Stop trying to petition art
One of the best things about the internet is that when we don’t like something, we can scream it from the rooftops and often times, someone actually hears us. This makes it the perfect platform for whistleblowers like Edward Snowden to come forth, or the Arab Spring countries to rise up and take down their governments, but it also means that average people with average problems, get to complain at exactly the same volume and in very similar ways.
You’ve read the comments yourself I’m sure on a variety of topics, probably written a few too, we all have. It could be about movies, books, music, celebrities, people love to bitch about things on the internet, it’s what a large portion of it is for these days. I don’t think any of that is a problem though, because everyone has the right to say they think something sucks. That’s a pretty important right in-fact, as is the right to protest through petitions or public signings. There are laws that need changing or policies that need drawing attention too, and while petitions – especially e-petitions – have a very lacklustre track record, they do have a place in modern day complaining.
But you should never petition art.
The petitioning I’m talking about here relates to games in particular, of which there have been a few publicised instances over the past few years. Mass Effect 3 was thge biggeest one, with gamers not liking the ending to the game, they petitioned the creators to remake it or extend it, some even used authorities like the Advertising Standards Agency to attack Bioware, claiming that they’d been lied to in the game’s marketing as they ending didn’t satisfy them to the extent with which they felt the game was sold to them.
The same issue is happening again with the recent fallout surrounding Assassin’s Creed Unity. Ubisoft didn’t include female assassins in the game, which seems like a poor choice now considering the feedback it’s gotten over it. Once again, people are petitioning for Ubisoft to add female characters to the game, which it may well do – though I suspect it’ll just add them into future games going forward – but this again, isn’t the way to go about it.
Games are an artistic representation of collaborative people, in Ubisoft’s case hundreds, but that makes it no less artistic and because of that, you as a gamer, have zero right to tell Ubisoft what to do with its games. You can ask, you can plea and you can do what respectable art consumers do when they don’t like something: don’t buy it. You vote with your wallet.
If you want to see something artistic, make it yourself.
The reason you shouldn’t petition art, is because whether you agree with it or not, artistic interpretation is down to the beholder, just like beauty, so your opinion of its greatness or awfulness is just that, an opinion. Likewise, the creator didn’t make the content for you, they made it for (ultimately themselves, but that’s a whole other philosophical discussion) everyone, as they saw fit. It’s their vision and you’re allowed to enjoy it or hate is as much as anyone, but you don’t have a monopoly on that person’s idea for the final product.
There’s a bunch of quotes about this stuff from much more well known people than me. Henry Ford supposedly said that when it came to making cars, if he’d asked people what they wanted, they’d have said faster horses. Likewise, Steve Jobs said that people often didn’t know what they wanted until you showed it to them.
I like to distil those down a bit though and suggest that if you want to see something artistic, make it yourself. If you don’t like a game to the point where you’re actually angry at the people making it, make your own. Let them make theirs and they’ll sink or swim on their own merits, not your opinion of it.
I love to bitch about games, movies or books as much as everyone else, but leave other people’s art alone and work on your own. You’ll likely have a far greater appreciation of it if you do.
And in respect to Ubisoft’s current issue? I like to see female characters in games as much as anyone, it’s often refreshing, but when everyone is going to be playing as the main character on their own screen anyway, there was no need to make a female skin that has no bearing on gameplay. I don’t want to play a silent woman that’s identical to the male counterparts but with a different skin. If I’m playing a female character I want it to make a difference, because it would in reality.
Don’t half ass it people. If you want women in games, get real women, not bullshit clones.