It’s been a while since I’ve written an editorial regarding something going in the industry, usually because I don’t either have the time, or make the time to do so. There is an abundance of things I could write about and comment on, there always is. However, this time I’m going to tackle the one issue that really bugs the hell out of me. The whole controversy regarding the ending of Mass Effect 3 is something that seems to be one of the big topics these days around the gaming world and nearly all the big players in game media have covered it, commented on it, and well really, helped fuel it in some ways.
People screaming about an ending of a game is nothing new in the history of humanity. As long as there have been stories told by one person to another regardless of the format in which it’s been delivered, there have been people who didn’t like the way things turned out. Those people would go ahead and bitched and chewed about it to anyone willing to listen and with the internet there’s plenty of people to listen and read about it with an equal number of disagreements and agreements about said story.
I’m honestly fine with people not being happy with the way something ended up, that’s people voicing their opinions which we’re all allowed to have. The thing that bugs me is that it’s being taken from the wide spread piss-fest of complaints and people are rallying to pressure the developers to change the ending. I really hope, truly hope, they do not cave to that pressure as it would set a dangerous precedent across gaming and story telling in general.
Alternate endings are one thing, but to dramatic change the canon ending of a narrative because of pressure from a vocal segment of your content consumers is really bad juju. As a writer I can only empathize with the those who crafted the Mass Effect stories. It always sucks and is demoralizing when people don’t like the story you’ve told, but it’s a part of life. You accept the negativity, allow it to pass over and through you and move forward to the next story.
Admittedly I haven’t seen the ending, nor have I played Mass Effect beyond opening up the first one’s case to look at it for a few moments. I have no opinion on the story, it’s ending and if that ending is “good” or not. That really has nothing to do with the point of this piece, nor is it of great cosmic importance on my stance regarding the issue.
There have been a wealth of stories over time that I haven’t liked some part of, be it the ending, a particular event, or particular character. Certainly I might have preferred a different outcome, but I respect the creators of those stories for carrying out their vision and telling the story they wanted to tell. There are all kinds of examples I could give for things I wish had been different, like Aeris death in Final Fantasy VII or that Bambi’s mother died. Likewise I’m sure there’s people out in the world who wished the American revolution had ended differently, not exactly my idea of a good outcome.
That’s what’s at stake here, if they went ahead and changed the ending because of the mounting anger of their fans it would mean that others would feel less confident in their executing their own story visions, and it would empower a vocal minority to set up even more actions such as that. There’s a good kind of activism that rights wrongs, seeks justice, and fights for a cause that benefits the world and people living in it.
Rallying against the ending of a story isn’t fighting for a cause it is a form of CENSORSHIP. Changing the actual ending of a story when it’s been completed censors the original intent because someone doesn’t agree with it.
The whole debate, from first and second appearances, reeks of nothing more than the sense of entitlement that has taken over the world these days. In this on demand, get it when You want it, world, people more than ever feel they are entitled to whatever they want, whenever they want it. Essentially, the detractors who are screaming for a different ending are saying…
“I bought your game but I don’t like the ending, gimmie a better ending!”
Gimmie, Gimmie, Gimmie, that’s what it boils down too in these complaints. Yes you the consumer did pay for the game, you paid money to play and experience the world and vision the developers created. That’s what you paid for. You didn’t pay for the game to change it, you paid money to experience it.
So where does this leave us, well it leaves us watching either a developer caving in and changing their own vision to make some people happy. Or they could compromise and offer “Alternate ending” DLC to at least make a few of those people happy. Lastly, they could just do the proper thing and stand up and say “This is our vision, we’re sorry you don’t like it, but we stand by the world and story we crafted and delivered.
Want a different ending? How about you go write some fan-fiction, or better still, make your own game, write your own story, end it the way you want, and publish it. Then when people sit around and bitch and chew about how YOU did things, you might decide to stop being a jackass?…. Maybe….
In conclusion, thinking about this whole thing put one thing in my mind and I will leave it here for you to reflect on.
David "AnjelusX" Slauenwhite
Anjel Syndicate Editor-in-Chief, Gamer, Lover of Books, Conjurer of Words, Worlds, and Stories, Coffee Worshiper, and Nova Scotian. "I've been gaming since I stood on milk crates to reach the controls. New games, retro games, you name it, I probably love it."