Probably as part of some diabolical, taking-candy-from-babies Reaper plot, an unfinished build of Mass Effect 3 was recently leaked onto Xbox Live . BioWare's troubles didn't end there, however, as a Russian website took a quick dip in the code and emerged with an equally still-in-progress version of the game's script. Unfortunately, that didn't stop many fans from taking it as the Gospel according to Shepard, and the world's biggest pitchfork and torch convention convened right here on our humble little Internet.
Unfinished or not, though, BioWare isn't writing off fan complaints. In some ways, says the developer, this leak might even be a blessing in disguise.
"It's hard to say something like that having a positive benefit, but if it gets more people to check out Mass Effect 3 that would be a positive benefit, and I think they should, because I think it's a great game," BioWare co-founder Ray Muzyka said during a recent BAFTA lecture (via Eurogamer ).
Moreover, nothing's set in stone. Feedback is feedback, and sometimes, you've got to take it where you can find it.
"We listen to our fans all of the time," Muzyka explained. "We listen to them on the forums, their feedback from stories. We're reading it all. If we can get ideas out of it that will make the game better, sure. We're not adverse to taking feedback. That's part of our core values, is humility. Any time we get a good idea from fans... they're our audience. They keep us in business."
"It was disappointing for [the dev team], yeah. They're moving on. They're making a great game. The script, frankly, has changed a little bit from what was released, too. It's been edited. They're always tuning it. They're always making it better. But yeah, it's tough when you see your work displayed. You realize only a small number of people are probably going to look at those spoilers in advance."
He added, however, that Mass Effect isn't a book. It's much more than words on a page, and things like facial expressions, music, lighting, choreography, tone, and setting all drastically alter the way a story's told. A script, then, is hardly indicative of the final product.
Which is why I'm still holding out hope that the final scene takes place in an upscale office building and sees Shepard and Co. burst in on a top hat-wearing, mustachioed leader of all Reapers. "I've been... expecting you, Mr/Ms Shepard," he'll say, swiveling around in his luxurious leather throne. "EXPECTING YOU TO DIE." And then: fisticuffs .