Disgruntled fans who continue to be angry with the creative direction BioWare took at the end of Mass Effect 3 are now being told to bring their complaints to the Federal Trade Commission. The push is being ushered along by BioWare forums user El_Spiko, who directs fellow angry fans to lodge their own complaints at FTC.gov.
El_Spiko writes: "After reading through the list of promises about the ending of the game they made in their advertising campaign and PR interviews, it was clear that the product we got did not live up to any of those claims." The post goes on from there, but that's the core of the argument.
I hesitate to come out and call anyone crazy... but I don't know how to finish that sentence. It is absolutely the right of any human to take issue with the creative direction a work of mass entertainment goes in. We are opinionated creatures by our very natures, and so the back-and-forth discussion so far over the end of Mass Effect 3 is par for the course, even if it's got a bit of that "beaten dead horse" feeling to it.
Lodging that dissatisfaction with a government organization that handles consumer products though... I'm sorry, but that's nuts. We've fought hard as a community -- and continue to fight even now -- to earn a measure of respect for video games as something more than mere entertainment products. And it's working! Increasingly, you see the "games as art" debate dismissed as a non-factor.
Filing complaints with the FTC is a backwards step. Games are once again rendered as products in the hands of the FTC, and all because it's convenient to a presumably small contingent of angry fans. Star Wars fans don't take their issues with George Lucas to a consumer organization; instead, they write impassioned blog posts like this one. And that's totally fine. It adds to the conversation without forgetting the fact that we're talking about a creative work.
So bring on your blogs posts. Rant all you want about how much you hate BioWare for destroying however many hours you put into the trilogy. Point out pre-release interviews that you feel painted a different picture for the trilogy's endgame than the reality of what it was. That's fine. Just remember to treat Mass Effect 3 as it ought to be: a creative work of interactive fiction. This isn't a toy we're talking about, it's an experience.
Read about this FTC news. Respond to it. But if you have any respect for how much ground the medium of video games has gained in the public consciousness, please, for the love of Shepard, don't join in on this asinine complaint campaign. Instead, go ahead and read what ME3 director Casey Hudson had to say to fans over the weekend about the game's ending.