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Posted by Chuck Corbin on Jun 14, 2012

UK Advertising Standards Authority Finds Mass Effect 3 Not Guilty

When Mass Effect 3 was released in March, many people were excited to see how the epic trilogy would end. The players had defeated Saren and stopped Sovereign, they destroyed the Collectors base, and were finally going to defeat the Reapers once and for all. But then, after logging probably more than 90 hours of gameplay between 3 different games, many players found that they got a choice of what they thought were three cookie-cutter endings. And boy, were some players pissed!

It was due in part to the backlash that the UK’s Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) decided to investigate EA and Mass Effect 3 to see if EA was misleading in its advertising. The ads in particular claimed that “decisions you make completely shape your experience and outcome”. And while many people still feel that EA lied to them and that their choices did not matter, the ASA ruled 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).”

The ASA also had this 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 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.” In short, while the apparent lack of choices is frustrating, in the end EA did deliver what they promised, at least according to the ASA. I have to wonder, though, did the news of the Extended Cut DLC help EA avoid being hit with false advertising violations?

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