UK Ad Agency: Mass Effect 3 Advertising "Not Misleading"

 Pages 1 2 3 4 5 NEXT
 

UK Ad Agency: Mass Effect 3 Advertising "Not Misleading"

image

The British advertising watchdog says that the endings and the adverts match up just fine.

Although the untempered rage that seized the internet after it finished Mass Effect 3 has (thankfully) simmered down to a low growl, a few outstanding issues still remain. One such issue is the claim several irritated fans made to the British Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) during the fracas which alleged that EA and BioWare had "misled" fans by touting how player choice would "shape the outcome" of the trilogy. Now, having deliberated on the matter, the ASA has ruled that EA and BioWare did not mislead anyone in their advertising.

According to the ASA, a total of three "complainants" brought forward official complaints about the advertising. Their case, says the agency, came down to deciding whether or not the statements in the game's pre-launch advertising (things like "the decisions you make completely shape the experience" and "your choices drive powerful outcomes") were "misleadingly exaggerated" by EA and BioWare.

In deciding its verdict of "claim not upheld," the agency took into account the various potential endings of Mass Effect 3, which it describes as being "thematically quite different," in addition to all of the smaller choices the player makes on their way to that final point. In the game, all of these things are underpinned by the player's Effective Military Strength (EMS) score, which changes depending on what the player does in-game. These factors, coupled with the variables involved in the genophage affair and the Geth/Quarian conflict, led the ASA to rule on the side of the developers.

That's that, it would seem. The ASA says that players were given enough choice based on what they were told they would get; EA's advertising department can sleep easy, and we can all get back to either forgetting and/or reminiscing about the endings as we so choose until the Extended Cut DLC appears this summer (at which point we'll either start the whole process over, or cry tears of space-joy and agree to just all be friends again. Here's hoping for the latter, right?).

Source: Advertising Standards Agency UK

Permalink

So the endings are made different enough by the power of the player's imagination?

I'd say "Well, that settles that" but I know someone is going to bring up "Hey, but some other random chick said that it had 'legal merit'" and will probably call the ASA a bunch of "corporate apologists".

Well, the whole "false advertising" complaint was always going to be a long shot. I just hope that Bioware doesn't interpret this ruling (and others that may come later) as being total vindication that they didn't lay a turd at the end.

I call bull.
The EMS affected nothing really EXCEPT for that 3-5 seconds of a chest for only one ending.
I've seen all the endings, the only thematic difference is what part of the RGB spectrum Bioware focused on.

And the Geth/Quarian and Genophage bits are negated by the endings as well, seeing as all the races get stuck in the collective pile of crap no matter how you chose to resolve a war or cure a disease.

So as long as you can still make choices it doesn't matter that they have any point?
Democracy in a nutshell.

Guess who got bought off.

I would have to agree with this. I hate the endings, but i wasnt mislead by anyone. My experience thru the game was personalized(i saved the Geth Quarians, i helped the Genophage, i helped my squadmates in their lives, idid this and that choice here and there). It is sad that the most important part in decisions, the ending, got butchered to an oversimplification and logical mess, but i wouldnt say i was misled in such a way that i didnt have choices. The game i played was different from other people. The ending doesnt change that.

Captcha: respect me. :/

Not that surprising really with that ruling, though it seems more a breaking of the spirit of the law. Frankly I'm more horrifed over the extended cut dlc which is a morally bankrupt concept. It doesn't matter whether the dlc is free or not it doesn't change the fact that the actual epilogue of the game has been withheld from the rest of the game, it's like cutting the last 15 minutes of a movie to show it a few months later. Best stop that rant there.

On another note for false advertising didn't Bioware also say that the endings wouldn't come down to an a, b or c choice...

Sis:
Guess who got bought off.

I'd say who my guess was, but it would probably end up getting me a warning on my forum account...

It's true. I mean I look at the series and see a bunch of small choices that don't really matter leading up to a big choice that doesn't really matter.
You weren't mislead, you just overestimated the quality of the series.

I'll just leave two things right here, too bad the people who filed the complain didnt apparently show these.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rPelM2hwhJA

http://www.gameinformer.com/b/features/archive/2012/01/10/mass1525-effect-3-cas5ey-fdsafdhudson-interviewae.aspx?PostPageIndex=2 (first question of the interview)

Edit-tastic: I love when Casey claims that ME3 ending will be more complex than ME2's intricate flowchart of who is loyal, tech/biotic expert, leadership, defensive value points and ship upgrades.

As you all know, in reality ME3 only looks how much the EMS score is and unlocks and gives alterations to the final cutscene as the number goes up. Only thing from previous games that affect that if the Collector Base is blown or radiated and that only changes the order on how the endings unlock as the score goes up.

That, if nothing else, is outright lying.

Anyone remember when the BBB reached the exact opposite conclusion? I do.

Oh, and this statement?

"[the endings are] thematically quite different"

Really? How?

THEY'RE IDENTICAL. The Reapers (who as it turned out were a ham fisted plot device) have been defeated... by a ham fisted plot device, you die, infrastructure collapses & your crew magically teleports to Gilligan's Planet.

"Oh, but the 3 colors signify 3 different things, that makes it different!"

It would if the actual game represented those differences. But it doesn't. It shows you the same the cutscene in 3 different colors, and then the game ends. That's like saying the conclusion of your novel varies based on how you imagine the scenario "happily ever after".

=/

The problem here is that they took stuff to do with Video Games to a government agency. Of course none of the old men in suits in charge had any idea what the hell they were looking at when they were presented with the endings, and had no context that actually having played the games would have brought.
That they dismissed the complaint out of hand is indicative of just how unprepared the government is to deal with any complaints relating to the video game industry that aren't purely business based issues between different developers and publishers.

Emiscary:
Anyone remember when the BBB reached the exact opposite conclusion? I do.

Anyone remember that it was some random employee of the BBB that said only that "It had some merit", and not an official statement of the Bureau itself? Because some people obviously don't.

It might have helped if you told people what you were upset about or what you wanted. I thought it was cause they're vague, nope not the case. Not happy enough? Nope. Bioware lied? Apparently I'm wrong there too.

Oh, and to not make homophobic death threats against a woman who works at the company that made ME3 just because her views conflict yours.

I think what the ASA has done here is consider the entire "war against the Reapers" section of the game as the ending, instead of going with the fans definition of the ending being the final 5 minuites where mashing the controller meant something in real-time, and the following cutscenes.

Really if more people took that into account perhaps the "ending" wasnt so bad afterall.

This is the uk, you know the same country which allows advertisements saying that there internet is 'unlimited' when it clearly isnt.

Im not saying if this right or wrong here, but come on can you really tell me you didn't expect this outcome.

Buretsu:

Emiscary:
Anyone remember when the BBB reached the exact opposite conclusion? I do.

Anyone remember that it was some random employee of the BBB that said only that "It had some merit", and not an official statement of the Bureau itself? Because some people obviously don't.

It's an ongoing battle and has to do with differances in standards. The ASA is a goverment group, the BBB is a private group. One is concerned with the letter of the law, the other with the spirit of the law. A lot also depends on how well the lawyers did, and from looking at the case in the UK they did a horrible job of representing the case against EA as I've seen no real mention of them bringing up the cellphone app with the information from those interviews, or statements made by the game developers themselves that the ending would not be an "A B or C" choice.

Like most similar cases my immediate feelings are that the best lawyers for this area were probably in EA's employ, or at least given enough money to cause a conflict of interests.

We'll see what happens if this goes to a US court, largely because this is kind of the BBB's ballpark and if they actually come forward to represent the case with their own muscle, we might see a less ambigious resolution.

Speaking for myself, I think EA is in the wrong here, and have from the beginning. I however "simmered down" like a lot of people to see what they do with this DLC. To be honest if it's like they said, I kind of expect things to get nasty again. EA simply deservred (and received) a chance to make things right.

To be honest given the way the BBB operates they typically give the business a chance to make things right, so that might very well be why they have been so quiet. The BBB not throwing down with it's resources until EA has gotten it's chance. I honestly think their statements had a little more weight than you do, but they very rarely act quickly.

Emiscary:
Anyone remember when the BBB reached the exact opposite conclusion? I do.

Oh, and this statement?

"[the endings are] thematically quite different"

Really? How?

THEY'RE IDENTICAL. The Reapers (who as it turned out were a ham fisted plot device) have been defeated... by a ham fisted plot device, you die, infrastructure collapses & your crew magically teleports to Gilligan's Planet.

"Oh, but the 3 colors signify 3 different things, that makes it different!"

It would if the actual game represented those differences. But it doesn't. It shows you the same the cutscene in 3 different colors, and then the game ends. That's like saying the conclusion of your novel varies based on how you imagine the scenario "happily ever after".

=/

The BBB thing was hardly a conclusion based on the entirety of it's members, it was a blog written by a single member of the group, hardly indicative of any official announcement.

Despite all of the endings playing more or less the same cutscene, they actually do imply VASTLY different outcomes for the rest of the universe.

Tradjus:
The problem here is that they took stuff to do with Video Games to a government agency. Of course none of the old men in suits in charge had any idea what the hell they were looking at when they were presented with the endings, and had no context that actually having played the games would have brought.
That they dismissed the complaint out of hand is indicative of just how unprepared the government is to deal with any complaints relating to the video game industry that aren't purely business based issues between different developers and publishers.

They seemed pretty knowledgeable to me. The statements they issue seemed to indicate that they at least played the game, and knew the points of contention.

I didn't know Advertising Standards Agency was a subsidiary of EA /lamejoke

Seriously though, if you needed a company to explain this to you, then... well... *sigh*

(at which point we'll either start the whole process over, or cry tears of space-joy and agree to just all be friends again. Here's hoping for the latter, right?).

Hahahaha, no. Sadly. :(

Why couldn't they just have adapted the Mass Effect 2 way of doing the ending?

They had the bloody formula, all they had to do was scale it up!

animehermit:

Despite all of the endings playing more or less the same cutscene, they actually do IMPLY vastly different outcomes for the rest of the universe.

Keyword: IMPLY.

I didn't pay full price on day 1 for implications. Nor for speculations. Nor any other horseshit buzzword that serves to defend a non-ending that puts all the questions on the audience.

Someone probably didn't take the time to explain or show to the ASA that the rage and "misleading advertising" is due to three games worth of choices and decisions, not wholly contained in ME3.

Sure, the argument still stands on ME3 alone (anyone with a brain could see and understand that), but when a Shepard who is a heartless, soul-devouring asshole over three games gets the same ending as a Shepard who could be confused who the second coming of Jesus for three games, then choice didn't matter.

That and the times that Casey and other members of the studio blatantly lied (Like specifically saying there would be no "A, B, C endings") constitutes false advertising.

It seems to me that they're more concerned with the marketing statements being technically true than if they were misleading or not. Because counting "Liara steps out of the Normandy" and "Kaidan steps out of the Normandy" as two different endings is definitely misleading.

Hevva:
According to the ASA, a total of three "complainants" brought forward official complaints about the advertising.

Pretty widely OT, but does anyone else think "plaintiff" sounds better than "complainants"? That's probably the most clumsy-sounding word I've come across today.

Paragon Fury:
Someone probably didn't take the time to explain or show to the ASA that the rage and "misleading advertising" is due to three games worth of choices and decisions, not wholly contained in ME3.

Sure, the argument still stands on ME3 alone (anyone with a brain could see and understand that), but when a Shepard who is a heartless, soul-devouring asshole over three games gets the same ending as a Shepard who could be confused who the second coming of Jesus for three games, then choice didn't matter.

That and the times that Casey and other members of the studio blatantly lied (Like specifically saying there would be no "A, B, C endings") constitutes false advertising.

But I was told that wasn't the case as to why you guys are upset...

Paragon Fury:
That and the times that Casey and other members of the studio blatantly lied (Like specifically saying there would be no "A, B, C endings") constitutes false advertising.

If the ASA ruled that a developer saying something would be in a game then isn't as "False Advertising", you would be saying bye bye to over 1/2 of the game previews websites/magazines get and Peter Molyneux wouldn't be allowed within 100 feet of any sort of recording device.

IndianaJonny:
Pretty widely OT, but does anyone else think "plaintiff" sounds better than "complainants"? That's probably the most clumsy-sounding word I've come across today.

Plaintiff suggests a formal trial where as the ASA is more like "You write in because you think something is false advertising, they look and make a decision".

meh, Bioware lost me as a customer, unless this Extended Cut is amazing they won't be seeing any more of my money.

Were the advertisements the same in the UK?

Buretsu:
I'd say "Well, that settles that" but I know someone is going to bring up "Hey, but some other random chick said that it had 'legal merit'" and will probably call the ASA a bunch of "corporate apologists".

Well, the BBB HAS said it constituted false advertising, so....

DVS BSTrD:
So as long as you can still make choices it doesn't matter that they have any point?
Democracy in a nutshell.

Even when it's claimed they will have any point. Now THAT'S democracy in action!

I can't believe that people are still whining about the ending.
Go read the story about the guy writing about how nice america is and how he got shot by a random person while he was hitchhiking. What kind of control did he have over that.

And the ending really wasn't that bad, it wasn't great but come on. Let's compare it to this

image

Zachary Amaranth:

Well, the BBB HAS said it constituted false advertising, so....

1 member said in a BLOG that the claims may have SOME merit. Seriously stop reading what you like into things.

Emiscary:

animehermit:

Despite all of the endings playing more or less the same cutscene, they actually do IMPLY vastly different outcomes for the rest of the universe.

Keyword: IMPLY.

I didn't pay full price on day 1 for implications. Nor for speculations. Nor any other horseshit buzzword that serves to defend a non-ending that puts all the questions on the audience.

Yes because games should never end. We should know exactly what happens to the entire universe after the main conflict is over.

RaikuFA:

Paragon Fury:
Someone probably didn't take the time to explain or show to the ASA that the rage and "misleading advertising" is due to three games worth of choices and decisions, not wholly contained in ME3.

Sure, the argument still stands on ME3 alone (anyone with a brain could see and understand that), but when a Shepard who is a heartless, soul-devouring asshole over three games gets the same ending as a Shepard who could be confused who the second coming of Jesus for three games, then choice didn't matter.

That and the times that Casey and other members of the studio blatantly lied (Like specifically saying there would be no "A, B, C endings") constitutes false advertising.

But I was told that wasn't the case as to why you guys are upset...

We're upset for a lot of reasons.

Not least of which is how how much a of betrayal and how thematically and logically disgusting the endings are.

But you tend to stick things that are less opinionated and feeling-based when talking to organizations like the BBB and ASA.

 Pages 1 2 3 4 5 NEXT

Reply to Thread

Log in or Register to Comment
Have an account? Login below:
With Facebook:Login With Facebook
or
Username:  
Password:  
  
Not registered? To sign up for an account with The Escapist:
Register With Facebook
Register With Facebook
or
Register for a free account here