ASA Says EA Did Not Falsely Advertise Mass Effect 3 Ending

By William Usher 2012-06-13 15:58:51 discussion comments
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If you're pro-EA then you can jump up and down with glee, clapping your hands as the corporate giant was deemed in-the-clear by the Advertising Standards Association in regards to the now infamous Mass Effect 3 ending.

According to ComputerAndVideoGames.com, the ASA has sided in favor of Electronic Arts over the inquisition into Mass Effect 3's ending, something that even had a Better Business Bureau representative chiming in on the matter.

For those of you who don't know (and I really don't see how that's possible), Mass Effect 3 is the final game in the Commander Shepard story-arc, which originally began in the 2007 release, Mass Effect. The third game was advertised as a culmination of player-made choices that would ultimately determine the fate of the universe.

Outcomes in Mass Effect 3 were supposedly determined by decisions carried over from the previous two games in the series. However, as players soon found out, the outcomes resulted in endings that didn't entirely clarify $180 worth of three game purchases.

Cue Mass Effect 3 controversy.

Well, the ASA has investigated the claims and talked with representatives at Electronic Arts, and after surveying the data and doing whatever else it is they do to determine whether a company is in the wrong or not, they came to the following conclusion...
"The ASA acknowledged the belief that players' choices in the game did not influence the outcome to the extent claimed by EA.

"However, we considered that the three choices at the end of the game were thematically quite different, and that the availability and effectiveness of those choices would be directly determined by a player's score, which was calculated with reference to previous performance in the game(s).

"We also acknowledged that there appeared to be a large number of minor variations in the end stages of Mass Effect 3, and that those were directly impacted by choices made by players earlier in the game(s).

"Whilst we acknowledged that the advertiser had placed particular emphasis on the role that player choices would play in determining the outcome of the game, we considered that most consumers would realise there would be a finite number of possible outcomes within the game and, because we considered that the advertiser had shown that players' previous choices and performance would impact on the ending of the game, we concluded that the ad was not misleading."

I'm going to be honest, I haven't played Mass Effect 3 yet, but Pete did and you can check out his review here.

The only thing I can say is that based on previously playing Mass Effect that there are a lot of subtle and not-so-subtle choices that play a big role potential outcomes for Shepard and the fictional galaxy at large. It's hard for me to imagine someone being shown the endings, shown the advertisements and press pitches and then saying "Yeah, that looks legit. You're free to go. Carry on."

The BBB blog seemed to better understand why gamers were so peeved at the ending. Still, at least the ASA at least decided to investigate because in the case of Capcom and the disc-locked content, they got off Scott-Free...other than enough gamers holding the wallet and making their executives suffer.
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