ME3 and Auteur Theory

BloatedGuppy

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Get your sticks ready boys, that horse still has some life in it!

I only unearth the specter of ME3 and it's hideous ending because I was reading an article on Breaking Bad recently, in which the showrunner, Vince Gilligan, touched on the subject of "auteur theory". For those with short memories, it was widely rumored that ME3's ending was not subject to peer review as is standard practice for Bioware, but rather the sole product of Hudson and Walters.

During the many tiresome months of debate on these forums post-fiasco, a common defense of the existing ending was the concept of authorial fiat and sole artistic vision as sacrosanct. That if a piece of work was ever run through a committee, it would be watered down and ultimately lose its soul and all sense of meaning. Whatever we might have thought of the ending, it was the product of Artistic Vision, and thus was right and true.

Breaking Bad concluded earlier this year after a very successful 5 season run, and the ending was widely regarded as...if not perfect...reasonably cathartic and satisfying. Unlike other highly regarded shows such as The Sopranos, which went out in a hail of controversy, or The Wire, which had its final season hamstrung by a writers strike, Breaking Bad was able to tie off loose ends and go out more or less on top of its game.

Vince Gilligan was known as a good man to work for ? someone who managed to balance the vision and microscopic control of the most autocratic showrunner with the open and supportive spirit of the most relaxed. He was a firm believer in collaboration.

"The worst thing the French ever gave us is the auteur theory," he said flatly. "It's a load of horseshit. You don't make a movie by yourself, you certainly don't make a TV show by yourself. You invest people in their work. You make people feel comfortable in their jobs; you keep people talking."

In his room, he said, all writers were equal, an approach that he insisted had less to do with being a Pollyanna than with pure, selfish practicality. "There's nothing more powerful to a showrunner than a truly invested writer," he said. "That writer will fight the good fight."
What do those who fought for ME3's ending under the guise of Artistic Purity think of this, this concept of creation via collaboration? In light of Gilligan's comments, do you still believe that creating a game via committee will result in watered down, lowest common denominator pablum? Or do you think it is a necessary check and balance to keep things on course?
 

senordesol

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I might buy that...if the 'auteurs' in question hadn't sworn up and down that the ending we got wasn't the ending they were going to give us.
 

tippy2k2

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Multiple people can be a double edged sword depending on who you're with:

Best Case: The writers all work together. They all pitch in and together determine the tone of the show and what will and will not work. It might be one primary guy with a lot of people weighing in or maybe everyone brings a bit to the table but as long as they work as a team and are fine with the roles they get, this is perfect.

Worst Case: You get a bunch of people power struggling with one another. One guy wants to make this touching scene a bit lighter with a pie in the face while this gal over here thinks that it would be a much stronger scene if the guy took his shirt off. Everyone argues with everyone and no one is satisfied with what comes out in the end.

So basically, I agree that the "teamwork" approach is a much better approach assuming you can get everyone to work together. When it works, it can be a thing of beauty (see Breaking Bad). When it fails...well....that's how you end up with 90% of the shit that comes out.

See this handy Cracked.com article [http://www.cracked.com/blog/4-reasons-why-bad-movies-are-allowed-to-happen/] for examples of when this goes wrong...the horror....the horror....
 

Zontar

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The ending came out of nowhere and didn't make sense both from a narrative perspective and within the story itself.

I don't remember who it was who said it, but it was a YouTuber who made a long, long, looooooooong 40ish minute video on the matter, who ended it with the simple statement that any ending the viewer comes up with has as much legitimacy as the "official" once given context in which it was presented (no build up, no forshadowing, being the definition of Deus Ex Machina, etc.)
 
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In short, I agree with Gilligan. The idea that one person is entirely responsible for a movie, tv show, or game, is hogwash. Collaboration is simply necessary to make these products. So yeah, the idea that ME3 ended with two guys going over everyone's head and ditching the system that got them that far makes me mad.

I know that people are afraid of design-by-committee and how it can result in a low-brow product interested in nothing but reaching the widest possible audience. But I don't think this happens very often, even when we think it has. As Gilligan says and as Breaking Bad proves, a group effort can achieve far more than one tyrant making all the decisions. Even game makers like Suda 51 and Jonathan Blow and such people don't do what they do alone; they just get the credit for a collaborative product.

Committee creation does run the risk of mediocrity, but the fact is that one person's vision runs just as big a risk. We love the idea of the visionary valiantly forging ahead with his unique ideas, flying in the face of the AAA industry and proving that one man or woman can succeed in spite of being told he or she could not. It's an underdog story. But this never happens. One person can certainly be the driving force, but he needs people around him to do the things he can't, because no one can do everything.

So really, we hate the idea of committee design because it sounds like a one-percenter idea. It sounds like soulless suits trying to capitalize on our gullibility. But it's usually no different than the so-called auteur project.

You know what was made by hundreds of people working together? BioShock. Yes, Ken Levine was the head honcho, he got final say on most things, it was his idea in the first place. That's what makes him a good lead designer. But it took dozens of animators, dozens of modelers, dozens of actors, dozens of level designers, and a collaboration between Levine and other people at every level of the process to make his dream work. So yes, group collaboration is not only perfectly acceptable, but is the ONLY way to make great movies, tv, and games.
 

Redd the Sock

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In a commentary for Battlestar Galactica Ronald Moore brought up a scene where the actors wanted to perform the piece in a manner different than it was written. After some conflict he gave in and let them try, only to like it better.

Design by committee is an extreme that really doesn't often apply. Rather what works best is the central creative mind being open and willing to accept that more often than not, his vision is a combination of the mini-visions of others, and the possibility that they might have a better idea in that process. Auteur theory is a cop out used by those that see themselves in that director's seat not wanting their own vision to need to be sullied by others when they get the chance. Otherwise, yeah, no sane human thinks it's all the work and vision of one person.

Would it have helped ME3? Hard to say. It depends on the other voices at the table.
 

MidnightRaith

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I'm not sure if an actual committee might have helped ME3. Sometimes there are too many cooks in the kitchen as they say. However, I definitely feel a committee like review would have helped the ending. Not necessarily adding in input if Walter and Hudson could simply not stand to do that. Something that is equally silly if not egotistical. Ten people might be too much, two might be too little for something that was worked on and written by multiple writers. (I'm only throwing out numbers here. What's too much or too little can depend on the work.) However, it definitely should have gone to review by the rest of the writing staff, they could have told them to rewrite it and then go back to them again. As it is, the ending is something that most people that viewed it have said makes little sense in how the rest of the series built it up to be. I don't think what could have basically been a review panel would have said any different, though that is dependent on whether the other writers even had our viewpoint on the matter and not too close to the issue. Peer review can be important in critiquing how a part of the story stands up to the rest of the whole and in this case, I still firmly believe that it did not and that it was clearly the case that it did not. I believe that things would have been different, but there's no way of knowing now.

Perhaps Hudson and Walters will turn to peer review this time around. I certainly hope so.
 

lacktheknack

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That horse ran out of life about two days after the game came out.

Also, Auteur Theory has never been a good defence. It's certainly never stopped people from pissing constantly on Michael Bay.

Also, too many cooks spoil the broth. Sometimes, you need to reign in on content and simply go with the simple formula that works, and committees are inherently against that.
 

Zhukov

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Funnily enough I actually agree with the artistic vision argument. To a point.

Yes, if someone is making a story (regardless of medium) they are allowed to tell it and end it as they please.

As the consumer, I am allowed to respond with:
- I do not like your vision.
- I think it would have been better if you had done X instead.
- I would like it if you changed X.
- Your vision was a pile of shit.
- Your vision is so bad that I will not be paying for more of it and shall be seeking a refund from my retailer.

I suppose I can also demand that they change X, but that would be kinda rude, depending on how you think of the term "demand".

They are allowed to respond by changing or not changing their creation, as they see fit.

So if they say, "This is our vision and we're sticking with it". then sure, I'd say that's a totally legitimate response. I might not like it, it may not be in their best business interests, but there's nothing wrong with them doing that. They do not owe me to do otherwise. They are not obligated to do otherwise.

Of course in the case of ME3, the artistic vision argument rings rather hollow because they did in fact go back and change things with the Extended Cut thingy. Notably including a new fourth ending (which came off as a snide "fuck you", but hey, it's still a change) and making the mass relays get damaged rather than destroyed. Not to mention the other additions. So either they were just using artistic integrity as a shield for shitty content or they genuinely believed in the quality of their work but went back and changed it anyway.

As for collaboration and auteur theory in general... I dunno. I think any good author seeking to publish something (again, regardless of medium) should seek feedback. And they all do. At some point, they've all stuck a manuscript or a screenplay under someone's nose and asked, "Whaadaya reckon?" Even if it's just their mum. Or their editor. I'd say collaboration isn't much different to being a more involved form of feedback. I don't know if it inherently results in "watered down" content, but I don't really have any specific reason to believe it does.
 

BrotherRool

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I don't truck much with Auteur Theory at all. It's always felt like it's just people who want the world to be simpler and more understandable. Of course you can create as a group of people instead of any one individual, and it's absolutely fine (and in fact even more interesting) when the end result is something that no one person in that group imagined. Every time someone creates an art asset that looks a particular way or gives a voice acting performance unique to themselves, the product changes and that's still true of ME3. Then again that does nothing to stop the argument that the ME3 team should be able to finish their game in their own way. Nor does it change the fact that the audience reaction shows that they ultimately did a bad job.

Although I do think the problems with the end are a lot more complicated than people give credit for. Is the ending of ME3 as bad as the start of ME1? Heck no, the writing at the start of ME1 is some of the worst and most painful writing I've ever encountered. Until you leave the Citadel it feels like they couldn't competently string together even a handful of events.

But people don't hate on ME1 because the world was new, the tone was good and they were already being overawed by the wonderful design of the Citadel. What's more they had the rest of the game to correct their opinions. Whereas ME3 had a very grey bleak tone with some grindy horrible gameplay immediately before the ending, which doesn't put people in a mood to be receptive to the smallest amounts of downside. And they were trying to get the player to swallow a lot of downside. They didn't consider how indulgent the series had been up until that point in letting the player resolve basically every situation perfectly how the player wanted or the expectations that people might have had by that point.

And even with all that, there's still the psychology of crowds. We're going to be influenced by the people around us all way, and when you can't even hear the name of the game without hearing that the ending is bad, it changes the people that react to it. I don't believe that the journalists who gave ME3 a good review were corrupt. I believe they enjoyed the game. It was only when some people began to dissent and point out the flaws that other people began to notice those flaws and point them out to more people who noticed those flaws...

The truth is, there isn't anything that the end of ME3 does that I couldn't point to ME1 or ME2* or the beginning of ME3 doing. The only difference was this time people noticed and that it was the last part of the series.

*Seriously, if it's about not being given choice, how about the 'being forced to work with terrorists and have every NPC in the game give you stick for working with terrorists and never even being given the choice of being able to justify yourself properly'
 

Mike Richards

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There are valid points to both approaches. Peer review can water down or even destroy the validity of ideas in a work if they aren't changed for the right reasons. On the other hand, letting a single voice run wild can just as easily lead to disaster as it can brilliance. There's no one good answer.

That being said, the EC resolved the series in a perfect, if risky way. Outside influence may have dragged the ending away from the point it was making in the name of a safer, more homogenized 'giving people what they want' ending. As we saw with something like I Am Legend that isn't necessarily always the best goal. Sometimes it's better to be challenging.
Time and time again we see that the point of the trilogy was exploring the danger of conflict based in false assumptions made about 'the enemy' and a lack of communication and understanding between sides.

This has been the basis of every major conflict presented, and several minor ones as well. The quarians attacked the Geth because they were afraid that they would revolt and exterminate them the moment they grew beyond their control, and the Geth attacked the quarians because they knew they would be afraid of them and preemptively try to stop them achieving full sentience. The krogan start taking territory for themselves because they believe the Council will never grant it to them, and in their culture this is a perfectly acceptable response. The Council believes the krogan cannot be reasoned with or appeased and instead decides to horrifically cripple them, seemingly forever. In the first contact war/relay 314 incident, the turians immediately responded with force out of desire to enforce Council law and fear of another rachni situation, without considering the impression this would leave on the newly contacted human race. Humanity, on the other hand, never had the chance to consider what reasons the turians could have for reacting forcefully to the activation of a dormant relay. For all they know, they could have very well actually prevented another rachni war.

This repeated message of understanding and communication is driven home once we learn the Reapers' true purpose. Harvesting and preserving organic life is horrific to us because the Reapers never stopped to consider out perspective. To machines, it makes perfect mathematical sense. On a galactic scale, conflict between synthetics and organics is statistically inevitable somewhere at some time, because they will mistrust each other and they will be afraid. The synthetics will by design be created to be superior to the creators, made to do things they can't or don't want to better then they ever could. And unlike an organic species emerging victorious over another, a synthetic race emerging victorious over organics could potentially allow them to dominate the evolutionary cycle of the galaxy completely. Organic civilization could fall and never be allowed to return.

To a machine built to avert this seemingly inevitable disaster at all costs, the solution is obvious. If the Geth were to wipe out the quarians, everything that they were would be lost forever. But if the quarians were harvested, preserved in a new form before that happens, then some part of them will always survive. Their shared knowledge, their history, maybe even some form of individual minds would never be lost. That's why the Reapers were built out of people. In their own way, however misguided, they were trying to save us the only way they knew how.

The theme of understanding reaches it's apex in our final judgement. The obvious answer would seem to be to destroy the monsters and save the world, but that's the test. It's the obvious, thoughtless answer. Death and destruction on top of death and destruction with nothing gained and nothing learned. No attempt is made to understand the Reapers, no attempt is made to find a better way. Yes, we survive, but an entire species is in no uncertain terms killed at Shepard's hand, as well as a close friend. Every species the Reapers ever assimilated is destroyed forever as well, all that knowledge and history of countless civilizations, the only thing that survives of billions of lives, is thrown away forever. And the galaxy is left with nothing to protect itself in the statistically likely event that conflict arises between organics and synthetics again.

In Refuse, we see just that, the complete refusal to accept what we have been presented with. We are given the choice to go our own path and face our ending on our terms. But we aren't all powerful, we can't change the reality of the situation just because we want to. The most we can hope for is to lay the groundwork for whoever comes after us to achieve something more then we did. We're never told what exactly the cycle after us, or perhaps even the cycle after that, did to resolve things. But we know it is resolved and almost without question through one of the means presented to Shepard, since passing along the Crucible instructions was implied to be the key. Unlike Shepard they didn't defy the opportunity they had been given, they recognized it, and used it.

In Control we see the idea that peace of a sort can be obtained if everyone is united under the banner of a single voice. Balance can be maintained between synthetics and organics, not to mention simply between each side in and of themselves, and nothing has been lost. But it requires a great deal of trust in that single voice. We have to decide if living under what is essentially the unquestionable rule of a physical god is acceptable as long as that entity is benevolent to us. What happens if the people and the Entity That Was Shepard disagree? Is it worthy of that responsibility? Can we trust that it will continue to be worthy for the foreseeable future of the galaxy as it continues to evolve?

The answer the game clearly favors is Synthesis, the total culmination of the theme of understanding and unity over mistrust and false assumptions. Shepard is given the ability to help avert or perhaps even completely resolve the inevitability of conflict between different mass groups of beings in a way The Catalyst or anyone else was incapable of doing previously. Synthesis puts everyone on an even playing field, giving them the ability to understand each other and communicate in an unprecedented fashion, and what could very well be the tools to building not a perfect world, but at least something of a better one. There is no evidence in the final sequence that it indoctrinates people or 'turns them into zombies' or 'suppresses all individuality' or any other such claims that frequently get thrown around. All we see is that it simply opens new doors for all life in the galaxy, and that has the potential to become something magnificent.


Assuming any of the above it true, it demonstrates why mob rule in story telling can be difficult to say the least. Destroy is the crowd pleaser, the apparently simple way to kill the bad guys, be the big damn hero and save the world. Is it any wonder so many people chose that option? To revisit that I Am Legend example from earlier, we had an original ending which revealed the monsters as sentient and intelligent creatures who had grown to fear the protagonist because of his habit of abducting them, experimenting on them, and then killing them. This justifies the entire arc of the narrative and the very name itself 'I Am Legend' (since he is effectively their 'monster under the bed'), and was scrapped entirely because the studio was concerned audiences wouldn't be satisfied if the hero wasn't the victorious hero in the end. So instead the monsters are just mindless monsters, Will Smith gets to make his big sacrifice, nothing is learned and nothing amounts to anything of significant narrative consequence.

But at least people didn't hate them as much as they hated ME3, right...?
 

TheIceQueen

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TheVampwizimp said:
In short, I agree with Gilligan. The idea that one person is entirely responsible for a movie, tv show, or game, is hogwash. Collaboration is simply necessary to make these products. So yeah, the idea that ME3 ended with two guys going over everyone's head and ditching the system that got them that far makes me mad.

I know that people are afraid of design-by-committee and how it can result in a low-brow product interested in nothing but reaching the widest possible audience. But I don't think this happens very often, even when we think it has. As Gilligan says and as Breaking Bad proves, a group effort can achieve far more than one tyrant making all the decisions. Even game makers like Suda 51 and Jonathan Blow and such people don't do what they do alone; they just get the credit for a collaborative product.

Committee creation does run the risk of mediocrity, but the fact is that one person's vision runs just as big a risk. We love the idea of the visionary valiantly forging ahead with his unique ideas, flying in the face of the AAA industry and proving that one man or woman can succeed in spite of being told he or she could not. It's an underdog story. But this never happens. One person can certainly be the driving force, but he needs people around him to do the things he can't, because no one can do everything.

So really, we hate the idea of committee design because it sounds like a one-percenter idea. It sounds like soulless suits trying to capitalize on our gullibility. But it's usually no different than the so-called auteur project.

You know what was made by hundreds of people working together? BioShock. Yes, Ken Levine was the head honcho, he got final say on most things, it was his idea in the first place. That's what makes him a good lead designer. But it took dozens of animators, dozens of modelers, dozens of actors, dozens of level designers, and a collaboration between Levine and other people at every level of the process to make his dream work. So yes, group collaboration is not only perfectly acceptable, but is the ONLY way to make great movies, tv, and games.
As an extra point to this, it was often commented upon way long ago that George Lucas was an underdog fighting against the studio system. What helped make the original trlogy great and the prequels not was others stepped in on the former to voice opinions, concerns, or just straight up tell Lucas no. Actors who knew their character chimed in with insightful comments. Everyone worked and struggled together to make a greatfinal prodyct whereas the prequels had no such process.

There is no underdog. There is no single visionary gloriously leading the way. There is no single artist a movie or game hinges upon. Everyone should collaborate.
 

votemarvel

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BrotherRool said:
Although I do think the problems with the end are a lot more complicated than people give credit for. Is the ending of ME3 as bad as the start of ME1? Heck no, the writing at the start of ME1 is some of the worst and most painful writing I've ever encountered. Until you leave the Citadel it feels like they couldn't competently string together even a handful of events.
I love the start of Mass Effect 1.

I truly enjoyed how they spent so much time world building instead of just throwing you into action. Hell it takes me around a half hour to get off the Normandy at the beginning because I like to listen to what the characters have to say.

Also I liked how not every event on the Citadel was directly connected to the plot but they did all serve to help establish the universe. Such events as the rogue AI syphoning funds from gambling machines to Rebecca and Michael arguing over whether it would be right to genetically modify an unborn child.
 

electric method

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I think the auteur theory really can only be applied to single person projects, such as a book etc. It's a single person's creation and vision. They get help from an editor etc, but the core of the writing and vision is a single persons.

As it pertains to ME3's ending, the writers were collaborative on everything BUT the ending. Then it was Hudson and Walters re-writing the thing at the last minute and shoving that creation down not only the players throats, but the other writers as well. Not to mention, a number of important writing voices at BioWare were gone. Drew K's absence is felt strongly in ME3. Hell, the path of the story and ending he wrote were chucked out the airlock right at the beginning of the game in favor of the Crucible go get this and that instead of dark matter that was brought up in ME2 and Walters and Hudson had no clue what to do with.

How BioWare goes forward with story driven character narrative games when they have lost so many of the writers that made them great is anyone's guess. I suspect who they have left are not up to the task of ME4 and Dragon Age: Inquisition.
 

BrotherRool

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votemarvel said:
BrotherRool said:
Although I do think the problems with the end are a lot more complicated than people give credit for. Is the ending of ME3 as bad as the start of ME1? Heck no, the writing at the start of ME1 is some of the worst and most painful writing I've ever encountered. Until you leave the Citadel it feels like they couldn't competently string together even a handful of events.
I love the start of Mass Effect 1.

I truly enjoyed how they spent so much time world building instead of just throwing you into action. Hell it takes me around a half hour to get off the Normandy at the beginning because I like to listen to what the characters have to say.

Also I liked how not every event on the Citadel was directly connected to the plot but they did all serve to help establish the universe. Such events as the rogue AI syphoning funds from gambling machines to Rebecca and Michael arguing over whether it would be right to genetically modify an unborn child.
How about the actual plot of the beginning though? With the ridiculous badly animated and foreshadowed death of Jenkins, Saren cackling in his ship next to a Dominatrix. Shepard demanding they impeach the world's greatest spectre, not even on the basis of her testimony, because she's never seen Saren at this point, but because she met a drunk smuggler crouched directly behind the Spectre who'd just been shot in the back and said 'Saren did it!'.

How about when the Council points out that this is not a good reason to arrest their most trusted agent, how all the good guys cry 'Beauracracy!' and act as if it was totally unreasonable.

And then how about that time when Shepard has a dream after suffering a severe concussion and on the basis of nothing but the dream demands that the Council give her a whole fleet of ships to chase an enemy that she knows nothing about? And then again when they point out this is stupid, the game once again treats the _Council_ like a bunch of incompetent fools.

And then there's the oh-so-subtle conversation where Saren takes the form of a 20ft glowing Hologram growling menacing threats to Shepard.

If you remove all the cutscenes from Saren's point of view from the beginning of the game (which Shepard herself never saw) then Shepard's acting like the largest tool in the world and absolutely no-one in the game ever points it out to her and in fact they keep having a go at the only people who are talking an ounce of sense.

It affects the companion introductions too. Garrus is so eager to start shooting people that he drops his job at a moments notice because he has a 'feeling in his gut.' Anderson has held a grudge against Saren for so long that he doesn't even want or care about evidence before having another go at him.

Eventually once you leave the citadel Saren actually does something demonstrably bad and we can forget all this awful crud, but they still make you wade through it for way too long (and then reintroduce it in _the ending of the game_ and then again in ME2 and sort of again in ME3. ME3 is actually the only game which even partially writes the council as if the writers hadn't shovelled a handful of pills into their face and had an argument with the taxman first)

EDIT: This is without even bringing in the plot holes of the same type that people complained about in other games. Because no-one can ever fake an audio recording right? Except in these very games later on. But it doesn't matter because that's just a plot hole compared to the childishness of all the council writing and bickering.
 

Casual Shinji

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I believe in the auteur theory, but only regards to specific people, like Stanley Kubrick and David Lynch. Sure it's a collaboration, since they obviously couldn't have made their work as it stands on their own, but it's their hand that guides nearly every part of it.

Hudson (if he was indeed the sole responsible) I don't regard as one of these types of people, and the Mass Effect 3 ending definately wasn't a product of artistic vision. It was a lame U-turn brought on by panic, because they had either no idea or means to end the story properly.
 

matrix3509

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BloatedGuppy said:
During the many tiresome months of debate on these forums post-fiasco, a common defense of the existing ending was the concept of authorial fiat and sole artistic vision as sacrosanct. That if a piece of work was ever run through a committee, it would be watered down and ultimately lose its soul and all sense of meaning. Whatever we might have thought of the ending, it was the product of Artistic Vision, and thus was right and true.
This line of reasoning might have held some weight if not for the simple fact that WE KNOW WHAT THE ORIGINAL ENDING WAS because the original script for the game was leaked long before the game was ever done. If you read it, you'll know that it was classic Bioware cliche (i.e. it ends pretty much how all Bioware games end) mixed with your typical sci-fi pseudo-sciencey bullshit. Not great, but nothing less than what people experienced with Bioware would have expected.

The fact that Walters and Hudson changed the script pretty much last minute, throws any and all claims of artistic integrity out the fucking window. And the fact that they STILL hide behind that excuse makes both of them sickening hypocrites.
 

JohnZ117

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Mike Richards said:
There are valid points to both approaches. Peer review can water down or even destroy the validity of ideas in a work if they aren't changed for the right reasons. On the other hand, letting a single voice run wild can just as easily lead to disaster as it can brilliance. There's no one good answer.

That being said, the EC resolved the series in a perfect, if risky way. Outside influence may have dragged the ending away from the point it was making in the name of a safer, more homogenized 'giving people what they want' ending. As we saw with something like I Am Legend that isn't necessarily always the best goal. Sometimes it's better to be challenging.
Time and time again we see that the point of the trilogy was exploring the danger of conflict based in false assumptions made about 'the enemy' and a lack of communication and understanding between sides.

Snipped
I, too, loved the EC endings and enjoy your perspective on it.
 

IronMit

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My problem with ME3 is not covered by this theory;

In an interview the lead writer said something along the lines of 'the dark matter theory was among many on the table when he left after ME1, so the technological singularity ending is as valid as the other theory that was foreshadowed a bit more'.

So 1 writer or 20 writers, directors and a bunch of executives....it makes little difference if they were making it up as they went along!
The same problems will persist.
Peer review will iron out the chinks a bit, and stop a massive backlash..but for me, not so much
 

Kingjackl

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Was it ever confirmed that the story behind Mass Effect 3's last-minute rewrites - that the lead writer and director locked themselves in a room, bashed out an ending (no doubt under the influence of hard narcotics) and refused to collaborate with the rest of the writing department - is actually true? It's been so long since I've thought about ME3 that the story behind it all slipped my mind.

I personally think the concept of the auteur is over-celebrated in gaming and films. I think it's a fallacy to put individual creators on a pedestal when games and films are projects with multiple artistic talents working on them. Of course there are auteurs that produce great works, but that doesn't mean that collaboration of multiple creatives should be looked down on, provided the finished product holds up.

The Mass Effect 3 issue isn't really about whether one approach is inherently better, just that the team obviously worked well better as a cooperative unit and attempting to change it at the last minute obviously didn't work out too well. Obviously there were plenty of other factors involved; the original head writer leaving and the rushed development for a start. I always got the impression that the Extended Cut is what we would have gotten from the start had the whole team been allowed to contribute; it didn't change the fundamental idea, it just added additional dialogue, exposition, epilogues and resolution for the supporting characters that the writers were no doubt fond of.