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Mass Effect 3 Ending Changes Planned

The BioWare Blog has a post from BioWare co-founder Dr. Ray Muzyka confirming that criticism of the ending of Mass Effect 3 has had a massive effect on them, and they will indeed be changing the way the game ends, as they said they might. Here's a bit on their change in plans, and what lead to this point:

Building on their research, Exec Producer Casey Hudson and the team are hard at work on a number of game content initiatives that will help answer the questions, providing more clarity for those seeking further closure to their journey. Youll hear more on this in April. Were working hard to maintain the right balance between the artistic integrity of the original story while addressing the fan feedback weve received. This is in addition to our existing plan to continue providing new Mass Effect content and new full games, so rest assured that your journey in the Mass Effect universe can, and will, continue.

The reaction to the release of Mass Effect 3 has been unprecedented. On one hand, some of our loyal fans are passionately expressing their displeasure about how their game concluded; we care about this feedback, and were planning to directly address it. However, most folks appear to agree that the game as a whole is exceptional, with more than 75 critics giving it a perfect review score and a review average in the mid-90s. Net, Im proud of the team, but we can and must always strive to do better.

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32. Re: Mass Effect 3 Ending Changes Planned Mar 21, 2012, 15:49 DarkCntry
 
Parallax Abstraction wrote on Mar 21, 2012, 15:41:
Verno wrote on Mar 21, 2012, 15:39:
How about because it's a video game?

Please stop with this silliness, different things matter to different people. Blah blah its just cars, its just sports, etc etc. Most people had very reasonable complaints considering the time invested and how the game was experienced. Just because some idiots filed an FTC complaint doesn't mean the entire userbase was doing it too.

And I'm pretty sure that's exactly what I said. People can not like it, people can complain. But BioWare is responding to this because the "movement" has gotten so out of control that it's affecting their PR. Again, if you believe in what you're creating, the PR value of such a thing shouldn't matter. By giving in to this, the Retake Mass Effect movement will feel validated and that means we'll see more of that nonsense every time a vocal group doesn't like something about a title (which guess what, is every game ever released now).

This is going to take a real quick drive down Bad Analogy Avenue, but alas...

Sadly you're correct, the general Gamer population are filled with a shitton of entitled morons that just recently started typing partial sentences in between teet suckling...however, using this as an excuse for us to not speak up when we can factually state something isn't quite right is equally as stupid as the ones going to the FTC over it.

I despise the whole "retake" bullshit just on the name of the group alone, even if I agree with the 'mission'. Why should I be penalized simply because there's a retarded group of people out there that agrees with my view of something?

Would you feel that if there was a topic you felt strongly about was endorsed by a group of people you don't agree with that you should shut up?
 
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31. Re: Mass Effect 3 Ending Changes Planned Mar 21, 2012, 15:49 Cutter
 
Parallax Abstraction wrote on Mar 21, 2012, 15:36:
How about because it's a video game? I hated the ending of LOST and The Sopranos too but I wasn't creating web sites and filing complaints with the FTC over it. Let me be clear, people certainly have a right to not like the ending (from what little non-spoilery tidbits I've pieced together, I'm sure I won't like it either) but if BioWare believed in what they were creating, retconing it just to please a bunch of people screaming on the Internet shouldn't be on the table. I don't care if people didn't like the ending, that's fine. But the people review bombing the game and filing complaints with the government are idiots and shouldn't be taken seriously. By even considering changing the ending, BioWare validates this behaviour.

You're confusing passive and interactive mediums. You weren't supposed to have any influence over Lost or The Sopranos. You don't particpate in books, films, and TV. CRPGs aren't just a story with some character development that happen around you, it's how you develop your character that is supposed to affect the story. This is the problem with this game. Everything you did ends up meaning nothing. It's cheap. It's lazy. And it's insulting.

This is not about sunshine and rainbow endings, it's about closure. It's about seeing how your actions over the course of 3 games changed the galaxy around you. People wanted a Fallout style ending where you could see those results. What they got was a metaphorical kick to the nuts. And that doesn't even address the DLC different ending fiasco!

Without actually experiencing why so many are legitinately pissed-off about this you really need to shut-up about it untill you do.
 
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30. Re: Mass Effect 3 Ending Changes Planned Mar 21, 2012, 15:47 necrosis
 
avianflu wrote on Mar 21, 2012, 15:33:
"with more than 75 critics giving it a perfect review score"

It takes chutzpah to say that in the PR release.
I love how he is comparing 75 people liking the game thousands not liking it. These 75 somehow have more weight than your MUCH larger consumer base. The consumer base that is actually paying for the game.

I just wish people raised this much of a stink over Dragon Age 2.
 
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29. Re: Mass Effect 3 Ending Changes Planned Mar 21, 2012, 15:46 Verno
 
Again, if you believe in what you're creating, the PR value of such a thing shouldn't matter. By giving in to this, the Retake Mass Effect movement will feel validated and that means we'll see more of that nonsense every time a vocal group doesn't like something about a title (which guess what, is every game ever released now).

Dude the Bioware forums rarely agree on anything and there was a poll with a 91% unsatisfactory ending result. This is not a small, vocal group of whiners or something. No one can ignore that "PR value". I get all the arguments about going back and making retroactive changes but that's not what Bioware is talking about doing, in fact they specifically said they will not change the endings.

It's not about you having a dissenting opinion (I agree that they shouldn't really do this) but saying stuff like "its just video games fellas come on" while also asking the authors to care about the artistic integrity of their product doesn't fly.
 
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28. Re: Mass Effect 3 Ending Changes Planned Mar 21, 2012, 15:43 Parallax Abstraction
 
Right, I forgot, this is a Blue's News thread. No good will come from having a dissenting opinion here. My break's over anyway, back to work.  
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27. Re: Mass Effect 3 Ending Changes Planned Mar 21, 2012, 15:41 necrosis
 
Parallax Abstraction wrote on Mar 21, 2012, 15:36:
Creston wrote on Mar 21, 2012, 14:19:
Parallax Abstraction wrote on Mar 21, 2012, 14:18:
(I have not yet seen the Mass Effect 3 ending but I can't imagine any ending that would warrant the level of outrage we've seen),

So why are you bitching about this? How about you SEE how bad it is first before you call everyone a bunch of whiners?

Creston

How about because it's a video game?
I guess you have never been passionate about something. Had something you really liked shit on hardcore. Or you just don't give a shit.

If its the later. Just please STFU and don't criticize others.
 
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26. Re: Mass Effect 3 Ending Changes Planned Mar 21, 2012, 15:41 Parallax Abstraction
 
Verno wrote on Mar 21, 2012, 15:39:
How about because it's a video game?

Please stop with this silliness, different things matter to different people. Blah blah its just cars, its just sports, etc etc. Most people had very reasonable complaints considering the time invested and how the game was experienced. Just because some idiots filed an FTC complaint doesn't mean the entire userbase was doing it too.

And I'm pretty sure that's exactly what I said. People can not like it, people can complain. But BioWare is responding to this because the "movement" has gotten so out of control that it's affecting their PR. Again, if you believe in what you're creating, the PR value of such a thing shouldn't matter. By giving in to this, the Retake Mass Effect movement will feel validated and that means we'll see more of that nonsense every time a vocal group doesn't like something about a title (which guess what, is every game ever released now).
 
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25. Re: Mass Effect 3 Ending Changes Planned Mar 21, 2012, 15:41 Scottish Martial Arts
 
Were working hard to maintain the right balance between the artistic integrity of the original story

Anyone else chortle at that one?

Bioware is really convinced that their shit doesn't smell.
 
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24. Re: Mass Effect 3 Ending Changes Planned Mar 21, 2012, 15:41 Cutter
 
finga wrote on Mar 21, 2012, 15:31:
Verno wrote on Mar 21, 2012, 15:23:
Listen I'm all for authorial intent but when you build the game around themes like friendship and player choice then discard that at the very end in the worst way....yeah that's a problem people should scream about.
Scream about? It's a video game. A VIDDEEEEOOOO GAMMMMEEE. There are people out there in your town not getting enough to eat, and this is how people choose to spend their time and release their outrage. It's cool if people don't like the ending. They can go ahead and not like it, but they should probably move on.

Well fine, shut up and go save the homeless in that case. Why are you wasting your time here? Complaining about complaints. Hypocrite much? Maybe you'd like to personally refund everyone's money who feel they were ripped off? No? Then stfu!
 
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23. Re: Mass Effect 3 Ending Changes Planned Mar 21, 2012, 15:41 eRe4s3r
 
You compare a linear entertainment medium with a predestined flow to a dynamic game-story spanning 150 hours of our own decisions and actions?

Those people carriny protest outside of verbal and textual protest are obviously crazy, but the ME3 ending is so bad, it makes Lost ending look like the best thing ever created by mankind.

Yes, that's how bad it is... Really.
 
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22. Re: Mass Effect 3 Ending Changes Planned Mar 21, 2012, 15:40 DarkCntry
 
Parallax Abstraction wrote on Mar 21, 2012, 15:36:
How about because it's a video game? I hated the ending of LOST and The Sopranos too but I wasn't creating web sites and filing complaints with the FTC over it. People certainly have a right to not like the ending but if BioWare believed in what they were creating, retconing it just to please a bunch of people screaming on the Internet shouldn't be on the table. I don't care if people didn't like the ending, that's fine. But the people review bombing the game and filing complaints with the government are idiots and shouldn't be taken seriously. By even considering changing the ending, BioWare validates this behaviour.

I agree, taking the whole thing so far overboard is retarded...a game is not something to be trivializing government resources over, however I also feel that there should be some voice behind the displeasure over the jarring issues with the ending. That should be the extent of it, after-all it is a product we paid for and we should expect a level of quality on par with the rest of the game itself.

Alas, this is the Internet and if it were not inhabited by a large population of socially inept trolls, then it wouldn't be the Internet.
 
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21. Re: Mass Effect 3 Ending Changes Planned Mar 21, 2012, 15:40 Creston
 
Parallax Abstraction wrote on Mar 21, 2012, 15:36:
Creston wrote on Mar 21, 2012, 14:19:
Parallax Abstraction wrote on Mar 21, 2012, 14:18:
(I have not yet seen the Mass Effect 3 ending but I can't imagine any ending that would warrant the level of outrage we've seen),

So why are you bitching about this? How about you SEE how bad it is first before you call everyone a bunch of whiners?

Creston

How about because it's a video game? I hated the ending of LOST and The Sopranos too but I wasn't creating web sites and filing complaints with the FTC over it. People certainly have a right to not like the ending but if BioWare believed in what they were creating, retconing it just to please a bunch of people screaming on the Internet shouldn't be on the table. I don't care if people didn't like the ending, that's fine. But the people review bombing the game and filing complaints with the government are idiots and shouldn't be taken seriously. By even considering changing the ending, BioWare validates this behaviour.

Yes, because obviously EVERYONE was filing complaints with the FTC! Shit man, I'm flying to Congress next weekend to complain it! WE ALL ARE! Rolleyes

Let's gather up everyone who has an issue with the ending and put them all on one heap. It's not as if most people who had an issue with the ending are just engaging in constructive dialogue on bioware's own forum, which has sections DEDICATED TO DOING JUST THAT.

And for "being fine" with people not liking the ending, you call them whiners twice.


Creston
 
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20. Re: Mass Effect 3 Ending Changes Planned Mar 21, 2012, 15:39 Verno
 
How about because it's a video game?

Please stop with this silliness, different things matter to different people. Blah blah its just cars, its just sports, etc etc. Most people had very reasonable complaints considering the time invested and how the game was experienced. Just because some idiots filed an FTC complaint doesn't mean the entire userbase was doing it too. In fact most of the complaints I've seen were always tempered with "...loved the rest of the game but WTF is up with the ending".

You should really see it, I think that would help provide some perspective here so you can see where people are coming from.
 
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19. Re: Mass Effect 3 Ending Changes Planned Mar 21, 2012, 15:36 Parallax Abstraction
 
Creston wrote on Mar 21, 2012, 14:19:
Parallax Abstraction wrote on Mar 21, 2012, 14:18:
(I have not yet seen the Mass Effect 3 ending but I can't imagine any ending that would warrant the level of outrage we've seen),

So why are you bitching about this? How about you SEE how bad it is first before you call everyone a bunch of whiners?

Creston

How about because it's a video game? I hated the ending of LOST and The Sopranos too but I wasn't creating web sites and filing complaints with the FTC over it. Let me be clear, people certainly have a right to not like the ending (from what little non-spoilery tidbits I've pieced together, I'm sure I won't like it either) but if BioWare believed in what they were creating, retconing it just to please a bunch of people screaming on the Internet shouldn't be on the table. I don't care if people didn't like the ending, that's fine. But the people review bombing the game and filing complaints with the government are idiots and shouldn't be taken seriously. By even considering changing the ending, BioWare validates this behaviour.
 
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18. Re: Mass Effect 3 Ending Changes Planned Mar 21, 2012, 15:35 Verno
 
dheer wrote on Mar 21, 2012, 15:30:
I just don't seem to understand the crying about having a new end and how it will wreck all art now and forever.

I'm assuming you mean on the bioware forums because I don't really see any of that here.

Are people so attached to the current ending? Was it some kind of amazing masterpiece? If it can be improved, why not do so?

Seems to me that this is a case of a developer actually listening to their fans and trying to make something for them to enjoy. Why is that a bad thing?

Personally I think the industry does enough "ship and patch" as it is without literally changing the story in games to fix up problems. It has nothing to do with artistic integrity or whatever. I think it's possible the ending(s) has been seen/spoiled for enough people that they can't really just get a do-over now. That's probably why they are sticking to extending it and having some explanations likely in the form of showing what happened to your companions and blah blah.

Scream about? It's a video game. A VIDDEEEEOOOO GAMMMMEEE. There are people out there in your town not getting enough to eat, and this is how people choose to spend their time and release their outrage. It's cool if people don't like the ending. They can go ahead and not like it, but they should probably move on.

Right because everyone was using the term scream in its most literal sense. Nothing matters in this industry, its all just videogames, sorry everyone.
 
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17. Re: Mass Effect 3 Ending Changes Planned Mar 21, 2012, 15:34 Cutter
 
Parallax Abstraction wrote on Mar 21, 2012, 14:18:
Great, cause listening to whiners on the Internet sets such a great precedent. Either you believe in the work you released or you don't. By capitulating to the whining idiots (I have not yet seen the Mass Effect 3 ending but I can't imagine any ending that would warrant the level of outrage we've seen), you tell people that by screaming loud enough, they can just get whatever they want. Stand by what you made.

Dude, you're so wrong on this and really shouldn't be commenting on this particular case without actually knowing what you're talking about. Without rehashing every arguement that's been put out there so far suffice to say that Bioware seriously screwed over the players here and this is the right thing to do in this case. This isn't people whining. This is people angry for several damn good reasons.

And still no apology from Bioware. The ego of those pricks! It's laughable that they think they can carry this IP forward at this point.
 
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16. Re: Mass Effect 3 Ending Changes Planned Mar 21, 2012, 15:34 DarkCntry
 
finga wrote on Mar 21, 2012, 15:31:
Verno wrote on Mar 21, 2012, 15:23:
Listen I'm all for authorial intent but when you build the game around themes like friendship and player choice then discard that at the very end in the worst way....yeah that's a problem people should scream about.
Scream about? It's a video game. A VIDDEEEEOOOO GAMMMMEEE. There are people out there in your town not getting enough to eat, and this is how people choose to spend their time and release their outrage. It's cool if people don't like the ending. They can go ahead and not like it, but they should probably move on.

Next time someone gets an order wrong at your local fast food joint, don't demand them fix it or get your money back, after-all, it's just fast food and you probably have some red herring at home to eat....
 
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15. Re: Mass Effect 3 Ending Changes Planned Mar 21, 2012, 15:33 avianflu
 
"with more than 75 critics giving it a perfect review score"

It takes chutzpah to say that in the PR release.
 
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14. Re: Mass Effect 3 Ending Changes Planned Mar 21, 2012, 15:32 Creston
 
Btw, this is VERY interesting (copied from a post on BW's forum.)

But I saw a thread on reddit, where supposedly a writer for BioWare spoke out on the ending, and then deleted his post. Obviously take with a grain of salt. But he's supposedly the writer for Mordin's death etc. But here is what he said:

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-reviewed.

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.



pastebin.com/i2cNVDp4

UPDATE:

One of the writers (the one who wrote mordins lines actually IIRC) posts on the PA forums sometimes. He usually posts, then deletes it within an hour. When asked about the ending he mentioned that almost all dialogue and such is peer reviewed, but that the ending was not. He said the leader writer had basically written the ending then didnt allow the other writers to review it. And it shows.


Edit : Followed by

As it's easier to write this once and then link it when necessary, here's what I wrote for Mass Effect 3.

Missions:

(I wrote most or all of the content on these, although other writers did voice passes on followers they owned)

Grissom Academy (Edit: John Dombrow, awesome writer of Overlord, wrote the Overlord call-out here)
Geth Dreadnought
Rannoch: Reaper Base
Illusive Man's Base (but only first line of actual talk with IM, after which Lead Mac Walters took over)
Eden Prime (with heavy consulting with John Dombrow, who wrote Javik)
Citadel Hub (it was a huge team effort with lots of folks doing plots and everyone writing their follower moments, but I was the writer ultimately responsible for managing content there)

Characters
(I did a voice pass on these people whenever they showed up and handled any Normandy or Citadel talks)

Tali
Joker
Traynor
Mordin (John handled the Genophage campaign, and he and I mapped out major Mordin conversations together; we are both responsible for the Shroud tower scene, but John did everything else in that mission, with me just touching Mordin's voice up a bit)

Bits
(small things I wrote)
A bunch of the emails, especially those from imports
The damn journals
PFCs Westmoreland and Campbell
Most Spectre terminal text
Citadel Plots: Hanar Diplomat, Batarian Sabotage, Medigel Sabotage, Krogan Poet, Matriarch Aethyta, Informant Assassination
Citadel Fetch Quests: About half of the ones you can solve by finding things on missions, all or mostly all the ones you solve by scanning planets (including the bestest one ever, the Fossilized Kakliosaur)
Citadel Ambient Bits: Several of the "pick a side" ambient moments, 1/3 to 1/2 of the pure flavor bits (with the awesome Ann and Sylvia picking up my slack): my personal pride ones are the PTSD Asari, the marines in Purgatory, and the incredibly unpleasant cheating spouse in the Commons. Oh, and Blasto.
Citadel Background Noise: The news articles, the background stuff that doesn't have subtitles, and the extremely complex and richly rewarding voices that talk on the elevator and in stores


So anyway, there you have it. It's been a long and wild ride, and it's amazing and humbling to see so many people emotionally engaging with the game. Thanks, everybody.

EDIT: To be clear and avoid future misunderstandings, feel free to offer commentary, positive or negative, about what I wrote, or ask questions about the same. If you wish to raise concerns about something I didn't write, you would be better served by going to the BSN or the wonderful Mass
Effect LJ community.



http://pastebin.com/ZV2QhViG

EDIT 2 : Chris Priestly said this was fake.

So, I saw this and went and asked Patrick about it.

Patrick didn't write this.

No one is getting banned or anything for posting this, but I want you to know it is not real. Just an imitation.


Creston

This comment was edited on Mar 21, 2012, 16:27.
 
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13. Re: Mass Effect 3 Ending Changes Planned Mar 21, 2012, 15:31 finga
 
Verno wrote on Mar 21, 2012, 15:23:
Listen I'm all for authorial intent but when you build the game around themes like friendship and player choice then discard that at the very end in the worst way....yeah that's a problem people should scream about.
Scream about? It's a video game. A VIDDEEEEOOOO GAMMMMEEE. There are people out there in your town not getting enough to eat, and this is how people choose to spend their time and release their outrage. It's cool if people don't like the ending. They can go ahead and not like it, but they should probably move on.
 
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