BioWare co-founder Ray Muzyka has responded to the backlash generated by the ending to the Mass Effect space opera trilogy, indicating that he's proud of the team which created the game but that criticism needs to be accepted.
Before you read any further: we guarantee this article is free from spoilers, so don't worry if you haven't reached the controversial ending just yet.
Shortly after the release of Mass Effect 3, the first complaints regarding its ending began to appear. In BioWare's defence, it's undoubtedly difficult to create an ending to a trilogy in which players have invested potentially hundreds of hours which will be satisfying to everyone.
The backlash, however, is surprising in its strength and vitriol: some gamers have been so angered by the ending they have started petitions in an attempt to convince BioWare to release a patch which alters it from the company's original vision.
'As co-founder and general manager of BioWare, I'm very proud of the ME3 team; I personally believe Mass Effect 3 is the best work we've yet created,
' Muzyka claims in an open letter to fans
(follow the link with care - the site contains spoilers.) 'So, it's incredibly painful to receive feedback from our core fans that the game's endings were not up to their expectations. Our first instinct is to defend our work and point to the high ratings offered by critics – but out of respect to our fans, we need to accept the criticism and feedback with humility.
Defending games as an art form, Muzyka claims that players have 'the uncontested right to provide constructive criticism,
' while also defending the artistic choices made by the development team. Muzyka claims that his team has been reviewing the reaction carefully, reading everything posted by fans on Twitter, Facebook, forums and printed in the industry press to find out exactly what form the criticism takes.
'Building on their research, executive producer Casey Hudson and the team are hard at work on a number of game content initiatives that will help answer the questions, providing more clarity for those seeking further closure to their journey,
' Muzyka claims, opening up the possibility that future downloadable content will provide alternative endings to the series. 'You'll hear more on this in April. We're working hard to maintain the right balance between the artistic integrity of the original story while addressing the fan feedback we’ve received.
Despite his message of hope for fans feeling let down by the game's finale, Muzyka warns of the risk of constructive criticism turning into destructive anger. 'Some of the criticism that has been delivered in the heat of passion by our most ardent fans, even if founded on valid principles, such as seeking more clarity to questions or looking for more closure, for example – has unfortunately become destructive rather than constructive,
' Muayka claims. 'We listen and will respond to constructive criticism, but much as we will not tolerate individual attacks on our team members, we will not support or respond to destructive commentary.
Muzyka also confirmed that BioWare is looking to produce more full games set in the Mass Effect universe, despite Mass Effect 3 representing the official end of the trilogy-spanning story of Commander Shepard. Details of what form these games will take, however, has not been forthcoming.
'The Mass Effect team, like other teams across the BioWare label within EA, consists of passionate people who work hard for the love of creating experiences that excite and delight our fans. I'm honoured to work with them because they have the courage and strength to respond to constructive feedback,
' adds Muzyka.