Posted by wastelander75 , 16 March 2012 · 84823 views
crappy endings Shepard Anderson Mass Effect 3 Reapers BioWare Mass Effect EA Mass Effect 2 WTF
How To Destroy a Franchise In Under 10 Minutes
It's been a few days since I've finished my one and, currently, only run though Mass Effect 3's storyline. And, as most of you are no doubt aware, I'm not what you'd call......pleased by the end results of BioWare's trilogy. And I'm not the only one. Look at Twitter, Facebook, BioWare's own Social Network, and you can see the disparity between those who actually liked Mass Effect 3 from beginning to end, against those who share my current opinion of what we got and then got very angry and very vocal about it. A lot of the arguments for and against are based on those last 10 minutes in Mass Effect 3, and how they literally stand against the statements that various Producers, Directors and whatnot that worked on the game made prior to the game's release.
Please be aware that the following information does contain spoilers for those of you out there currently playing the game. So if you don't want to know the outcomes of the game or events themselves, please stop reading right now.
True or False Time:
Mass Effect 3's Director Casey Hudson - ".......At this point we’re taking into account so many decisions that you’ve made as a player and reflecting a lot of that stuff. It’s not even in any way like the traditional game endings, where you can say how many endings there are or whether you got ending A, B, or C. The endings have a lot more sophistication and variety in them."
Because that's exactly what happened at the end of Mass Effect 3. You could either go for what was behind door A: Control the Reapers and send them, well, god knows where because we weren't shown in the game. So I'll just list this as B.S. plot cliffhanger #1
Door B: Merging organic and synthetic life together to form a sort of hybrid race. Like cyborgs. Again we really don't see what the Reapers do in the end since, yet again, we're not shown in the game. B.S. "plothanger" #2.
Door C: Destroying the Reaper's control unit. Based on your Galactic Readiness Level (GRL) it ends up destroying the Reapers and Earth (if it's low). At least now we know what happens with the Reapers at least. This ending (if GRL is high enough) will end with a short 10 second glimpse of your Shepard buried in rubble at first presumably dead suddenly start breathing. Why is he buried in rubble? More on that in a minute.
Add in the fact that the decisions are not locked out, at all, for a Paragon or Renegade Shep. So basically, no matter how good or evil you were during the entire trilogy, basically what the endings do is completely and utterly invalidate your choice to be the hero or the...I guess you could say anti-hero. Because it doesn't affect the game's ending in any way, shape or form. I mean, since that's the case, why have Paragon and Renegade interrupts/conversation choices in the game at all? I want to call this a "plothanger" but instead, I'll just call it more bullsh*t on their part.
Now, going back to the whole rubble thing. I really don't remember the citadel being made of dirt and stone. It was more like metal and glass. So why he hell is Shep buried under stonework? Stonework that looks a lot like the blasted landscape of London. Makes you wonder (and hope) for a minute. But to me, it seems like this was the part they decided to add in to add to the confusion. If that's the case, color me confused as hell right now.
True or False:
Hudson - “Fans want to make sure that they see things resolved, they want to get
some closure, a great ending. I think they’re going to get that.”
At the moment, False. At least for the majority of players who have played all 3 games and experienced Mass 3's very linear endings. Like I've said before, look at BioWare's own Social Network, Twitter accounts, Facebook pages, etc. etc. This isn't just some small minority displeased with how it all wraps up. This is perhaps the biggest organized protest against a game developer in recent history. And, to my knowledge, ever. Sure you've got disgruntled fans here and there for Game X and Game Y. But I've yet to see people readying themselves to revolt and protest Game X and Game Y like many fans are planning to do at BioWare's Mass Effect Panel at PAX East this year (which is April 6th, FYI).
As far as closure, from a writer's standpoint, I just don't see it. There's just too many jarring events that leave too many unanswered questions at the end. For one, even if you decide to merge or control the Reapers, why does it lead to the destruction of the Mass Relays throughout the universe? And while we're touching up on that, how does that NOT destroy all life in the galaxy when, as it's been established in Mass Effect Canon/Lore, doing so pretty much destroys the solar system(s) they're tethered to? If you'll notice in Mass Effect 2's "Arrival" DLC, Shep does destroy one, which leads to the deaths of hundreds of thousands (if not billions) of Batarians just so Earth has enough time to rally the fleet for a defensive stance. So even then, choice A, B, or C flies in the face of whether or not you're doing the "Paragon" or "Renegade" route since, well, based on obvious outcomes you're shown, Shep basically wipes out all life in the galaxy. The endings pretty much show you that, no matter what you do, this death is inevitable, and that you've basically done the Reaper's work for them. Hell of a thing, huh?
And for those of you saying, "Well maybe they didn't go all supernova and just 'control exploded.'" O.K. fine. We can run with that for a moment and ask the bigger question. How the hell is this giant galactic fleet hovering over Earth going to get back to their respective homeworlds/systems? Sure most of their ships have short range FTL capabilities, but they're nowhere near as fast as conventional Mass Relay transit. If they were, then why the hell were they still using Relays in the first place? So you're looking at what? A massive armada of ships (and people) just sort of loitering over a war torn Earth incapable of looking out for the countless mouths they need to feed. Not to mention incapable of feeding certain species (Turians and Quarians). So even at short range FTL it'd be, what? Years? Decades? Centuries before they reach their respective home planets? Your honor, I'd like to submit B.S. "plothanger" #3 to the jury please.
True or False:
Associate Producer Mike Gamble - “There are many different endings. We wouldn’t do it any other way. How could you go through all three campaigns playing as your Shepard and then be forced into a bespoke ending that everyone gets?”
Holy Sh*t False.
First off, depending on very small and minute differences depending on what you ultimately decide to do, the endings are fundamentally the same. 1. Shep dies. 2. The Crucible blast destroys the Mass Relays and pretty much wipes out all galactic life. 3. The Normandy is still stranded on some remote planet.
Which brings me to B.S. "plothanger" #4. What the flying blue asari f*uck was it doing in FTL flight prior to the Mass Relay explosion? To my knowledge it was over Earth assisting in its defense. So......what? Joker suddenly turned chicken and deserted? There was some unheard retreat? Joker saw the blast and decided to run like hell? Why weren't we shown the how and why? It's not like it would've been an expensive explanation either. Ten seconds of cinematics, if even that long, would have explained what was up.
For that matter, when it does crash land, the team members you took with you on the last mission, the ones who were hit with Harbinger's "death star" beam and, for all intents and purposes, die before you get to the citadel, come walking out of the ship.
WHUUUUUUUU???? Oh sh*t space zombays!! Shoot them! Shoot them in the head!!!
I just don't see Joker leaving the battle, swinging down to grab the crew, then running like hell anyway. It completely and utterly goes against his nature to tuck tail and run. This is the guy that flew you to Ilos in a very dangerous hot drop, put the finishing touches on the Reaper Sovereign, stood by you in Mass Effect 2 when you charged through the Omega 4 Mass Relay, shoved a boot up a Collector warship's ass, and then pulled your ass out of the fire when the collector base blew up/sent that dangerous radiation pulse at the end. But at the end of Mass Effect 3, he's running (unexplainably I might add) like a scalded dog with an ass full of buckshot. I got three words for that:
Bull. F*cking. Sh*t.
That alone makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. It goes against his very nature. It goes against Joker being Joker. All of it goes against Joker being Joker. And we're expected to just deal with it? See my above response to that.
BioWare: The Dark Ages
I got in touch with a friend of mine (well, a friend of my cousin really) who used to work at a P.R. firm on what they coined the "spin team." What he was responsible for doing was maintaining a team of damage control personnel to try and polish bullsh*t and make you like it. "Sure, it was all still bullsh*t," he said (and preferred to stay nameless, so we'll call him Mr. Spin), "but sitting back and doing nothing just gives the rabble rousers a bigger and louder soapbox to stand on." What he's seeing BioWare doing is the same thing they used to do when they went into active damage control.
First step: Double down. Reaffirm the positives. The glowing critical responses. The 10/10 scores. Respond to the positive responses. Pound the professional responses home. Use big lettering, fireworks, gold stars, whatever it takes to show everyone what the "professional" opinion of the product is.
Step Two: "Civilized attack" mode. Define the detractors with things like "vocal minority", "overly abusive", "over-reacting to small and insignificant things in the product," and so on and so on, et cetera, et cetera, ad infinitum. In the meanwhile, appear to be the "civil" as the rabble goes rabid.
The next step is "Black Ops" mode. "Actually, it shouldn't be the next step, but something you do during the second phase of what you're being paid to do," Mr Spin says. "You do that by launching 'countermeasure attacks' through third party contacts to prop up your product while protecting the corporate core." Basically pay people to boost the critical praise the product's getting, while openly defying the negative critics/criticisms and calling them, for all intents and purposes, crybaby trolls.
Step Three: Offer the crowd something distracting, what Mr. Spin calls the "Sacrificial Cow." This could be anything from a free room at a Las Vegas hotel, a discount card at their favorite restaurant, and so on. "I think this is where they're at right now," he says. And I looked at it and, guess what? He's right.
Right now BioWare's offering up goodies during ME3's multiplayer modes; i.e. special weapons for your multiplayer character to use. "What this does," Spin says, "is give them time to form up and work out an official statement for their product. It also distracts the rabble long enough for outliers to kind of give up and give in, if you're lucky. 'Sure I didn't get x and x out of this, but I got a 15% discount card at Denny's.' Which, yeah they have thousands of those things," he joked.
And finally, if all else fails, especially for the die-hards, you go into "Observe and Report" mode. Which is, determine of it's economically viable to stay the course and ignore the outcry and eventually bank on the "3 second attention span" nature of consumers to get over it or determine if there's monetary gain from offering a "fix" for the defective problem. "Nine times out of ten," Spin says,"the former happens a lot more than the latter."
I asked him, in his professional opinion, what he thinks will happen. Being a game fan himself, he surprised me. "The latter. There's way too much negative fan reaction out there. Pretty soon this is going to turn into a corporate problem thing. The developing team might cry foul against EA going against what, well, from what I guess would be their "artistic" ending, eh endings, being altered. Somewhere out there EA's already got people crunching the numbers, and once it starts to really affect the hard currency they're not pulling in like they'd hoped for, it's going to be a sh*tstorm between the suits telling the grunts to fix the problem so they can afford to keep their mistresses happy and not rat out to the wife," He joked. But at the same time you could tell he was also serious about what he just said. I wanted to follow up on that, but decided not to. Maybe I'll chat him up on a later date.
Me personally, I hope it's all just a RickRoll moment. I honestly hope that somewhere during their PAX East panel they roll out the "Finish the Fight" DLC that shows you that the last 10 minutes were all just a dreamy little sequence in Shep's fragile little mind. That after Harbinger sucker-punch-death-ray's the team, he's still there on Earth dreaming it all up. I'd buy it. And from a marketing standpoint, I'm pretty sure so will a lot of those same disgruntled fans that are currently and passionately fighting for an ending that lives up to the expectations of the series and something that erases the falsehoods currently spoken by the very team that made it.
As Casey Hudson put it best:
"I didn't want the game to be forgettable,"
Neither did I Mr. Hudson. Neither did I. But as it stands, I can't stand to look at the game as is. I have no desire to ever revisit it. And, for that matter, I have no desire to replay the other two games either.
If this is all just a joke, it's in very poor tastes.
- MartB64 likes this