Monday, April 23, 2012

EPISODE 69: "AfterMass"

Sick of talking/hearing about "Mass Effect?" Me too. But newsworthy is newsworthy, and the next "big" gaming story (in terms of news or even a discussionworthy new release) has yet to rear it's head. So one more round - especially in light of how dramatically the Bioware/Re-Take thing evolved after the last episode. And even if that's not really your bag, this one also has zombies, gunfights, the return of The OverSword and a much bigger helping of Ivan the Intern:



This episode evolved along strange lines. The topic I initially wanted to cover wasn't quite coming up adequate at the script-level (I think I've since cracked it, or at least gotten closer); and eventually it made more sense to do a "sequel" of sorts to "Crass Effect" - especially since the framing-story action in this sort of mirrors the previous episode already i.e. both revolving around "game company under attack" visual sequences. Also, the aforementioned "troublesome script" goes MUCH better with the action in the next episode (which more-directly involves NecroThinker.)

What I'm more curious to see than anything is how having Ivan pop in with added commentary in the "main" part of the show "plays" for people. The day after I recorded the audio, I was thinking it sounded overly-confrontational and wanted to add in some levity and qualifiers; and "interupting myself" in Ivan's persona felt like a better way to pull off those additions. Also, Ivan really does seem to be the "breakout character" of the supporting cast - something that continues to pleasantly-surprise me - so you can maybe consider this a "trial run" at maybe giving him a bigger presence in the show and possibly beyond that.

149 comments:

MerelyAFan said...

Solid stuff, Bob. Some good arguments and your points are much more varied and interesting to think about; particularly about the value in being inspired by disappointments in fiction to create new art in response. To me it got into much more interesting territory than just artist vs. audience.

Could have done without the smug and condescending response to criticisms about the Retake Mass Effect generalizations ("don't you know I comically exaggerate things?" doesn't impress me as a defense in an otherwise genuine debate). Of course what would a GO video be without feeling like I was talked down to just a little bit.

Lido said...

As usual Bob your opinions mirror my own, especially the stuff about embracing the artists behind games. Really I think the entitlement in Gamer culture springs from the nature of games themselves, the Extra Credit team had a good point about using games to make people feel empowered and I think that's certainly a 2 way street

hazlenaut said...

I have to agree with you. The ending was lame but so are many other games including the good ones. I think that is why you were not bothered by it. When comparing to multi path endings Shadow the Hedgehog did better did a better job, but that is just one bad part of the game and judging by it completely it was reviewed good game by critics.

TheDVDGrouch said...

Loved this episode loved everything about it.

Anonymous said...

I have no idea how Bob can:

A. Try and discuss this whole issue without playing through the series.

B. Realize that fans weren't just whining about not having a "happy ending", but criticising the huge plot-holes, ambiguous events, and lack of ending variations.

It's a quality issue. Not a developer stylistic disagreement issue.

christhegamer said...

While I agree with you on the fact that the general fan-reaction is to much, it still does not change the fact that the ending is stupid. It's not avant-garde, thoughtful or a good plot twist, it introduces more plot holes than it fills in, it seems rushed, it betrays the genre of the three previous games, it changes the central conflict and the fact that the fans actively anted it to be "just a dream" speaks for itself.

It is as if when Da Vinci painted the Mona Lisa he just stopped shortly before the famous smile and started to use a completely different technique for her face. I could have been the best face ever painted, but it clashes with the other parts of the painting.

What I am trying to say is that just because video games are an art form, it's creators should not be able to just do what they want and expect us to like it, especially if they make their art to sell it to us.

Sabre said...

Downer endings are not a problem. Oddly enough, with the examples you posted of greats we could lose being perfect examples of times games were celebrated for going dark.

Epitome22 said...

I'm still going to have to disagree on this issue, you seem to continually focus on the idea that we wanted a "happier" ending, or that the endings we got were satisfactory but we won't realise this until time passes. This isn't the problem, the endings are broken, they open a dozen plot holes and fly in the face of everything up to that point.

Were talking about holding the creators to a higher standard, so shit like the "I am Legend" ending doesn't happen. Mass Effect 3's ending was lazy, bad and broken. All we've done as consumers is demand that we don't put up with this shit. Look at what happened with the Mass Effect book "Deception" that was riddled with errors because the author and publishers didn't care about the source material. Should be just accept the broken book as a canon installment of the series because the publisher says so? To hell with that.

The dev's don't get a free pass cause it's "their" universe, they built it for us and it exists because we invest in it with each installment. Your right we can't dictate the story, that's their job. However in the words of Rory Breaker "If the milk turns out to be sour, I ain't the type of pussy to drink it."

Mads said...

Ok. You got me. I called you out for your trend of demeaning people of opposing views by claiming those holding those views are acting like petulent children.

That's not really a matter of missing hyperbole though; everybody realizes that your exact words weren't to be taken litterally. Hell most people probably realize that you choose to use particularly colourful language in order to make your points more punchy. That the language is meant to rattle and stir up emotion.

That you being a provocateur, and by now, it's par for the course.

Here's the thing about that, though. If you want to be provoking by utilizing ad hominems, you know what, that's your absolute right. It just so happens that it makes you an asshole.

I don't expect you to change your behaviour, or to apologize for it. You very clearly mean to be an asshole about it.

Notice that this isn't an ad hominem on my part. I'm not saying, oh well your point of view makes you an asshole, or you only say as you do because you're an asshole.

I'm saying you've decided to employ a rhetorical technique on, well, whomsoever may hold an opposing view to yours, on a number of matters; a rhetorical technique whereby you demean them and their position as being immature. I'm saying that this go to style of rhetorics, this level of characterizing those who disagree with you...whatever your aims with it may be, however little you may mean it...still makes you an asshole.

And you know, honestly, you can do better. There's a way of making your arguments without resorting to that. What's more, those arguments would be better if you didn't resort to that. Consider that for a moment. You could be making better arguments if you actually took your opposition seriously, and rather than doing the superficial bs "well they're children" schtick, you actually analyzed their points of view, deconstructed them, and showed us where they're mistaken. You know, overthinking.

And yeah, you might rightfully say, "well Mads, you have a stick up your ass don't you". Maybe that's fair, maybe I am being overzealous, maybe I am going a bit too far when it comes to things like manners and respectful discourse. Maybe that does make me come off as butthurt over something insignificant (...as though anybody could actually hurt anyones feelings on the internet...), or even as though I'm a pinhead.

That's fine with me; I stand by my criticism 100%. Your show would be better and more interesting if you were being less of an asshole whenever somebody disagrees with you - because whenever you resort to that, you look like a drama queen, your arguments deteriorate, and everybody becomes dumber.

MatsVS said...

"What if next time, a game developer wants to make a strange ending."

Great. I hope they do that. I also, however, hope that the preceding HUNDREDS OF HOURS OF GAMEPLAY thematically mirror that ending and that it's not pulled completely out of thin air, is logically consistent, not rushed, etc. You know, that it's not shit.

"Because game journalists live there."

Or, you know, game journalist are contractually obligated to play a much larger amount of games so they don't really get invested in a franchise in the same way that a dedicated fan would. And maybe, just maybe, game journalist are just as much herd animals as the rest of us and are, basically, hard-wired to seek the shelter of the majority in the case of polarizing instances such as this. Just like the rest of us.

"Fans wanted a happier ending."

Oh, Bob, you are just loltastic.

And, finally, people wouldn't care when you made light of the movement, if your little jokes weren't so obviously made in bad faith and in a sneering condescending tone. That doesn't make you clever, that just makes you an asshole.

Deadagent said...

As someone who has not played the Mass Effect games and has seen this issue from outside, it's odd how I came to the exact opposite conclusion than you did bob. Perhaps you should have done more research.

This movement is not happening because the ending was sad or even because of the plot holes altough those do play a small part in it, it is happening because Bioware quite simply lied.

And no this is not based on the better business bureau thing, they were only stating the fucking obvious.

Its pretty much based on them promising that the choices you made troughout all the games made a huge difference to the endings and they simply do not, why? Because all the endings are quite literally the exact same.

The thing is since they had build up the series as your choices having an impact on everything, it was fair to assume they were gonna deliver on their promise. Now if Bioware had come out and said that they can't really deliver on that promise, none of this would had happended.

I was able to comprehend this just by reading forums posts and other such things and if you can figure this out on you're own. I seriously have to question your ablity to do any kind of research.

You probably won't answer this, as you never do. But I seriously hope you are not gonna strawman this in the future.

Anonymous said...

I've spend a few hours thinking this over trying to type and retype my thoughts, but i can't get it right. So i'll just spit it out here:

Mass Effect is not 3 games seperated and each standing alone, it is one game that's been hacked into 3 chewable sized peices* and that was before the other two peices even existed.
* chewable for: console platform limits, EA/Bioware's budgets, players' lives, etc

It should be apparent to any person who plays all three parts of Mass Effect to see that the quality deteriorates in each subsequent part, finally desintegrating towards that spectacular failure of an ending that presently exists... But not a failure because it's sad. Or a failure because it obliterates the only system of intergalaxy travel...

It's a failure of an ending because it does NOT compare to the previous sequences you played and had seen. I won't link them here, but they should all be easy enough to find and compare for yourself.
The goal of every game is to finish on a STRONG note; not a good or a bad note, but a STRONG note, and Mass Effect had one of the weakest ending notes ever.

Megabyte said...

two thoughts:

1) If you think video games and politics are comparable, Bob... you may have a few issues about leaving politics in the office. They are not everywhere. Nor really can you make a comparison between people who see a life (and income) altering choice they are being forced to have and people who railed on the ending of a video game that, until we see people look back at it a decade later, we can not be sure will even be remembered long term, much less have any lasting effect.

2) Honestly, I think this is the downside of media in an internet age. It's not just gamers. It's the anonymity breeds stupidity at large.

Ill let you know what I think of the ending soon though. Im damn near the end of the game myself.

Megabyte said...

And while I think about it, unless the reapers are coming because Shepard is a clone made of rat parts from a parallel dimension, it is NOT the worst ending I have ever seen. (That honor is held by Phantasmagoria 2: A Puzzle of the Flesh... and yes, that verbatum, is the sum of the story... I just saved you 15 hours or so of red herring story and terrible gameplay leading to the ultimate "this is connected how?" last act of a game ever. You're welcome.)

Sam said...

Film Critic Hulk talking to Quentin Tarantino about hating movies (equally applicable to video games).

HULK: "HULK HATED THAT MOVIE."

QT: "Never hate a movie."

HULK: "HUH?"

QT: "Never, under any circumstances, hate a movie. It won't help you and it's a waste of time."

HULK: [STARTING TO EXPLAIN REASONS WHY HULK HATE MOVIE].

QT: "You're not getting me. There's plenty of reasons to not to like a movie. But if you hate them? Meaning if you let them bother you? Then they'll do nothing but bother you. Who wants to be bothered? There's so many better things to do with movies. It's like my fucking Top Gun rant, okay? Bad things can be so much more interesting than just bad.

HULK: BUT WHAT ABOUT LIKE THE FREAKIN' BOMBS, CAUSE-

QT: Even the bombs, man, heck, especially the bombs man. And I mean if you want to do this for a fucking living and you're absolutely serious, then never hate a movie. You can learn so much about the craft from bad movies. I mean you can't like fucking look at Kurosawa and be all [PUTS ON VOICE THAT THAT SOUNDS ODDLY LIKE PETER GRAVES FOR SOME REASON] "Oooh just do what Kurosawa did. You know, it's easy!" Fuck no! Bad movies teach you what not to do and what to correct in your process and that's way more helpful. You know how many feet of film I burned on this thing [MEANING KILL BILL] when I was trying to be like something else that was great? Like fucking Pole Fighter, like what you said? No, all the best stuff came out of me just trying to avoid mistakes."

HULK: "WELL HULK-

QT: "And fuck man, hating movies closes you off to stuff that seems like whatever you hate. Or stuff by the same guy. And who knows? That other stuff could be awesome. Some of my favorite filmmakers made bad movies. It won't help you. It just won't. It stops your development right in its tracks, okay? I mean like everything and I ain't trying to get you to be like fucking me or anything. I'm just saying I think it's better for you. And it makes me way, way happier. Never hate a movie. They're gifts. Every fucking one of em."

Deadpool said...

Let's hit the arguments in order.

Whiners as babies: Don't care.

BBB agreeing with lies: True, but the GOVERMENT agreeing with BIOWARE DOESN'T MEAN ANYTHING EITHER. Just because Bioware isn't LEGALLY liable for lying, doesn't mean they didn't lie.

And yes, I know Bob never actually mentions whether they lied or not, if you HONESTLY think they didn't, you are an idiot. And there's a bridge in Brooklyn I can sell you.

Also, Capitalism DOES work, doesn't it? Consumers get what they want because they have money. Just an interesting choice of bumpers there.

Lost having a bad ending is what makes it good? WHAT? Are you insane? Being art doesn't mean you gotta have shitty endings!

Oh wait, you think people hate this because it's SAD, and not because it's systematically broken?

Btw, watching the ending on youtube isn't enough to grok it, you, an expert in a story telling movie, should know that. That's why you explained the lead up to the I Am Legend ending instead of just showing it. Context matters.

Sad endings: But wait... All those endings you mentioned, Psycho, Godfather, etc all stayed and are accepted as GOOD endings. I Am Legend was actually slammed on for its bad ending, WHICH IS THE REASON THEY RELEASED THE ALTERNATE ENDING FOR AUDIENCES TO SEE.

I Am Legend actually shows exactly what happened to ME3 happening to movies. The theatrical ending sucked, people complained, they released the alternate ending (note, it was out online before the DVD release).

Hell, shitty movies have been getting improved remakes after audiences disliked it for a while. MovieBob HIMSELF recommended Heaven't Gate the DIRECTOR'S CUT because it was a greatly improved version over the original, theatrical release, and almost felt like a different movie.

Everyone complained about Han shooting second until they re-released it with him shooting first, despite Lucas' claim that Han shooting second was HIS ORIGINAL IDEA. (no, it doesn't make sense to me, but stupid seems to have nothing to do with this. Original creator says Han shoots second is his vision)

Ico, Shadow of the Colossus and Persona are ALL beloved by its fans. Audiences love those endings. Because they were GOOD.

And there in lies the point of the argument Bob has been missing this WHOLE time. Mass Effect 3's ending is reviled because it is BAD. Not because it is dark, or complicated, or new, or different, or sad, or too clever, or movie like, or artistic, or a lie, or ANYTHING. It's BAD. PERIOD.

Deadpool said...

Reviewers are on the side of Bioware:

Are they? Are they REALLY? I remember MSNBC backing it up, I remember IGN backing it up and that's pretty much IT. Most reviewers don't MENTION the ending in their reviews in any meaningful way.

Some people believe it's because pissing off a large company by ragging on their game is bad for business (and the Kane & Lynch review mes on IGN leans that way). Some people believe it's because game reviewers aren't exactly equipped to dealing with good games with categorically horrible endings. Especially with their time limit to review a game.

For whatever reason, Susan Arendt reviewed the game positively and they ragged on the ending on her podcast (as did every other member of the podcast). Shamus Young also came down pretty heavily on the ending. The press, including Bob's friends at the escapist, seem to agree the ending is awful.

For the record, the previously mentioned Shadow of the Colossus, Ico and Persona, as well as Planescape: Torment and Xenogears among MANY others proves that FANS are MORE than willing to take the medium in new bold directions.

The problem is that ME3's ending didn't take the medium in any new, bold direction... Actually, it SET IT BACK.

See, ME series as a whole DID take the medium in a new bold direction. Action/Consequence has been the lynchpin of WRPGs since 1996 (thanks Fallout!). And while Bioware has never been as good at choice/consequence and Interplay/Black Isle was (to be fair, no one has been), they were VERY good at FAKING it. Having two choices lead the same way but FEEL different.

This isn't nescessarily a bad thing, and the ME series proved it was a good thing. By leading players to essentially the same spot they could carry over the choices FROM PREVIOUS GAMES. Now your choices in game one could have consequences in game THREE. THIS was new, bold and innovative. Carrying over info from old games had been done before, but never on this level, and it's a testament to Bioware's craft of giving an appearance of consequence that this worked SO DAMNED WELL.

ME3's ending sequence however UNDERCUTS ALL THAT. The last hour of gameplay is IDENTICAL regardless of any choices you may or may not have made.

You wanna get mad at someone for setting back the medium? Get mad at Bioware for screwing up their shot at raising the medium to new heights. Don't get mad at fans for holding their feet to the fire.

How IS the medium supposed to rise in quality is the fans are as complacent and Bob wants us to be? What drive will the developers have to improve when mediocre, rushed endings like this aren't just accepted, but held in high regard by pretentious, high and mighty, smelling their own farts, pricks around the globe?

Wanna talk slippery slope, what happens when game makers actually buy the shit you're slinging and start to believe that quality doesn't matter as long as THEY like it? What happens to the industry when creators start to believe THEIR opinion is the only one that matters and the audience can go to hell?

Anonymous said...

"And yes, I know Bob never actually mentions whether they lied or not, if you HONESTLY think they didn't, you are an idiot. And there's a bridge in Brooklyn I can sell you."

Or you're an idiot for not being able to know marketing hyperbole when you hear it.

Deadpool said...

Hyperbole: Game of the year. The greatest experience of your life! Bold, unique, delightful!

Lie: The ending isn't going to be so easily defined as A,B,C.

I know, I know, the difference is super subtle, but I assure you it's there...

Sylocat said...

@Deadpool:

Methinks you are unclear on the concept of a "Director's Cut." The improved versions of IAL/Kingdom of Heaven were the ORIGINAL versions.

By the way: you know why they changed the ending to I Am Legend for the awful theatrical release? Because they showed the original ending to test audiences, and the AUDIENCE didn't like it. So the suits listened to the audience reaction and made the filmmakers make a new ending... which audiences hated even more. And they suddenly decided they liked the original ending after all.

That's what listening to the audience gets you.

az-amon-ra said...

Ok I've said this before but I feel like restating it anyway, if they wanted to make the Mass Effects relaise blow up ending they could have just made that one of the SIXTEEN endings they promised us!

Anyway, I think Bob is missing the point here, and ironicly he sighted a show with the same problem as Mass Effect in his argument. The reason Lost's ending sucked was because it had nothing to do with the show, it was pulled completely out of the writers collective asses and left the mysteries of the series (you know the only reason I and I'm sure many others actually even watched that show to begin with) unanswered.

The problem with Mass Effect's ending is that it isn't based on the story choices made by the player and if Bioware wanted to make that ending then they shouldn't have given the player story choices to begin with.

There are, IMO, to kinds of choices in a game. There are Play choices that effect how the player plays the game like weapon load out and the like and there are Story choices that effect the naritive of the story somehow like does the player character side with the good or evil faction.

An excample of this would be System Shock 2 and Bioshock. They are, by the creators own admission, essentually the same game except System Shock 2 has a set ending and Bioshock has Multiple endings. This is because, while both games give you a lot of Play choices in the form of power-ups, weapons, ammo types and stats Bioshock gives the player a choice that isn't present in System Shock 2. Does the player harverst Little Sisters or save them?

It's a pretty shallow moral choice but it does give the player the option of being a character that does kill children for his own ends or a character that does not. The end result are two endings that are markedly different from one another in terms of events and emotional context.

If Bioware wanted to control the ultimate end of the Mass Effect series then it never should have given the player Story choices to begin with but they did and they didn't deliver on those choices.

Deadpool said...

@ Sylocat

I know how Director's Cut work. Problem is, not all movies GET a Director's Cut. It will generally either be for super popular movies so that fans will buy it TWICE or when the complaints about the theatrical release seem to run in line with what the Director's Cut was. If Heaven's Gate had been POSITIVELY recieved, there would be no need for a Director's Cut.

I Am Legend is a bit more complicated. The TEST audience may have found it sad, but it's unclear they considered it a bad thing. It IS clear that the GENERAL audience found the theatrical release ending, despite being "happy" to be actually "BAD" as well. Which prompted them to release the alternate ending, which the general public went "Why didn't they use THAT instead?!?"

The SUITS chose the happy ending because of the test audience. The PUBLIC chose the sad ending because the happy ending sucked. This is more a case of the suits underestimating audiences than actually listening to them.

Although, plenty of other movies change because of test audiences and not always for the worse. As Good As It Gets had Jack Nicholson play just an asshole originally. People didn't relate to him, so they changed him to psychologically damaged asshole. The movie is none the worse for it.

Deadpool said...

There IS another argument I'd like to tackle though, and that's the whole, fan criticism should be nice. What? WHY?

I mean, Bob keeps comparing this to movies, but movie fans aren't nice, sweet and caring in their criticisms, are they?

Is THIS nice?

http://www.quartertothree.com/fp/2011/08/22/qt3-movie-pocast-conan-the-barbarian-3d/

THIS?

http://spoonyexperiment.com/2009/11/22/vlog-11-22-09-new-moon/

Or even THIS?

http://www.escapistmagazine.com/videos/view/escape-to-the-movies/797-Transformers-Revenge

So wait, it's okay for Bob to rip into a shitty movie, but ripping into a shitty game ending should be all sunshine and rainbows?

Hell, published, CREDITED movie reviewers aren't all sweet and happy about bad movies.

http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/19940722/REVIEWS/407220302/1023

Roger fucking Ebert:

"I hated this movie. Hated hated hated hated hated this movie. Hated it. Hated every simpering stupid vacant audience-insulting moment of it. Hated the sensibility that thought anyone would like it. Hated the implied insult to the audience by its belief that anyone would be entertained by it."

Oh yeah, you can see how he REALLY worried about the feelings of Rob Reiner and everyone else involved in it.

And it's not just movies. Literature is the same way. Book reviewers will tear into books that suck. This is NORMAL. This is GOOD. It's important for writers to SEE their mistakes and learn from it, and sometimes holding their hand and caressing their face isn't the way for them to realize their endings.

Actually... THIS is where the two mediums diverge. Where's the published, acredited Mass Effect 3 review that scathes the ending? IT DOESN'T FUCKING EXIST. There is no one of any official post tearing into this ending in their review. Oh, plenty of them came down on it AFTER their review, but none during it short of the dismissive "some people are not going to like this" like it's the audience's fault somehow.

THIS is why the fan outcry was so large: Because their voices weren't being heard otherwise. There was no one in the media speaking FOR them, so they had to speak it themselves. And since none of them have websites, or magazines, or official publication of any sort, they had to be loud, and creative. They had to send cupcakes and raise $80,000 for charity because no one in game journalism has to balls to do what Roger Ebert can do for movies: Praise what's good and DENOUNCE THE BAD.

You want games to be more like movies? I want game REVIEWERS to be more like movie REVIEWERS and tear into a shitty game instead of making excuses and blaming the god damned costumer for "not getting it" because the ending is "perfect the way it is."

http://video.msnbc.msn.com/in-game/46814813#46814813

It's shit like THAT that has caused this to grow into what it is. It's having every media outlet either just flat out ignoring the fan's voices or putting out patronizing, pretentious stupidity like MSNBC that forced fans to take matters into their hands.

Fans don't need to see a shitty ending and learn from it. DEVELOPERS need to look at a shitty ending and learn from it.

And it's not like the original ending has ceased to exist. It's still there, and it can STILL be learned from by others.

CedricJones said...

Sigh! Bob Bob Bob. Why man. Over a hundred comments in your last review trying to state that is was never about getting a HAPY ENDING. It was getting a STRONG ending. A ending that makes sense, a ending that isn,t coming out of left field. A ending that becomes Shepard. but no that was something you could never come to terms with.

Overthinker I grow tired of this you win, i give up. Your better then everyone on this okay. I am a crybaby, I got my bottle. Mate victory is yours. I hope to see your next video because i think everyone wishes to wash thier hands of these Videos.

Also really looking forward to the next part of the video to see how ther Retro thinker became this.

Aiddon said...

yes, I'm also fearing that we'll get just another "retake" if this DLC doesn't pander to people. Why is it that games are the only medium that does this? No one sulks THIS badly over a bad movie ending or a bad book ending. I thought the last Harry Potter was dreadful, but I don't get up in JK Rowling's face about it. A TON of manga and anime I've loved over the past few years have taken turns for the worse, but I still don't send death threats to the creators despite pouring untold hours into watching/reading the works they made.

Also, it NEVER matters how bad an ending is to something. Ya know what you do? You get over it. You get pissed off for a week and then you move on. Hell, make up a better ending for it in your end, that's what everyone else does. Just ignore the canon ending and move on so you can devote your energy to something constructive.

Deadpool said...

@ Aiddon

Y'know the funny thing is, there's been more argument over whether or not the fans are in the right to complain about a bad ending than there's been people ACTUALLY complaining the ending sucked.

Actually, most of the complaint over how shitty the ending was ended WEEKS ago...

Btw, there's a laundry list of books, comics, anime, manga, movies and even games who have had RetCons based on fan dislike. It is FAR from unique to Mass Effect 3.

Also, I have a natural aversion to the idea that I'm supposed to make up an ending for myself. Isn't that what we're paying writers for? To have a look at THEIR imagination? Cuz I find looking into my imagination is pretty damned cheap...

Even then, just because I can come up with something better how would that make what THEY came up with better too? Wouldn't that make it worse just by comparison? Or at best, remain shitty?

Anonymous said...

If I may speak out about this, I'm seeing the point that bob is making and, honestly, I think many people in here are missing it by latching on to his word choice which, yes, is very off.

To those saying that he's mislabeling you by saying that you would rather have a happy ending, by 'happy' he doesn't mean a 'everything is fine' ending. He means an ending that doesn't stink.

To use a VERY current example, Future Diary is both a manga and a recently finished thriller anime.

It had the benefit of being VERY insane but able to keep the insanity together into a strong, unpredictable story. Of the anime, I was with it all the way...to the last few minutes.

The literal last couple of minutes were...well.. they.stunk. Not Mass Effect level, but the ending left me unsatisfied. As such, I then took up the manga since I heard it was altered.

The manga? Mass Effect level bad.

Want another example? Evangelion

The same thing happened with the entire prequel to star wars. TV created a term for a similar concept: jumping the shark. Future Diary's anime ending could be fixed by just putting 3 sentences in at the VERY end, just SOMETHING to not make it 'happier' but just something other than ...that.

Here's the rub. Future Diary still has it's horrible endings. Eva's author did something different, but it was more a lash against the
demand rather than fixing things.

Lost is still broken. Fonzie still jumps the shark for no good reason.Did the community just accept things? NO. People stopped watching Happy days. George Lucas is no longer trusted with his own creation. I know I won't bother catching up on Lost.

But we aren't demanding Lucas disavow the EP 1-3. We aren't forcing Haruhi to remove 6 episodes of the second season. Paintings of literally 2 lines is still being sold, as is. That's what's meant by things being 'art'. The Artist makes it, we say it's great or 'it sucks'. The Artist decides whether to leave it sucky or not. If it remains sucky, we deem it sucky and move on.

Mass Effect's ending SUCKS.

Barring the Indoc theory, it's well accepted that it sucks.

The question: is Mass Effect 'art' where we say it sucks and stop trusting in Bioware for years to come, or is a PRODUCT, like a car or food, which can be well made almost 'artlike' but I will still go back and demand it be made 'better'.


This is a big deal. Products, at the best, is made perfectly for me. Art, at its best, is made perfectly for the creator. You can have crossover: that fancy made car or the popcorn movie, but when the chips are down, I WILL have a car with no wheels repaired whatever you the maker think. However, Darth Vader will now say NOOOOOOOOO because it's what George wants.

If you feel that games should have a Product at its core, then this is a success. We CAN demand changes and get them. It happens. It's why easy bake meals still demand "just add x": the public actually rejected the product without it.

If it's art, however, then this is a course we need to correct and FAST. IF Bioware wants to make a new ending, that's fine. However, if they like this one, then Mass Effect should just be left with a bad ending. Not allowing this will mean if I, as a creator, want to make a vague ending, I won't want to due to the heavy backlash. In fact, why make another Mass Effect? Metal Gear never gave the players' choices and they loved it. Give the people choice and slip up.

The idea isn't that 'bad endings' in Art will eventually be good..they aren't always. The idea is that bad Art stays bad.. that we let items like LOST and EP1 exist so that we don't stomp all over 2001.

So Art or Product? Personally I used to think of games as going towards Art. This event shows that I may need to rethink that. Am I wrong?

Anonymous said...

I could complain about how you still miss Retake Mass Effect's arguements, or agree with your stance the negative precedent this could set, I'm more upset you took down Zombie Wart in two hits?! That should take at least 4 vegetables, and excessive jumping.

Deadpool said...

"The Artist decides whether to leave it sucky or not."

Obviously. And they DID.

The argument here is that the fans CAN'T ask for something else. You CAN. They DID.

It's not like anyone broke down the Bioware doors and held a gun to their heads and FORCED them to fix their ending. Hell, it's not even certain they WILL fix their ending (I'm betting on no, they won't).

Fans disliked, asked for something different. Bioware could have said no. They said yes.

Btw, games are art but they are also a product. The two aren't mutually exclusive.

A painting is the most classic type of art. But if I comission a portrait and my face comes out RED, then I get to send it back for a new one. It's art, but it's also a product.

Aiddon said...

@Deadpool

Uh, yeah, one problem with all those "retcons from fan feedback": most of them SUUUUUUCKED. Why? Because fans 90% of the time don't know what's good for them. They want comfort food, which is bad for them in the end. The post-Final Problem Sherlock Holmes stories for instance aren't very good because Doyle was absolutely MISERABLE writing them because he didn't want to.

Anonymous said...

Evangelion is a REALLY bad example in any pro-Retake argument, because while many fans disagree whether the original ending is good or not, or which ending they like most, that specific debate has fueled about 17 years of interest in the show. It's divisive ending was a big part of what made it absolutely revolutionary, and has created a massive amount of interest that every fan should get behind. That debate and interest got the new movies made, generated a ton of spinoff manga, and has inspired a ton of other good anime that riff on it. Also, the fans of Eva that didn't like the original ending DID make their own endings, my favorite of which (dead serious here) is ironically called Re-Take.

You see, this is Bob's point, I believe. It's not about the ending itself, it's how a portion of the angry fans chose to react to it. No matter how bad you thought it was, Retake is the absolutely WRONG way for fans to react. You've taken a great chance to have a legacy fan-base for this game and thrown it away because you wanted to throw a temper tantrum instead. Now, Mass Effect as a franchise and a story has zero chance of being remembered positively.

Anonymous said...

This just in:

Bob is still an fuckwit who doesn't do any research to save his life.

Addion is still a brown nosing contrarian.

Sylocat is a reactionary, creator felating asshat.

And Mads and Deadpool are the only ones with any sense.

No word as of yet on the whereabouts of Jannie, she may be lurking, or writing a very long comment as we speak.

BTW: I'm a hologram.

Steven said...

Bob it was not because ME3 had an unhappy ending that it's bad it's because the ending has nothing to do with the rest of the game.

A comparison would be like playing super mario and when you get to the ending it turns FPS with Mario shooting Bowser.

Deadpool said...

@ Aiddon

"Uh, yeah, one problem with all those "retcons from fan feedback": most of them SUUUUUUCKED."

Yeah, but the argument HERE isn't about quality, it's about the validity of this and whether or not it's going to start some slippery slope that will destroy the integrity of the medium.

Shelock Holmes, good or bad, didn't destroy literature. Why would ME3?

PadMasher said...

OK, well I'm glad I waited to watch the video before commenting because Bob brings up some interesting points though, I think this whole ME thing goes even deeper than we want to believe.

For starters, Bob, being condescending for the sake of entertainment is funny and all (I do it myself) but, considering that your show is supposedly about "overthinking" and ultimately a place for intelligent debate, it does make you sound like a prick. Even if you don't mean what you say, that's still how it sounds. Hell, you're starting to sound like RazorFist with all that condescending crap. Some people are truly shit but, generalizations (no matter how entertaining) can hurt your arguement if you really want to be taken seriously.

This is made even worse by your story (which has improved somewhat since Anti-thinker but, is still pretty mediocre) which uses strawmen, gaming stereotypes, and a TOTALLY not obvious reference to OoT to get your point across. Sometimes I want to pour salt all over my laptop so I can stomach this shit.

Anyway, as far as ME is concerned, I think you kinda missed the point. It's not about the fans not getting exactly what they wanted,it's about the ending being shit. I agree that the issue has gone out of hand but, argueing that this about the audience trying to dictate the artist is missing the mark. Fans just want a good ending instead of a shit ending and, as many posters pointed out, revisions aren't anything new or exclusive to video games by any means.

As for the fan entitlement issue, I completely agree with you. The consumers should definitely be allowed to express their opinions on a product (or work of art) but, shouldn't be able to control it as if it was theirs because it isn't. However, as a huge Sonic The Hedgehog fan (guess that makes us natural enemies XD), I've seen this shit countless times and all the while it was ENCOURAGED by gaming press.

See, not to sound "butthurt" but, I take offense to the idea that this is fan entitlement stuff is an issue all of the sudden. I've been fighting in flame wars for years with people who demanded Sonic's eyes be black instead of green but, when all of that shit was going down, I didn't see you or any other game "journalism" site tell people what essentially boils down to "TOP BITCHING".

Why is that? I mean I know why so to speak ("ARGH, NEW SONIX IS SUX, ETC.") but, really why was this OK for Sonic and not ME or anything else? I ask this because you made the mistake of even remotley implying that game "ournalist" aren't a bunch of hacks. The most infamous moment among the Sonic fanbase in regards to reviews was IGN's Hilary Goldstein review of Sonic Unleashed. Now, to be fair, Hilary is entitled to his opinion and review wasn't an outright attack more so than it was someone who obviously didn't understand the game's mechanics talking shit. No big whoop. However, people actually took that review seriously. Why? Well, because "Sonix Sux!" was excepted at face value then and has been since Sonic 2006.

PadMasher said...

See, here's the problem Bob. You want to talk about artist being too afraid to try anything new, why not make that same arguement and apply it to Sonic. The Sonic series has been constantly trying to innovate since Sonic Adventure yet, the majority opinion (at least on gaming websites) is that most if not all modern Sonic games are crap. Why? Because it's not like the Genesis games and...that's it. That's usually what it boils down to. A bunch of whiny crybabies that what SEGA to sell them their childhood. You know the most common complaint about the Werehog is that it "wasn't Sonic". Not the physics, not level design, not the shit that actually matters but, simply the fact they tried something different.

This arguement made even less since when people complained about Caliburn. Why? Because Sonic shouldn't have a sword. That's it and these TOTALLY credible "journalists" ENCOURAGED that shit with baseless claims, poor gameplay footage, and a constant army of sly gabs at Sonic fans to point them out as lower lifeforms. You know we aren't all furry-loving Chris Chans you know? Sonic fans also like more than just Sonic but, you wouldn't think this by how people point the fanbase out to be as if it's a special case compared to any other fanbase that does the same shit.

So again, why is the artist vision all of the sudden this important when "fans" and "journalists" alike have been trying to dictate Sonic for at least 7 years? They sure as hell weren't trying to give respectful criticism. Now, I'm not saying everything SEGA has done is right (I fucking hate Shadow The Hedgehog's game) but, going batshit over the slightist changes without bothering to explain why they're bad or how they can be properly addressed is only going to scare SEGA into doing the same shit over and over.

Thanks to these geniuses, I may not get another Sonic game as innovative and fun as Sonic Unleashed. I didn't ask for that game, they just made it and it was one of the best games I've played this whole generation. Now, they'll never make anything like it because the "fans" and "journalists" don't like hubworlds.

Bob, I understand where you're coming from. I remember when I was in 5th grade. Pokemon was so cool I wanted to make something like it. I told one of the kids my ideasfor the main characters. One was the professor's daughter. You know what this kid suggested to me?

"Dude, you should like give her huge boobs, big lips, and a really fat butt."

Obviously, listening to your audience isn't always a good idea. Yet, Sonic is constantly bashed for not doing until recently (Colors/Generations) so why shouldn't Bioware listen to fans and give them the ending they want?I'm not saying everyone should give up their artistic freedom. I'd hate that. All I'm asking is when, if ever, should we demand a game be improved or changed?

Deadpool said...

@ PadMasher

I wonder how much of this has to do with Bob's personal experiences with his own show and taking shit from fans who didn't like the addition of a storyline...

Might have something to do with him coming down on Day One DLC but staying mostly quiet on From Ashes, despite it being newsworthy before the ending hit the fan...

Anonymous said...

Thanks for mentioning EVA... may Bioware do like Anno did... it would restore my faith in Bioware DESPITE the really wtf tech difficulties I have seen while playing this game.

(Incidently, End of Evangelion is one of my favorite movies. Anno was exceedingly masterful in his middle finger.)

Sam Robards, Comic Fan said...

I pretty much agree with Bob on all points, though I do have an addition.

This debacle isn't in any way, shape or form a consumer rights issue. Never was.

Why's that? Because a videogame's primary objective is NOT to tell a cohesive story: a video game's primary objective is to offer functional and compelling GAMEPLAY. And, based on the reviews, Bioware delivered that in spades.

Narratives are a tertiary aspect of videogames, with gameplay and overall functionality being primary and secondary.

It's nice if a game has a good narrative (Metal Gear Solid), but it is far from a requirement. Indeed some of the most beloved games of all time have little to no story (Super Mario Brothers, Asteroids and Pac-Man, to name a few).

This can be summed up in the statement "A game can be great with a compelling story, but it can't be great without compelling gameplay."

To use a recent example, reviews of Asura's Wrath said the story was fantastic and by far the best feature of the game; however, they felt there wasn't enough actual, solid gameplay. As a result, the title got mixed reviews.

If ME3 had shipped with gameplay bugs or issues that prevented the game from being playable (like the lag bug in the PS3 of Skyrim, for example), then the audience would be wholly justified in demanding changes be made.

In this case, since the complaints are concerning an unessential aspect of the product, it doesn't fall anywhere near the purview of consumer rights.

So anyone who follows the "consumer rights" line of reasoning on this issue is WRONG.

This is purely a creative rights issue, and, for all the reasons Bob lays out, it sets a largely negative precedent for the future of narrative gaming.

Don't get me wrong, you have the right to complain a game's narrative/ending sucks: do you know how awful the Green Lantern movie was? It was ATROCIOUS: as a huge Green Lantern fan, my soul cried while watching it.

But I didn't create a massive campaign to have the movie "fixed" because it had major plot holes and was an overall sucky movie.

So Bioware said in an interview somewhere that the game would have X number of endings. So what? Crap like that happens all the time.

And no, saying something fallacious in an interview does NOT count as false advertising: it's publicity. There's a difference.

The advertising for Green Lantern made me think they were going to focus a good portion of the movie in space and around the Green Lantern Corps, but guess what? They barely, and I mean BARELY, spent ten minutes in space. The rest of the 90-minute movie was Ryan Reynolds acting lost on a cheap-looking version of Top Gun.

If the game package or formal ads said they were 12 endings and there were only 3, then you'd have a case for false advertising.

Anyone who thinks Bioware should be held legally accountable for what they said in interviews is WRONG.

In terms of how Bioware's handling the "fixes," it seems like they're doing it in the best possible fashion, from what I've heard: they're adding context to the ending(s) while maintaining all the original material. They aren't actively changing anything, only adding to what's already there.

Sorry for the rant, but I just wanted to get all my thoughts out there. Peace out!

PadMasher said...

@Deadpool

Well, I don't want to make any assumptions but, it is ironic that someone like Bob is discussing this. A lot of us have complained about the story and he's practically bragging about how much he's ignoring his fans. He did respond to feedback and change the show structure which is good because now the story portion doesn't interupt the main video though, I don't understand why Bob bothered the storyline. Was it to make the show more entertaining? It seems more like it's meant for himself which would explain why he refuses to just dump it even though, most of his fans complain about. That's all good but, I think whenever artists create art solely for themselves, they need understand that the only people who will probably like it is themselves.

Aiddon said...

@Deadpool

Obviously it's about quality from SOME standpoint because you keep crying like a baby over how the ME3 ending "sucked." And while reviving Holmes did not destroy literature, it did indeed destroy Sherlock Holmes' quality (even if the series before then had a fluctuating quality at best). There is no integrity or righteousness here, only idiocy.

Deadpool said...

@ Sam

A game is about whatever the hell it wants to be about. To say games are about mechanics is like saying comics is about spandex: might be true in the most common examples but it doesn't define the genre.

Also, ME3 ending fails beyond plot. It fails from a game action perspective, as well as the action/consequence mechanic that made it famous in the first place.

@ Aiddon

Indeed the end does suck. I never argued the NEW ending would be BETTER, did I? Pretty sure I've said otherwise actually.

The quality of the ending (or lack thereof) gives the fans the right to complain and even ask for a new one, regardless of how shitty the new one may or may not be.

Unknown said...

Listen: Consider this, if you will...

I have seen the ME3 ending, part of it, but I haven't played the game either. The people who share a distaste for the ending, however, may do so not because it's dark, not because it's sad, but because it's half assed. Because it felt like it was shoehorned into the game as a last minute touch not integrated into the design (writing) process originally.

What I'm trying to say is, remember your I Am Legend Example? What if BioWare did the same thing. What if they showed the ending to a focus group, and they didn't like it, so they changed it at the last minute to appease them,

and the gamer majority really didn't like it, not because they're overgrown manchildren and didn't get their happy marriage flowers lovescene to appease their neckbeards, but because the ending, the ending in a story based game, I might add, was shoehorned in.

Maybe I'm wrong, because, no, I don't work at BioWare, but what if this new ending they're releasing, what if it's the original one that they showed to the focus groups?

What if there was an original ME3 ending that kicked absolute ass, but generated controversy or was too dark, so they gave the game its current ending instead...

Because they were afraid of the fan backlash.

In that case, you could say all these movements are a good thing.

Of course, all of what I said depends on whether or not my theories are actually true.

Still, I dislike the approach taken, saying that gamers are causing stagnation when the ending of the game annoyed the people it did not because it was too grim, but because... well fuck I'm in an infinite loop. Control shift escape!

Anonymous said...

Hey, first time posting here (and probably the last, because I don't really making comments, nothing personal)

But I do follow Bob's shows for quite a while and if he wanted a feed back on the fairy thingy he uses in the middle of his rant, I guess it's ok (I skip the storyline). But will it work just as a disclaimer?

And I dunno if it is just me, I never thought you were a comic act or made exaggerations for the sake of "entrainment", but if you are aware that you are coming too confrontational in a discussion that you clearly want to be the level headed voice of reason, then why just don't you record again, it's not like you have a dead-line for this stuff right. Because making all this internet though guy talk and then add the little fairy to go "relax, it's just a joke guys" is just silly and add quite the condescending tone in your work. We know that you are not calling everybody a baby,that was not clever not funny. But you are being arrogant, or at least that's how you came across to me.

maninahat said...

I don't see anything implicitly wrong in an artist compromising their work for the sake of the audience. Sure, it can have crappy results, like with "I Am Legend", but it can also have good reults (TF2, for instance, was the produce of 8 years of working with test audiences). It's also worth noting that mediums like film and games have many voices, and many artists, so compromising is a huge part of the business anyway. Letting the audience have an imput as well isn't that big a deal, with that in mind.

The Mass Effect fans don't want to replace a good ending with a rushed, generic one, they want to replace a rushed, shitty ending with a thought out, good one. Some fans have taken that way too far, but the basic message is fine.

NB. Just a thought about Mass Effect DLCs. Did no one think they wouldn't be providing DLCs in the first place? All the studio has done is tie in the cash cow DLCs they already planned, with the criticisms made by fans. That way, they can claim to be listing to the fanbase, whilst making a shit ton of money.

Daniel R said...

Solid episode.

I seriously can't get enough of Ivan, I just hope he becomes more of a character as the series progresses.

Anonymous said...

I'm still shocked that people are surprised EA did something shitty. It's EA! These are the people that put out the same Madden game every year and still charge 60 dollars. I'm not surprised that one of the games they produced had a rushed ending.

And now they are going to produce Free DLC that's the real ending. But then what if they start charging for more end game content such as seeing what other characters were doing during the war. Who wins when that happens?

I'm probably being too critical but, what happens when companies intentionally don't make an ending and then release the ending as DLC, that you have to pay for? Yes Retake Mass Effect won and they should have their real ending, but at what cost?

While I agree with Retake, I think that this should be it. No more Retakes! EVER! If companies realize they can make an ending later that you have to pay for, and it's a possiblilty in my mind, what's to stop them from doing it? Yes you can just not buy the ending, but could you really just give up all that time you've spent playing to just leave it unfinished? Probably not.

So, Retake, I implore you to please stop now while you are ahead. It's possible things could get very bad in the future.

ilikemilkshake said...

I pretty much agree with what you said. Which makes it all the more annoying when what you said has almost nothing to do with the Retake ME3 argument.

It's not about a sad or downer ending. I was fully expecting such a thing. What shocked me was how poorly written and implemented the ending was. It was a mess. You talk about holding creators up to a higher standard, well that's exactly what people are trying to do here.

The ending is so full of plotholes and inconsistencies it's hard to imagine how it even managed to get released.

Anonymous said...

Be careful Overthinker. You don't want to use Ivan too much and have people become sick of him like another character *cough cough* Anti-Thinker *cough cough* Also maybe try not to use Ivan as a Soapbox at the end of the show, It feels REALLY forced.

Deadpool said...

"If companies realize they can make an ending later that you have to pay for, and it's a possiblilty in my mind, what's to stop them from doing it"

THIS was actually the scariest part of Retake: They were willing to pay for the new ending.

Luckily Bioware didn't charge for it (which is a SMART marketting move, the good will they'll get from people for it being free + good will he will get from pretentious "protect the art" pricks for not actually fixing anything plus the added time that will decrease the anger and hatred from most people should be enough to defend them against the people who will hate it)

BuddhaGeek said...

What happened to you, man? I used to think you were a very insightful (if aggressive) person. Now, after hearing over and over again how you were bullied as a child, you seem to have become the bully yourself.

Your video has good points, but those points are buried under unfounded assumptions and needless epithets.

You're better than this... it's just sad to see you being reduced to a well-spoken internet troll...

Anonymous said...

@BuddhaGeek

It is very Magneto like.

Hell, Bob has implied more than once if he ever got super powers he would use them for revenge...

B.L.C. Agnew said...

Bob, the more you do this the more you masterfully miss the point. This isn't the argument you think it is or want it to be. This is not, and has NEVER EVER been about gamers being upset about a sad ending. Gamers fucking LOVE sad endings - those Team ICO games you mentioned? BELOVED. Those movies you mentioned with downer endings? BELOVED. And not only recognized classics but they made SHIT TONS of money in their day, so audiences were obviously pretty satisfied even then. Why?

THEY'RE NOT SHIT.

They're thematically coherent and consistent with their work, they provide the payoff and closure an ending should (payoff and closure =/= happiness), and they feel like a natural conclusion to the story.

Mass Effect 3's ending is none of these things. It's not even the original ending.

Here's where you have been infuriating people, your perpetual refusal to acknowledge the myriad of empirical facts utterly destroy the "but that's the way the artist want it" argument that ALL THIS has been building on. Let me explain. . . No wait, there is too much. Let me sum up:

YOU ARE DEFENDING I AM LEGEND'S THEATRICAL ENDING HERE.

It's that simple. BioWare changed the ending of ME3 in the final months of the game's development, with no input from the original writer who created the series, patched together by many different people (not a single artist), likely with little artistic consideration other than getting the game finished so it could meet their publisher's deadline and contribute to their financial quarter. The ending they released bends much more in the face of external pressure than the "Expanded Edition" that they announced for summer DLC.

Why the FUCK are you defending that?

Really, why? It's STUPID.

Anonymous said...

Have to say Bob I've been a fan for a while but I have not been impressed with your show since about episode 30. This is the last straw, I'm sorry but you've stopped providing insightful and interesting content about games or the gaming media. Sorry but I won't be visiting shows anymore.

This has nothing to do with your view on mass effect, but more your focus on a few things that bug you and continually harping on them. This is not "overthinking" anymore it's just your own private show where you get to call a bunch of people names, and I could go listen to that on Xbox live if that's what I wanted from your show.

I will say that I disagree with your stance, but I'm also not such an avid fan that I was part of Retake mass effect. Tho at the same time I understand why people felt it was justified. The books, the 3 games, for someone immersed deeply in the game, to get that ending it's like having bioware take their pants off and slap you in the face with their genitalia. I don't agree with the measures taken in order to try and get the ending changed, but I was not invested at all in it. I mostly played it in passing. And I think crying foul was justified, but that it went too far. Bob is saying it was not justified because it's happened a lot, and to that I say BS, just because people have done it before does not make it alright. Something that is a slap in the face then, is a slap in the face now. Frankly I intend to "vote with my wallet" Bioware is at the top of my shit list. And it's going to take something better than Dragon Age for them to get off my personal shit list. and no amount of downloadable add-on endings is going to make up for it. In fact nothing they do to mass effect is going to change my stance on this. I'm not someone who you can put a band-aid on my wounded knee and make me all better. That's why I don't support the retake mass effect. A new ending will not repair the disappointment. It won't make me enjoy the experience I had with mass effect. It will just be more ending tacked on at the end, and I don't care about that. My first experience is usually the one I recall, and my first experience with mass effect 3 was generally good but massively disappointing, and a new ending isn't going to change that. And if Bioware thinks they can just slap on a new ending and suddenly I'll start buying the crap they are selling again, then they have some disappointment of their own on the horizon.

B.L.C. Agnew said...

That's what it boils down to. And this is totally disregarding a whole host of other factors you continually ignore - the fact that, while BioWare uses the same tools as film for some of its narrative conveyance, its inception was the idea of "let's involve the player as much as possible" and that BioWare has been doing just that for years. To the point where major gameplay and story developments were altered or added BECAUSE OF PLAYER FEEDBACK. Already. Before now. YEARS AGO.

That's also disregarding that the "people wanted more so let's change the ending and give them more" already happened multiple times with Fable: The Lost Chapters, Fallout 3: Broken Steel, and The Witcher 2: Enhanced Edition.

That's even disregarding that between director's cuts of films, remixes of songs, and revised editions of books, art has been changing itself after the fact because of outside/audience influences FOR A LONG TIME. And it hasn't caused any of that "the sky is falling" bullshit you've been throwing out there.

But even ignoring all that, you are still in essence defending the ALTERED ending of I Am Legend. And dammit Bob, you're better than that.

Deadpool said...

I stand by my theory that he is drawing parallels between this and his own experiences with fandom and his addition of plot to this show and letting it cloud his judgement...

Anonymous said...

You know, for all you Retakers bitching about how Bob doesn't "get it", you've failed pretty hard at understanding HIS point.

Deadpool said...

Really? Which of his points hasn't been argued against?

Anonymous said...

Every post saying something along the lines of "You don't get it because you haven't played it" or "You're wrong because it contradicts themes/lore" or the regular old "You're wrong because it's REALLY BAD/BROKEN" has totally failed at addressing the issue.

None of this is about the ending or the game anymore. The scale of Retake's whining has made the game absolutely irrelevant. "Mass Effect" is no longer a game or a story, it's become an ISSUE. Not even the worst excesses of the Star Wars or Green Lantern fanbases did that to their franchises, so congratulations.

"Fandom". It's shit like this that's made it a derogatory label.

Deadpool said...

I know 59 is a LOT of comments to read, but seriously, if you're not gonna read them, don't say things like "no one has addressed the issue"...

Anonymous said...

Hey Bob. Another fun episode. I just was wondering...and I am sure you have been getting this a lot.....what do you think of the Indoctrination Theory?

Redd the Sock said...

Okay, I'll start on the minor things:

1) Never undersetimate the power of marketing to completely screw a fan/creator releationship. Just ask John Romero..if you can find him.

2) some of your comments on REtake have gone beyond your usual snark. Phrases like "whiny crybabies" are not funny in and of themselves and as such can't be sheilded with "exagerated hyperbole".

Okay, the hard stuff.

I continue to sense that REtake just wanted a happy ending. In fairness, I do hear that, but it comes from people still holding to that thought of 16 COMPLETELY different endings, of which could be any mix of happy, sad, strange, comedic, artistic, or just plain weird. Myself, true, sad isn`t the ending I wanted, butt I went in giving Sheppard 50% odds of survival, and by the time I got tot he part people complain about had well prepared myself for a brutal last stand one one escapes. That wasn`t what we got either. What we got seemed to forget what kind of story Mass Effect was (ultimately a character driven survival war story) and became something else (best definition: a hard sci-fi piece of nihlism).

Why this is a problem is something to look at. An example for me comes from the anime world: Urusei Yatsura 2: Beautiful Dreamer (1984). UY was created by Rumiko Takahashi, currently best known for Inuyasha. It`s a Simpsonsesque sitcome about wacky characters and their wacky antics. It was popular enough to last just short of 200 episodes and had several movies and specials. The movies mostly followed formula, but the director Mamoru Oshii (best known for Ghost in the Shell) didn`t like this so went against the wishes of Takahashi to make his own film, turning thw wacky sitcom into a rather deep, philosophical art piece....and the fans hated it. How much they hated it is hard to say (one book sugested Oshii had razor blades mailed to him but I`ve never had another source confirm that), yet it was decided Oshii not continue to direct the show and further movies.

And why shouldn`t have fans been upset? They went in expecting movie A, and got movie X. Not something that broke from formula, but something that seemed to completely ignore what brought them to the theatre in the first place. Why should Oshii have used their devotion to a series to trick them into a theatre to see his art film? I've seen the film several times and it's quite good and is quite popular in America among Otaku. It could stand on its own without angering fans, but that was the path he choice. (note: Ghost in the Shell also strays pretty far from the source material and also didn't exactly break Japanese theatre records.)

The anger over ME3 isn't we didnt' get events A, B, or C, but because our epic war story got pre-empted on the director's whim with similar lack of consideration for any opinion of what should be used but his own. Watching the ending by itself doesn't convey what went wrong, and neither would playing it at gunpoint if you aren't into it, so I propose a thought exercise. Imagine if during filming Return of the King, Peter Jackson got sick and had to pass directoral duties to someone, and that someone was Kevin Smith, who gives it the ending he outlined in Clerks 2. All epicness and seriousness shattered because a director thought his sick joke was more important. Extreme and absurd I know, but don't we see such things from time to time. The song and dnace in Spider-Man 3. The mechanical spider in Wild Wild West. One More Day.

Redd the Sock said...

You see, I get what you're afraid of, but I'm afraid of the other end as well, that the "artists" for lack of a better word, become so sheltered from their fans and their dissapointments that all concern for the fan gets lost in their ego and own sense of entitled fanboyism. It's not that they' can't or shouldn't, but they must try and make us like what they create. The more it isn't what we wanted, the more they have to sell it, and at the end of the day, the ending wasn't sold, perhaps due to Casey Hudson thinking the popularity of the series would shield him in the long run for something very rushed.

Look, I sympathisize with the artist's side of things. No one got into the business to create what they are told over what they want, and you'd have to be an idiot not to acknowledge that fans can be picky, short sighted, and yes, possessed of a sense that every story on the shelf must completely fit their wishes. But I've been on the receiving end of a fanfic writer's retorts to my criticisms as "it's my story and I'll write whatever the fuck I want" not to realize a level of arrogance comes with being the creator of something that can not only blind you to it's faults, but produce a sense of entitlement: it's your story and they should do nothing but thank you for generously providing them enetertainment. Even if not true, the perception can be damaging. You can pimp Tree of Life as much as you want, but as long as it's seen as a pretentious art film that doesn't even try to be appealing to them, a lot of people will skip it.

At the end of the day though, we're getting at best, a rewrite. The best we're hoping for is some spliced in battle footage, Star Child's speech being filled with fewer holes, and the crashed Normandy not having survivors chosen at random and getting some dialogue. Other medium have survived far worse, and video games will get through. The reletive success of indy games and kickstarter projects even gives me hope they'll come out stronger in the long run as the lesson of don't piss off fans can be taken without a bean counter jerking everything into purely safe waters.

Unknown said...

Awesome episode. Glad to be seeing more of Ivan, he's a very likable character. And I'm very curious to see what happens next in this Necrothinker Saga. I agree with all of the Overthinking (Overthought?) as well. You articulate yourself very eloquently.

Sanguine Symphony said...

Ever hear of creative control or a final cut clause in a contract?

As I said before I have no real interest in the series. Only experience I ever had with it was a Demo of ME2 that I deleted because the story came off too archetypal and the gameplay too stilted. But just like film there are films that you know are products and ones that are less likely to be marketed as such. You did a good job showing that with your explanation of Will Smith in I am Legend and Tree of Life. I doubt you did so consciously because it sort of undercuts your whole slippery slope argument.

Games from big studios are likely to have all types of things being dictated by Marketing Analysts. The only real way to stay above such is for Studios to start to get clauses for Final Cut and Control of their product. Until they make that commitment to their art I don't think anyone else should go as far as you in defending it.

Guys like Suda and Kojima are likely to remain untouched unless they work with larger companies -that they aren't president or-. Hell, I heard lots of content was cut out of DMD (Shadows of the Damned distributed by EA).

Its all just business as usual.

Jannie said...

Well since this is the last ME video (for a while, I'd imagine, ME is a huge franchise still so it'll no doubt come up again) I'd say my final piece too. This is a long one so...

First though I would like to say that you should go see Big Picture this week talking about continuity between movies and what Avengers means because (snide remarks about Expendables aside) he nailed the shit out of it and I can see how that would totally work as a new kind of stealth marketing. To be fair they have been doing that for TV for years, concealing pilot episodes in already running series, but the fact film has never tried before just always struck me as stupid. ESPECIALLY back in the 80s when you had real action stars like Stallone and Van Damme in their prime and could string whole series together with them as the focal point.

Anyway...

I think I can honestly say that I've never been a person who asked that games be "taken seriously" because, as Jim Sterling once said more eloquently and with less profanity than I, games are already taken seriously...by gamers. Why the fuck should I care if Roger Ebert takes me seriously no one has taken him seriously since the mid-90s.

Games don't NEED to be taken seriously because they're already the largest medium for entertainment in the world, sell more copies than movies sell tickets on a regular basis, rake in billions every year, have developed several of their own stars and star vehicles (Mario, Sonic, Marcus Fenix, Master Chief, Gordon Freeman, Link) and have branched out into everything from books and TV to even music and movies, what we're supposed to be all atwitter about being taken seriously by. So if the argument is that games can only be taken seriously IF...no, no IF, they are. They're taken very, very, very seriously.

The fact that Retake happened at all is evidence of that. For all the hemming and hawing that has gone around the journo sphere and the ringing of hands over it those OUTSIDE of gaming--like Forbes, and yes, the BBB--have seen the truth and realized that the reason this has happened at all was because developers have been willing to shaft consumers one time too many. Everyone expects some action game or platformer or FPS to maybe have a shitty ending. Gears 3 had a corny ending but no one cared because Gears 3 is just about having fun not telling the deepest of stories. Mass Effect was always the One True Game, it was the one that never let down, the one that had "good writing" an admittedly nebulous notion that boils down to "all their ducks in a row". Mass Effect was, for a whole five years, basically gaming's Great White Hope, the one that was supposed to "show everyone how it's done" that people could turn to as evidence of gaming evolving towards it's own voice...SEPARATE but not SUPERIOR to movies the same way that books are separate but not superior to TV.

But then it fell through, at the very end. Retake is not about people wanting a happy ending...I'd argue even using the term "better" is overselling it a little. Retake wants an ending that fits the beginning. Something that looks and sounds like it BELONGS in Mass Effect. Something that isn't filled with plot holes and continuity errors (which ME avoided pretty much entirely until now save one shitty book no one cares about) and something that doesn't retroactively mar the entire experience by painting everything in a ridiculous, horrifying new light.

And if that means that we'll never be an "artform", if that means that games will always be "product" (because God forbid products have beauty and emotion all their own) then I for one say fine why not. I'm sorry, but if I have to take some idiotic rushed ending that doesn't even make sense in and of itself to allow games to become art, I'm very sorry if this sounds "fannish", but I'd rather have product.

Jannie said...

And in a way, why wouldn't we all. Products are bound by laws and regulations to prevent you from being scammed, hurt and poisoned by them. Products are regulated and controlled and exist as discrete entities on an economic basis so one can actually know what one is getting. That's why the FDA exists. Some people think cooking is an artform yet no one would argue that if I cook a cake with shit and sell it that I should stick by my artistic integrity.

Nevermind that this isn't even the ORIGINAL, actual ending they wanted in the first place so if anything THIS CURRENT ENDING is an example of what happens with design by committee not Retake. Nevermind that the ending contradicts everything previously said in the series and even immediately contradicts itself on more than one occasion. Nevermind that several independent sources have looked at the material and said that Bioware lied about how this game was marketed.

No actually, don't never mind those things those are all perfectly valid points.

But even if we were to simply ignore all of that...then what? I'd honestly ask ANYONE who cares about this one way or the other to just tell me THEN WHAT?

If Retake vanished tomorrow, or retroactively, and no one gave a shit about how shitty the ending was and just fumed over the internet about it, then what? Would gaming be stronger for it? Would we be taken more seriously by some nebulous council of people who apparently decide what is and isn't art? And if so then why? What possible reason would anyone have to laud THAT?

Like I said it not only contradicts the ENTIRE series from start to finish, including several points that were stressed in the previous game, but it also completely contradicts ITSELF at least twice...at least. And that's before you go into the horrible quality of it, that's before you go into the fact that Bioware did, in fact, lie about the endings and that's before you even address the huge plot hole it creates about the Mass Relays detonating.

But let's just take ONE example shall we. In a previous game, let's say, Ashley Williams may or may not die but here let's say she does die. It is entirely possible for her to appear, back from the dead, in the ending of the game. In this game if you choose the "Destroy" ending EDI dies and yet she can an does show up in the ending from time to time.

Do you follow me?

It's procedurally generated. It just takes various endstate flags from the previous few hours and throws in a video REGARDLESS of if it makes sense or not. Not only does it completely devalue ANY player interaction--a situation I know for a fact some people who hate the interactivity aspects or audience interaction will appreciate but which DESTROYS the gameplay as it stands--but even if you take that part out the fact it is random means it even devalues the game itself. This means that in the Destroy ending, if EDI lives than perhaps the Reapers do too. This means that if Ashley shows up alive, or Tali teleports onto the Normandy after she DIED on Earth with you, then their deaths and lives were meaningless. In other words it is not even an ending it's a roulette wheel.

I mean I didn't even KNOW about that malarkey until someone told me and if I understand there are videos on YouTube of Edi, Tali, Ashley all coming back from the dead. Fuck me I'm surprised Jesus didn't walk out of the Normandy, he's the only "back from the dead" cameo they didn't use!

So why is this "art" again? Of all the things to defend why this?

Jannie said...

If Retake Mass Effect has taught me anything it is that the ME3 dev team apparently thought so little of the fans that they threw some half assed, randomized, procedurally generated ending in and expected NO ONE would make a peep then got butthurt when someone had the gall to point out what shit it was.

Maybe you can make some argument about audiences "ruining" stories because they just want "formula" or whatever...but really what is wrong with formula? What is wrong with an ending that ISN'T some avant gard bullshit and just makes pure horse sense from start to finish? Who says that has to be boring?

Casablanca is one of the best movies of all time and the story is so simplistic you could write it on a posted note are we saying that Casablanca isn't artsy enough now?

The thing is some "off beat" (i.e, stupid, nonsensical) or "esoteric" (same) ending would have ruined it. As it stands so far I've yet to see a movie that DID have an esoteric ending that didn't strike me as some film school jackoff stroking himself and panting "Ask me what it means! Ask me what it means!"

EVERY classic movie from the heart and soul of cinema has just a straightforward sad or happy ending, no frills, no bullshit, just tie up the plot and get out. Casablanca, Citizen Kane, Maltese Falcon, Gone With The Wind, Psycho...all of these movies just tied up their endings and left you with a feeling of closure and either sadness (Citizen Kane, cause...you know, sled and all that) or gladness (Psycho, cause thank God he's off the streets!) and that was that. No bullshit, no frills, a twist ending is fine though as long as it makes sense, and in Psycho it totally does. I'm always amazed at how arthouse filmmakers feel the need to throw the most ridiculous esoteric Brazil bullshit endings in when Hitchcock never, ever did. His endings, even when twist endings, always tied up in a real feeling of "this is my final word, no bullshit, I'ma level with you."

So apparently "formula" was good enough for one of the greatest directors of all time but not good enough for New Hollywood. Or Bioware apparently.

Jannie said...

And frankly this "AUDIENCES SUCK" bullshit is growing thin, and I'm directly talking to Aiddon here too by the way.

If these creators are so thin skinned that even perfectly valid critique--objectively, demonstrably probable critique at that--hurts their fragile egos and wounds their swollen pride maybe someone needed to let the air out of these puffed up douchebags a long time ago.

News flash: unless you make a game to be played and enjoyed by no one but yourself then you are by default expecting some kind of audience. If you do then you are, by design, asking for them to tell you what they think of it. You do NOT then gen to pull the "lol i'm an are-toor!" bullshit at that point because you are producing PRODUCTS to be sold and not some vaunted piece of soul-searching brilliance only you can understand and enjoy properly.

And if that hurts your pride or if you think you're being unfairly criticized then tough shit. If you never want to be criticized don't put it out there, and no one says you have to listen or care...but know that if fans realize you don't care what they think they'll just go away. And then you'll just be alone with your precious art and no one to stroke your cock and tell you how big you are, because that, alone, is what drives most of these people and you fucking know it.

Nobody who isn't insane creates intricate works of art for only their eyes. They do it to get praise from others, either for how smart or clever or whatever or in the form of money and fame, one way or the other they're doing this not for art but for themselves. Pretending otherwise, or blaming the fans for not "getting it" or not enjoying it "right" is as stupid as...well the last stupid thing they did previously.

So if, Aiddon, you think audiences are such spoil sports my suggestion is to shut the fuck up and get over it because unless you want to be the only one who enjoys your creation it WILL eventually have an audience of some kind and that means you WILL have to at the very least show respect.

Telling them they don't know what they want is not just arrogant it's ignorant. How would YOU know what they want? And if you give it to them and they don't want it why would you even think it IS what they want or what they need? That's so childish I'm almost shocked an adult human being could conjure such a statement straightfacedly. What happens if the audience doesn't like it, you MAKE them? How? Why? What possible reason would you have? What possible GOAL would you have?

Much like ME3's ending it's a statement that even contradicts itself.

I'm meandering so I'll just end with this point:

Video games are NOT movies, they may or may not have something to "learn" from movies but you can not treat them the same. And even if you could this ending would still not fly for ANY medium, even one as ensconced in audience participation as gaming.

And if the only way for games to become "true art" is by sacrificing everything that makes them games then I can't imagine how anyone could argue that that is a good thing.

Deadpool said...

The art vs. product argument is silly at its core. The moment something has a monetary value to it, it is a product. This DOES NOT disqualify it from being art.

Did the Mona Lisa stop being art when king Francois bought it?

Jeannie, while your thoughts do mirror my own, I must point out that Nintendo built an empire on giving people what they want versus what they ask for.

Still, when you do that, you don't get to cry foul play when what you THINK people want isn't what people actually want. When the Virtual Boy failed, I didn't see anyone shedding tears about it. And they shouldn't. Just because Junpei Yokoi was a brilliant man doesn't mean he can't make mistakes, or that he shouldn't get shit for them.

This is ultimately the part that rubs me wrong about this argument. The underlying implication that the audience is WRONG to demand quality from the creators because the creators are "artists"

Also, you make a great point on the whole "We have to be taken seriously by the mainstream!"... Errrrrr, we ARE the mainstream. Welcome to the future.

Sylocat said...

Here's a future timeline of what will happen when the new ME3 ending DLC is released:

1. Regardless of the actual quality of the new ending, half of the Re-Takers will love it, but the other half will hate it and start a whole new EA boycott campaign (which, much like this one, will last until EA's next big release which they will all buy anyway). And the two halves will start tearing each other apart on forums. I reiterate that the new ending's merits are completely irrelevant.

2. Re-Take movements will start springing up at the drop of a hat every time a big-name title does something the fans don't like. They may change the name, but it'll be the exact same thing, and the criteria for a Re-Take movement (or clone thereof) will get exponentially looser and more petty if further demands are met.

3. They will continue to insist that THIS TIME the industry will actually get the message and start making good games. They will continue to scream at anyone who complains about this, insisting that anyone who doesn't share their exact tastes in entertainment is a pretentious hipster who wants to make games less fun.

4. Marketing execs, who already hate any sort of innovation, will start using the phrase, "Remember What Happened To BioWare!" as their new cudgel in their endless war on creativity. The incessant Re-Take movement clones will only help.

Deadpool said...

As long as we're going through predictions, here's mine.

1. The new DLC ending will improve, but ultimately fail to fix the ending. However, between the long wait, the people backing up Bioware for "sticking to their guns" and the people just happy that it was free, the outlash will be CONSIDERABLY smaller.

2. There will be some interesting reactions to it. Understated Nerd will have a thoughtful and somber video about it all. Months later Errant Signal and Extra Credit will weight in on the situation. There will be deep thought and serious consideration of the results and what it means to the industry moving forward.

3. No one will learn anything and nothing will change.

Btw, Retake didn't boycott Bioware. They offered them money to fix their mess, and raised $80,000 to prove they were willing to pay. That's the OPPOSITE of boycotting actually...

Also, let's pretend you are correct. So YOUR idea is... Do nothing? Game developers release low quality products and you don't say a word, don't move a muscle, just keep on buying it mindlessly over and over again... Is THAT how you instill change?

Seriously, if fans aren't supposed to voice their opinions, nor back it up with money, what ARE they supposed to do?

Deadpool said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jannie said...

Sylocat:
What part of this ending IS innovative Sylocat? Where is the great change to gaming that picking three colored lights was going to bring that Retake ruined? And since we're on it what great change is going to get ganked because of this? If anything this will make marketing execs LESS likely to throw some half-assed bullshit in there like they did with ME3, since now there is actually the distinct possibility of legal liability--however faint--that they have to watch for.

But why bother right, I mean you already made up your mind that I'm wrong or stupid and anyone who has the gall to say otherwise is just crying or whining or whatever so who cares.

At this point I'd almost want Bioware to NOT try and patch this ending up so that their standards just get more and more lax until finally EVEN YOU have to admit that someone needs to be held accountable for this shit instead of just taking it with a grin.

If you really feel so threatened by this whole thing why do you even engage in it? Why do you go around and constantly stir the hornet's nest then if you KNOW (or think you know) that it's inevitable?

Do you care? I mean that in a broad sense: do you care, one way or the other, if there are demonstrable problems with the ME3 ending? Do you actually understand, intellectually, that this is a problem with continuity and self-contradictory evidence and even if it isn't changed it needs to be explained in SOME way for the sake of the narrative, other than just leaving it as is?

And what is your plan then? DO you suggest we just leave it as is? If so what happens if you want to make a sequel or a follow up, but now the story is tied in so many knots it's impossible? Or how about simple quality control, shouldn't something incorrect be retracted or corrected AT ALL?


Deadpool:
I'm not really sure if what Nintendo does is giving fans what they want instead of what they ask for. Nintendo fans do seem to genuinely want AND ask for very archaic, throwback games.

I'm not a Nintendo fan...yeah a surprise I know :V

Most of this comes from the fact I played both Nintendo and Sega at the height of the console wars and also I was always much deeper entrenched in things like Quake and Doom then either Mario or Sonic, though I was and remain a fan of Sonic.

But that being said I am fairly certain that if you asked a Nintendo fan what they really want they'd say it was what Nintendo does which is nostalgia and fanservice. Now that can't last forever, it eventually creates a cycle wherein you don't welcome in new gamers but the Wii kind of offset that somewhat--not greatly cause I'm not sure the casual market is going to stick around for the next console cycle since they HAVE what they want now and can play Wii Sports Resort forever without needing an upgrade...

But anyway the point is Nintendo does do what the fans want almost exclusively. The fans want their prepubescent years sold back to them in the form of electronic media. That's pretty much all Nintendo does now.

In fact I'd go so far to argue Nintendo's power and success comes from the fact they have always had a keen idea of how to directly interface with their fans, and make them feel like they're a part of the dev team. It's corny to say this about a huge, corrupt, ridiculously cutthroat Japanese zaibatsu but Nintendo is the "downhome flavor, like grandma used to make" company. If a corporation had a face, Nintendo would be Wilford Brimley telling you about Quaker Oatmeal.

Aiddon said...

@Sylocat

Except for Nintendo; they just do their own thing because "gamers" don't know what's good for them or the industry. They'll just ignore the dipshits and continue kicking all kinds of ass across the landscape.

Deadpool said...

I wasn thinking of software actually... Nintendo's philosophy (attributed to the aforementioned Gunpei Yokoi) has been about using old technology to its fullest instead of using the newest, shiniest tech.

This has helped them in many endeavors, but never so greatly as it did in the handheld market. As company after company tried to topple the Gameboy, fans clamored for better graphics, colors, bigger, brighter screens, etc. Nintendo continuously refused, figuring that longer battery life and an interesting software library would pay off in the end. It WORKED, and the Gameboy remains today the best selling game system of all time. By the time the Gameboy Color finally came out in Japan, it had sold 64.4 million copies world wide (that's 15 every MINUTE for 8 years straight).

Of course, this same philosophy (coupled with some interesting business practices) bit Nintendo in the ass before. Nintendo 64 and GameCube are both examples of Nintendo refusing to follow the masses. More recently, Project: Rainfall (yet another, "silly" activist gamer group) managed to convince Nintendo to bring Xenoblade: Chronicles to the US. The game has since attained the highest metacritic rating of any RPG this year as well as the highest number of pre orders for a Wii game EVER.

I am not approving of ignoring the fanbase. Nor am I really denouncing it. It is DANGEROUS, but obviously, sometimes it WORKS. Sometimes it falls flat.

I DO have a problem with the idea that when it DOES fall flat that the fanbase should run over the company who ignored their wishes and kiss their boo boos away...

Sylocat said...

@Jannie:

For the umpeenthousandth time, i am not just talking about ME3's ENDING. I am talking about the rest of the Mass Effect franchise too. Y'know, that nebulous "good writing" thing that you claim isn't important despite it being what drew people to Mass Effect in the first place.

We live in a world in which toy company marketing people can (and do) walk into movie studios and start bossing around the writers, directors, designers and actors just to make sure the action figures based on the film will sell better. If you don't see the problem, watch Morgan Spurlock's The Greatest Movie Ever Sold.

And if it doesn't happen this time, you bet it will happen the next time a ReTake clone springs up over some even-more-minute perceived injustice. And it will.

As for what my solution is: Well, perhaps the ReTakers could actually stop buying EA's products, and instead buy games that meet the criteria they claim to want, so as to force EA to make quality games in order to get that market share back?

I might be a little more sympathetic, both to the ReTake movement and to BioWare's acquiescence, if there was the slightest chance of that actually happening.

But there isn't, and EA knows that as well as I do. So if you're not willing to take that step, don't complain that I don't have a solution.

But oh wait, I do have another solution. Well, Bob has one, which he outlined in this video, and I happen to agree with it. Do what Tolkein, Lewis and Claremont* did, and if you can't do that, head over to KickStarter and back up those who will.

@Deadpool: See above.

*(though Claremont might be a bad example, since he was actually working for Marvel and writing for the same universe)

Sabre said...

@moviebob

This is about the "games should be compared to film" bit.

I didn't post this earlier as I didn't want it to get lost in the flame wars.

The reason games can't be compared to film, or comics, or any other media is because they are not. It's not surprising a film guy like yourself would hold film as above games. Reguardless of which you feel is superior (or equal) the 2 are not comparable and have little to learn from each other.

As said last time, if I said a film didn't have enough text like a book, or a film didn't have any gameplay like a game, or a song didn't have a rich cast like a film, those arguments would be rightly thrown out as stupid, so why should games be judged as films?

A perfect example of why comparing 2 mediums is BS is the so called 'art games'. People say the focus on immature fun would end up with games being marginalised like comics, but on the other hand, going all in on the art side could end up with games becoming a laughing stock like art in the 21st century. The best know example is Damien Hirst who just puts animal corpses in a gallery and calls it art. Which medium should we take from?

As for games mimicking film, are games not allowed to touch certain styles, tones and themes because, what, film has bagsies? What about films trying to capture the tone and style of other mediums? Scott Pilgram was a film trying to feel like a comic that was trying to feel like a game. What medium should I judge it by?

Deadpool said...

@ Sylocat

But boycotts don't work. You know that... Hell, that's the lynchpin of your arguments.

So fans went the other way. Instead of Negative Reinforcement (you made a bad game so we no longer give you money) they went with Positive Reinforcement (you make shitty game better and we'll give you MORE money).

Is this better? Maybe. Probably not actually. But not the point.

The point Bob is making is that they SHOULDN'T COMPLAIN AT ALL. And that's just stupid.

Your argument is that if they won't succeed, then why try? Because sometimes trying is all you have. Personally, I'd rather them try and fail than never try at all.

Truth is, only an IDIOT would see this as a denouncement of Mass Effect as a SERIES. You can argue marketting execs are evil, bottom-line loving devils, but they aren't exactly stupid. ME made cash up the wazoo, and would have been Bioware's greatest success (and might still end up being remembered as such) were it not for a shitty ending. The ONLY lesson to take from this exercise is to keep your quality consistant.

And Tolkien, Claremont and Lewis are examples of CREATORS who were also fans. Most fans are just... Fans.

Besides, even if I CAN do better, it does NOT excuse them for doing poorly. No idea where THAT came from.

Jannie said...

"For the umpeenthousandth time, i am not just talking about ME3's ENDING."

No, it IS about the ending. That's literally ALL it has ever been about, the fact that this game's ending retroactively taints the entire series to say nothing of contradicting it.

It is now and has ever only been about the ending, that is the whole point of Retake Mass Effect that the ending ingloriously fucks the entire series up the ass and either needs to be changed or--and this would satisfy me--just outright disavowed.

I mean I don't know about the others but if Bioware just outright said "no that ending doesn't count anymore, Sheppard just died when the Reaper ship shot and him the Reapers won" then I'd be perfectly fine with that. It's a really depressing ending but the ending of A.I: Artificial Intelligence was really depressing and I love that movie.

That's the whole point though Sylocat. It is JUST about the ending, it's never been about anything else. Retake never wanted anything but an ending--good or bad, happy or sad, half-assed or wholehearted--that didn't shit all over the series and the game itself. Everyone BUT Retake Mass Effect made it about everything BUT Mass Effect.

It's about art, or marketng, or the "medium", or being taken seriously, or how art must never be changed, or the power dynamics of narratives, or the "game that comes after" ME whatever that means, or anything BUT the ending.

And I for one am tired of this discussion getting steered off course by everyone arguing about everything BUT the ending:

Put up or shut up, either present an argument as to why THE ENDING isn't a self-contradictory piece of shit or admit it is.

Jannie said...

And if it is then why NOT change it since it clearly can only get BETTER from here.

chaosord said...

While I do agree with you Bob, I do side with the Retake guys, when it comes to Mass Effect.
I have no problem with "Bad" or "Sad" endings. Hell I love them.
And I don't think the Retake Movement is asking for a "Happy" Ending. They just want a higher quality ending. In a sense Retake is holding Bioware to a higher standard. Is that a bad thing?

Anonymous said...

Kinda sad when the arguments made in the comments section are actually far more interesting and intellectual than the video it self. (also this started off as something short, but I got bored as decided to go though the whole video and make counter points to everything... and not fix the over all flow of this post... laziness at it's finest.)

Bob I really hope you look at this issue in another light, and that light isn't already assuming that those for the Retake movement are entitled whining babies but examining their argument and posing counter points, not just characterizing people as immature brats.

Prime example, your reaction to comments made by those of us who watch your show being summed up as "You Suck Now Overthinker!!" While I'm quite certain that there were comments just like that, perhaps even shorter with even worse grammar, you do have plenty of people who made logical valid arguments against you opinion which you did not defend against, you merely used ad hominem against them... which back fired making you look like the childish prick that whining because he didn't get his way (i.e. don't change the ending because blah blah blah).

Frankly, there's not much else at this point that can be said that hasn't already. There is a strong case set forth by those who commented before me as to why the retake movement was good, does not damage the medium, and is absolutely nothing new to media in general.

While I do agree there was a time where there was a consensus amongst gamers that video games should be taken seriously, that time passed right around the time video games became the largest form of entertainment media that exists today. Basically all those who didn't take video games seriously were either going to lose a lot of money or just get trampled underfoot.

What did continue is this "Video games are art and should be taken seriously as art." Nonsense. Yes they are art and (for some reason) are just "soulless product."

Anonymous said...

Let me make the mother of all counter arguments to that. We've all seen the paintings done by Michelangelo in the Sistine chapel (if you haven't and have a appreciation for paintings, then do check them out.) These paintings are considered some of the most awe inspiring ART that exists. That being said, Michelangelo was COMMISSIONED to paint them, aka PAID. This means the Sistine chapel it self is a product or at least the paintings there in. Is the art there any less moving or beautiful because of this fact? No, it's not.

The same goes for, well all media. Books, movies, music, and yes video games, are all art, and yes they are all products, or at least can be, but that's beside the point. The point, plain and simple, is that just because something is a product, does not mean that is automatically not considered art.

Now I'm only guessing here but I feel that there's this notion that we have to join the "Certified Art Club" in order to be accepted as art. The problem with that is there is no universally acceptable definition of art. Better put, of the art forms we make, each of them are art in their own right, that is to say books are art but not art like music.

Also I must point out the problem the huge problem of "oh we have to take responsibility for stupid decisions make by artists in order for video games to be taken seriously." The problem there being that there have been plenty of cases in other mediums where the audience disapproved of an ending, or some certain aspect, with actual merit behind it, not just "I didn't like the actor" more like "This makes no fucking sense." Again, this does not disqualify video games or any other media as art, the whole world could bitch and moan about some painting that sucks and then the artist changes the painting, the before and after? Still art.

Art however does not mean I have to accept anything put before me as is, especially if I have to pay for it. If art is shit, then it's shit, and can be changed into something good if given some work. What defines good? Well we can get into many different topics on that but basically it boils down to, does the majority of society like or dislike "this" (and I stress this) FOR LEGITIMATE REASONS.

Anonymous said...

Not I didn't like the colors, the actor who played this role sucked, Javik is a dick and added nothing to the story (my opinion there.) but that something really didn't make sense to the media in question and has examples and valid arguments to back it up.

If the issue was that people just didn't like the ending, this there wouldn't be a problem, there are plenty of craptastic endings out there but they fit with the story, but most of that falls into the realm of opinion. ME3's ending however has factual reasons why it is bad, i.e. plot hole after plot hole, etc. This alone actually wouldn't have caused that much anger among the gamer community but the lack of choice in end (the whole ABC crap.) As well as is being thematically with the rest of the narrative made this whole controversy.

I write all this because I don't believe you get what the issue is here. It's not people getting what they wanted, because none of us had a clear idea of what they wanted from the ending except for "Make my decisions matter." yet another thing that got thrown out. Instead we get this garbage ending that does not fit with the story at all.

Also, if something is a product, you're damn sure if I get a "surprise" in my yogurt, I'm going to kick some corporate ass. And if some product is labeled cheese flavored and I get onion, you're damn right I'm going to be pissed about it, and I have every right to protest and see I am reimbursed for failure on the creator's fault. So no, seeing video games as a "product" does not make them safe things I don't have to care about, quite the opposite in fact.

Also, again, your argument of precedent does not work because of my argument of precedent that it's already happened in other mediums and they're just fine.

Video games are different from other mediums... just like books are from music. Please do make me an argument that books have thing to learn from music... please do. Not saying video games can't learn things from other mediums, just that, well it's hard to plug an American plug into an European socket, you have to adapt it first, if at all. Also, video games are not superior, anyone who thinks that likely thinks that to make him/herself "Bigger".

Also, and sorry to be this rude, but get your head out of your ass about the idea that just because something is sad or depressing or just plain dark, we're automatically going to want to change it. Especially because that is not the issue with the ME ending as they have legitimate reasons why it sucks, and not just "OMG IT'S SO SAD LULZ!"

The problem with the I Am Legend example you give is that the people in charge of that movie went with fear and changed the movie to fit the feed back they were given, which yes, was a small group of people, but that's their jobs, take feed back and change to appeal to larger market to make more money, can't fault them on that move. What you can fault them on is that the there was no legitimacy to the "It's so sad, change it!" argument, There is however legitimacy to the "This does not fit the story at all, change it!!" argument.

So what happens to the gaming scene the next time a game developer wants to try an ending that kinda down beat or vauge or even dark? Nothing more than usual, some may dislike it because it's sad, some may love it, but as along is it MAKES SENSE TO THE NARRATIVE, no one will care. If it doesn't THEN, and only then will people protest, and again, remove head from ass that the issue is quality of ending, not mood of ending...

And I think that pretty much it. Please, do make a counter argument, but not ad hominum, or any nonsense like that. Clear reasons as to why you think what you think, not just this is what I think and it's right.

Omorka said...

A few rather disconnected ideas:

Ooh, a big soulless corporation took a product that had some actual integrity and quality and gave it a crappy ending in an attempt to rush it to market? I'm shocked! Shocked, I tell you! And unfortunately, the corporation - not the writers and designers - are the entity that has to be dealt with. Art gets you accolades and good reviews, but it is indeed the product aspect of the game that brings in the filthy lucre - so acting like pissed-off customers rather than dissatisfied patrons is probably the only way the fanbase can get a message across at all to the people who make the decisions.

Despite that, a great deal of the Retakers (albeit not all of them) have sounded entirely too much like Beavis and Butthead chortling "This sucks, change it!"

More importantly, though - following something ad hominem with "Aw, it was funny! Can't you take a joke?" is the language of the bully, through and through. Sir, you're better than that, and hearing you say that (in anything other than the AntiThinker's voice) was disappointing in the extreme.

And finally - I love Ivan's being the Genre Savvy character, but just as a matter of good writing and acting, I beg you to be careful that his voice stays distinct from the OverThinker's. He's more effective as a character when he doesn't completely agree with the Overthinker/you, and when his delivery and cadence are different from the Overthinker's/yours.

Sylocat said...

@Deadpool: And the REASON boycotts never work is because consumers forget all about them the instant a shiny object is waved in front of their faces.

@Jannie: It's not just about the ending because that's not all that's going to be affected by this fiasco. I'm not entirely sure what part of this is confusing you.

Redd the Sock said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Redd the Sock said...

@Sylocat

aside from the fact that companies prone to blaming piracy and the used market for every loss in sales are probably not going to catch on to any problem they may have made if not spelled out in giant pink neon letters, even if not true, if you're goal is to protect artists from risk adverse businessmen, boycots (if implimented) acheive the same endpoint: businesses afraid that they are losing revenue and may in the future play it safe and stiffle creativity. Worse, now they don't know why customers left and are forced to try and fix a problem blind instead of having active criticism in front of them.

Look, I agree with the core premis, but are quick to blame the end consumer instead of reminding the investor of the origins of the industy. The whole of the current age of video games is predicated on the risk someone took when he tried putting out a game system after the market crashed in 1983. That one of the most popular handhelds risked things by sticking with proven tech instead of pushing it. That our current medium (the CD) didn't go over well at first due to slow load times but people took a risk to keep trying and improve things. 3D, surivial horror, the Wii. I could go on. Yes for every sucess there's a virtual boy or Final Fantasy: The Spirit's within, but that's capitalism. The consumer is not the only one that has to acdcept risk as part of the euqation, as it is that risk that make creaotrs make sure their product doesn't suck. Take that away to protect a funding source or protect an ego, and you take away the benefits

Anonymous said...

That wasn't half bad moviebob, nice episode.

Now to go back to this for a third time, because its such a party favorite.

Pirate before you buy people! Don't feel embarrassed, it's not a bad thing, it's liberating. Its an practice as old as the personal computer itself.

Pirate before you buy, pirate before you buy!

Anonymous said...

DAMN Deadpool. Those are some good posts, I hope people learn a thing or two from them. Bin a joy reading them.

Deadpool said...

Y'know, here I thought I was the only one that saw the Ivan thing as a bit of a dick move...

It actually instantly reminded me of this Daily Show episode...

http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/blogs/national-affairs/jon-stewart-on-rush-limbaughs-mouth-dump-20120314

Being a funny asshole doesn't make you any less of an asshole.

Trust me. I can smell my own...

It's also a bit hypocritical isn't it? In the beginning Bob is crass, rude and argumentative against the ReTakers, and in the end Ivan pleads for people to give their dissenting arguments without being crass, rude and argumentative... Kind of odd, isn't it?

@ Sylocat

"And the REASON boycotts never work is because consumers forget all about them the instant a shiny object is waved in front of their faces."

And when fans DON'T forget all about it shortly afterwards you get people going "What? You're STILL complaining about this? It's just a game! Move forward!" right?

Seriously, you admit that fans should do something about things they don't like, you admit that boycotts don't generally work, so when fans do something OTHER than boycott as a means to show their dislike for something, and somehow succeed, you come down AGAINST them? WHY?!?

Smashmatt202 said...

I feel the need to post this long wall of text about someone who took personal offense, not so much for you're opinion, but how you patronize the people who didn't like Mass effect 3's ending:

"I get that DLC is optional but that works both ways. It's not like we have-to buy DLC, but it's not as though developers have-to make it either. They say that they have to keep the dev team working up till release, but games got along perfectly fine before day one DLC, let alone On-Disk DLC. And if they had time enough to get it to the publishers before launch they had time enough to include it IN game. And I have a real problem for paying extra to unlock all the data on a Disk I've already paid for. The only reason they make DLC is to make more money.

One thing that should NEVER be made "optional" is the game's ending. What we DID get for Mass Effect 3 was very unsatisfying. Yes it ends on a choice, but what we had been lead to believe was that our other choices would have some impact as well. Not quite the good vs evil ending like in Infamous 2, but something that reflected major individual decisions. Things like whether you had a certain crew member shot for questioning your orders, If you chose to kill or release a resurrected alien species, or if you chose to destroy the alien base ship at the end of the last game or leave it to be salvaged. Hell there was even one minor mission at the beginning of the first game where you have to chose whether or not to have a solder returned to her husband for burial. Some people were wondering If you would even be able to beat the Reapers if you hadn't let the military continue gathering research on Geth weaponry from her body.

But no matter what your Shepard did up to that point, it always came down to the same decision with those same three lame choices. And as the cupcakes protest emphasized: They all tasted the same. And Movie Bob keeps going on about how we're bitching because we didn't get a "and they all lived happily ever after" Disney ending. It's not that he's disagreeing with us (I've heard some people actually like how it was left open ended. That's purely a matter of taste and I don't judge them on it). It's that his entire premise is insultingly patronizing. I DO have every right to complain when I don't get the product I was told I was getting! And just because someone created a peace of art does NOT mean they are infallibly correct no matter what they decide to do with it. Casey Hundson not only admitted that he was deliberately trying to make a polarizing ending (when you put creating controversy over staying true to the spirit of your work, you've sold out. period.) but he also high-jacked the ending from the rest of the writing team. I simply refuse to believe that these sorts of actions can be justified under "artistic integrity" as Movie Bob claims. This why I take his attacks so personally."

...I'll comment on the actual video after I've finished watching it.

Sylocat said...

@Redd the Sock:

Which is why, in order for it to be even remotely effective, gamers would have to put the money they're saving by not buying EA's products towards buying products that actually meet their specifications. If indie games with great writing and great design flop because they don't have nine-digit advertising budgets, what message does that send?


@Deadpool:

Gawrsh, it's almost like I care more about the outcome than the methodology. How about that.

Smashmatt202 said...

I get the feeling that Bob's opinions on Mass Effect 3's ending, or endings I suppose, will go down in his personal history to be, along with Metroid: Other M, his most controversial takes on gaming-related topics. Not because of his opinion, but because he really seems to demean his opponents and talk smack about them, even though it's very unclear whether he's just over-generalizing or just calling out the "trolls" and "whiners", whoever THEY are... I mean, I'm not even a Mass Effect fan (although I want to get into the series) and I'm beginning to see my sympathies go towards them than MovieBob in this case. :/

But, whatever, let's see what he has to say here...

I'm... still not sure I understand why the Necrothinker hates social gaming. What's IT ever done against him? I mean, the Call of Duty thing and rebooting old franchises the wrong way thing, I can understand, but what about this? Maybe you could make that more clear.

So, why'd you bring up Wario's Woods? Here's a tip: copying Family Guy's sort of random humor is NOT a good thing.

I don't like how you say that EA/Bioware "caved in", but then again, since you're mostly an outsider and Mass effect hasn't affected you that personally, I guess you would say that. Look, not that I'm saying there WEREN'T fans who overreacted, but your comparisons to series you WISH they ended they way you wanted them to were freaking pathetic.

I also hate how you constantly demean them with that smug tone of voice when saying that "consumer rights issue". It's like it's said before, there are laws against false advertising you know, and even though you're a jaded sort of person who has come to accept that marketing and advertising tends to exaggerated, it doesn't seem like you're doing anything to stop it or do anything about it.

Okay, no, seriously, were do you get off mocking what other people think is important. Even if you ARE referring mostly to the more immature part of the Mass Effect fanbase, it's STILL important to some, and the fact that you continue to make fun of fans as a whole makes you look even worse, even if your points ARE valid.

Also, Ivan's disclaimer aside, it's still a cruel thing to do to assume that everyone wants an ending that meets their specific specifications, but rather that they were expecting an ending that actually FIT the rest of the game, matched their advertisement (saying that there were differences is not the same as saying that all the players actions would lead up to a specific ending), and wasn't complete crap. Not to mention, there ARE people who can't read or understand sarcasm, you know.

Man, I don't mean to sound so whiney, but I can't help but get angry at Bob's smug ton, and Ivan's disclaimer did not help in the slightest.

Also, I DON'T agree that EA/Mass Effect "caving in" to the gamers does not, in any way, do damage to the medium as a whole, but rather, sets us apart from any other medium and makes us unique. Again, we don't know the full story of whether or not Bioware WANTED the ending to be like that or whether there was something in the way of getting to the actually GOOD ending.

I don't know if I can get through this video, three and a half minutes in and I'm already pissed off by Bob's words.

Smashmatt202 said...

I keep feeling like I NEED to play the Mass Effect games so I can understand the fans frustration, being an outsider like Bob doesn't help at all! What he's saying, the fact that a series so go could end so bad is a worthy gamble, but nobody wants to lose that gamble...

But then again, since they really played up the whole choice thing in the advertisement, and since player actions is something unique to gaming, who's to say that players can't get a say in how they want the story to end? "Artist's integrity"? What's that even mean? So the artist is automatically superior to it's audience? I don't think you can really argue that anymore. Yeah, the choices were pre-programmed, but the player still had to CHOOSE one of those choices, and even though there was already a planned out path for any given choice, the player still has to choose those paths. I don't think it's too far a stretch to ask that the ending be like that.

I also think Bob's a bit to cynical, expecting that now all games will now cave into whiny players' demands. After all, the Mass Effect following is HUGE and there were a lot more details to the story other then "we didn't like the ending, change it now", even though you think it is. That just seems a little arrogant to assume that's all that's going on, and it demeans the kind of people who, I feel, rightly complained about it and asked for better from Bioware.

I thought Lost would get brought up... I dunno, do people really want J.J. Abrams to redo the ending? Since it ended a long while ago, I think it's too late to really ask for it, and unlike video games, it's purely his thing, so I can't really ask him to change it just because I was a fan of the show.

Like everyone's been saying, video games are DIFFERENT from movies or TV shows. Who says that they need to follow their ways of how art is viewed? It's like Jim said, art doesn't HAVE a definite description, it can be ANYTHING. Pulling arbitrary rules from you're ass makes you no better than Roger Ebert constantly saying games aren't art and ever example gamers provide doesn't count. I say that games ARE art, and gamers having a voice in how a game should be might be PART of that art... It just depends on the game.

WHOA, WHOA, WHOA, Ivan, who the fuck saiy that gaming would be SUPERIOR to other mediums? I mean, yes, the interactivity DOES make it different form other mediums and I think that makes the medium great, but it doesn't make it better. Although on reflection, that's kind of the same argument gaming censorship guys kept using to get games banned, that the interactivity of games made it different enough to not count under the first amendment. And while I think THAT'S bullshit, I'm not completely dismissive of the idea that the interactivity of games makes it different enough to follow it's own rules. Superior? Not at all. Different? Yes. Seriously, I can NOT slam my head against my desk enough times to emphasize how much I'm hating Bob and Ivan right now.

Smashmatt202 said...

Don't get me wrong, I GET the whole "angry about eh precedent" thing, and that game companies will follow EA/BioWare's example, and that can be a bit frustrating, and Bob takes out his frustration on Mass Effect fans who may or may not deserve it. Still, hearing this is painful for me to sit through, not because it's the "hard truth", but because I disagree with it so much, and yet I'm scared by the prospect that anything I say will be written off as being a baby or a whiner or a troll. Geez...

Also, while gamers ARE pretty immature, and while I DON'T want to see games go down the road of Little Shop of Horrors (although, to be honest, I didn't like the original dark ending, but I still don't think it should have been changed), I think gamers are given too little credit. They didn't hate Mass Effect's ending because it didn't end the way they wanted it to. It ended because... Oh, nevermind, you've already seen it, I'm not going to bother going over this again. Still, the idea that gamers will cry fowl over a "dark" ending or and "ending they didn't agree with", I think they need to reach the levels of ME's fanbase before we worry if this really IS going to be that way.

Also, you GREATLY undermine what you call the "vocal minority" thing. EVERYONE hates Mass Effect's ending. Everyone who didn't hate it was indifferent to it, like you. THAT'S NOT A VOCAL MINORITY! I get what you're saying, but the situation your describing is completely different from the Mass Effect situation at hand!

You are so right, I would have LOVED to see that I Am Legend with the alternate ending... In fact, it sounds a LOT like the Little Shop of Horrors example, only one that I'd actually like to see! It does kind of suck that test screenings don't go well.

Now, I totally get what Bob's saying... It's almost as if video games are BECOMING movies, in that kind of way. Although, I don't think gamers will complain about an ending too dark or insightful, just an ending that's crap and want changed. That's just me, though. He's got a point, I'll admit.

Again, I think one thing, both Bob and the ME fans are forgetting, is what BioWare actually INTENDED. Was that REALLY the ending they wanted? Or was it, for whatever reason, the result of some bad development, bad timing, or bad decisions on EA or some internal people's part? Their take, honestly, is where I'll stand. As of now, I'm still on the fence. I know I acted pisses off at Bob, but mostly because of his smug attitude at first. THAT'S the part of him I hate the least, and why I prefer, say, Extra Credits more. They don't belittle people unless they genuinely deserve it, and I feel that the ME fans didn't deserve what Bob said here, or on his Cabin in the Woods Intermission column.

Honestly, I think Hideo Kojima should just make movies, it seems like he really wants to. Also, I have to look into this Jonathan Blow guy.

Wait, did I just see a zombee Ninja Turtle? Does that really count?

I like (sarcastic) how the Necrothinker's movements don't really match what he's saying. Like that laugh, why's he moving around like that? Eh... I have a headache.

Anonymous said...

@Smashmatt202

"Eh... I have a headache."

Bob's videos in a nutshell people.

Deadpool said...

@ Sylocat

And what result DO you want? Bioware releases a shitty ending and gets praise for it?

Seriously, you've yet to provide any examples as to why fans SHOULDN'T hold creators resonsible for their short comings.

And denouncing their actions because you THINK some marketting idiot it going to use it as an argument to something COMPLETELY unrelated isn't enough. That's like looking at a stabbing and blaming the guy who manufactured the knife...

So to recap, company makes a mistake. And since the same company COULD use the fan negative raction to said mistake to make ANOTHER mistake, then fans should be positive about it? Is THAT your argument?

Cuz that's what it sounds like. So please explain your argument clearly. We'll discuss it afterwards...

Omorka said...

@smashmatt202

Okay, you win an Internet cookie for the "Don't Feed The Plants" reference - and yes, that may be an even better example than the "I Am Legend" one.

Smashmatt202 said...

@ Omorka

Huh... I thought other people would have made reference to that movie before I did. It's pretty obvious...

Jannie said...

Sylocat I'm curious to hear your response to Deadpool because it's a pefectly valid question: what IS your ideal outcome? That the ending stands AS IS? That everyone just accept they were screwed out of, minimum, ten to thirteen endings (depending on how you count the cutscenes) and lied to? That companies are or aren't held to any kind of standard? What?

You can't have it both ways, you can't say that you want games to have "risk" and innovation and then say that no one should ever hold a company's feet to the fire when they pull back from ANY REAL KIND of innovative or "risky" storytelling.

A randomized, procedurally generated cutscene after an A, B, C choice is neither risky nor innovative it's cheap, stupid and either rushed or a sign of general lack of concern on the part of the dev team. The fact they couldn't even be bothered to program a separate endstate for if or when one of the people featured prominently in the cutscene IS FUCKING DEAD speaks for itself I believe.

I'm tired of everyone saying this "may" effect something down the road or not...how? What possible effects can this have beyond this game since this is totally and unambiguously about nothing more than ONE company screwing over fans of ONE series. It is unlikely if not implausible to imply some dire circumstances will occur based purely on the fact that someone finally held a studio to their promises.

And speaking of, that's why the whole "Gawd I can't believe you're shocked you were lied to!" arguement makes my head hurt. Um, yes? Yes I am shocked that someone lied to me, because I'm not used to being lied to. So when someone says "this game won't have an ABC choice and there will be sixteen endings" and then it has three endings (really one) which is an ABC choice then...uh, yeah, I'm surprised by that.

What do people who make that argument suggest we do? Just let companies say WHATEVER they want with no attempt to hold them to their promises? Under those circumstances why not just put blank disks in the box and sell them, I mean, yeah, they promised you an RPG game but...really why are you shocked they lied LOL!

Sadly I get the impression some people would actually say that, minus the lawlz.

Jannie said...

I'd also like to point out, while we're on the subject, we're veering away from the actual target again here.

Here's the big question:

DOES the ending, as is, constitute what was promised (no ABC choice, sixteen distinct, discrete variations) and if it DOES NOT then why should we not protest it?

Everything else--especially all this hand wringing about some possible future event that may or may not ever happen--is completely irrelevant to say nothing of completely impossible to prove one way or the other. You could just as easily say that it will do the opposite and cause companies to stop putting rushed, crap, DLC bait endings at the end of games instead of more thoughtful or at least more conclusive endings.

Sir Laguna said...

Great Episode Bob, honestly, one of your best. Even the cheesy stroyline parts, which I usually hate, were better done and more entertaining this time.

P.D. did I notice I little Boston accen on Ivan?

Redd the Sock said...

@sylocat

Okay I'm confused. You say you want to protect artist's ability to innovate yet tell us to vote with our wallets. Is artistic integrity protected more by the direct removal of money than the threat of same? Are not movies, games, TV shows greeen lit, canceled or changed based on sales and ratings numbers over creator wishes, and have they not been since well before the internet gave fans a very loud voice? I'm sorry but it seems like you're promoting two contridictory things here. It just makes me wonder if you really have concern for the artist or are just using that as a justification to put down internet whining in general.

Anonymous said...

So wait, Bob says that your game ending isn't bad enough to get that worked up over, and he doesn't even care about this franchise, and the Retakers call him an asshole and they ostensibly LIKE this series?

I don't think I could sustain a straight month of complaining about something I liked.

Anonymous said...

You're just throwing out one straw-man after another to get people to "side" with you. All of your opinions are apples to oranges. The real crime is listening to people like you.

Eze said...

107 comments. This will go down in history as one of the most controversial topics in gaming. Amazing..

Anonymous said...

@Eze

Not one of the most controversial topics in gaming. Just one of the most controversial episodes that Bob's done. And, like Heavens to Metroid, it won't be controversial because he has a different opinion. It'll be controversial because Bob came off as a gigantic douche.

And yes, I'm well aware that Bob used hyperbole and exaggerated the argument when he called the opposing side a bunch of whining babies for the sake of comedy. I'm also aware that this is the same defense that Rush Limbaugh used when he called Sandra Fluke a "slut" in his argument. It's a flimsy excuse, at best, and it never ends well.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, it's totally like the Limbaugh thing, except in one case a guy thinks that poor people shouldn't be allowed to have sex and in the other case a guy thinks that you shouldn't whine about a video game you didn't like for a month straight.

Deadpool said...

He was comparing the excuse for the act, not the act.

And to be fair, he's been bitching ABOUT the bitching for two videos straight. Kinda weird...

Anonymous said...

Okay, so the Lmbaugh example was an extreme one. That still doesn't really excuse Bob for acting as a jerk.

Tristam said...

Hey, bob, hopefully this will diffuse the anger here a bit, especially since this DLC has apparantly been in planning already since before the fans started a movement and a ridiculous ammount of noise. (It did get pushed up to satisfy fans, but this was going to happen regardless of if we did anything)

http://blog.bioware.com/2012/04/05/mass-effect-3-extended-cut/

I see both sides of this argument fairly evenly. Once upon a time I may have been on the fan side clearly of this, but I've since learned to appreciate games for their artistic vallue as well as their entertainment value (I have G.O. and Extra Credits to thank for that), and so I can understand both sides of the coin here. I'm glad that I was able to determine via some searches that this DLC was planned from the beginning, as it diffuses GO's worries a bit, albeit that it still looks like a company caving in to pressure from fans over a game's ending.

Xaos said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Xaos said...

"What can fans expect from the Extended Cut DLC?

* For fans who want more closure in Mass Effect 3, the DLC will offer extended scenes that provide additional context and deeper insight to the conclusion of Commander Shepard’s journey."

And I'm sure it will be an absolutely heroic attempt on your part. Doomed, but heroic.

However, there IS one thing I bet you aren't going to answer:

Why did the Godchild give Shep a choice at all? I mean, the Catalyst says he "created" the Reapers. Doesn't that mean he's with them? Why does Shepards mere presence on the Crucible prove that "my solution won't work anymore?"

No, Godchild, it can still work. The Reapers can still harvest them all. Its still good, its still good! The only reason Shep is even here is because a conduit to the Crucible opened up for no reason (wouldn't that be YOUR doing?). It only fails to work if Shepard's allies and comrades defeat the Reapers. It fails to work because Geth finding alongside the organics prove that the PROBLEM is not so very inevitable in the first place.

Hell, how does Shepard know the whole thing isn't a Reaper trap? See, its THESE kinds of plotholes that CREATED the Indoctrination theory.

My hopes for you even mentioning that gaping plot hole is so low, it has torn through the floor of Satan's basement.

However, I DO expect that this "explanation" will be one of the greatest farces ever created in history.

"Are there going to be more/different endings or ending DLCs in the future?

* No. BioWare strongly believes in the team’s artistic vision for the end of this arc of the Mass Effect franchise. The extended cut DLC will expand on the existing endings, but no further ending DLC is planned."

Yoda voice: THIS. Is why you fail.

Seriously, why are even complaining, Gameoverthinker?

You won. If only for now.

They DIDN'T cave. They aren't changing anything about the ending. They are just extending the ending they already have.

"What is BioWare adding to the ending with the Extended Cut DLC?

* BioWare will expanding on the ending to Mass Effect 3 by creating additional cinematics and epilogue scenes to the existing ending sequences. The goal of these new scenes is to provide additional clarity and closure to Mass Effect 3."

Greatest. Farce. Ever. Mark it on your calenders.

"When will the Extended Cut DLC be available?

* Currently the Extended Cut DLC is planned for this summer, no specific date has been announced at this point."

Okay...Mark it on your calenders...when they release the actual date.

However, for those of you bellyachers who are whining "Are people STILL complaining about this!?" The answer is "YES! It is still topical at least until this DLC comes at. And then people need to react to the DLC."

"Why are you releasing the Extended Cut DLC?

* Though we remain committed and are proud of the artistic choices we made in the main game, we are aware that there are some fans who would like more closure to Mass Effect 3. The goal of the DLC is not to provide a new ending to the game, rather to offer fans additional context and answers to the end of Commander Shepard’s story."

Do you even understand what the plot holes in the ending are? You can't make a hit in the dark.

Besides, in politics, there's a saying. "If you're explaining, your losing."

"Will there be more Mass Effect 3 DLC?

* More content is being planned and we will release information at a later date."

Annnnd nobody is going to be interested in it.

Why would they be? This franchise is dead.

Xaos said...

@Tristam

Actually, I don't think it will defuse anything.

Except that it proves our point that the journalists who got mad at Bioware for "caving" don't have anything to complain about.

They didn't "give in" to fans if they had this ready to go.

Anonymous said...

The whole "Ivan says parenthetical things in the same voice as Bob" gimmick was pretty shit. Just say it, man. Have some zooming text with HARD TRUTH or whatever behind it. We're used to you being disdainful, but having your "character" be a mouthpiece was pretty bad.

Anonymous said...

The whole "Ivan says parenthetical things in the same voice as Bob" gimmick was pretty shit. Just say it, man. Have some zooming text with HARD TRUTH or whatever behind it. We're used to you being disdainful, but having your "character" be a mouthpiece was pretty bad.

Anonymous said...

The whole "Ivan says parenthetical things in the same voice as Bob" gimmick was pretty shit. Just say it, man. Have some zooming text with HARD TRUTH or whatever behind it. We're used to you being disdainful, but having your "character" be a mouthpiece was pretty bad.

James from episode 60 said...

Okay, Bob, I love your show and all, but it's time to stop talking about Mass Effect. Clearly, you don't enjoy it, and it'd give you more time to work on your story parts. What's more, you also still don't seem to understand exactly WHY everyone is up in arms about the ending, which makes you little different from (almost) all of the other pundits.

Even if you were insisting that "we should keep the ending the same if only as a 'how not to do it' guide", I still didn't actually watch the opinion part of this episode - honestly, I'm pretty sick of the topic too. Hey, how about you do an episode about Kickstarter or Dark Souls: Prepare to Die Edition instead?

toy_brain said...

Just got around to watching the episode (well, not the rubbish story stuff obviously, just the main rant part).

Once again its roughly 10 minutes of Bob missing the point. Honestly, how many times do people have to say "We don't care that the ending was sad/depressing/a bit of a downer, we're pissed off that it was just bad". Bad as in badly written, as in not well-constructed fiction that fitted in with the rest of the story, as in Score: D- Could do better, please see me after class.
Yes, that kind of bad. Is this something that's hard to understand? that a storyteller can just end up producing something thats, well, kinda shit. Y'know, just not well written, a bit sloppy and lazy, a waste of everyone's time?
Storytellers are still human, just like their audience, so they are fallable like everyone else. When they fail to produce quality work, well, its right that their audience calls them out on it (especially if that audience has paid for said work) and demands better.
NOTE: Not 'demand the story that they want', just 'demand better quality work'.

Just to address a seperate point now, I suspect the reason why games Journalists are on the 'do not re-write' side, is nothing to do with their investment in the medium or their 'respect' for it, it's because they are in the creative writing business themselves, and are somewhat fearful of the balance of power shifting from the traditional 1-way flow of them writing and the audience blindly consuming anything they say, to that audience sometimes throwing their work back in their faces and saying "no, this isn't good enough, write it again and do a better job this time".

Yes, unfortunately audiences are not dumb.

Xaos said...

@ toy_brain

Amen, brother.

I swear, though, comment lines are the single WORST way to communicate.

Even when signalling people with Morse code, you can tell if the other party is listening.

This is like talking to a wall. No, worse, its like monologuing at a wall!

Nanox Vox said...

Well, seeing as this seems to be such a huge topic, I thought I would throw in my two cents.

DISCLAIMER, While I have had the chance to play a small amount of Mass Effect 2, I do not own any of the Mass Effect games and have not played all the way through any of them (Though I would like to do so). These comments are from an outsider looking in. If anyone reading this thinks this invalidates my opinion, than skip over this comment immediately. I will have no hard feeling for you doing so. So, lets begin.

To start with, the ending. Do I like it? In short, no. It feels as if the overall story was going in a definite direction but suddenly went somewhere else entirely at the last minute. Do I hate Bioware because of it? Maybe, but I don't know the circumstances that led to them making the ending so I can't fairly judge them for it.

Do I want Bioware to change the ending? No, no I don't. Bioware, for better or for worse, dug themselves into a hole with the ending. I would much prefer them attempt to clime out of said hole rather than pretend the hole doesn't exist and most likely dig themselves deeper in the process.

Now the big question? Do I support the REtake Mass Effect movement. No, I most certainly do not. I will say this, the REtake movement is defiantly one of the largest and most publicized fan outcrys among video game fandom. But, this is for all the wrong reasons. While many members of the Retake movement have stated that the message of the movement is only, "We don't like the ending," (and for them, it may still be) the majority, or at least a very vocal minority, have moved past that and to something more like, " We hate this ending and everything related to it! We hate the game because it has the ending, we hate the developers for making the ending, and we hate anyone who supports the ending in any way! We want this ending erased from existence and we don't care if that can't be done for whatever reason!"

Like it or not, this will be remembered in the future by game developers and ESPECIALLY by game manufactures. But more often than not, it will be remembered only as, "That one time where a bunch of fanboys went mad over an ending" and will commonly be used as justification to never make a series of games like Mass Effect ever again. Weather the REtake movement gets what they want or not.

Now, I'm not saying that people don't have the right to get mad at anything. But I am saying the amount of hellfire that has been spewed at Mass Effect 3, Bioware, and anyone who has anything good to say about ether, has moved on from ridiculous to downright unnecessary. And at the very least, if you can't move on, find something else to be angry at for a while.

Sylocat said...

@toy_brain: As opposed to seven paragraphs of you missing the point?

@Redd the Sock: The more recent thing was a side tangent rather than a major point in itself.

@Jannie: All right, since you've taken it upon yourself to order me to respond to someone else, fine:

I have already outlined my ideal outcome. Multiple times, in the last three threads. I've extended my advice to what BioWare should do, and I've just sermonized on some possible outcomes here that would be reasonably good.

The fact that you are ignoring and misrepresenting my opinion is hardly surprising, though, given that way back during the Red Cross incident, you couldn't be bothered to even read the RC's complaint before going on a longwinded tirade against what you falsely assumed their position to be.

@Xaos: For once I agree with you. Although instead of not being able to tell if the other party is listening, I do know that they are reading my comments... and completely ignoring the actual content of them.

Unknown said...

I like Ivan's increased role, but it does cause his voice to get a little more irritating. Maybe have him go through puberty or something?

Anonymous said...

ugh. so much not listening and self-entrenchment on the board...

I asked it before, and I'll ask it again: to those of you who hated the ME3 endings - what would a GOOD ending to ME3 look like that manages to take into account each gamer's choices and the storyline?? and how would it fix plotholes (real or perceived) on top of that??!! all I hear is "the ending sux - fix it >:(" but apart from "it's all just a dream" (which, face it, is horribly cliche and smacks of retcon, and robs any power out of your many decisions over the series, as you ultimately did and changed NOTHING), I have yet to hear any alternative suggestions to the ending - just endless whining about how people "deserve" a "better" one.

I am in agreement with the one anon poster whose post got lost in the flamewar about halfway through this thread - games are about GAMEPLAY. Story is a bonus, and can help enrich a title or series, but the game ultimately stands or falls on its mechanics. I am a fan of story driven (j)RPGs such as Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest, but one of my favourite games is the hilariously bizarre Katamari Damacy, which has little story but such a FANTASTIC set of mechanics that I can't help playing over and over. I'd rather developers spend their time and effort making great games with awesome mechanics and good aesthetics rather than agonising over the story. After all, it is the interactivity from those mechanics that sets games apart from other media, not the telling of stories.

Xaos said...

Alright, Sylocat. If you're REALLY interested in being understood, I feel like a short survey might be in order. I will also give you my answers to these questions

I'd really like to avoid talking past each other, now that I have you attention. Too many arguements end like this:

(http://img42.imageshack.us/img42/5208/colbertv.png)



1. Are you aware that some people have demanded refunds? Amazon and other stores have accomidated this request.

(http://www.giantbomb.com/news/amazon-says-mass-effect-3-refunds-arent-unique/4040/)

A- Yes, I was aware, and I have no complaints with Amazon's business practices.
B- No, but I find this new development doesn't matter so much to me
C- Yes, I knew, and I am outraged over this.
D- What? Oh, that's just *perfect!* This debacle keeps on getting better and better!


2. What, in your own eyes, is an adequate analogy for a fan demanding a refund of Mass Effect over its ending?

A-"The ice cream tastes like chocolate but it is clearly labeled strawberry. I'm asking for a refund because it doesn't deliver on what was promised."
B- "I got the wrong kind of sprinkles on my cone! Waaah!"
C- "I wanted Strawbery, it was labeled Strawberry, it tasted like Strawberry, I don't care about the presence or absence of sprinkles. I figured it was a good experience all around, until...I found the cockroach at the bottom of the cone. That kind of put a different spin on the whole experience"
D- None of the above (please specifiy)


3. No author sets out with the intention of creating a bad story. Therefore, is "its not bad! Its exactly what the author set out to write!" an adequate defense for any flaw in storytelling?

A-Yes
B-no

DRTJR said...

The retake Mass Effect front is similar to the "occupy" movement... Also The Problem has been mostly for that the ending sucks, and not because they disagree, it's because it is bad. This will hopefully cause the mega corperation to make a decant ending.

Anonymous said...

As someone who hasn't played any Mass Effect game past 20 minutes, what can you honestly say about the ME3 ending that matters? You get to stand above us dirty "entitled" peasants and scoff while feeling superior and objective because you don't know or care enough about the universe, characters or general plot of Mass Effect for this issue to affect you. All you can do is make generalized, ignorant statements about why people are upset and pretend that people demanding more for their money or that developers not treat us like idiots who will lap up any shit they throw on our plate is a bad thing. The next time you want to "overthink" something, you might want to get some actual context for what the fuck you're talking about. Play the goddamn Mass Effect games if you want to join an argument about them and be taken seriously, because otherwise you just sound like a random asshole interrupting a private conversation.

Anonymous said...

Once again Moviebob parrots on about a game series he doesn't play and you all think his oppion is viable towards the argument of those who actually do.

Why do any of you people watch this show again?

1337_n00b said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
MetaPenguinBomb said...

I just want to say that I'm really enjoying the Retrothinker/Necrothinker storyline. Interesting and complex character arc.

Deadpool said...

@ Sylocat

Is it your stand that the only acceptable way to complain about a game is to boycott, an action you've admitted doesn't work?

And you denounce THIS situation because of future outcomes you believe are an innvitable result of their actions?

For the record, even if it's true, it's still a bit like blaming a knife manufacturer for a stabbing, isn't it?

@ Anonymous

"I have yet to hear any alternative suggestions to the ending "

First off, your argument at ITS BASE is flawed. Are you saying only creators can judge the value of a creation? So only movie makers can judge movies, only car manufacturers can judge cars, only mothers can discuss abortion, etc?

That's silly and you KNOW it.

Second...

http://tinyurl.com/6w4opya

There's a few examples of fans coming up with their own endings. Google is your friend.

"games are about GAMEPLAY. Story is a bonus"

First off, "gameplay" is as logical a word as "bookread."

Second... No, games are about WHATEVER THE HELL THEY WANT TO BE.

Mass Effect in particular set itself aside through its STORY. The choice/consequence aspect was a bigger part of the game than the subpar shooting mechanics. Any complaints about the choice/consequence mechanic falling apart at the end ARE actual complaints about "gameplay"...

Redd the Sock said...

Alright, sugestions for the ending:

1) to make the idea work. Star Child needs to be introduced much much much earlier (idealy at the end of the last game). There was no bad idea in the ending, but the sudden shift and five minute nature of it hurt anything it might have had. It shifted the conflict from can the reapers be stopped, to should they, and if that was the point they wanted to go on, it needed to be the conflict behind the game. You don't even need to rewrite much as the two side conflicts already posses enough symitry to make it viable.

2) Acknowledge what you are telling. Instead of above, they could have remembered that what they were making was essentially an alien invasion story, just with litteraly different races coming together instead of people of different nationalities. It's trite and cliche and knew it so why reinvent the wheel now? Just make the best dame big climactic battle you can with the over the top bad guy, the suicide run, and yes, even the inedivable main character sacrfice for the good of everyone.

And some technicals

a) make your choices matter to the final battle. We all expected to see the people and sides we saved on the final battlefield.

b) don't forget the established villan. AKA where the f*** was Harbinger this whole time? It's like ROTJ without Vader.

c) This is a character based story. "They all survived. THE END" doesn't cut it. It doesn't have to all be happy. I'm sure new wars break out, and there's still plenty of galaxy for sequels.

Michael Casagrande said...

Well made as usual. However, I think you're seriously missing the point.

This really has nothing do do with Bioware pushing Mass Effect in a new direction. It's a result of Bioware completely ignoring its own plot line for something completely different. Gamers aren't averse to sad, or even unexpected endings. Rather, they don't like it when a game studio creates an ending that completely contradicts and ignores major plot points.

Joe D. said...

Bob, these past two episodes have been very insightful and well-thought out. As someone who is studying game design as a college major, I believe you hit every nail on the head, there isn’t much I can add that you haven’t already said.

“Well, in that case, I don’t want them to be art, they’re a product...” That pretty much sums up the attitude I have seen from some Mass Effect fans as of late, and I find it very disheartening that people seem to be missing the concept of ‘artistic integrity’: it’s not about whether it’s “good” or “bad”, if the artist can stand by their work and say they’re proud of the direction they took, then he/she has every right to what they made. Of course, art is never immune to criticism, but we should never turn it into a half-baked popularity contest.

I know somebody is just waiting to tell me that I’m full of shit, but think of it this way: if fans actually succeeded in getting Bioware to completely retcon the ending of ME3, how could Bioware possibly be emotionally invested in the change? It feels like a no-win situation to me, instead of the artist’s creation, we would probably get something akin to a fan-fiction. Developers are supposed to be passionate about games, and art in general. Without passion, what is the point of art?

Answer: It just becomes a lifeless and uninspired piece of work.

Anyone saying that Bob hasn’t played Mass Effect and therefore has no right to address the outburst is completely missing the point of his argument. I can totally respect that some fans feel the ending of Mass Effect could have been better, but things have escalated far beyond that.

Anonymous said...

@Joe D

I'll tell you, you are full of shit. Stop acting like these developers are struggling artists living in there breaking down apartments, scrapping by spare change to make a living.

The biggest lesson you should ever take on being a game developer or designer is to create something that will satisfie the customer and draw an audiance.

You don't sell or keep them around you don't have a job anymore.

Customers aren't happy so Bioware is going to fix it because they want to keep their jobs.

Don't like it? Don't bother finishing study because once you step out of school your going to be told this from your new peers in the industry.

You want to make artsy games? Go ahead, don't expect a publisher who has to risk their money to fund your vanity fare and will expect their money back with interest for the sake of ""Art""

Jannie said...

Joe D:

"it’s not about whether it’s “good” or “bad”, if the artist can stand by their work and say they’re proud of the direction they took, then he/she has every right to what they made."

And if it is stupid and insulting to everyone who invested deeply in their work then those people have the right to tell them it's shit and if we paid for it (and we all did) then we have the right to demand better.

It's not about someone's wounded pride it's about getting value for money. I'm sorry if that sullies the artistic merit of a project for you but the fact remains that Bioware didn't fund these games on their own, they funded them with the tens of millions they got from EA who recouped their losses through money the fans gave them. Bioware has no right to claim sole ownership of something they only had the chance to create because millions of people, people they just flipped off, paid for it.

And even if they did, this ending was created purely to sell DLC and not because of some artistic statement. If it were an artistic statement it wouldn't end by saying "go buy our crap". Unless their artistic statement is how much they love consumerism, in which case they can't then complain when consumerism bites them in the ass.

"Of course, art is never immune to criticism, but we should never turn it into a half-baked popularity contest."

That's all criticism is, a popularity contest. All criticism is subjective and based on personal beliefs and biases so why pretend otherwise? More so even if that weren't the case it still would be, because the second something is open to public critique, or even private critique, it is bound by the subjective biases and beliefs of those looking at it.

"I know somebody is just waiting to tell me that I’m full of shit,"

Well, no, you're not but frankly you're kind of vain about the whole thing. Life isn't about making you or Casey Hudson or anyone feel "proud". Sorry.

"But think of it this way: if fans actually succeeded in getting Bioware to completely retcon the ending of ME3, how could Bioware possibly be emotionally invested in the change?"

I seriously doubt they were "emotionally invested" in this ending either since it's a sells pitch for EA products.

"It feels like a no-win situation to me, instead of the artist’s creation, we would probably get something akin to a fan-fiction."

All fiction is fan fiction. We've been telling the same stories for thousands and thousands of years, that's why Star Wars sounds like Arthurian legend mixed with the story of Jesus when you hear it--it is.

"Developers are supposed to be passionate about games, and art in general. Without passion, what is the point of art?"

There is none. Art is a subjective, impossible to quantify concept. I'm sure you could concoct some ideology in which you could posit "what art IS" but it'd still be subjective and bundled with hundreds of assumptions not backed up by actual evidence.

"It just becomes a lifeless and uninspired piece of work."

Just because you remove the word 'art' from something doesn't mean it can't have life and beauty and meaning all it's own. If that were the case 90% of all "great art" would be lifeless uninspired works since they were mostly commissioned by some rich guy hundreds of years ago.

"I can totally respect that some fans feel the ending of Mass Effect could have been better, but things have escalated far beyond that."

Everyone keeps saying that but frankly I don't see how. If anything the outcry against Bioware has been lessened somewhat by the eventual realization Bioware has no intention, and never did, of releasing an actual ending to the game--it was always just a sells pitch for EA and little else.

Joe D. said...

@Jannie:

In response to everything you just said, yes, it seems I am likely to fall upon deaf ears. I said the wrong thing, at the wrong time, in the wrong place. Just wanted to throw in my two cents. I never wanted to be responsible for fanning the flames even higher.

Xaos said...

@ Joe D

First of all, let me just say that I agree that it is kind of stupid to insist that people play the games first before they are allowed to complain. For three reasons.

1-It is fairly unreasonable that people go through the entire series before they are allowed to formulate an opinion on a controversy over the last twelve minutes or so. Even IF the alternatives are either spoiling themselves or heading into the argument completely unable to discuss the actual subject matter.
2-*I* haven't played any of the games, and I'm allowed to take the Retakers side. Bioware literally doesn't owe me, my lonely self, anything...but I also represent a big part of the problem because I WAS considering getting into Mass Effect before all this happened.
3-Encouraging more people to play the games will give Bioware more business, numbnuts.


Now, on to what I wanted to talk about.

"if fans actually succeeded in getting Bioware to completely retcon the ending of ME3, how could Bioware possibly be emotionally invested in the change?"


That's just the problem, Joe. All the people clamoring for a new ending are pretty certain that there already IS no emotional involvement. Quite frankly, they can scarcely believe that the ending was done by the same people.

What you don't seem to understand is that every single time you made all these clever arguments about "passion", your opponents were looking at you like your some sort of idiot who missed the point entirely.

So, just in the interest of full disclosure, here is MY summation of your side's core argument (cutting out all the mean spirited and snide remarks):

"We believe that audiences demanding change to an honest artistic decision like we imagine the Mass Effect 3 ending to be will help the bedwetting, risk-adverse, creativity-hating Corporate Execs beat down ANY artistic decision from hear on out and turn the medium into a soulless void of cookie cutter feel-good stories."

Okay. We got it. Thank you. You can stop restating this point over and over again. I said stop already.


Now, compare that central point to the other side's central point (cutting out from a thousand needling little points about the Mass Effect universe, and sprawling tangents that we can go off on, which while possibly valid on their own terms, still is just shit-flavored icing on top of the cake made out of radioactive waste.):

"The Mass Effect 3 ending and its consequences on the overall experience of the series is a horrible, horrible thing to do by accident. And we're pretty sure it WAS by accident. It wasn't just mediocre, or tragic, or lacking in all the bells and whistles some people might've wanted, or whatever it is you want to tell yourself this is really all about. It changed the central conflict and tone from a story of overcoming insurmountable by finding strength in diversity... to one about the inevitability of how diversity is the source of all our problems and that nobody can live in peace with people who are too different. (Yes this is related to how all three of Shepard's choices involve nullifying the divide between Organic and Synthetic life, but it also touches on how you seperate all these different races, some of whom you ended wars between and brought together, who will never see each other again because you blew all the Mass Relays no matter WHICH ending you choose.)

It is not merely a bad ending, but one which retroactively ruins everything the series did right. And quite frankly, we are betting that they actually DID have a different ending in mind, but the Execs intervened and they had to rush the game and made...mistakes."

...fuck, we have a long-ass "core argument".


Anyway, while one group is trying to defend the medium as an art form from future tampering from management, while the other is dealing with this giant emotional disconnect which we believe IS the product of Tampering from management.

J.D. Scott said...

I think there's a two-way sense of dismissal towards the other arguments. The ending isn't particularly good, but it isn't absolutely terrible. There's a sense that just because the ending didn't meet your expectations, or even the expectations of the majority that the ending is terrible. I like the ending as it is. I think there's some points that could have used some touchup (having Shepard order the Normandy to run, et al.) but that's not a reason for a reshoot. The Retake group has a valid gripe, and they're not just a group of idiots seeking a happy ending, but I think they're still idiots, in the fact that they somehow think they're owed something. The argument as Games as Product works both ways - if a game is just a product, then the developer/publisher doesn't owe you anything. Return it, boycott EA/Bioware, or whatever. However, expecting them to fix it is silly. There are people that think this is a social justice or social welfare issue, and they're completely delusional. However, coming from the other side, Bob's point is right. Hollywood has turned a lot of movies into mush through the use of executive meddling in the name of fan appreciation. If we push this game of expectation so far, the publishers, who control the purse strings will push the developers into popping out more mid-line garbage. If you don't want games that challenge your thinking, push your expectations, and offer any thing remotely thought-provoking then this is the way to get it.

Xaos said...
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Xaos said...
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Xaos said...

@ J.D. Scott

I'm pretty sure I can destroy what little you like about the ending just by pointing a handful of things out. Its not even a difference of opinion, its simply a case of ignorance.

Go right ahead. Don't just state that you like the ending, tell me what you like about it. Maybe there's something I've overlooked. (Doubt it. I've just found out today that the ending WAS written differently from the rest of the team. Thank you, MrBtongue. Who's that, you ask? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jT_x64921ls&feature=relmfu )

But the reason you have a "Sense" (as opposed to an "Understanding") that this is all about expectations, is because you simply aren't listening. Or you got all your information from somebody's 500-character Tweet or something. This is just the "impression" you have developed while you talk with people who already agree with you in your little echo chamber.

It wasn't about expectations for me. I DIDN'T PLAY THE GAMES! THERE'S STILL A HUGE AMOUNT OF THE STORY I DON'T KNOW ABOUT.

I can't possibly know about every single little subplot that did get tied up! AND. I. STILL. AGREED. THE. ENDING. SHOULD. BE. CHANGED.

And I've been searching for the other side of the argument. Hell, its why I even waste time on this blog anymore.

Hell, somebody made the ending better just by cutting a lot of photage from the original ending. It shows Shepard talking to Anderson just before he died, skimped over the whole section with the God Kid and then cut directly to the Destruction ending sans the really stupid parts.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PoVnvJ4OxRg

And it works. It even implied (just because of the cut) that Shepard dies from his wound on the Crucible, and its still powerful.

Now, the way you keep trying to make this about "expectations" or "entitlement" or "comfort food" or whatever gives me "the sense" that you simply just hook onto whatever Buzzword FEELS like it has enough Truthiness that you can pat your intellectual integrity back down to sleep so you can tell yourself that you DO understand the other side to any extent.


Right now, I have a "Sense" that the consumers are being excluded from the conversation on purpose. Seriously, the "opposition" to Retake Mass Effect

None of you have been very fair. Not to those people who rose $80k for a charity to children, not to the people who have actually asked you what the MESSAGE of this work of art is supposed to convey, and certainly not to me.

I've spent an entire month on this blog just trying to flag one of you fuckers down.

And I am most disappointed in our beloved Overthinker.

You're better than this, Bob. I liked listening to you. Now if only you'd return the favor.

And about that whole "This will kill creativity in the medium argument". It's not that I don't care, it's that I can't take you seriously about that. BECAUSE everyone on your side is hiding, COWERING, behind any excuse not to talk to us seriously.

Whether its Bioware refusing to answer questions at the PAC about the "Additional Closure and Clarity" DLC they just barely announced one day before, or its jornalists or other personalities in the games industry making snide remarks in a vacuum where they are safe from any humiliation that might come from somebody using arguments they are not ready to defend against, or just people on the comment lines and forums who can simply ignore the other side.

You have not listened. You have not asked questions about things people have actually said. You've used alarmist rhetoric to undermine even the other side's RIGHT to argue. And worst of all, you will have learned NOTHING from this entire ordeal.

Good day.

Anonymous said...

Daaaaammn!

Xaos said...

Guys, (your group doesn't have a name really, so I don't know what to call you aside from the "anti-Retake crowd" or the "art crowd" or even "insert derogatory insult name here". But really, that last one could be anyone on the internet talking about anyone on the internet.)I came back to add one quick point...sigh.

I know probably nobody will read this, having moved on to the newest post (as I predicted they would during one of my replies in the "Home" post), but I can't imagine a better place to put this other than the same place the offense was made.

I'm sorry I called you all fuckers.

I also want you to understand that I'm sorry about what I did to offend you ...and not that anybody might HAVE taken offense by it. Nobody has even reacted to it (Except possibly for the anonymous above, and if s/he is, its not really what looks at all like a negative response), but I wanted to do this.

I'm also sorry I didn't do it sooner. I noticed it earlier, but said nothing, figuring that I deserved to vent a little. But that also wasn't right. It undermined what I was trying to do.

Now, I still stand by everything else that I said. I still feel that the fans of Mass Effect have been snubbed by Bioware and their new Overlords, EA, and I personally felt frustrated with the entire experience of trying to communicate my feelings on the issue.

It really, really doesn't help that Blogger has a character limit that is absolutely invisible, and on several occasions, I've bared my soul trying to explain certain things and ended up having to cut damn near everything.

So why the change of heart? Why bother to apologize now before anybody even asked me to?

Well, I found another one of those Mass Effect videos I like to watch:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FnMkTx3ATkQ

..And it brought up the issue that Bioware completely botched the "apology" up.

The language of their publicly released statement made it about the fans not liking the ending, other than admitting any mistakes on their part.

As per the usual stance of, you know, EVERY PR department ever.

Including that one guy in Obama's cabinet who green-lighted to have an airplane flow over NYC unannounced. When forced to apologize, it was that people "felt" that their safety might be threatened because they are such panicky scaredy-babies.

And, where I'm going with this is this gave me a chance to reflect and realize that given the choice, I WOULD like to be a bigger adult than that.

Smashmatt202 said...

I COMPLETELY forgot about this episode of Extra Credits, and what they say directly contradicts MovieBob's thoughts on "the artist must be inherently superior to the viewer/player".

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1XlfeXpiSuQ

...I'm sure he's already seen it and I doubt watching it again will not change his mind. But for everyone else, see what they have to say.

Xaos said...

I'm pessimistic about anybody ever revisiting here, Matt.

But I remember that episode. Heh. I never would've imagined that there would've been a controversy over the exact thing they talked about so soon.

brain007 said...

Only one question: How is the actual ending of I Am Legend a happy one?