Why Journalistic Integrity Seems To Be Hitting An All Time Low
Being a fellow that likes to put a thought or two, or even some random crazy idea to pen (or in this case, digital ink), I have to shake my head at some statements being made by "professional" journalists out there in recent months in regards to how they view certain organizations and "precedents" (often with "dangerous" put in before for added effect) with a sort of, well, biased opinion. True, certain viewpoints and opinions are not going to sit well with certain authors. The phrase "You can't please everybody" certainly comes to mind when I think on that matter. But as a professional, as a person who is doing this for a living, as a creator of weekly news and hopefully balanced information, it just strikes me as odd why certain individuals seem to be taking what should be uniformly and unbiased information and turning it into an op-ed piece.
Two recent additions to the "slanted news" sects come to mind immediately. The first is the somewhat highly critical "BioWare Setting a Dangerous Precedent" piece from IGN shortly after the news reported that the developer was rethinking the end to their highly divisive Mass Effect 3 title. Senior Editors Colin Campbell and Colin Moriarty lambasted both the developer and the protesting fan base calling (these fans) a "very vocal super-minority" and that, since BioWare "caved in" to their demands, they had lost all respect for them and their decision, since it "set a dangerous precedent" in the video game industry.
And, to add fuel to the dying fire, Blair Herter and Morgan Webb, hosts of the G4TV show "X-Play" decided to basically echo that sentiment in a recent end-episode opinion rant. And of course, the words "minority" and "dangerous precedent" were thrown in for good measure. I suddenly had that IGN piece flash through my brain the moment those words escaped their lips. And you know, you'd think that as professional TV reporters/critics, and as paid (yes, paid) journalists, they would have all done their homework before they started to bandy those phrases around like they knew what they really meant.
It's no secret that I'm highly skeptical of both Colins since their "Dangerous" video went live. Though I won't consider them inept in their line of work (they are senior editors for a reason, after all), I do consider them to be highly misinformed. Mainly because there are so, so many precedents that have proceeded this incident years before they claim.
Let me reprint the first bit of evidence I posted in an older blog piece shortly after the two Colin's posted their video:
In 2008, Bethesda's Fallout 3 title, sans DLC, ended with you activating the Water Purification Machine and then disintegrating into a pile of goo due to the extremely high levels of radiation that flooded the room. For all intents and purposes, your adventures ended there. The End.
Then along comes their Broken Steel DLC that, if you make certain choices before the main plot story mission ends, allows you to continue on your journey. In other words, Broken Steel effectively changes the otherwise fatalistic end for the "real" ending later on. It fundamentally changed the end of the game. And it did so in a realistic and non-canon/lore-breaking way.
That's just one example of a precedent where, due to fan demand/outcry, an ending was in fact changed. Bethesda beat BioWare to the "dangerous precedent" punch by four years. And it's not like this isn't common knowledge. Even Bethesda's own Todd Howard commented on the matter:
"Based on the feedback I’ve seen, most people are pissed off that it ends, not the ‘ending’ itself. Maybe that’s one and the same, I don’t know. That’s another thing we’re changing in DLC3. We really underestimated how many people would want to keep playing, so that’s probably the last time we’ll do something like that [have it just end]."
Oh but wait, there's more.
In 2008 Ubisoft released a new "Prince of Persia" title that ended in what can only be assumed to be the set-up for a continuation of the series. Possibly, if the game sold well, a new trilogy with the new prince. However, some fans were.....less than embracing of the ending. Whether it was due to the new protagonist (as opposed to the original trilogy began in 2003 that starred a different Prince), or if it was due to the ending being too "Doom and Gloom" despite all the accomplishments that the player performed throughout the title, Ubisoft acquiesced to player displeasure and released an "Epilogue DLC" to accompany the game. To my knowledge, this has been the only DLC content for the game. But the point is, this DLC did indeed alter the end of the game.
Aaaaaaaaaand There's still more.
Due to the lackluster ending to the original 2004 release of Fable, Peter Molyneux actually went back and had his team re-edit the game. Thus, in 2005, Fable: The Lost Chapters graced us with its newly enhanced additions. Which included new towns, buildings, and nine new areas and sixteen additional quests. Thanks Pete.
And those are just a f--waitwaitwaitthere'smore!
This is the real kick to the quads:
Early design concepts of Infamous 2 which, if you might be aware, showed Cole McGrath's new "sleeker" look, a look that some fans
Wait for it. Waaaaait for iiiiiiit....
INCLUDING Mr. Colin Moriarty (gasp!) did not like. Sucker Punch later rectified that look to fit more with fan expectation. Something that, yes, Mr. Moriarty felt needed commentary on as "a good thing."
And I quote:
Colin Moriarty: "I think the sudden change in character model says a lot more. Indeed, it says a great deal about Sucker Punch itself. This is a studio that listens to its fans, cares what they want, and attempts to cater to as many of them as possible. There’s no doubt that fans of a franchise can’t be trusted with every little thing (after all, look at how many people were completely and utterly wrong when they predicted Wind Waker would suck based solely on its graphics – I still laugh at those people today), but it still delivers a rather important point."
This little gem of information courtesy of Mr. Erik Kain of Forbes (I love this guy's work).
I'm guessing Mr. Moriarty is a little ticked this came back to haunt him. I'm guessing.
And of course, precedent due to fan outcry isn't just limited to video games. It's happened in all forms of entertainment. Books, movies, hell even ART.
Movies: Directors and Executives, for the most part, pre-screen their movies to test audiences and adjust their works accordingly to their feedback. It's done to alter just about everything from critical plot moments to the title of the movie itself.
If you'll recall, George Lucas' original title to the third installment to the original trilogy was going to be called REVENGE of the Jedi. But, due to fan outcry that revenge is an emotion of the dark side, and stands against every precept of the Jedi, Lucas agreed and renamed the movie RETURN of the Jedi. As proof, there are numerous pre-release movie posters and toys still bearing that very title.
Movies are constantly altered even after the directors finish their work. It's altered, changed and edited to fit certain criteria when it's put in for ratings certification at the behest of the Motion Picture Association of America (The MPAA).
Books: After killing off his beloved Sherlock Holmes character in a fight to the death, Sir Authur Conan Doyle, due to fan outrage, brought his character BACK from the dead.
J. K. Rowling originally intended to kill Harry and/or Ron but was talked down by the fans.
Comic books constantly rewrite bad endings and bring back previously thought dead villains/heroes to suit their own works. In comic book speak it's called a "retcon."
Super-Dude: "What me, dead? Don't be ridiculous. That was a clone/robot/hologram/inter-dimenional doppelganger/figment of your imagination/I faked my death."
Happens all the time.
And finally, here's my....mwuaah....la piece de resistance showing that art (yes, actual art) can be altered due to fan outrage.
Artist Édouard Manet altered his le déjeuner sur l'herbe (The luncheon on the grass) by adding in a background image of a partially clothed woman after initial reaction to the piece made it highly controversial to the public at large. It wasn't the nudity per say that offended the Parisian public, but rather the implications that a single nude female having lunch with two well-to-do looking gentlemen suggested the painting was an attempt at glorifying prostitution. Not wanting to offend the viewing (and possibly buying) public, Mr. Manet added the background image of the woman. Oh and, FYI, Mr. Manet went on to be a highly sought after (and well financed) artist.
So in closing part one of my op-ed piece, I only have one suggestion to Mr. Colin Moriarty, to Mr. Colin Cambpell, to Mr. Blair Herter, and finally to Mrs. Morgan Webb.
Yes, doing homework might suck. And it might be dumb.
But not doing so and remaining ignorant of historical fact makes you look even dumber.
To Be Continued....
Worry Not The Artist, But The Author - Part I
Blog entry posted by wastelander75, Jul 8, 2012.