Oh Mass Effect. How you seem to always incite passion in gamers. For the past ten years you have given SciFi fans the near perfect canvas to paint their Star Trek / Starwars fantasies, and you’ve asked for so little in return. But there is a darker side to your relationship with your fans that the BioWare PR department hasn’t used while talking about your newest instalment. Of course I’m talking about the hate that comes from the strangest of places – your fans.
Alright, so I’m definitely more of a casual fan of the series. I got to the party late on my PS3 and started with Mass Effect 2. All the same, I poured close to a hundred hours into loyalty quests, upgrades, a complicated relationship with Jack, and my constant fear that Jacob was actually Xzibit and was going to try to pimp my Normandy. I managed to keep everyone alive and felt a real sense of attachment to my crew and our story.
There it was. One playthrough. Good times. Fond memories. Mad respect for BioWare and their crafting of another adventure I could talk about with both fellow players, and my non gaming SciFi nerd friends alike. Genius. I can only imagine how attached hardcore fans were by then, having played TWO amazing adventures at this point. I never had to live through the choice between Ashley and Kaiden. That was just a cut scene for me.
I’ve had so many heated discussions with friends and co-workers about the Mass Effect universe. On several occasions, I’ve come pretty close to losing a few of both because I didn’t see eye to eye with their view of their Sheppard and the whole story. I’m not going to get into all the different gripes I’ve heard in the last decade about Mass Effect. Haters gonna hate. The world keeps turning.
The elephant in the room however is the perfect example as to why I’m concerned for Andromeda on the 21st. Mass Effect 3’s ending is what I’ve been building towards. The huge fan outcry, to me, was a tad on the rediculous side. I understand a real, emotional connection with your Sheppard, but just because you worked so hard and fell in love with with the Normandy and her crew, doesn’t justify the need for a Disney fairytale ending where everyone hugs and the universe is safe once again. I really enjoyed and respect the original, non edited ending. War is won with lives. The “Sheppard’s” in real wars, fighting on the front lines seldom get to return to claim victory. Many lives are spent with little remorse to save many more lives. Victory isn’t always the best outcome. Sometimes it’s about avoiding the worst outcome. This is what I got from the ending of 3. These words fell on deaf ears of many, MANY hardcore fans after the credits rolled. I can sympathize, even if I can’t agree.
Thinking back on all those heated debates, where friendships were strained, I can’t help but worry. The early access players are already stirring the pot, and while I haven’t heard the sentence yet, I can feel it coming. “This isnt Mass Effect. Where’s my Sheppard?”
I hope cooler heads prevail and everyone can enjoy the new Mass Effect for what it is, a BioWare adventure you can get lost in and passionate about once again.
No more cupcakegates.
What do you think?