Calling criticism of Mass Effect 3's ending "incredibly painful", the co-founder of BioWare, the studio behind the game, said today that changes for the game's conclusion are in the works.
He promises an update on those plans next month.
"Since the game launched, the team has been poring over everything they can find about reactions to the game — industry press, forums, Facebook and Twitter, just to name a few," BioWare's Ray Muzyka said in a post on the company's official forums. "The Mass Effect team, like other teams across the BioWare Label within EA, consists of passionate people who work hard for the love of creating experiences that excite and delight our fans. I'm honoured to work with them because they have the courage and strength to respond to constructive feedback.
"To that end, Exec Producer Casey Hudson and the team are hard at work on a number of game content initiatives that will help answer the questions, providing more clarity for those seeking further closure to their journey. You'll hear more on this in April. We're working hard to maintain the right balance between the artistic integrity of the original story while addressing the fan feedback we've received. This is in addition to our existing plan to continue providing new Mass Effect content and new full games, so rest assured that your journey in the Mass Effect universe can, and will, continue." [Emphasis added by Kotaku]"
Many Mass Effect 3 fans have been complaining about the game's ending just about since the game launched earlier this month. (See the endings here. Warning: they're full of spoilers.) They've complained that it failed to give the multi-game, multi-year saga closure. Opinions have been sharply divided, even among writers of this site. One writer was for it. One was against.
Muzyka's statement highlights the conundrum BioWare faces: maintain the artistic integrity of their work or accede to fan demands. It's possible in an interactive medium that the two are not incompatible. That's what BioWare will have to figure out now.
Muzyka didn't just extend critics of the ending an olive branch. He also had a word for those who have gotten nasty:
"Some of the criticism that has been delivered in the heat of passion by our most ardent fans, even if founded on valid principles, such as seeking more clarity to questions or looking for more closure, for example — has unfortunately become destructive rather than constructive. We listen and will respond to constructive criticism, but much as we will not tolerate individual attacks on our team members, we will not support or respond to destructive commentary."
Muzyka's full note is worth a read. It's gracious but not a full acquiescence. It reads like the note of someone who's felt some hurt about this and wants to improve his team's game while maintaining a positive relationship with fans. Is there a way that everyone can win? We will find out in April.
We've been asking BioWare for at least a week to comment on the ending. We're happy to see them break their silence.