Mass Effect 3 Ending Complaints Rejected By ASA

People got angry about the Mass Effect 3 ending for a while, made a lot of noise, and then sort of moved on after a couple of months, but advertising regulator ASA still took heed and investigated complaints that consumers were being misled by some of the commercials for the game.

The complaint was simple: gamers had been promised that their actions would influence the outcome of Mass Effect 3, but some gamers believed that wasn't the case. Therefore — Mass Effect 3 contained false advertising.

But the ASA has now investigated and rejected those claims.

“We considered that the three choices at the end of the game were thematically quite different," claimed the ASA, in a recently released statement, "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.”

I would say that justice has been served, but I'm sure many will disagree with me. Thoughts?

ASA rejects Mass Effect 3 ending complaints [MCV]


Comments

    Common sense wins. Self entitled folk lose. I didn't care much for the ending but it is embarrassing seeing part of the gaming community taking it this far.

    ASA: Ah yes "Bioware lied to you." We've rejected those claims.

      They may not have lied to us, but the way the ending was formed still sucked balls :/

    *Insert rage over ME3 ending, rage of over ME3 ending rage, rage over ME3 articles rage rage, rage, here*

    Good. Nice to see common sense win for a change. Self entitled wankers.

    Yeah I think this is fair. Game dev's should be free to make games without fear that the community that is supposed to support their independence turns around and slams them.

      I can't agree with that. If you're going to make and sell a product, whether that be a game, movie, painting, toy car, office chair, swimming pool etc, then your customers have the right to express their displeasure with the product if it doesn't meet their expectations. Whether or not you disagree with them doesn't matter, they still have that right.

        It's all well and good to have an opinion and express it, but there are limits. I didn't particularly like the end of MIB3, but I'm hardly going to make a complaint to a regulatory authority over it. BioWare could have the ending as Shepard wakes up at the beginning of ME2 again and that would be their choice, if you don't like it, you aren't owed anything. You can complain but you have no right to get others in trouble because you don't like it

        They have a right to an opinion. However, that does not give them a right to oppress you, or at least start imposing on your ability to have creative freedom.

          I agree. Although the lawsuit was about advertising, and not necessarily creative freedom itself, I think legal action against creators of entertainment is really a bit much - and this lawsuit clearly wasn't lodged by people who are dispassionate about Mass Effect. Be annoyed, yes, but don't think you'll actually be able to stop a company doing what they want creatively. And if you can? That's bad for everyone.

        Embarrassingly stupid comparisons. An office chair and an artistic creation are the same thing? There is an obvious difference between complaining about a product that fails to function as advertised and complaining about the artistic direction or style of a movie/album/game etc.

        Having the ability to criticise a game, something artistic, is not the same as demanding compensation or restitution for a faulty product.

        The whole ME3 thing was an immensely depressing example of just how childish gamers can be.

          Except they weren't talking about the artistic goals of mass effect 3. Casey Hudson in particular made very specific claims about what would be included.

          I don't want or expect my money back (complaining to the ASA seems a bit much to me) , but I maintain I was intentionally mislead.

          Also - videogames can be art. Its not automatic. I'm yet to see anyone make a compelling case that ME3 is more "art" then Predator.

            Well, the ASA found you weren't misled. You're just pissed you didn't get the result you wanted.

              They didn't actually rule on the issue I'm talking about, I don't really care because I thought making the complaint was a bit much, and I disagree with their interpretations of the endings (which is kind of subjective anyway).

              Obviously I don't think I got the result I was promised, regardless of whether its a legal issue.

        Complaining is fine. Trashing the game in a review is fine(Since it's not like your review "Should" matter, If they didn't place an emphasis on metacritic review bombing wouldn't be as much of an issue)

        Complaioning to a govt body is taking it way too far. There was never any claim that the ending would be superior to what it was. Was it a kick in the balls IMO yes.

        But beyond that it's just rubbish.

        ----

        Though I really wish we could get rid of the new "Entitled gamers" BS. Hell my issue with the ending isn't so much that it's bad but it feels like it was tacked on from another game. The spirit of the game in those last hours compared to the entirety of the series is completely different. And the stupid idiotic plot holes don't make much sense either.

    I'm interested by the claim that the three choices at the end of the game were thematically quite different. The choices were different, no one can deny that, but they played out in almost exactly the same way. When examining things like this, do you look at the words spoken and the intent behind the choices or what the actions are that play out on screen? I'm of the opinion that in this particular case it's the actions that mattered rather then the words, but that's just me.

    Also, the EMS score determining the effectiveness of the final choices, is that actually a thing? I know your EMS score determines which choices will show up at the end but I've never seen it mentioned that it actually has any effect on the outcome of a choice once that choice is made, aside from a little bonus scene after the ending of one of the choices.

      The cutscenes are longer and show more details if your EMS is high enough.

        Yeah - barely different though. Very barely.

        Also, that actually relates to another misleading claim made by Hudson that the ending wouldn't be a simple score, but work like the ending of 2 where lots of your crew can die depending on your past actions.

      If you have a Google you'll find lists of what different EMS scores do. This is where the "16 endings" comes from, although they are all unfortunately very similar.

      As for the first part of your post, it seems to me they're focusing on the words more than the actions (as you put it). "Thematically different" seems to put enphasis on the implications of your actions, as opposed to any specific cutscene you may see afterwards.

    +1 to common sense.. justice happens afteral... *insert faith in humanity restored meme here*

    Nb. ASA stands for Advertising Standards Authority, and they're UK-based.

    This comment has been deemed inappropriate and has been deleted.

      Cry more.

    I really hope the people complaining take a good, hard look at themselves.

      so those of us who disliked the ending are automatically whining idiots because of what one government body ruled? the point of democracies and the modern world is that people have the right to voice their opinions yet you feel that because you accepted the ending or had no opinion you can force your views onto others. that is called oppression. at least i don't go around saying your opinions are wrong, i agree to disagree and move on. how about some courtesy next time you open your mouth?

        The point of democracies and the modern world is not this. Look at the words you are using eg:oppression, look at times in history and even today when races, genders, cultures, religious groups, political groups are "actually" oppressed and see what a big fuckin whiny babby you are.

          really? try a little harder if you want to offend me. democracies allow free speech. no system is perfect. we have a right for constructive criticism. you had a problem with it, move to china

    the three endings may LOOK similar, but effect the galaxy drastically differently: 1. the reapers are alive and controlled by Shephard, 2. The reapers are no more, 3. tall life is combined. now those options have drastically different consequences for the galaxy even considering who the choices effect, for example if you let this person die, or cured the genophage, what the prime compaint seems to be is that the complaining audience didnt understand this and need more video scenes of the aftermath.

      I dont understand why whingers keep overlooking this. The endings are extremely different showing vastly different consequences. Maybe it should have been presented better but they are still different.

        I do agree the ending are essentially different, but their presentation wasn't... the fact that there were alot of scenes exactly the same aside from the what flavour of colour was selected, this was my major problem and perhaps some others also.

        Take for example the Mass Relays all being destroyed, if Bioware decided this needs to happen, then I'm okay with them all being wiped out, but show them all blowing up differently in each version, different camera angles, different explosions, different ways they were destroyed, maybe have the Normandy land on different planets for each ending, etc...

        At least with differences like this it can give a better illusion to the endings being completely different to each other, as it stands it can be perceived as lazy to re-use so many scenes for 3 different endings.

    Get a life ME3 whiners. I didn't like the game much, but seriously this amount of whinging is way overboard.

      well then don't read these articles. haven't you noticed most of the people here are those that are not whiners? geez at least construct and educated, informed comment or don't post at all

    +1 to pretty much all comments here!
    Sad, sad little people....

    eh, people quieted down because we're waiting for the dlc bioware promised would bring clarification.

    i can't believe some of you folks are still tossing around the 'entitled' word. if an artist told me he had a painting of a unicorn and sold it to me, and when i uncovered it, it was a bad drawing of a hedgehog, you bet i'd complain. bioware promised wildly different endings. they didn't deliver. they said my actions would affect the outcome, but a player who played through all three games and made choices opposite of mine, has the same exact endings as me. so they didn't deliver. they lied.

    before anyone objects to my painting analogy, keep in mind, you do not know the entire story and endings of a game until you buy it and play through it. you normally see an entire painting before buying it.

    if games are art, buying a game is like buying a painting you can't see in it's entirety. if an artist promised you the painting was one thing, took your money, uncovered it and it was something else, you would have to be a coward not to speak up about it. if i advertised a music album as heavy metal, but all of the songs were sing along kids' songs, that'd be false advertising. what bioware did was no different. this ruling won't change anyone's mind. no one is going to take a long hard look at themselves. we'll just say 'the asa is clueless and got it wrong'

      You didnt get a bad drawing of a hedgehog. You got a unicorn standing in an unexpected pose - maybe rubbing his ass against a tree or taking a dump.

        I disagree. Casey didn't make general claims, he was very specific. It was more like "the Unicorn will be standing with majesty on a slope", when you uncover it, the Unicorn is sitting on the can."

      Thank you! I'm so sick of "entitled", it's the buzzword of 2012.

    if games are art, buying a game is like buying a painting you can’t see in it’s entirety. if an artist promised you the painting was one thing, took your money, uncovered it and it was something else, you would have to be a coward not to speak up about it. if i advertised a music album as heavy metal, but all of the songs were sing along kids’ songs, that’d be false advertising. what bioware did was no different. this ruling won’t change anyone’s mind. no one is going to take a long hard look at themselves. we’ll just say ‘the asa is clueless and got it wrong’

    i can’t believe some of you folks are still tossing around the ‘entitled’ word. if an artist told me he had a painting of a unicorn and sold it to me, and when i uncovered it, it was a bad drawing of a hedgehog, you bet i’d complain. bioware promised wildly different endings. they didn’t deliver. they said my actions would affect the outcome, but a player who played through all three games and made choices opposite of mine, has the same exact endings as me. so they didn’t deliver. they lied.

    eh, people quieted down because we’re waiting for the dlc bioware promised would bring clarification.

    before anyone objects to my painting analogy, keep in mind, you do not know the entire story and endings of a game until you buy it and play through it. you normally see an entire painting before buying it.

      Entitled. Perhaps you should also lodge complaints if a company promises you a good game, but you get a bad one.

      The people that complained should be ridiculed.

        No, that's completely different. Let's use a different analogy.

        Now, to compare it to your analogy, i.e promised a good game and you get a bad one; You buy the chocolate cake and you eat it and it just tastes bad. It's still chocolate cake, it's just of a poor quality.

        To compared it to false advertising, or Mass Effect 3's case; Let's say you buy a slice of a chocolate cake which has a sign poking out of it saying "CHOCOLATE CAKE" and when you bite into it you soon discover it's composed of baked feces. That's false advertising. Two completely different scenarios, I'm not going to sue the bakery for making a cake that tastes bad, but you bet your ass I'm gonna sue them if they sell me chocolate cake made to look like chocolate cake when in actual fact it's a turd with icing.

    All you people throwing around the word entitled, why don't you explain to me how criticising a game and then taking it further when the developers don't listen is "self entitled"? It's not as if we're demanding anything be done (aside from the legal action but that's another thing entirely). Essentially all that we're doing is criticising the ending and if Bioware are willing to change it (which they are) then it's not being self-entitled at all. It's not as though we're making threats or hating on the developer; We're saying the ending sucks and they should change it and they are changing it. What the hell is the damned problem here?

      Entitlement becomes an issue when gamers feel that Bioware 'owes them' something. Criticising and having an opinion is great. Blasting Bioware and putting pressure on them to change a work of creativity just because it didn't exactly match your expectations is not ok. Claiming that they owe it to their fans to make the game which matches all the hype is not ok.

      And I have an issue with your analogy of the cake baked with feces. If you really thing the game was that bad, why do you care? Unless you think the game itself was alright, in which case, there's no problem. The ending being 'unsatisfactory' is equal to a cake being quite good, just maybe missing something in the icing. Saying that Bioware advertised falsely while still allowing players a range of possible endings (granted some of those endings may be a bit unsatisfying) doesn't quite make sense to me.

      Here's another example: a new action game is released, claiming to be totally engrossing, allowing players to be more engaged with the characters and story than ever. Upon release, it's a poor man's clone of Gears of War. Does anyone who bought that product then have reason to go claim false advertising?

        "Entitlement becomes an issue when gamers feel that Bioware ‘owes them’ something."

        Not to be a smart ass, but you just described "bad entitlement" with the definition of entitlement. Ignoring this particular issue, I think Bioware does literally (not used for emphasis) owe me something. I mean I did pay for the game, and generally a paid purchase entitles you to all sorts of things. We're really just haggling about what those things are. Thats why I think the term "entitled gamer" as a slur is completely retarded. If you've bought something, your an entitled gamer by definition.

        "Claiming that they owe it to their fans to make the game which matches all the hype is not ok."

        If they generate the hype (look at some of Casey Hudson's quotes) then I think they do owe there fans. Not legally necessarily, but ethically.

        "Blasting Bioware and putting pressure on them to change a work of creativity just because it didn’t exactly match your expectations is not ok"

        I think its very OK, and good for the industry. Art doesn't happen in a vacuum. I could point out literally dozens of examples of art altered by the demands of the audience: Sherlock Holmes, the Sistine chapel (as well as almost every other piece of work paid for by patronage in the renaissance), many films like Blade Runner (and Prometheus I expect). Consumer demanded changes to creative works aren't new, and they aren't inherently bad (or good of course). If the artist is good at picking good from crap feedback, it can be very beneficial. It would be good if this was the outcome of the present situation.

        "A new action game is released, claiming to be totally engrossing, allowing players to be more engaged with the characters and story than ever"

        I kind of wish we could claim false advertising. Its terrible the way this industry will just completely BS consumers - don't even get me started on 'Bull Shot'. Some accountability wouldn't be the worst thing in the world.

        No, I'm not saying that Bioware's game was a piece of cake disguised as a turd; I'm using that dumbed down example to make it abundantly clear the difference between "false advertising" and "poor product quality".

        Bioware literally promised a satisfying conclusion and a huge impact on the end of the game based on your decisions. Have you played the game? That's not in the game at all! There's no huge impact based on you decisions made throughout the game. The probable reason that the ASA rejected it is because they deem that you can choose between three different coloured endings a "decision", where it really should have been the entire game that impacted the ending.

        Do I think they should go to court over it? No. But it IS false advertising in my opinion.

          ...if it's false advertising, shouldn't it go to court?

            Aside from the fact that it's about three minutes worth of videogame footage that seems to be the root of the problem? I said it was false advertising but I don't think it's a large enough issue worth complaining to the freaking government about it. If false advertising is illegal, then fine, legally they should complain to the government. But in MY OPINION it shouldn't go to court because once again, it's three minutes of videogame cutscenes. My personal opinions might contradict the law's opinions.

    Meh, i've already moved on, unfortunatly while i always had urges to play Me2 many times, i have no urge at all to play Me3 more then once, maybe again once the epoligue's come but thats it.

    I'd like to see Alastair Reynolds weigh in on Bioware's criminal behaviour.

    Billion year old organic race that turned themselves into machines designed to commit xenocide against intelligent life, all in order to save organic life from a galaxy-spanning disaster in the future; sound familiar?

      yer the reapers are a straight rip from the wolves/inhibitors concept from Al Reynolds books, ancient machines preventing the spread of intelligent life in the galaxy. Reynolds presents it much more convincingly than biowares hack job.

    My view is that ME3 was the ending to the trilogy. That game was shaped based on how you played ME1 and ME2. End of discussion. Your degree of satisfaction with the ending of ME3 in and of itself is not something Bioware promised.

      they may have not guaranteed a satisfactory ending, but ethically, they should have supplied something that was satisfying to all players through choices, including the option of saving shepard. thats just my opinion.

      also explain the substitutes for legion, wrex and the rachni queen. they were put in to give new players almost the same outcome as the veterans. i played from ME1, ME2 and ME3 and felt disappointed that they added these in. it changed the idea that choices mattered. choices didn't matter in these cases. you got the same outcome even though killing wrex, the rachni queen or turning over legion should have omitted those sections of the game out. it was compromised. still enjoyable but compromised.

        well technically they did have an option of saving Shepard. and yes, that's only available through the destroy option - but having different outcomes available for different courses of action is kind of the point of the series, which is what this whole brouhaha is about

        and I thought saving Wrex/queen etc did have some consequences in that certain events could only occur if they were alive?

          yeah but a half breath isn't really alive is it? just felt tacked on imo.

          only consequence for the queen was betrayal, only seen in the war room. not really noticeable if you don't read. as for wrex, wreav was their to take his place. really only differed if you took the renegade option. just the same if you cured the genophage. same with legion. other example is counsellor udina. shouldn't have been counsellor if he wasn't chosen in the first game. made that choice redundant

    ME3 was totally average all the way through, so i didnt find the ending disappointing at all. Such a lame conclusion to an otherwise great franchise/trilogy.

    ME1 = One of the best si-fi RPGs in a long time.
    ME2= A step back, and consoul dumbing down.
    ME3= More of ME2, but with the return of grenades. And gay sex.

    ""But there's ending is full of plot holes because the no matter what ending you choose the Citadel and Mass Relays all get destroyed ruining the story"" - Generic compaint

    Goes and looks at the Control ending again.
    "Did you even pay attention to the endings" -Me in response

    i have moved on. like all the other people who didn't like the ending. most of the people here are entitled complainers themselves, forcing their opinions onto others. how are you any better? answer: your not. get off your high horse and just move on. you wont will you? didn't think so.

    i enjoyed the ME trilogy but not matter what other people say i didn't enjoy the ending to ME3. it was forced, linear and felt out of place. i will always believe this was done because of EA forcing a product out and dumbing it down to appeal to new players. just look at the choices such as wrex living or dying or the rachni queen? nope made no difference really. just generic infill to give you the same outcome. in no way am i going to convince anyone elsethat their opinions are wrong, they are just different to mine and i accept that.

    ME2 was the better game and i will always enjoy playing it. ME3 is tedious as i know what to expect and will always picture what is waiting for me at the end. yes people enjoyed it and i am happy for them. to me it was like a roller-coaster ride. ME1 was the steep buildup of momentum and that initial thrill of the drop, ME2 was the corkscrew and loops while ME3 was the crests and dips only to find they never completed the ride. a shame, it was great up until the end.

    ME i will remember you fondly for what you created and strived to be, not what you became

      Push button ending (ala Deus Ex)

        never played Deus Ex. knowing that this comparison has been made, i probably never will

    Many people thought it was a rubbish ending.

    I personally hated it and it turned me off the series as well as killing any replay value / incentive to buy DLC. I still don't think anything they do to the ending will make ME want to go back to the series but I guess we'll see - whenever they get around to releasing it.

    Complaints to a government body may seem like taking things too far but people paid money with the expectation that they would get what was 'advertised.' Sure, it's open to interpretation in some regards (and very clear in others - http://i42.tinypic.com/s3lhqq.jpg) but the uproar over the ending(s?) and subsequent complaints send a very clear message - this is not the experience that people paid to have.

    Taking a complaint to the ASA is too much.
    Calling everyone who complains about the ending an "entitled whinger" is plain ignorant.

    I thought the ending was unequivocally awful. It didn't make sense thematically, plot-wise, in established lore, or characterisation. I've told BioWare as much in whatever way I can. I won't be buying any more of their games until a few weeks after release when I can get a chance to see whether popular opinion and critic reviews match. I'm letting them know my displeasure with their writing and how DA2 and ME3 failed to live up to the promised standards in the only reasonable way I can.

    That's not being entitled. That's being an intelligent buyer.

      yes i agree, i think i will second guess any future purchases from BW. they create great games but to give an ending that felt so out of place in a game meant to give you a choice, its soured my opinion about their capabilities. i am not saying i will never by a game from them again, but i will think long and hard getting it on the release day.

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