No doubt, the controversy surrounding the Mass Effect 3 endings has sparked an especially heated conversation in the gaming industry - dominating news headlines day after day. The debate has been fueled by some mixed messages (as well as perceived indifference) within the BioWare camp - leading one exceptionally frustrated fan to file a complaint with the FTC.
However, while EA and BioWare attempt to make sense of the situation, and find a way to appease angered Mass Effect fans (or not), other fan-favorite developers, Ken Levine and Paul Barnett, are also weighing in with their unbiased opinions on the growing controversy.
Vox Games reports that Levine and Barnett addressed the situation during a question-and-answer session at the Smithsonian American Art museum - where the pair were promoting "The Art of Video Games" exhibit.
In reference to the "current fiasco going on right now with the Mass Effect ending," one audience member asked the pair, "What do you think of the whole idea where community has influence on making game story?"
Barnett responded first:
"If computer games are art than I fully endorse the author of the artwork to have a statement about what they believe should happen [...] Just as J.K. Rowling can end her books and say that is the end of Harry Potter. I don’t think she should be forced to make another one.”
It's hard to argue with Barnett's comments - at least from a artistic standpoint. Ultimately, creative types can do whatever they want - even if their fans don't approve. That said, unlike J.K. Rowling, who presented a definitive end to the Potter saga, BioWare wants to continue the Mass Effect franchise. As a result, the debate isn't probably as much about the developer feeling "forced" to alter the ending; instead, it's likely that they're feeling strong-armed into finding a way to appease dedicated customers - so that, down the line, these people will continue to support the Mass Effect universe.
Levine also defended BioWare's right to ending the saga on their terms - as well as addressed the ground swell of outraged fans:
"I think this is an important moment [...] I think if those people got what they wanted and (BioWare) wrote their ending they would be very disappointed in the emotional feeling they got because ... they didn't really create it. I think this whole thing is making me a little bit sad because I don't think anyone would get what they wanted if that happened."
Levine is a game fan at heart and many level-headed players (even those who are somewhat frustrated by the Mass Effect 3 endings) likely feel the same way. It's a tough spot for both fans and the developer - since it's going to be impossible to please everyone. It'll be especially tricky since gamers who are angry about the trilogy conclusion aren't universally rallied around a single problem either - some want more side-character closure, while others were let-down by the lack of affect all of their accumulated decisions had on the finale, among countless other issues.
As we've mentioned previously, in the mean time, the best thing we can all do is try to show some patience and provide BioWare with constructive feedback - in an attempt to try and find a middle-ground where both developer and customers can feel satisfied with how their time, energy, and dedication has been invested.
Mass Effect 3 is available now for PC, PS3, and Xbox 360.
Follow me on Twitter @benkendrick for further updates.
Source: Vox Games