective consciousness
Nothing is sacred: These walls have torn my world apart
The wrong thing: Only cream and bastards catch them all.
Love/Hate: I love to hate -you-
Love/Hate: B(u)y the book
The Future: Is still what it used to be
My Expertise: Playing the race kart
Something about sex: Sex sells, but who's buying?
E3 Approaches: It's oh so quiet
Freedom: Together, we'll break the chains of HUDs
East vs West: We've got the empire
Handhelds: Graduating as 2000's Catchemaledictorian
Relaxation: Cheesy double Chief burrito
Online Passes: A spoonful of sugar
Peripherals: Many tentacles pimpin' on the keys
This is what MAGfest is all about
Beginnings: Put it on the pizza
Disappointment: Bad(vent) timing

Recap Topsauce:
It's Thinking: Could you quit playing with that radio, love?
Do the wrong thing: And do it right, for once.
Afraid to shoot strangers.
Not if you were the last junkie on Pandora
Is Jim Sterling servicing the video games industry?
Something About Sex: Unsafe at any speed.
Doing DLC right
Congress passes sweeping Elfcare reform bill
Bottom five healthcare systems in videogames.
Pushing my love over the quarter line.
When my life would depend on an eight point none.
Remember the heroes.
Every Journey begins with a single step.
It's all over now, bomber blue.
Being Social: We'll always have Rainbow Road
Labor Day: Of course you realize, this means wark.
Please, aim it higher.
There Would've Been Brawl: Show me 'round your eggplantcage.
Integration: A place for everything
Zelda Week: I guess this is growing up.
MAGfest: the (don't be an) idiot's guide
Promotions: The bees are alright
Now is the winter of on-disc content
This was supposed to be a dozen items about nekobun.
Without Slenderness, there's something missing.
Cheap tricks (and treats) don't come cheaper than free.
The legacy of the (unlikely) wizard.
Cheap Tricks II: Sugar rush boogaloo
Thank you, for bringing me here, for showing me Home.
Burnt flowers fallen: the tragic bitchotry of Lilly Caul
Red and blue, resolving into purple.
Xbox LIVE:nekobun
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