P.S, I'm not trying to infuriate you. I just want to know how you'd think about this given different circumstances.
I'm not easily infuriated. Although I tend to fly off the handle whenever the Canucks win...
I hope I'm not misinterpreting your point here, either... You're saying that, assume that the characters in Mass Effect were true AI, and that each time you played it through, characters would have different personalities each time. You're also saying that if I kill off a character in one playthrough, that character and that personality are permanently dead for all subsequent playthroughs. Am I on the right track?
I'll answer to that point assuming that I've interpreted your question correctly. If not, just let me know and I'll re-answer:
There's a critical decision in Mass Effect the player has to make: One of your squadmates is going to die, permanently. You are forced to choose who that will be.
Now, as a veteran video gamer familiar with the concept of best possible ending, I saw this initially as a point of failure. At some point in the game, I made the wrong decision or said the wrong thing and as a result, I was forced into a no-win situation. After a few more playthroughs I realized that there was no escaping it. Whether you like it or not, you have to choose between Ashley or Kaidan, and for one or the other, the story ends.
That hit me hard. Never in a game have I actively been forced to save one squadmate and leave the other to die.
And the fact that the one you leave behind is gone and never coming back
did initially leave me feeling like I had somehow failed. You spent over half the game getting to know your characters on a personal level, they seem less and less like squadmates and more
LIKE actual people with a history, a personality, a life. A life cut short by a crucial decision that you, the player, had to make.
But they never will have life. They never break the Fourth Wall. They are and will always be a fictional character in a fantasy world. They will never be real.
No matter how sophisticated they ever get to be, characters in a video game, or in a book, or a movie will never be people. Harming them, killing them, will never yield any real-life consequences.