Never Satisfied

“Maybe you’re just like my mother,” a great man once sang, “she’s never satisfied.” It is a truth universally acknowledged that gamers, like the fictional mother of The Artist Formerly Known As The Artist Formerly Known As Prince, find satisfaction an elusive prize. Ours is a subculture plagued, if not defined, by complaining. There is always something missing from our experiences, some intangible omitted element that, if the designers had only had the sense to include it, would have alchemized the game from lead into gold. Complaining is so ingrained in us that opening an article by complaining about complaining is a viable tactic.

Alright, I’m kidding. But only a little.

Few things have put me in mind of Prince’s figurative progenitor as much as the recent controversy over Mass Effect 3’s ending. The issue — which mutated from Minor Kerfuffle into Full Boondoggle in record time — revolves around a petition created by dissatisfied fans asking developer BioWare to patch in alternative closing sequences. “Whereas,” the petition begins in deepest sincerity, the ending fails on at least four different levels, the petitioners “respectfully request” that additional closing sequences be added to the game. Instead of signatures, the petition asks supporters to make a donation to Child’s Play, the charity founded by Penny Arcade.

I haven’t played Mass Effect 3, much less finished it. For all I know the final cutscene could feature Commander Shepard forgoing saving the galaxy to open her own pancake restaurant. But regardless of the ending’s narrative consistency or emotional impact, there’s a key misunderstanding happening here: This ain’t our story. By demanding the creators change it to suit our preferences, we’re breaking an unstated contract. Not between designer and player, but between magician and audience.

Video games are magic acts in any number of ways, but mostly because they create illusions. Narrative-heavy games like BioWare’s are vehicles for fantasy, for immersing ourselves in other worlds. But they also fool us into thinking their stories are our stories, that we players are in control of our experience. We’re not. We’re merely choosing from options presented to us. The results of those choices — a poignant cutscene, a new mission opportunity — can be rewarding in and of themselves. But just as rewarding is the process of choosing, of engaging in the fantasy not that we are intergalactic heroes, but that we are actually authors of our own story. It's the same feeling we get when a magician convinces us, if only for a second, that by saying Abracadabra we really did make our card disappear. The illusion of agency can be just as exciting as the illusion of magic.

The greatest trick game designers ever pulled is convincing the player they didn’t exist, some might say. But marketing plays a role as well. In the case of BioWare, design and marketing are aligned in a way that’s more effective than in perhaps any other major studio. Fans truly feel ownership of their experiences, despite the games being story-focused, transparently authored products. This speaks to the superb quality of the authorship, but also to a design ethic and marketing strategy that work together effectively to further the illusion of player authority, of being in control. "Our choices matter," the design and the marketing tell us. And because of the complexity and elegance of their interaction design and the depth of their fiction, BioWare can pull it off. They are, in other words, excellent magicians. Brian Taylor’s brilliant analysis links this trend to fan culture and speculates why BioWare fans feel so comfortable petitioning for a new ending and filing false advertising complaints with the Better Business Bureau:

BioWare games exploit these participatory aspects of fan culture in their game design. The company knows that fans like to ask ‘what if?’, to maneuver characters into romantic relationships, and so they build in the options. They appear responsive to the desires of their fans and so it’s not really surprising that rather than use older forms of remixing like fan fiction [...] the fans go to the company itself. Maybe it’s a desire for validation, or some kind of misguided creative impulse.

And this is where the unspoken contract is violated. When you go to a magic show, you understand that you will see a series of illusions, that your senses and your mind will be fooled, and you’re content to plunk down your money for the pleasure of being tricked. If you're lucky, the magician may call you up to the stage as a volunteer, having you enact some minor portion of a trick — usually to distract you and the audience from the real action. This is what narrative-focused video games do: They give you a few moments on stage with the magician, a brief span in the spotlight. But you, the audience participant, aren't the one in control of the performance. So you play along. You don't demand the lovely assistant be sawed in thirds instead of halves, because you are not the one performing the trick.

That’s not to say we shouldn’t subject games to thoughtful critique. As a reviewer, I obviously find a lot of value in that process. If we don’t demand more from games, they won’t get better. If we think something sucks, it can be worthwhile to talk about why it sucks, about how we think it could be improved. But players are not creators, and consumers are not designers. We do not have ultimate say over what the game includes or does not include, despite the convincing responsiveness of corporate social media and the panacea of the almighty patch.

Some argue otherwise, that because games are more malleable than other media, consumers should be encouraged to have a more “participatory” relationship with creators. But applying that logic to a series like Mass Effect, which is decidedly not a playground for collaborative storytelling like Sleep is Death, seems misguided. It’s a fundamental misunderstanding of how a story-driven game works, miscasting creative choices as bugs to be fixed. Of course, viewed through a more cynical lens, you can imagine the DLC Alternate Ending taking off as the next monetization trend.

Money, it turns out, is central to this controversy. According to their website, the ME3 petitioners have raised more than $78,000 as of press time for Child’s Play since March 13, an absolutely astounding total that could help a lot of sick children. Yet as a Gamer whose Job is With a charity, I’m conflicted about this. Funding is desperately needed in the nonprofit sector, and as long as it comes from legal sources, it’s hard to turn down money. But linking the petition to charity has the effect of diluting the petition's message. If the petitioners felt they were in the right in the first place, why bother with the charitable campaign? On some level, the creators of the petition had to realize they’d come under fire for their “request” to BioWare, so they couched it in philanthropy. They also must have realized how petty their request would seem, so they latched on to charitable giving to lend it an air of respectability. Their “win-win” argument — join together to fix this video game AND help some sick kids! — encourages people to support their position without resorting to too much critical thought. Nevermind the actual charity itself or the mission it pursues. You can feel satisfied knowing your outrage is going to a good cause. Giving to charity to insulate yourself from criticism is a time-honored tactic of the terminally disingenuous. One hopes that's not the case here.

Yet clearly, BioWare believes in the petitioners' sincerity. In a supremely ironic twist, I had to change the ending of this article after yesterday's announcement from BioWare's Dr. Ray Muzyka that ME3 developers are now working on "game content initiatives" which, if they aren't new endings, will at least "provide more clarity for those seeking further closure to their journey." I don't even want to begin to parse Dr. Ray's statement or speculate about what BioWare's reaction to this controversy signifies. There have already been arguments on both sides, some calling it a blatant cash grab and some calling it a new standard for studio responsiveness. My gut feeling is that no matter what this new content ends up being, a good number of the petitioners still won't be satisfied. Eventually, they'll realize they'll never be — until they're the magicians on stage pulling rabbits out of hats.

Comments

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The ending of this article is terrible; it fails on at least four different levels. If you could patch in at least three other alternate endings, I think that's the least you could do.

This ain’t our story. By demanding the creators change it to suit our preferences, we’re breaking an unstated contract. Not between designer and player, but between magician and audience.

Bullsh*t. The entire premise of the game is that you get to make meaningful choices, that the world you inhabit at the end will be much different than the one that your buddy played.

The ending consequences didn't need to be good. That's not what people are complaining about. Nobody's mad about the Mordin arc, for instance, because that played out very satisfyingly, even though there are no versions of that story that are ponies and butterflies.

If all the endings are bad, that's okay. But they need to be meaningfully connected to the choices you made. And they simply are not. It feels like Bioware ran out of money, or EA told them they had to ship before it was ready. So, instead of dealing with all the complexity that all those choices would make in a denouement, they just vaporized the f*cking galaxy because it was cheaper.

Yes, J.K. Rowling could have had Harry Potter be confronted by a man in a white suit at the last minute, and the only options he's then allowed to take are to become Voldemort, for everyone at Hogwarts to merge into bizarre mutato-creatures, or to destroy all magic forever. She could have done that. And it would have been a TERRIBLE STORY, and her sales would have instantly plummeted to just about zero.

There are a lot of themes and interesting subplots running all through the Mass Effect series, and they jettisoned all of them in the last five minutes and vaporized everything. Your sole choices are red fire, green fire, or blue fire.

What an unbelievable letdown. Compare that with, say, Chrono Trigger, which gave you you thirteen different endings, eighteen years ago, in just four megabytes of ROM. Or the various Fallout games, which had long denouement sequences, talking about the ways you'd impacted many of the lives you'd touched, for better or for worse.

But Mass Effect? Vaporize those f*ckers. Actual meaningful endings?. Pshaw, my good man. That would be much too expensive, and since we're not selling any more sequels, there's no need for a satisfying or thematically correct conclusion. Slap something together using recycled textures from the rest of the game, make sure it's not affected by anything that the player actually did, and voila, we've got a nice cheap ending. Shove it the door, make the beancounters happy, watch the sales roll in.

Oh, screaming? Ah, well, we can just charge more money to the screamers to do what we should have done in the first place.

Basically, people are mad because Bioware lied about the game they were selling. Not because the story was wrong, but because they didn't give us what they promised they'd give us. My ending is no different than your ending, except for color, no matter what you did, and they explicitly said that wasn't going to happen, that this game was different.

Malor, JP's not saying that you can't hate the ending and think it's complete crap, just like you're welcome to think that a magician's final trick is tacky and obvious. It's not disliking the ending that has players pushing against the line between creator and consumer, it's the demands that BioWare themselves create a new official ending that's more satisfying.

An equivalent in other media would be fans demanding that the last episode of Lost be rewritten, re-filmed, and re-aired to have a different resolution, or fans of The Matrix demanding that an entirely new ending to Revolutions be created for the DVD release. I doubt that most people would take those demands seriously, and the respective production companies certainly wouldn't, but with Mass Effect it's somehow seen as our Right as gamers to demand that these things be fixed.

It's perfectly okay to think BioWare screwed the pooch here, but it's silliness to demand that they do anything about it. It's their work, and they can f*ck it up if they want to, just like any creator can f*ck up their work at any time. Regardless of what choices we've been allowed to make in the series, we've only ever been consumers here, not co-creators, and can only experience what we've been given to experience. We might have gotten to make some choices along the way, but that doesn't change the fact that we're essentially passive consumers in the same way as someone watching television or a movie.

Fans are entitled to their disappointment, but BioWare was never obligated to make them happy.

You are correct, players are not the creators but players demanding change won't invoke change. It will always be the developers choice and players and critics should continue to relay feedback and criticisms even if they come off as a demand.

This process happens all the time.

- A developer releases a title
- Players and critics relay feedback and criticism (sometimes in the form of demands)
- The developer collects the feedback and criticism and decides what to do including not doing anything

CD Projekt Red is about to release The Witcher 2: Enhanced Edition which will contain a number of changes brought about by player feedback but the decision ultimately fell with CDPR. It's Blizzard's choice to change WoW based on player feedback. It's Valve's choice to change TF2 based on player feedback. It's Kojima Productions choice not to change the ending of MGS4. And it's the players choice to care enough to relay feedback even if it comes in the form of a demand.

Developers are also independent of one another. When developers like Valve and CD Projekt Red decide to make changes based on player feedback it doesn't forcibly make others follow suit.The independence of developers in a creative medium also allows them to approach each situation on a case by case basis and make decisions based on their ideals and goals.

If Bioware decides to change ME3 it will be their decision and their decision alone. What Bioware chooses to do in the specific case of ME3 will not forcibly make developers follow suit and will not blur the line between player and developer on a world wide scale.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/insertco...

I really enjoyed this forbes article and its corresponding youtube video. Whether or not the theory is true, it puts the series in a fun perspective and I can see Bioware creating a DLC pack that explains all of this, because that is how they roll now.

Yes. I am with you completely on this JP.

Admittedly, I haven't played ME3 yet (though I desperately want to). And I am still willing to buy it and play it and enjoy it despite the vitriol that Malor & others seem to have for the ending and the Bioware/EA staff for putting it out there.

ClockworkHouse wrote:

It's perfectly okay to think BioWare screwed the pooch here, but it's silliness to demand that they do anything about it. It's their work, and they can f*ck it up if they want to, just like any creator can f*ck up their work at any time. Regardless of what choices we've been allowed to make in the series, we've only ever been consumers here, not co-creators, and can only experience what we've been given to experience. We might have gotten to make some choices along the way, but that doesn't change the fact that we're essentially passive consumers in the same way as someone watching television or a movie.

Perfectly said.

I've discussed this in the spoiler thread, so I'll keep my thoughts brief. But the idea of any creative individual or team being forced to alter their work to satisfy the public is abhorrent to me. You have the right to dislike the ending to the game. You have a right to be so angry about the choices Bioware made that you never purchase anything associated with the company again.

But I don't believe that anyone has the right to force them into changes that they don't agree with. We would be livid if EA announced that they were putting pressure financially on Bioware to change the ending to fit what they, as a publisher, want. But here we are, howling for Bioware to change the ending to fit what we, as fans, want.

It's perfectly okay to think BioWare screwed the pooch here, but it's silliness to demand that they do anything about it. It's their work, and they can f*ck it up if they want to, just like any creator can f*ck up their work at any time. Regardless of what choices we've been allowed to make in the series, we've only ever been consumers here, not co-creators, and can only experience what we've been given to experience. We might have gotten to make some choices along the way, but that doesn't change the fact that we're essentially passive consumers in the same way as someone watching television or a movie.

Exactly! Hey, have you ever watched a tv show, read a book, played a game, etc. and found that you didn't like the ending? What did you do? Did you just...not play it any more or not buy any sequels? Wow, doesn't that sound like the more rational mindset to take! If you didn't like the ending to ME3 and you hate Bioware now, don't buy the DLC and don't play any more Bioware games. Don't demand that they change it. They made it. It happened and you played it. The game is done. Changing the ending won't change the fact that you already beat it and saw the ending you didn't like. It's time to move on.

I don't understand where you guys are coming from.

If the ending is crap, and it can be changed, the fans have every right to ask for that to happen. It's occurred more than once in other media, especially in movies. The developer doesn't have to do actually make anything different, but if they listen, agree, and choose an alternate ending -- especially via DLC -- it's not exactly a Travesty of Art.

J.P. "kincher skolfax" Grant wrote:

players are not creators, and consumers are not designers. We do not have ultimate say over what the game includes or does not include, despite the convincing responsiveness of corporate social media and the panacea of the almighty patch.

Who says otherwise? I feel like the premise here is a hollow one -- you have a group of disgruntled guys asking for a change, perhaps vehemently. Regardless of how that request is worded, nobody (who is sane) would conflate dissatisfaction with a creative work, especially a mutable work like a video game, with being that game's creator.

ElCapitanBSC wrote:

Don't demand that they change it. They made it. The game is done. It's time to move on.

Why not? Is there something sacrosanct about Mass Effect that says that I may not engage in dialog with Bioware about it? That's not entitlement, it's engagement, and it's proof that your work matters and resonates.

Why not? Is there something sacrosanct about Mass Effect that says that I may not engage in dialog with Bioware about it? That's not entitlement, it's engagement, and it's proof that your work matters and resonates.

I added a little more after in an edit, but yeah, the thing is a changed ending doesn't mean that you didn't see the ending before. What does it matter if you see a new ending now? If the ending is so malleable and you have such a strong idea about what you want from the ending, make up what you want it to be and just pretend that's what the ending was. Why have them spend their time revising the ending? What if they change it and then a different set of people don't like it, but you like it? Then if they change it again are you gonna be upset that you lost the new, better ending?

My philosophy on this is in line with Willie Nelson, "You can't please everyone / so you got to please yourself." Bioware did something, people didn't like it, conversation over.

TheHipGamer wrote:

Is there something sacrosanct about Mass Effect that says that I may not engage in dialog with Bioware about it? That's not entitlement, it's engagement, and it's proof that your work matters and resonates.

There's a difference between engaging in dialogue and demanding that they alter their work. The fact is, many fans are saying that Bioware "owes" them a different ending. That is most definitely entitlement.

Somewhere, under a rock perhaps tenting his fingers in vile glee, is a marketing exec. "we should have focus grouped it more," he hisses.

Your whiny requests for change are delicious food to him and his kind.

ElCapitanBSC wrote:

If the ending is so malleable and you have such a strong idea about what you want from the ending, make up what you want it to be and just pretend that's what the ending was.

I disagree here. Part of engaging with media is actually experiencing it. Following your logic, there's no inherent value to actually playing at all, unless you want to just accept it ipso facto, and never on a more sophisticated level.

You are certainly entitled to modifying disappointing games via solipsistic fantasy, but it's not a terribly compelling way to correct or improve them in general.

trichy wrote:
TheHipGamer wrote:

Is there something sacrosanct about Mass Effect that says that I may not engage in dialog with Bioware about it? That's not entitlement, it's engagement, and it's proof that your work matters and resonates.

There's a difference between engaging in dialogue and demanding that they alter their work. The fact is, many fans are saying that Bioware "owes" them a different ending. That is most definitely entitlement.

Yeah, this is where I draw a line (if one can be drawn). I have no problem with masses of people voicing disappointment in a piece. It's great if they are so engaged with the material that they want to petition for a different ending.

But I find the tone and tenor completely ridiculous. People invoking the idea of a "contract" where there wasn't one. I also find the tactic of wrapping their demand up with Child's Play distasteful, but like JP I am ambivalent to its use here, because hey - who doesn't want to help sick kids?

I suppose if someone started a counter Child's Play donation drive movement, that would be distasteful too, but I might support it simply as counterpoint to the whinging, entitlement I've read over the last few days.

HedgeWizard wrote:
trichy wrote:
TheHipGamer wrote:

Is there something sacrosanct about Mass Effect that says that I may not engage in dialog with Bioware about it? That's not entitlement, it's engagement, and it's proof that your work matters and resonates.

There's a difference between engaging in dialogue and demanding that they alter their work. The fact is, many fans are saying that Bioware "owes" them a different ending. That is most definitely entitlement.

Yeah, this is where I draw a line (if one can be drawn). I have no problem with masses of people voicing disappointment in a piece. It's great if they are so engaged with the material that they want to petition for a different ending.

But I find the tone and tenor completely ridiculous. People invoking the idea of a "contract" where there wasn't one. I also find the tactic of wrapping their demand up with Child's Play distasteful, but like JP I am ambivalent to its use here, because hey - who doesn't want to help sick kids?

I suppose if someone started a counter Child's Play donation drive movement, that would be distasteful too, but I might support it simply as counterpoint to the whinging, entitlement I've read over the last few days.

Hedge, I make no bones about seeing most people as being selfish jerks, and thus acting that way online. My point is simply that while they are communicating it terribly, the alternative is not to shut up and not engage in dialog.

TheHipGamer wrote:

I disagree here. Part of engaging with media is actually experiencing it. Following your logic, there's no inherent value to actually playing at all, unless you want to just accept it ipso facto, and never on a more sophisticated level.

You are certainly entitled to modifying disappointing games via solipsistic fantasy, but it's not a terribly compelling way to correct or improve them in general.

The thing I was pointing out was that you didn't write any of Mass Effect. This was something that you trusted other people to do and, I'm going out on a limb here, but you were fine with them doing it twice before. Now they made a choice you didn't like and you want them to change it...except they're still the same people. What's to say they don't come up with an equally bad or worse ending? It's still the same creative staff that decided to end the game the way it ended.

Yet what I take as most insulting is that my accepting what I was presented, analyzing it, and accepting it is less sophisticated than saying, "I didn't like it. Change it to something I want so I can like it."

I guess what I'm getting at slowly is that I experienced the ending of ME3 and I was fine with it and I'm angry that people want to go and change it into something new. I want the work to be done and not fiddled with anymore. Take Star Wars. Doesn't it annoy almost everyone that George Lucas won't stop meddling with the original trilogy? Stop changing the ghosts! Stop adding "NO!"

Sometimes things happen that we don't like. The proper way to deal with that is not to dwell and obsess on changing the past.

I'm shocked that people felt like they were making meaningful choices in Mass Effect. That's what Dragon Age was for, before they neutered it in the sequel. Did people really feel like they owned this character? The Bioware-designed eigencharacters Renegade Shepard and Paragon Shepard exist in superposition and the entirety of your interaction with the game is observing him at specific points, thereby collapsing the wavefunction for a time. Because of Shepard's odd quantum nature he could neither be interestingly authored nor completely my own. For me, it was so transparent and gamey it completely stymied my efforts to connect to him.

ElCapitanBSC wrote:

Sometimes things happen that we don't like. The proper way to deal with that is not to dwell and obsess on changing the past.

I'm not terribly comfortable with anyone else telling me what the proper way to engage with the world is.

It's a video game, not a historical event; you had your experience, and you can put it on the shelf and be done with it. If folks who want a different set of endings -- for all of the reasons outlined above -- ask for/receive them, you aren't being harmed.

That anyone would presume to say, "I liked it just fine, so you have no right to ask for specific content changes or DLC" seems unreasonable. You know why I don't get bent out of shape about Star Wars? Because I can go watch it, just as it was in 1982. Does the fact that Lucas has made the latter part of his career out of providing different editions change my original experience? Nope.

I've sort of been skimming this whole ME3 brouhaha—it sounds to me completely asinine, so I refuse to refer to it as anything less silly-sounding than "brouhaha"—so this article and thread has been a nice analysis. FWIW, I agree completely with JP, Clock, trichy, and HedgeWizard. Although I would put "fix" in scare-quotes, or picture me making air quotes with my fingers if I was to talk about BioWare 'fixing' the ending.

It seems to me that this problem, and so many of video games' problems, is that the loudest consumers are an immature bunch. Are they predominantly young, maybe still high school aged and don't have a critical education yet? Or don't have a very big sphere of things to worry about it yet, so slights in their hobby are magnified to Terrible Injustices? Are they impatient, or maybe just selfish?

I feel like developers—grown adults—are pressured to bow to the demands of a raging mass of myopic 15-year-olds. Certainly the publishers are happy to bow to them, in order to better reach their pockets. It makes for a weird industry to be a part of, if my impression of it is accurate. But this thread makes me feel better.

I'm going to skip right past the comments, because I'm frankly too close to the topic here and I don't really want my read of people's response to color things for me anymore than they have, because -- and I'm sorry in advance -- I'm insulted by comments that a receiver of content has any right or worse entitlement to a story taking any direction except the one written by the author. As a creator of content (of much less significance) if you want to have a conversation with me about what you like or didn't like, that's fine.

If you want to have a conversation with me about what I am obligated to change or how you are entitled to a certain outcome/resolution/path then our conversation is immediately over.

I was writing a similar piece, and I argue that I get the illusory sense of entitlement some people have, because the changing nature of media and the way we consume it gives an artificial illusion of participation. If you think that you had some right to any specific or general result or alternative in Mass Effect 3, or Lost or Star Wars or any media, for that matter, well I understand why you got fooled into thinking you're a meaningful player in the story, but you weren't and you never were. Thinking otherwise -- that's on you.

The fun of a game like ME or even a show like Lost is that it creates the illusion of blurring the lines between receiver of content and creator of content. But, just because David Copperfield appeared to make the Statue of Liberty disappear doesn't mean the Statue of Liberty is actually gone. The rules haven't changed just because you are receiving the story differently, it's still not actually your story and you still get exactly as much say as the author wants you to have. Them's the rules, period. Always have been.

"I don't like the end of Mass Effect" is a fine comment to make and dialog to have.

"I believe the ending should be changed to suit my expectations" -- Well, we have no common ground here, and we should just move on to another topic where we have any place for commonality, because in my book this is just a deal breaker.

I wanted to add my thoughts in general support of what J.P. is saying, but I just can't participate in this discussion. Frankly, I just wouldn't be able to keep my cool.

Or people could, you know, calm down and remember that ME3 is just a freakin' video game, and get on with their lives. Anyone getting red-faced angry over a video game ending needs to take a long, hard look at their life priorities, in my opinion.

Grrr, this mouse need to be replaced. Nothing to see here.

Gravey wrote:

It seems to me that this problem, and so many of video games' problems, is that the loudest consumers are an immature bunch. Are they predominantly young, maybe still high school aged and don't have a critical education yet? Or don't have a very big sphere of things to worry about it yet, so slights in their hobby are magnified to Terrible Injustices? Are they impatient, or maybe just selfish?

Stereotype much?

Gravey wrote:

I feel like developers—grown adults—are pressured to bow to the demands of a raging mass of myopic 15-year-olds. Certainly the publishers are happy to bow to them, in order to better reach their pockets. It makes for a weird industry to be a part of, if my impression of it is accurate. But this thread makes me feel better.

Follow the money. That's what they're doing, that's the nature of the beast.

TheHipGamer wrote:

That anyone would presume to say, "I liked it just fine, so you have no right to ask for specific content changes or DLC" seems unreasonable. You know why I don't get bent out of shape about Star Wars? Because I can go watch it, just as it was in 1982. Does the fact that Lucas has made the latter part of his career out of providing different editions change my original experience? Nope.

I don't see how any of this conflicts with what I'm saying! If you can presume to say that you did not like something and you want it changed then I can presume to say that I did like it and I don't want it changed. It's the same argument on two different sides of the coin.

Which, honestly, is why I should just be cool with whatever happens and just not play or not buy what I don't like as I suggested in the first place.

Scratched wrote:
Gravey wrote:

It seems to me that this problem, and so many of video games' problems, is that the loudest consumers are an immature bunch. Are they predominantly young, maybe still high school aged and don't have a critical education yet? Or don't have a very big sphere of things to worry about it yet, so slights in their hobby are magnified to Terrible Injustices? Are they impatient, or maybe just selfish?

Stereotype much?

Not really. The loudest ones tend to be immature, because immaturity lends itself more easily to loud proclamations.

I think what many of us GWJers take issue with (at least as I see it) is the tone of most of the argument: we paid for this game and we got a bunch of people to donate to a fabulous charity organization that supports sick children so you need to change this game to suit us.

Where I get concerned is in answering: where does this stop? How many people screaming in such discordant ways does it take to affect change? What percentage of overall purchasers of ME3 were so upset they demanded a change? What if significantly more people were happy or content, but are otherwise oblivious to the plea or aren't interested in being a loud, angry consumer to request they don't change it?

I'm all for dialogue between the devs and the consumers. But this whole thing strikes me as ridiculous.

I despise the tactic of attaching Child's Play to it to, because it smacks of disingenuous plotting. How can you be against helping sick kids? If we do something tangential but with much greater moral authority, how can you possibly ignore us?

ElCapitanBSC wrote:
TheHipGamer wrote:

That anyone would presume to say, "I liked it just fine, so you have no right to ask for specific content changes or DLC" seems unreasonable. You know why I don't get bent out of shape about Star Wars? Because I can go watch it, just as it was in 1982. Does the fact that Lucas has made the latter part of his career out of providing different editions change my original experience? Nope.

I don't see how any of this conflicts with what I'm saying! If you can presume to say that you did not like something and you want it changed then I can presume to say that I did like it and I don't want it changed. It's the same argument on two different sides of the coin.

Which, honestly, is why I should just be cool with whatever happens and just not play or not buy what I don't like as I suggested in the first place.

Creation and absence are not the same thing. You are not harmed by something that you don't wish to see, and can ignore; the guy who can't experience a story because it doesn't exist is suffering from a privation.

It's certainly all just video games, and not terribly important, but I find it disappointing that GWJ is a place where folks say not to think/talk about the things we might like to see. Yeah, the guys doing the whole Child's Play thing? Lame. That's fundamentally separate from the discussion about whether the proper response to a disappointing conclusion to a game series is to request a do-over, or to just take your lumps and be grateful.

Scratched wrote:
Gravey wrote:

I feel like developers—grown adults—are pressured to bow to the demands of a raging mass of myopic 15-year-olds. Certainly the publishers are happy to bow to them, in order to better reach their pockets. It makes for a weird industry to be a part of, if my impression of it is accurate. But this thread makes me feel better.

Follow the money. That's what they're doing, that's the nature of the beast.

Right, and I'm fine with publishers doing it because that's their prerogative. But any developers who want to create a work for its own sake should be above that, I hope.

Scratched wrote:
Gravey wrote:

It seems to me that this problem, and so many of video games' problems, is that the loudest consumers are an immature bunch. Are they predominantly young, maybe still high school aged and don't have a critical education yet? Or don't have a very big sphere of things to worry about it yet, so slights in their hobby are magnified to Terrible Injustices? Are they impatient, or maybe just selfish?

Stereotype much?

That's why I couched it as questions: so I could make sweeping statements without committing myself to them.

But seriously, when the sequence of events includes an online petition to have a game's ending changed—really, when any sequence of video game-related events culminates in an online petition—I question the maturity of those driving the conversation. I wonder why they're the ones driving the conversation, why we let them, how the kids took over the grown-ups' table.

People who create things don't own creative works. Creative works are part of the ongoing dialogue of shared culture that we are all engaged in. And in that light it is perfectly sensible for people to be able to ask for changes and it doesn't have to be about "gamer's sense of entitlement". Take a look at fan re-redits of the starwars films? We're not complaining about those editors being spoiled, entitled asshats, but the tools available for editing video are sufficiently cheap that if you want to make a fan edit you can go right ahead and do that without having to go back to Lucasfilm to ask them to do it for you. That's not (currently) the case with most games; although more and more games provide modding tools that let you go right ahead and "correct" the bits you thought the devs dropped the ball on.

Looking at the ME3 ending criticism from the outside (ME has held no interest for me) and the backlash against it. The criticism really sounds like it arises from two things; firstly the ending is very poor storytelling (which in turn has led to petitions to get it changed), and secondly as Malor says they promised one thing and delivered something else. Addressing either of those with "well they delivered their artistic vision and it's final" doesn't actually answer/address either of those things. All three sentiments can be perfectly true. They might well have delivered their artistic vision and it might well be that their vision sucks. Starwars Ep1 was Lucas's artistic vision too.

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