Experienced Points

Experienced Points
Marketing Effect 3

Shamus Young | 2 Mar 2012 21:00
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Also, way to lead off with the opening line of the MST3K theme song. Are you mocking your own creation, or just tone deaf? Why not start off with, "Just sit right back and you'll hear a tale ..."

... the galaxy stands on the brink of total annihilation ...

Actually, the galaxy is just fine, thanks. It's the people living in the galaxy that need to be worried. That's the whole point of the Reapers. The galaxy goes on, unchanging, cycle after cycle.

... and the fate of humanity ...

And everyone else, remember?

... rests on the shoulders of a single man ...

Or woman. Remember how you made such a big deal with your "Miss Commander Shepard" beauty contest, and even put her on the box? I guess we know who's still wearing the pants in this franchise.

And it's not on the shoulders of a "single man". I mean, wasn't the entire last game a huge "team building" exercise because Shepard can't do it alone?

... and his Valkyrie assault rifle.

Are you serious, EA? Gamestop? You just made Garrus into a lame-ass pitchman so you can sell me pre-order guns? A Garrus who can't remember of the basics of the universe he inhabits? I hate you.

The pitch was only one sentence long, and it somehow contained more errors than a copy of "Mass Effect: Deception" that was retyped while wearing boxing gloves. I would accept this as a bit of self-referential comedy if it managed to get the basics right. I would accept it as a typical dumbed-down game trailer if they didn't take a beloved and heroic character from the series and turn him into a stooge in order to sell us DLC guns.

We've got this awful dissonance where the "Take Back Earth" trailer tries to sell us on this universe of loss and hopeless odds, and then we've got other commercials telling customers the game is all about "LOL Gunz!!!"

Which brings me to my last problem with this marketing push. This DLC / preorder stuff has gotten completely out of control. Mass Effect 3 is Balkanized across multiple platforms, multiple retailers, and multiple editions of the game, all of which bestow usable in-game items. The worst part is, I don't see any marketing benefit from it. Sure, if I pre-order at Gamestop I get gun A and if I pre-order through Origin directly I get gun B, but so what? I haven't played the game yet. I don't know which one is better or more fun to use.

(And I just have to ask again: Why did people aim so much pure rage at Portal 2? Remember that? The game had cosmetic, multiplayer-only DLC, and people got so mad they review-bombed it. Why was so much rage aimed at Portal 2, and so little aimed at Mass Effect 3? NOTE: I am not asking anyone to review-bomb anything. It's childish and pointless. I'm asking why, not demanding ME3 be similarly punished. Please, please no.)

My point isn't that Mass Effect 3 will be bad. My point is that marketing is treating it like it's big, dumb, and loud. It's just sad when the fans of the game have more respect for the material than the people who brought us the game. I'm looking forward to March 6, not just because the game comes out, but because that's when the EA hype machine will finally shut up.

Shamus Young is a programmer, critic, comic, and now author. Check out his new book!

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