The “Retake Mass Effect” Movement
Quick note: this post is 100% Mass Effect Spoiler-Free. This also applies to the comments section, so if anybody posts a comment with Mass Effect 3 spoilers, it will be deleted and I will get angry about it. Anyway,
As a wise website has said, Gamers Are Embarrassing. That’s not an insult, as far as I’m concerned — that’s a simple fact. Not all gamers are embarrassing, but for all the annoying sports fans, annoying film geeks and annoying bookaholics, somehow gamers take the cake with an extraordinary lack of self-awareness and cluelessness to the world around them.
They obsess over and lust after nonexistent characters, they incessantly harass women for being women, they rage out because a product they bought has decreased in price, and they accuse a $10 cosmetic in-game item of being an “unethical” business practice. It seems that every time gamers gain attention from the media it just makes me shake my head in dismay.
But this time, it’s sunk to a new level.
I think it’s literally impossible for you to have not heard about the controversy until now, but just in case you haven’t, Mass Effect 3 was recently released and had a massive hype and fanbase surrounding it. This third installment was said to end the trilogy of Commander Shepard, and while it does evidently end the story (I’m going by what I’ve heard, I haven’t played it myself) it doesn’t end in a way that the fans like.
Well, that’s a pretty massive understatement. Starting just a few days after the game’s release, angry fans started a movement called “Retake Mass Effect.” They’ve joined together and demanded that Bioware make a new ending and release it for free, claiming that they are entitled to it because they bought it. They’ve complained all over the Internet, they’ve written petitions, and most famously of all, they filed a complaint to the Federal Trade Commission. No, that’s not a joke.
I don’t even know where to fucking start.
I think the name of this effort is the most telling part: Retake Mass Effect implies that the franchise was ever theirs to begin with, and that it’s time to take it back. News flash, angry fans: Unless you work for Bioware or EA, the franchise was never yours to begin with. If you really want to take Mass Effect, you’d better have a lot of money and some good lawyers.
The idea that you’re somehow entitled to more content if the original content wasn’t to your liking is completely absurd. News flash #2: When you buy a product you are taking a risk. Sometimes the dice will fail you. It is not your place to decide when a company owes you more content, even if it “ruined the rest of the series” for you. Call it unfair all you like. Life is not fair.
I’m not saying you aren’t allowed to criticize, and I’m not saying you’re not allowed to ask Bioware for post-ending DLC or say that you’d buy it if given the opportunity. There is a huge difference between asking and making demands. Making a request shows politeness and understanding, and it implies that you know you’re not the one who owns the rights to the property. Making a demand is rude, insulting and implies a position of power that you don’t have in this case. It implies that you have the right to make decisions for the company, when you never had that right in the first place.
Honestly, I’m not sure if I’ve ever seen an entitlement complex this egregious. These guys make Valve fans look reasonable and level-headed in comparison.
Yeah, I know what you’re going to say: “But they raised money for Child’s Play!” I know. Charity is great, and I’m glad to see something positive come out of this stupid, stupid controversy. But I don’t give them any points for it, because it’s obvious why they did it: they did it for leverage. They did because they thought media sites wouldn’t be able to criticize them because they’re “doing a good thing.” They did it for positive publicity first and any other reason second, and it’s clear as day.
It’s essentially the equivalent of a politician kissing a baby. He’s not doing it because he loves babies, he’s doing it so people will think he’s a nice guy.
Bioware has made comments about retconning the ending and making a new one. I’m really concerned by this. Not because it destroys the game’s artistic integrity, but because it’s a sign to all the angry, entitled morons that their actions are justified. It will make them think that they can get what they want by throwing a tantrum and blowing things out of proportion.
I hate to say this, but it really seems like a slippery slope from here. What will the Half-Life fans do when Episode 3 doesn’t reveal who the G-Man is? What will Grand Theft Auto fans do when GTA5 doesn’t let you have sex with prostitutes? What will Duke Nukem fans do when the next game doesn’t let you watch women get raped by aliens?
I’m not trying to defend the ending, or claim that it’s good. I haven’t played the game yet. I know next to nothing about the ending. But frankly, I don’t care how bad it is. I don’t care if it ends with Harbinger giving the camera a middle finger. I don’t care if it ends with an impromptu non sequitur song-and-dance-routine. Nothing justifies this level of outrage and stupidity.
So you thought the ending was bad.
You know what you do about it? You criticize it. Criticize the hell out of it! Send an email to Bioware or post on their forum letting them know that you strongly dislike the ending to their game. If your friends are considering getting it, warn them that the ending RUINED THE SERIES for you. If you’re really pissed off you can get a blog or website of your own and write a few posts of angry ramblings.
And then you know what you do? You fucking deal with it. Find a new game to play. Read a book. Watch a movie. Go to a party. Smoke a hookah. I don’t care what you do, just find some coping mechanism that doesn’t make the rest of us look like a bunch of spoiled brats with no concept of how the world works.
Christ. You know why nobody takes gamers seriously? It’s because of shit like this.