Electronic Arts, likely sick of having their role playing game Mass Effect dragged through the mud on national television, has requested that Fox News Channel correct their error-plagued segment on the game.
In the letter, which cites Kotaku, Jeff Brown, EA's vice president of communications, asks Teri VanHorn, producer of the Live Desk with Martha MacCallum, to clarify "serious errors" the channel made in their Mass Effect story.
"As the parent company of BioWare, the studio which created the game, EA would like you to set the record straight on a number of errors and misstatements which incorrectly characterise the story and character interactions in Mass Effect." The letter starts and then proceeds to outline their very strong case.
Your headline above the televised story read: "New videogame shows full digital nudity and sex." Fact: Mass Effect does not include explicit or frontal nudity. Love scenes in non-interactive sequences include side and profile shots - a vantage frequently used in many prime-time television shows. It's also worth noting that the game requires players to develop complex relationships before characters can become intimate and players can chose to avoid the love scenes altogether.
FNC voice-over reporter says: "You'll see full digital nudity and the ability for players to engage in graphic sex."
Fact: Sex scenes in Mass Effect are not graphic. These scenes are very similar to sex sequences frequently seen on network television in prime time.
FNC reporter says: "Critics say Mass Effect is being marketed to kids and teenagers."
Fact: That is flat out false. Mass Effect and all related marketing has been reviewed by the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) and rated Mature - appropriate for players 17-years and older. ESRB routinely counsels retailers on requesting proof of age in selling M-rated titles and the system has been lauded by members of Congress and the Federal Trade Commission. In practical terms, the ratings work as well or better than those used for warning viewers about television content.
The letter goes on to point out that the people who wrapped up segment with a round table were equally clueless about the game. "they have had zero experience with Mass Effect and are largely ignorant about videogames, the people who play them, and the ESRB system that governs their ratings and sales."
The story wraps up by pointing out how insulting the resulting story was to EA and Bioware and asks, not demands, a correction:
The resulting coverage was insulting to the men and women who spent years creating a game which is acclaimed by critics for its high creative standards. As video games continue to take audiences away from television, we expect to see more TV news stories warning parents about the corrupting influence of interactive entertainment. But this represents a new level of recklessness.
Do you watch the Fox Network? Do you watch Family Guy? Have you ever seen The OC? Do you think the sexual situations in Mass Effect are any more graphic than scenes routinely aired on those shows? Do you honestly believe that young people have more exposure to Mass Effect than to those prime time shows?
This isn't a legal threat; it's an appeal to your sense of fairness. We're asking FNC to correct the record on Mass Effect.
Vice President of Communications
Electronic Arts, Inc.
Good for you EA, it's important, I think that publishers step up to the plate to defend themselves, especially in light of such outrageous and patently false claims.