BioWare writer allegedly slams ME 3 ending on Penny Arcade forums

#1 Edited by Matterless (329 posts) -

"Allegedly" because the post in question (which, if actually came from BioWare's Patrick Weekes, was backstabby and in incredibly poor taste) has since been deleted. I'm not big on spreading gossip, but since the issue of "artistic integrity" has come up in conversation here several times it's important to remember that the "art" in question is a collaborative process. Negotiating the ending of an undertaking like Mass Effect, a series that was up until this point a generation-defining work of interactive fiction, was doubtless an incredibly contentious effort within and among the brains of the creators. It's natural that since the players felt they too had a hand in "creating" the story they witnessed, there would be contention among us as well. Just something to keep in mind.

Source: http://www.gameranx.com/updates/id/5695/article/mass-effect-3-writer-allegedly-slams-controversial-ending/

I have nothing to do with the ending beyond a) having argued successfully a long time ago that we needed a chance to say goodbye to our squad, b) having argued successfully that Cortez shouldn't automatically die in that shuttle crash, and c) having written Tali's goodbye bit, as well as a couple of the holo-goodbyes for people I wrote (Mordin, Kasumi, Jack, etc).
No other writer did, either, except for our lead. This was entirely the work of our lead and Casey himself, sitting in a room and going through draft after draft.
And honestly, it kind of shows.
Every other mission in the game had to be held up to the rest of the writing team, and the writing team then picked it apart and made suggestions and pointed out the parts that made no sense. This mission? Casey and our lead deciding that they didn't need to be peer-reviewe.d
And again, it shows.
If you'd asked me the themes of Mass Effect 3, I'd break them down as:
Galactic Alliances
Friends
Organics versus Synthetics
In my personal opinion, the first two got a perfunctory nod. We did get a goodbye to our friends, but it was in a scene that was divorced from the gameplay -- a deliberate "nothing happens here" area with one turret thrown in for no reason I really understand, except possibly to obfuscate the "nothing happens here"-ness. The best missions in our game are the ones in which the gameplay and the narrative reinforce each other. The end of the Genophage campaign exemplifies that for me -- every line of dialog is showing you both sides of the krogan, be they horrible brutes or proud warriors; the art shows both their bombed-out wasteland and the beautiful world they once had and could have again; the combat shows the terror of the Reapers as well as a blatant reminder of the rachni, which threatened the galaxy and had to be stopped by the krogan last time. Every line of code in that mission is on target with the overall message.
The endgame doesn't have that. I wanted to see banshees attacking you, and then have asari gunships zoom in and blow them away. I wanted to see a wave of rachni ravagers come around a corner only to be met by a wall of krogan roaring a battle cry. Here's the horror the Reapers inflicted upon each race, and here's the army that you, Commander Shepard, made out of every race in the galaxy to fight them.
I personally thought that the Illusive Man conversation was about twice as long as it needed to be -- something that I've been told in my peer reviews of my missions and made edits on, but again, this is a conversation no writer but the lead ever saw until it was already recorded. I did love Anderson's goodbye.
For me, Anderson's goodbye is where it ended. The stuff with the Catalyst just... You have to understand. Casey is really smart and really analytical. And the problem is that when he's not checked, he will assume that other people are like him, and will really appreciate an almost completely unemotional intellectual ending. I didn't hate it, but I didn't love it.
And then, just to be a dick... what was SUPPOSED to happen was that, say you picked "Destroy the Reapers". When you did that, the system was SUPPOSED to look at your score, and then you'd show a cutscene of Earth that was either:
a) Very high score: Earth obviously damaged, but woo victory
b) Medium score: Earth takes a bunch of damage from the Crucible activation. Like dropping a bomb on an already war-ravaged city. Uh, well, maybe not LIKE that as much as, uh, THAT.
c) Low score: Earth is a cinderblock, all life on it completely wiped out
I have NO IDEA why these different cutscenes aren't in there. As far as I know, they were never cut. Maybe they were cut for budget reasons at the last minute. I don't know. But holy crap, yeah, I can see how incredibly disappointing it'd be to hear of all the different ending possibilities and have it break down to "which color is stuff glowing?" Or maybe they ARE in, but they're too subtle to really see obvious differences, and again, that's... yeah.
Okay, that's a lot to have written for something that's gonna go away in an hour.
I still teared up at the ending myself, but really, I was tearing up for the quick flashbacks to old friends and the death of Anderson. I wasn't tearing up over making a choice that, as it turned out, didn't have enough cutscene differentiation on it.
And to be clear, I don't even really wish Shepard had gotten a ride-off-into-sunset ending. I was honestly okay with Shepard sacrificing himself. I just expected it to be for something with more obvious differentiation, and a stronger tie to the core themes -- all three of them.
#2 Posted by phrali (646 posts) -

getting pretty tired of hearing about this stupid game

#3 Posted by N7 (3588 posts) -

Okay. Why the fudge do all of these guys at Bioware talk like the central theme of the entire series was organics vs. synthetics? I thought the central theme was overcoming all odds and uniting for the greater good.
 
The fuck, man.

#4 Edited by Jackel2072 (2259 posts) -

i still dont say i hated the ending to ME3. but i will say it's deflating, bleak, no real good outcome. which was kind of the point i get that. but still the thing that makes me sad, is that universe is over.  i will say given a choice. the other ending's listed above i probably would of picked over the one i got. 

#5 Edited by SpaceInsomniac (3726 posts) -

@Degringolade said:

I [had] nothing to do with the ending...
No other writer did, either, except for our lead. This was entirely the work of our lead and Casey himself, sitting in a room and going through draft after draft.
Every other mission in the game had to be held up to the rest of the writing team, and the writing team then picked it apart and made suggestions and pointed out the parts that made no sense. This mission? Casey and our lead deciding that they didn't need to be peer-reviewed.
You have to understand. Casey is really smart and really analytical. And the problem is that when he's not checked, he will assume that other people are like him, and will really appreciate an almost completely unemotional intellectual ending.

Without BioWare staff making an official statement beyond a forum post, we'll probably never know if this was true or not. Despite that fact, it sure sounds about right.

#6 Posted by phrosnite (3518 posts) -

Wait... Cortez didn't die on my first playthrough...

#7 Posted by BongChilla (220 posts) -
@phrali

getting pretty tired of hearing about this stupid game

I agree these are starting to get really old.....
#8 Posted by Sooty (8082 posts) -

Let's all move on from talking about the worst game in the series already.

...crap

#9 Posted by lclay (383 posts) -

I don't care anymore

#10 Posted by xaLieNxGrEyx (2605 posts) -

If people didn't claim these games as the next coming of Jesus then they wouldn't have expected to see the revival of the new world before the credits rolled.

#11 Posted by Kevin_Cogneto (1072 posts) -

I wish that guy good luck finding another writing job.

#12 Posted by Brodehouse (9949 posts) -

Games media trying real hard to make sure that guy doesn't have a career.

#13 Posted by Delphic (62 posts) -

@phrali said:

getting pretty tired of hearing about this stupid game

Me too

#14 Posted by Matterless (329 posts) -

You guys are right. I'll start writing my post on the Hegelian symbolism that runs through Shoot Many Robots right now.

#15 Posted by MikeGosot (3227 posts) -
@N7 said:
Okay. Why the fudge do all of these guys at Bioware talk like the central theme of the entire series was organics vs. synthetics? I thought the central theme was overcoming all odds and uniting for the greater good.  The fuck, man.
I think they talk like the central theme of the third game was Organics VS Synthetics. It seemed like a last minute decision, but hey, why not, right?
#17 Posted by TheHT (11240 posts) -

I agree with him except for the Catalyst part. Would've been awesome to see that other stuff.

EMS as it is from what I've read is just this arbitrary contrived ending unlock system. Weird.

#18 Posted by Tylea002 (2295 posts) -

Completely fake, though there were definitely implications in the final hours app that ME3's ending wasn't looked at much by the other writers.

#19 Posted by GunslingerPanda (4740 posts) -

@phrali said:

getting pretty tired of hearing about this stupid game

#20 Posted by Kevin_Cogneto (1072 posts) -
#21 Posted by AndrewB (7611 posts) -

@rebgav: It also clogs up the main forum board (the one that displays all new posts, which has been pretty much 75% different threads on Mass Effect 3 endings since the game came out). I'm a huge Mass Effect fan and I even liked the third game, but I also started getting sick of hearing about it a long time ago. I always figured duplicate threads were locked or merged to unify the discussion of a topic.

At least this one came close to having something new to say, if it had been real.

#22 Posted by Matterless (329 posts) -

@AndrewB: That's fair. Keep in mind though that a lot of people (myself included) have been avoiding the forums until we finished and are only now starting to talk about it. And frankly, there's not a lot else in gaming or content-wise on the site at present to talk about.

#23 Posted by SuperWristBands (2266 posts) -

Pretty obviously fake. The sentiments line up too much with what the masses originally cried out for of the ending.

#24 Posted by MikkaQ (10288 posts) -

@N7 said:

Okay. Why the fudge do all of these guys at Bioware talk like the central theme of the entire series was organics vs. synthetics? I thought the central theme was overcoming all odds and uniting for the greater good. The fuck, man.

Dude, whaaat? The organics vs. synthetics has been a prominent theme throughout the series. The Quarian war with the Geth, and exile, the heretic Geth invasion, the Reaper's threat to organic life, Shepard becoming partially synthetic, the controversy of unshackled AI like EDI, the Rogue VI from the moon in the first game, it goes on.

#25 Edited by GaspoweR (3022 posts) -

@MikkaQ said:

@N7 said:

Okay. Why the fudge do all of these guys at Bioware talk like the central theme of the entire series was organics vs. synthetics? I thought the central theme was overcoming all odds and uniting for the greater good. The fuck, man.

Dude, whaaat? The organics vs. synthetics has been a prominent theme throughout the series. The Quarian war with the Geth, and exile, the heretic Geth invasion, the Reaper's threat to organic life, Shepard becoming partially synthetic, the controversy of unshackled AI like EDI, the Rogue VI from the moon in the first game, it goes on.

EDI and the unshackled AI from the moon are one and the same.
#26 Posted by DonChipotle (2750 posts) -

I like how he has no problems name dropping Casey Hudson but doesn't namedrop Mac Walters.

#27 Edited by MikkaQ (10288 posts) -

@GaspoweR said:

@MikkaQ said:

@N7 said:

Okay. Why the fudge do all of these guys at Bioware talk like the central theme of the entire series was organics vs. synthetics? I thought the central theme was overcoming all odds and uniting for the greater good. The fuck, man.

Dude, whaaat? The organics vs. synthetics has been a prominent theme throughout the series. The Quarian war with the Geth, and exile, the heretic Geth invasion, the Reaper's threat to organic life, Shepard becoming partially synthetic, the controversy of unshackled AI like EDI, the Rogue VI from the moon in the first game, it goes on.

EDI and the unshackled AI from the moon are one and the same.

I know, trying to avoid spoilers for people who wouldn't. It makes a stronger case for my point, anyway.

#28 Posted by deskp (448 posts) -

No matter who wrote the stuff I agree with it... except for the eprsonal stuff on who dicided what and writers and that, cause i have no idea obviously.

Online
#29 Edited by N7 (3588 posts) -
@MikkaQ said:

@N7 said:

Okay. Why the fudge do all of these guys at Bioware talk like the central theme of the entire series was organics vs. synthetics? I thought the central theme was overcoming all odds and uniting for the greater good. The fuck, man.

Dude, whaaat? The organics vs. synthetics has been a prominent theme throughout the series. The Quarian war with the Geth, and exile, the heretic Geth invasion, the Reaper's threat to organic life, Shepard becoming partially synthetic, the controversy of unshackled AI like EDI, the Rogue VI from the moon in the first game, it goes on.

#30 Posted by Turbo_Toaster (965 posts) -

Gotta hand it to the Bioware marketing team.

#31 Posted by CaptainCharisma (339 posts) -

If it's real, I doubt Bioware would admit it. Either way it's interesting and sad to see my favorite game series end on such a poor note. Man that ending was terrible (in my opinion).

#32 Posted by BabyChooChoo (4487 posts) -

I wish this all would just go away....

#33 Posted by moondogger (39 posts) -

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