Experienced Points

Experienced Points
Marketing Effect 3

Shamus Young | 2 Mar 2012 21:00
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I realize it's old hat to pick on things done by EA's marketing department. However, every once in a while their awfulness starts to chafe and I have to say something. Today is one such day. (And before you ask: No, I haven't played the demo. I already know I'm getting the game, and I'd just rather just avoid the spoilers and play the real deal when the time comes.)

I've been fairly annoyed with the bits of Mass Effect 3 they've been showing us. No, I'm not talking about the Take Earth Back Cinematic Trailer. Sure, it might take the easy path with regards to emotional manipulation. But that's how a lot of trailers work. It's a solid couple of minutes of cinema. No, I'm talking about the other ads. The small ones. The ones selling pre-order bonuses, DLC, exclusives, and so on.

My first problem is one of tone. The "We fight or we die!" line that was being thrown around was cringe-inducing, since it made Shepard sound like a lunkhead. I mean, the whole point of the series so far is that you supposedly can't fight the Reapers, or that nobody has ever figured out how. It's like:

JOKER: Commander, we're out of food. We don't know where to get more. What do you want us to do?

SHEPARD: (Adopts a dramatic pose.) We eat or we starve!

(Beat.)

JOKER: Yeah, that's what I'm saying. We're going to starve. Thanks for nothing, dumbass.

Thankfully this line seems to have vanished in the last couple of months. Again, this doesn't tell us what the game itself will be like, but this clip of dialog is really, really stupid. Why are we trying to make Commander Shepard sound like Marcus Fenix? Not to knock Marcus. He's got his place in the world of videogames. But lines for Johnny Rico and Dwayne Hicks will not sound right coming out of the mouth of Captain Picard and lines for Professor X don't sound right coming from Wolverine, no matter how much we like the characters.

This is a game filled with sci-fi ideas. It's a space opera. Fantastic alien worlds. Strange creatures. Mysterious technology. Ancient secrets. Political intrigue. That's food for your brain, right there. It's the one thing that makes Mass Effect stand out from a lot of other games about a dude in body armor, lugging an assault rifle through a showcase of chest-high walls. So why is the marketing focusing on the assault rifles and chest-high walls?

My second problem with the marketing is that it's just cheap and sloppy. The worst example is this commercial. Let's go through this commercial.

In the not too distant future...

Mass Effect 3 takes place around 2186-ish. So, over a century and a half from now. I don't think even an Asari would call that "near future".

Shamus' skewering of Mass Effect 3's commercials continues ...

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