All the important games are changing their endings these days, you know. If you want a high profile, that's the way to go - and as Mass Effect 3 teaches us, preferably after initially concluding your narrative with a last-minute bodgejob riddled with continuity errors, then subsequently bowing to fan ouctry. Frozen Synapse developers Mode 7 Games did no such thing, but have sensibly realised that the route to true success entails screwing around with their creative vision willy-nilly to suit whatever their community demands, and as such a new, happier (and far sillier) ending to their splendid turn-based strategy game will go live later today.
"I don't mean this to be critical of Bioware even slightly," Mode 7's Paul Taylor tells me. "It's just an experiment. I was so bowled over and fascinated just by the fact that such a change would even be considered, so I thought I'd see how it felt to do it."
After quizzing the FZ community, Mode 7 went with a silly ending, taking on board such sober suggestions as "Moar ponies", "Moar dinosaurs" and a promise to include the words 'moist' and 'dolphin-proof.' I won't spoil the new ending here, but you can see a suitably ponydinotastic shot of it above and I can indeed assure you that these challenges were met. Also, that it's a perfectly happy ending: it even includes a "yay!"
"It felt like vanadalising my own work," admits Taylor, "and I feel really, really genuinely bad about any player who has been slogging their way through the game and is unlucky enough to finish the game in the week where this ending will be present.
"I don't know why I'm doing this to them."
Because you want to SHOW THEM, Paul. That's why.
If you're unwilling to complete the singleplayer campaign to see the new conclusion, you can do the following instead:
Open the console with `
Close the console with '
And if you're outraged by these shenanigans, you may be glad to hear that FZ will revert to its traditional ending next week.
Thus, the gauntlet is laid. We want to see more indie games jumping on this experimentation/ambient protest bandwagon: Change The Game deserves to be a worldwide movement, and #changethegame is its Twitter hashtag. Let us know if you're joining in and we'll do a round-up post in the next couple of days.
"I definitely think all indie devs should do this," says Taylor. "It is very enlightening and a bit like a creative enema." Ew.
So yes - CHANGE THE GAME. That'll teach someone a lesson about something or other, probably.
More seriously, this is one of those things that makes videogames such a singular medium: even a concluded narrative can be deconcluded and altered at a moment's notice. The way it went down and was responded to (by both sides) in the case of Mass Effect is all kinds of troubling, but the possibilities of story deformation are absolutely fascinating.