Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Mass Effect 3 - Extended Cuts & Harada Speaks!  


Games: So, the Mass Effect 3 “extended cut” DLC amending the old endings came out today.

It's a free add-on and I'm pretty sure it provides an auto-save right near the end of the game for those who may not have a file at the appropriate point -- I was positive that I didn't, but when I booted the game up, there it was. It could be my imagination, but I'm guessing the developers included this save as part of the DLC to avoid further outcry.


Back when the game first came out, I was one of the apparent minority who felt like the original endings were satisfactory. They were rushed and could have been polished up a bit, but the overall content and direction of what we got was just fine in my book.

(For the record, I'm looking at the "synthesis" ending as the likely canon, and that was the ending I chose.)

After watching this new ending content, I think it adds pretty much everything that the people complaining wanted (except the goddamn unicorns and rainbows) yet still stays true to the original concepts. Exposition is expanded, a few new scenes are inserted in places to help clarify the storytelling, and there is an additional wrapup at the end which leaves absolutely no doubt as to the status of each character. There's also a new, fourth ending for people who weren't satisfied with the original three.

I do think these new endings are better than the originals, and I’ve got no problem with them. I was also quite gratified to see that many of the theories I floated in the Gamecritics After Dark podcast theorizing what BioWare omitted turned out to be entirely correct… not to toot to get my own horn or anything, but I nailed this one.  ; D

Props to Bio for doing their best to make their fans happy even if some of the hue and cry around the ending was a little INSANELY/RIDICULOUSLY/ABSURDLY over the top.

So even though they're still not forgiven for Dragon Age 2, can we all just get along now?


Speaking of fans making noise, the following Tweet from Tekken director Katsuhiro Harada  (@Harada_Tekken) made the rounds today, and I felt like it was a perfect fit to go along with this stuff about Mass Effect 3. I think it speaks for itself, so I will simply repost the text here:

I have something I want to say to the people who spam me with requests to "switch back (or Bring back) to the voice actors used previously".

I believe that, before whining and complaining about everything, you need practice at taking a step back and analyzing things objectively. And also at being an adult.

First, the voice you were listening to was 16 years ago, during the PlayStation period. The current generation of consoles are totally different in how they play back sound; both software-wise, and the internal circuitry

It's my original data!!

The playback program is different, as well as the sound effects added; reverb and 5.1 are examples of this. The comrpression rate, as well as the sound rate, is different today. Are you playing games on the same TV you used 16 years ago? What about your speakers? Headphones? They are all the same as 16 years ago? I wonder if it will sound like the same voice as 16 years ago, even with that data..

Also, you are assuming the voice actors themselves can reproduce the voice the recorded 16 years ago? Many voice actors decline work because their voice has changed since the original role, some have even retired. Sometimes they won't accept, even if we ask.The recording studio and the equipment they use is also different. With all of this in mind, you still thing it is possible to recreate these voices?

Some might say "just pay them to reuse the voice data". But, often the voice actors decline this, or their agency declines.

For example, Brian's laugh is the actual data from Tekken 3. As fans have requested, we've kept using the original, adapting the data recorded 16 years ago to be used on the PS2, and then PS3.
Even so, some people said it is a different voice in Tekken 6 than the original.

It can't be helped they might think that. As explained above, even though the master data is the same, all of the equipment used in adapting it has completely changed. That said, it isn't a good idea to try to reccreate the older recording environment because then the data sounds heavily compressed, with noise. More than that, it would sound out of place next to the voice data of the newer characters.

WHAT? You say some of the voices sound like they haven't changed at all?

It's not my original data!!

I guess you didn't notice that the development team has re-recorded them, but made efforts for it to sound as close as possible to the original. And you probably didn't even notice.

Do you know that all of the voice work for a character is not always done by just one voice actor? Using Brian as an example, the laugh you guys love so much uses the original data from Tekken 3, but the short kiai voice uses a different voice actor, and the "come on!" voice also uses a different voice actor. A lot of other characters also use different voice actors for the spoken lines and for the shouts.

I did the voice work for Marshal and Forest for 15 years.However, I can no longer produce that voice after Tekken 5, so we had a different voice actor for Tekken 6.

The Tekken series has continued for 17 years. The development environment, as well as the environment in which you all play games, has changed.

There are so many characters, and we can't keep using the same voice actors every time, for a variety of reasons.

I have even complied to the requests of you all spamming me to "bring back characters" from previous installments. You often say, "let's show the dev team how sincere we are by buying 2 copies if they bring back character X", but did you really go through with it? Expecting you to at least pre-order the game, I was met with more spam, after you apparently didn't notice that Jun and Michelle actually return.

I still have some characters left to be revealed that comply with some of your requests, even "bringing back" several others. Even so, none of them are paid DLC. I will continue to sincerely comply with fan requests. However, I can't continue to engage the negative ones that, without knowing what you are talking about, or even thinking about what you are saying, blindly repeat "bring back, bring back, bring back..."

After this lengthy explanation, I will be quite surprised if there are still people who still don't get it.

Thanks for understanding or not understanding. Whatever.

You, Mr. Harada, are my hero.


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2 comments: to “ Mass Effect 3 - Extended Cuts & Harada Speaks!


    I was right there with you - I posted some comments about this on my blog today, but I was okay with the original endings. At least with the 'lore' - I did feel that it was a bit cheap how your actions played so little consequence at the end, and after viewing all of the different endings, seeing so little variety between them. I do however feel that these new ones are much improved and probably should have been included with the game in the first place. I too have the feeling that synthesis is the ending that the developers wanted you to choose, but I have to say that the control one in my opinion became a lot more interesting with this update.


    I never liked the original ending, as I've discussed with Brad. I just felt no closure or clarity. I'd have been happy to leave the ultimate fate of the galaxy to my imagination if I felt I had some foundations to work on, and I didn't feel the original ending gave me any.

    I absolutely loved the new ending, I stuck with Control as I never really understand the Synthesis option. It felt like I was forcing the galaxy to change their very identity without even asking them. I was much more comfortable taking the hit myself as it were.

    Still the way it was framed this time actually gave me a moment of pause where I considered the Synthesis ending. Ultimately I was glad I finally had the option to say "I can't make this choice for the entire galaxy." which was exactly what I'd been thinking.

    Mass Effect is grand sci-fi hokum and I think the original ending tried to me make it a bit more like 2001. The DLC help shift that tone back to where I'd always though it was but I'm glad it's optional. Hopefully everybody can calm down and we can all move on now. :)