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Gamer Roulette: The Fan’s Effect On Mass Effect

Eric Parra |
March 31, 2012 | 10:57 a.m. PDT

Staff Columnist

Kanto to Hyrule, Mobius to Santa Destroy, Planet Reach to Little Big Planet, Cinema Student, Screenwriter, and all around gamer, Eric Parra is a bad enough dude to bring you your weekly fix on relative gaming. Whether it’s reviews, previews, or FAQs, matters that are professional or just personal, make sure you check Neon Tommy every week for all sorts of interesting tidbits in the world of video games. And remember, it’s dangerous to go alone.

Male Commander Shepard and his partial crew (bioware)
Male Commander Shepard and his partial crew (bioware)

Just how much influence can fans have on an already finished game?

Apparently quite a bit. 

When Mass Effect 3 was finally released, many expectations were met. But some were definitely not, especially regarding the ending. Now, I won’t spoil anything (primarily because I’m still playing the first game) but opinions have ranged on the ending from being “okay,” to being “whatever but not really good,” to being “unforgivably horribad.”

I did find it interesting that critics were the ones who appreciated the ending while the only people complaining were fans across the internet. These complaining fans, however, complained very loudly.

So loudly, in fact, that they raised $80,000 for children’s hospitals.  Um…yeah.

The plan was recognized as the “Retake Mass Effect” strategy, and what it boiled down to was a bunch of fanboys clamoring for attention so that Bioware (the creators of Mass Effect) would change the ending that they hated so much. The enthusiasts garnered attention by forcefully, and without any consent, leeching off of Penny Arcade’s annual “Child’s Play” fundraiser. It was a very confusing ordeal, many people had no idea what was going on and who was getting what, and whether anything was getting accomplished at all. Many people donated money not understanding that their money was going to children’s hospitals, which may or may not be a good thing? I definitely don’t know. I do know that most donators did it for the sake of changing a game, and not much more, which I don't agree with, but it's still nice that unfortunate children benefit, I guess. 

Little to say, many people not for the cause thought it was a rather…ignorant strategy. Donating money for a good cause is great.

Not much image-wise on this subject, so here's a picture of female Commander Shepard.
Not much image-wise on this subject, so here's a picture of female Commander Shepard.
Sticking money out in expectance of forcibly changing a story because it was unsatisfying is a bit more off-putting. 

But allegedly, Bioware has been listening to their fans from the beginning. They responded by announcing that more clarity should be expected soon, whether this be a new ending or an expansion, something is coming later in April, and fans are expected to be excited. 

All in all, it’s a rather confusing and rage-filled matter. Personally, I feel that when something is over, it’s over. It’s ridiculous to expect the ending for a story to be completely changed after the fact simply because a group didn’t like it, but it’s even more ridiculous to go to such lengths to have it “fixed.” My opinion on the matter is a bit lenient, however, considering that I’m not sure just how bad the ending is, but from what I’ve gathered, disappointed fans are just exaggerating the matter.

Creators and writers also gave their view on changing the ending, to slightly mixed results as well, but all in all, a writer simply doesn’t want to change their story for anyone after it’s finished. It’s hard enough to get them to change their story before it’s published. 

Bioware is in a pinch. With so much negative attention, it’s obvious they have to make a move. By changing the editing, it’ll only allow encourage more unwarranted protests to change every little un-agreeable detail.  

If you don’t think something is good, then it’s bad and settle for that. Mass Effect 3 is generally considered to not be a bad game though, so it should just be a great game with a not so great ending. If Bioware doesn’t change the ending, but indeed adds on to it, I feel like that’s a much better approach to save integrity and give the fans what they want. It’ll probably be DLC, however, and that’s a completely separate topic.

Check in next time for a look at USC's Gamer Network: Game On 3, which is definitely worth checking out.

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Check back next Saturday for Eric's next column.




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