Three weeks ago, "Mass Effect 3" hit stores to much fan enthusiasm.  Unfortunately, as players got deeper into the game, the enthusiasm started to waver.  By the time players reached the end of the story mode, enthusiasm turned into rage.  Many fans have openly complained about about the conclusion of the story, saying it doesn't make sense compared the to story set up over the trilogy of games.  Though there are multiple endings (SPOILER!), all endings include the apparent death of the lead character Sheppard, and the stranding of his/her (depending on the gender chosen by the player) crew on an alien planet.  If the player has accrued enough points through on-line game play, a special ending is unlocked showing Sheppard to be alive.

The bulk of the fan criticism focused on the negative ending of killing the lead character and leaving the crew of the Normandy in a bad position, as well as not clarifying certain points and making a concise ending.  BioWare co-founder Ray Muzyka has issued a statement on the game's official website, saying they are looking for a balance between appeasing the fans and respecting the artistic integrity of the development team,

"As co-founder and GM of BioWare, I’m very proud of the ME3 team; I personally believe Mass Effect 3 is the best work we’ve yet created. So, it’s incredibly painful to receive feedback from our core fans that the game’s endings were not up to their expectations. Our first instinct is to defend our work and point to the high ratings offered by critics – but out of respect to our fans, we need to accept the criticism and feedback with humility.

I believe passionately that games are an art form, and that the power of our medium flows from our audience, who are deeply involved in how the story unfolds, and who have the uncontested right to provide constructive criticism. At the same time, I also believe in and support the artistic choices made by the development team. The team and I have been thinking hard about how to best address the comments on ME3’s endings from players, while still maintaining the artistic integrity of the game."

Muzyka admits that though the game trilogy is designed to invoke emotions in the players who have come to care about these characters, he and his team have been shocked at the outpouring of negative reactions from the loyal fans.  Wanting to make sure their customers are happy, Musyka announced that BioWare is working on new downloadable content that will provide more clarity and closure to the story.  Muzyka made sure to explain that BioWare is not reacting on a whim, or reacting to non-constructive criticism from players,

"Some of the criticism that has been delivered in the heat of passion by our most ardent fans, even if founded on valid principles, such as seeking more clarity to questions or looking for more closure, for example – has unfortunately become destructive rather than constructive. We listen and will respond to constructive criticism, but much as we will not tolerate individual attacks on our team members, we will not support or respond to destructive commentary.

If you are a Mass Effect fan and have input for the team – we respect your opinion and want to hear it. We’re committed to address your constructive feedback as best we can. In return, I’d ask that you help us do that by supporting what I truly believe is the best game BioWare has yet crafted. I urge you to do your own research: play the game, finish it and tell us what you think. Tell your friends if you feel it’s a good game as a whole. Trust that we are doing our damndest, as always, to address your feedback. As artists, we care about our fans deeply and we appreciate your support."

This raises a good question in terms of pleasing customers vs maintaining artistic integrity.  At what point, if any, should film and video game makers change their planned story to appease the fans?