I have to preface this by saying: No, I haven’t finished the Mass Effect series. I know it’s been out for some time. It is sitting on my shelf, with the rest of them, waiting to be played (I like the series, just didn’t like the class I chose and I’m debating using my old save file, or starting from scratch, and it’s been a lengthy decision).
That being said: What gives people the idea that the fans, or anyone really (outside of the people who actually produced the game) has the right to say whether that the ending should or shouldn’t be what gets released?
As a writer, I’m used to commentary. People think an idea should go here, or there and most people aren’t shy to tell you. And that’s just part of the game. I can live with that. But if you don’t like an ending, or some storyline doesn’t end up where you expected it to. Does that automatically mean you should complain until it’s changed? Well, as most are likely aware – apparently the answer is yes. I know I’m kicking a dead horse here. I’m sure the concept, at least surrounding Mass Effect 3 anyway, is a debate that’s long dead, or has been done to death – but it’s something that came up today and I just had to get it out.
I know there are different ways to look at this argument. I think there are two clear, and definable sides. 1) Art is open to interpretation or 2) The value is entirely defined by the end user.
There is definitely some spill-over between the two options I’ve put forth. Of course interpretation is kin to the concept of the end user’s value of the story/product. That being said: I doubt Hemmingway, Fitzgerald or King sat around in their houses, reading complaints about the ways their stories ended, thinking about how they can re-write them to make the “fans” happy.
In case it isn’t readily evident by this point – I fall hard into category 1. Your experience, and how something affects you is a common outcome from both options, but the experience is interpreted through the art itself. And the piece, be it a painting, a story or a videogame, is all open to interpretation.
That’s why I like people who say “Hey, this is what I’ve done, do with it what you will”. Like this guy:
If anything, I hate the fact that they caved and added DLC that “fixed” or “improved” the endings. I get why they did it. The fan dollars speak louder than artistic integrity. Shareholders and the money-people always have the last and loudest say. Which is a shame. And I’m not going to get into the artist vs the artist who sells out vs “the man”, but, well, that’s kind of where we’re at. It’s an amazing thing to get paid for one’s art. One’s talent. But subjecting yourself to having to pander to an audience because someone or some group isn’t “pleased” by what you’ve produced. That’s the worst.
Vonnegut said it best:
“As for literary criticism in general: I have long felt that any reviewer who expresses rage and loathing for a novel or a play or a poem is preposterous. He or she is like a person who has put on full armor and attacked a hot fudge sundae or a banana split.”
Now, we’re not talking literary criticism, but the point stands on it’s own. Well, except for the part about the audience being critics. I guess it’s another one of those situations where you can’t please everybody. With that in mind, though, I really hate the mentality. Do I like every ending of everything I read/watch/play? Definitely not. But it is what it is. Either it has merit, or doesn’t. That doesn’t mean having paid to consume the product, that if I’m displeased with how it turns out, I should moan and complain until someone fixes it. Just deal with it.
– The Ego