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The recently announced changes to the core mythos of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and the backlash from fans over the ending to Mass Effect 3 have ignited an incredible discussion about the rapidly evolving “collaborative” relationship between producers and consumers of videogames, movies, and similar “products.” Now it’s exploded beyond the secure borders of top news publications, gaming and entertainment websites. Looks like this long-bubbling cauldron of traditional ways and means, modern tech, web economics, core beliefs and future shock has finally boiled over...

Should you listen to your audience?

The Contenders

The gaming industry, and gaming media, is wrong to label upset consumers as ‘entitled’ or ignore the
investment of fans beyond simply spending their hard-earned cash.


They don't "owe" you anything. They make a product, and then you decide if you're going to pay for it. Since many of you think it's okay to download anything you want for free, even that second step isn't a guaranteed part of the process anymore. But it's a very simple transaction. They make. You consume. … Even so, you are not actually owed anything beyond whatever entertainment they produced for you in the first place.

It’s the question roiling the genre arts sparked by the release of Mass Effect 3 and speculation about changes Michael Bay may make in his reboot of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles:

Should a video game creator rework a game’s ending if

enough fans are dissatisfied with the original?

Should fans’ responses to rumors about

projects-in-planning be a major consideration in

the creation of those projects?

In this article I contend that it’s not simply that the gaming and movie industries are mistaken to dismiss
disgruntled fans as nuisances deluded with a false sense of “entitlement” – I actually contend that commercial
storytelling across all media should increasingly incorporate community feedback as an essential element in a
project’s success. Fan influence might alter a project by 5% or 60%. It’s all in the balance of how fan feedback
is utilized in the process.

Let me make another important point. I’m always annoyed when the “they make – you consume” contenders try to moot or obviate the whole discussion of producers and consumers by referring to movies, games, songs, etc. as mere “entertainment”.

When I eat a cheeseburger at Umami, ride a rollercoaster, or laugh at a joke in a late nght talk-show host monologue,
I am partaking of an “entertainment”. These are those momentary pleasures in life that help you relax or give you a cheap
thrill – and they are instantly disposable.

But movies, videogames and music are different. We “invest” ourselves greatly in them. Ask any young fan who thrilled
to vicariously inhabiting one of the characters in the Hunger Games. Dick Clark once rightly said that music becomes the
“soundtrack of our lives.” Movies have always been (and now, too, videogames) the alternative “religions” or mythos that
we choose to identify with, and by which we often define and direct how we think about our lives, sometimes to an extent
exceeding actual religions or ideologies. What I’m saying is that the “psychic stakes” in this current dispute are a little
higher and more vital to our culture than it just being a “consumer complaint” situation.

From TheArtist GodsOf The Genre

There is no such thing as a singular fan reaction. Art is an interpretive experience. What you read in Moby Dick,
and what I read in Moby Dick, are different things. That is very much one of the joys of the arts. We don't have a singular
response. There's a quote which states, 'All art aspires to the condition of music,' and that's because music is infinitely
interpretable. Who would want to conform an artist's vision into something else?

No person other than the artist can make his or her art. Art is the manifestation of one man or woman's vision for a
better world. And, hopefully, that vision will inspire generations to create their own art. That's just the way I see it.

CliveBarker, as a uniquely modern renaissance man, is especially qualified to comment on our topic. Only Stephen
King rivals his fame atop the charts of popular fantasy and horror fiction. As a novelist his books include "Abarat", "Imajica" and "Thief of Always". The Candyman and Hellraiser films were based on
his writings. But he is also a renowned visual artist, his paintings and drawings having hung in prestigious fine arts galleries.
He has been creatively involved in videogames, comic books, films and even costume design. He has produced films as diverse as
Gods and Monsters and The Midnight Meat Train. His perspective is that of an absolute original.

In my personal experience, listening to the feedback of a rabid fanbase can be a double-edged sword. Say your film or TV show is
based on preexisting material like a comic. On the one hand, you have to be careful not to adhere too closely to the source material.
What's right for one medium (a comicbook or videogame, say) may not necessarily be right for a film. And vice versa. Secondarily, when
thinking about a film or TV show, you're talking about million or even tens of millions of viewers (as opposed to, say, 40,000 comicbook
readers). You are making a mass-market adaptation, so the broader audience may or may not be amenable to certain conceits.

But the flip-side is, ignoring the early adopters or original fans can be to your peril. Often, film and TV executives are far removed
from their actual consumers. Many of them no longer see movies in a public theater. More still, have never set forth in a comicbook
store. To some executives, there is literally no differentiation between, say, Superman and some small-press indie comicbook. They
perceive all comicbooks to be the same. They may have no understanding of the source material's DNA. I can't tell you how many times I've
had an executive suggest a change that I knew, in my gut, would send the fans screaming. It's hard to explain that to an executive,
sometimes. It's truly a gut-check kind of thing.

David Goyer provides invaluable perspective, having mastered every facet of the genre arts narrative. He is a
screenwriter (Dark City, Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, Man of Steel) who has also written for TV, comic books and videogames. He is
a film director (Blade: Trinity, The Unborn) and producer (Blade II and Trinity, Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance). He is a novelist
(Heaven’s Shadow). Heaven’s War, the second book of his sci-fi trilogy, is unleashed this July; The Dark Knight Rises, the film sequel
from his original story, is in post-production; and his newest creation, Da Vinci’s Demons will debut soon on Starz.

Personally, I think the best storytelling is the product of a strong, single voice. I think it's important for creators to listen to
their fans and to make adjustments along the way, but I'm not so sure that a collaborative effort can create a singular vision. I think a
creator should not only write to please their audience but also to occasionally surprise them.

Jeff Kinney
Author/Creator of “Diary of A Wimpy Kid”

So what’s really going on with theMass Effect 3& TMNT showdown?

The makers of Mass Effect have, I imagine quite by accident, found themselves suspended over what they must find a frightening abyss, with
one foot planted in the old way of doing things, and the other foot toeing the unfamiliar terrain on the other side of the yawning chasm. They
encouraged fans to change the outcome of the game with their own decisions – but then largely ignored those decisions. Is this really a dispute
over creator’s rights vs. fan entitlement – or is it about how technology’s new tools are fundamentally changing commercial story narrative creation?

There have always been editors, censors, critics and all the other intruders necessarily a part of commercial publishing. And the “input” of public
readership has always factored in as well, with some artists cursing it and others embracing it. Rather than write “take-it-or-leave-it” novels,
complete at time of publication, Charles Dickens was famous for creating his serialized stories a chapter at a time, published weekly of monthly
in magazines or newspapers specifically so he could gauge readers’ response to each chapter before writing or revising the next. Great Expectations
is certainly the product of Dickens’s brilliant compassionate mind and expert writing talents – but it’s also to a tremendous extent a collaborative
creation with hundreds of “contributing authors”!


Having an open and sincere dialogue with fans has become an integral part of our business and our books. We value their passion
and input, so direct conduits like social media have helped us form a solid bond and bring us even closer in what is already a
tightly knit industry.

Ted Adams
CEO/Publisher of IDW Publishing

While I think there is a lot of merit to the idea of listening to the core audience of any given franchise. I think "caving" too
much to what fans want can lead to a watered-down product. Sometimes fans think they want something and as soon as they get it, the
franchise suddenly loses its dramatic tension. The bottom line, for me, is that sometimes there's a groundswell that is too loud to ignore.
If the majority of your fanbase is upset by something you've done or clamoring for a plot point that has been ignored, it would be
silly to dismiss it out of hand.  But creators should also be wary of taking every single critique of their project too seriously.

Brendan Deneen

Co-President and Co-Publisher, Ardden Entertainment LLC

Comic Book Writer, Flash Gordon and Phoenix / Founder, Macmillan Films

So Here IsThe Point

Dickens never would have made the mistake of incorporating his readers’ ideas throughout a novel’s chapters and then written a final chapter
completely at odds with all those ideas. The Mass Effect 3 mistake was to encourage player “revisions” to the storyline – but only as a gimmick
rather than committing to this new reality as an integral part of the evolution of the narrative. Any “narrative” today, to be commercially viable,
will have to be “written” for the full spectrum of storytelling demanded by the evolution of web production and distribution. Stories must be full
spectrum narratives, able to fit themselves to tellings as videogames, comics and graphic novels, traditional novels, feature film and television
and Internet productions (live action or animated).  And all these iterations of a core story will be subject to constant fan comment for revision
and extension. This is the brave new world that Dickens would have embraced as liberating rather than destructive of his authorship, the tool of
“reader” feedback having now become an instantaneous and continuous global information stream that will propel forward those who learn to navigate
it, and drown those who fear a “loss of control” in uncharted waters.

So is “authorship” doomed?

Hardly. The new technology driving instantaneous feedback and a greater demand for reader participation is simply forcing writers and visual
artist/creators in other art forms to face new realities and make tough decisions about how their artistic expression is going to be distributed to the planet.
Every time a painting or journal is posted on deviantART it has the potential to be experienced by a thousand times the number of people who had access
to anything written by Charles Dickens in his time. And be instantly commented upon by those people. Personal artistic expression and connection
has been liberated as never before. But the conundrum remains: No artist has to ever alter or revise an artwork, but then again, no artist has to
ever make a penny from his or her art. Writers, and all artists, must find the spot on that “art vs. pay” continuum where they are most comfortable
and functional. There can always be art for art’s sake, unintended for sale, but there is now a radical new way of becoming a successful and
world-popular commercial storyteller. And the new way heeds the feedback enabled by the new tech from word one.

The new paradigm of feedback-fed conception, production and distribution will take a while to establish itself on the still “Wild, Wild West”
Internet, but it will provide producers of content-driven stories with a real security in the commercial success of their properties – rather than
the increasing chaos they are currently falsely fearing. In the end “authorship” will always be bestowed upon the artist individual who most
commands respect as the one whose efforts most connect with us, the readers or viewers, regardless of any input from feedback or cuts by editors.
Writers need not fear a degradation of their work, nor their becoming mere typists transcribing the public’s wishes.

In the end, as always:

True talent and true vision will win out.

Deviant Artists AlreadyEmbracing the Futureof Storytelling

yuumei, alexiuss and vesner are creative, visual and narrative storytellers who, with well over a million
reads each for their stories on deviantART, enjoy an unprecedented relationship with their online audience. Their input is informed
by their status as artists already participating in storytelling’s new paradigm.

Writers have editors, but who says the editors can't be the audiences themselves? If I were writing a story mostly for my own
enjoyment, then I have no obligations to please the audience. However, if I am creating something with the main purpose of
marketing to the masses, then my work should reasonably meet their expectations, and the best way to do that would be to listen to their opinions.

Author/Creator of Knite & 1000 W0RDS

I believe in altering endings, as long as the fanbase demands it, but not in a way that the original book/game/title is heavily
edited, but rather in the way in which the 2nd story of the title continues. For example, if the protagonist dies in the 1st book,
he can be somehow brought back to life if the fanbase really really wants to read a 2nd book about him. Without this alteration,
one of the greatest books I've read called 'The Golden Calf' would not exist. Personally I'm very heavily influenced by critics and
fans, so if my work is lacking in some regard, I update it or try to improve on it.

People were disappointed with ME3's ending, not just because the developers promised something completely different, but because
players didn't just watch/play this story – they were an integral part of it up to that point. Every player who spent their time
playing all of the three games created a strong bond between themselves and Commander Shepard to a degree that, in a way, they all
became Commander Shepard. We all want to believe that our actions can change our fate and the fate of the world.

Dave Elliott and Jordan Greenhall are acute observers of the deviantART community and its impact.

Being in the comics industry, you are acutely aware of two things: 1) that every corporate character has a history
with certain aspects of that history carved in stone, and 2) these characters have a strong, ardent following that, if
you are going to change them, it had better be good, or you'll know about it via Twitter, Facebook, and deviantART. I
will no doubt face this myself 10 times over with "The Weirding Willows," which merges timelines and histories of more
than a dozen beloved, classic characters. Whilst being as respectful of the characters and their histories as possible,
I won't let that stand in the way of what I want to do with the possibilities represented. I'm looking forward to the
feedback I expect from this one.

Author/Creator - Weirding Willows

It is no stretch to recognize that the nature of a civilization is tightly linked with its form of media.
It must be understood that we are undergoing a media transformation quite as substantial as the invention of written
language. As a consequence, we should expect social media (or, better, what will come to be known as Transmedia) to reshape
our world in deeply profound ways. This movement from center to edge, from author to community, from broadcast to interactivity,
is a fundamental. We will be seeing it literally everywhere, including art. Especially art - as we come to discover that one
of the core threads of this transition is a (real) aestheticization of life.

There will always be astounding stories that pay no regard to what an audience wants and are all the more richer for it. And I'm bloody thankful for that…I certainly care for the opinions of my readers, and I have kept them in the front of my mind during one story or another.

People who create to be consumed would care about pleasing the audience, people who are consumed by their creation quite frankly care only to please themselves.

Cake ID by StJoan

QuestionsFor the Reader

  1. As a visual artist, have you ever experienced being pressured to alter an artwork, either by a dealer to make it more “salable,” or by your watchers, critics, or friends?

    As a writer, have you ever experienced being pressured to change an important part of a story, either at a prospective publisher’s or editor’s insistence, or simply because of a reader’s impassioned entreaties?

    As a reader or viewer (of movies, TV shows, videogames, art, etc.) do you feel a sense of entitlement giving you the right to not only criticize but actually demand changes be made to a disappointing work?

  2. Do you feel this entitlement is based in your great investment of both money and time in the work? Or do you feel this entitlement is based in your great investment of your head and heart in a particularly resonant storyline?

  3. As a writer or visual artist, is the connection between you and your audience important enough for you to want to make a change pleasing to them?

  4. As an online reader of Knite, Romantically Apocalyptic, or Off-White, is there an increased value or special connection you experience in being able to connect with the authors of your favorite works-in-progress and contribute your feedback?

    Does the ability to offer comments, suggestions, criticisms, and encouragement bond you creatively to a property in a way eclipsing passive fandom?

    Does Fan art and Fan Fiction created around an online story with author/reader interactivity become more of an integral part of the property than traditional offline fan art tributes?

  5. If you played ME3, how did you feel about the ending? TMNT or TANT?

Add a Comment:
techgnotic Featured By Owner Jul 26, 2012
Yes, depending on the context of the conversation.
Somnium-23 Featured By Owner Jul 27, 2012
Never mind, here's the answer:

No, there's no such thing as overrated or underrated as saying so would suggest that there's such a thing as an ideal or perfect work. There isn't. Most people say that a work is perfect if it does everything right. Well; "The Room" did everything right at being a bad film, and people don't call it perfect, and then there are all those critics who say that "Amadeus" is perfect and yet my sister and mom hates it, and then you have all those art house fans who say that "The Tree of Life" is glorious whilst almost everyone else says it's shit.

The fact is, if something is perfect it means that it can never be changed or it would become imperfect, so really perfection is a dead-end. A work can only do so well in one regard, it can never work on any level. But working on any level is the definition of perfection, but it's disproven at every turn, why else do most people today go with Batman instead of Citizen Kane or the other way around. In other words the true definition is this: a work is perfect if it pleases everyone on every level.

You don't need to be genius to understand that it's impossible.

The world of creative arts just like nature do not follow by any written rules, it just evolves into whatever it can be, there's no ideal or goal. I mean just look at us humans for example; we are not a perfect life-form nor the goal of evolution, we are just another mutation that's survived, and in most natural environments we are at a huge disadvantage due to our frail construct. Similarly in the world of arts; no work is better than the other, they are just different.

Different artists have different methods of how they approach creating and distributing their work, to varying degrees of efficiency. Most hardly gain any success at all, but some are luckier. The important thing to remember though is that quality is measured by popularity and impact, not by individual opinions. All of these discussions and arguments are just a bi-product of misusing language. We all to often make the mistake that language is a mirroring of the human condition, it's not, just like the thought and feelings of an animal the human condition can't be explained or put in words. The only way to access the human condition is to experience it for yourself. Language is a string of ideas that subvert the human condition into something more commutable, but these ideas can mean anything to anyone, and as more people gather around one another the different subjectives are taken as universal and so the arguments begin; an ever spinning web of meaningless ideas where people try to justify their subjective experiences.

The reason why quality is measured in popularity is because that shows just how well an artist's methods worked, it touched a large number of people in such a way that they become invested. "Overrated" and "underrated" are just words invented by the minority to try and justify their position when really they don't have a say in the matter. It's all a matter of tastes, voicing them is irrelevant, what's relevant is the investment. If you say a work is bad or good, it just means that it's good or bad for you. But what you feel individually is only important for you, the true value lies in the investment of the masses, not the voices of the individual.

You can't truly communicate how you feel about a work in language, only in actions. So really, all these arguments, debates, opinions are meaningless. You either join the cheering crowd or shut your mouth and leave. But remember; the bigger the crowd is, the more effective the art is, and that is the true measurement of quality.

For that reason I dare to say that Harry Potter is a masterpiece, even though I don't like it.
Somnium-23 Featured By Owner Jul 27, 2012
Elaborate please.
Asheraine Featured By Owner May 21, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
TMNT over TANT. This is because I grew up with the TMNT and they became an integral part of my childhood. Seeing them suddenly altered into something so profoundly different is like tearing the piece of my childhood and warping into something just to appeal to those who have never heard of the series.
gir131 Featured By Owner May 17, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
1. NO, I've never been pressured to change a central aspect of any story I've written by anyone other than me. And yes, I always feel like I have the right to express my concerns and ideas about the execution of a piece, Especially a piece that is a reimagined version of a historic work.
2. It's because I have so much emotional investment in the characters.
3. I think it would be if I had more than three people following me.
4. I think fanfivtion does enhance the experiance of the general work, because it opens you up to ne ways of looking at different characters, it's like if all the fans got together and threw a party all over the internet.
shivps Featured By Owner May 12, 2012
shivps Featured By Owner May 12, 2012
kronusnec Featured By Owner May 10, 2012
I'm a kind of a writer and I have experienced pressure from my sister to change some important parts of the story. I think it is realy important for an artist, especially in RPG area, to listen what readers have to say. When I finished ME3 I felt awfull. I died! Damn it, I realy died, because I WAS Commandor Sheppard. Sth I loved about Fable1 was that if you watched credits you could continue to play, although the campaign was finished. If ME3 had the same thing I would love BioWare. I wish they will make a patch with alternative ending where I survive, cause dieing sucks!
Abyss-of-Insanity Featured By Owner May 3, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
1. A&B. Whether as an off-hand murmur or a vehement protest every involuntary mishap is all to familiar when seen from a different perspective and made more memorable when you feel incapable of appeasing their demands.
C. The value of media-based entertainment is decided by making evaluations based upon experience with said entertainment. So it seems logical to concur that the ability to reach a verdict is justified in the hands of the consumer, but the consumer is liable to fault and typically lacks the skills to make solid revisions. In the end, no as a consumer we do not deserve such influence but as undeserving as we are we occasionally make a damn good time of it.
2. Responsibility all boils down to "I am a part of this" whether financially, emotionally or both.I believe that a consumer is allowed involvement directly proportional to contributions.
3. Highly situational. If the work is nonsensical then peer review is excusable, however if something tangible is at stake then constructive criticism is appreciated.
4. A&B Without a doubt the simple hope that you can even contact such venerable deities makes the immersion factor sky-rocket through the roof.
C. I think that user-generated content is'nt necessary but it's a welcome site seeing as how it can promote creativity not only in the community but perhaps the creator if she/he started perusing inspiration.
5. I have played ME3 but not to the end, but I have a general rough draft of what is to come. From the sounds of it gamers were terribly disappointed, with my irl survey topping out to1/7 gamers being slightly content with ME3's endings, and after some decent contemplation I decided ME3 wasn't worth my time until proven.
PaperMatt202 Featured By Owner Apr 30, 2012
I want to read this, but I haven't found the time to...
NinaMarinaAcuatico Featured By Owner Apr 30, 2012
Wonderful article, it directly addresses the fuss that is going on around this issue.
In regaurd to question one, as a reader or viewer of videogames/movies and such, I do not feel entitled to demand changes to the plot. Unless given the choice, such as in the Mass Effect series. I do feel that they should have had much more varience in the outcomes according to what YOU choose, seeing as they seemingly give you the choice. If you are going to give the reader/viewer/gamer the choice to choose, the outcome should be adjusted accordingly.

Question four is interesting, for if the creator gives you the choice to directly affect the story or work of art, then I do feel more of an attachment to the work. But on the other hand if there is no hinting at being able to choose then I am content to take the work from the creator as is, for there has been much effort on the creators part to make it in the first place and I respect them in doing so.

And lastly question five. I played all of the Mass Effect games and thoroughly enjoyed the interactive game play, choosing the outcomes in playing the nice guy or a complete jerk, and the outcomes that result from those choices. I was throughly dissappointed when playing the ending of Mass Effect 3 in finding that pretty much no matter what I did the outcome was pretty much the same.

Thanks for giving such an amazing article on this dilicate issue and giving the readers a chance to voice their opinion.
thelovebat Featured By Owner Apr 27, 2012
Very interesting article.
ravensartshack Featured By Owner Apr 24, 2012
I enjoyed reading this article so I wil be sharing this on facebook. I am writing my first novel and have been wondering how does one write for video games?
Mercurial-Mythic Featured By Owner Apr 23, 2012
My initial views (subject to change if I think about it in more depth later):

As a writer, I've been pressured to change some of my short stories by some of the people who've read them- actually, mostly by my mother, who continually tells me to "write about other topics, nobody likes reading about this subject, write something that there's a market for" (to paraphrase). It's not the individual plotlines that get complaints, it's the premise of what I write. Still, I write because it's important to me to get the information down and existing in the 'real world' outside of my head, not to sell. That would just be an extra perk. ;)

I think that as a reader of books, a watcher of TV shows, and a viewer of art, I don't really have a sense of entitlement about demanding changes- I mean, I think I can criticize things that I can support, like "the dialogue was slightly stilted", "such and such was kind of contrived/pulled out of nowhere", "x and y were inconsistant in a way not in fitting with the professed theme", that sort of thing, but ultimately a book is written for the writer, art is made for the maker, and TV shows have a central and main arc that is the vision of the creator which will probably come together at the end- if the show fails entirely, that's a different story (this coming from the perspective of a writer, a sort-of-artist, and someone who writes episodic plot arcs). While you can criticize the concrete, I don't think we have a right to demand anything of the basic plot or things like that. For the most part, I think this goes for movies too.
However, there is an exception- if the movie, TV show, or book is spun-off of an already established work (particularly a successful one), then I think the creator should listen to the fanbase, at least insofar as staying true to the source material goes. Because while in these cases the new creator probably does have their own vision of how things should go, it's based heavily off of someone else's, and it should respect that work as an important aspect of the 'franchise' or whatever. Also, in many cases spin-offs or new takes on old things (movies and TV, mostly, to my knowledge, though probably also videogames) have at least some motivation of monetary gain. If you're intent on selling to the fanbase, listening to what it considers the hallmarks of the 'story' or whatever you're reworking is probably a good idea- the same way that basic supply and demand works, by one person providing what other people want, or not selling anything.
As for videogames- while I freely admit that I do not have a large amount of experience in being quite so invested in them as others, I am of the opinion that they are created to sell, and thus created for the buyer, in the same "supply-and-demand" way as above. So, if you're making it for the buyer, listening to their demands and at least taking the strongest ones into account seems like it would be a good idea- unless you're honestly making the game for the sake of making it, with your own non-profit outfit and organization, not caring what other people think. Then it's really up to you whether or not you listen to the fans.

I think the entitlement, when it exists, is based a bit on the money invested in the work- a case of "we're buying it, so give us what we want"- in, again, the whole free-market sense. But I also think that, as stated above, some of the stuff being created is being created *for* the buyer. So we invest ourselves in it, the creator deliberately sets out to get us to invest ourselves in it, if only to sell out, and we have a stake in the outcomes. No work will please everyone (or if it does, there's mind control of the public being involved somehow), but if the creator sets out to get us 'invested', then in a sense she or he gives the public a little bit of the story- the same way that, in the market, 'investing' means getting a share and a say in a stock or something.
Again, particularly if the work is based on something pre-existing- whether it's a reboot of a beloved classic or if it's a sequel to a hit somethingorother- there is even more 'entitlement'. The new creator goes into it knowing that the fanbase has expectations, that they're *already* invested in the storylines, and that the expectations now fall on the new creator too. If the new creator is a fan of the original work themselves, they may have just such an attachment. The new work, being produced for the buyers and the public, shouldn't seek to break the fanbase- if the new creator is a fan, they wouldn't want such a thing to happen to the storyline from *their* perspective. It's a case of human understanding of the way emotional connections to the unreal go.

As a visual artist, a lot of what I do (which it occurs to me I have posted very, very little of on this site...) is done for my own sake- self expression and the leaking of Important Stuff into the real world. But when I have something that people really like, that's done for them, whether to sell or just to show, then yeah, what my audience thinks is really important. If they don't like it, I can't convey the subtleties I'm trying to get across, and I can't give them something profound to hold onto. The art for me is for me, and the art for them is most emphatically *for* them. There aren't too many points that I'd be unwilling to at least compromise on- the basic style, which I'd assume people are fine with if they like the art as a whole, and some of the implications of my work (I won't pass along messages I vehemently dissagree with, for example), are about it.
As a writer, it's a little bit complicated. A lot of my work is for me- I'm of the I-wrote-it-because-it-happened-it-happened-because-I-wrote-it perspective. The worlds I write often spring fully formed to mind. And, because I try to prortray me characters relatively consistantly (except the story with my author avatar as a main character, which will likely never be published or see any eyes but mine and my closest friends), I would assume that anyone invested in the story won't ask me to change that. Equally, if there's a big profound event or character trait that some people don't like, I'm not likely to be changing it just because people ask. It's probably integral to how I see the character, and the characters are *mine*. But if there's something that everyone objects to- a stray implication, something that they say really doesn't fit with the rest of the character's portrayal, that sort of thing- then I might consider changing it. If nothing else, the fact that other people are reading whatever it is and there are enough of them to form a coherent audience base would say that I have accepted that I'm giving part of the story to my audience, to borrow the time of or contemplate as they see fit. I figure that if the point is valid, I owe them that. Or, if they give me a suggestion about "write such and such story, for character development, it would fit them much better than such and such", then I'll probably take the suggestion because the character is mine, but some of the character's time is for the audience, to give them something, to spread a certain ideal or feeling or whatever. The audience, in that case, has a right to give me a kick in the pants and a startoff.
Of course, the fact that most of this is me saying "I'll take audience suggestions if I feel like it" is kind of unhelpful. But the thing is, the characters are mine entirely- I'm not trying to write characters that belong to other people (except in the story with my author avatar as the main character, but those bits would probably be edited out anyway). So I'm not intruding on already established territory and trying to make my mark on a small and established character interpretation. If I were, I would definitely welcome input from the fanbase, and especially from the original creator(s). The fans would have to have a well supported point, because fanon can get in the way of open-minded creativity sometimes, but their opinion should have some weight. The original creator should be someone with at least a certain "veto power" on the intrinsic aspects of the story and chracters. If it were my works being used as source material, there would be certain instrinsic aspects that I would be pretty much uncompromising on. People messing up those would be fairly heartbreaking for me. The original creators are the ones who 'own' the characters, and though there are aspects that are probably open to interpretation, the important essence of the character should be preserved. I figure that if I'd like people to give me that much, that doing the same for others is their just due.
An important thing to consider is that video games generally cost $60 at release, sight unseen.
For me, that's about a day's wages, spent on something I literally don't know if I'm going to love, hate, or fall asleep during.

Beyond that, when you've got an entry in an existing series, it needs to be consistent with what's come before. No matter who's writing, drafting, whatever. If the people making a thing can't or won't do that, they have no reason to complain if the people who loved the work before hate it now, and no reason to expect that a new audience will like it any better.

So, yeah, if you're expecting to make money off of a thing, you HAVE to keep in mind the expectations of the people you're planning to sell to.
Thefastmaster Featured By Owner Apr 23, 2012
There isn't much to say by me except for one thing: For all those things they have done, Mass Effect 3 cannot be considered as art.
If it should be really the artistic vision from the creator of the story, he should be there till the end (and as we know the original writer wasn't).
If you want to keep your artistic vision, you stay true to the ending you have planned first (and as we know from the script leak the ending was completely different and good).
You stay true to the theme and the climat that the story had and don't introduce suddenly something at the end just like that, because you found no other way to explain things you just couldn't, because, there again, you are not the original creator.
As an artist you don't create something so important like a side character, that goes with you along the whole story and then cut it out and sell it only as an extra with the collectors edition. Either the story is finished with or without him. Imagine Rowling putting Ron just as an extra to the Harry Potter-Series with the words "He's nice to have, but not so important". These are not a true artist's words.
And you don't make something hush-hush like the face of someone like Tali, and just take one photoshoped stockimage without even looking closer at it or maybe putting some more work into it, and hoping no fan will find this image anywhere else.

As a conclusion, this isn't art, its just a product from a huge bunch from people just to please their fans (and making money) from the beginning on. Maybe some of them used their artistic vision, imagination and skill, but as a whole this is a product like a car or washmashine, and it came with some promises, that weren't true, and they knew it when telling them us, because this product was already finished. So yes, the customers have their right to demand something better in this case.
Well said.
Karpyshyn wrote a story about fighting an eldritch abomination that no one else believes exists.
In ME3, Shepard didn't have to fight the Reapers: They were just looking for John Connor.
sasquatsch73 Featured By Owner Apr 23, 2012
we may disagree with some major aspects of an artform, storytelling and so on, but we should definitely respect the creators decisions and the artwork itself and let it as it has been intentionally created. We shall discuss about it, share thoughts, feelings, ideas, and why not giving a feedback....only for a better future.
sasquatsch73 Featured By Owner Apr 23, 2012
we may disagree with some major aspects of an artform, storytelling and so on, but we should definitely respect the creators decisions and the artwork itself and let it as it has been intentionally created. We shall discuss about it, share thoughts, feelings, ideas, and why not giving a feedback....only for a better future.
Stejae81 Featured By Owner Apr 23, 2012
The TMNT storyline had already been testing by far too many guest artists during the first run in the 80s. The creators went on extended hiatus and the publisher allowed one guest artist after another to try their hand. The art was fine, and the different interpretations were alright, but they were not canon, they did not advance the storyline, and eventually the series was cancelled presumably because fans got tired of not having the art and story that originally drew them in. Whether my presumption is true or not for other fans, it was for me. Every time I'd read an interview with Eastman and Laird, they'd hint at returning to the title, and then it wouldn't happen. Then Donatello became a cyborg, and Raphael got blinded in one eye...what?
JazzsLyric Featured By Owner Apr 23, 2012
I can understand an artist wanting the freedom to self express their take on an art form already done. But to take a story that has a crystal clear cannon rule (such as in TMNT with them being Mutants) and throwing that out the window, you are not only insulting a fan base that has existed for a few decades or more but you also are out right spitting in the face of the original creators. Bay has already made it clear that he will do what he wants with other artist creations when he totally ripped up the TF universe by seriously altering core personalities of major characters. The only way to keep Micheal Bay and others from destroying well know and loved stories and characters is probably to boycott. Though that won't totally help when others who have no knowledge of the history of said stories or character will partake of them regardless. Point being anyone who supported the comical destruction of classic eighties tv shows with movies that were beyond stupid with the extra humor ( ie: Dukes of Hazard, Starsky and Hutch, etc.) While some are to young to remember the original form and might enjoy the new form, alas those of who do remember will ask why good stories were destroyed in the name of the hollywood cash cow when they could have done just as well or better keeping truer to the original form. Some of these remakes (whether they be of old movies and tv shows or books) are down right insulting in their degradation if said stories.
AquilaSol Featured By Owner Apr 23, 2012  Professional General Artist
As a writer, I've had readers request a change of endings and details quite often. I do not always do exactly as they ask, but their opinions are certainly included in my considerations.

For example, a character which dies in a specific chapter, but turns out to be quite loved amongst readers. While they may ask for me to change the scene entirely and let him/her live, whilst I find my version to fit better in my story, I would consider changing it to put the character in a comatose state until a later chapter. Not only does this please the readers and gives them a feeling of being included in the process, it also opens up new venues for me to consider.

Sometimes, a reader has an idea you did not, which turns out to be exactly the pointer to where you wanted to go.
matt-adlard Featured By Owner Apr 23, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
I think in all things a balance must be found between both the consumer and the creator. This is seen no more so than in fan art and its ilk. However if you have a solid foundation of say TMNT and you are going to make changes then look at the source material and learn from it so that if you do follow the third option its with DNA from the first two concepts of original and fan based works and theories.

Sorry didn't proof read before clicking
matt-adlard Featured By Owner Apr 23, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
I think in all things a balance must be found between both the consumer and the creator. This is seen no more so than in fan art and its ilk. However if you have a solid foundation of say TMNT and you are going to make changes then look at the source material and learn from it so that if you do fret the third option its with dan from the first two concepts of original and fan based works and theories.
haroldcabezas Featured By Owner Apr 22, 2012
sky-commander Featured By Owner Apr 22, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
i say if you have an emotional attachment to something (like ME3) and a majority are unstisfied then a change should be made but if only the minority are complaining then let them. art is all great to interpret but if you are selling it you do need to adapt (again like ME3) to your market or you will fail. that is economics 101, right below supply and demand
QuirkyDigit Featured By Owner Apr 22, 2012
We all know that it's generally a vocal minority who gets heard, and very seldom do they represent the opinions of the majority of fans. I have yet to play ME3, but I plan to (just been too busy recently) and whether I enjoy the ending or not I will accept it for what it is, and move on with my life. Having rewrites after the fact is insulting to the people who enjoyed it or were at least satisfied (which may well be the majority of players) and it's a huge additional expense for the developer which is frankly unjustified unless they release it as DLC which would just cause more whining. George Lucas went back and tried to 'fix' Star Wars and look how that turned out...
When your child throws a tantrum do you give them exactly what they want? I certainly hope not, and to me this is one big tantrum. If you don't like it don't play it, it's that simple.
soulartist28 Featured By Owner Apr 22, 2012
I realize that fans can get emotionally involved in fiction and fantasy. Still, those who voice their displeasure about certain creative decisions have much too much time on their hands.

On the flip side. If you want to please your audience, then that's a decision too, as long as you do it on purpose—not out of fear.
deviantART muro drawing Comment Drawing
JuanJRC Featured By Owner Apr 22, 2012
ok this is a very clear subject that affect comsumers and producers and is very sad that so few people are reading this becouse to get an opinion from an audience you have to capture his atention, the future of storytelling is a very serious issue becouse it mold the way we live and see the world. There are less people who read every single day and unlees there is like a video version of this online there is no more we can do to have and insight in what this acticle drive us to. So we are only end with answers that are limited to say no or yes becouse of the lack of opinion and I think 3068 comments doenst reflect nothing,I will show this article to my friends and family to inform them about this becouse they care and there opinion will made a more clear path for me, Im very curious about what the outcome will be about this issue. sorry for my bad english im a student from peru and there is so little i can do about this important theme but i can and i will do what i can so the voice of the people can be heard and not just fill the pocket of the film and videogame industries with money becouse they believe they have to make something to sell them something to transcend.
Daakusutepsu Featured By Owner Apr 22, 2012
I think the fans are 'entitled' as some refer to us. If a game or movie isn't quite up to the standards I'm expecting or I don't believe it is worth its opening price, I either won't pay for it at all, download it for free or severely discounted price, or turn my nose up at it. If automobiles were designed each year to only come with a 5-gallon tanks and people expressed their opinions and those opinions were ignored, the market for 5-gallon cars would disappear and the Government would have to spend our hard earned tax dollars on another buy out that the idiotic big industry doesn't deserve because they didn't listen to their market demographic.

Although, I seriously doubt the Government will offer video game or movie companies buyouts even though, those media industries consistently earn more per year than pretty much any other domestic product and they're infinitely more economical to export than cars, textiles, and other crap we send to other countries.

So if the people paying for your crap aren't satisfied with it before it is released, only the fanboys will pay for it... and fanboys usually don't equal a large enough market share to make back what you pay into the product.

As a digital artist, if there's no one out there who wants to see or buy my product, then I'm only a hobby artist, and I don't want to be an artist whose work is only viewed by the artist.
Vali-Ent Featured By Owner Apr 22, 2012
These two issues are not the same at all. Once a game is completed, it's done; if you were disappointed by the ending, then wait for the next installment.

However, if a rumor of the direction of a project disappoints before it could even be experienced, it should send a message to the producers to get on the ball. If it has a disappointing ending is in material when the story itself isn't even the same.
Moonsetta Featured By Owner Apr 22, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
Whether companies care or not about the audience, I don't know either. Truthfully, after they've bought the rights, they can do whatever they want, they don't HAVE to care if we like or not. People will flock to it just because of the recognized name. Then once you buy it and find you don't like it, they don't have to care either because you've already paid them.

Then rights are sold again and people flock to the name again, hoping this next person will do better. You see it/read it and then hate it again. What do they care? You've already paid them. Rights are sold again and it cycles onward.

1. As an artist. No, I’m not much of an artist anyways.

As a writer yes, but not to rewrite directly, but rather make alternate endings or spin-offs based on similar ideas and time lines.

As a reader or viewer? Yes, I’m the consumer purchasing these books and paying to see these movies, if they want my money the creation better either please me or piss me off. I’m fine with either. It’s when they, out of the blue, contradict facts that I spent years trying to accept as cannon that makes me lose interest. I'm thankful that I don't get caught up in that cycle.

2. As a writer I feel it’s more based on analyzing the psychology of the audience and possessing a willingness to compromise, as well as an ability to be vague while alluding to the old beloved concepts and new designs as well. It’s like I can look at my target audience and say, "You like the old, you like the new-let’s have everyone meet in the middle."

Though it means more work for me personally as the author in the end, it gives me a neutral stance to where I can ravel off new and old tales, as well as please opposite sides of a debate or argument.

3. Yes, I would make changes for my audience. They make me popular, they spread my name, they inflate my ego and pay me. While I will write what they want, I never swerve from my own personal ideas. I simply write them both. More work on my part, but it helps me keep an appreciation for original cannons and feed ideas to the newer generation in unison. In fact, in many situations I find a way to blend the old, new and my ideas that leaves all sides satisfied.

4. Hmm, I don’t think I could answer that without contradicting myself.

5. ME3. I’ve never been a big fan but I’ve played it and I’ve heard uproar here and there and everywhere too. Whether the fans being angry will make them buy the next incarnation with the same name in hope that someone heard their voices or are simply warming up to new ideas, I can’t be sure.

As for TMNT, I’m going to shy away from commenting since I’m bound to be biased based on my past devotion to the fandom.
RyeSye Featured By Owner Apr 21, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Extremely informative. Will hang onto this
HS11 Featured By Owner Apr 21, 2012  Professional Filmographer
Working in the film industry you usually tend to have your story then screenplay read by a different groups pf persons connected to you or the project, sometimes chnages do happen and sometimes not, depends what stage the project is and the story you're telling. However, for fanbased movie franchise, comics, games etc, I can see the difficulty between fans and the makers of those projects - once has to find a balance. However, sometimes too many cooks spoil the broth saying comes into mind, and I think you the filmamker, game creator has to stick to their guns. HS.
biggabang Featured By Owner Apr 21, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
not much of a gamer, but I can add this to this storyline. A quote by Henry Ford: "If I built what the people wanted, I would have built them a faster horse"
socuriouso Featured By Owner Apr 20, 2012  Professional Artist
1. Yes, very often I am asked to revisit an installation. Most often it is safety related, as my work is three dimensional, and often is puntuated by long tapering points that end in space that could potentially impale the viewer. My answer is always no, get liability insurance. Life is dangerous, and so is some art.

b. We are all entitled to criticize any work put out in public for consumption. Every work of art is interactive at some level, and as such, every individual has the right to construct, form and voice whatever opinion he or she sees fit. The object, image, video, movie, game or otherwise being consumed by a larger public really only gets propelled to "art status" when discussion and opinion are formed about said work. "Fountain", by R.Mutt, in 1917 ( [link] ) was called disgraceful, blasphemous and an abomination, but almost a century later art historians are still debating its value as an artistic event, and not so much as a technical master piece.

We are entitled to demand change; we are not entitled to expect the author to about face just because we do not like it. Love it or hate it, it is not our vision, idea or product to manipulate; only the lively debate sparked by the progenitor.

2. Yes, and more importantly, its my own work. See above for further explanation.

3. It is because of that connection I refuse to change a work based on public debate.

Questions four and five are not applicable to what Im approaching.

All the above being said, a company may or may not bend to the will of its customers, but in a free market, and all things being equal; caveat emptor. We all take risks when we buy digital media, especially video games. Its the luck of the draw, and part of the gamble. Sometimes the payoff is fantastic, and other times..........well? Would you buy another title from the same outfit? The market will regulate that kind of weak ending, what ever it was..............
Shandra78 Featured By Owner Apr 19, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
The future of entertainment is hyper-personalization. In the the book Ender's Game, he and the other students in battle school play the mind game, a digital RPG in which the child directs the game with the co-operation of the computer and the teachers use it to study and predict the student's psychological reactions to different stimuli.
azumitaiko Featured By Owner Apr 19, 2012
I had a webcomic for a while, and so I was pressured to add a bunch of stuff, because it pleased the fans and brought in more. What I did was take in suggestions, and implement them in a way that let me do what I wanted with the story while still taking into consideration what people want to see. Side stories, or little snippets here and there is what I did with the suggestions, and I never integrated them into the bigger plan I had for my webcomic.
The one time I did do that, it messed me up and made it hard to finish the story.

So, fan input should be listened to as it guarantees more approval from the fans and a broader audience, but it should never impact your vision of your product. Meaning, if Bioware wanted that as ME3's ending, then that's how it should have stayed. Their best bet would've been making very separate endings, and making the ending that caused outrage the cannon one. That way, fans get a happier ending, and Bioware gets to keep their vision of Mass Effect's ending.
maylin86 Featured By Owner Apr 22, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
I like what you said about how you deal with making your webcomic. I've also seen comics, shows and games that were very popular without the audience having a chance for input until they came out and were finished being viewed by the public.

As for the webcomic, I have also considered starting one but I didn't want the ideas, reasons or stories I would want to create to go straight out the window due to what the viewers want to see. But I also feel bad keeping the story all to myself or what other artists consider being selfish.

I grew up learning it's good to write your own stories to keep the viewer on their toes so that they can't figure out what's going on until the very end. I like this method myself just because I like being surprised whether the ending was good, bad or left hanging. I don't like the idea of viewers having so much input that they may know what's going on every step of the way, I feel too much input would defeat me creating a story I want to share. Your strategy of giving a little just so the viewers come back for more to see is a perfect balance. I think I feel better about how to go about creating a comic now. Thanks for your input in this journal entry. =) :la:
azumitaiko Featured By Owner Apr 22, 2012
You're very welcome. Always listen to fans; because you might find something in there you really like. But never let it hinder your plans for your vision. It'll be your downfall.
HidesHisFace Featured By Owner Apr 17, 2012
So, lets start with questions:
"As a visual artist, have you ever experienced being pressured to alter an artwork, either by a dealer to make it more “salable,” or by your watchers, critics, or friends?"

No, not really. I do not count the regular criticism about real mistakes. The only thing I can think of is some friends asking me to draw different stuff completely. You see, I'm an athro artist and my area of art is not really aimed towards general audience. Unlike many other artists of the same branch, I respect consistency of my works. Almost all of them belong to the same world and share the same lore but I'll elaborate on that subject later.

"As a writer, have you ever experienced being pressured to change an important part of a story, either at a prospective publisher’s or editor’s insistence, or simply because of a reader’s impassioned entreaties?"

Only once. It was an early story from my universe and I had to change the ending to the closed one. The original head open ending for the sake of a sequel but since I wanted to send this work for the competition I had to change it to meet the requirements. Unfortunately, the changed ending was really, really poor idea.

"As a reader or viewer (of movies, TV shows, videogames, art, etc.) do you feel a sense of entitlement giving you the right to not only criticize but actually demand changes be made to a disappointing work?"

Depends on kind of medium and work. The case of ME3 is pretty good example of why one should not ignore or lie to the fandom. You can never expect what percentage of your customers are fans and you should naver make a false advertisements or contradict your own work. When fans invest alot of time and heart only to receive disappointing, horrible ending that contradicts OWN lore, they have right to demand some satisfaction... Especially if the creators themselves told that your choices MATTER.

"Do you feel this entitlement is based in your great investment of both money and time in the work? Or do you feel this entitlement is based in your great investment of your head and heart in a particularly resonant storyline?"

I guess... Money is the secondary thing. Time, head and heart are the real things here. The problem here is that movies, games and writings are kind of entertainment that require commitment from the customer. And, unfortunately, you can not believe the reviewers, especially those from big portals or press. Take the the review of ME3 in polish gaming magazine - CD-Action. I have quite a grudge towards this magazine but well... While most fans point HUGE plotholes in the ending, how weak and contradicting it is CD-Action reviewer clearly states that (my own translation) EVERYTHING except one tiny bit has been explained, that there are hard decisions to make before the thing, that the Reapers have legit and logical reasons, and is generally superb.
Now... What do we know? Well, bot everything has been explained, the ending creates only more questions, Reaper's reasoning is completely illogical and resembles popular 'Yo dawg' meme, said hard choices does not matter in the end which creates pretty poor ending. In other words, the review gave us huge, fat lie.

"As a writer or visual artist, is the connection between you and your audience important enough for you to want to make a change pleasing to them?"

Yes, obviously yes. I'm a writer, slow and lazy one, but still. I do not get as much feedback on the matter of plot as I'd like to, but I'm always open for discussion, suggestions and making changes as long as these changes serve my creations and enrich the universe. I mean, I would not give the main character huge breasts only because fans demanded it. But if my fans found a plothole, or something that made little to no sense, I'd certainly try to fix that, considering proposed ways.

"Does the ability to offer comments, suggestions, criticisms, and encouragement bond you creatively to a property in a way eclipsing passive fandom?"

I'm not much of a commenter, really. I'm the silent type of guy who rarely speaks about someone else's work and if I do so, I usually do it privately. But I digress. Comments and suggestions make the interactions between creator and customers fluent and closer than ever. This may be the good thing, as stated before but it CAN be a double edged sword - especially if the fandom is... outside the target audience. Fans may demand something unfitting or unreasonable.
Take current My Little Pony fandom - 18-30+ years old fans of a show targeted towards little girls. They (myself included) enjoy the show because it is charming, cute but also not dumped down. It is done with a lot of effort. Creators also try to please the older fans, of course, but they do so very carefully, usually more carefully than we would like to but seriously. Can you imagine MLP completely overrun by the fanbom? People who often enjoy infamous 'Cupcakes', and other surprisingly cruel or sad fics starring their favourite characters? Well... I can't.

"If you played ME3, how did you feel about the ending? TMNT or TANT?"
I haven't played ME3 (but have played the first one), and will not play it, especially after the whole ending thing. It was done to the death and I'm not going to repeat that again. It is the second huge mistake Bio-ware made after Dragon Age 2 and now they have pretty long way to redeem themselves in the eyes of their own fans.

As for TMNT - this is what I meant earlier - consistency. If you are working with established material, respect it. It has fans, fans that we will be angry at you if you desecrate their thing.

It also applies to own works. If you have consistent universe at your disposal, keep it consistent. It is not your garbage bin where you can throw every single idea without giving it a second thought. My own universe evolved over time, of course, but changes always felt natural. Obviously, the original core is not canon any more, as it was infantile and unoriginal. The current lore concentrates on different area and different species but I still left some references of the 'old', as a small remainder of the things that has gone and died out so the current, truly superior lore might exist.
Cyrgaan Featured By Owner Apr 16, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Fellow fans, before or in fact amidst your ranting against this ending, please take the following into consideration.

Mass Effect is BioWare's own universe, and in all the past times we have already seen that they seriously and exceptionally taking care of it. Their love and passion shown out through the history, the characters and everything they created into it. And you still think they want to let you all in this disappointment? I personally like this ending, because its not the real ending of the story. And this fact is already been told to you all. Just think that over what you have seen in all the three episodes: BioWare excels in playing on soul's strings, on emotions.

Shocked by the ending? Yeah! But remember, they used shock to rally fans when they made a trailer to Mass Effect 2: Normandy blown apart ... Shepard dying with no doubt or way to escape ... CUT! The whole gaming media was a big, jucy question mark with a long line of exclamation marks ... WHAT THE ****!?!?! As it is now. :D And then ... they pulled out the rabbit from the hat! :D
Clever. And you really think these guys are out of their wits? No way! :D

They've just bought themselves time to get things done properly, and ease the pressure on their shoulders got from the huge Reaper above them called EA. Clever, if you ask me. The hysteria around it has already empowered the waves up to not only the gaming media, but the most common one. I think that the story will not end here. I think they never wanted to end it this way. I think there will be a fourth episode that will clarify the fate of all things we have met in the game’s universe.

There will be a handful of DLC-s, as usual to fill some gaps and make some additions. As well there will be an extended ending to clarify it. And then ... I think there will be a Mass Effect 4 ... and ...
Now, when the stage is perfectly set for something bigger ... what will become?

But ... I'm just speculating obviously. :ahoy:
illictic Featured By Owner Apr 15, 2012   Digital Artist
I think that you need to find a balance between what the audience wants and what you want. If you have an idea, and let the audience decide what to do with it, in the end it might not be something you would like to do. On the other hand, if you have an idea and go with it 100%, not paying attention to critiques or even praises, then your story won't be very popular. If I'm not satisfied with an ending, I don't feel as if there needs to be another ending, because to me, that is how the story goes, and sometimes you just won't like every part of it.
KrystalIce Featured By Owner Apr 15, 2012  Professional General Artist
I generally feel, as both a reader/writer and artist/viewer, that when you create something, it doesn't exist in a vacuum. The very act of creating something, of sharing something that has a certain flavor or appeal, is asking for people to judge it. Humans, naturally, are a judgmental species and not just in the negative connotation of the word. We have opinions and histories that influence and shape our tastes in things and every time someone plays this game or reads this story or sees this art they're bringing along their own personal backstory, bias and preconceptions that influence, no matter how subtly, their opinion on something.

Which is to say, if you don't want someone to have an opinion on your art (whatever the medium), don't show it to people. (This isn't to say you should put up with flames or feel obligated to put up with baseless hate.)

At the same time, the creator shouldn't feel that pleasing their readers/watchers/gamers is the only reason for their art to exist because then it ceases being an expression of creativity or world vision and starts being enslavement. At that point, when a creator has no other purpose than to placate the throngs of their readership (which is an impossible task anyway; you can't simultaneously adhere to ten different concepts) you invite the possibility of paradoxes.

For instance, in the Marvel Avengers comicverse, many fans were saddened and distressed with how Civil War turned out. Does this mean that the entire Marvel storyline should be scrapped and redrawn? No! Of course not. The history of the characters as they had been created and portrayed up to that point could have resolved the Super Human Registration Act debacle in few other ways. Altering too much the storyline can have disastrous outcomes for the characters themselves.

While, yes, characters can have eye-opening revelations that might make changing the whole direction a work is going in feesable, there's another concern beyond just staying true to what you created.

If you knew how a story ended, would you want to read it?

If, upon picking up the first Harry Potter novel, you knew that Harry Potter would die, lose his second pseudo-father, a bunch of his friends, leave school, fly a broomstick, defeat his enemy, fall in love, feel betrayed by his best friend, be an outlaw and hunted- if you knew every single thing that happened in the book to the last comma, would you still want to read it? Or would it be a waste of your time?

While, yeah, Harry Potter and other 'villain beaten by stalwart hero' books are pretty much guaranteed to end with the bad guy defeated and the hero with the girl (or guy), you read it because you don't know- you think you do. You extrapolate, but don't know and so you read (or play or watch) to find out if you were right.

You, however one-sided, interact with the medium.

Kinda defeats the purpose of interaction if there's nothing left for you to interact with.
Mimi-Sakurai Featured By Owner Apr 19, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
As a history student I have learnt, historians encounter the interaction between them and their audience. Of course, in this science it's a different matter, because here it's about finding the 'truth' without being biased by the public and such and without bringing along their own personal backstory and (political) preferences. In fact the audience could cause a big problem concerning the quality of the work.

But in arts we don't have such a problem. We're free - even encouraged - to express our personality, preferences and such. Listening to the audience doesn't make an artpiece worse, but actually could help improving the 'quality'. Heck - even if you don't want to use the audience's suggestions, you might just use them anyway, unconsciously. Such comments can after all work inspiring. Even if it's just a small hint of the audience. Even if the comments weren't directed at you but rather someone else's work. Etc. Etc.

The interaction between artist and audience cannot be escaped, unless you're hiding your artworks and the fact you make art. But even then, one can be influenced through the comments on other artworks.
HaliteAnn Featured By Owner Apr 15, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I think that the rightful actions of an artist really depend on the product they put forward in the first place. I know of certain authors that I'm sure many others might recognize--though I won't be specific--who have entirely ruined and torn apart their own stories in order to prove to an obsessive audience that their message wasn't just about superficial teenage romance, etc.
While I understand the authors' frustration in most of the readers "missing the point," that kind of a reaction to an audience's wishes isn't a positive one. What began as a breathtaking, revolutionizing piece of art was ruined, because the creator grew to hate their own audience. That sort of change only makes everyone miserable--including the artist.

On the other hand, change can be positive, especially for those who are still avidly trying to improve their work. But in the end, it's up to the artist. What fans are calling for may be something that is intended for farther down the road, or even something that never even occurred to the artist. Sometimes fans are right. But in the end, it's the artists work, and the artist should stick to their gut.
shadowstown Featured By Owner Apr 15, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Silver-Tao111 Featured By Owner Apr 14, 2012

well, i just do what i can, so, yeah.
lafiel1923 Featured By Owner Apr 14, 2012
1. As a writer, I've never felt pressured by my fans to change an important part of a story - that is, as long as I was writing that story passionately and pouring my heart and soul into it. Never did I recieve pressure or aggressive, negative feedback on a story like that. The only stories that fans have begged me to change are the stories that I have written for the sake of irritating them and getting a rise out of them - these stories I don't even care about, I ignore plotholes, dialogue issues, character development problems and then I get loads of feedback. I only write stories like that however when I wonder if my fans are even paying attention anymore. It's a way of asking "are you guys still there?" when I've been writing those great stories everyone loves (including myself) and people have just been happy and silent.

2. As a reader, I think it is also important that people 'review' the work. Yes criticisms may hurt, but this is the only way some people can improve. I wouldn't call it entitlement however, as I would call it a right as a reader/user. Everyone has the right to review a product and that comes from their personal investment and their inner feelings on the story itself. If the quality of the story does not match what your readers invested you be reviewed in a negative light no matter how the story ended.
3. As a writer, my connection to my audiences hasn't really altered my stories. I might add in some small parts or a line as a nod to someone's feedback but in general the direction of the story does not change. I think it's okay to acknowledge your fan's wishes as there are very few instances where your direction and their wants will not mesh. However, if you suddenly change your direction in the middle of a story, you should expect your fans to notice...because they were there for you based off of your previous direction. You can't keep them all when you change your own direction in writing, especially if you are trying to pick up a "different" crowd. We all have different tastes and so by wooing a different group of people with your story's direction, you're likely going to lose all the people you originally had.

5. I personally was horrified at the ME3 ending...yet I was horrified at the entire game (femShep came out looking like a corpse, voice-acting actually got worse instead of better, glitches everywhere, dialogue options were nonexistent compared to before, choices didn't really matter, what happened to my journal-is this not one of the most important working parts of an RPG?, the gameplay turned into straight up HALO-like shooter (my femShep never dropped her gun to her side, ever)). I guess I should have expected such a letdown of an ending based off of the entire game before that. However, I preordered this game the first day you could preorder the Collector's Edition based off of developer promises on how your choices would play out and other various tidbits that they spoke would be in the game that seemed to never come to fruition. I felt disappointed, betrayed (I was lied to by the devs-never again), and completely uninspired (the previous ME1 and ME2 had managed to inspire me with the storylines and execution-how coud they not as well written as they were?). There was a void in me. I can't help but wonder with ME3 if the writers and devs just stopped caring. There is no way that the same people with the same amount of soul made this game. I cannot see their passion in this work -- it looks too much like my own "don't care" stories for me to truly believe that this was their "art". In this game, the story and gameplay itself changed directions and if this was their desire then they should have openly expected this reaction from people.
nazia-fnb Featured By Owner Apr 22, 2012  Student Digital Artist
"I cannot see their passion in this work..." I totally agree with each and everything you commented on ME3 here... the devs at Bioware are now just an extension of EA's commercial minded bullies... after they joined EA, their games' quality hit rock bottom... :(
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