Monthly Archives: March 2012
I know the subject of Mass Effect 3 has been burned to the ground, but I thought I’d finally give my two cents about it. After many sleepless nights and staying on media blackout in order to avoid spoilers, I finally finished the phenomena that is Mass Effect 3. Overall, what I took from playing the Mass Effect series is what most Sci-fi nerds like myself wanted: an epic lone hero willing to take on the odds and face the impossible. I don’t want to waste this article by giving the rundown of each game leading up to this finale, but I will say that in each incarnation I definitely felt that the story was complete in its entirely. So it made me a little worried when, two days out,the majority of players were outraged over the ending of Mass Effect 3. With so much promotion and media buzz (so many Mass Effect commercials during The Walking Dead!) followed by this kind of reaction really blindsided me, not only as a fan, but as avid supporter of great storytelling.
Bioware has taken on many challenging projects over the years and developed deeply immersive tales – from the fall and rise of the Dark Lord of the Sith Revan to the enigmatic style and ways of kung-fu in Jade Empire (a personal favorite of mine). So what triggered the outrage over the ending to the point that people began demanding it be changed? Bioware has had a brilliant run with the series and set-up this amazing story with an ending that felt incomplete. Let me tell you, I for one, have tried understanding all of the opinions and concerns and my final conclusion left me with a bitter taste in my mouth. Once I finished it, I rationalized that the overall experience of the game is what I should appreciate in this trilogy.
The cold hard truth is that most gamers (including myself) didn’t see the machinations within the final chapter unfold and took it at face value. Like other gamers, I was frustrated with the ending but was prepared to accept the conclusion that the producers of Mass Effect deemed appropriate. My perspective was in deep contrast to the tremendous sense of entitlement displayed, as many fans rallied against the close of the series, raising $80,000 in protest. It was a foolish attempt to control the perceived failing on the part of Bioware to deliver multiple endings, with differences rooted in the choices made across this long-running series.
Having gone back and done more research, including the infamous “indoctrination” theory, which fills in some of the gaps in the final scenes of the game, I was left completely baffled and amazed at what I believe Bioware was getting at. All of the plot holes and leaps in logic – from the recurring dreams with the boy to SPOILER the final showdown with the Illusive Man and Anderson are accounted for within the context of a mindscape. If this theory is true then Bioware might have pulled off one of the most plot-twisting strokes of genius in gaming history.
Sadly, considering the sheer number of projects they were working on during the production of Mass Effect 3 – Star Wars MMO, Dragon Age 2, setting up multiple outlets to Facebook games and iOS apps, as well as the questionable decision to incorporate multiplayer into a notoriously single player game – a move that assuredly consumed additional time and money, it’s doubtful they had the resources to devote to such an intricate resolution. There is yet to be any official comment as to the accuracy of the theory, but after the initial fallout the silence of Bioware was finally broken and co-founder Dr. Ray Muzyka stated that indeed, Bioware intends to release further content to essentially spoon feed us the “true” ending or at least a better understanding of it. Now, I’m supposed to be the better gamer here and enforce a level of respect and matter of opinion, but there comes a point where people should just let certain things be.
A lot of people that I respect in the industry have given their point of view, from the perspective of a game developer’s freedom of creative process to manufacturing a well thought out business model to continue pleasing the evil publisher overlord (*cough cough EA couch cough*). A part of me wishes to believe that in the end, Bioware wanted to keep food on the table for their families and worked out a compromise to try to satisfy both parties; maintaining both a complex and well-wrought finale, while leaving the franchise open to future financial windfall. Ultimately, what I think isn’t fact or gospel, but I’m left with doubt for the future of this epic tale. As I stated on my last podcast, I do believe that this is pivotal moment in gaming where there is a lot laying on the table. I just hope that at the end of it all, I’ll still be able to enjoy playing games.
[Insert Witty Comment Here] … or down below, whatever you prefer @GameOverParra on Twitterverse
Howdy Interwebs I know it’s been a really really really REALLY long time since I’ve updated the site, but I’ve been working on a ton of new stuff and hopefully you’ll enjoy the coming articles. In the meanwhile I started a podcast with Derek my hetero-partner for life where we talk about … well mostly gaming. I’ve already recorded 3 episodes, but I felt that this one should be put out right away because of the state of Mass Effect 3.
Thanks again for tuning in and I promise this time around to stay in the loop of things.
P.S. Working on getting the podcast on iTunes plus do keep in mind that we record in a van on the road so the audio might suck a bit.