Positive Spin on Bad ending

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#1 Posted by mikey87144 (1811 posts) -

Fan reaction to the terrible ending has at least done one good thing for video games. It's shown devs that gamers truly do give a shit about story in games. David Jaffe made a presentation at GDC trying to get devs to not make story so important in games but Mass Effect 3 is the argument against his position. Despite the fact I was disappointed by the ending the fact that it did that is pretty good. Think about it, we're comparing a game's story to Lost, Sopranoes, and other great stories that ended poorly. Hopefully we get more games that try to make story such a big focus like Mass Effect and maybe that one will execute on the ending.

#2 Posted by allworkandlowpay (874 posts) -

It's a good point sir. I also like the idea of a directors cut version of video games. Everybody seems to say that altering or expanding on the ending or other events somehow destroys the artistic integrity of the game, but why? Ridley Scott's Blade Runner had a horrible ending, it was panned, and they changed it in the director's cut accordingly. Does that make it less "art" than a story that stuck with it's integrity?

#3 Posted by EXTomar (4922 posts) -

Although the point is a good idea, I don't think overloaded companies with overbearing producers can handle creating 1 solid story with 1 solid ending let alone a "director's cut".

Jaffe's point is that if your group creates a game that is so intertwined with the story then you need to be very careful. Games change their design and direction all of the time but all too often no one checks if the story still makes sense after all of the changes.

#4 Posted by BrockNRolla (1702 posts) -

Story is the single most important aspect of any game for me. People claim it's all about mechanics, but honestly, I can slog through some crappy gameplay if the story is worthwhile. I think Mass Effect as a series is a good example of that. The combat was never great and while it got better with each iteration, I always felt the conversations and storyline were the essential elements of the games.

I'm pretty sure that puts me in the minority, but here's to hoping more devs recognize that a good story can go a long way to making a series worth playing.

#5 Posted by JasonR86 (9763 posts) -

I think the amount of copies of Mass Effect 3 that were sold will outweigh any apparent lessons learned from how the game's story was handled. Complaining is never as relevant to change as lack of support.

#6 Posted by BrockNRolla (1702 posts) -

@JasonR86 said:

I think the amount of copies of Mass Effect 3 that were sold will outweigh any apparent lessons learned from how the game's story was handled. Complaining is never as relevant to change as lack of support.

This is a fair point. Then again, how could we know it shouldn't be supported without supporting it in the first place? A Catch-22 it seems.

#7 Posted by CheapPoison (743 posts) -

I still think Jaffe was on to something. If you actually think about it and not just say no story what so ever.

What i hope happens is that they ditch the choices and go to making one truly well well thought out story without any holes and execute that really well. And then i feel it is also possible to have more fun pre-rendered. Like starcraft of final fantasy.

#8 Posted by Ramone (2976 posts) -

Story has always been very important to me. I will willingly play games with shitty mechanics as long as the story is good.

#9 Posted by allworkandlowpay (874 posts) -

@CheapPoison: eh, while it works for smaller arcade games and other distractions, a full length game without an emphasis of a story or even a story at all is about as entertaining to me as watching a 2 hour film that is just cuts of various action-scenes and shoot-outs strung together.

An interesting story is the glue to a game.

#10 Posted by KatyGaGa (319 posts) -

this is a terrible direction. it is appalling that the creators of their own work of art have to bend to appease a group of loud-mouthed assholes on the internet. it's a terrible thing. through business practices, most mainstream art always will be changed for financial purposes... the results are the same here. it's just really annoying.

#11 Edited by pyromagnestir (4337 posts) -

@CheapPoison: I disagree wholeheartedly that games should eliminate choice. Video games are the only storytelling medium of note that I can think of that can have any amount of player agency, and to willing disregard that would be crazy. Sure not all games need a choice element, but having that option is nice, and opens up all sorts of interesting storytelling possibilities. What they need to do is realize that if you make choice a pillar of your game the choices should factor into the end in a meaningful way, and execute on that, or if they don't there should be a damn good reason why not, which is one of ME3's endings problems.

I saw that comment and totally forgot the point of this topic and the other things I wanted to say about it. Which weren't much other than to say your right @mikey87144: that is nice that developers now can have factual evidence that gamers can be invested in storytelling in games, and that it's important to them. Although they should just know this. Shouldn't they? I for one probably never would've gotten as into games as much as I have if not for a couple of games that had some attempt at storytelling when I was young (I'm talking about Secret of Mana and Link to the past, not exactly Shakespeare but hey it was more than "The dinosaur stole the princess go get her!" or other dumb excuses to explain away just what the hell you were doing which I had no interest in.)

#12 Posted by Jayzilla (2571 posts) -

A REALLY good story told in a book>REALLY good story told in a movie>...TV show>...game. IDK that anyone will ever come along that can change that formula. If they are all really good(i.e. the best book you have read will always have a better story than any other form of entertainment) i think they will always descend in that order. It's just the way of things.

#13 Posted by EXTomar (4922 posts) -

But then where does that leave the Mass Effect 3 multiplayer stuff. Although there is a ton of background setup, there is no story to it.

Basically not all games need storylines to enjoy nor does a storyline automatically improve a game.

#14 Posted by stryker1121 (1569 posts) -

@mikey87144: It's not like they delivered a bad ending on purpose, though. BW thought they were delivering the goods w/ the RGB ending, and unless this is a massive trolling like the indoc folks claim, then maybe BW are just plain bad at their job. That doesn't necessarily equate to every dev being bad at storytelling, but BW is supposed to be among the top of the list in that regard.

#15 Posted by allworkandlowpay (874 posts) -

@stryker1121 said:

@mikey87144: It's not like they delivered a bad ending on purpose, though. BW thought they were delivering the goods w/ the RGB ending, and unless this is a massive trolling like the indoc folks claim, then maybe BW are just plain bad at their job. That doesn't necessarily equate to every dev being bad at storytelling, but BW is supposed to be among the top of the list in that regard.

Hell, I'd go as far to say that the ending, the revelation and all that, was fine, if not that it felt rushed and the actions presented to you didn't really seem to make sense. (i.e. why would you have to shoot and blow up a part of the machine you spent the entire game creating in order to activate it?)

If they do add some extra lines of dialogue to expand upon the ending and add closure to the world, the ending itself is relatively fine.

#16 Posted by mordukai (7184 posts) -

@allworkandlowpay said:

It's a good point sir. I also like the idea of a directors cut version of video games. Everybody seems to say that altering or expanding on the ending or other events somehow destroys the artistic integrity of the game, but why? Ridley Scott's Blade Runner had a horrible ending, it was panned, and they changed it in the director's cut accordingly. Does that make it less "art" than a story that stuck with it's integrity?

The original Blade Runner cut had nothing to do with Ridley. That version is pure and simple the "Money People Cut". RIdley had no power over the movie at that point. Also, Harrison Ford deliberately delivered the voice over the way he did in hopes that they won't use it. Just wanted to clarify that.

ME3 ending was pure and simple a Director's mistake.

#17 Posted by pyromagnestir (4337 posts) -

@Jayzilla: You got the order wrong. Book>TV Show> Movie > Game. The Wire and Breaking Bad and The Sopranos and Deadwood win over any movie ever. They have a simple advantage of having more time to do the same things that a movie does. The reason most tv shows are worse than most movies is because of how tv shows are designed to go as long as they can to make as much money as they can with little regard for the story being told, but those shows weren't/aren't doing that.

At least that's what I think.

#18 Posted by allworkandlowpay (874 posts) -

@mordukai said:

@allworkandlowpay said:

It's a good point sir. I also like the idea of a directors cut version of video games. Everybody seems to say that altering or expanding on the ending or other events somehow destroys the artistic integrity of the game, but why? Ridley Scott's Blade Runner had a horrible ending, it was panned, and they changed it in the director's cut accordingly. Does that make it less "art" than a story that stuck with it's integrity?

The original Blade Runner cut had nothing to do with Ridley. That version is pure and simple the "Money People Cut". RIdley had no power over the movie at that point. Also, Harrison Ford deliberately delivered the voice over the way he did in hopes that they won't use it. Just wanted to clarify that.

ME3 ending was pure and simple a Director's mistake.

That's irrelevant. The ending, whether it was the producers fault or Ridley's fault, was horrible. It was later corrected. Way to miss the point.

#19 Posted by mordukai (7184 posts) -

@allworkandlowpay said:

@mordukai said:

@allworkandlowpay said:

It's a good point sir. I also like the idea of a directors cut version of video games. Everybody seems to say that altering or expanding on the ending or other events somehow destroys the artistic integrity of the game, but why? Ridley Scott's Blade Runner had a horrible ending, it was panned, and they changed it in the director's cut accordingly. Does that make it less "art" than a story that stuck with it's integrity?

The original Blade Runner cut had nothing to do with Ridley. That version is pure and simple the "Money People Cut". RIdley had no power over the movie at that point. Also, Harrison Ford deliberately delivered the voice over the way he did in hopes that they won't use it. Just wanted to clarify that.

ME3 ending was pure and simple a Director's mistake.

That's irrelevant. The ending, whether it was the producers fault or Ridley's fault, was horrible. It was later corrected. Way to miss the point.

I just wanted to clarify that the original Blade Runner cut had nothing to do with the director while ME3 ending had everything to do with the director. Way to be a dick.

#20 Posted by MikkaQ (10335 posts) -

@mikey87144 said:

Fan reaction to the terrible ending has at least done one good thing for video games. It's shown devs that gamers truly do give a shit about story in games. David Jaffe made a presentation at GDC trying to get devs to not make story so important in games but Mass Effect 3 is the argument against his position.

I actually think ME3 is the cautionary tale that proves Jaffe's point. If you rely too much on story, then neglect it even a little bit, or deliver something the fans don't want, your entire fanbase can go rabid with anger against you.

#21 Posted by allworkandlowpay (874 posts) -

@mordukai said:

@allworkandlowpay said:

@mordukai said:

@allworkandlowpay said:

It's a good point sir. I also like the idea of a directors cut version of video games. Everybody seems to say that altering or expanding on the ending or other events somehow destroys the artistic integrity of the game, but why? Ridley Scott's Blade Runner had a horrible ending, it was panned, and they changed it in the director's cut accordingly. Does that make it less "art" than a story that stuck with it's integrity?

The original Blade Runner cut had nothing to do with Ridley. That version is pure and simple the "Money People Cut". RIdley had no power over the movie at that point. Also, Harrison Ford deliberately delivered the voice over the way he did in hopes that they won't use it. Just wanted to clarify that.

ME3 ending was pure and simple a Director's mistake.

That's irrelevant. The ending, whether it was the producers fault or Ridley's fault, was horrible. It was later corrected. Way to miss the point.

I just wanted to clarify that the original Blade Runner cut had nothing to do with the director while ME3 ending had everything to do with the director. Way to be a dick.

which is still completely irrelevant to the point I was making. It doesn't matter who fucked up the ending, you can fix it, and it doesn't degrade the "artistic integrity." God it's like talking to a piece of driftwood.

#22 Posted by mordukai (7184 posts) -

@allworkandlowpay said:

@mordukai said:

@allworkandlowpay said:

@mordukai said:

@allworkandlowpay said:

It's a good point sir. I also like the idea of a directors cut version of video games. Everybody seems to say that altering or expanding on the ending or other events somehow destroys the artistic integrity of the game, but why? Ridley Scott's Blade Runner had a horrible ending, it was panned, and they changed it in the director's cut accordingly. Does that make it less "art" than a story that stuck with it's integrity?

The original Blade Runner cut had nothing to do with Ridley. That version is pure and simple the "Money People Cut". RIdley had no power over the movie at that point. Also, Harrison Ford deliberately delivered the voice over the way he did in hopes that they won't use it. Just wanted to clarify that.

ME3 ending was pure and simple a Director's mistake.

That's irrelevant. The ending, whether it was the producers fault or Ridley's fault, was horrible. It was later corrected. Way to miss the point.

I just wanted to clarify that the original Blade Runner cut had nothing to do with the director while ME3 ending had everything to do with the director. Way to be a dick.

which is still completely irrelevant to the point I was making. It doesn't matter who fucked up the ending, you can fix it, and it doesn't degrade the "artistic integrity." God it's like talking to a piece of driftwood.

Wow you are just a regular cunt.

#23 Posted by onan (1286 posts) -

@KatyGaGa said:

this is a terrible direction. it is appalling that the creators of their own work of art have to bend to appease a group of loud-mouthed assholes on the internet. it's a terrible thing. through business practices, most mainstream art always will be changed for financial purposes... the results are the same here. it's just really annoying.

How did you like the ending to Portal 2? Because that's entirely due to those same "loud-mouthed assholes" when the game was focus tested. Eric Wolpaw freely admits they instead took an incredibly well-received easter egg they had put in and expanded onto it for the ending of that game.

Keep in mind also that Bioware had no idea what it wanted to do for the ending of the trilogy. They didn't even start thinking about it until the end of ME2, after Drew Karpyshyn, the actual artist with the "artistic vision" had left, and the rest of the people remaining were the committee that was paid to be there to design a mass-market product. The original ending, according to Drew, was supposed to have something to do with the threat Dark Energy threatening the continued existence of the galaxy -- it's the same reason Tali was on Halstrom in ME2 during her recruitment mission, because the unexplained presence of Dark Energy in that system's sun had caused it to age at an incredibly accelerated rate for some unknown reason. That was supposed to be the setup before he left the writing team. It was discarded for a literal "Deus ex Machina."

If anything, all of this is a great direction because the audience won't just accept any pablum from game developers, and you shouldn't either. I don't understand how anyone can be upset about bioware "giving into the loudmouths" and creating a free, extended ending for the game. Were we playing different games? Is it weird that I want to know what happened to my team and the characters I've grown to care about over the years?

I mean, spoilers, but it's like if, in the last few pages of the last Harry Potter book, Harry was given the choice to destroy all magic to stop Voldemort by the wise Phoenix spirit revealed to be living in his wand, and then he does, and they show Hogwarts blowing up, pulling back to a planetary view and show the cascade detonation of every other magical school and community in the world. And that was it, but the Weasleys all suddenly hopped on brooms and landed safely somewhere in the Amazon. The end. That's the stuff of bad fan fiction, not anyone who is concerned with "artistic vision."

#24 Posted by CaptainCharisma (339 posts) -

@onan said:

How did you like the ending to Portal 2? Because that's entirely due to those same "loud-mouthed assholes" when the game was focus tested. Eric Wolpaw freely admits they instead took an incredibly well-received easter egg they had put in and expanded onto it for the ending of that game.

Keep in mind also that Bioware had no idea what it wanted to do for the ending of the trilogy. They didn't even start thinking about it until the end of ME2, after Drew Karpyshyn, the actual artist with the "artistic vision" had left, and the rest of the people remaining were the committee that was paid to be there to design a mass-market product. The original ending, according to Drew, was supposed to have something to do with the threat Dark Energy threatening the continued existence of the galaxy -- it's the same reason Tali was on Halstrom in ME2 during her recruitment mission, because the unexplained presence of Dark Energy in that system's sun had caused it to age at an incredibly accelerated rate for some unknown reason. That was supposed to be the setup before he left the writing team. It was discarded for a literal "Deus ex Machina."

If anything, all of this is a great direction because the audience won't just accept any pablum from game developers, and you shouldn't either. I don't understand how anyone can be upset about bioware "giving into the loudmouths" and creating a free, extended ending for the game. Were we playing different games? Is it weird that I want to know what happened to my team and the characters I've grown to care about over the years?

I mean, spoilers, but it's like if, in the last few pages of the last Harry Potter book, Harry was given the choice to destroy all magic to stop Voldemort by the wise Phoenix spirit revealed to be living in his wand, and then he does, and they show Hogwarts blowing up, pulling back to a planetary view and show the cascade detonation of every other magical school and community in the world. And that was it, but the Weasleys all suddenly hopped on brooms and landed safely somewhere in the Amazon. The end. That's the stuff of bad fan fiction, not anyone who is concerned with "artistic vision."

Agreed. I've used the Harry Potter comparison with my friends too.

#25 Posted by CheapPoison (743 posts) -

To all the people. I do not 100% agree with not having any story.

But Jaffe just has a certain way of saying things. He was more trying to call on the fact that too many games rely on a sales pitch that is just a story/hook. And are developed from the story idea. Which isn't intrinsically bad, he just feels(lke i do) that you need at least a valid way to make it translate to an actual game.

Not just take an interesting story as a way to sell something and then tack on generic fps/rpg/third person shooter/and so on.

#26 Posted by SethPhotopoulos (5381 posts) -

@mordukai said:

@allworkandlowpay said:

@mordukai said:

@allworkandlowpay said:

@mordukai said:

@allworkandlowpay said:

It's a good point sir. I also like the idea of a directors cut version of video games. Everybody seems to say that altering or expanding on the ending or other events somehow destroys the artistic integrity of the game, but why? Ridley Scott's Blade Runner had a horrible ending, it was panned, and they changed it in the director's cut accordingly. Does that make it less "art" than a story that stuck with it's integrity?

The original Blade Runner cut had nothing to do with Ridley. That version is pure and simple the "Money People Cut". RIdley had no power over the movie at that point. Also, Harrison Ford deliberately delivered the voice over the way he did in hopes that they won't use it. Just wanted to clarify that.

ME3 ending was pure and simple a Director's mistake.

That's irrelevant. The ending, whether it was the producers fault or Ridley's fault, was horrible. It was later corrected. Way to miss the point.

I just wanted to clarify that the original Blade Runner cut had nothing to do with the director while ME3 ending had everything to do with the director. Way to be a dick.

which is still completely irrelevant to the point I was making. It doesn't matter who fucked up the ending, you can fix it, and it doesn't degrade the "artistic integrity." God it's like talking to a piece of driftwood.

Wow you are just a regular cunt.

I think this is what this conversation was supposed to be before @allworkandlowpay decided to lash out for no reason.

Mordukai thought that the Blade Runner comparison didn't work because eventually the film got out of his hands during post-production. The film wasn't even going along the lines of his vision because he got no say in the editing room until he was allowed to make the director's cut. Mass Effect 3 however seemed like it was released as the vision of the creators. That's how ME3 was supposed to be and that's how it was released.

However allworkandlowplay's argument saying that BioWare changing the ending doesn't remove artistic integrity still stands. A more apt comparison would be like showing your friend an artpiece on his ideas on how to make it better. Difference being that ME3 was already released. What BioWare is doing is reactionary but at the same time they are still the ones changing the ending. They are the ones still in control and the new ending is still their ending.

#27 Edited by KatyGaGa (319 posts) -

@onan: Well, I liked the ending. Art is about subjective appreciation meaning that your opinion isn't any better than mine. I have argued in a few threads in Giant Bomb about why I thought the ending is perfect for the trilogy and I don't really feel like doing this again nor would it really matter to you, and you're perfectly entitled to that. Simply put, the ending to me emphasized the eerie threat of The Reapers and gave a strangely moving, nihilistic end. I liked how it was vague and nothing really was explained. However, my views on this don't matter, the only ones that should are the original creative team behind the story of Mass Effect. The changes you describe about the ending and how it was altered is troubling and sad. Had the "original" planned ending stayed in place, I may not have liked it as much but it is not about me.

What you and the "loud-mouthed assholes" (keep in mind, I am not calling you that but I am addressing you as another one of the dissenters) don't seem to understand is that it isn't about us. it should never be about us. we are the receiving party and we are there to experience someone else's vision. You can say that that would be a bad business practice and you would be absolutely correct... but that is not what I am discussing here.

Whether I liked the ending of Portal 2 or not is irrelevant as I would much rather play a complete artistic vision or as close to that as possible. Unfortunately, that will never be the case. Given that art has always been a business, means that pure artistic vision will never exist, but the closer we get to it the better. I know it sounds naive but, currently, I have no other way to express this.

Instead of your Harry Potter comparison, I was going to give an Enter the Void or The Brown Bunny analogy... but whatever. I know from experience what its like to have creative work that you have poured your soul into be changed for the subjective benefit of others and I find it very saddening and disgraceful.

#28 Posted by onan (1286 posts) -

@CaptainCharisma said:

Agreed. I've used the Harry Potter comparison with my friends too.

I hadn't heard the comparison before, it was just the first analogy that came to mind as I was typing. Nice to hear my logic is sound, though.

@KatyGaGa said:

@onan: Well, I liked the ending. Art is about subjective appreciation meaning that your opinion isn't any better than mine. I have argued in a few threads in Giant Bomb about why I thought the ending is perfect for the trilogy and I don't really feel like doing this again nor would it really matter to you, and you're perfectly entitled to that. Simply put, the ending to me emphasized the eerie threat of The Reapers and gave a strangely moving, nihilistic end. I liked how it was vague and nothing really was explained. However, my views on this don't matter, the only ones that should are the original creative team behind the story of Mass Effect. The changes you describe about the ending and how it was altered is troubling and sad. Had the "original" planned ending stayed in place, I may not have liked it as much but it is not about me.

What you and the "loud-mouthed assholes" (keep in mind, I am not calling you that but I am addressing you as another one of the dissenters) don't seem to understand is that it isn't about us. it never should be about us. we are the receiving party and we are there to experience someone else's vision. You can say that that would be a bad business practice and you would be absolutely correct... but that is not what I am discussing here.

Whether I liked the ending of Portal 2 or not is irrelevant as I would much rather play a complete artistic vision or as close to that as possible. Unfortunately, that will never be the case. Given that art has always been a business, means that pure artistic vision will never exist, but the closer we get to it the better. I know it sounds naive but, currently, I have no other way to express this.

Instead of your Harry Potter comparison, I was going to give an Enter the Void or The Brown Bunny analogy... but whatever. I know from experience what its like to have creative work that you have poured your soul into be changed for the subjective benefit of others and I find it very saddening and disgraceful.

So here's the thing, "art" isn't really this immutable thing that is set in stone. Well, sometimes it is, when it's literally made out of stone, sure... or paintings or drawings, but anything with a human component is subjected to hundreds if not thousands of tiny little revisions, and those are all subjectively voted upon by both artists, and audience. Writers have editors and friends that help them trim off excess pages that cumulatively drag down the work, or expand on concepts that aren't clear to readers, or just generally fix typos or point out discontinuities or logical fallacies. Movie directors similarly rely on dozens, if not hundreds of people providing feedback, with scenes ending up on the cutting room floor, only to be added as bonuses for special edition discs once it becomes available on DVD or Blu-Ray. In the new medium of games especially, testers are required to make sure the "art" even functions entirely as intended, and remains entertaining to interact with.

The biggest problem facing "art" across mediums is the artist being too close to their works, being with them at every step of the way, with edits blurring together to the point that they can't detect anything else that might need fixing. That's why they always seem to need a "fresh pair of eyes" to look over what they've done.

You are absolutely entitled to your opinion, and if you're satisfied with the existing ending, I envy you. I'm not sure this is the only reason, but I'm in the camp of people that are constantly trying to figure out what's going to happen next in a work of fiction (at least on the back burner), and constantly am subconsciously revising theories and predictions for both short term and long term events. When I'm happy with a work, the writers have put together something I feel is far better than anything I could have come up with, or is intricately tied together in a way that doesn't seem contrived, and makes me feel foolish for having missed earlier signs. I think poorly of a work when events occur that seem completely outside of the scope of the work, that either break the fiction and the work's own internal logic, or resolves in a way exactly like what I assumed would happen or in a way far simpler than what I assumed. Basically, whenever a work doesn't live up to expectations it sets for itself. Those creators are more than welcome to stand behind the banner of "artistic vision," however everyone else is also free to label it as substandard or poor. Take a look at the Star Wars prequel trilogy. That was absolutely one man's vision, yes, and it has full artistic integrity, yes. It was extremely poorly executed on, and if it was designed to appeal to the same audience that loved it originally, it missed the mark by focusing on special effects and not character development.

Artistic integrity is a much more granular thing, I think. Mass Effect was never about the inventory system, or the combat, or the plot arc. It's about the character interactions and development, it's about things like Mordin talking about his retirement plans, or Thane's unique spiritual beliefs and redemption. As long as those things are in place, I don't believe their artistic integrity can ever be compromised, even if the plot changes drastically. It already did, from ME1 to ME2, when almost everything about the previous game was discarded and a new reality was created whole cloth, with a minor terrorist group from the first game becoming the new organization Shepard worked for, his spectre status becoming irrelevant, and his old crew almost entirely abandoning him. That could have gone so incredibly badly, and yet due to their dedication to making true characters and introducing so many of them with so much nuance, it ended up being one of the greatest games of this generation. ME3 getting an extended ending won't change any of the major story beats from the sound of it, and will only introduce some final character nuance to a game filled with nuance. I'm expecting that, instead of compromising their vision, the new extended cut is going to lend even more to a series that has had vision in spades.

#29 Posted by allworkandlowpay (874 posts) -

@mordukai: I don't like having to re-re-re-restate what should have been a very simple analogy. You were either being moronic, or deliberately thick. Sorry if I have to be a cunt about it, but it seemed to be the only language you understood.

#30 Posted by onan (1286 posts) -

@allworkandlowpay said:

@mordukai: I don't like having to re-re-re-restate what should have been a very simple analogy. You were either being moronic, or deliberately thick. Sorry if I have to be a cunt about it, but it seemed to be the only language you understood.

You're quite the cunning linguist.

#31 Posted by TheDudeOfGaming (6078 posts) -

@mikey87144 said:

Sopranoes, and other great stories that ended poorly.

While i think that Sopranos could have followed up on Tony's death, the aftermath and what not, i thought it was a pretty good ending. Maybe that's just me though.

#32 Posted by SeriouslyNow (8534 posts) -
@KatyGaGa: Nihilism is not what the game has been going for or leading up to.  The whole context of Shepard from his name, through to the heavy emotional weighing of all the characters to the way he's always placed in the middle of conflict and having to make moral choices is the utter and complete opposite of nihilism.  Even when Shepard is at his most Renegade, he's not being nihilistic, he's being egotistic.  I'm sorry, but the lack of a set of logical explanations or even illogical explanations doesn't reflect a sense of nihilism on behalf of the story's players, it just reflects an inability in the writers to convey a working ending to a three part series.  You're implanting the nihilism as a means to fill a void which doesn't reflect it or make proper room for it.
#33 Posted by hoossy (937 posts) -

@allworkandlowpay said:

It's a good point sir. I also like the idea of a directors cut version of video games. Everybody seems to say that altering or expanding on the ending or other events somehow destroys the artistic integrity of the game, but why? Ridley Scott's Blade Runner had a horrible ending, it was panned, and they changed it in the director's cut accordingly. Does that make it less "art" than a story that stuck with it's integrity?

I actually think it would pretty interesting if Bioware would revisit the franchise to tweak things the way that Ridley Scott did. Not just the ending, but adding different scenes and narrations... they won't.. but I would probably buy into that.

#34 Posted by mikey87144 (1811 posts) -

@KatyGaGa: I don't think they should change the ending either.

#35 Posted by Dagbiker (6978 posts) -
@hoossy maybe for a 3d version, or what ever the futur version of HD is.
#36 Posted by thomasnash (586 posts) -

@Jayzilla said:

A REALLY good story told in a book>REALLY good story told in a movie>...TV show>...game. IDK that anyone will ever come along that can change that formula. If they are all really good(i.e. the best book you have read will always have a better story than any other form of entertainment) i think they will always descend in that order. It's just the way of things.

I don't think I could disagree with this any more than I do, and the guy who objected to this on the basis that you got the order wrong isn't improving much on your statement either.

A "REALLY good story" is a great story regardless of the medium in which it is presented, what matters is whether the medium is being used to its full potential, or whether the story you are telling is best served by the medium in which you are writing and so on. A film like 2001: A Space Odyssey is a great story, and the medium of film itself is used incredibly well to supplement the story. Would it work as well in a book? Well, we don't know, but certainly it couldn't be the same as a book and be anything but worse. Likewise something like Joyce's Ulysses, which pushes the form of the novel to its limit in service of its story would probably never work as a film because the elements that the novel form create aren't easily replicated in a film. Conversely, I can think of books which work equally well, if not better, as films than as novels. Cormac McCarthy's No Country for Old Men works very well as a film because his style of writing is so stripped down he essentially only describes the outward lives of his characters anyway, which is what a film does as well. John Le Carre's Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy works better as a film because his writing style is actually quite bland, the only thing we lose in the transition is some interior monologue, but given the paranoia of the story, it's rather better served by cinema's relative inscrutability (In fact, it works better as a TV show because the plot is so dense). I may have gone overboard here, all I mean to say is that the form itself can never be the basis for a qualitative assessment of a work, although the story itself probably can. Only the form's interaction with the content.

If video games never have created something that hits the artistic highs of novels, films, tv shows or any other more established form of work, it's not because of an a priori heirarchy of forms, it will be partly because truly excellent story-writers (or perhaps, just writers. In video gaming you see a lot of great stories being let down by hamfisted dialogue and suchlike, Mass Effect itself being a good example of this) go in to other media which are more well-respected and established - and we can hope that as the profile of gaming increases this becomes less and less true - and it is also (I think) partly because no one has truly managed to integrate form and content in the way they have in those other media. In most games story and form (gameplay) are pretty much entirely separate, with your access to both alternating; I think the very concept of a cut scene speaks to this. Often, improving one involves minimising the intrusion of the other. I don't know what can or will be done to truly integrate the two, but I believe it can be done, and I think lots of games have made steps in the right direction; In that way I think mass effect had the promise to be a real step forward in storytelling in games, because choice was such a thematic preoccupation in the story and such a huge part of the gameplay; but it failed to live up to that promise over and over when so many choices throughout the games were inconsequential (Rachni anyone?), and the ending was the final straw really. Having said that, the Quarian/Geth stuff and in particular the Kaiden/Ashley decision in 1 are amongst the best story moments in any game, I think.

I think the two greatest moments of video-game story that I have played, incidentally, are Psycho Mantis in Metal Gear solid 1 and the last scarecrow moment in Arkham Asylum. The MGS1 moment is very very silly, but it did see the potential for using the actual physical reality of the console to reinforce plot information in the game - is Psycho Mantis really psychic and Telekenetic, well he knows what you've been playing and he can make your controller move, he must be!. The Arkham Asylum bit is similar, and it plays on the players actual real world fears to create the appropriate sense of fear that your avatar - batman - is feeling, when it makes the screen go all fucked up I honestly believed my xbox was broken for a split second. I'll be interested to see if anyone can look at these sorts of moments and really work out a way to sustain that sort of interaction - between player, story and medium - throughout a whole game and have it really work as a game.

#37 Edited by KatyGaGa (319 posts) -

@SeriouslyNow: this is just silly. it is a rightfully nihilistic ending because ultimately it wasn't up to Shepard. You can make a valid argument that in some of the endings, the galaxy is not only much worse off but on the precipice of extinction due to Shepard. I like how none of your choices or your moral stances mean anything in the end. You give examples of how everything previous to the ending was the opposite of nihilism but I can easily argue that those very examples set you up for this ending...if this was even the initial planned ending, which I assume it wasn't at this point giving me trying to defend it a severe dose of irony. Even if the ending was something completely different, as it was initially planned, doesn't mean that that ending wouldn't be also nihilistic. at this point, who knows what bioware was going for? to make judgements upon what they were doing with their own fiction seems... silly.

"Nihilism is not what the game has been going for or leading up to."

I'm sorry but when you say things like that, you're applying your own narrative to something that isn't yours. I don't have a better example at the moment but it would be like saying "Vampires aren't what From Dusk Till Dawn was going for or leading up to". Since when does anything have to have any kind of cohesiveness at all?

#38 Posted by mikey87144 (1811 posts) -

@KatyGaGa: I didn't want this forum topic to go back to the ending since I was talking about the impact rather than the ending itself but I'll say this a month later, if you're going to make a series about choice and talk about your decisions affecting the ending then follow through on it. Plan the ending(s) in advance so you know were it's going. It felt rushed and knowing that all the endings were basically the same thing was disappointing. It almost feels like the ending was made for business reasons rather than creative reasons. I hate when people try to justify the ending by trying to find deeper meaning in the artistic vision of the ending. It was a bad ending, plain and simple. I can look at a painting and tell you if it's bad, read a book and tell you if it's bad, or watch a movie and say the same thing. The series deserved better from the creators.

#39 Posted by KatyGaGa (319 posts) -

@mikey87144: what is good or bad in art? there is no such thing.

Again, what you see as a set up for something else, I see as a set up for something closer resembling the ending we got. you may feel that it was rushed and you may be right but, again, I say that it isn't about us. it is whatever the creators of the fiction want it to be. given that the ending was changed to this makes this ending bad but not for the obvious reasons. It's bad for me because it isn't a complete artistic vision. That is my external issue with it but on the level of it being an ending for the Mass Effect trilogy, I really liked it. I've explained why i've liked it in the past in Giant Bomb and I don't want to sound redundant... but, again, its not about us.

"It almost feels like the ending was made for business reasons rather than creative reasons."

This seems like the reverse of what everyone is saying. In fact, the ending is much more creative (you may not agree with it but it's true) than being a cold business decision. I don't even understand how this ending would be a business decision. A business decision would be if it appeased the greatest amount of players as possible and was as base and broad as needed. All the complaints I hear about the ending, through youtube videos and so forth, are people complaining about how they didn't get closure, but then when you press them on it they essentially wanted something with more humanity and something more in line with a triumphant conclusion. In other words, they wanted less science fiction and mystery and more on the relationships and to know that their decisions favourably affected the characters we've all grown to love at this point. Again, this may sound very reductive to their argument and it may not be true for you, but this is what I have deduced from the countless podcasts and youtube videos I've seen. A business decision would be more in line with something akin to the ending of Return of the Jedi applied to the Mass Effect universe... something that gives the player a feeling of success and feeling that they mattered in an epic sense and not only that but destroyed an ancient threat. THAT would have been a business decision not this. The ending where you make-out/movie kiss your love interest and then freeze frame on you and Garrus high-fiving with a cold glass of beer in both your hands as dead reapers burn on the horizon. it would be an ending where the Child VI is explained. It would be an ending where time travel is discovered in the galaxy and the only way to deal with the reapers is to go back in time and destroy them when they were being constructed by a capital "G" God. A time travel ending where you can say hello to Jenkins and the crew of the past as well as see races from millions of years ago. The endings I described would have been hilarious and fucking awesome but that's not what the series needed, evidently. I like the ending but I can imagine so many better ways the ending could have played out but its not about me. Even if I think a work of art completely sucks, I will defend the artist's point of view to do whatever he/she wants.

"It was a bad ending, plain and simple. I can look at a painting and tell you if it's bad, read a book and tell you if it's bad, or watch a movie and say the same thing. The series deserved better from the creators."

You are not the creator of this series therefore you don't know what it needs. How can you say it is a bad ending? what is bad in art? I say it is a good ending, is your opinion worth any more or less than mine? How can we both be right? this reduces both our points to nothing.

#40 Posted by Zero_ (1977 posts) -

I still sort of agree with Jaffe - he said not to care about storylines in game in a very specific content: if you're going to make a non-story focused game, don't worry about your story not being amazing. With Mass Effect it's different because that's a story driven RPG where the story is absolutely paramount, had Gears of War 3 had a shitty ending I don't think anyone would care.

#41 Posted by morrelloman (608 posts) -

@pyromagnestir: TV only recently got the push in production value and story that movies got. As a medium you can tell a story better on TV because you have # of episodes x 1 hour to tell it as opposed to 2-3 hours. It gives you more time to develop characters side plots, etc. Niche non-pay cable channels never used to get the funding or audience that do now. AMC shows are also so good because the channel doesn't show anything else. This is also another recent development. Executives would previously want to fill all the slots on their channel with original content to draw viewers. Off topic from the original discussion, just trying to validate your point as a result of circumstance rather than stating it as fact with a few recent examples.

Commenting on original topic. You make a good valid point, but the implication of game community's reputation as whiners may outweigh any potential windfall in terms of developer action. That remains to be seen, regardless, I'd rather not have the director's cut be a trend and endings given greater consideration moving forward. ANY such results coming out of this situation is a win, and we will have to assume that AT LEAST Bioware moving forward will consider this in future products.

#42 Posted by SeriouslyNow (8534 posts) -

@KatyGaGa said:

@SeriouslyNow: this is just silly. it is a rightfully nihilistic ending because ultimately it wasn't up to Shepard. You can make a valid argument that in some of the endings, the galaxy is not only much worse off but on the precipice of extinction due to Shepard. I like how none of your choices or your moral stances mean anything in the end. You give examples of how everything previous to the ending was the opposite of nihilism but I can easily argue that those very examples set you up for this ending...if this was even the initial planned ending, which I assume it wasn't at this point giving me trying to defend it a severe dose of irony. Even if the ending was something completely different, as it was initially planned, doesn't mean that that ending wouldn't be also nihilistic. at this point, who knows what bioware was going for? to make judgements upon what they were doing with their own fiction seems... silly.

"Nihilism is not what the game has been going for or leading up to."

I'm sorry but when you say things like that, you're applying your own narrative to something that isn't yours. I don't have a better example at the moment but it would be like saying "Vampires aren't what From Dusk Till Dawn was going for or leading up to". Since when does anything have to have any kind of cohesiveness at all?

Did you just compare a grindhouse style hour action movie to a three part video game series to justify your utter misunderstanding of the concept of Nihilism?

I think you did. Wow.

#43 Posted by KatyGaGa (319 posts) -

@SeriouslyNow: aaaaaaaaand we're done here :)

you lasted much shorter in this discussion than I thought you would.

#44 Edited by mikey87144 (1811 posts) -

@KatyGaGa: The business decision for me was the state Mass Effect 3 left the universe in. It was a complete reset by introducing new rules at the last second that sets up a new series in the same universe. Don't get me wrong, setting the series hundreds of years after the Reaper invasion with all those aliens living on earth is interesting but still feels like a business move. A set up for an MMO. I could be wrong but I wouldn't be surprised if that's were it's headed.

Also I'm sorry I disagree with your assertion that there is no bad in art. If that were the case then we wouldn't have art museums showing off the best examples of art or fans and media a like talking about the same games for best or worst games of the year. I can't describe what makes the Mona Lisa a great painting and my crudely drawn stick figures bad but put them together and you won't hear too many sane people trying to say my drawing is any were near as good as the Mona Lisa.

#45 Posted by SeriouslyNow (8534 posts) -

@KatyGaGa said:

@SeriouslyNow: aaaaaaaaand we're done here :)

you lasted much shorter in this discussion than I thought you would.

How nice for you that you live in a world where you think that an incongruous ending to a game series is a developer being clever and teaching a lesson in philosophical theory. The same developer who knowingly released a book designed to flesh out aspects of the same story, filled with equally incongruous information which they have since decided to fix with a refreshed release of said book. The same developer who is also releasing DLC which is designed to more clearly explain the game's ending.

Of the two of us, you're the one who is indulging in projection.

#46 Edited by KatyGaGa (319 posts) -

@mikey87144: that's a valid point about the state of the Mass Effect universe. I disagree with you that its a business move because on that basis anything can be a business move. But its a valid point. I also think you've addressed it, yourself. It would be interesting to see how the universe changed after the events of ME3. It would actually be really interesting. Given that Bioware said that they have no interest in making a post-Shepard game, it would probably be made by someone else... which I have issues with but whatever.

art is the subjective. the best Dilbert quote ever is about art... "art is the transmission of one's inner most essence to another". there is no bad or good in art, just things that you relate to and things you can't understand (I don't mean this in derogatory sense but in the way that I will never fully understand a poem or song written by a rape victim or a holocaust survivor). Art museums are not about showing what they consider to be subjectively good but are in the business of showing things off that have "objectively" transformed the art landscape and this is an evolving process. its something completely different from what you're implying. Museums dedicated to music show off moments in musical history that are pivotal and not just what they think is good, which is why someone like La Monte Young or John Cage should be equally as lauded as Beethoven. They depict art that has historical relevance. The media is an entirely different issue. As for your stick figure analogy... you don't hang out with too many art students do you? :)

#47 Edited by KatyGaGa (319 posts) -

@SeriouslyNow: You sir/madam have lost all credibility in my eyes. You not only reduce my points to straw man arguments, you presume to think how a company operates and disregard the news to attempt to make some form of lame quip at my cost. You have a weird view of art, you are entitled to it, but it won't get you very far in discussions like this. Its fun to deal with people like you. The fact that we're talking about a major game company and, by implication, EA, makes your responses to me even sillier.

so I stand by my initial response to you...

you lasted much shorter in this discussion than I thought you would.

#48 Posted by thomasnash (586 posts) -

@KatyGaGa: The entirely subjective nature of art is far from a settled issue, I think you'll find.

#49 Edited by KatyGaGa (319 posts) -

@thomasnash: ...yep...........................................................................

#50 Posted by SeriouslyNow (8534 posts) -

@KatyGaGa said:

@SeriouslyNow: You sir/madam have lost all credibility in my eyes. You not only reduce my points to straw man arguments, you presume to think how a company operates and disregard the news to attempt to make some form of lame quip at my cost. You have a weird view of art, you are entitled to it, but it won't get you very far in discussions like this. Its fun to deal with people like you. The fact that we're talking about a major game company and, by implication, EA, makes your responses to me even sillier.

so I stand by my initial response to you...

you lasted much shorter in this discussion than I thought you would.

Silly? I'm quoting facts which you ignore and you're projecting bullshit and calling it a philosophical lesson and yet to your mind I've lost credibility?

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