How Mass Effect 3 Protesters Raised $80K for Charity

More generalized backlash to the movement at large has focused on a number of issues, ranging from the question of whether it’s right for fans to petition a developer to change its games, whether such changes damage the artistic integrity of such works, and whether gamers are coming from a position of “entitlement” for asking for such changes.

IGN Playstation Editor Colin Moriarty articulated many of those arguments in an opinion video posted on that site, which can be seen here. But he’s far from the only person, especially in the gaming press, to voice that opinion.

As for the blackmail argument, it’s not lost on the members of the community helping to push the fundraiser.

“Honestly, it did occur to me when we started this that it could look that way. It certainly wasn’t our intention to hit Bioware over the head with this and claim moral superiority,” Robb said. “It was meant to draw attention to the sincerity of our feelings, not to try to shame anyone into doing something. I would actually be very disappointed if they changed the ending because of the charity drive instead of because they admit that we have valid concerns about the way the series ended. I hope that the fact that the money is going to the charity regardless of the outcome of the petition can dispel some of the ‘blackmail’ rumors. If Bioware does nothing, the charity still has all of the donations, and hopefully a few new people aware of its existence.”

Others acknowledge that it’s easy to see the Retake fundraiser as self-serving – it’s just not the case.

“I feel that from an outsider perspective, it’s a 100-percent logical argument, and I hold nothing against those who think that,” said Erik Knapp, 16, of Ohio. Knapp is another of the more well-known community members working on the fundraiser. “If I were looking at an event like this without knowing what it’s about (and in some cases, even why it exists) I would probably react the same way.

“I would tell them it’s important that they know that the event is more or less just channeling everything negative we feel about the end of the game in to something good, if we gain publicity or more support along the way then so be it, but it isn’t our main goal.”

Forward Motion

On Wednesday, BioWare co-founder Dr. Ray Muzyka released a statement commenting on the Mass Effect 3 ending backlash, and in it said that the ME3 team was working on “clarifying” the ending, with more details to come in April.

It’s a significant victory for the larger Mass Effect 3 protest, although as Knapp pointed out, still not a promise that fans are getting what they want.

“It is partially what I wanted to see. We are all holding out for an official announcement that pretty much says yes or no to us,” Knapp said. “I think it affects both the movement and the fundraiser in a good way; it motivates people.”

Moving forward, everyone involved with the Retake Child’s Play fundraiser — which will run until April 11 — basically plans to keep doing what they’ve been doing. Ballard said she intends to keep making images to help keep people interested and energized, and Robb, Fullerton and Knapp also have been posting frequently on the BSN forums to build excitement and motivation.

There has even been some talk of making the Child’s Play fundraiser an annual event, though that possibility has only just been discussed.

In the meantime, there’s the current fundraiser to think about.

“We’re just normal people … who felt strongly enough about this to put ourselves behind it, and look what’s become of it,” Ballard said. “Whether we get the endings ME3 deserves or not, I don’t think our charity drive, or even the movement as a whole, can really be called a failure, and if we can do it, so can (anyone).”

So at least until April 12, it appears the members of the BSN will continue to do what they’ve done all along: hold the line.

Donate to the Retake Mass Effect 3 Child’s Play Fundraiser here.

More of Ballard’s Retake images can be found on her ImageShack page.

More of Mikl’s images can be found on her Tumblr, as well as a rundown of how much her merchandise is generating for charity.

Follow Phil Hornshaw and Game Front on Twitter: @philhornshaw and @gamefrontcom.

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13 Comments on How Mass Effect 3 Protesters Raised $80K for Charity


On March 22, 2012 at 12:05 pm

Leave it up to clods like Colin Moriarty and Gamespot’s dopes to claim that giving to charity was a BAD thing. They are holding their own line because they got called out on their bogus game reviews and need to keep their cedibility as an objective game publication. IGN/Gamespot, etc do not appear to be completely objective in my opinion. I may be wrong…


On March 22, 2012 at 12:14 pm

I’m mostly surprised by the gaming press manifestation on this matter. I used to often follow GameInformer articles, but yesterday they posted a feature that got me done with them. Of course some people are going to be completely satisfied with the ending, but mock the other fans like they are just being whiners for wanting a coherent closure it’s the worst reaction possible to all of this. I’m glad GameFront it’s being reasonable as possible and being capable of fully understanding the fans.
For those who haven’t seen it yet:

Jim P

On March 22, 2012 at 12:33 pm

Not sure if my last comment took or not, so I apologize if this is a double-post. Anyway, another great article that shows the generosity of a fanbase that is accused of being, “entitled.” I agree with Docmeff too, that an interesting aspect to this story is how so many in the mainstream are quick to mischaracterize and discredit the fans in this controversy. I think it’s fair to ask whether or not IGN, Gamestop and others are just covering their tracks after failing to include any real analaysis of the controversial ending to ME3 in their reviews of the game.

Conn Cooney

On March 22, 2012 at 12:38 pm

The charity was organised to show that us fans were to be taken seriously. It has worked to some degree but this whole situation has left deep divides between the gaming community. Reviewers are being questioned on their moral integrity, Developers are trying to defend their “artwork” which is understandable. But the whole notion of mass effect was to make it your own story. So how can they not understand that their version of the ending was simply not good enough for the 5 year emotional journey of money and time by legions of dedicated fans. We only want an ending that makes sense and wraps things up. We only do it because we care!

Tali (@Locolobo_2)

On March 22, 2012 at 1:37 pm

@Conn ey
YEAH! Seriously, if we didn’t care so much about the series, why would we be “wasting our time” with this? I’m at least not doing it necessarily for my benefit.. I want the ENTIRE Mass Effect franchise (not just most of it minus the ending) to go down in history as one of the greatest sci-fi epics ever created.. It’d be like this generation’s Star Wars.
But seriously, those people who think this charity is a bad thing, and think we’re only doing it for our benefit.. C’mon, really? haha And even if some are doing it for their own benefit, the kids are still the ones really benefiting from it the most. Despite those who want to chip away at strongly bonded line, we will continue to hold the line as before.


On March 22, 2012 at 6:03 pm

Hey Phil, thanks for the great article! I just want to give you a heads up that the Charity is being capped off at $80,000 as Child’s Play was apparently receiving hate mail and was being inaccurately portrayed by media sources as supporting the group. Check out the first post in this thread for more details:


On March 22, 2012 at 9:25 pm

It’s a damned shame that some folk are so vehemently against Retake that they’d direct hatemail towards a charity dedicated to helping children in an effort to oppose them.


On March 22, 2012 at 9:28 pm

It makes me SICK that people sent HATE MAIL to a charity because they disagreed with a community of people who were making huge donations to that charity. What kind of inhuman monsters are those people? They should be ashamed of themselves!


On March 23, 2012 at 12:42 am

Great idea. The money should be given to the charity only on the condition that it is not used to pay for anything from Bioware. After all what would be the point?

Anyway, it is already damn brilliantly clear that whatever Bioware does with ME is definitely going to stink to Reaper high heaven already. I’ll be reading about it. (ONLY reading about it).

We are getting the entertainment promised after all. Touché.


On March 23, 2012 at 2:03 am

So, which parts of the gamer press pressured the charity into asking the movement to wrap up their donation drive? Who was sending a charity hatemail because they didn’t like what some ME3 fans are choosing to do with their money? Anyone? No? No-0one willing to admit it was them??


On March 23, 2012 at 9:46 am

Thanks IGN, for cheating Child’s Play out of another 19 days of donations. If I were a “journalist” at IGN, I don’t think I could look at myself in the mirror after this. I hope they’re proud of themselves.


On March 23, 2012 at 12:19 pm

I find it interesting that the announcement by Penny Arcade (founders of Child’s Play) had an ad for TOR in front of the announcement to stop their partnership with Retake ME


On March 26, 2012 at 12:52 am

I think people may be interested in hearing some unmentioned details concerning how the charity was ended. And perhaps any other organization backing ME3′s ending change will improve their PR management if they know these issues ahead of time.

Don’t look any further than Penny Arcade’s own beliefs and interests for why they shut down the charity chip in from ME3 retake. Some people made charities just for their own business’ PR status. Whether Child’s Play was originally designed to give better PR to gamers and make them look less violent or not is really immaterial. ME3 Retake was perhaps edging too close to “taking over” a charity Penny Arcade saw as their own personal fiefdom and asset. That is it. EA, Bioware, none of those things need to enter the picture.