We are mere hours away from the release of the Extended Cut DLC, and I wanted to say a few things to my beloved HTL community. I wish to express what an honor and a privilege it has been these past few months to get to know everyone, participate in all of the different initiatives, express my views over the podcasts, and find a haven where I could commiserate about the endings to my favorite game of all time. Nay...my favorite story of all time.
Mass Effect was always more than a game to me. I had never beat a video game on a console before, and I certainly had no coordination to play a shooter. I found Mass Effect to be very forgiving in terms of teaching me how to play shooters, TPS or FPS, and I was forever grateful, because otherwise I would never have become so involved with the story. It's a story I needed more than anything when I discovered it; it was a story about hope in the face of adversity. That was a rough time in my life, and I needed a reminder that there is always reason to find hope, even when you're sure there is none to be had. Mass Effect and Mass Effect 2 not only delivered that message to me, they empowered me to get out and set things straight in my life again. This is why I have become so involved in the online community for this game these past few years: it has touched me in a way no other story has, or probably ever will.
The reason Mass Effect has become so near and dear to me is also the reason why I feel like the endings are a betrayal of all the series stood for. The end to Mass Effect 3 was bound to be emotional, but I thought it would be in a good way. Instead, it was bleak and grim, and was vastly different from the message of positive hope the series had given me in my own dark hours. I became determined to reclaim Mass Effect from the darkness like it had done for me, and so my time with Retake/HTL started. I put together a massive collection of data that included media coverage, fan reactions, alternative fan endings, videos, and more. I wanted to create an invaluable resource for the Retake movement, as well as provide everything BioWare would need to research and understand the situation. I'd like to think I was fairly successful, and I take great pride in it because I know I made a difference. Perhaps that's all I can ask for.
Then again, we all have made a difference already. The Extended Cut DLC isn't what many of us wanted, but it exists due to the fact we were too impossible to ignore. BioWare couldn't get away with not listening to so many people speaking with one loud voice. I think that's something to be very proud of, even if it's not what we asked for. Sometimes, you've got to take the small victories.
There are many who are already writing off the Extended Cut DLC because we know it's not what is truly needed. I understand the sentiment; I can't imagine how "clarification and closure" could possibly bring my beloved story back from the dark, nihilistic themes that pervade the ending. However, I knew that's how it would be from the time the DLC was announced, and decided long ago not to judge the Extended Cut for what it should be. To do so would be folly and rather counter-productive. Rather, we should judge it for what it is, not what it should have been or could have been. I also urge everyone to continue to be polite and at least try to be understanding of the BioWare staff, no matter what the Extended Cut gives us. I don't care if you agree with what they have done, what they're currently doing, or anything else. I know I don't, but I understand no one gets anywhere with anyone else by being negative and a complete downer. Even if I am thoroughly unsatisfied with the Extended Cut, I still believe the best way forward is to offer my hand instead of putting it behind my back.
As far as the future goes, I'll continue to be here for the ride. I am a fledgling gamer and I wish to know more about this world I've somehow wormed my way into. The Mass Effect 3 issue might die with tomorrow's release of the Extended Cut, or it may not. I intend to hold out hope for Shepard and friends even after that has come and gone. I might be the last one clinging on to the story by the time the week is over. However, my interest in business will keep me here to be on the front lines of future gamer advocacy, no matter what happens next.
I want to say "thank you" to everyone who has made me feel welcome here. This is truly a great community and I am very proud to be a part of it. Special thanks go to Krista (kihten), Laura (MissFish), Mike (Awesomologist), Matt (darkone778), Rob (Reptilian Rob) and Amanda (aderyn_brea), because without them, I wouldn't have been half as involved as I am now. (If I forgot anyone, don't yell at me! XD) I also want to thank Jessica Merizan for not only coming here, but taking the time to talk to people here one-on-one about their concerns. It means a lot to me that you are genuinely concerned about what we have to say, Jessica. I think I speak for a lot of members here when I say that. Again, thank you!
Finally, I'll leave you all with my favorite piece from the Mass Effect 3 OST, because it embodies what I love about the series the most, even though the endings failed me...
P.S. Thank you, Shepard, for being my inspiration.
My Open Letter to the HTL Community
Blog entry posted by SkyShep, Jun 25, 2012.
About the Author
I am a Professional Aeronautics major with a concentration on Aviation Safety, and minors in Weather and Business at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. My interests beyond aviation and aerospace include writing, science fiction, video games, community service, the military and nerd culture. Most of the time, my blogs will be about aforementioned topics, but not always! I speak a fair bit of French and a little bit of Chinese, so don't be surprised if you see either of these languages. 懂了吗？