Yes, someone from the BBB has called Mass Effect 3 out on it’s ending. The blog post, as a whole, isn’t antagonistic towards Bioware or EA… but it does boil it down to saying that, in key pieces of of the game’s advertising, declarative statements were made that are more or less false. The examples given?
Here are some examples below from their website, http://masseffect.com:
- “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.
Yeah, I’m gonna come down on the side that says those statements are false.
Continued from the blog post by Marjorie Stephens -
The issue at stake here is, did Bio Ware 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. 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.
Honestly, I feel that the marketing for DA2 was far more misleading than ME3′s, but there is a point to be made here. Arguably what EA / BioWare have done, even if you accept it was lying, is not unsual in the field of advertising. Just think of the all the alternative medicine crap that is sold, claiming to “boost your immune system.” In the end, if EA and/or BioWare are actually going to get hit legally for this it’d send shock waves through the business world. And by that I mean it won’t happen.
David Thier at Forbes has been covering the Mass Effect 3 ending controversy quite thoroughly, and here’s part of what he says about this BBB reaction:
The argument that she makes is that both are absolute statements, and can thus be considered false. Both statements are also, however, up to a gigantic amount of interpretation – for example, one could argue that your choice to push a certain button or not does indeed drive the outcome, even if it’s in an unsatisfying way.
But despite some qualification, BBB is willing to go there: “The issue at stake here is, did Bio Ware falsely advertise? Technically, yes, they did.”
I’m not too encouraged to see people continuing to argue the legality of Bioware’s position – it seems a little childish, and not in line with much more reasonable face of Retake Mass Effect. For right now, the fans have won, and Bioware is back at the drawing board. If it fails a second time, then we’ll have something to talk about.
Let’s face it, while there are some people who actually liked the ending (there are people out there who like Phantom Menace, after all), the general consensus outside of EA is that ME3 ended on a very sour note. BioWare’s proposed fix to the problem is like putting a band-aid on your knee, when it’s your arm that’s been chopped off – not nearly enough of a remedy and, oh, by the way, you’re missing the injury!