Ever since the game's March release, diehard "Mass Effect 3" players have been tirelessly advocating for a change in the game's controversial ending. Numerous movements have been implemented to grasp the attention of developer BioWare and publisher Electronic Arts, prompting an investigation into whether or not the companies are guilty of false advertising.
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) delved into the matter after backlash from online communities exploded around the Internet. Accusations against EA said that the company had misled fans and exaggerated the content of the game to the extent that would violate a breach of advertising. The primary complaint was that "Mass Effect 3" advertisements said that "decisions you make completely shape your experience and outcome," although players didn't find this to be true.
On June 13, however, it was reported that the ASA concluded in favor of the publisher, issuing the following statement:
"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 acknowledge 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 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."
Some fans of the game still aren't convinced that EA properly advertised the content. As a user in the Hold The Line forum, which is a space dedicated to discussion of all things "Mass Effect," argued that the different endings are displayed through strikingly similar cinematic scenes.
"What they failed to mention is that these 'radically different ending scenarios' are all represented by the same epilogue scene with variations in color," wrote an ASC Active Member of HTL. "And the biggest problem of all, the 'radically different ending scenarios' are all radically badly written."
In a turn of events, it seems some gamers are taking more kindly to the conclusion of BioWare's epic three-part space saga.
"Tell me. What's so bad about Mass Effect 3's ending?" a player known as Robby posted on Twitter on June 13.
"Remember how Mass Effect 3's ending isn't bad? At all?" tweeted another, known as Dylan, earlier in June.
In mid-April the Better Business Bureau voiced its opinion on the backlash, agreeing with the fan base on the sci-fi space shooter's controversial ending.
"The issue at stake here is, did BioWare falsely advertise? Technically, yes they did," Digital Spy reported.
Following the game's launch, fans have also filed complaints with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission over false advertising concerning the ending.
EA plans to release "Mass Effect 3: Extended Cut" this summer, which is a free downloadable content package that will add cinematic scenes and more epilogue footage to add to the game's ending. The add-on will not actually change the ending, but it will give players more insight into how their choices affected the outcome of "Mass Effect 3."
A release date has not been set yet, but voice actors have reportedly been recruited into the studio to record for the upcoming DLC.
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