Artistic Integrity in Video Games: Or Lack There of

Video Games are a multi-billion dollar industry and it continues to grow. The publishers own the developers of these games. The publishers are concerned with marketing and come up with release dates and marketing stratagems, while the developers are the ones who are the artistic and technical minds behind the projects. They come up with the story and how it will unfold. They need the publishers to provide funds and to sell their game once it is released.

The problem comes in when the publishers withhold funds and push asinine deadlines. This conflict is pertinent with the release of Mass Effect 3. Bioware, developed the previous two games with three years apart, giving them time integrate the previous game into the second. This was something that was never attempted before. To make a trilogy that took all the decisions into account in the previous was something thought as impossible before. However, with the commercial success of Mass Effect 1 and 2, the publisher Electronic Arts (EA), pulled the deadline from three years to just two.

Bioware, having no choice, rushed the development of the game, and in the process, disappointed their fans by failing to properly integrate the previous games properly, relegating previous decisions to a simple point/bar graph, having little impact except the ending cutscene. The developer originally touted the game in many press conferences as having many unique endings and consequences for each decision, but was cut to just three in the final build.

EA and Bioware received many complaints for their ending, and due to the pressure, changed it with downloadable content. What is really interesting is that before they released the final patch, they said the ending was what they originally intended. Of course, this is not true because of the release of the patch due to external pressure.

While games are a business, people, such myself, used to believe in the integrity of developers and they would do their very best to achieve what they set out to do. However, publishers are only concerned about their quarterly reports, which ruins whatever ideas the developers had beforehand. All it does is leave its consumers delusioned with the publishers with very little alternative than just to stop playing.

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