BioWare Co-Founder Addresses Mass Effect 3′s Ending
“Casey Hudson and the team are hard at work on a number of game content initiatives that will help answer the questions”
Dr Ray Muzyka, co-founder of BioWare, has issued the following statement on Mass Effect 3 and the controversy surrounding the ending:
As co-founder and GM of BioWare, I’m very proud of the ME3 team; I personally believe Mass Effect 3 is the best work we’ve yet created. So, it’s incredibly painful to receive feedback from our core fans that the game’s endings were not up to their expectations. Our first instinct is to defend our work and point to the high ratings offered by critics – but out of respect to our fans, we need to accept the criticism and feedback with humility.
I believe passionately that games are an art form, and that the power of our medium flows from our audience, who are deeply involved in how the story unfolds, and who have the uncontested right to provide constructive criticism. At the same time, I also believe in and support the artistic choices made by the development team. The team and I have been thinking hard about how to best address the comments on ME3’s endings from players, while still maintaining the artistic integrity of the game.
Mass Effect 3 concludes a trilogy with so much player control and ownership of the story that it was hard for us to predict the range of emotions players would feel when they finished playing through it. The journey you undertake in Mass Effect provokes an intense range of highly personal emotions in the player; even so, the passionate reaction of some of our most loyal players to the current endings in Mass Effect 3 is something that has genuinely surprised us. This is an issue we care about deeply, and we will respond to it in a fair and timely way. We’re already working hard to do that.
To that end, since the game launched, the team has been poring over everything they can find about reactions to the game – industry press, forums, Facebook, and Twitter, just to name a few. The Mass Effect team, like other teams across the BioWare Label within EA, consists of passionate people who work hard for the love of creating experiences that excite and delight our fans. I’m honored to work with them because they have the courage and strength to respond to constructive feedback.
Building on their research, Exec Producer Casey Hudson and the team are hard at work on a number of game content initiatives that will help answer the questions, providing more clarity for those seeking further closure to their journey. You’ll hear more on this in April. We’re working hard to maintain the right balance between the artistic integrity of the original story while addressing the fan feedback we’ve received. This is in addition to our existing plan to continue providing new Mass Effect content and new full games, so rest assured that your journey in the Mass Effect universe can, and will, continue.
The reaction to the release of Mass Effect 3 has been unprecedented. On one hand, some of our loyal fans are passionately expressing their displeasure about how their game concluded; we care about this feedback, and we’re planning to directly address it. However, most folks appear to agree that the game as a whole is exceptional, with more than 75 critics giving it a perfect review score and a review average in the mid-90s. Net, I’m proud of the team, but we can and must always strive to do better.
Some of the criticism that has been delivered in the heat of passion by our most ardent fans, even if founded on valid principles, such as seeking more clarity to questions or looking for more closure, for example – has unfortunately become destructive rather than constructive. We listen and will respond to constructive criticism, but much as we will not tolerate individual attacks on our team members, we will not support or respond to destructive commentary.
If you are a Mass Effect fan and have input for the team – we respect your opinion and want to hear it. We’re committed to address your constructive feedback as best we can. In return, I’d ask that you help us do that by supporting what I truly believe is the best game BioWare has yet crafted. I urge you to do your own research: play the game, finish it and tell us what you think. Tell your friends if you feel it’s a good game as a whole. Trust that we are doing our damndest, as always, to address your feedback. As artists, we care about our fans deeply and we appreciate your support.
Thank you for your feedback – we are listening.
What to make of all of this?
First of all, this is not a promise of a new ending. That Muzyka would say “The team and I have been thinking hard about how to best address the comments on ME3’s endings from players, while still maintaining the artistic integrity of the game” suggests whatever BioWare comes up with, it’ll be something that serves its purpose in addition to the ending, rather than something overwriting it.
Secondly, BioWare needs to be careful how it handles the “number of game content initiatives that will help answer the questions, providing more clarity for those seeking further closure to their journey.” The ending, as it is right now, is poor. We’ve already outlined why with our aptly-named Why The Mass Effect 3 Ending Sucked article. If BioWare does expand the ending with a ‘game content initiative’, it has to be free.
This isn’t even an entitled gamer speaking. It wouldn’t be right for BioWare to get financial compensation by charging players for fixing a flawed product. If BioWare truly believe the ending is busted to the point where it’s creating content to fix a flaw, that is different to creating additional content which serves as an optional extra. There’s nothing to suggest BioWare would charge for anything that would fix the ending but given the DLC-heavy nature of Mass Effect 3 and publishers in general, we’re wary.
But thirdly, this statement made me think about BioWare’s original intention behind the Mass Effect 3 ending. I’m surprised at BioWare being… well, surprised. The ending runs against the ethos of Mass Effect 3 and it’s surely something that BioWare could (or perhaps should) have seen. If you ask why they went with that ending, an ending they believed would not cause such an uproar, it makes you think that the plan was to continue the universe and ‘the legend of Shepard’ with further merchandise. Perhaps that’s where BioWare wanted to put the closure we were seeking.
So the outrage and uproar at the ending is almost a welcome thing. Some have been screaming about entitled gamers and making far-fetched jokes about ‘hey, why don’t we go back and change the ending of [insert name of movie]‘ even though the context is different, even going so far as to suggest we don’t have a right to be unhappy or complain or criticise.
But the uproar suggests we don’t want the marketing, the books, the comics, the apps or the merchandise to find out what happened to Shepard and to find our closure.
We just want that within our games.