Tuesday, March 20, 2012


Episode 68, which will deal with the ongoing nonsense surrounding "Mass Effect 3," will debut for ALL AUDIENCES on Monday, March 26th. ScrewAttack Advantage users, as ever, have the opportunity to view it early right now.


Botman said...

Oh great, so now I get to hear you mock and belittle people like me who have grievances with the ending, just like every other major media site I go to.

As long as you don't take some stupid position where you believe that the ending should be above criticism for some bullshit "artist's vision" reason.

Alan said...

It really isn't that "people like you" didn't like the ending, that get "people like me" to shake their heads in shame. There are plenty of people who didn't like the ending who didn't start up a group to "retake" Mass Effect. That is an absurd level of entitlement, that because you played a series of videogames, you somehow deserve more than what was made, like if your favorite band put out an album and you expected them to cater to you, because you've bought all their albums, somehow that means that they have to say what you want them to.

Entitlement aside, to see why people are rolling their eyes, just look at how the "movement" has presented itself. Yes, they raised money for a good cause, but in an article about someone suing the BioWare over the ending, the only time the "Retake Mass Effect" group was mentioned was in the comments... where members were saying, "This guy isn't one of us," (and oh, how they were mentioned). There wasn't any connection, but that's the mindset that people bothered by. Not that you didn't like the ending, but that you think a group needs to be organized and make a show of consumer force. It only makes matters worse that if someone did like (or didn't mind) the ending, especially on BioWare's forums, they're accused of being a blind BW fanboi who is such a zealot that they can't see for themselves how terrible it is.

And you're surprised that people are saying, "Whoa, now, you're getting out of hand,"? Really?

Nima55 said...


The Retake mass effect campaign's name wasn't really born out of entitlement. it's called that because ME#'s ad campaign was called Retake Earth, hence the dualism.

john smith said...

I´ll just leave this here


Aiddon said...

Jeez, and I thought Evangelion and Samus getting a personality caused some hissy fits. I do find too many of the complaints to reek of entitlement complexes.

Seriously, the people who donated to Child's Play do realize that they're not going to get their money back if Bioware doesn't change the ending, right? That comes off as manipulative and underhanded.

Mads said...

So wait, donating to a charity to make a point comes off as manipulative? How does that work? It's just a way to illustrate something meaningful. Not that I personally donated for this reason, but hopefully you understand why I'd like you to explain yourself.

"That is an absurd level of entitlement, that because you played a series of videogames, you somehow deserve more than what was made, like if your favorite band put out an album and you expected them to cater to you, because you've bought all their albums, somehow that means that they have to say what you want them to."

That's ridiculous, yes. They don't have to. But we bloody well want them to.

Noone is saying Bioware has to do anything, phrasing it like that is ridiculous, and people aren't doing that, by and large. If you deconstruct that sentence, the strawman speaker appears to be a dictator, monarch or someone with absolute authority...which is why noone says something like that, or if they do it's a matter of brevity. It is not this which drives the debachle.

People are saying they're unhappy, and that they want to do something to get a different ending. They're dissapointed, some claim they're depressed, but by and large, they feel that bioware let them down, and they would like to persuade bioware to make it up. They understand the limits of what they can do, of their rights, perfectly well. That's why they're asking, and arguing that if nothing is done, Biowares reputation is now tainted.

This isn't just a small minority, mind you. It's 95% of players.

Also, people don't get called names on the bioware forums for liking the endings; that's currently an offense that results in an immediate permaban.

Look, you want to see entitlement? This is f'in entitlement: http://www.southparkstudios.com/clips/187269/look-out-indy

Anonymous said...

@ Mads: Is it really 95% of the players? Or just the vocal minority? I haven't heard any verifiable numbers on how many fans are disappointed.

I was a little disappointed with the ending, it was very brief and didn't really go into what happened to your crew. But the ending wasn't so bad that they need to make a new one.

Aiddon said...

trust me, it's not 95% of the game's players, it never is. It's typical net mentality; the people complaining like to think they're more widespread than they really are.

OmegaWyrm said...

Hey John, it kind of undermines your point to link a video by a guy called Angry Joe. His self-given name implies that he prides himself on fan rage.

Also, he has bad taste and indulges all of the worst things about the current gaming community, but that part's just a personal value judgement.

Mads said...


It's not a vocal minority. Nearly everybody was unsatisfied. People who enjoyed the ending are a very small minority.

It's a bad ending, people hate it, and all the evidence outthere backs me up on this.

The amount of players who feel this is bad is absolutely staggering, as the activism indicates.

Look, you might argue that the people voting in these polls aren't likely to be a demographic cross section of players. That the voters repressent a minority of the fanbase that have a specific disposition. You're doubtlessly right on both counts, but these numbers crop up consistently.


This youtube video, for instance, has 16.5k likes, and 500 or so dislikes. Again, around 5% of those who care to frequent videoes and forums relevant to what they're fans of liked the ending, everybody else didn't.


As of this time, the facebook ending support group is up to 500 members, whereas http://www.facebook.com/DemandABetterEndingToMassEffect3

rests comfortably at 50k likes.

Look, right now, the best hypothesis outthere is that the endings are pretty much universally bad, because there's no evidence against it, and a ton of evidence for it. Certainly, if you're a fan of the series and you participate in the online communities surrounding it...either watching youtube videoes of various moments, lets plays, streams or forums and you have the predisposition to like/dislike or answer polls...there's a 95% chance you're going to be unsatisfied. That much is inarguably true.

Mads said...

@ OmegaWyrm
Angry joe is considerably less angry with things as compared to moviebob.

At any rate, his points of contention are absolutely honest, and compare it to Plinketts star wars reviews, if you will: He simply deconstructs the ending because it grinds his gears.

Is he whining? Yes. Like a crybaby. Like I'm whining right now, arguably. We're making high-pitched squeals and gushing tears, and annoyed with my absentee parent-stand-ins. As are all critics, in a sense. We're doing nothing different from what bob did here:


And that's really all there is to it.

Aiddon said...


Everyone at TGWTG who tries to review seriously has very mixed presentation. Joe in particular has a bad history of criticizing those who disagree with some of his views (such as his PATHETIC tantrum against Fable 3). Spoony is probably the best of his peers and even then there are some things I just avoid his opinion on, like everything Nintendo related.

Marcomax said...

I can't wait to see the episode next Monday.

@john smith

Doesn't Bob usually get annoyed when you do this whole " I'll just leave this here" thing with relevant material without making a point of your own (Escape from the Movies, phantom menace review).

I saw Angry Joe's video and got a better understanding for why people dislike the ending. I was even going to post it myself after I watched this Game Overthinker episode. To be honest, even with the evidence right in front of my face I still enjoyed mass effect 3 enough to overlook the ending. Are there decisions that annoyed me, Yes. But the game as a whole is to good to let a bad ending get me down.

Peter T said...

Looking forward to this one.

It's not that you don't have the right to complain. It's that people are acting like children. Not to mention, it is not their creative work.

Popcorn Dave said...

Well, Bob, I must say I'm certainly looking forward to watching you try and criticise the Mass Effect 3 campaign without coming off as a massive hypocrite.

You know damn well that if a "retake Transformers" or a "retake Spider-Man" campaign gathered this kind of momentum, you'd be cheering them on and shouting "see, everyone? The fans know what they're talking about!". Hell, you're already throwing your lot in with the Ninja Turtles fans. I'm sure you'll try and justify all this in the video but right now it looks like a huge double standard to me.

Sure, you can criticise the people who "took it too far" but you could do the same for the TMNT controversy and any other mass movement. It doesn't detract from the legitimate complaints people are making. Personally I'm with Jim Sterling - I think it's GREAT that people are sticking up for their favourite franchises and letting Bioware know they can't get away with shitty ripoff sequels and false advertising. If that means a few drama queens get carried away and start doing the whole "dey raped muh childhood" routine then so be it.

Anonymous said...

I agree, all that time and effort could have been used for far better things.

Like trying to petition to change Metroid Other M's story into one that isn't terrible.

Jannie said...

Frankly I'm sick of people telling me I'm "entitled" or some bullshit.

I spent five years of my life and almost 200 dollars playing these games, learning them, making sure I made SPECIFIC choices...and then and ending tells me those choices are completely irrelevant and I have three colors of explosion to use to do dick all.

I'm not entitled to point out that the ending is stupid? I'm not entitled to present evidence that it contadicts itself? Why? Because..."art!" that's why? Please. Climb down off the high horses, stop being so myopic.

Worse yet its OBVIOUS that this ending was thrown together because they had a deadline not because it was some artistic vision. That's why none of it makes sense. Go to any website talking about it and you can find a hundred different people saying the same thing: it's contradictory, it retcons things for no reason, the retcons contradict themselves, the scenes are almost out of order, everyone acts out of character and it ends with an implied "Endor Holocaust" of epic scale for no reason what soever. Plus they still didn't commit to the ending since it tells you to go by DLC afterwards...wheres there "art!" there huh?

How about this: screw retaking Mass Effect, screw the DLC ending they will inevitably release to quell this shitstorm, just give me my five years back and a remote to turn off the chirping choir of obtuse, know-nothing hipsters who tell me I'm "over reacting" when I find out I wasted half a decade of my life, time and energy for an ending that clearly was slapped together as a stopgap measure until they came up with something real.

And shut up about Angry Joe, he's a great guy and he's one of the few game reviewers--Him, Jim Sterling, Bob (believe it or not), and Jeremy Jahns--ho isn't a snobbish, quasi-journalist douchebag. Literally those three guys are the only ones with a hint of self-awareness how fucking sad is that?

Angry Joe is among precisely TWO critics, of any sort, whose opinion I would listen to. The other is Sterling.

Jannie said...

In fact, go to YouTube, go to Jeremy Jahns channel and watch his video on the subject, he explains it better than me, but allow me to summarize as best I can:

Plothole, plothole, plothole, SURPRISE god child!, SURPRISE the Reapers are good!, SURPRISE genocide is ok!, plothole, plothole, oooh look someone left the Battlestar Galactica ending unattended...let's steal it!, BUY OUR DLC BITCH!


Stinger: SURPRISE Shepperd is alive! for no reason whatsoever even though you see him being disintegrated into ashes. Um, yay?

Anonymous said...

From moviebob's Twitter.

"Congratulations, "Mass Effect" crybabies. You've officially set the entire medium back a DECADE as an art form"

If ME3 is what counts as art these days, I say it should be sent back to the stone age.

Mads said...

@ Peter T

It's not that you don't have the right to complain. It's that people are acting like children. Not to mention, it is not their creative work.

But that's a double standard don't you see?

If someone criticizing a decision they believe is horrible by organizing and doing controlled protests, they're effectively building a piece of performance art.

You might not like that piece of performance art - in fact you might think it's dispicable, and not art at all - but if you're out here on forums, arguing against it, and trying to drum up a shitstorm against the backlash on some abstract principle, you're being a hipocrite, because you're doing that very thing, only you're directing it at the backlash rather than at bioware.

If there is one common theme to Bob's videoes, or any of these comments for that matter, it's to achieve some degree of influence through presenting reasonable arguments.

The retake mass effect guys are doing exactly that bloody thing, so why don't you go ahead and show me what makes your criticism of the movement any better than the movement itself? Why are you entitled to criticize them?

Or, you can criticize them for being whining crybabies all you want, so long as you recognize in the same breath that you're a whining crybaby too.

@ Jannie
You know, I don't think bioware owes me 5 years back. I've had a ton of fun with the series.

But I do agree with you on one thing: This backlash against the backlash, where people insinuate that there's some abstract difference between the backlash against the backlash, and the backlash itself...that bullshit needs to stop.

I'm fine with people saying I'm overreacting, or that they don't think the ending was such a problem. I'm even fine with them saying they think the movement should stop because it's counterproductive, won't achieve it's goals, or might achieve it's goals to a detriment of some kind. That's all well and good. I can listen to that, and engage in reasonable dialogue about it.

But arguing that the movement is composed of entitled, despotic, whining, narcicist dipshits due to the people participating in it violating some higher abstract principle, that shit is not f'cking alright.

Anonymous said...


"But arguing that the movement is composed of entitled, despotic, whining, narcicist dipshits due to the people participating in it violating some higher abstract principle, that shit is not f'cking alright."

Unfortunately I'm afraid that Moviebob's new video will contain that argument. This is the same guy who used the blanketing statement that everyone complaining about Other M was a xenophobic sexist that was upset at Adam for taking away their coveted right of telling Samus what to do.

Aiddon said...


"This is not a "directors cut." This is a "please stop crying cut." This is the SHITTY ending to "Brazil."

Ouch, if that statement were any saltier it'd be one of the oceans. Also, I agree on chiding Bioware for supposedly caving in to a handful of crybabies. UNLESS, they pull an End of Evangelion and make the modified ending even MORE obtuse and WTF. THAT would take balls so big they'd have their own gravitational pull

Anonymous said...

I truly do hope you watched the indoctrination theory posted on youtube.

It just makes far too much sense to exclude from a ME3 ending discussion

Anonymous said...

"This is not a "directors cut." This is a "please stop crying cut." This is the SHITTY ending to "Brazil."

Jesus Christ Bob. Now you are comparing ME3 with Brazil?

It is only a matter of time before you start throwing out holocaust comparisons too. "First they came for the developers, but I said nothing..."

The above commenttors are right, the only thing more annoying than the whiners, is the whiners whining about the whiners.

Jannie said...

I never will understand people who want GAMES to become "ART".

"Art" doesn't even actually exist, it's a wholly subjective concept that exists completely separate from any kind of tangible part of the (painting, drawing, book, whatevs) and is thus completely unquantifiable.

A game is something with a very defined structure, end state and set progression. in other words, the very definition of quantifiable.

In other words, they're mutually exclusive concepts. Its like saying that the death of Whitney Houston set back manned flight ten years just because both involved getting high.

I would dare anyone to actually explain one reason other than "art!" why the ending of Mass Effect 3 isn't a complete failure. The best case scenario is that it is poorly written. Best case! But I have a sinking suspicion based on what rumors I have heard that this is the result of a deadline making it impossible to have the real ending they wanted so they threw this together to act as a "TO BE CONTINUED...for $15..." until they could make the ending they wanted.

Anyone here yet about the "lost ending" that is going around the internet...spoilers, its a far better, more engaging and well-written one that takes choice and character development into account. Gee, almost seems like they shoved out an incomplete game on purpose to DLC it later...but that's just silly!

But whatever apparently I missed the memo when games became some obtuse, higher order concept separate from actual entertainment. I also missed the memo when becoming art made something impossible to critique and therefore above question or revision.

I need to start reading my emails more apparently.

Jannie said...

Both endings to Brazil were shitty, just one of them was obtuse, childish and self-indulgent and in the other was the happy ending.

But what do I know, apparently I don't get how all the plotholes and contradictory retcons and retcons that contradict the other retcons is somehow the same as a Picasso now.

Anonymous said...

I hate to be the guy throwing around links, but this is less for Moviebob than for those looking for another rational viewpoint to the issue.


"Quality isn’t cozily embedded in the realm of democratic consensus. “Different strokes for different folks,” only gets us so far before we devolve into a sea of mediocrity. But at the same time, if your art is only good enough for the reviewers and nobody else wants to buy it, that’s a problem.

As far as Muzyka’s apology goes: It’s better than nothing, but any apology with a “but” at the end should be taken with a hefty spoonful of sea salt. After all, when has “I’m sorry, honey, but…” ever worked?"

Jannie said...

I honestly couldn't care less if he apologizes or not because I don't care to place blame on anyone in particular.

I seriously don't care if it is literally the most sad, depressing and unsatisfying ending ever because frankly an unsatisfying ending is still an ending what we have now isn't an ending its a placeholder for DLC.

And anyone surprised by this needs to realize this was either their plan all along, or an open acknowledgement that they screwed the pooch. Most likely I'd figure this was the plan all along, they just needed time to get the ending out so instead of delaying the game a few months they slapped on a placeholder and decided to DLC it. Or maybe I'm being too generous and no one was there to point out all the plotholes.

I don't believe that though because, if rumors I heard are true, one guy actually walked off the writing staff because he couldn't believe the shit they were pulling, so I would assume the former more than the latter.

Either way, it's not the first nor the last time such malarkey will come down from a game company and some industry heads need to be banged together.

JoeBriggs said...

Art form huh Bob?

As someone in the Giant Bomb forums posted.

"Don't talk to me about artistic integrity when you can have sex with an IGN employee, buy a major lore based character for $10 and end your game with a "Buy DLC screen"."

Mads said...

@ Anonymous:
Thanks for the Forbes link

@ Jannie:
I do think you give them too much credit. I think the ending came out as it was intended. And yes, that's retarded.

But if it looks like a retarded duck, if it quacks like a retarded duck, and if it walks like a retarded duck...it's probably a retarded duck, and not putting on a circus act.

It's a bit simple, but here, it appears they put together an incredibly well designed game with a crap ending...I mean, you could explain it with, "well, it was all incredibly well designed apart from the ending, because blah", but that rings hollow to me. It seems to be some fashion in which to place the responsibility on something other than the developers. To remove the guilt from bioware, and place it on EA. To blame it on capitalist interest, or some other nefarious, but uniquitus, bad guy.

Because, really, it's just heartbreaking to think that this is the kind of mistake these people could make.

And, look, I fully recognize that I could be wrong. I realize that there might be some other explanation...I just won't believe it till I see significantly more evidence. For now, I'm actually convinced that the lead writers and developers at bioware simply made a retarded dumbass mistake, and I think they probably recognize that now.

Same with the indoctrination theory; I think it's really impressive that fans picked up on the various subtle clues, but ultimately, I think they picked up on something that was eventually cut, and now they're reconstructing something not properly supported by the narrative...simply because what these fans experienced was also heartbreaking.

But you also ask this: "I would dare anyone to actually explain one reason other than "art!" why the ending of Mass Effect 3 isn't a complete failure."

I can do that: It's not a complete failure because it's still possible to put humpty dumpty back together again. If they canonize the Shepard Lives ending, and adjust the war effort ratings such that you can reach the 4k war assets number without multiplayer, and if they're willing to pull some pretty wicked stunts, they won't have to retcon any part of the narrative. I mean, they will have to do some things that they've not done much, so far in the series, like having you assume control of other characters than Shepard for a while.

They can actually produce a pretty decent little sci-fi narrative off of that ending.

I don't know that it'll happen...I actually think not...but it is the one positive I can think of.

Anonymous said...

After reading through all the gaming 'journalists' reactions (including Moviebob's), I find that they are all overreacting as much as the fans who overreacted in the first place.

I mean seriously Bob? This is the games as art flag you are going to raise over? The Mass Effect series? It has been as hyped, advertised, and promoted as much as a Michael Bay movie. And you think them changing the ending in any way is damaging the gaming industry? Not the Piracy/DRM issue, not day one dlc, not SOPA/Censorship, not the online passes, not Gamestop used sales, not the overabundance of brown bloom cover based linear shooters that you so despise (and that Mass Effect is trying so hard to appeal to now), but the fact that the developers may change the ending?

I don't care if Bioware ultimately makes a end where everyone turns into tang or where Shepard turns into space Jesus where he lives with his alien harem forever. This will change nothing in the game industry, because for all the decades before only one game had its ending changed, and what a shocker, it was a game that also promised that your choices would affect the ending.

I doubt this will affect anyone, at least not people under EA anyway. Games with convoluted stories and endings like Killer 7 will still be made as well as artistically driven ones like the recent Journey. I'm more afraid that EA would charge money for a new ending to ME. That will set a for more dangerous precedent than changing it in the first place.

Seriously Bob, your defense of games as art is good and all, but trying to apply it to triple A titles under companies like EA is not what you should be doing.

James said...

Bob, before you get on your high horse (though you probably will anyway) check this out. It's a great video from Angry Joe on the "indoctrination theory."


This leads to pretty good evidence that the ending of Mass Effect 3 was not the "official" ending. That more was planned to be released as DLC for an epilogue. So please, check it out before you do your holier-than-thou tirade.

Mads said...

Here's another thing:

Many games are being offered as persistent services rather than static products. Consider the Prothean DLC - it changes and explores the lore of the product to a not insignificant degree. In Dragon Age Origins, the day1 DLC adds an NPC which has a significant impact on the game.

Furthermore, clearly, a "retake omega" DLC was very clearly in the works for ME3, and was teased within the game itself. It might sound like just another stop, just another adventure, but that's just it...since things go so heywire in the ending, the game boots you back to just before the end run, changing the narrative if you get any additional DLC.

Fallout 3 and Neverwinter Nights 2 both retconned their endings with additional content, and it worked brilliantly (and both games had massive criticism of their respective endings, I might add, though not on this scale).

It's all part of making software an adaptable art, and I know that Bob has made the argument that to be art, games must be finished products...but you know what? Fuck that shit. Firstly, there's a lot of examples of developing art being deep and meaningful, and secondly, games don't have to fit into the same mold as other works of art. Comic books are certainly considered art by now, and clearly, there's massive considerations to fan feedback in that industry, and massive amounts of retconning.

So...whatever. If this really grinds bobs gears, I just want to see him apply the same damn logic to every fan-based movement outthere seeking influence, so he's not a damn hipocrite. Including himself of course, and his own angry rants. I want him to fess up to being a whiny crybaby in his secret heart of hearts. Then it'll be fair.

Popcorn Dave said...

Aiddon, why is it bad for Bioware to "cave"? Why SHOULDN'T they listen to the people that have paid their wages for five fucking years? It's not like the ME3 ending was some edgy twist that we should be defending on artistic grounds... Bioware just didn't give a shit. They let their fans down in a big way either because they thought no-one would care or because they wanted to flog the real ending as DLC. Why the hell is it BAD for a company to listen to fan feedback? Should they stick to their guns because of some macho pride thing? Who's being childish now?

It's not a "handful of crybabies". Maybe the vocal movement itself is relatively small but I've yet to hear ANYONE say the ending was anything other than a big pile of crap. The most flattering thing I've heard is "yeah it was bad but I don't care enough to complain". So why shouldn't a shitty ending be made less shitty?

CAPTCHA: "rderp". Well, quite.

Sam Robards, Comic Fan said...

As a disclaimer, I haven't played any of the Mass Effect games (nor have I seen the ending in question), but this is, flat-out, gamer entitlement at its worst.

The movie industry, which the games industry seems to be imitating more and more with each passing day, doesn't offer you a refund if you see a movie and don't like it.

You just have to deal with the fact that you saw a crappy movie and move on with your life.

Believe it or not, story and narrative are secondary (Hell, maybe even tertiary) aspects of gaming: GAMEPLAY is the primary focus of video games.

I could understand complaining about a broken gameplay mechanic and having Bioware (or whoever) fix it, but to complain about a secondary aspect is like me writing J.J. Abrams and asking him to spend a considerable amount of time and money (his time and the studio's money, much like changing the Mass Effect ending will waste Bioware's time and EA's money) reshooting Super 8 because I didn't like the excessive lens flares.

Thinking beyond this particular game, the fact that the complainers WON comes pretty close to outright killing the idea of games as a viable art form.

Yeah, I just said that.

One of the things that defines art is the fact that, as Bob has said, it is a completed work. There will never be an add-on to the Mona Lisa, Beethoven's Fifth, Casablanca or We3.

With this, gaming culture and the gaming industry has shown that artistic vision simply doesn't matter if your fanbase is whiny enough and loud enough.

Yes, I'm aware that movie studios put out Director's Cuts and the like all the time, but, at least in SOME of those instances, creative control is given to the CREATOR, who can make adjustments based on what he or she didn't care for or wasn't allowed to keep due to running time constraints. Creative control ISN'T given to the AUDIENCE, as it was with Mass Effect.

I'm first and foremost a comic book fan, so I know a thing or two about whiny fanbases, but having a creator change his product because YOU didn't like part of it is simply pathetic.

Don't misunderstand me, this isn't all on the fault of the community: a good portion of the blame has to go to Bioware and EA for not having the backbone to stand up for themselves and their work.

If you're proud of the work you put out and think it encapsulates what you'd planned for the series, freaking STAND BY IT.

So there's my two cents. I'll have to wait and see if Bob agrees with me on this one.

Peace out!

Anonymous said...

@Sam Roberts

The fact that you haven't played any of the games, or have even seen the ending really hurts your opinion. At least to people that HAVE played the games and witnessed the endings. As a fellow comic book fan, I've read some terrible comics that I wished had been changed. People at Marvel and DC aren't some of the most rational people either. But comics is comics, movies are movies, and games are games. Each are different mediums and can't be approached the same way using the same lens. The is a reason why Ebert decided he couldn't comment on Games as art in the end. He is a movie critic, not a video game one. He was viewing games through the same lens as one would watch a film, and that doesn't work for video games.

Yes, the Retake ME movement is silly and annoying. But the thing I feel is that Bioware had no reason to cave in at all. Not for 'artistic integrity' and such though. Bioware has a history of not listening and tight control on their forums. Why would a mere 50,000 fans be enough to change the ending? If they sold more than a million copies and the majority was satisfied with the ending, why would they care about a measly 50,000 upset 'entitled' fanboys? Up until now they haven't addressed other complaints from various games like Dragon Age 2 or Star Wars the old Republic. So why give in over this? Something fishy is going on and I personally am not falling for everyone crying chicken little over the idea that them giving in is going to kill video games as a art form.


Is a interesting read on the Bioware forums about their current damage control.


Going off your post on the Indoctrination theory, another article from Forbes.


Key Quote:

"In this case, it would be as if Fight Club ended twenty minutes early. Internet conspiracy theorists would try to unravel the mystery of the true identity of Tyler Durden, and lo and behold a short, twenty minute film is released months later (available for the low prices of $5) that contains the lost ending and proves their theory right all along. And this, in short, is why greed in video games is ruining the creative process."

This is what has me really worried about the issue as art as games. I hope that this remains a theory and no paid dlc comes out of it.

Joe said...

I really don't understand the vitriol towards Mass Effect 3's ending when Mass Effect 2 was held up as one of the greatest science fiction epics of our time despite having a really idiotic plot.

Don't get me wrong, they're good games, and the character work and dialogue is some of the best out there. But this plot went off the rails the moment the Collectors killed Shepard.

Sam Robards, Comic Fan said...


I don't really see how my opinion is hurt by not having seen/played the ending in question, as the statements I made were extremely general in nature.

In fact, you could replace the words Mass Effect, EA and Bioware with any three other game/company names and my viewpoint would remain unchanged.

If anything, you could argue my viewpoint is more valid due to my lack of any kind of connection to this series at all.

I'm not saying I believe that, I'm just saying one could try to make that case.

switching gears, I've also read some CRAPPY comic books in my life, including Chuck Austen's entire run on Uncanny X-Men and Final Crisis.

What did I do about it? Nothing. I just accepted the fact that they put out something that I thought was garbage and moved on with my life.

What I didn't do was start some rabid campaign to have those comics altered because the comic companies owed me something for buying their comics.

Though I think we're in agreement on that point (unless I misread your post).

Speaking of comics, while comics do retcon prior material, these retcons never actually change the original material.

For example, despite the fact that Marvel wrote the Spider-Man wedding out of continuity, I can still go back and read the actual wedding issue. It may not "count" anymore, but it's still there, and I still have access to it as was originally produced, i.e. a completed work.

So one thing I'm curious about is if Bioware/EA is going to replace the original ending outright (meaning that no one will be able to access it anymore) or if they intend to release some DLC or something to retcon said ending out of continuity.

I have less problems with the latter option because it leaves the original work, as intended by the creators, intact while the foremost would destroy their original vision.

Mads said...

@ Sam Robards
You just have to deal with the fact that you saw a crappy movie and move on with your life.
That's ridiculous. Suppose you went to see a play on broadway and the lead actor fell ill during the break between the first and second acts; rather than have a backup actor swap in, the theatre had a prepared way of rounding out the show in half an hour with a contradictory and crappy ending.
Knowing there's a better possible version than the one the people attending saw, what would be your reaction if they demanded for the real version of the play to be produced for them on another night?
You wouldn't tell them to move on. You'd say they were robbed of the implied experience. You'd argue that people should stop even seeing the regular show because this kind of BS could happen to anyone, it's a horrible practice, and the audience deserves better...but if the theatre company gave them tickets to see the proper version, amends would be made. What would be wrong with being accomodating? How does that diminishing the artform?
There is such a thing as audience anticipation and artistic responsibility, and contrary to popular belief, art isn't static; if someone botches something, it _is_ actually possible to fix it, rather than having the mistake go on the persons reputation, as you can clearly see from the theatre example. There isn't some grand, abstract thing going on with art here, it's just a product, and a broken product can be fixed.
And look, noone owes anyone anything, that's not what's going on here. This is not fucking entitlement. This is people arguing bioware fucked up, and arguing that they still have a chance to fix it if they want to, if they don't want their reputation tarnished.
That's all there is to it.

"One of the things that defines art is the fact that, as Bob has said, it is a completed work. "
Bullshit. Henrik Pontoppidan, a danish author, is largely recognized as being an artist, and nearly all of his works are considered high art.
He kept rewriting his published works untill he died....so this is not a thing that defines art, as argued via counterexample.
"With this, gaming culture and the gaming industry has shown that artistic vision simply doesn't matter if your fanbase is whiny enough and loud enough."
That's ridiculous. If Bioware decides to be accomodating, that's their choice, nothing else. Noone is forcing them to, and if they believe their product is good and doesn't have to be changed, they are free to stick by it.
BTW. This isn't the first time bioware has robbed a franchise of closure and given closure in DLC. In Dragon Age Origins, one of the possible endings has the PC searching for his love interest and seemingly never finding her. In a piece of DLC, he finds her and gets closure. That probably only happened because there was significant fan demand for such a product. And you know what? Nothing bad happened to the industry. Things were fine afterwards.
"If you're proud of the work you put out and think it encapsulates what you'd planned for the series, freaking STAND BY IT."
If they were any of those things, THEY WOULD HAVE. They're not proud; they recognize they fucked up. Again, the stats are clear: 95% of players hated or were dissapointed in the ending. That's a massive failure. They didn't set out to dissapoint people out of some artistic vision; Bioware wants their players to be happy. They're very accomodating in everything they do.
They chose to make this ending because they thought it worked and it would make people happy; it didn't. As such, it's fundamentally flawed and had the unintended result.

Popcorn Dave said...

Sam, I don't play Mass Effect either but I've read around the subject and almost everyone agrees that the ME3 is NOT the "true" ending the artist wanted, it was just a quick hack-job cobbled together to meet a deadline and (possibly) to sell the real ending as DLC. By caving to fan pressure Bioware aren't selling out their artistic vision - they already DID that when they went back on their original promises, hired a hack writer for part 3 and expected fans to suck it up.

Sure, I guess you could say the original ending should be kept available for reasons of completeness, so people can look back in a few years and get a clear picture. I agree. But I just don't buy the whole "the artist's vision needs to stand no matter what!" thing. It's just a bloody videogame.

Besides, Bob was wrong. As da Vinci said, art is never finished, only abandoned.

Aiddon said...


This whole debacle makes me want to e-mail Nintendo and remind them why trying to cater to the self-proclaimed "hardcore" is the consumer-company equivalent of being in an abusive relationship.

cdstephens said...

I would be more fine with the bad ending if not for quotes like this:

"As Mass Effect 3 is the end of the planned trilogy, the developers are not constrained by the necessity of allowing the story to diverge, yet also continue into the next chapter. This will result in a story that diverges into wildly different conclusions based on the player's actions in the first two chapters."

“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? But I can’t say any more than that…”

“Whether you’re happy or angry at the ending, know this: it is an ending. BioWare will not do a “Lost” and leave fans with more questions than answers after finishing the game.”

“I honestly think the player base is going to be really happy with the way we’ve done it. You had a part in it. Every decision you’ve made will impact how things go. The player’s also the architect of what happens.”

"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."

This is at best extremely misleading and at worst false advertising. Bioware promised an ending that would work in a way opposite to what they gave consumers; therefore, they did not properly give the consumer the experienced they were guaranteed, and thus consumers do in fact have a right to complain.

It's analogous to a game coming out and developers promising multiplayer content all pre-launch and never rescinding their statements, and then on launch consumers finding out that there was no multiplayer content in the game. The developers promised a feature in their product, but the feature was not present.

cdstephens said...

Just to amend my statement, I think being upset enough to join a campaign to change Mass Effect's ending may be going a little too far. The work after all is the developer's work. I just think that people are justified in saying that the ending they got is not the ending they were explicitly promised.

As for actually changing the ending if Bioware chose to do so, as long as Bioware kept the original endings accessible and intact, this is no different than a retcon in comic books. If you want you can still go and read the events that are officially not canon any more, or you can read the newer updated content.

cdstephens said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sam Robards, Comic Fan said...


Concerning your Broadway example, they don't round "out the show in half an hour with a contradictory and crappy ending." In fact, that would likely NEVER happen.

The ONLY time I could see that happening is if one of the performers died during the show.

In every instance where a main actor isn't available, they have back-ups fill in.

My wife and I just recently went to a musical (Wicked, if you're curious) where the main girl was sick, but the backup knocked out socks off.

So I don't see how your argument works.

Also, it's not that Mass Effect was a broken product: it's a complete, working product. People just didn't like how its story, a secondary concern since it's a video game, ended.

If it were a broken product, it wouldn't play correctly or have terrible gameplay mechanics.

Your mention of Henrik Pontoppidan falls into my example concerning the Spider-Man wedding issue. Though he wrote revised versions of his books throughout his life, but that didn't mean that every prior version was no longer available for people to go back and read.

Again, if Bioware creates an addendum that nullifies the original ending, that will be better to me than replacing it outright (making it available to no one).

Your mention of Dragon Age reminds me a little of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. You never actually SEE what happens to the main characters. They go charging into the line of fire, guns blazing, and then the movie ends.

That ending is now considered iconic and is one of the most memorable endings on film.

Should they have added an addendum letting you know what happened next?

Or, to use a more recent example, the last scene in Inception. Should we have been given an add-on that showed whether or not that top quit spinning, telling us if Leo actually left the dream world?

The answer to both of those is NO, by the way.

Sometimes thing are better left unseen and unknown.

As for your 95% figure, I doubt the overall accuracy of any figure that takes Facebook and YouTube likes into account.

Anonymous said...

A bad ending does not equal a vague ending left up for interpretation.

As of right now the most annoying people on this subject are people like Bob who immediately went on the mountaintop to declare the impeding doom of video games as art over this.

I guess everyone forgot about how a vocal minority squashed the release of Six Days in Fallujah (regardless if it was going to be good or not). That kind of censorship I felt at the time would affect the industry. But no I guess, Bioware potentially (the key word here, potentially) changing the ending is enough for everyone and their mother to declare the end of the world and hide in their bunker. Well go ahead and do that, while I'll be out here enjoying my games.

Bioware isn't some indie developer, or Japanese IP trying to break into the Western Market, or a Kickstarter project. This is EA Bioware, who ranks up there with Activision as the last thing I think of when it comes to any sort of artistic integrity whatsoever. To think that they are the bastions of ART is absurd to me. At the end of the day Mass Effect 3 is a mediocre game with a terrible ending that everyone has put on a far too high pedestal on both sides, fans and journalists alike. There are far better developers and games out there that achieve gameplay and story far better, and actually invest time and effort into their games rather than invest thousands of dollars trying to tell me how IGN's Jessica Chobot is in the game.

No matter how terrible they are, Superman will still be published, Transformers 4 will still be made, Call of Duty will have another sequel, and Mass Effect will have DLC. And the masses will buy them. Trying to look for artistic integrity in this properties owned by huge companies and publishers is the last thing one should do here. Look elsewhere people.

Sylocat said...

The episode was already up for Screwattack Advantage users before this latest development in the mess occurred, right? Bob, are you going to update the video, or do a supplementary post later?

Mads said...

So I don't see how your argument works.
So...you don't see how my argument works because my hypothetical example would never happen? That's not the point of such an example. The point is to illustrate that art is neither universal nor finished, and that delivering a quality product to your customers is a matter of integrity, and failing to do so costs integrity...which may then be earned back in a number of ways, and that customers are free to post their thoughts on how that might be done. I outlined a scenario in which that kind of thing would clearly be alright.
That scenario might never happen exactly like that, but that doesn't somehow invalidate the mechanics it illustrates, and surely you can see how an example might be adapted to prove the same point, an example to which you'd agree might in fact happen? At the very least, for sake of argument, should I conjure up such an example, would you consider it sufficient evidence that things aren't as simple as you postulated?
Again, if Bioware creates an addendum that nullifies the original ending, that will be better to me than replacing it outright (making it available to no one).
Going back to performance art, artists are in no way obligated to keep performing a certain piece of art...so why should bioware have to keep making the original work available?
I do think it's better to release an addendum myself, but I'm just saying, there's nothing particularly high-art or worthy of respect in keeping the original around for posterity. It doesn't affect the artsy-ness.
Or, to use a more recent example, the last scene in Inception. Should we have been given an add-on that showed whether or not that top quit spinning, telling us if Leo actually left the dream world?

The answer to both of those is NO, by the way.
Well, ultimately, it would lack integrity to do either of those things, that I absolutely agree with. I think resolving those specific mysteries would do a disservice to the audience. But it wouldn't be any more or less "artsy".
The dragon age content didn't do anyone a disservice though. It was a tasteful and respectful addendum, not something that changed the tone or the message of the work as a whole...it didn't even retcon anything.
Oh, and I should point out, your example would also never happen, so using the logic you used above, I could go "well that would also never happen, so I don't see how your argument works". Just to illustrate that it isn't the likelyhood of the example occuring which is important, but rather what that example says ;-)

Jannie said...

I'm gonna' respond more later when I have a minute or two to spare but for now let me point out this.

For everyone who talks about "artistic vision" I want you to answer one question: What part of the artist's vision has to do with the several canonical errors in the ending?

For example:
1--How did the Normandy get into the mass relay which is orbiting Pluto when minutes before it was at Earth? (this is impossible with their normal drives)

2--How did two characters from your squad, on Earth with you at the time, get on the ship? (teleporters DO NOT exist in Mass Effect, so no they didn't beam up)

3--How did it survive the mass relay collapsing when, as established in canon, a mass relay collapse INCINERATES a whole star system and EVERYTHING in it? (in other words, when the relay collapsed, the Normandy should have been a cloud of smoking ash not crash landing on a planet)

Anonymous said...


I don't want to keep posting Forbes articles whenever they pop up, suffice to say if you want to follow another viewpoint in the Mass Effect debacle without any hilarious over exaggerated hyperbole being flung around, I suggest checking them out.

Marcomax said...

@Moviebob, Mads, Jannie, Sylocat, Sam Robards, Aiddon, Popcorn Dave, Anyone I forgot

I leave this comment trend for two days and this is what happens. Oh you guys.

The Forbes articles and indoctrination videos were great supplementary material for this discussion. I kinda like how now that the new ending DLC has been announced, the argument here is focusing on whether or not the ending should be changed.

Personally, while the plot holes annoy me a bit. I'd never be comfortable asking someone to change or alter the ending of a story. Not to say that they shouldn't. If people feel strongly about the ending they should voice their opinion. As long as the final choice comes down to the storyteller. For me, going from analyzing and criticizing the ending to demanding a better one is just too big of a leap to make. However, I'm interested in seeing how this new content pans out. At the very lease it will be entertaining.

I'm gonna avoid the part of the discussion focusing on games and art. It seems like a mine field especially for someone like me without any background in art, literature or the likes. I'd probably end up getting bogged down in semantics.

The indoctrination theory holds up pretty well in my opinion. I feel kinda down for getting tricked into choosing to submit with the synthesis option but they got me. Does this make the ending better? Not for me.

If I understand this theory correctly, everything in the citadel is a illusion. If this is true, the game ends short choosing to conclude with Shepard's inner struggle against the Reapers. If this was just part of the finale, a mental battle to summarize the idea's of the trilogy. Two options leading to an early bad end similar to say the early bad end in Persona 4 were (spoilers)

"Killing the first culprit you catch traps you in an illusion and ends the game on a somber note. "

and the true end (which based on the theory is destroy) leads to the true final confrontation and the true end. While it doesn't solve the problem of player choice, but it the ending feels more complete.

But applying the indoctrination theory as a whole the ending, I having some trouble finding the right words. Incomplete may be it. But then again what would you do after the illusion? Besides everything still comes together. No unfulfilling may be the word I want to use. We end on a personal struggle when the focus of the trilogy always seemed to be on the bigger picture.

If there is anything I missed let me know.

One more thing, I only added you names at the top to maybe get you to read this post. Sorry about that. I'm off to get some sleep.

Mads said...

I've read the entire thread this time.

To an extent, I agree that suggesting bioware change it is patronizing. Any kind of constructive criticism really is; we're schoolmastering the 'artist' by suggesting we know better than they did what to do here.

But the main argument here is that Bioware did something which sucks. That they did a hatchetjob on the ending. At it's core, that's not patronizing, that's telling them off, and that's the primary thing going on.

As for the indoctrination theory, yeah, you've got it down alright. As I said before I think there isn't enough things in the fiction to support it, but if Bioware decides to work off of it, I don't really care. I always expected Shepard to become indoctrinated, just as Picard became assimilated in Star Trek...so building off of that is fine by me, if for no other reason than making one of my predictions correct all of a sudden.

Your questions...well, let's see:
The Charon relay is all the way out at pluto, which is about 5 light-hours away (pluto stopped having an eliptical orbit when the relay was activated, so I'm assuming a distance of about 40AU).

The Normandy has FTL drives that can easily be used for in-system travel (this is canon, happens in the books for example). I think the best figure for in-system travel comes from the first book in the series, where Anderson is aboard a frigate, the SSV Hastings, which responds rapidly to a distress call.
A figure is given for it's speed: 50 times light speed, even when going a distance of about 4 light hours.
Now the SR2's eezo core is incredibly huge; it's around twice the size in diameter compared to the SR1's mass effect core, meaning the volume is probably around 8-10 times that of the SR1's. The ship itself is much bigger, of course, and has much higher mass, but it's at least twice as fast as the SR1, if not 3 times as fast...and the SR1 is the fastest ship in the alliance navy as of 2180, and newly built, whereas the Hastings was active 20 years prior...so it wouldn't be completely ridiculous to assume the SR2 might be anywhere from 2 to 6 times as fast as the hastings. The Normandy SR2, in other words, can make it to the relay in about 1 to 3 minutes. Given that the novel says the travel time for a similar distance for the hastings is "not long", this seems appropriate. Even taking acceleration and deceleration into account, the fiction could easily accomodate Joker getting outthere in the time frame we're talking about.

Mads said...

The squadmates would have had to be evacuated. Perhaps Joker was using Harbinger landing as an opportunity to pelt it with the thanix cannons?

Your squad isn't shown during the run, but if your EMS is low enough, they'll actually be dead at your feet when you come to after Harbingers beam. The only explanation is, they got buried underneath a toppled truck, dug themselves out, and fell back when they heard someone (you and anderson) made it to the citadel. Then they were evacuated by rodriguez, and picked up by Joker, who was then chased by reapers all the way to the Charon relay, and then he jumped to (probably) arcturus. According to the novels, that's an instant jump.

At Arcturus he sees the relay they just came out of acting up, then explode, then he takes a primary relay to, say, the crab nebula to avoid the incomming shockwave; a primary relay is the only thing that could have a transit corridor like the one Joker is in, because that's never been described in the series before, but the primary relays go much, much further than the secondary ones (the Charon relay is a secondary relay), something which is established in the fiction.

Then, the corridor breaks down because one of the endpoints of it has ceased to exist, and the normandy gets thrown out into real space something like 5-20k lightyears from earth. At the crab nebula, he could still be only about 5-10 minutes away from the battle at earth, so he might charge the shields, discharge the eezo core, and then turn back around and head back into battle. So there is some way in which his actions could be sensible.

3: It's a different explosion. No, really. In arrival, the asteroid hitting the relay does trigger a supernova explosion, not a dark energy blast....which is what those waves probably are. They travel faster than lightspeed, as you can see on the picture of the Galaxy, so they probably take a lot of energy to generate...and who knows if it actually overloads the relays, or they're just given a non-destructive self destruct command?


Look, I get the criticism. I'm not saying the ending is good; in fact I'm not defending the ending. It's all completely unexplained, I'm guessing way too many things here, so on and so forth...My point is to illustrate that the issue with it isn't that the questions you ask can't be answered without contradictions, it's that they weren't answered at all.

MerelyAFan said...

Okay I've never played Mass Effect; hell I'm a little unsure as to what genre the game series is, so as far as the game proper, I have no specific dog in this fight.

But apparently the issue as I understand it is that the campaign by fans that Bioware should change the ending via alteration or DLC is a false entitlement by the fans, which is assuming the same level of creative rights as the makers, and is perhaps hurting the game's status as art and making/confirming its status as just a product. I'm hoping I've got the gist.

So... is it specifically the attitude and/or is it the specific action by the fans that are causing a backlash here? Is wanting someone to make a better ending the entitled aspect or does that not come in until they're pushing the creators to do it? Because the steps here would seem "Not liking the ending, fine; wishing the ending had been different, fine; campaigning for them to change the ending, absolutely not because that's entitlement."

And on paper I guess I can get that, but where do you drawn the line specifically for the artistic process? Let's say hypothetically that Michael Bay was going to have the turtles from TMNT be aliens, but the backlash and an online campaign caused him to change that while in production. Is that entitlement by the fans because its directly causing a piece of art to be altered? Or does that only apply to completed works?

If an audience at a test screening responded negatively to a character in a film for whatever reason, and included in their response that the particular character should be different, and such an alteration was indeed done; has the film lost a sense of artistic status because its content changed thanks to viewer response? Is that a case where because its a test screening the entitlement is to be expected?

Why does this only apply to the story? If a creator of a PC game emphasized that it was meant to be played in a certain way, and mod/patch request to alter some aspect of the gameplay existed, and was released, is that just considered okay in comparison to a story change?

Ignoring the legal problems that would ensue, if someone (outside Bioware) independently created a free DLC that in one respect or another fixed issues with the ending, would that be considered fine because like fanfic its not forcing the creators to do it?

Don't get me wrong, pragmatically I can see the negative effects of Bioware relenting, specifically in that it could put in an expectation that every ending that doesn't please somebody should have another alternative. But I guess in and of itself I'm not sure precisely where the reasonable responds ends, and the outrageous fan action begins.

Mads said...

@ MerelyAFan

Great post. Amazing comment. Great questions to ask.

I don't have all the answers to those questions, but you hit on something with what you said there...and I think you illustrate that the elistist response by one Bob here is absolutely ridiculous, because it's absolutely incongrous.

krellen said...

Okay, Bob - you need to stop talking about Mass Effect until you at least watch the endings, because while some of your criticisms to some of the strawmen you put up are valid, your stance on this being defence of art is completely off base.

Just for reference: they took the ending of Deus Ex, dressed it up in Mass Effect clothes, and passed that off as the ending. Seriously.

If a movie did that to us - say Psycho had Citizen Kane's ending tacked on ("it was really his sled!") - we would be well in our rights to demand a refund, and you would be defending our right to that. But in the gaming industry, we cannot get a refund. They have our money hostage. Since we can't ask for it back, maybe there actually is some fucking merit to the "you owe me better" argument.

But you're completely uninformed on this, and you really shouldn't make a habit of talking about things you're ignorant of.

Kevin said...

Thank you, Bob. I appreciate the fact even though you didn't play through the games you understand that this reaction has spiraled out of control.

While I didn't love the ending, I don't hate it either. Over the course of 3 great games I've had some of the best gaming experiences through Mass Effect. Even if I didn't love the last few minutes that doesn't take away from the fact that these games have made me care about fictional people in a fictional universe.

So thank you for taking some time to weigh in on this, and I hope you have the chance to play through the series someday.