Bioware announces ‘Extended Cut’ Endings DLC

05 Apr
April 5, 2012

It’s official.

“Since launch, we have had time to listen to the feedback from our most passionate fans and we are responding,” said Dr. Ray Muzyka, Co-Founder of BioWare and General Manager of EA’s BioWare Label. “With the Mass Effect 3: Extended Cut we think we have struck a good balance in delivering the answers players are looking for while maintaining the team’s artistic vision for the end of this story arc in the Mass Effect universe.”

“We have reprioritized our post-launch development efforts to provide the fans who want more closure with even more context and clarity to the ending of the game, in a way that will feel more personalized for each player.” Casey Hudson, the Executive Producer of the Mass Effect series added.

So that’s that. Clearly they’re not changing the endings themselves, just offering extended content to personalize them a bit and show some of the consequences of your choices during play. And the DLC will be free.

Personally, I feel like this is the best outcome for everyone. Completely changing the ending doesn’t strike me as something that would work. Everyone has already played them, it’s not like people would just forget the originals. As silly as things like the green ending was, at least if they go and show you the consequences on Tuchanka you can forget about circuit-board leaves a bit. 😛

Before I wrap this up, I realized that I didn’t actually discuss the whole ‘retake ME’ petition in my last post. So I thought I’d take the opportunity to do that.

I’ve seen both sides of this argument and can actually relate to both of them. On the one hand, for many people, ending their beloved series like that was a slap in the face with a wet trout. On the other hand, ‘demanding’ to have an artist change their art has a certain whiff on entitlement to it. There’s an argument that this demeans the creative endeavor, turning it from personal expression to ‘design-by-committee’ and ‘design-for-the-person-who-shouts-loudest’.

Both sides have do a point. My personal view on the issue is this, while I don’t think you have a right to expect a piece of art to change just because you’re unhappy with it, I do think the artists themselves should respect their audience’s investment. If you’re a musician who has written a song and a lot of people tell you they mostly love it, but the chorus feels a bit flat, you can do one of two things : stick to your ‘vision’, or treat it as valuable feedback that you haven’t quite succeeded in conveying what you’d hoped to. In other words, you shouldn’t bow to the whims of your audience, but neither should you dismiss criticism. It’s up to you, as an artist, to listen to feedback and then make a decision. It’s entirely possible that your audience, seeing with fresh eyes and for the first time, experiences it in a different way from what you imagined. Bioware may have wanted their fans to debate the endings, or be left wondering about them, but I doubt they intended their audience to feel disappointed, to feel like their personal choices had just been invalidated. I’m sure that wasn’t their intention, in fact. There is nothing spineless about listening to that feedback and saying ‘ok, maybe we could have delivered this better’, and then doing something about it.

So, to summarize, I don’t think Bioware should have to change the endings because fans are upset, but I am completely fine with it if they choose to, after examining the feedback. And, if it is any consolation to the writers who may be smarting a bit from this incident, remember that the opposite of love isn’t hate, it’s apathy. Those fans couldn’t have gotten so upset if they weren’t completely in love with the universe you created and the experiences you gave them. So there’s that. And while I wasn’t particularly fond of the plot of ME3, I do respect anyone who is in the arena, bruised and bloody, fighting the good fight to create something for people to enjoy. Salute to you.

2 replies
  1. Woe says:

    It’s going to be a last minute a voice over, isn’t it?

    Reply
  2. M.Miles says:

    Very nice and optimistic article, which I agree with by the way. And it’s good to see Bioware working to gain back some of that goodwill it had accumulated over the years.

    And as for the “artistic integrity” argument… Well, let’s be honest here: the Mass Effect series, as well as games in general, are products first and artworks a distant second. Not to demean the passion or the hard work of the people working on the game, I’m sure there were many artists and many writers and many designers that deserve praise for accomplishing so much in such a tight budget. But ME is not an auteur-driven, artistic piece. It’s not even a very complex and puzzling game. It’s got more in common with a summer blockbuster the black and white indy flick made for “the art”.

    And there’s nothing wrong with that. Pure escapist entertainment has its place. But if ME3 is a product, one designed to be appealing to as many people as possible to sell as much as possible, getting customers angry for the sake of artistic vision doesn’t make sense.

    Reply

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