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Mass Effect 3 Controversy Could Be Good for the Game Industry
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August 25, 2020
4:50 pm
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Lisa Clark

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March 18, 2012
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Image EnlargerMass Effect 3 was highly anticipated and it’s no surprise that some fans called in sick to work or school to stay home and enjoy playfests. It’s also no surprise that many would beat the game quickly. Luckily most fans are respectful enough to avoid spoilers (or at least without an alert first) but still, you have to be careful the story isn’t ruined for you with so many racing to the finish line.

So imagine how I felt when I started to see the Tweets, FB messages, blog posts and other video game news complaining about the ending of ME3? I didn’t want to click on anything that talked about the ending. I didn’t want to see any spoilers. And yet… it was everywhere!

In what would become one of the biggest video game controversies of all time, the fans were angry at the ending of ME3 (or at least a very large percentage of the fans). But then, BioWare did something that no game company has ever done before- they offered to rewrite the ending, giving players alternate possibilities if they didn’t like the first one.

Some were happy with this, while others called them a “sell-out”, claiming that BioWare should have stuck with their original creative vision for the project. Opinions were all over the place but what did any of it really mean?

Well, some believe that the controversy over the ME3 ending might actually have been a good thing for the game industry as a whole.

Mass Effect 3's Ending Controversy Is Actually Good for the Industry, says Arkadium game designer Matt Plotecher. What some see as a problem, Plotecher argues is a "watershed moment" for the overall growth of the medium.

Plotecher says:

Mass Effect 3 has run aground on an issue that has long plagued other media. Books, movies, and television shows have all gone through the exact same issue: what should one do when an ending fails to resonate with the audience? While many would grant the creators the right to finish the story as they see fit, many creators have also changed their mind about the original ending they made.

And this is a great point to bring up. Many in the industry want video games to be seen as an artform like movies, books and music. If we do hope to achieve this in mainstream society, then certain views will have to change. This article explores that more deeply and also analyzes the role that the ME3 controversy has in propelling the industry one step further as a creative medium.

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