Matt's Podcast 9: Massive Effect or Affect?

Matt Barton's picture

Mass Effect 3Mass Effect 3I was having such a good time this morning WRITING about Mass Effect 3 that I decided to do a 40 minute podcast about it, too. In addition to elucidating why I like the ending, I also jabber on about why gaming NEEDS this sort of thing--indeed, why sheltering kids from unpleasant realities may do them more harm than good in the long run. I also nitpick about the game and why it needs a lot more variety in its gameplay. (Note: I don't address the internal logical inconsistencies of the story here; I admittedly don't pay enough attention to this kind of thing to care if plot point A in the first game doesn't jive with plot point B in the second and makes utter nonsense of plot point C in the third. I'll leave that kind of thing for the alpha nerds.)
Download the mp3 here.

Comments

CremeofSumYungGai (not verified)
I think you are pretty far

I think you are pretty far off about why people didn't like the ending. The problem wasn't that it was unhappy. The problem was that it was so boring and poorly done. After playing through three of these games and I came to that ending, I didn't say "Wow that satisfying! I'm so glad I played." I tossed my controller on the floor and say "Wow! That's the best you could come up with?" Though I would say the writing for the whole game was a step down from previous entries. Suffering from writing themselves into a corner and wishing they were making movies not video games. They bring back all the boring characters for your squad too ugh.

Matt Barton
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I think it's not accurate

I think it's not accurate that everybody who hates the ending of this game hates it for the reasons you and others have mentioned. Mainly, I just don't think the majority of people who enjoy this game are up on the lore and many have not even played the first two. Sure, the hardcore are probably rightfully hitting that red-shirt-guy level of nerd rage over this, but the for the Rest of Us, it's just a matter of - hey, this game has a really provocative ending. As I said here and elsewhere, you have a right not to like that ending, or really and genuinely hate it, but going so far as to trying to force the developer to change it is just going too far in my opinion.

I don't doubt that a lot of people who didn't like the ending for whatever reason went online and saw all this stuff about the perceived story incongruities and latched onto that--seems a lot more credible and compelling than just saying "I was really upset that Shepherd couldn't save everyone." The idea that *everyone* who dislikes the ending does so for these reasons, though, just ain't so.

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Hammer
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Joined: 03/23/2008
My thoughts

I haven't played the game yet, but I admit I am a fan of happy endings. Life is just too full of unpleasant moments, and I want my fantasy experiences to be a bit more upbeat. This seems to be a matter of difference of opinion between people with different tastes. Matt, I think you've mentioned in the past that Empire was your favorite Star Wars movie. I vastly prefer A New Hope. I think this is a similar preference.

However, in interactive games this divide becomes much worse. It's easier for people to accept when watching a movie that things turn out poorly (even if that isn't their preference). However, when you're controlling a character in a game and allowed to make choices that affect the plot, to say at the end of it all that no matter what you choose or chose previously, the outcome will be bleak, sort of undercuts the effect of all of those choices. It makes people feel as if their choices didn't matter (which is what we keep hearing for ME3). Furthermore, it makes people angry that they didn't have a better option (this is the Kobayashi Maru scenario reaction). "I don't believe in a no-win scenario."

When you combine the above with a game like Mass Effect, where one of the big draws was how your choices mattered so much, to the extent that they carried over from one game to the next, and you're left with something at the end where all of your previous choices didn't matter, and you're screwed no matter what you do, it's a very unsatisfying feeling.

clok1966
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Joined: 01/21/2009
I havent listend ot the

I havent listend ot the podcast or played the game.. but if you hit the forums (bioware) http://social.bioware.com/forums/forum/Mass-Effect-3/Mass-Effect-3-Story...

all i can say is i hope these people (sorry, looks (i said looks, not are) like fanatics to me when i read some of it) put this much work into something that matters, like world hunger or other things that need this kind of passion.. but sadly i know 99% dont.... Amazing how this has riled people up so much, a game.. something that most have admited was fine till the last few minutes.. I guess.. i felt the same about Neon Genesis Evangelion ending.. pissed me off.. but other then mentioning it here.. today for the first time, thats as far as i cared.. I know poeple where so unhappy they made death threats.. and one of the writers was killed (though its suspect if it was becuase of the show).. and that simple reason is why i think this is SO friggin sad.. a game.. and people think its worth the time to change it. Take you passion and change somthing that matters.

whats even worse.. if they do change it .. are they going to do a DALLAS or ROSSANNE? it was just a dream! it never happened.. Changeing something that has happned is .. no matter what just silly.. to me. see blow its from PENNY ARCADE (read it, its great) http://penny-arcade.com/comic

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agn again.. i guess all this BS is good.. i wasnt going to bother with ME3.. now I gotta :)

Matt Barton
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It took me FOREVER to finally

It took me FOREVER to finally get it, but I think I FINALLY understand what's got so many smart people riled up (at least, people smart enough to know that bad endings are not "bad" in and of themselves). But it is just silly that you have so few options at the end, including REALLY obvious ones like talk to or ask the child at the end more questions. It seems ludicrous that Shepherd wouldn't want to ask if it's possible to just shut down the reapers, for example. Why would he just accept what he is told? That DOES seem strange, like the writers just wanted to FORCE the dilemma on you without regard for Shepherd's character. There are other incongruities, too, but this one seems the worst IMO.

I don't think people would have reacted so strongly, though, if the endings weren't bad. If you didn't get much choice at the end, but everything turned out hunky dory, only a few diehards would care. But couple the tragic end with the lack of consistency, and you get a shit storm.

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Anonymous (not verified)
I'm disappointed in you,

I'm disappointed in you, Matt. You were one of the first to point and laugh at the fans before you had any understanding of what even their actual complaints were. After realizing you might have missed something, you try to cover up by calling them "alpha nerds" for understanding the story better than you did.

Not understanding and not caring isn't making you less of a nerd, Matt. It just makes you an insecure one, who needs to point out there's someone even nerdier out there.

I haven't even started ME3 and I'm not a big ME fan, but it does sound like there's some merit to all of these complaints. And it doesn't sound like these are some miniscule details that only alpha nerds care about, either. http://www.shamusyoung.com/twentysidedtale/?p=15395

You've made yourself look both ignorant and petty.

Nathaniel Tolbert
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Joined: 11/06/2010
Really?!? Still?

Man, are you people still throwing your toys out of the pram and crying a hissy fit? It's A GAME. The ending sucked, yes because we invested so much in the character over three games. It does fit. You were told from the beginning, THE BEGINNING of the FIRST GAME that the odds were so insurmountable that your success was unlikely and your survival nigh impossible. But that's not the reason you all are whining like a 3 year old who didn't get his way. What upsets you is through all of this online blitzing about how you all are "Taking back Mass Effect 3" is that you are still NOT getting what you want, and that someone who has played all the games doesn't agree with you. Zero Punctuation thought the ending was fine as well, and thought that all of this whinging is just a bunch of fanboys being upset. Are you all going to go carpet bomb him now too? You cannot believe anyone would think the ending is fitting, and as such you lash out in such a petty way as to show how ridiculous society has gotten at coddling their young. Oh we can't let them play outside, someone might kidnap them! Oh we can't let them watch children's TV, it will warp their sensibilities. And so on and so forth. What you get from this is in the end is a bunch of entitled 20 somethings who think the world should be handed to them on a silver spoon and everything they demand, they should get. You talk about Matt Barton being both ignorant and petty. Maybe you shouldn't be casting stones from within your glass house. And no, I didn't like the ending of Mass Effect 3, but I felt it was fitting.

Oh and one more thing. With the whole, 'we'll talk about the ending when more people have finished it' and 'we'll make a DLC to better explain the ending' doesn't equate to 'You've won, we'll give you a happy ending now.'. You do realize that you have given EA massive free reign to string you along through countless more dollars of DLC to better fatten their wallets at your expense, just so your self-entitled @$$ can get 'the ending us fans so rightly deserve.' You know what I and most other people I've talked to about this say? You are entitled to NOTHING. You didn't CREATE Shepard, you didn't CREATE Mass Effect. This kind of shit is the reason most still consider gaming as something that doesn't deserve creative protection as art. How can you take something seriously when people act like this?

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Matt Barton
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Joined: 01/16/2006
I've already addressed these

I've already addressed these issues, so please listen to podcast 10 before kicking a dead horse.

As for looking ignorant and petty, I say that's a lot more on the whiners than on me. "I don't like the ending; Bioware did a lousy job, wahh, wahh, let's sign a petition and go to the FTC about it." Whatever. Bioware has a right to make whatever ending THEY want, and if it doesn't make a damn bit of sense, that's their choice. You are free to complain about it; it's a free country. It sucked. Move on.

News flash! Nobody SHOULD care about this. It's not a political event. It's not a crusade. It's just a bunch of self-entitled, self-important nincompoops who care WAY, WAY more about a minor fictional universe than any sane person EVER would.

There are plenty of hardcore Trekkers that really hate certain episodes or even whole series. Did they ever try to sue Gene Roddenberry? HELL, NO. Because they had the sense to realize that Star Trek was HIS creation, not THEIRS. Nitpick away, write essays pointing out every mistake, but understand that no matter how much YOU choose to over-analyze something, the studios owe you nothing.

Imagine the type of arse who'd go up to Gene Roddenberry, and, despite all of the great things he created that they adore, they choose to bash him over the one thing he did that they hated and hurt his feelings. Do *you* want to be that guy?

If I were part of BioWare right now, I'd be severely disappointed about these "fans" and feel like I'd been backstabbed by them. If you really cared about this series, you wouldn't be rubbing their nose in it. Sure, they made some very questionable decisions and had some problems with their ending. Maybe you think it was awful. Fine, post a harsh review of the game somewhere, accept it, and move on.

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Anonymous (not verified)
Sheesh, Matt. Way to miss the

Sheesh, Matt. Way to miss the point or something. I already said I'm not really a big ME fan. I'm not writing this as a fan, I'm writing it as your reader. I have your book and used to read your stuff online. I have nothing against your opinions about ME, I'm just surprised at your behaviour. You acted like a teenager and I've lost a lot of respect to you. Even now you are going on a tirade about stuff that have nothing to do with with anything I just said.

clok1966
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Joined: 01/21/2009
anon
Anonymous wrote:

Sheesh, Matt. Way to miss the point or something. I already said I'm not really a big ME fan. I'm not writing this as a fan, I'm writing it as your reader. I have your book and used to read your stuff online. I have nothing against your opinions about ME, I'm just surprised at your behaviour. You acted like a teenager and I've lost a lot of respect to you. Even now you are going on a tirade about stuff that have nothing to do with with anything I just said.

I have tried to stay out of this... if you want to post anon, its not such a big deal.. but this ME thing has 3 threads here, all with a ton of ANON posts.. so do the 2-3 anon posts in this thread all belong to the same guy? How would anybody know..

but saying Matt called somebody a name (alpha nerd i belive was the name) and its bad, then doing the same "Not understanding and not caring isn't making you less of a nerd, Matt. It just makes you an insecure one, who needs to point out there's someone even nerdier out there." no matter how you word it, you just called him one in that sentance. so its ok for you to do it, but not Matt? Me, i already think the whole thing is silly, but as I have stated, havent played the game, maybe I will join in and call for BIO WARE's collective head.. but i doubt it. I think the real problem here is simple, people dont like people not agreeing with them.. I have been 100% opposite of Matt on many things (skyrim), but respect his view, even if i dont agree with it. This is a site where people tell you what "they" think, you tell them why they are right ( or wrong) and thats that.. the problem with this is people are getting all warped about it .. and are acting out on it. It appears ME is a beloved game, and matt did the equivilent of calling your GF ugly.. get over it.. if you think she is pretty, who cares what matt (or anyone else thinks).. When sombody says - i think ending A is ok, its ugly, and its not happy, and thier may have been other choices, but as in real life we all dont make the correct choice everytime, so it was ok with me.

your job is to tell him why you think its not right.. not attack him for thinking it.. make your point of view known. And thats the problem with this whole ME mess.. we have hte people who hate it and people who say its ok.. and they have just degraded to name calling... neither is correct... and both are correct. its a story done in a video game.. there was no template..

My 2 cents on it in the end (right or wrong).. how can you change it? its like ripping hte last chapter out of book you read and putting new ones in... its not the same book anymore. As i said in a another post.. its DONE.. complain or say its ok.. but changing it? how? Did sheppard dream it all? was it a alternative timeline? ARNT WE ALL sick of those gimicks?

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