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.”
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.