You've undoubtedly heard it by now: Electronic Arts pulled a big upset in The Consumerist's Worst Company in America tournament for 2012, besting favorites Bank of America by a majority vote of nearly two-thirds. While I think that it's telling that a video game company found its way into the voting to begin with, considering all of the potential candidates out there, the end result will change nothing.
On the latest episode of After Dark, we take on Mass Effect 3 and the now-infamous ending, share our reflections on the Mass Effect franchise, and have a spirited discussion about sexual relations. Featuring Richard Naik and Brad Gallaway, special guest Michael Cunningham on loan from RPGamer.com, plus a special appearance from Tim "Brett Favre" Spaeth.
We should have known the conclusion would be trouble. Ending a game like Mass Effect 3 poses a special set of problems, because a central attraction of Western RPGs is that their systems respond to player choice. Mass Effect and its like are the classic case of games that generate stories through collaboration between designer and player. Drawing things to a close, however, requires the hand of the developer to show, often in ways that seem unattractive.
A copious amount of blood, sweat, tears and other bodily fluids have already been spilled over Mass Effect 3′s ending. Several of the first few Google results concern the overwhelmingly negative fan reaction in some way, be it in the form of an online petition or a silly FTC complaint. The laser-like focus on the ending is a damn dirty shame, because outside of those five minutes at the very end of the game and a shaky first hour or so, Mass Effect 3 is about as good a series finale as I could have hoped for.
Among core gamers, Electronic Arts and BioWare's decision to deliver an additional squadmate as day one DLC for Mass Effect 3 continues to rile people who haven't yet finished the game and gotten angry about the ending. Fast-flying accusations and defenses about whether the content was stripped out of the game mostly miss the point.
It's all about sequels this episode on the podcast! From Super Mario Bros. 2 to Devil Survivor 2, we're all over them! Also, Mass Effect 3: has BioWare reclaimed Brad's seal of approval? What about the ending controversy? All that plus thumbs, AND a birthday! With Dylan Collins, Chi Kong Lui, Brad Gallaway, Richard Naik and Mike "I live near a den of spiders" Bracken.
It seems that the controversy surrounding Mass Effect 3 has been cranked to 11. An FTC complaint against BioWare is the latest individual action, and it's served to fan the flames of what's become a binary topic. People seem to either enjoy and/or accept the game's ending for what it is (Let's call these people Group A) or they are upset for a variety of reasons (or Group B). I have no horse in this race myself, as trying to play either of the first two Mass Effect games was met with rapid failure and disinterest that shortly followed, so it's interesting to observe this controversy from a distance.
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