January 15, 2013 by Ezekiel Garcia
Since the release of Dragon Age 2, many gamers felt that Bioware — developers of classic franchises like Mass Effect and Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic — has lost its touch. Complaints included repetitive combat, conversation wheels that have no real context, sub plots that resort to managing romantic relationships. Throw in glitches galore and you have waves of angry gamers. What doesn’t help Bioware’s stance is that, by happenstance, they are owned by Electronic Arts: a publisher that has been pushing the buttons of gamers for years.
With the ending of Mass effect 3 bringing the gaming world into absolute chaos, I felt I would delve into the controversy surrounding Bioware, and the gamers who want the heads of every single employee. I present my theory on how the reputation of this once proud developer was tarnished, and the winner of each battle throughout this seamlessly ending war. Rest assured, however, there is no true victor, but let’s look at this epic battle I dub Bioware/EA vs. the Gaming Community.
A new year is upon us, and that means a new year of release dates, DLC for your favorite games, and new titles fighting for a spot in the annals of gamer favorites. 2012 was yet another huge step in gaming, like it seems to be every single year. The neverending steps will keep getting larger, with new games, new ideas, and new people getting into games. However, there was one cringe worthy blemish last year never seen before by the gaming community.
In the 2011 Spike Video Game Awards, Bioware announced they would release the trailer for the final installment of their extremely popular action RPG Franchise: Mass Effect 3. Gamers all over the world were in disbelief. Calendars were set for March, 2012, the month of its release. The marketing was through the roof, the hype was too much for many to handle, and almost never had there been so much anticipation for a single game.
I remember on that day I picked up my copy and immediately popped it in my ol’ 360, ready to annihilate me some Reapers. It took me a week to beat it (spring break to be specific). I got to that fateful ending. I hit eject on my console and said, “Well, that was stupid!” Granted, I did enjoy the overall experience, but that ending… I had to see if I was the only one who felt it. I took to my desktop and couldn’t believe the waves of forum temper tantrums that would come next.
The wrath that I witnessed was truly incredible. It divided the opinion of the entire community. If you told someone you liked it, you were a corporate shill. If you hated it, you were a spoiled brat! Petitions for a new ending emerged. Developers and writers who worked for Bioware were getting harassed online. The game itself was getting down voted like its name was Action 52. The Consumerist, a user based website, had their annual “Worst Company In the World” poll, and EA, the company that only makes video games, beat out Bank of America, the bank that had foreclosed more homes than any other bank at the time, as worst company in the world.
(Note: there were other factors involved in EA becoming voted in as worst company in America, but the ending was obviously the biggest factor). It was the LA Riots behind keyboards. The game itself sold very well, and got plenty of great reviews despite its hated ending. The reason for the madness is obvious: the game ended one of the most beloved franchises in the past few years on a whimper. It was insulting to those who stuck with Commander Shepard to the very end, spent dozens of hours trying to build up their soldiers, their engineers and everything in between. An extended ending was released for free, and it caused another divide, but that’s for later.
Personally, I believe there are worse endings out there (I’m looking at you, LA noire), and it was really nothing to get angry over. While it did end a trilogy in the worst possible way, at least you accomplished something in the end (spoiler alert edited). Point out all the plot holes you want, but at least it ended. Think of how many video games whose endings will never see the light of day because their developers closed doors. Nothing justified threatening people or declaring a company evil.
Round 1 Winner: The Video Game Community
Gamers have done something a large collective of fans almost never accomplish: turn the heads of the creators of a multimillion dollar project, and force those heads to think twice. For better or worse, the gaming community has won for a change. They challenged a huge company, and got what they wanted, despite everything going against them. For that, you as someone who refused to stand for being denied what was promised to you should be commended. Bioware even went so far as to hit social media channels like Twitter and ask fans what they wanted Mass Effect 4 to be.
Get your conversation wheels and romance subplots ready because we are headed into round 2 soon!