Find out how to kick start your games industry career

Get Your Free Ticket Today

Mass Effect 3 may have been "falsely advertised" says Better Business Bureau

The fallout from the Mass Effect 3 ending controversy continues

Mass Effect 3 players have been up in arms about the controversial ending to the game, to the point where BioWare felt compelled to create free DLC with "further closure" in the storyline. Now the Better Business Bureau has raised the possibility that Electronic Arts and BioWare misled consumers with its advertising.

Marjorie Stephens, Director of Communications at BBB of Northern Indiana, commented, "Consider this: If you had purchased a game for $59.99... 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?"

"The issue at stake here is, did BioWare 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," she continued, referring to marketing points on the official Mass Effect website.

Some consumers believe that EA should allow them to return the game for a full refund. At the moment, it's unclear if the BBB will exert any pressure on EA to satisfy disappointed players.

Find out how to kick start your games industry career

Get Your Free Ticket Today

More stories

Would losing the FIFA name hurt EA? | Opinion

Common sense should prevail, but there's more to the FIFA game series than the brand

By Christopher Dring

EA: Publishers have a responsibility to demystify video games for parents

Samantha Ebelthite discusses EA's awareness campaign with Internet Matters and her new role as vice chair of UKIE

By James Batchelor

Latest comments (8)

Morville O'Driscoll Blogger & Critic 9 years ago
Nice. Whether or not gamers can get refunds, it's good that BioWare/EA are being called out on their advertising. This can only be good for the industry in the long run.
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Seb Mcbride9 years ago
Personally the only thing I slightly let down by was the lack of closure about certain characters in the game. Hopefully the DLC that's due this summer will rectify this. The 30' odd hours that I got out of ME3 more than warranted what I paid for it.

Was I happy with the game? Damn right. Loved every second of it. The ending may have soured the taste slightly, but hardly enough to warrant filling a complaint.

This quote I don't agree with though. "the decisions you make completely shape your experience". Well technically they do.

Mordin died in my second game due to me making the wrong choice. Therefore the game didn't included him in 3.That clearly shows that the choices I made shaped my gaming experience.

If you're only playing the game for the ending, then I think you're clearly missing the point of playing an RPG.
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Justin King Creative Digital Producer, mattel9 years ago
in a way i am glad they're being taken to task over falsely advertising the level of control you have over the outcome. i didn't feel nearly as in control of things as i did in me1, or me2 for that matter.

they 'streamlined' some things that i didn't care for. and even at 28 hours it felt like i was being rushed through key plot details in some cases. mind you that might just be because i was enjoying it so much i didn't want it to end.

that said though, i enjoyed my 28 hours with me3. the ending was disappointing. having played in through to see both paths. it didn't feel like i got an ending worthy of the 90+ hours and 1 shepherd i nursed through all three games.

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Justin King on 11th April 2012 9:13pm

0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Show all comments (8)
Alfonso Sexto Lead Tester, Ubisoft Germany9 years ago
My example, keeping this publicity thing aside
You remember "Cube" movie saga? First was really good, the second was quite ok, the third, a prequel (called "Cube Zero") explained absolutely everything about what the cube was and why it existed. That destroyed the movies, they no longer have any mistery or magic for me, it was a disaster.

Is that what people want about Mass Effect? destroy it's magic?. I don't want to know what the reapers really are or who created them!, I don't want to know what the indoctrination is or how it works!, It is part of the saga's essence to keep that a secret never revealed.

If fans want 0 secrets, no room for speculation and being given everything granted and answered they should re-roll as Star Wars fans and stop behaving like 5 years old kids
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys! 9 years ago
Yeesh. Obviously, someone at the BBB with too much time on his or her hands was a disappointed ME fan or worse, bought the game for their entitled offspring who wouldn't shut up about the ending, so here we go...

I can see The Diary of Anne Frank being rewritten with a nice happy ending with the family escaping from that house (after a car chase, of course). Or the new version of JFK where he not only dodges the bullet, but punches Lee Harvey Oswald out that book depository window after a foot chase to some dubstep. Someone get Jason Statham on the line - he'd be a perfect President!
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Paolo Giunti Localisation Project Manager, GlobaLoc GmbH9 years ago
@Alonso and Greg
From your comments i get the feeling that you haven't actually played the games, nor really looked closely at what the complaints are about (i may be wrong, but... that's the impression).

Even if some fans clearly crossed the line and made unacceptable demands, the great majority of the ending-haters pretty much agree on the problems being simply two:
1) Player gets the feeling that, regardless of the choices made during the game, he's being railroaded towards the same ending. Even the three final options pretty much display the same cinematic sequence.
2) The last 10 minutes feel inconsistent and confusing, filled with obvious plot-holes. Not to mention the lack of an actual epilogue showing what happened to the cast of characters the players have grown attached to.

It's not about having the indoctrination explained, it's not about having an happy ending. Complaints are just about the two points i listed above, which I personally believe that are actually quite legitimate. You may argue that they're not... fair enough. But, please, try to get your facts straight before leashing out.

As for the BBB episode, it happened a two-three weeks ago that someone turned to the authorities about that infamous ending, pointing out that the issue n.1 (of the two above) was actually conflicting with "every choice matters" in the advertisement. There was an article about it on GamesIndustry as well.
I'm not too familiar with the US legal system, but seems likely that the two things are related.
For the record, that guy got heavily criticized by a lot of his fellow fans for taking it too far.

What makes the response of BBB annoying is that, in regard to the ME3 issue, it's coming too late. I personally feel the battle it's over. A DLC is coming, it is free and I'm confident that it'll make things right.
(I've worked with BioWare before, they're not a bunch of idiots. I'm sure they're perfectly capable of understanding where they fell short and how to fix it).
There was no need to add more fuel to fire.

On the other hand, this specific episode sets an interesting precedent.
Forces developers and publishers to be more cautious regarding their advertising and, more specifically, about shipping an unfinished product. A bad habit that has been unfortunately quite common for a long while already.

Edited 3 times. Last edit by Paolo Giunti on 12th April 2012 12:48pm

2Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys! 9 years ago
@Paolo: Played all three ME games, thank you much. I didn't like the way SOME things were handled at the end of ME3 (that Normandy thing noted above really bugged me MORE than the actual ending!), but I'm an adult, so I dealt with it like one. I said "Oh well" and moved on to real life (and other games - Xenoblade Chronicles at the moment, thanks for asking).

I looked at the ending to the game like I would any piece of entertainment that I read or watch. The folks making it set up what they thought were suitable circumstances for the finale and that's that. Anything else is going to (or WAS going to) be up to the fan artists, fiction writers or bards to tackle in the future.

Seriously, all this whining to the BBB about a game ending (or a game company locking stuff away on a game disc when that's the way the industry has been headed since DLC was first announced) is turning into a big whine that will never end. Although, I'm sure if developers took EVERY gripe to heart, no game would ever have an ending that ANYONE could agree on unless there were choices for EVERY type of player (which is impossible, or at least far more work than I'd like to think about).

Anyway, like it or else, some people are entitled dolts who now believe they OWN the story in game along with that disc or download they paid for. I say, if they don't respect an artistic choice, screw 'em. As an artist myself, I find changing work after it's completed because it offends someone in any way is a form of censorship, period.

If BioWare had decided to kill everyone off at the end (like in some crazy anime finale), I'd have been fine with that choice as well. I don't even want to know what sort of feeding frenzy the fans would have gone into, though...

Sometimes war doesn't have a good ending, not matter how the story is told.
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply
Paolo Giunti Localisation Project Manager, GlobaLoc GmbH9 years ago
The major questionable moment is why the Normandy is where it is at the point you make your final decision. It shouldn't be where it is and doing what it is doing.
That's pretty much what i was referring to when i said "inconsistent and confusing".
But, as i said, while i think the two points i listed are valid, you don't necessarily have to agree with me. I just felt the need to point out that an happy ending is NOT what the uproar is about.

And, Greg, I see your point of view, there's parts i agree with, but i still find your "no compromise, no matter what" position too close-minded. I would go on and explain what i agree and disagree with in detail, but it would be like thread derailment. Not sure that this is the place for debate on artistic integrity.

It would be a bad state if people were allowed to return their game for refunds because "they didn't like the ending" and would set up games development for a massive fall because what would stop people doing it on any game if the precedent was set?
That's hardly going to be the case. The BBB part has to do with the ending not living up to what was advertised by EA. So, for a long as the advertisement doesn't come up as "deceiving" there should be no problems.
Trying to be optimistic here, but that would translate into marketing department communicating more with dev teams and, hopefully, publishers set more reasonable deadlines.
0Sign inorRegisterto rate and reply

Sign in to contribute

Need an account? Register now.