Gamer Entitlement Isn’t a Thing

May 21, 2012    

Note: This is part 6 of a series on the Mass Effect 3 ending. This segment contains spoilers. You can view the other parts here: 1 2 3 4 5 6

During the height of the outcry over the Mass Effect 3 ending, folks did all sorts of things to voice their opinion. One group sent Bioware hundreds of cupcakes that were all the same flavor but had different colors of icing. Others donated money to charity, mistakenly thinking they were crowd funding a new ending. But in all the press, I never saw one article explaining why the ending was good. Sure, plenty of people said it “wasn’t that bad” but most just relied on attacking the fans that didn’t like it.

A common claim was that the fans suffered from “gamer entitlement”, that they only wanted a happy ending, and that they were standing in the way of Bioware making great art.

The book has been written and you can change the way you read it but don’t pretend you’re the author.

If we were talking about D&D, this would be the fatbeards‘ position. We, as players, are supposed to lap up the story as spoonfed to us by the gamemaster. Anyone who questions it risks having a giant boulder dropped on their character’s head or being kicked out of the game. Now imagine that you’ve paid $200 to play in that D&D group — wouldn’t you speak up if it wasn’t good for you?

And let’s be honest. The video game industry has made it clear that they’ll use downloadable content to change their games when it suits them. Portal’s ending was changed to promote Portal 2; did Chell’s recapture ruin the game’s art? Or what about Fallout 3, where the ending involved the main character dieing right up until they wanted to sell more content. This was another game where the Internet spoke up that ending was poor but almost everyone agreed that time.

When a company excels at creating a great work of art, be it a video game or TV show, they should be thankful when they find fans passionate enough to care. DLC provides the video game industry with a unique opportunity to modify their games after they ship. This mechanism is happily exploited for profit. It shouldn’t take an outcry of dramatic proportions to use it to fix mistakes.