The Better Business Bureau, in a blog post on its site, concedes that yes, technically, EA and Bioware are guilty of false advertising with the game.
However, the Bureau doesn't seem overly concerned about it.
"The issue at stake here is, did Bioware falsely advertise? Technically, yes, they did," wrote the BBB's Majorie Stephens. "In the first bullet point, where it states 'the decisions you make completely shape your experience', there is no indecision in that statement. It is an absolute. The next statement is not so absolute. It states 'your choices drive powerful outcomes'. A consumer would have to very carefully analyze this statement to come to a conclusion that the game's outcome is not 'wholly' determined by one's choices."
Disgruntled gamers looking to celebrate the decision should calm down, though. Stephens also notes that hyperbole is fairly commonplace in advertising, and this seems to be an over-magnified case of that.
"The lesson to be learned here is companies should give careful consideration to how they word their advertisements," she adds. "Otherwise, there could be detrimental effects, especially in the era of social media and online forums."
In other words, never promise something absolutely when you're marketing it.
Bioware, meanwhile, has already bowed to the vocal minority complaining about the game's finale. Company co-founder Dr. Ray Muzyka recently said the developer plans to release new downloadable content this summer that should address some of the complaints.
It's tricky to get into the specifics without spoiling the ending for those yet to experience it, but the gist is that there are actually three possible endings to Mass Effect 3, which vary based on the player's in-game actions. However, argue fans, the ultimate conclusion of the game isn't one that's based on how people played the game and is too open-ended.
- Better Business Bureau