Frustrated fans have been denied their vengeance on Mass Effect 3, with the UK’s Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) ruling on a dispute in favour of publishers Electronic Arts.
The watchdogs launched an investigation after online communities expressed outrage that EA had misled the audience about the ending of the game.
In particular, in April US organisation the Better Business Bureau listed two claims from the Mass Effect website that they claimed breached advertising rules.
The initial advertising campaign for Mass Effect 3 featured the claim that ‘decisions you make completely shape your experience and outcome’. The BBB argued that the game’s multiple endings were too similar to justify the word ‘completely’.
The other disputed statement was that players’ choices had the potential to result in ‘radically different ending scenarios’.
However, after Electronic Arts stated their case, the ASA ruled in their favour, a spokesman saying the advertising might have been slightly exaggerated but was still not untrue.
"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.
"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).”
This, to me, is a damn good ruling. It’s going to become very difficult for developers to push boundaries if their audience is sulking and complaining to every authority available just because they didn’t do it right.
While Mass Effect 3 may not have had the ending everyone wanted, at least Bio Ware and EA are trying new things – if they don’t put out risky games they’ll never know what works and what doesn’t.
At any rate, developers BioWare have announced an ‘Extended Cut’ DLC pack that will hopefully tie up the loose ends from the end of Mass Effect 3. No specific date has been given beyond ‘this Summer’ (our Winter - so possibly quite soon).