Monday, March 26, 2012

Mass Defect? Bioware "working hard" on new ending

For a video game series based on choice, "Mass Effect 3's" ending has some customers claiming fraud.

Bioware Studios released their latest installment to the "Mass Effect" series, "Mass Effect 3." The video game, available on the Microsoft Xbox 360, the Sony PlayStation 3 and PC, puts players in the role of Commander Shepard, a character who is tasked with pulling together alien races to defeat a formidable foe, called the Reapers. The third installment forces Commander Shepard to make tough choices on how best to defeat them. Every choice leads to different consequences. If a person played the first and second installments, Bioware gave  players the option of importing old saves from the previous games, making "Mass Effect 3" truly a unique work of art. In the first game, you could decide if teammates die or not. You also have the choice of genocide or sparing an alien race. "Mass Effect 3" is no different. "Mass Effect 3" gives players three choices that will end the Reapers' invasion. All three of the endings are essentially the same, except for a few minor details. The lack of effort, gamers say, from Bioware is what is causing a stir. One gamer, named El_Spiko, even filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission, claiming fraud.

Bowing to pressure from angry gamers, who took to social media to express their disgust, Bioware has decided to change the ending, according to their official blog. It's the first time a video game developer has listened to gamers and reversed course for a video game. This treatment will give gamers the incentive to voice their concerns via social media. Other protesters have effectively used social media - Twitter, Facebook - to get their messages out. From advertisers leaving Rush Limbaugh's radio show to revolutions throughout the Mideast, social media is without a doubt a powerful tool to bring about necessary change.

After finishing the game, (I logged roughly 40 hours) the gamers who are mad at the endings have a valid case. If you have played the games from the first "Mass Effect" until now, you'll hear nonplayable characters talking about your earlier exploits. You'll unlock missions - or even lose missions - based on the choices you make. Gamers are fired up because no matter how much of a regenade you are - or how much of a paragon you are - the endings were the same.

My recommendation? Bioware should stick to their guns and by their product. The game is an excellent achievement - it's an emotional roller coaster that will not doubt leave you spent. The ending is a shade of real life - not every story ends with the hero riding into the sunset.

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