ASA determines Mass Effect 3 advertising was not misleading
After receiving numerous complaints that about Mass Effect 3, the UK's Advertising Standards Authority has ruled that EA did not mislead gamers with its claims that player decisions could "shape your experience and outcome".
Fans complained to the ASA that, having finished the game, the extent to which past choices made during the story didn't affect the game's ending as much as they were led to believe they would. They claimed that EA had misleadingly exaggerated the variety of outcomes available in the game and the differences between outcomes.
If you had played Mass Effect 3, you may have an idea what they are referring to. The "three" endings were like 95% the same footage, but with different colors overlayed. The big complaint was that there was no "meaningful" differences among the three. There were subtle differences in the endings, fans said, but not to the extent that EA boasted.
The ASA reasoned that Mass Effect 3's three endings were "thematically quite different". The assessment went on to explain that the "availability and effectiveness of those choices would be directly determined by a player's EMS 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 ME3, and that those were directly impacted by choices made by players earlier in the game(s)."
The assessment went on to say: "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 realize 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."
The investigation under CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 3.1 (Misleading advertising) and 3.11 (Exaggeration) found no breach and the verdict was "not upheld".
Despite the official ruling by the ASA, it doesn't change the fact that fans remain upset over the Mass Effect 3 ending, or lack thereof. It isn't all bad news for Mass Effect 3 fans upset by the conclusion of the trilogy. BioWare has already confirmed plans to release Mass Effect 3 Extended Cut, free DLC designed to provide "closure" to the sharply criticized ending.
Don't expect an entirely new ending, however. It will not be a re-imagining of the endings or a new ending, but will instead provide "closure" to give players a sense of "personalization with the endings".
Do you agree with the ASA's decision?