Okay, a word of warning: I’m a little upset right now and apt to use crude language and cruder metaphors to make my point. If either of those things bother you… well, you probably wouldn’t be on the internet. But just in case, here’s a kitten.
Now that that’s out of the way…
I’m going to make a very crude argument for why the “changing the ending to Mass Effect 3 would set a bad precedent for art” argument falls flat.
Well, actually I’m going to make one less crude argument first and then move on to the crude one.
First of all, random person who disagrees with me but deliberately sought me out so you could insult my intelligence and demonstrate how poor your comprehension of the entire situation is, you can’t set a precedent unless you’re the first one to do something. And this would not be the first time an ending changed because people didn’t like it. That’s what test audiences are for in the film industry. It’s why authors have their friends and editors read a book before releasing it. It’s why Bethesda released the Broken Steel DLC. ‘Art’ changes all the time. It happens any time ‘art’ intersects with ‘the desire of artists to make a living.’
So. You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.
The problem is that in this case the test audience is composed of thousands of upset fans who preordered the game expecting something with an ending that wasn’t terrible (Or genius but incomplete, depending on what you’ve been smoking this morning). Specifically, something that lived up to the promises made during the prerelease hype that made us buy the game because they sounded good.
Perhaps you can understand why we’d be a little upset.
Now, it’s time for the crude argument we’ve all been waiting for, kids.
I’m going to start this off by pointing out the even more obvious problem with the argument. I’m a design student. And arguing ‘artistic integrity’ to defend something that was meant to be sold but did not satisfy a significant portion of its audience tells me that you do not understand art, either.
You want to know what one of the first things we learned in design class was?
Design is to art as sex is to masturbation.
I kid you not. I got that straight from one of the best teachers I ever had, and let me tell you why it’s applicable now.
If you’re having sex, and your partner doesn’t like what you’re doing… you fucking change what you’re doing. You don’t whine about how that would compromise your sexual integrity or some shit like that. You compromise. You find something that will make both of you happy. You seek middle ground. And if you disagree with this point I suspect your lovers will be very unhappy.
If you’re masturbating, of course, nobody can tell you you’re doing it wrong. :P
Now, sometimes a designer can argue that it’s better his way and convince the client and make them happy. Sometimes the client/customer doesn’t know what they want, and it’s your job to help them see it your way. That’s fine. But BioWare hasn’t exactly gone out of their way to make a convincing argument that the ending is better how it is. And claiming ‘artistic integrity’ doesn’t cut it.
Until they do, I’m going to keep holding the line.
I’m tired of the ‘artistic’ argument. I’m tired of the ‘bittersweet’ argument. And I’m tired of dealing with people who want to assume that I’m a ‘linear’ thinker who ‘didn’t get it.’ This is the kind of argument that makes me apply Hanlon’s Razor to your comment and opt to stop dealing with you.
I welcome civil discussion, but using the same tired arguments as everyone else will get you nowhere fast. They’re just as wrong now as they were a week ago.
Lastly: I support Retake Mass Effect. I believe that BioWare has claimed repeatedly that Mass Effect is OUR story, and we should have some say in how it ends.
And if you just want to insult me, I have one thing to say to you.
Get the hell off my ship.