Advertising regulator the ASA has rejected complaints claiming that EA mis-sold Mass Effect 3 by deceiving players about the extent to which they could alter the game’s ending.
EA’s ad for the trilogy-ending RPG stated that “the decisions you make completely shape your experience and outcome”.
However, the game’s release was followed by an online outcry by some fans. They were unhappy that the ending, ultimately, was not determined by the player’s actions across the three titles and was instead dictated by the EMS (Effective Military Strength) amassed in the final game alone.
The ASA received three official complaints claiming that EA “misleadingly exaggerated the variety of outcomes available in the game and the differences between the outcomes”.
EA said in a statement defending the game that “they did not consider the "ending" experience of Mass Effect 3 (ME3) was limited to what appeared in the final cut scene, and that the consequences and implications of player's choices were actually presented during the last three to five hours of the game”.
It added that “almost every decision a player made in the game would impact the EMS score in some way, and they therefore considered that each decision would impact the player's experience during the last hours of the game”.
In a statement explaining its rejection of the three complaints, the ASA concluded: “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 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).
“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.”