A Mass Effect 3 designer is helping the industry understand how social justice advocacy can help reduce the skyrocketing costs of AAA development by insulating games against criticism.
“Mass Effect 3 came under a lot of scrutiny,” Manveer Heir conceded, during a speech at GDC 14. “Gamers complained they sunk almost $200 into this narrative over three games, and then we dropped the ball by not giving them a satisfying resolution. They said our endings were exactly the same and ultimately resolved nothing.”
Manveer got a standing ovation lasting almost two minutes from a room of overworked game developers who came out in support of reducing the stress of big game development. Manveer’s proposed method? Immunize their work from criticism by linking game narratives with social justice positions only a “complete stinkfist” could disagree with.
“In Mass Effect 3, the ending was pick A for red, pick B for blue, C for green, and watch the same cutscene no matter what. The Internet bullied us for that. What if we could have reduced budget costs and crunch time by linking the ending of Mass Effect 3 to Commander Shephard’s experiences as a bisexual post-op transgendered person of color in a racist, bigoted galaxy much like modern-day America? I can tell you, if we did that, not one of you would have had to work a single hour of overtime during crunch, because the actual quality of the game wouldn’t have mattered. Nobody would have said shit. As an industry, we have to start doing this, because my wife told me if I miss one more anniversary because I have to make sure headshot physics work right before a ship date, she’s leaving me. I like my wife, so let’s give this a shot.”