All About LordRork
One PC gamer's attempt to make sense of it all.
Fear not, I'm not going to spoil anything.
Ah, fandom. All great series tend to develop a following of people who immerse themselves in that universe, from books to films to...dressing up. These are the people who carry the "purity" of their following through thick and thin and whatever reboot or "reimagining" comes along - just look at the "Han shot first" kerfuffle (technical term) you get with the Star Wars crowd.
Thanks to its diverse characters and well-developed lore, Mass Effect has become one of the great science fiction series of the last few years. Perhaps the end, no matter what is was, could never satisfy the fans who had probably played hundreds of hours of the previous two games...but the end of the series has generated its own particular brand of hate from the fanbase. Personally, I don't have a big issue with the end, but it does go off on a tangent at the very last minute of the game in such a way that is at odds with Mass Effect "tradition".
So what does this all say? Customers and businesses have a power relation - they both need each other, and push the other too much at their own peril. Fans are an interesting bunch - they're dedicated, they're knowledgeable, they're creative and most of all, know what they want.
And considering they're the ones buying the Collector's Edition, the books, the apps...the business has to please them. No success = no money. Now, to some degree this creates the abomination that is the Call of Duty series (and its ilk) that give the people what they want but at the expense of mainly offering the player a chance to shoot people and not much else. But if you're trying to say you're offering a richer experience you have to play along with that game.
The increasingly insane cost of games development needs the consumer on side, and with the campaign to "tweak" the ending of Mass Effect 3 (and the dissatisfaction towards From Ashes) means you want to keep their business in the long term for whatever comes next (be it an extension of the series or something new). The expectation, rightly or wrongly, was that Mass Effect would "play it straight" even if it meant a few NPC deaths along the way - the series wasn't especially original it that regard, even during the rest of Mass Effect 3.
I don't agree with changing the ending of ME3, but Bioware has to realise that it presented Mass Effect as a grand, heroic space opera. The finale of the game belonged in a completely different game of a completely different franchise. Someone at Bioware lost focus, and while ME3 may be massively successful EA and Bioware may find themselves losing business down the line, and after the PR disaster of Dragon Age II there's only so much fan goodwill to go around...
Sometimes we all feel that games are getting padded out with meaningless add-ons and DLC. But is that the only thing that's receiving padding? It would seem not - the ladies of Mass Effect seem to have getting some non-biotic augmentation.
Look, I'm all for women in games and hey, boobs are cool, but really Bioware? The women of Mass Effect always felt fairly normal and their armour actually looked fairly practical rather than trying to shout "WOMAN IN THIS TIN CAN".
If gaming is going to be anything other than a man's game, we can't go around inflating every woman's breasts to please the slavering teenage fanboys out there. While ME has always had sex and relationships, it's just slid into a silly childish phase...perhaps it's lucky that the series has come to an end.
Dear developers, keep your nerve. Not every woman has DD breasts. The previous ME games showed that you didn't need big breasts in form-fitting armour to be an awesome game (neither should they be an asexual lump, of course).
Trailers have awesome music these days, not least the latest Mass Effect 3 trailer -"Protectors of the Earth" from the album "Invincible", After 36s (incidentally also used for a Doctor Who trailer).
Some of it is so good in its own right, regardless of what gold/trash it's trying to hype. The orchestral stuff you hear these days on the TV is excellent and generally makes me want to find it more than I want to watch the series it's trying to get you to watch (with the possible exception of A Game of Thrones).
It has passion, keeps you interested and doesn't have pesky distracting lyrics...the irony is that the short, snappy "Get him OMFGed about the film!" has instead left me seeking the short, pumped tracks that are supposed to suit the medium of trailers.
The sad thing is that it never actually gets into the final films or games. I was disappointed that Requiem for a Tower wasn't in TTT, it suited the battle at Helm's Deep perfectly. I've probably spent more time listening to those tracks than I ever spent watching the films.
That's the power of music, eh?
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