They remark there's "no indecision" in an opening bullet point for Mass Effect 3 which states player decisions 'completely shape' the experience. The lesson? Be careful what you say.
Some fans are outraged at EA and BioWare for the game's ending and how it 'dismissed' player choices by the end, and left far more questions than answers to the trilogy.
One gamer by the alias 'El_Spiko' was so incensed they launched a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), and draw attention to the fact by alerting the online community and media.
Marjorie Stephens of the watchdog Better Business Bureau feels there's sufficient material for there to exist a legitimate grievance against EA. "If you had purchased a game for $59.99 or $79.99 for the digital download version and were told that you had complete control over the game’s outcome by the choices your character made and then actually had no control over the game’s outcome, wouldn’t you be disappointed?!" she .
"Many gamers have spoken out in online forums, via Facebook and Twitter, leading to the creation of Facebook fanpages in favor of and against the game’s outcome. What caused all of this hype had to do with the marketing of this product."
Stephens lists two leading bullet point advertisements for Mass Effect 3:
• “Experience the beginning, middle, and end of an emotional story unlike any other, where the decisions you make completely shape your experience and outcome”. •“Along the way, your choices drive powerful outcomes, including relationships with key characters, the fate of entire civilizations, and even radically different ending scenarios.”
•“Along the way, your choices drive powerful outcomes, including relationships with key characters, the fate of entire civilizations, and even radically different ending scenarios.”
She then asks did developer BioWare, and by extension EA, "falsely advertise?"
"Technically, yes, they did. In the first bullet point, where it states “the decisions you make completely shape your experience”, there is no indecision in that statement. It is an absolute."
"The next statement is not so absolute. It states “your choices drive powerful outcomes”. A consumer would have to very carefully analyze this statement to come to a conclusion that the game’s outcome is not “wholly” determined by one’s choices. This statement, really though, is very subject to interpretation," she continued.
"Also this is just a small example of their advertising and does not take into account anything that might have been said, as far as their public relations and other advertising campaigns."
The lesson to take from all this is "companies should give careful consideration to how they word their advertisements. Otherwise, there could be detrimental effects, especially in the era of social media and online forums."
BioWare has announced free DLC will be arriving this summer to address the lack of 'fulfilment' from the game's ending, but they're not in any way changing the actual written ending, just preparing to show more consequences of your choices. All new cinematics are being prepared to cope with the many possible differences.
Was Mass Effect 3 falsely advertised? "Technically, yes"
12 April 2012 | By Simon Priest