Today I read a disheartening IGN article — it’s all over the Internet on other sites, too — that got me thinking. It talks about former BioWare developer Trent Oster stating that one likely reason behind Greg Zeschuk and Ray Muzyka leaving BioWare and the video game industry may well have been the negative fan reactions over Mass Effect 3 and Star Wars: The Old Republic. (Is “negative fan” an oxymoron?)
In my post a few weeks ago about game companies dialoguing with fans, I was on the fence about whether it was a helpful thing or not, and personally I’m not a huge fan of the ME3 ending — though I absolutely love the game and the entire Mass Effect series. But I do believe it is vitally important that we video game fans truly support the companies that put out fantastic content — and that also means respecting their creative visions.
It’s sad to consider that exhaustion and negativity could drive any developer from a company as incredible as BioWare. And it definitely makes me think that fans have been way too hard on game companies. I’m glad that Oster stepped forward with this insight, because it’s time for the gaming community to see that our negativity can have a very big impact on the industry. And that impact is often far from helpful.
I hope that in the future, even when we have complaints, we also take time out to show our support. A lot of us already do that, of course. But it’s easy for the support to get lost in the chaos of complaints, and there’s always the problem of a compliment being quick, while a self-important rant that’s full of negativity can take up pages. (At least my rants do!)
Unfortunately, my beloved laptop died on me earlier this week, so I can only snatch a few moments to consider this here. But I wanted to share this article and my thoughts, as it is something I’ve been thinking about for weeks. My opinion on all of this has evolved and become much clearer to me since my post about game companies dialoguing with fans, thanks largely to all the thoughtful feedback I received from some of you. And my opinion now is that I want to be much more supportive of the game companies that I like and admire in the future, because I do trust that developers put their hearts into these games for us so much of the time.