Sunday, 16 September 2012

ME3: Extended Cut Part 1

Finally getting around to this thing.

There's not much new content to look at, but the new stuff they did put in barely answered a handful of questions, and did so by digging themselves deeper.

Writers Note: One does not fill in a plot hole by creating multiple plot holes.

No idea what these people are doing.  Or, why they're doing it.  If they're going to make any worthwhile single player DLC, it best be after the ending.  (Yes, I've seen Leviathan videos.  My goodness.  It's like everything they do in the Mass Effect series subverts everything else that's come before.  It's sounding like some tacky murder mystery having multiple plot reveals introducing new motives every 10 minutes, and by virtue of the last page having the last reveal, that's how it all works.)

I'm beginning to think having continuity in video games is just a bad, difficult idea.  At least in Bioware's hands.  Hopefully the next Mass Effect anything is a reboot, or a re-envisioning, where they don't try and have a codex, and just be as stupid and random as they like.  We won't have to try and take them seriously; they'll just be another generic company making a sequel.  They're just some hack writers making some action game with talking Dr. Ekman heads.  At least the lip-synch is non-glitchy.

'cause right now, the only fun I'm having is laughing at the giant mess it's become.  That's not right.


  1. Haha. Blocking people who critique your style? Perhaps I touched a sensitive nerve, or you just don't want to hear someone who you consider is beneath you. Either way, you look foolish I guess...

    If you really want intellectual discussion, I can wax on how fantastic writers have historically always broken the mold of the typical story arc since the 1950's, and sci-fi/fantasy writing is often widely accepted to not buck such trends because they are unconventional stories by guys like Tolkien, Asimov, Card and Martin

    But why waste my time with an psuedo-intellectual who is flexing his muscles on a youtube account? As if i'm scared or disheartened by being blocked for calling you an entertainer, or saying I don't have to prove anything.

    Stay arrogant, my friend. May it sever you well as yes men give you good graces, and those who don't meet your expectations die in a fire.

    1. 1. You've yet to say anything of substance contrary to my ideas.

      If I wanted an intellectual discussion, you could actually argue, instead of talking about random unrelated things.

      As such, you've said nothing of value, and wasted my time further.

      Learn to argue or debate, if you please.

  2. About continuity being a bad idea in games: Continuity only becomes a problem (for competent writers and/or designers at least) when you give the players choices that actually matter.

    Having to design progression paths for each variant (even when the variants are relatively few in number) is not only a coding nightmare and a massive headache, but increases the amount of work you have to do as a game dev exponentially.

    And that's just to have everything make sense! Forget about making all those variants thematically meaningful or emotionally engaging!

    Mass Effect 1 alone had hundreds of choices that were supposed to matter.

    Given the incredible design hurdles Bioware set for themselves, the direct Mass Effect sequels were always going to be a horrible mess.

    There's just no way they could make it work.

    That said, I'm not making excuses for Bioware. They should have known they were biting off more than they could chew.

    And of course, the ending was still, in your words, the worst thing in storytelling ever.

    On the flip side, Spec Ops: The Line took the path of least resistance with player choice (SPOILER ALERT no matter what you do, everyone dies - although, given it's sales figures, I don't foresee a sequel anytime soon).

    Anyway, from a loyal Youtube subscriber, thanks for helping us make sense of the senseless and having a few laughs along the way - keep up the good work!

    1. I would prefer less choices that actually matter rather than so many variables that only change 1-2 lines of dialogue + a possible character model swap.
      Or, if you suck at doing this, just give us a good, linear story. Like Assassin's Creed series does. And make side missions more connected to the main sotry or the character's current situation. Like Assassin;s Creed. Sorry, sorry. Too much AC. :P

    2. Making fewer but more meaningful choices is the way to go.
      Just look at The Witcher series for an example of continuity and player choice done right.
      You can easily cut The Witcher 2 into three acts and imagine them being released as a trilogy. You need to learn to isolate your choices, can't have a bunch of them with no payoff whatsoever and hope to give them meaning later on.

      Look how The Walking Dead deals with the choices you take. Most of them payoff in the same episode they were made in; the most meaningful (much fewer, only a handfull if that much) carry on.

    3. @Ake Polak: I feel what you're saying about fewer meaningful choices.

      What I would really like to see is a game with truly divergent paths i.e. not just different/alternate endings, but entirely different story arcs based on player choices (beginning, middle and end).

      Unfortunately, because of the technical hurdles I mentioned before, this would only be possible in a stand-alone game and no one in the AAA industry sets out to make a stand-alone game. With development costs so inflated, proven franchises are safe and new IPs are really risky. So basically no major studio is going to green-light a project unless they believe it can be piloted into a successful franchise (very similar to Hollywood *shudders*).

      @Mornegroth: I have to disagree with you on The Witcher. The choices that carry over from the 1st game to the 2nd are few and have little impact on the main plot or the game world.

      Don't believe me? Check out this link:

      Though to be fair, I do really like what the Witcher 2 did with the 2nd Act (allowing you to chose which side of the battle you're on thus completely changing how the middle 3rd of the game is experienced). Also obviously the 3rd part of the trilogy isn't even out yet so I try not to rush to judgement. Who knows how your choices will matter!

    4. There is no overarching plot between the two games, how could the events of the first impact the main plot of the second? Unless CDP Red was planning a duology (or whatever) from the beginning, which they weren't, then it makes sense that both games aren't that connected.

      The only thing that struck me as odd was the way they dealt with Shani (an oversight which was fixed later).

      As for the 3rd game (which is the third in the series, not the last in a trilogy), I'm not expecting it to borrow too much from the second, as it might be set in a new locale (Nilfgaard for sure) and explore a different plot.