Are Gamers Killing Creative License?
The hailstorm that came from ME3's ending was unprecedented. I can't remember the last time I saw a unified mob of gamers shaking their fists at something so vehemently. While some (like me) understood why things happened the way they did in that game, there are many, many others who feel as though they've been cheated and from a consumer's standpoint, that is the worst feeling a buyer (even more so if you're loyal) can have.
Do I feel as though gamers should get their money back? Absolutely not. Do I feel as though gamers should take whatever the developers give them without saying anything in return? Again, absolutely not. I do feel that there is a sense of investment that comes with buying a form of entertainment that costs $60 to enjoy that is different than the movie theatre experience or the PSN/XBLA purchase. You don't spend as much, so you don't care as much.
More than anything I believe wholeheartedly that angry gamers are affected by their nostalgia. They loved Mass Effect 1 and 2; they loved Jade Empire, Dragon Age (somewhat) and KOTOR. Why? Because there was little to no grey area in the games: you were either extremely good, extremely bad or even keel but you KNEW where you were headed. The games (especially Jade Empire and Dragon Age 1) were self-contained whereas Mass Effect is not. You're looking at an investment of at least $180 (new) from part one to now before DLCs. To me, THAT is why people are so upset--they spent good, hard money on a series of games that once played cannot be un-played. The experience cannot be made new, no matter how many times you go back and re-make choices the initial experience is seared into your head forever.
It's good we're so vocal. But it's bad in what we're vocal about.
Bioware aims to give us gamers the best quality story they can and when they see how patrons react, best believe they take notice. We ask for new ways to play, new things to shake up the tried, true and tired format we're used to and are starting to fall out of love with and they give us what they think is the best way to do that. I honestly wouldn't be surprised if their games from here on out end happily no matter how much of a douche you are in game because it's obvious that anything even slightly on the side of realism doesn't go over well.
We're so caught up in the moment we fail to see that even as cool as video games and developers are it is still a business. One that can't thrive on unhappy customers, bad reviews or high numbers of retail chargebacks. That means strict adherence to what works, no deviation, a repackaged tale we've played a million times with one or two "ooh" features *ahem EA Sports* that ultimately do little for building on the foundation built already. No acknowledgement that many of us can appreciate the subtleties of karma catching up with us at the end. I don't want to see Bioware or Quantic Dream end up like that when there's so many others that are completely happy "towing the line". Enjoy the creativity for what it is or reminisce on it for what it was.