Whether Videogames are art or not is an old argument and one that saddles a truckload of opinions. Mass Effect 3 is involved in this somehow but there are a lot of aspects to consider. The issue is whether a DLC that gives a decent ending (doesn’t have to be “happy”, just has to be good).
As a musician who has sold a few tracks, I give you a different perspective. If I write an album of what I want to write, I’m not changing a song for anybody or anything. If I write a song for someone else, then I’ll change anything they ask me for. When a band sells their CD in the store, the vast majority of music seekers will already know if they will enjoy the album or not. Most people only really listen to maybe 3 tracks off of the average album. The bad tracks don’t matter. If its a really good album, eventually all the tracks will get some form of radio play. There is no question of how it ends because unless their is a personal speech devoting the artist’s love to Hitler, the customer is going to be happy just to get that track they like.
Looking at movies or books, these are mediums that an ending can make or break. A movie is typically a short commitment, not requiring more than a couple hours to complete. A book is a longer more involved commitment. A book series is sometimes corrupted by the end. According to Ebert, not every movie is art. But the money involved in making a fictional book versus a fictional movie is completely different. If the people involved in a movie want to have a job afterwards, they need the money to make money.
Looking at TV and anime series, endings can have an effect either way. Sometimes it matters but if a show runs on long enough then to not have wasted our time sometimes we have to live with simply enjoying the journey.
So where the hell do videogames fit in? Videogames are made by Bioware. Bioware is comprised of lots of people which mean the result isn’t any one individual’s vision. A game is given a green light by a giant company when the company thinks they can spend money to make a whole lot more money. Its not all about money but money is part of a developer’s balancing act. Its easy to look at the mechanical aspects of a game call them good or bad and sometimes a developer will take the time to fix it. But fixing a story in a game is unheard of.
Can you fix art? If you make art for money is it still art?