Thursday, April 12, 2012
Electronic Arts Inc.
209 Redwood Shores Parkway
Redwood City, CA 94065
Ladies and Gentlemen:
I am writing to respectfully address my concerns with the ending of the game Mass Effect 3. I will first give a brief biography of myself and my experience with the Mass Effect trilogy. Next I will describe why the ending has offended me. I will close with a few remarks as to why and how this unpleasant situation should be remedied.
I am a 50 year old mother of a middle school aged daughter. I have played computer games since I was 16 (Adventure). I count myself privileged as an undergraduate to have played ZORK on the MIT mainframe computer and to have once met Marc Blanc when Infocom was still just an idea. I am African American and born in the south. I have two advanced degrees, a wonderful job, a loving family and many friends. I tell you this not to brag, but to dispel the stereotype that both your market and primary complainants are white males between the ages of 14 and 25 years.
I watched my daughter and 43 year old brother play Mass Effect and its sequel for years, but I did not join in. I pre-ordered ME3 for my daughter as a reward for outstanding academic achievement. At the end of her play through she was in tears of heartbreak and fury. I then took up your game to determine why a piece of entertainment that cost $65, made my baby girl cry.
I played your series backwards; ME3- 3/4 complete, followed by ME2- 3/4 complete, and finally a ME to ME3 complete play through. Here are my heartfelt opinions about these games:
· Mass Effect- 92 out of 100 points. Very good ending, a little slow, a few glitches but no real complaints except for the elevators.
· Mass Effect 2- 100 out of 100. Amazing graphics, superb character development, few glitches, and a fantastic ending. I am a Halo fanatic but ME2 is without a doubt, the best game I’ve ever played on XBOX.
· Mass Effect 3- 95 out of 100 on everything but the last five minutes of the game, which rate an absolute zero (that’s zero degrees Kelvin or -273.15⁰C because I thought hell must be freezing over as I watched it unfold).
In those last five minutes I felt bludgeoned when the VI-StarChild-SpaceBrat came out of nowhere and preached the end game. I know that your company would not set out to offend their customers, but here is my visceral interpretation of the dialog spoken by SpaceBrat: “You paid $65 dollars to be the toys of the game’s developers and now they will harvest you all the way to the bank, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha. Don’t take your computer games so seriously you geeks, the developers are the gods here and they can bite you in the butt if they want to. You are a civilization of suckers and there are more of you born every minute.”
There are no polite words to describe how affronted I was to get this message from a game for which I paid $65 plus tax (and between our two households, my brother and I estimate a minimum spending in excess of $300 for all ME related content). Whether you intended that to be the message or not, does not matter. It was the message.
In addition to the ambush by SpaceBrat, it was the abandonment of the commander by a loyal crew, the stranding of dextrorotatory allies in a levorotatory solar system and the final offense of a quasi-religious epilogue that left me enraged beyond depiction. Why did your epic space saga end with my epic fail? Given the price, I expected better closure.
Yes it is just a game, but I am of the Vince Lombardi school of thought in such matters.
There are many who feel as I do because in five minutes, you squandered our trust in you. We paid you for a game we could win. We paid you for entertainment, distraction and fantasy. If we want a dose of ugly reality about the costs of war, we can always read the paper. We are insulted.
I respect that Mass Effect is your intellectual property to do with as you will. I am sure that you in turn, respect my discretionary spending dollars. I suggest a resolution be reached that both your company and fan base can celebrate.
The players of the Mass Effect fantasy universe would gain satisfactory closure to a product in which they have substantially invested (money, time, and trust); your company would gain the continued loyalty and confidence of its consumers. My suggestions:
1. SpaceBrat must go. To paraphrase your own dialogue: “He is not acceptable.” So do what Shepard did and just shoot him.
2. Your story is an epic saga worthy of the best ending/s that Hollywood has ever offered the cinema. Here are some examples of good closure from Hollywood’s very best:
A. Classic Hollywood happy ending, as in Ben Hur. This movie set the bar over which all epics must jump. Tears of joy flow.
B. Classic Hollywood bittersweet ending, as in Casa Blanca. Sniffles abound.
C. Classic Hollywood sad ending, as in Gladiator. The bad guy dies, there is resolution with the LI, and then the good guy dies. Everyone cries.
3. While I think this covers it, I have been asked to also advocate for the fan girl fantasy ending: Shepard and LI on beach, the sun sets, wine glasses chink, lips meet in a kiss. Now fade out. No one cries, everyone… exhales.
Well why not?
Thank you for taking the time to read this letter and I hope something good comes of it for all concerned.
Dr. Hazelyn Patterson
My letter to bioware
Blog entry posted by H. Patterson, Apr 27, 2012.