For the purposes of this post I'm going to assume the following:
1) The Mass Effect trilogy is art and Bioware are artists.
2) Art is a form of expression.
3) Expression is a form of communication, or sending a message.
4) Communication, or sending a message, has meaning. Without meaning there is no message.
(I know I'm making some simplifications and assumptions above but I really don't want to get in to debates around "What is Art?" ; "The meaning of meaning?" ; "Where does the meaning come from?" ; "What sort of message is being sent by the Mona Lisa?" ; etc.... Although if someone really wants to debate these issues we can, but if you are not willing to write and read post-grad level philosophical papers on the issues I suggest we skip that)
Given those things Bioware is and artist expressing itself and sending a message to the players. So what is that message?
Well in Mass Effect YOU are Commander Shepard. You spend 3 games fighting to protect the galaxy and the diversity within it. You broker peace between many different races and unite them together to stop the genocidal Reapers. Then at the end it falls apart. You even have a conversation with the prothean about how the diversity in the galaxy is the reason this cycle might succeed.
Starting with the the moment the Magical Space Brat starts talking Bioware clarifies the message of their artistic endeavour, and here it is:
Different societies are incapable of coexisting. As long as different
cultures and peoples exist there will be war. The only ways to bring
about peace are Genocide, Homogenization, or ruling with an unstoppable
army of Reapers like an evil dictator (or Prothean). Difference is
bad. You're either like me or you're evil. Your children will always
turn on you and attempt to destroy you and everything you've built.
Let that sink in.
Here's another forum poster talking about basically the same thing:
So why is that the message? Because YOU are Commander Shepard. You are not allowed to proceed unless you accept everything the Magical Space Brat tells you. You are not allowed to refute these ideas. You cannot question them. There isn't even a good logical basis for them given. They are just presented as absolute truths that you must accept. It's made worse by everything that came before. They promote and encourage the idea that difference is good. In the end though it was building you up and getting you thinking about it only to smack it down to really drive home how horribly WRONG you are in believing that.
Bioware is saying in no uncertain terms: The Space Brat is right. You cannot save the galaxy and bring about peace without wiping out difference or ruling with an iron fist. If you reject these premises you fail. Game Over. Please hit Alt-F4 to disagree. Reapers win, they are right.
I really hope you don't need this part to understand why the above is a problem but here goes:
A game which espouses genocide (cultural or otherwise), homogenization, and intolerance towards difference is abhorent and should not be sold or produced. It most definitely should NOT be praised and given scores like 10/10. If someone was to produce a game which celebrated the holocaust as "the solution" with the only alternative being ruling with an ironfist it wouldn't even make it on the shelves. Yet someone just because Mass Effect is only analogous and uses AI instead it's acceptable. Never mind the fact that prior to the Space Brat the game makes it very clear that the Geth and EDI are ALIVE, intelligent, "feeling," and "have souls" (more or less). They make sure there is no question that they are more than "just machines."
I cannot and will not EVER support a company which promotes this sort of ideology and attempts to pursuade large segments of the population that this ideology is in fact correct and irrefutable through "art."
I want to believe this message was completely accidental but it IS the current message they are delivering through their "art."
Edit: This thread is really worth reading as well. The OP is long and saying something slightly different but regardless I think it is worth a read. It talks about the betrayal of hope which was partly what I was trying to say here but failing miserably compared to Sainta117. No idea if he/she agrees with what I've said but I do agree with what he/she said.
Edit 2: Indoctrination theory also serves to negate this message (I suspect that's why so many love it) because it puts this negative message in the context of "Reaper belief" and not "fact from the mouth of god." It could even be argued that the synthetic genocide and impossibility of peace isn't fact but merely something the space brat claim to try to disuade Shepard from persisting in his/her endeavour to destroy the Reapers.
Edited by Dhraconus, 21 March 2012 - 10:46 PM.