BioWare deflect cake barrage onto homeless children

When no-one was looking, BioWare give away 403 cupcakes. And that's terribly nice of them.

Following on from Monday’s news that fans of Mass Effect 3 had organised a delivery of some 403 cupcakes to BioWare’s Edmonton offices, as part of their ongoing protest against the game’s disappointing conclusion, BioWare’s Community Coordinator “Evil Chris” Priestly posted in the thread that started the confectionery cascade to let everyone know the cakes had been received. Days of speculation as to which colour of cake the staff would prefer, even though they all tasted the same, could finally be answered. Would BioWare staff elect to go with the green cakes, conveniently marked “A” in delicious white icing (“frosting” to you colonial sorts), and achieve a synthesis of cake and waistline? Perhaps they would opt to carefully control their hunger by picking the blue option, labelled B. Or would they select option C, the red cakes, and destroy their hunger in a sugar-fuelled orgy of gluttony.

Ironically BioWare rejected these three choices and chose a fourth one instead. According to Chris while the gesture “certainly gained our attention both with its creativity and deliciousness”, and that BioWare appreciate the creative way fans expressed their displeasure with the ending to Mass Effect 3, not one member of the Edmonton staff will get to savour a single cupcake. Not a crumb, nor a speck of icing. Not even a whiff of their baked goodness. BioWare decided that “ultimately the reason that they were sent was not done in the context of celebrating the work or accomplishment of the Mass Effect 3 team”, and so have instead elected to donate all the cakes to a local Edmonton youth shelter. Chris’ full statement reads as follows:

Hi Everyone

Today, we received the 400 cupcakes you collectively sent us through your donations to express your feelings about the endings of Mass Effect 3. We want you to know; we are indeed listening to all fan response and acknowledge your feedback. We appreciate creative and thoughtful attempts like this one.

The gesture certainly gained our attention both with its creativity and deliciousness. However, while we do appreciate that fans were creative in how they expressed their views, after a lot of discussion, we decided ultimately the reason that they were sent was not done in the context of celebrating the work or accomplishment of the Mass Effect 3 team. This is a subtle, but important aspect in determining how to pass the feedback to the team.

BioWare regularly works with many deserving charities, as such it was decided that rather than passing out the cupcakes to staff or wasting good food, to donate them on behalf of our fans to a local Edmonton youth shelter. We know that for the kids that have to use this facility, something as simple as a cupcake is a rare treat and would definitely brighten up their day. Thank you to the fine folks at the local youth shelter for accepting the donation and to the fans who donated the cupcakes.

Please keep providing your feedback on Mass Effect 3, we’re still listening.

The overall response from fans on the BioWare forums has been generally positive. After all, who besides a cynical cake-craving monster like myself would begrudge children getting free cakes? For most fans acknowledgement that the cakes, and more importantly the messages included with them, have been received is satisfaction enough. Having the delivery go to a charitable end treating homeless kids is simply – if you’ll pardon the expression – the icing on the cake. A minority however interpret Chris’ statement differently, seeing it as a cynical dismissive brush-off of the fans’ confectionery gesture. They argue phrases like “not done in the context of celebrating the work or accomplishment of the Mass Effect 3 team” is nothing more than PR double-speak for “we like cakes but you’re still complaining about our artistic vision of an ending so we’re not going to eat them! La la la we can’t hear you!” Christ Priestly responded swiftly to these allegations.

People are spinning this incorrectly to say we are not listening to “negative feedback” and how bad we are and etcetera.

Wrong.

We did listen. At no time did we try to stop Fuss for making the cupcakes or delivering them (this would be unfair to Fuss and to the fans who sent the cupcakes and a generally dickish thing to do). When the cupcakes reached us, we did not refuse to take them (again, unfair to the people who sent them). I, along with Fernando, Mark and Alistair went down, met with Shadow Wrought, gave him some swag for being brave enough to show up and keep us honest and took them upstairs. We took all of the included messages out of the bags and boxes so we would not lose them (again, cuz we’re listening). We did not throw them away, ignore them till they got stale or not use them as what they are, food. We chose not to eat them and gave them to a needy charity.

The message REACHED us. Whether we ate the cupcakes, threw them in teh garbage or donated them to charity is secondary to us getting the message, right? If we had (somehow) frozen time, put them in a display case for all time as a reminder of the message sent by fans, this would have been the same thing.

Us actually eating the cupcakes or not should not have been the issue. The issue was fans creatively sent us a message expressing their love for Mass Effect as a franchise, but dislike over the endings. This message was delivered to us and we got it loud and clear.

Personally speaking I didn’t interpret Chris’ original statement to mean what his detractors thought it did, and I’m a pretty bloody cynical bastard most days. I assumed Chris was saying something along the lines of “We’re really, really chuffed about getting these cakes but we know part of the reason you sent them is because we let you down. We are therefore unworthy of these cupcakes so we’ve decided to give them to some hungry homeless kids instead.” Perhaps I’m just a naive fool who likes to see the best in people. I mean if BioWare were really scummy they could have just kept the cakes for themselves, tossed all the messages into a bin and given fans a bland “thank you for your feedback” form-reply stained with smudged icing and crumbs. Besides, if BioWare had accepted them then some people might get all sorts of crazy ideas in their heads, like thinking they could buy the next overpriced Modern Warfare DLC with a pack of cherry bakewells. A dangerous precedent I’m sure you’ll agree!

Whatever you think of BioWare’s response we should all spare a thought for the real victim in this delicious affair: poor BioWare employee Thomas Abrams, who was so looking forward to a nice cupcake or several. I can only imagine the tears he shed as they were taken away. BioWare are reportedly running on a skeleton crew in their offices right now since most of the staff are on a 99% well-deserved holiday, so he could have scoffed as many as he wanted before they all got back. Wait a second: what if this whole youth shelter donation story is really just a cover-up? For all we know the Quality Assurance cake-fiend snatched the entire delivery, locked himself in a cupboard and shovelled them into his gob until he turned into Mr Creosote, in which case shame on you Mr Abrams!

A delicious display of disappointment.

Matt

About Matt

Matt is the irresponsible degenerate behind bitscreed.com and the sarcastic writer, editor, director, presenter and tea boy of Pixel Burn.