Penny Arcade writer Jerry Holkins addressed the issue in a post on the webcomic's main site last night, saying there was a good amount of confusion among those who were donating to the cause.
"Apparently some of the people giving to the cause seemed to think that they were paying for a new ending to Mass Effect," Holkins said. "[Child's Play's project manager has] been asked what the goal is, and how much they need to raise in order to get the ending produced. We've also been contacted by PayPal due to a high number of people asking for their donations back. This is in addition to readers who simply couldn't understand how this was connected to Child's Play's mission. We were dealing with a lot of very confused people, more every day, and that told us we had a problem."
Additionally, Holkins addressed another reason for asking that the ChipIn fund be stopped, saying its goal to raise awareness for a separate cause by donating to Child's Play opened the door for other people to take advantage.
"I actually support this cause, but I am a pessimist, and I'm thinking about the next time something like this happens," Holkins said, "when someone attaches Child's Play to something we can't get behind, or leverages your history of generosity and fellow feeling for their own weird bullshit. So, we need to have something like a policy on this. This is the best way I can think to say it: Child's Play cannot be a tool to draw attention to a cause. Child's Play must be the Cause."
In a post on the Retake Mass Effect page, the ChipIn fund's organizer (who goes by Robb on the site) explained why he chose to comply with the request. He also anticipated the reaction of the fund's supporters, saying, "There will be conspiracy theories regarding this. Many of the public statements by Penny Arcade have been dismissive or outright derogatory of our effort. I believe this is a failure on their part to understand our issues, but they are entitled to their opinion. Regardless, I want to stress that I do not believe for one second that this is an attempt by anyone at Penny Arcade to silence this movement."
After the March 6 launch of Mass Effect 3, fans upset with the trilogy's ending began petitioning developer BioWare to create an alternate ending to tie up loose ends, better incorporate player decisions made throughout the series, and provide more closure to the story. The Retake Mass Effect ChipIn fund was set up to collect PayPal donations for Child's Play, with the goal being to send a message to BioWare about just how much fans wanted their complaints addressed.
For more on BioWare's decision to revisit Mass Effect 3's ending, check out GameSpot's previous coverage.