|Mass Effect 3's ending, yesterday...|
Well this is awkward. Until this weekend I was all set to post an article about how fans and consumers have no right to complain when art or media doesn't turn out the way they expected. I was going to centre it around the furore surrounding the ending of the final chapter of Bioware's Mass Effect trilogy.
I thought I'd make sure I had played the ending first.
In a style that I freely admit is quite becoming of me, I've completely changed my mind. That ending... that fucking ending. You don't base an entire gaming series around choice then throw out choice in the final frame. You don't pull the same trick as the original theatrical release of Blade Runner and have everyone drive off into the rural sunset safe and sound. I love Bioware with a creepy pseudo-sexual passion and pretty much worship their every game with a Donnie Darko level of distance from reality, but this... it wasn't even a kick in the crotch, it was the understanding that a kick on the crotch was coming, but that the foot just couldn't be bothered to deliver it.
Still. I had rant on fandom expectations ready. I can do this. With some editing.
As a consumer of art, media or any other product, you're not entitled to anything. Nothing. You're not owed a better story or a better ending to something simply because you don't like the one you're given. You aren't being ripped off, you aren't being stabbed in the back, you are simply being given something that you don't like.
Producers of TV, gaming and book series don't owe you consistent quality for your fandom, just as they don't owe you any changes based on your opinion.You don't demand the current Doctor Who is scrubbed, you don't campaign JK Rowling to change the ending of Book Seven, and you really shouldn't wish for some extra downloadable chapters to fix a truly abysmal ending for the game series you gave more attention to than your "real" life. You really shouldn't...
Support isn't following something with dedication then bitching when it gets a bit shit, support is sticking by something no matter what, championing it because you want it to succeed, not because you want something personal out of that success.
Texts, objects and events aren't concepts that exist in a bizarre floating context between reader desire and audience reception, they're just things that are made in the best achievable fit to expectations. Beyond concepts of value for money, which should centre more around functionality than style or quality, no-one ever really owes you anything. Not a studio, not a network, not a writer, actor, mother, dancer, lover or president. View it, judge it, then bugger off and view something else.
But still... that fucking ending...