“That’s it,” the player thought, “the Illusive Man is dead. I can finally end the reaper invasion.” The player guides Shepard, the main character of the three Mass Effect titles, to the elevator, where they are met by A.I. that takes the form of a child whose face is instantly recognized. Who can forget the child’s unfortunate demise, that so many have witnessed in ME3′s prologue? It promptly explains in a cold voice that, in order to save the universe, the player must make a choice – a choice to destroy, to unite or to control. After all the adventures you embarked upon with your merry crew, saving the universe not once, not twice but thrice, it all boiled down to this single question. Lives were sacrificed, friends were lost and gained, lovers blossomed, yet all became moot at this point. Their deaths were to be in vain; mere footnotes in the rise of a simple and archaic system.
The backlash came and it came down hard. If all people that whined about the ending had the ability to launch nuclear missles, Edmonton would be a smoking crater. BioWare had to come out to at least try and calm the furor that was so wrongfully directed at them. Yes, I say ‘wrongfully’ and I am going to stand by that no matter what. Gamers had forever changed the landscape when BioWare finally relented and decided to release an “extended cut” ending. That’s when it hit me. “We’re too damned entitled,” I thought, “we’re now expecting games to be made OUR way.”
Mass Effect 3 wasn’t the only source of the rage that BioWare has had to endure. Star Wars: Old Republic became a popular target of hate as well, albeit to a lesser extent, with their subscription falling dramatically since the game’s initial release on December 20, 2011. BioWare co-founders Rey Muzyka and Greg Zuschuck retired from the gaming industry. Rey felt like turning a new page in his life and Greg wanted to pursue new, opportunistic ventures in the beer industry. However, many felt there was something more to their retirement. The third co-founder, Trent Oster, revealed that both Rey and Greg were crushed over the backlash that had dragged their company’s name through the dirt.
“The last time I met up with [Greg], I felt his exhaustion. ‘Punch out, eject, get the hell out’, was my suggestions to him and it hit closer to the mark than I had realized I also think the Mass Effect 3 fan reaction and the Old Republic fans negativity was just too much.” — Trent Oster
On a different note, sports gamers are even worse, and demonstrate perfectly how we’re too damned entitled. Recently, Madden 13 was released, and included innovations that fans of the series had been begging for since Madden 06. It dropped franchise and superstar mode for a newer feature called Connected Careers. You could choose to be the player or coach on any team. Sounds familiar? That’s because this new mode is, in fact, the Franchise and Superstar modes COMBINED into one giant epic mode. Unfortunately for EA, it was too much innovation for the fans. The fans that had been on their knees begging for innovation were now leading the charge for EA, demanding that they put Franchise and Superstar back in as separate modes. Madden 10 suffered from the same backlash as ME3, with fans even creating a petition to change the pre-snap control scheme back to the older schemes, causing EA to have to update the game’s controls back to their original state.
EA attempted to innovate in NBA Live with NBA Elite 11 and we all know how that went. The dribbling controls were changed, allowing the player to control both hands with the right stick. They even changed the way the players shot the ball, and as a result, it felt like we had much more control over the game. These changes were mostly met with contempt, however. So in the end, it weren’t just the glitches that sunk the NBA titles; it were the innovations that players refused to accept.
Let us look at yet another example. Valve’s zombie-themed multiplayer FPS Left 4 Dead became so insanely popular that it created memes and a huge cult following. Shortly after its release, Valve already decided to announce a sequel. L4D fans became so irate, they boycotted it and created a manifesto.
This is where we’re going as a whole. This entire gaming community decided to take control and make sure that it pleases them. At this rate, the developers will no longer to be able to weave a tale that they want to share intimately with us. No longer are they going to feel safe to create a style without having to fear pitchforks and torches at their door. We’ve always complained about corporate big wigs in Hollywood ruining sequels or taking away creative freedoms and we complain about the same thing in the gaming community. But after taking a closer look, we must, in fact, conclude that we are starting to do the same thing. Capcom went through it with Street Fighter x Tekken with their day one DLC. This week’s release of Dishonored has come out to great fanfare, but signs before its release indicated that there would be gamers upset about the lack of hand holding that the title has.
“People would just walk around. They didn’t know what to do. They didn’t even go upstairs because a guard told them they couldn’t. They’d say ‘Okay, I can’t go upstairs.’ They wouldn’t do anything,” explained Arkane’s Julien Roby
Going back to ME3′s criticism, we must accept the story that has been presented to us. We’re not ones to change endings, characters, art styles and/or dialogues. Of course we plopped sixty dollars for these games, but the developers have put their heart and soul, their blood and sweat into giving us these games. Our criticism is so harsh that we know no boundaries when we complain. Constructive criticism is now officially lost to the majority of the community. What’s wrong with just simply saying, “I liked the game but I didn’t like the ending,” and just accept it? Why must we attempt to change everything? I never heard of anyone attempting to change the ending to 2012′s blockbuster film “The Grey,” because it was too miserable. How would we think if over-bearing parents changed Mark Twain’s “Huckleberry Finn,” to make it more appropiate for their children?
I’m not afraid to say this, we are too damned entitled and spoiled. I love playing video games and I’ll never give it up because it is my passion. But neither am I afraid to say that I do not like the direction we, as a community, are taking this industry. It could be played to our advantage to help make it better, but we’re not using our voices wisely. As Ben Parker has once said, “with great power, comes great responsibility.”