Who Really Owns Mass Effect 3?

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I think that statement depends on a traditional understanding of the player's role in videogames, which may no longer apply in this case. The players who are upset about the ending have accepted the primacy of Mass Effect 3's narrative over its mechanics. They are acting primarily as an editor does in a film production, and film is a collaborative effort.

Really? Really? I'm sorry, that makes absolutely no sense to me. Is it because the editor also gets to see several takes of a scene and gets to choose one to become canon?

I guess that's a bit like a game with choices, but there are so many crucial differences. An editor will rarely be able to change how a story goes; she may choose between different feels for a scene, different flows for a section of the story, and she may cause things to become ambiguous by dropping scenes (which means that the scene can only be derived, but of course the rest of the movie was shot departing from the assumption that whatever happened in the dropped scene was true). The choices you make in ME3 seem to be much more dramatic, but it's actually just choosing between broad rails. An editor can pick bits and pieces from different scenes to create a feeling she wants it to have, but in ME3 you are only picking between one of many preset paths. (Yeah, you can mix and match dialogue, but the dialogue only matters for the Renegade/Paragon points. If you choose the Renegade options all the way throughout a scene and then at the crucial moment do the Paragon one it was effectively solved as a Paragon; your Shepard may be a tough-talker with a soft heart instead of just a goody two-shoes but the game does not differentiate between the two, story or mechanics wise.)

But a more important distinction is that an editor will be creating a story on her own to set the way it'll be released to the world. She has her skills as an editor, her artistic vision and integrity, and usually a monetary reward at stake. The player does not. She is creating a story by herself which intends to satisfy only herself, and if it doesn't she loses nothing more than a few dollars and a bunch of time (not enough time to edit a film, I assure you). Put an editor who loves soft art movies to edit a fast-paced pornocomedy and she'll edit it in a way to create the best pornocomedy possible (if she knows her stuff). A gamer will always choose the path that she likes the best.

Editing in a paragraph to bring another point: film is a collaborative effort, so the editor changes the director's work, but the director may go back and change the editor's work, and the two work together until a final state is reached. The player no longer gets any input from the creators by the time she is playing the game; other than the mechanisms that are already in place she is the only one choosing the outcome of the story. Using a mechanism to create something is not the same thing as creating it.

Frankly, I find this push to put gamers on the same stage as developers to be puzzling at best and disgusting at worst. It's like saying I'm editing a movie because I own its DVD and can watch the scenes in any order and add in deleted scenes, or that reading a choose your own adventure book makes me a co-author. At least people who read books have the decency to say they'll start writing their novel any time now before they start acting like they know everything.

My Shepard would have done this!

Then she did. All theory of fiction says that all fictional narratives are equally fictional, so no one is more important than other. If you believe the characters in your story should have acted in any other way, write down what you think would have happened. Now it's true. Or rather, it's as true as the game is, which is to say, not at all, because it is a work of fiction, just like your story.

Speaking of which, to answer the title: you know who owns Mass Effect 3? No one. Once a work of fiction is out in the world, it's free and it becomes its own thing. Everyone is free to interpret, analyze, rewrite, remix and deconstruct to their heart's content. Well, not legally of course - legally it belongs to whoever filed the trademark, but this kind of ownership refers only to business. I can't make money of the story, and theoretically I can't write any story because it might hurt the business of the legal owners - though that's of course just a way the fat cats smuggled more control in - but like the difference between free speech and free beer, legal ownership has almost no bearing in this discussion. As far as interpretation is concerned, an author's control over their work ends the moment they show it to the world, and any changes or remixes (director's cuts, etc) they make are no more valid than the general public's.

That is the concept of Death of the Author, which it seems to be nowadays running against the trope of Word of God. I remember reading that when Nabokov implied that a character in his poemnovel Pale Fire committed suicide critics berated him for the suggestion, saying that he had 'overstepped his boundaries', and he was saved by a critic who was a friend of his and pointed out that the text did support Nabokov's theory. Nowadays we are asking Christopher Nolan about how exactly Inception ended. How strange! I can't for the life of me join the Word of God crowd, since that would mean agreeing that Fahrenheit 451 is in fact not about censorship at all.

Excellent article, shame it has so few hits and or comments. I wonder how long this kind of "honest opinion" will last? [smirk]

Integrity, is generally not conductive to prospering.

Had "this game" been any other game, it would of been just another game. The fact of the matter is, the real value is in the I.P. That all aside, clearly the I.P. belongs to the Publisher and Developer and how they choose to handle their product is clearly up to them.

Questionable or not, clearly ME 3 "strikes" one, upon a detailed introspection to be a mediocre "pump and dump". Perhaps as a cash infusion? Who knows... Moving away from a single player narrative was the idea all along, but this presents some interesting problems in an already crowed FPS market place.

Bioware as a brand, has demonstrably taken a black eye from this.

Mass Effect as a franchise, is a wait and see, if the DLC moves, it's all ok one supposes... if it doesn't perhaps a lesson learned... (again), about cannon alterations and "artistic visions".

At 70 plus percent sell through being on the x-box, maybe the gamble will pay off? (Shrug).

Ultimately, it is all about money. That is what the real score is kept in.

Concluding, humorously... who owns this?

image

A sea of lazy.

I've always felt while artistic intrigty should be upheld, it only goes as far as the what, not the how. I'll defend any choice I don't like as long as it makes some narative sense, but little in ME3 did. I see what they were going for, but as you said, they were trying for the "I am your father" shock moment and thus blew it.

The thing is, while I'm not a fan of scrapping it, I don't quite know an easy fix. Even going the Metal gear Solid route and talking for an hour might not be enough. I'd ultimately want Sheppard to learn the Reapers' purpose much earlier so that the knowledge can haunt Sheppard's actions throughout the game. You should go into the Quarian / Geth battles with some doubt as to peace being acheivable or lasting and as such, if the reapers might be right. You should see paralelles in how the Krogan were manipulated and causes for synthetic uprisings, thus question is evertying worth saving, or is the line the reapers drew false and the same problems can occur between and dominant and lessor group of beings. Sadly, that's a lot of work, rewriting, digitally splicing, ect, and honestly, I can't think of a great place to splice it in. Ideally Star Kid and his ramblings would have been the climax to ME2, but that ship's sailed.

"Even as a critic who thinks the end of Mass Effect 3 is an abomination, I do not support the idea of asking for its complete deletion. That's an investment of time and money that represents an undue demand on BioWare. Asking for an additional take, however, is reasonable if we as editors determine that the existing footage just isn't working with the rest of the film."

An additional take? Have you been through all the possible endings? They are already composed of additional takes and edits, based on our choices. What would another take of these sequences accomplish at this point?

And furthermore, we didn't edit the endings, or the entire game, at all. We didn't have the script or the footage or the consequences of our choices in our hands ahead of time, like an editor of a movie does. And notice that BioWare's dialogue wheel is expressly designed NOT to show us the script.

We do not have the assets at our disposal to be the editors, and if we did, our enjoyment of the game would be significantly diminished. Just ask someone who gets a hold of a videogame's artbook or plays a buggy beta or gets a leaked copy of the script before they get a chance to play the game.

Please, it's time to put aside these analogies to other media and finally admit that videogames are different and need to be evaluated as their own media type.

"Screenwriters pen the script for a film but when the actors and director are on set, sometimes new possibilities occur for how to play the scene. If it works, directors may go with it. They shoot the take just so they have the option at the editing table. When BioWare produces cinematics to support various choices, they're creating different takes of a scene. BioWare's dialogue wheel is the editing table, and it lies in the hands of the player, not BioWare. The final construction of the narrative is collaborative, not dictated."

That was awesome. You, sir, are awesome.

KingsGambit:

RaNDM G:
The intellectual property always belongs to the publisher. BioWare makes the games, but EA has the final say in all things.

Why does there have to be a discussion about this? It's a simple fact.

There has to be because of how badly the ending was cocked up. We're not talking about the IP here. The points are creative control vs. player-driven narrative and such a badly thought out mechanic. The premise, if you re-read the article, is that as players, we've guided the story/movie the entire time until that point and are then left without suitable options, reward or closure. THAT is a simple fact.

It's a ploy by EA and BioWare's writers to set-up future DLC expansions, like I said in the rest of my post you so diligently failed to mention. BioWare practically admits that right at the end of the game.

image

It's a marketing ploy. They're basically saying this:

"Hated the ending of Mass Effect 3? 1200 Microsoft points gives you an extended final mission lasting a WHOOPING [insert number of hours here]! Also comes with [insert complimentary in-game item(s) here] as well as [new multiplayer game mode(s) here]!"

The real problem is that this ploy is going to work. EA is going to make bank from gamers wanting a satisfying ending for Mass Effect 3. They will pay any amount of money to get that contrived ending out of their heads, which is the dickiest move of all.

I'm not even sure that's a real word. I'm kinda surprised it's in the dictionary.

Also, you messed up that second quote.

RaNDM G:
This is exactly the destroy option.

@Nimcha wrote that. Not me. Just want to make that clear.

mfeff:

Glad to see someone shares my opinion.

It's a desktop landscape wallpaper called winter_snow_tree_fantasy. I bet they picked it because it's the first thing that showed up on Google.

Using stock photos without Photoshop. It doesn't get cheaper than that.

Nimcha:
This is exactly the destroy option. You could also choose not to believe the Catalyst, do nothing and watch galactic society being wiped out by the Reapers. I don't think I have to explain why this was not an option.

I disagree. If the reapers wipe out society, the mass relays survive, the cycle continues and civilization will rise once more. It will also have Liara's messages to help it. As opposed to the relays being obliterated, everyone dying anyway of starvation, infighting or vaporisation, and every system with a relay in it being disintegrated by the resultant explosions including most of the home worlds. Any of the choices Shepard is given must obliterate significant chunks of the galaxy, ruin the potential for a galactic civilization unless the survivors build their own relays (this could take millenia) and kill most of its advanced life anyway, making the reapers the superior option. On the one hand, everyone you now and care about dies (this will happen regardless), on the other, there's actually hope for the future of the galaxy.

I'm not gonna dive into the war that seems to be in progress in this thread...

But I do want to give the author of this article MAD PROPS for such a well articulated explanation as to why so much of the Mass Effect player base is unsatisfied with the current ending.

Great article. I agree completely and there's nothing to add.

I just ask one thing that should be edited in the current endings: no Casper the ghost and no heavy exposition. Put Harbinger in the place of Casper and show us (don't tell us) the history of the Reapers.

Dennis Scimeca:
Who Really Owns Mass Effect 3?

The ownership of a story belongs to its editor, as well.

Read Full Article

Bravo, it's nice to see a balanced and well thought out argument regarding the ME3 ending which doesn't require bring up "art" to validate their claims. It's been very worrying seeing people at various points online who have essentially dismissed anyone against Bioware and the ending as entitled pricks with no input whatsoever and trying to use "Games as Art" as the excuse for why an ending which is been shown to be confusing, filled with plot holes and makes all those hours spent pointless; is perfectly acceptable. Especially if they have not finished the ending...

I agree with the notion that while completely retconning the ending would require quite the hours and manpower and would be far too costly, opening the ending up to other options which keep it intact but better reflect the decisions you make and the impact you have had to bring your own personal story and narrative to a natural conclusion makes far more sense. Bioware get to keep their ending but then can actually deliver on those promises on many different endings and not taking the control the player had during the game out of their hands. I could happily tolerate that bloody Starchild if my Shepard had the option to call him out on his stupid ideas by pointing out examples like EDI and the Quarians/Geth and then saying that he will make his own choice.

However, as people have pointed out, that nice little note after the credits pretty much gives away the game. If we get DLC it's bound to make EA/Bioware huge sums of money due to the amount of unhappy voices. They have essentially played us all =/ and the fact is, people will buy it so they can give their Shepard the conclusion they feel is worthy of the games and their decisions. By taking away the very thing that has been emphasized since the games began, choices and player driven narrative. People are going to declare war, and EA profit from it.

So a great article, well written and said.

It's a product. They made it and they offer it for a price. You can choose to purchase it in exchange for money, or you can choose not to.

Where the hell did this entitled notion come from? I don't care how invested in the universe you are. They owe you NOTHING and they can make the game however the hell they want.

/rant

RaNDM G:
snippity snip

The only DLC that was "planned" as a scam was the Prothean...

The other DLC were content crap that was already in the works, there is "NO" alternate ending incoming, or coming, or anything. May as well just forget that.

Bioware EA, are spending a tremendous amount of money to "re-spin" this situation into some more manageable, but it will probably come down to what happens at PAX, as that is a public event.

Thing it, clearly it is cheaper to buy the integrity of the journalist for video games, slap youtube accounts for copyright claims, and firewall the staff; than it is to "Re-take" the game... which would cost even more, and admit "wrongdoing" that shit... isn't going to happen.

These are products, they happen to be "artistic" sometimes, but they are industrially designed... and the "art side" is emergent.

Bioware has great PR, and sold a blue square as a Picasso, using a philosophy paper and nonsense... lesson learned.

Nimcha:

Crimson_Dragoon:
Both will destroy the mass relays (and yes, this is not explained properly)

No, but it does make sense. In order to be completely free from the Reapers, all Reaper technology must be destroyed. The galaxy must be given a chance to advance to that level on its own.

I'm sorry, but that's just poppycock. WHY THE HELL WOULD WE NEED TO DESTROY THE MASS RELAYS? Without them, just about every colony is going to be without all but the most basic supplies, galactic supply and lines of communications would be GONE and galactic civilization would crumble. Not to mention the fleets around earth, probably scrambling to find suitable areas to resupply and refuel or colonize before they starve/suffocate in space.

I do agree this point should probably have been elaborated on by the Catalyst. While it doesn't really make a difference as to what choice Shepard makes, it does provide more insight and could've added more weight to the decision.

Coming soon, for only 1200 microsoft points!

And remember guys, destroying a Mass Relay destroys the system it's in! Not to mention that Joker is apparently now a coward who can swiftly teleport up all your allies and abandon you to die. Plus the Krogan can't rebuild Tuchanka, the Geth/Quarians can never rebuild Rannoch, etc.

I could happily endure the notion of the Starchild, even those three "endings" we got if they were not the only ones we could pick, and ones that kept the story intact. The fact is that we were lied to by Bioware, that it completely threw away everything you had been working towards and derailed the series like that. While games can be considered art, art is also a very subjective trope and open to interpretation. Personally I find it hard to interpret something that completely disregards the entire point of the series and makes no sense, ergo I find it difficult to call it art.

mfeff:
The only DLC that was "planned" as a scam was the Prothean...

I'm willing to believe that as optional. The whole Prothean side-quest isn't necessary in the final game, and I think having a Prothean squadmate detracts from the experience. The quest doesn't add much backstory to the game and Javik doesn't provide much help aside from being a hired gun. He practically admits he's got nothing to live for and will kill himself at the end of the game. You might as well shoot him the first time you see him.

You may send all of your hatemail to [email protected]

SirBryghtside:
I always found this kind of funny.

"Well SCREW YOU STARKID! I DON'T AGREE WITH ANY OF YOUR OPTIONS, BECAUSE I'M COMMANDER BADASS SHEPARD AND I DO WHATEVER I WANT!"

"Um... okay. Are you... are you sure you don't want to pick any of the options?"

"YEAH!"

"So what are you planning on doing?"

"I'LL SHOOT YOU IN THE HEAD!"

"I'm a ghost, Shepard."

"WELL, THEN... I'll... um... I'LL KILL ALL THE REAPERS WITHOUT YOU!"

"...yeah, good luck with that. I'm sure you have a snowball's chance in hell. Bye, then!"

Come on, the 'Shepard tries to fight the catalyst' idea makes even less sense than the current ending.

Well if you want to theory craft the ending how about this one.

"you cannot defeat the reapers Shepard, your defeat is inevitable."

Shepard: looks slowly towards the catalysts and says in an even tone "Just watch me"

If you want a real life version of how this went down, here you go
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pierre_Trudeau#October_Crisis

and, even if Shepard's forces are defeated, It could easily be turned into a pyrrhic victory for the reapers, for example shepard could say, "you and your reapers may have won here, but my fleet has taken out dozens upon dozens of your ships. The next cycle will build off of our victory and destroy dozens more, and so it will continue until you are wiped from the galaxy/ I may not have beat you here, but I have laid the foundation for your defeat"

cue Shepard being obliterated by a reaper or something.

damn, my first draft sounds better than all of bioware's endings.

EDIT: or hey, if you want an ULTRA downer ending, say if renegade shepard here has low war assets, have his fleet get it's balls rocked, and have shepard say something to the effect of, "we may have lost, but we decided how this was going to end not you" kinda like a last moment of defiance against the inevitable.

BOOM two well written endings, first draft! I like this sort of thing :)

EDIT2: fuck at this rate I might as well stop playing JUST before the catalyst and invent my own personal canon. :)I'm a big dnd player, sorry.

endtherapture:
Finally, a games journalist who understands the issue with the ending and doesn't babble on about "art".

You deserve a cupcake.

Well, yes and no. He does do a better job of discussing the ending itself, but this is a big deal because it's about more than that. The stuff *surrounding* the ending, such as the promises made by Bioware, and what was revealed in the interviews from that $3 app (which has it's own thread here on The Escapist, or did) contributed as well, as did the attitudes of most of the people covering this for the gaming media who were highly insulting towards those making the complaints to put it mildly.

I think to really be accurate in an analysis of this you need someone who is really willing to point a finger at EA/Bioware for the things going on around the ending, probably going back as far as "Dragon Age 2" to really capture the essence of it, and why people are so angry in this case.

Granted, an ending this sucktastic is an achievement all on it's own, most bad endings have people going "meh" or "I would have done things better" and don't wind up being reviled by everyone to this point. But even so the sheer level of anger and bile is because while this was a trigger, it's really about a lot of things besides the ending.

Truthfully I predicted an explosion last year when DA2 came out, saying that I expected something to happen with ME3. I did not think the ending was where the line was going to be drawn though, even if I was pretty confident something was going to happen.

I also think a point reviewers and other article writers need to consider, and own up to when it comes to the questioning of scores in some cases, is that "Mass Effect 3" is kind of a dog when it comes to it's writing to begin with. The ending was just so bad that it eclipsed the rest of the game and it's problems. Effectively countering claims that it deserved a high review "for being great up until the last 5 minutes". For example "Kai Leng" and all the stuff surrounding him (JRPG auto-winning cut scenes, and of course him not fitting the setting at all, starting with his costume) has generated it's own "this sucks hard" following which illustrates problems with the writing to begin with. Ultimatly Mass Effect 3 failed not just in the writing of it's ending, but for the ending of Act 2.. and really pretty much every scene Leng was involved in just on the merits of him being such a totally abysmal character. Mass Effect 3 did more to create a divide where "cut scene Shepard" and "gameplay Shepard" exist in what amounts in totally seperate realities than
ever before... and that's NOT a good thing for a game that is supposed to be lionizing it's writing and how well intergrated it is with the gameplay.

Or in short, while this article is better than most, and it's refreshing to see a pro-protester type slant for once in an article, I don't think it quite goes far enough or really digs into the meat of the situation.

RaNDM G:

mfeff:
The only DLC that was "planned" as a scam was the Prothean...

I'm willing to believe that as optional. The whole Prothean side-quest isn't necessary in the final game, and I think having a Prothean squadmate detracts from the experience. The quest doesn't add much backstory to the game and Javik doesn't provide much help aside from being a hired gun. He practically admits he's got nothing to live for and will kill himself at the end of the game. You might as well shoot him the first time you see him.

You may send all of your hatemail to [email protected]

Which is fine, assuming that the Prothean as the DLC was intentional from a design standpoint, and not "removed" later at the behest of someone higher up in the chain.

If that where the case, then the systemic "break" of the games narrative would be catastrophic, as the game has to be "functionally coherent" (cough) without him. As it stands, it is "out of place" without him around. How much is there, how much is taken out?

Ultimately he comes off as pointless. That... is a problem in a character driven narrative.

Though it was just another completely missed opportunity.

P.S. ME3 writing is poor.

This, sir, is by far the most reasonable article ever. For the first time since this started I feel my position being taken seriously.

Thanks for that.

Dennis Scimeca:
Who Really Owns Mass Effect 3?

The ownership of a story belongs to its editor, as well.

Read Full Article

I'm surprised the author glossed over the PR fallout over this. Yes, these are the points the Retake Movement tries to make, but what about the realities from the developer and publisher side?

mfeff:

True that.

I'm glad to see so many comments from people who feel their point of view has been legitimized here. My biggest issue with the discussion of Mass Effect 3's ending in the press so far has been the outright dismissal of negative fan reaction. If someone doesn't want to try to understand the narrative issues with the ending that's fine, but then I think admitting ignorance and/or disinterest in investigating the question is the proper course of action, versus mocking the people who *do* care.

But hey, that's just me. :)

Dennis Scimeca:
I'm glad to see so many comments from people who feel their point of view has been legitimized here. My biggest issue with the discussion of Mass Effect 3's ending in the press so far has been the outright dismissal of negative fan reaction. If someone doesn't want to try to understand the narrative issues with the ending that's fine, but then I think admitting ignorance and/or disinterest in investigating the question is the proper course of action, versus mocking the people who *do* care.

But hey, that's just me. :)

God yes. I think it's fine to either not be interested in the topic or to have an opinion without much information to go on, that's fine. But if you are going to produce content then you damm well better at least educate yourself.

Just squawking the word "precedent" over and over is not an argument.

mfeff:
Excellent article, shame it has so few hits and or comments. I wonder how long this kind of "honest opinion" will last? [smirk]

Integrity, is generally not conductive to prospering.

Had "this game" been any other game, it would of been just another game. The fact of the matter is, the real value is in the I.P. That all aside, clearly the I.P. belongs to the Publisher and Developer and how they choose to handle their product is clearly up to them.

snip

Ownership of the IP gives us the concrete answer to the question of who legally owns the ending. That's it. That in my opinion does not work to the exclusion of any more artistic interpretations of ownership.

I don't think anyone actually thinks the players have the legal right to get a different ending.

I think we the fans have a partial ownership of the franchise, ever since the end of Mass Effect 1 when they started listening to our input and using our suggestions and ideas did we become part owners of it. So if we don't like something in it, then as part owners we have the right to effect change.

If they had ignored us and made the game without any community input, then I would be the first in line to say "You had no part in it, you don't get a say."

Best Fourth Option I can see already sort of exists. DO NOTHING! if you wait long enough you get a game over and a message that the crucible was destroyed. rather then that, have the game jump to a new Cutscene with the Crucible and the Citadel being hit by weapons fire and Sheppard giving a transmission that the Crucible is not an option, and all we have left is to fight, survive, and rise above, Sheppard then bleeds out and dies.

sure, maybe include some BS about the Catalyst imploring a choice, and being visibly frustrated that Sheppard won't choose. maybe make the Reapers retreat from Earth being pursued by the allied fleet the entire to the relay.

The catch. one Reaper stays behind and disables the Charon Relay on the way out, and leaves the Reapers with the mother of all catch 22's their biggest threat is isolated, but will not be for long (the Citadel, already established as a Relay itself is intact.) and they will eventually have to deal with that threat while taking losses conquering the rest of the galaxy.

The power in these things always has belonged to the money, just in this situation it's EA.
They can and always have had the power to do whatever they want and they often do. I still don't really know what to think about the series "fans" going apeshit and demanding a new ending but a little extreme comes to mind. The response from bio ware however was worse for people who are supposed to be professionals, that's if the whole thing wasn't just done for free publicity.

As for artistic integrity, well I'm not sure how that can apply when profit was the only thing in the mind of it's ultimate creator EA. In any case bioware let the quality of the product slip in a few key areas and that was just bad... craftsmanship. They are of course "entitled" to do so but would have been better off in the long run if they hadn't because they damaged their reputation. The product overall is certainly worth money, but how much I think I should decide. $40 enhanced edition, or whatever they call the actually complete day 1 game, sounds about right to me.

Regardless of whether they change the ending or not I might just imagine my own version of how It ends. I'm already imagining a massive space battle in which (going for the cliche) you're forces are nearly spent and were only just able to come up with weapons that could damage the reapers anyway. Then the whatever enters and let's say it's a massive EMP which requires the entire organic fleet to be sitting ducks for a good five seconds to stop being fried and most of them get killed anyway. Reapers are destroyed, Shep has a sad moment looking at corpse and wreckage on the surface of earth and goes someplace off world that looks homley. Tali is on her planet with geths doing geth things off in the distance like a figurative olive branch passing with the quarrians and she takes off her helm. Garrus goes off to batman again, Wrex has a son and however survives gets a 5 second cut scene (I don't actually know). You see the crew meeting up and shep smiles as something new comes up and then it breaks to credits and rock and roll music. Simple and took 10 minutes tops to think it up.

All this article proves is that even people who write for The Escapist can be entitled little brats.

You are NOT the editor. You are NOT the director. You are the PLAYER. You are no different than the reader of a book, or the viewer of a movie. You own the right to play the game you purchased. Nothing more.

I don't care how many hours you played all three games. For every hour you put in, Bioware's developers put in a hundred, if not more.

They made every character sketch and biography. Not you.

They shaped every plot arc. Not you.

They programmed every mission, every texture, every map, recorded every line of dialogue. Not you.

THEY decide how, where, and why the story ends. Not YOU.

Whether the ending sucks or not is irrelevant (because it does). If they decide to change it, that's their business. But at the end of the day, that's their decision, not yours.

If you don't like their story; write your own, and stop complaining. You are NOT the owner, no matter how much you try to rationalize it.

Thomas Knapp:
All this article proves is that even people who write for The Escapist can be entitled little brats.

You are NOT the editor. You are NOT the director. You are the PLAYER. You are no different than the reader of a book, or the viewer of a movie. You own the right to play the game you purchased. Nothing more.

I don't care how many hours you played all three games. For every hour you put in, Bioware's developers put in a hundred, if not more.

They made every character sketch and biography. Not you.

They shaped every plot arc. Not you.

They programmed every mission, every texture, every map, recorded every line of dialogue. Not you.

THEY decide how, where, and why the story ends. Not YOU.

Whether the ending sucks or not is irrelevant (because it does). If they decide to change it, that's their business. But at the end of the day, that's their decision, not yours.

If you don't like their story; write your own, and stop complaining. You are NOT the owner, no matter how much you try to rationalize it.

The part about the devs having all the power is true but way to lump everybody in the same basket there. Far as I know most of the escapist writers have criticized the fan uproar or taken the side of the devs "artistic" rights. However it makes sense to at least tell the devs that their ending was poorly done. Since most other reviewers don't want to seem to overly critical of such a large corporate entity however it is left to the "fans" including the insane ones to take their place.

It would be unrealistic to assume we own the product but that doesn't mean that bio ware should not listen to their fans. A bunch of crusty old greedy men own the product. If what you're saying is that people have no right to complain or criticize them then what are we supposed to do. Are we to allow a much loved company to steer down a path slowly making more and more mediocre games until finally the only thing they make are blatant cash grabs.

I.Muir:
The part about the devs having all the power is true but way to lump everybody in the same basket there. Far as I know most of the escapist writers have criticized the fan uproar or taken the side of the devs "artistic" rights. However it makes sense to at least tell the devs that their ending was poorly done. Since most other reviewers don't want to seem to overly critical of such a large corporate entity however it is left to the "fans" including the insane ones to take their place.

It would be unrealistic to assume we own the product but that doesn't mean that bio ware should not listen to their fans. A bunch of crusty old greedy men own the product. If what you're saying is that people have no right to complain or criticize them then what are we supposed to do. Are we to allow a much loved company to steer down a path slowly making more and more mediocre games until finally the only thing they make are blatant cash grabs.

The intent was not to lump everyone into any basket. It was a response to the writer of this article, who tried to compare his experience with Mass Effect 3 as akin to a director or an editor... and thus claim "ownership" of the story.

There are many things that went wrong with the ending to Mass Effect 3. For example, Hudson and one other writer (I can't remember the name offhand) put it together, with no review from the rest of the writing team. Everyone else was completely in the dark. That in and of itself is a recipe for disaster... and that's not even getting into the disjointed elements of the ending itself.

The "entitlement" I refer to is not those who criticize the ending; because it deserves every bit of critique. The "entitlement" comes from articles such as this, from players who try to somehow claim some stake in the IP itself because they paid the money and invested the time playing it.

The question posed in the title of this article, "Who Really Owns Mass Effect 3?" can be answered simply; Bioware and Electronic Arts, and no one else. Any suggestion otherwise should be summarily discarded for the nonsense it is.

Thomas Knapp:

The intent was not to lump everyone into any basket. It was a response to the writer of this article, who tried to compare his experience with Mass Effect 3 as akin to a director or an editor... and thus claim "ownership" of the story.

There are many things that went wrong with the ending to Mass Effect 3. For example, Hudson and one other writer (I can't remember the name offhand) put it together, with no review from the rest of the writing team. Everyone else was completely in the dark. That in and of itself is a recipe for disaster... and that's not even getting into the disjointed elements of the ending itself.

The "entitlement" I refer to is not those who criticize the ending; because it deserves every bit of critique. The "entitlement" comes from articles such as this, from players who try to somehow claim some stake in the IP itself because they paid the money and invested the time playing it.

The question posed in the title of this article, "Who Really Owns Mass Effect 3?" can be answered simply; Bioware and Electronic Arts, and no one else. Any suggestion otherwise should be summarily discarded for the nonsense it is.

Not to be confused with the pseudo make your own adventure that is one of the selling points of bio ware, making you the author in the sense of several ultimately meaningless big decisions.

I can't understand personally how you may claim ownership of a series just by playing it. Sure it feels like you may have become a part of it but the big picture was it was always owned by the company itself. To think otherwise is well something I can't understand so I tend to assume it's not supposed to be taken literally. I could understand a feeling of not getting what you payed for or what was promised and therefore owed. However it is unfortunately true that ultimately we can't force them to do a damn thing. In the end I'm very pro fan argument so I tend to support them regardless of what the initial thinking was so that an ends might even be achieved.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IbO5S3Fv53Q
EA could make something like this and we would be powerless to stop them.

Also my apologies, I missed the 'even' in your first sentence making it sound completely different.

I.Muir:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IbO5S3Fv53Q
EA could make something like this and we would be powerless to stop them.

For the record, I would totally buy a Kinect dancing game with Commander Shepard.

image

RaNDM G:

I.Muir:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IbO5S3Fv53Q
EA could make something like this and we would be powerless to stop them.

For the record, I would totally buy a Kinect dancing game with Commander Shepard.

image

image

Just so things don't get (or remain) twisted - discussion of the IP is utterly irrelevant to what this column was about.

We're talking about "ownership" of the narrative, not the intellectual property. And you're taking "ownership" way too literally. We're discussing how the player relates to the game, not how one would adjudicate literal ownership.

One is a business question, which I'm utterly unconcerned with. The other is a question about how narrative is created in video games, and it's not really an argument anymore that the player creates narrative. Mass Effect 3 mostly limits the player to an editorial function which is why we can approach discussion of the ending this particular way, but games like Fallout: New Vegas more overtly support "player as storyteller" by mostly providing systems, and staying away from more strictly-constructed story.

Check out the Plot vs. Play panel at PAX East last weekend for more on that.

In any case, foisting an ending on the player that makes as little sense as the ending of Mass Effect 3 is absolutely a valid complaint, and we're also beyond the point where the idea of changing a game's ending is ridiculous. It's already happened. It will happen again. It's part of the gaming landscape. Time to get over the idea that asking for changes to an ending is unreasonable. It's how things are, and I don't see us ever going back.

I posted something on my blog about how we're not discussing WHY the ending of Mass Effect 3 makes no sense. It's difficult to do so without spoiling, and maybe that's the greater "why," but I have links to some places where you can find some good breakdowns as to why:

http://www.punchingsnakes.com/?p=600

The ending of Mass Effect 3 makes no sense whatsoever. If you don't believe me, read those posts and watch the video I link to in that blog post.

It suspect the upcoming Extended Cut was in the works prior to the fan reaction to the ending, because someone at BioWare realized they had a problem. That holo-terminal before the final battle? Utterly preposterous that the Alliance would be able to get com-links specifically to ALL the people Shepard wanted to speak with. It felt hokey and shoehorned in...and more dollars to donuts that was thrown in late in the process to account for the acknowledged weaknesses of the ending.

Babylon 5! About damn time someone mentioned that. Too many people think sci-fi is only either Star Trek or Star Wars.

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