Casey Hudson's Full Mass Effect 3 Statement Hits Social.BioWare Forums

 

 (WARNING: The article below contains significant Mass Effect 3 SPOILERS. Read on at your own risk.)

A complete statement by BioWare director Casey Hudson addressing the Mass Effect 3-ending furor hit the Social.BioWare forums just hours ago.

“Addressing,” in this instance, means that Hudson celebrates the trilogy-concluding title’s critical praise, thanks fans that have supported the Smithsonian Art Museum-honored franchise since 2007, and defending the controversial concluding moments while glossing over assuring fans that their disappointments will be taken into account.

The statement by Hudson, in its entirety, reads:

 

“There’s been a lot of discussion and debate about the conclusion of Mass Effect 3, so I thought I’d share my  perspective with you here. I’ll avoid outright spoilers, but I’d still recommend finishing the game and experiencing it for yourself before reading this.  

“For the last eight years, Mass Effect has been a labor of love for our team; love for the characters we’ve created, for the medium of video games, and for the fans that have supported us.  For us and for you, Mass Effect 3 had to live up to a lot of expectations, not only for a great gaming experience, but for a resolution to the countless storylines and decisions you’ve made as a player since the journey began in 2007. So we designed Mass Effect 3 to be a series of endings to key plots and storylines, each culminating in scenes that show you the consequences of your actions.  You then carry the knowledge of these consequences with you as you complete the final moments of your journey.

“We always intended that the scale of the conflict and the underlying theme of sacrifice would lead to a bittersweet ending—to do otherwise would betray the agonizing decisions Shepard had to make along the way.  Still, we wanted to give players the chance to experience an inspiring and uplifting ending; in a story where you face a hopeless struggle for basic survival, we see the final moments and imagery as offering victory and hope in the context of sacrifice and reflection.

“We’ve had some incredibly positive reactions to Mass Effect 3, from the New York Times declaring it “a gripping, coherent triumph”, to Penny Arcade calling it “an amazing accomplishment”, to emails and tweets from players who have given us the most profound words of appreciation we’ve ever received.   

But we also recognize that some of our most passionate fans needed more closure, more answers, and more time to say goodbye to their stories—and these comments are equally valid. Player feedback such as this has always been an essential ingredient in the development of the series.

“I am extremely proud of what this team has accomplished, from the first art concepts for the Mass Effect universe to the final moments of Mass Effect 3.  But we didn’t do it on our own.  Over the course of the series, Mass Effect has been a shared experience between the development team and our fans—not just a shared experience in playing the games, but in designing and developing them.  An outpouring of love for Garrus and Tali led to their inclusion as love interests in Mass Effect 2.  A request for deeper RPG systems led to key design changes in Mass Effect 3.  Your feedback has always mattered.  Mass Effect is collaboration between developers and players, and we continue to listen. 

“So where do we go from here? Throughout the next year, we will support Mass Effect 3 by working on new  content.  And we’ll keep listening, because your insights and constructive feedback will help determine what that content should be. This is not the last you’ll hear of Commander Shepard.  

“We look forward to your continued support and involvement as we work together to shape the remaining experiences in the story of the Mass Effect trilogy.

“Thanks for taking this journey with us.”

Casey Hudson

 

Indeed, the fan backlash has reached a near desperation, as was recently addressed in Hudson’s exclusive interview with Digital Trends. The ChipIn movement “Retake Mass Effect” has even foregone several circulating petitions demanding that Hudson and his BioWare team engineer and release fresh possible endings and instead pledged a donation to the gamers-for-children’s-healthcare charity Child’s Play if Hudson and Co. will simply craft an ending that better accounts for in-game decisions’ impact.

That approach has already raised more than $43,000 from over 1,800 donors, as reported by Examiner.com’s Tara Swadley. A Facebook group demanding a new ending has accumulated over 28,000 “Likes,” she added.

Long-time fans have complained en masse largely because Mass Effect 3‘s ending is so constructed as to provide minimal (if any) satisfying closure, arguable sequel/spinoff baiting and a bittersweet fate for Shepard upon which every success and failure for three games has absolutely no impact. Shepard inevitably dies. The only variable left to choice is whether to end all space’s synthetic life – including the converted Geth and even the Reapers themselves, whose destruction has been long sought – will live or collectively perish. One possible ending, depending upon asset gathering up to that point, has Shepard alive, breathing and returned to decimated London after forming a brand-new synthetic/organic hybrid life form.

In the concluding pre-credits moment, the Normandy crew is seemingly marooned upon a lush jungle planet and looks to the sky upon exiting their crashed craft. After the credits roll, an old man (voiced by moon-landing astronaut Buzz Aldrin) has finished telling a child the story of “the Shepard” when she requests just one more story. He agrees.

A message after that rightfully declares Shepard a “legend” but pleads that players continue the exploits by buying BioWare’s forthcoming but as-yet undetailed downloadable content.

Allow a brief opinionated moment: there’s a direction where this could soon be headed – and if taken and BioWare crafts a new ending made available only as monetized DLC, it guarantees Hell will break loose among the BioWare faithful. Granted, it won’t entirely be within the developers’ hands whether or not gamers will be asked to pay for an ending that more satisfactorily completes the game; remember, EA is the publisher.

But some things do always roll downhill – like it or not.


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