Mass Effect 3 ending OK'd by UK ad bureau

Advertising Standards Authority says claims of individualized finale to sci-fi trilogy were not misleading; EA says ending variation takes place over final 3-5 hours of gameplay.

by

The UK Advertising Standards Authority has weighed in on complaints about the ending of Mass Effect 3, saying that Electronic Arts' promises of player decisions shaping the conclusion of the sci-fi role-playing trilogy were not misleading.

Where does the end of Mass Effect 3 begin?

After Mass Effect 3's March debut, fans vocally expressed their distaste for the endgame, saying the conclusion (which was capped off by one of three largely similar cutscenes) did not support player choices made over the course of the trilogy. Specifically at issue for the ASA were claims on the game's website that player decisions "completely shape your experience and outcome," and "drive powerful outcomes, including relationships with key characters, the fate of entire civilizations, and even radically different ending scenarios." Before ultimately concluding that the ad was not misleading, the ASA explained its position.

The ASA acknowledged the complainants' belief that players' choices in the game did not influence the outcome to the extent claimed by EA. However, we considered that the three choices at the end of the game were thematically quite different, and that the availability and effectiveness of those choices would be directly determined by a player's [Effective Military Strength] 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.

Electronic Arts also offered its own defense of the ad, telling the ASA that it considered the ending of Mass Effect 3 to take place over the final three to five hours of the game, and not just in the very last cutscene. A portion of the publisher's spoiler-filled explanation follows below.

[Electronic Arts] said the effectiveness of the choice made was also dependent on the EMS score, for example whether the main character "Shepard" would survive and whether the Earth was destroyed. They said there were also a large number of other, more minor, variations. In particular, they explained how the outcome of the Geth/Quarian Campaign and the Genophage Campaign would impact on the cinematic experience at the end of the game, and the implied end state of the player's story. They said that characters who had died during previous games in the series, as a result of player actions, would not be present in ME3, and that other actions in previous games could also lead to the death of supporting characters in the game.

A Better Business Bureau representative said in April that Mass Effect 3's ending had been falsely advertised, but the US group differs from the ASA in that it has no legal authority to impose sanctions on companies.

Regardless, BioWare is revisiting the ending of Mass Effect 3 this summer with free "Extended Cut" downloadable content intended to expand on the RPG's endgame through "cinematic sequences and epilogue scenes."

Discussion

1213 comments
stylechyld
stylechyld

the headline reads: Mass Effect 3 ending OK'd by UK ad bureau...

the truth reads: bioware paid real well to Uk ad bureau.

the fan reaction reads: we all got screwed.

deadrock25
deadrock25

Seriously, why are all you 'fans' so bloody upset over the ending? I've loved every moment of the series, up to and including the end, and generally I'm not an easy to please guy.

 

The final ending sequence itself allows the player to choose between total genocide, despotism or a hybrid of the two. Considering this is on a galactic wide scale and will radically influence any post ME3 stories set in this universe, I really fail to see how our choices have no impact.

 

The main argument against the ending seems to revolve around the ending cinematics which apparently only have slight differences. As I've only played the game once - as I enjoy saving my games for about a year before returning for another playthrough - I cannot comment on that as I haven't seen them, either via replaying the ending or watching youtube videos comparing them. If you're one of these people who goes onto youtube to find out what else could have happened, then quite frankly, you've ruined the game for yourself.

 

The hype over this is ridiculous. Bioware should never have bothered trying to win the 'fans' back, as they're only drawing this out. I mean, they are making a free extended epilogue almost as an apology to their fan-base who aren't happy. That alone will cost them a fortune, probably a large bulk of their profit from game sales, and will undoubtedly impact their future games too. Anybody who judges the 100hour-or-so brilliance of the Mass Effect series based upon the last 10 minutes doesn't deserve to be happy.

jefmac1
jefmac1

I see this has descended into the Mass Effect 3 Essay page

 

I didn't particularly like the ending, it felt contrived and rushed, and parts of it made no sense to me. However, I'm not letting my disappointment dominate my life, I probably wont even download the "expanded ending" dlc when it become available, as I'm of the opinion that it will likely just exacerbate the issue, rather than resolve it.

 

I still consider the Mass Effect series as being one of the pinnacles of gaming achievement though, it has and will continue to leave a lasting impression on me.

 

But hey, you can't please everyone.

 

Hadarmil
Hadarmil

I didn't expect anything to come out of the complaint, not because of any actual relevance but for the people responsible laughing out loud at people complaining about a game. A football team losing on purpose will make headlines, games are not meant for grownups...

 

And with all due respect( now not much) I have for Bioware ME3 is shorter, has less dialog( As in, selectable dialog), side missions are few and the eavesdrop, scan planet and collect instant war assets is pure bologna.

 

All the great moments of 3 are pretty much conclusions of arcs from the previous games. Great moments, but only for someone who invested enough time and money to spot all the hideous plot holes. Photoshop Tali, half as**d day one DLC, sticking doucheman so they can sell his movie later( He is a pretty shallow space marine character - if Garrus can quit his Reaper advisory board and Tali leave the damn Admiralty, Grunt could definitely leave Aralakh)...

 

The ending is broken. The game would have had all my love and wouldn't get a single complaint about the idiotic ending if it didn't come after such mindblowing and rich games.

playfreak23
playfreak23

I'm really sad cause people "have heart " to end such a beautiful, addictive and mindblowing game in such a horrible way.. I've played MAS2 twice cause some of my crew died and I was unhappy.. Tought everything would be better for EVERYBODY in MAS3 ending... soo sad..

shonnutting88
shonnutting88

well we know EA's next game is defiantly gonna suck cause they paid the guys off to side with them.... ME3 ending"s" were far from anything from what we were promised. Yall should play ME1,2 and 3 then write a review... last 5 hours ffs is all i gotta say about that

famfoon
famfoon

If more people played the really good games out there like this one, which comes close to being great "art", I think we could focus on the really important stuff in life like having fun!

Lucariofan11
Lucariofan11

Anyone willing to go and find all the variations possible for the last five hours of gameplay, because I seem to remember spending a lot of that shooting cerburus and reapers

laforgus
laforgus

EMS is a lazy easy road to trash the player's hard work on the series, is like "we do not care what they do on pass games, lets put them a counter so they don't get angry"

 

The entire War room was a joke, i got the support of whole Milky Way, why do i are for EMS?

 

 

gunsofdeschain
gunsofdeschain

Alright, Ive got to add my voice in SUPPORT of Bioware and the ending.

 

Peace out. Thank you Bioware for the most fantastic gaming experience since Max Payne 1.

electro57
electro57

Terrible ending to a great series.  

ILuvMe3
ILuvMe3

So like what up with the suspicion with the producer on the question about IT? "We will let the content speak for itself." What does that even mean???? I don't know. I just want the dlc this summer already

MonkeySpot
MonkeySpot

Can all of the ME whining please stop? Wow... If even a QUARTER of the energy that's been put into this on the part of the public or press had been focused on something in the world that actually MATTERS, like human rights violations or the like, we'd have solved those problems by now.

 

Get some perspective!!!

 

Philly1UPer
Philly1UPer

So when are you crybabies going to send a batch of cookies and cupcakes to the UK Ad Bureau in hopes of scaring them into forcing Bioware to make you pussies a new ending?

NBAmaster33
NBAmaster33

 @deadrock25 

You have no idea what you're talking about.  You know nothing of storytelling or the themes and sanctity of the previous Mass Effect titles to consider the ending we got to be appropriate to the trilogy.

cachinscythe
cachinscythe

 @shonnutting88 Perhaps the endings in ME3 were far from what was promised, but that doesn't mean EA paid anybody off. Though I can't tell you what to say, I'd appreciate you refraining from that kind of claim without some clear proof. But that's just my opinion.

Enundr
Enundr

 @Lucariofan11 i know someone did a side by side comparison of all the ending cinematics , but  again , still the same thing with different colors XD

Enundr
Enundr

 @Lucariofan11 i dont remember anything different either , cerberus base , still killing cerberus , earth , obviously going to be reapers , still only see HUMANS fighting alongside me and not any of the krogan shocktroopers that were in the EMS room. still that same ambush the reaper cutscene  . still the same 3 endings with no variation.

franky111
franky111

 @ILuvMe3

 They don't know either. The current endings make no sense. From a writing standpoint, the contradict everything that the Mass Effect series was built upon.Not to be "fair," but for the sake of the point, the lore was already completely in shambles from the start of Mass Effect 3.

Enkouyami
Enkouyami

 @MonkeySpot Even if they stopped "whining" as you call it, it wouldn't make any positive difference. If the time spent on this on things that more important in the world, it wouldn't be enough to solve those problems. Even if major problems or a vast quantity were solved with that time, it wouldn't last more than two years.

 

Get some perspective!!!

 

Human rights violations and other social problems don't get fixed that quickly or easily.  People with political power and usually try to diminish or block such things because doing so would benefit them. If it was as easy as you suggested, the world would be all sunshine and ponies by now.

Enundr
Enundr

 @MonkeySpot theres a difference between the community that focuses on stuff not related to video games and the ones that do , if you dont like that were expressing our angers (and blindness for some ppl =P ) then gtfo a video game post. im sure yahoo has some stuff for you to read  ^^

cachinscythe
cachinscythe

 @Philly1UPer In general, I agree with your attitude that the controversy over Mass Effect is old, stale, idiotic news at this point, but let's try to refrain from personal attacks and insults. I'm sure I've accidentally done it once or twice on here, but that isn't called for. Yes, the ME fans contributing to these comments are a little bit overzealous, but that doesn't necessarily mean we have to throw insults back at them.

 

Let's just try to be civil if we can, k? :)

franky111
franky111

 @Philly1UPer

 Are you just going to remain brainless by spouting unwarranted insults at fans, or are you going to back your claim, if you even have one? If you truly believe the ending is good, I have three words regarding your claim: Back. It. Up.

 

There is an encyclopedia-volume list of things that show how flawed and terrible then ending is, and how the game itself was falsely-advertised, but I want to see you squirm a little bit before you sink. Come on, tell everyone how perfect the ending is!

deadrock25
deadrock25

 @NBAmaster33 

Whether the ending is appropriate or not is simply a matter of opinion. What I was angry about, was that the ending was way over hyped. Everyone kept jumping on the bandwagon, following the popular belief that it was horrendous, when in fact, it was hardly worth getting worked up about.

 

Storytelling is always a matter of opinion. Look at the 'Twilight' books. They're poor works of fiction, yet very popular. Simply because the story resonates with a certain type of person.

As for themes particular to Mass Effect, well the theme which came to the forefront of the conclusion to the series was that idea of slaves rebelling against their masters, with a sci-fi spin of it being synthetic creations rebelling against their organic counterparts. That theme has been embedded in the spine of the trilogy since we first learned about the Geth on Eden Prime.

 

I honestly don't understand your criticism that "[I know nothing of the] sanctity of the previous Mass Effect titles" or how that relates to anything I said. Surely the differences between ME1 and ME2 holds far greater argument for destroying the "sanctity" of the series.

 

P.S. If you're going to reply to a comment that was made over a month ago, then please have the decency to articulate yourself better. All you seem to be doing is insulting another person's opinion without actually giving one yourself. Grow up. And more importantly, move on. If you hate Mass Effect simply because of how it ended, then that's your opinion. But why are you attacking random people on the internet who declare their love for the games? Would you walk up to a stranger in the street and shout abuse at them for saying their own opinion? I'm sick and tired of such cliched 'internet overlords' who waste people's time by acting like geniuses (in your case you seem to playing the role of a master of literature and all things to do with storytelling) and bullying people they disagree with.

 

Try being nice to people for a change, and maybe you will lead a happier life as a result.

EyezCold
EyezCold

 @cachinscythe Hey hey hey now you cant tell him he cant say that his words are "art" you know its ment to be harsh and different 

Enundr
Enundr

to clarify on the krogan , i mean in the EMS menu , not in that room itself. it stats about Krogan Shocktroopers as one of your resources.

Enundr
Enundr

 @franky111 like how they had to start /base ME3 off of some book that was written apparently? sorta boned over the sense for my story to suddenly be overwritten because of some book =P but meh.

venasque
venasque

 @Enkouyami The Point called.  Said it tried to meet up with you but somehow you missed it.

cachinscythe
cachinscythe

 @franky111 Um...he doesn't have to back up how "good" the ending is because believe it or not, IT'S AN OPINION. This is like saying you have to back up why you are a fan of Zelda. There doesn't have to be a REASON for it; you just like it. Why do people enjoy soda? Is there a scientific explanation for it? Gimme a break. You like what you like.

 

On the other hand, if people want to claim a CRIME has been committed, you need proof to back it up, and that's what you and many others are claiming: that a crime was committed by EA and Bioware. YOU back it up with evidence. Not just a laundry list of things you don't like; show us clear, irrefutable proof that the game was neglected by the company, then show irrefutable proof that the ad campaign was misleading in a way that most rational people couldn't see past. Nintendo claimed Twilight Princess would be 100 hours long before you got to the sidequests. It's 60 hours WITH the sidequests. The lawsuit against them is still pending...because nobody FILED a lawsuit against them. Instead, the fans chose to be adults and accept that what happened happened. It's just entertainment for god's sakes!

 

If people are disappointed with Mass Effect 3, I'm sorry to hear that. I know firsthand that it's rather sad when a game doesn't live up to your expectations. But that isn't grounds to sue a company or claim they've broken a law. Just get over it and move on. If it bothers you so much, don't buy EA games anymore. I'd personally think that was a bit biased and unfair, but that's the whole point: it's YOUR money, not theirs, so you can't claim they did something evil because YOU made the wrong choice. Learn from your mistakes instead.

NBAmaster33
NBAmaster33

 @deadrock25 

Sorry, I made a mistake in the genre abandonment part.  Mass Effect is like Star Trek, not Star Wars.  It's something I consider "talky and techy" genre.

NBAmaster33
NBAmaster33

 @deadrock25 

I recommend looking at MrBtongue's Tasteful, Understated Nerd Rage video to see a greater elaboration on my points.

 

By abandoment of genre, I don't mean in a game mechanical way so much as the type of genre.  Clearly Mass Effect 3 is science fiction, but there are different types of science fiction.  Star Wars, Star Trek and Blade Runner.  Mass Effect is very similar to Star Wars, yet the ending veered off into Blade Runner's category instead of what the series was up until that point.

 

By character focus, I mean the audience/player has no idea what the hell happened to most of the important characters in the narrative.  Everything is left not to speculation but conjecture based on missing information in the narrative.  The story has always focused on Shepard and his crew, yet that focus was removed almost entirely.  They fixed most of this in the Extended Cut, though.

Abandonment of Central Conflict is as it is written.  The goal throughout the entire series has been to stop the Reapers.  The other conflicts you mentioned were sub-conflicts in service of accomplishing the series goal.  The goal was substituted out in the Catalyst sequence for an entirely new goal involving an entirely new character.

 

Lack of Narrative coherence has nothing to do with the abruptness of the ending.  Rather, the ending is ridden with plot holes, universal inconsistencies, character inconsistencies, forgotten plot threads, contradictions, and more.  It doesn't make any sense in context to the story and contradicts several plot points of the previous games.

 

This entire controversy is saddening in terms of witnessing such a high caliber series become tainted by an improper, abysmal ending.  I've lost significant trust in Casey Hudson and will be hesitant towards buying future Bioware games and DLCs, including the upcoming Leviathan thing.  The Mass Effect series is one of my favorites of any medium, and to be so bitterly disappointed by the ending was terrible.  I'm sorry to sound so negative here, but the fact of the matter is that everyone lost as a result of this controversy.  Mass Effect 3 serves as a perfect example of something trying extremely hard to become something it's not, and I hope that mindset won't be continued into upcoming releases such as Resident Evil 6, Assassin's Creed 3, Black Ops 2, Halo 4 and GTA V

deadrock25
deadrock25

 @NBAmaster33 No sweat. I thank you for apologising, very mature of you.

 

As for the points you made, opinions are opinions. I can't say you are wrong. But I can pick holes in your argument :)

 

Abandonment of genre is both a hard thing to describe and a harder thing to prove. The removal of the neutral dialogue options was annoying, yes. Though I see you are only talking about the ending. There were choices, yes? Even if they did not differ greatly, that is still a fundamental part of the Action-RPG genre ME has always been.

 

Abandonment of character focus is also hard to measure. Shepard's character, for me, climaxed at the scene with the Illusive Man and Anderson. He fought the Illusive Man with logic and experience accumulated over the series from overcoming Saren to defeating the Collectors, and gained Anderson's absolute approval with the dying words,  'I'm proud of you'. The meeting with the Catalyst was more of an epilogue where Shepard is rewarded with the ultimate decision on the Galaxy's fate after his own is already finished.

 

Abandonment of central conflict. Again... what really is that exactly? There are lots of conflict intertwined in the spine of the series; indoctrination, morality, love, war, friendship... I pointed out before that the main conflict that was decided was the slaves rebelling against masters (organic v synthetic).

 

The narrative coherence is probably something I can't defend. Things came to a close rather abruptly. Then again, I have yet to experience any sort of literary trilogy that doesn't make you wish it just hadn't ended... most recently 'The Dark Knight Trilogy'.

 

Thanks again for reflecting on you first comment. Being a student of literature, I can't resist a good debate so I apologise if this all appears a little wordy for a comments section of a 2 month old article. Lol, just can't help myself!

NBAmaster33
NBAmaster33

 @deadrock25  @NBAmaster33 

Wow, looking back at what I said before, I now realize that it was extremely disrespectful.  I truly apologize for that previous comment, and I must've been in a terrible mood to write something that vicious.

As for the ending of the game, I thought it was appalling and unworthy of the series for multiple reasons.  Whether or not someone enjoyed the ending is entirely opinionated, but the ending is broken based on the context of the series and and several traditional story rules.

Most people against the ending complain that their choices didn't matter in the end, how the endings are identical, lack of closure, the galaxy's inevitable devastation.  Those are all valid criticisms, but not what make the ending truly horrific.

The core problems with the ending are as follows:

Abandonment of Genre

Abandonment of Character Focus

Abandonment of Central Conflict

Lack of Narrative Coherence

 

I won't bother explaining each one of those, but those four points are irrefutable.  The extended cut most fixed the character focus issue and touched on the lack of narrative coherence, but the other two have remained untouched.  Those are the core, fundamental issues with the ending, and they wouldn't bother me so much had I not loved the entire series up until that point in the story. 

Enundr
Enundr

 @EyezCold yep now everyone can say and do what they want with that kind of setting Bioware has given off. it will all be the same concept in the end because they were allowed to get away with it ^^

Enundr
Enundr

 @cachinscythe btw when adding more chapters to it , thats NOT CHANGING the core game , its the SAME CONECEPT as an expansion , hence extending the ending / more story.  to change the core campaign does not generally mean adding stuff after the end of what you played , but more of whats happening DURING the content already released  , to such a scale that its not the same as it would be without it.

xsonicchaos
xsonicchaos

 @cachinscythe i'm honestly impressed by your broader way of thinking, but engaging a phyloshophical debate in a technical subject isn't the way. i agree with things you say aboout gaming in general and disagree with other, mostly regardiung this game. i know you take the narrow path of "artistic integrity" issue, and i'm all for that, but there's also customer feedback, which bioware strongly encourage (as most developers), which goes contrary to your "like it or not" way of thinking. you could go to the bioware social network and watch a whole new way of discussing things that mater for the fans (not necessarily gamers in general) and engage in factual and indepth debates with intelligent people. you can form your own opinions and discuss about it. here, it's just a back and forward clash between "like" and "dislike".

xsonicchaos
xsonicchaos

 @cachinscythe oooohhhhwww, so you haven't played mass effect 3 until the end. let me tell you about it without spoiling anything. whatever hapens in those 3-5 hours as they say, no major differences at all. except some characters that you saved or not, but they don't make any difference in the gameplay. let me tell you my secret: i had the same atitude as you before finishing the game. and i said i wouldn't gave in to hype. it is what it is. but the ending was such a letdown, so anticlimactic, so cliched like no other mass effect game, i just stood there asking myself "why the hell did a bought this game?". but ofcourse i remembered that i had a lot of fun, despite the fetch quests and some automatic dialogue here and there. but at the end, you'll see, no boss fight, no dialogue choices, just three choices that end the same. i don't care if shepard dies, i don't really care if everyone dies, but at least they should let us know, cause it's so ambiguous, the ending is so vague and full of plotholes and logical sense, it's weird. you'd think that any of the 3 endings would be ok even if they are the same, but the thing is you don't get to see what the hell is the aftermath of what you chose. and here comes the indctrination theory that most are in favor of, cause it is the best logic you will find, just trust me on this.

ha ha, you know what i find funny? you're doing exactly the same thing as me while i was playing mass effect 2 for a perfect character to import in 3. and most, not everyone, but most gamers that liked the ending haven't even got to finish it. and others just don't care much about rpgs. and others just love to like stuff, no mater what.

i'm also for artistic integrity and i am totaly against changes (i'm gonna be hated here), but i wouldn't mind some dlc extension with alot more content that cinematics. because they say at the end of the game that more future content and dlc are coming, so stay tuned.

Enundr
Enundr

 @cachinscythe oh and another one to add to the response to 3) some ppl play games for the coop options on some of them to hang out with friends (whether split screen or online) and just do stuff  whether its competitive multiplayer , horde mode , or a coop campaign looking to tackle the hardest mode there is.

Enundr
Enundr

 @cachinscythe so you dont see the games story as the core campaign ( the campaign without DLC out of the box) ? id think alot of ppl can differentiate that and anything that extends the actual game past the endings (aka expansions as mentioned before) though dlc can do that in some cases as well.

response to 1) its not a matter of enjoying how it ended , its a matter that they promised radically different endings and we find out none of them were that radically different (save for the 3 colors)

2) ok thats a valid point , look at how ghost recon future soldiers campaign apparently turned out , supposedly players argued that it was too "futuristic" so none of the technology that was in ALOT of their trailers went to the game live =\ . but also look at response to 1. its more about we were promised radically different endings and none of them came out to be so , ME2 had atleast 2 radically different endings. and as ive made sever posts already with this exact message , i would have preffered atleast 2 radically different endings over the promised # bioware gave. and we werent even given either of those options. add to that all the plot holes that were in the final moments alone showed either rushed or just no effort made to make the ending(s) sound enough to be an actual ending.

3) it all comes down to were paying for a product (some of us preorder in advance though that generally doesnt change the actual price as its the same as buying it new either way) and thats  ~$65. lots of us try to play these game to relax , some do it to burn time , some just love the stories behind some games(especially biowares that always had GREAT STORIES  , then all of a sudden we get this wtf game?) either way its $65 (give or take) for those of us who buy the game new , and then you ahve EA and other gaming companies always looking for a way to punish ppl who buy the games used.(hint look at all the rumors there were about the next gen consoles , though i think they got dispelled thankfully for the most part) $65 is still alot of money (more for some people too) and alot of us would atleast like a game that doesnt feel like it got rushed out on the shelf with poor quality  and little effort into polishing it off  , filled with bugs (some ppl get more then others of course , though the only common one i saw when i still played this game was the Vangaurds bugging out after a biotic charge and have to leave game because they could no longer contribute to the game) so some ppl overreact on alot of games (DA2 recycled areas anyone? or currently the GRFS servers being in a horrible condition) where the campaign for single player still had a SOLID STORY and great combat/gameplayer. so alot of us didnt care that badly for the other stuff. when you see this game guess which aspect i just mentioned got hosed over big time? (hint the story) it is the WORST THING to generally try to skimp on for ALOT of games , combat being in a dead 2nd. and no im not terribly mad / upset (though sometimes i get frustrated trying to play multiplayer for GRSF ;-)  )

cachinscythe
cachinscythe

 @franky111 One other small thing. Though I'm sure you can argue it is not the same thing, I find it somewhat hilarious that gamers want the government to regulate the industry with regards to ad campaigns and other business practices, but they throw a huge fit anytime someone talks about government regulations that could limit who can buy Mature titles. Or for that matter limit what consumers can do with pirated materials. I call that a double standard that gamers like to pretend doesn't exist or are too blind to see. If you want the government to place bigger regulations on gaming companies--we'll ignore whether this would actually do any good--you'd better be willing to accept regulations on the consumers too.

cachinscythe
cachinscythe

 @Enundr Not to be rude, but the wording you used was "NEVER have a major impact on the game's STORY." You didn't clarify that you were referring to the core campaign until after I called you on that. But I'm guessing that wasn't how you MEANT it, and I can acknowledge that as a miscommunication on both our parts, so please accept my sincere apology for that.

 

But I still shudder at the use of the word "NEVER." Given the right circumstances, it can make more sense to release DLC that DOES change the core campaign. Say for instance an XBLA game that is released in six chapters for $10 each. Naturally, if its a story driven game, each episode is going to drastically affect the story as you go, but under those circumstances, I don't think players would complain. No, that's not the situation with Bioware, but the word "NEVER" is an absolute term that lasts over ALL circumstances, including those that most people USING the term don't mean it to apply to. I'm guessing the situation I presented is NOT a situation you think the rule you suggested should apply to, so I'm calling you on the use of the term "NEVER." Still, I acknowledge that rather semantic and I again apologize for misunderstanding what you said earlier.

 

Let's talk DLC for a second. If Guild Wars is an example of a place where cosmetic changes were good enough for consumers, great. But that doesn't mean its going to work everywhere else. I can't count the number of people who have spent time complaining about the costume packs Capcom charges for in UMvC3 and SSFIV. They bemoan the days when they could unlock those costumes instead of having to pay for them. To suggest that it will be perfectly fine for Bioware to just provide costume packs or other arbitrary stuff as DLC instead of giving something substantial and meaty assumes the Guild Wars model can work everywhere, and I don't think it can. If that's what players want from them, then fine, but I get the feeling that's NOT what they want, and I also think it wouldn't be very long before they started complaining about THAT as well. Because it is the nature of consumers to continue to demand more at a lesser price. Dissatisfaction is what drives innovation and change in the economy, and giving people stuff for free won't change that. In fact, it might just speed up the process. In short, I don't think anything Bioware does--in the long run--is going to make its customers happy.

As for full-blown expansion packs, we must first define the term "full blown." For that matter, we should also define "major impact." One person's "major impact" is another's "minor impact." One person's meaty expansion is another's shallow money-grab. In a subjective industry like this one, it is hard for companies to clearly know what will please the most people, which could explain why DLC is the preferred method now. Since an Expansion Pack costs more to make, if the players don't like it, they will be MORE upset. With DLC, it costs less and probably WON'T make them as upset because it's not as much of a money-drain. What I'm saying is that if they aren't making Expansion Packs anymore, we shouldn't just assume its because of greed; we should legitimately ask WHY. Greed might be part of it, but I'm guessing practicality and finances are a big part of it as well.

 

I'm probably going to completely destroy my credibility in the eyes of many people with this statement, but here goes: I actually haven't played Mass Effect extensively yet. If you think that means I have no business contributing to the discussion here, fine. But I would point out that most people who protest the War in Iraq haven't served in the military, nor have most people who oppose abortion ever HAD an abortion. Does this mean their viewpoints are totally illegitimate and not worthy of consideration? I don't think it does.

Granted, gaming is not the same thing as politics, but I'm not really here protesting people's view of the Mass Effect content. What I'm actually doing is pushing some philosophical ideas about the industry that most gamers find uncomfortable, and while I may not be the most qualified to make statements about Bioware, I don't think I need to know much about the games to argue my philosophical views. While the whole is very complicated, I'll sum up a few points about gaming that I'm promoting here:

1) It is not exclusively the fault of the developers if we don't enjoy or appreciate something they make. I firmly believe that our own attitudes and psychological states have a BIG impact on how we view a game. And I generally don't think gamers understand or appreciate this truth. (I wrote a long blog explaining this stance in more detail. Read it if you have time and feel like it.)

2) Gamers often don't know what they want. They make arguments that are unscientific in character, which forces developers to have to guess what the meaning is behind them. Look no further than the Sonic the Hedgehog fanbase's reaction to the last ten games in the series if you want proof of this phenomenon. Until gamers fully understand and express what it is they want, I don't think it's fair to blame developers for not giving it to them or misinterpreting what they're asking for.

3) There is something very wrong with how seriously gamers take their hobby. While it may be an emotional blow in the face to be disappointed by something, it is MUCH more important that real world issues get solved, and I think it demonstrates a serious lack of perspective that people continue to act like victims of "bad entertainment" when there are so many worse things in the world that actually produce REAL victims. Like rape, murder, starvation, injustice, etc. Yes, I acknowledge this is a little holier than thou in character, but I'm just asking for people to look at the bigger picture once in a while. (In the context of ME3, there are a million better issues for our courts to address than fans disappointed with a bad ending.)

 

As a final note, I thought I should say I'm enjoying this discussion with you and I hope it's not making you too upset. I know firsthand how infuriating things can get on these forums. (Such is the nature of being someone who goes against the grain.) I continue to debate this because I find it insightful and interesting. :)

Enundr
Enundr

 @cachinscythe full blown expansion packs* typo  . and so many games in the past that were popular had expansion packs . mechwarrior had expansions . as i said DA Origins had an expansion. obviously mmos get expansions. now i see more companies just doing DLC that majority of the time is not worth it , and would end up preffering to have work put into a full blown expansion pack.

 

Enundr
Enundr

 @cachinscythe you want to look at a game that had "dlc" in a sense that was only for cosmetic stuff and still thrived? look at guild wars , NOTHING in their store that you could buy would affect the game at all save for cosmetic issues. now theyre making GW2 and as of anything seen with beta STILL KEEPING IT THAT WAY. so to say  having DLC there as a thing for cosmetic / bonus weapons and such is pointless or anything else demeaning , please GTFO of any game that has any form of connection with downloading bonus content. so long as that dlc explains whats in it basically there is nothing wrong with it. they should bring back in doing full blow expansion packs (heard DA2 was getting one but that team was pulled off and put onto DA3) Expansion packs do wonders compared to DLC content that gets pumped out and charged for every day like some games do.

Enundr
Enundr

 @cachinscythe i didnt say anything about DLC Expanding the story or anything like that , in the past we had these things called EXPANSION PACKS , even Dragon Age : Origins had one , go look it up. i said we shouldnt have DLC that affected the core campaign , in clarification  it shouldnt completely rewrite a whole section of the campaign  that was in the game itself that makes it better(that would also depend on the players taste) then its core story. you are now into the point of putting words into my mouth and are starting to lose credibility.

Enundr
Enundr

 @cachinscythe i said DLC should NEVER have a MAJOR IMPACT on the campaign , the day 1 dlc with ME3 didnt do that , it did add some funny side moments but it didnt impact the actual story to the point where it was altered completely. the fact that because they made the ending as it is will not sit right with alot of ppl as if they did end up changing it  it still changes the core of the game itself which in turn ruins the core game and cannot alter the veiws of ppl who dont go for DLC.    and as far as where the ending point begins , im pretty sure it has an INGAME MESSAGE FROM ADMIRAL HACKET saying there is no going back (hence THE END SEQUENCE) in turn meaning there was no need for them to even try to say anything different. in turn it shows they are getting desperate  to try to say  it happened at a  certain time frame. when anyone who even PLAYED THE GAME knew of when the ending sequence started , BUT the endings in general are at the point of where the game just stops . and in so what admiral hackets indication was  (in comparison with other games) that you were going into the final fight (would say final boss fight , but even THAT was kept out of this game even though ME1 AND ME2 both had a big boss fight). so trying to say it happened at a time frame was only them showing theyre desperate / idiotic. and to believe theyre generally right  means you didnt play the game and beat it , or you werent paying attention to this point in the game.

cachinscythe
cachinscythe

 @Enundr With respect to those bothered by my long responses, I'd explain my views in fewer words if I thought it was possible, but this is how I write and I'm not going to change it for the sake of others. And respectfully, Enundr, I don't think you should have to apologize for it either. If it takes that long to explain yourself, there's no harm in writing a wall of text. But if it bothers you, that's fine.

 

Now on to your points. One, trying to suggest there is something incredibly immoral about saying "The variation occurs somewhere in the last 3-5 hours of gameplay" is incredibly cheap and semantic IMO. Yes, it's possible the overall time frame where the variations will occur will be different for most players, but what would you have them say instead? "It will occur in the last 2/3 to 1/8 of the gameplay time"? When you're talking about a game that is going to vary so much for players, how can you make a statement about WHERE the variation occurs without making some mistakes? In that sense, I think you're asking for the impossible.

Two, your description of the endings in ME2 is a CLEAR reminder why this type of storytelling is so pointless to me. So you get a whopping THREE variations of endings in ME2? Same as ME3? And in one of them Shepard dies? Awesome...except that it is COMPLETELY IGNORED in later stories where Shepard is clearly alive again. That's the whole problem with this whole "story variation" idea. It reminds me of the "drastically different endings" in Metal Gear Solid. Those endings were so different that...they amounted to one character living or dying. Better yet, in future lore, one of those endings had to be ignored to bring back Meryl in MGS4. Why do people value "controlling" the story in a game when that illusion is going to be broken somewhere down the line anyway? Maybe we should just view this as a wake up call that we CAN'T control these things, even if the developers WANT us to. It just isn't practical, nor possible. Unless of course we WRITE the story ourselves, and I'm guessing that having 10 people shouting over our shoulders, "Write the book 50 different ways to accommodate each of us" would drive us so crazy we'd just stop writing altogether.

Third, as an extension of my last point, there's the issue of misleading advertising. I will acquiesce--for the time being--to the idea that they misled players in advertising. I will NOT however, acquiesce to this as proof of something sinister. Do most of the people whining about this stuff actually know anything about storytelling? Did you know that in the publishing industry, authors generally have two options available to them? The first is to write a complete story without making any promises whatsoever and then hope and pray you can convince a publisher--on shorter notice, by the way--to pick it up and market it properly. The second is for an author to write a few sample chapters--or an outline--to convince the publisher to pick up the story, then finish the manuscript. Of course, in the latter instance, if the story doesn't turn out the way the publisher expects it to--due to changes in plot via twists and turns or other decisions--the publisher can choose to minimize the support it provides, and the same goes for readers. In fact, by creating that outline, you effectively constrain what you can do as the writer. Hence why Stephen King doesn't write down plot notes but simply makes it up as he goes. Now stop and think about how this conundrum can apply to a company like Bioware. When they first started ME3, maybe they DID plan for the story to have wide variations in the endings, but as the story progressed, they realized that the story simply wouldn't accommodate that. However, because they'd already said the story would HAVE those variations in the endings, the advertising was already in place to CLAIM those variations existed. Now the creators are put in an impossible position to either delay and REWRITE the whole story to accommodate multiple endings--which would be possible in a world with infinite budgets and no deadlines, but not in the REAL world--or release it in its current state with a bunch of apologies for screwing up--which is NOT something the advertising agency would likely be happy about, to say nothing of players in general--or...do what they DID do, which is make the best of a bad situation. Three options and three endings. How ironic that in this scenario I've constructed they ended up having to play their own game, eh? LOL :)

 

Yes, everything I just presented is speculation, but that's all most people on here are doing. Even the evidence presented is not enough to take a company to court over this. In football, a referee has to determine three things when deciding whether to call "Pass Interference": 1) Is the ball catchable? 2) Did the contact between players come before the ball reached the receiver? and 3) Was the contact enough to impede the receiver's progress? It's by no means a perfect analogy--not even close, honestly--but those condemning EA and Bioware are in a similar position, and the most I hear them proving is "Contact came before the ball reached the player," if that. I will say this again: in order to truly prove that the law was broken here, we need to know WHAT Bioware was doing in the final weeks leading up to release, we need to have financial records from EA and Bioware, we need to show there was DELIBERATE intent to mislead players, and we need to know the full context under which decisions were made. Most of these considerations have been ignored by those screaming for blood over the ME3 endings because they are so entrenched in the "Us and Them" mentality of "Corporate vs Consumer" that they just assume all the above are true when they find superficial evidence proving only the most simplified of hypotheses. That simply isn't good enough for a court of law, nor is it good enough for an observer like myself.

 

One last thing: while I certainly can't force you to do anything, I'd appreciate it if you refrained from more absolutist language and ideas in your writing. To say DLC should NEVER expand or have anything to do with story is an absolute, and one for which you could take Ubisoft to court for its "Epilogue" to Prince of Persia, which I've heard no complaints about. When we indulge absolutes like those, it can lead to MORE absolutes, like eventually saying DLC shouldn't even expand gameplay or--further along--DLC isn't legal PERIOD. If we all want DLC to be nothing but costume packs ala Capcom, then by all means we should continue this sort of absurd discourse, but I'd rather get something LEGITIMATE when I purchase DLC, and without extended story, that DLC is looking mighty expensive and pointless.

Enundr
Enundr

 @cachinscythe and yes it is THEIR GAME , but i believe when you MAKE PROMISES on a product it has to generally uphold to them or it ends up as FALSE ADVERTISING .  so yes theyre free to make the game as they wish , but when you make promises and disregard them in the final product , you get your rear bitten off. dont think so? go out with a product you make promising something it DOESNT DO EXACTLY  and try to make up excuses. youll find you will get  results similar if not worse then this. and you had more control over ME2s endings over ME3. its endings werent even put together  well enough to make sense for the majority of its vocal players , hard to say about the ones that dont speak up , though i suppose theyll speak with their wallets and that will be the end of Bioware.  Probably the only sense  that most of the vocal players get is that IT and bioware hasnt exactly been saying that it is the "true" ending. even then that would still be a slap to the face to ppl that dont go out to get DLC. the fact of the matter is DLC should NEVER have a major impact on a games story. only add bonus stuff. and for the player base that also follows this belief this game is STILL a big joke for an ending of a trilogy.  and to everyone else sry for the wall of text , but this is all that he wants to put out as well.

Enundr
Enundr

 @cachinscythe go look at the ME2 endings again , they changed in ME2 , you had the 2 similar endings where shepard survived but chose whether to save or blow up , then theres the other ending where shep died (aka no survivors ending) ME2 gave atleast some variety in a radical sense for the endings , and it was a bajillion or whatever  , just 2 COUNT THEM 2 were radically different. now look at ME3 , they were all the same. ME1 was their stepping stone , then they changed it up with ME2 where the combat got more focused on and still gave more variety in the endings. ME3 ended up being just a "pretty face" type of game where it generally had the worst possible endings you could think of and none of them were different. only ONE of those endings was an acceptable one i suppose , the rest were wtf no difference. and whats 3-5 hours to some is not the same point in the game to others. some ppl can burn through that game much faster then what EA will feed you is the game time so to try to say its ending is at a time frame in the game is the worst thing you can try to say.

cachinscythe
cachinscythe

 @Enundr Well, IS there variation in the last 3-5 hours? If you want to get semantic about it--which is fair--I can acknowledge that the last 3-5 hours doesn't really constitute the "end." But is it equally untrue that variations occur in the last 3-5 hours?

 

While we're at it, are most of the people complaining about the "lack of variation in the endings" people who have recently replayed Mass Effect 1 to MAKE SURE there's "radical variation" in the endings to THAT game? Is it not possible that people simply REMEMBER things better than they actually were because the standards have changed? Just curious.

 

As I already said, even if it's true that there isn't much variation, it's THEIR game to end how they want, even if you don't like it. And as I've also already said, expecting to have any sort of significant control over how a game ends is a fool's errand. It's like trying to control how a book ends, and as I ALSO already said. Choose Your Own Adventure stories rarely wind up being considered high quality.

Enundr
Enundr

 @cachinscythe want some evidence? go youtube the comparison of all the ME3 endings and show me (not just the color difference) but the RADICALLY different part amongst the endings. not one of them was that radically different , and now EA says the games ending takes place not at the END of the game but closer to the middle give or take.

cachinscythe
cachinscythe

 @franky111 To even begin to think there is a comparison between the FDA and video games is to suggest there is something just as awful and evil about falsely advertising a video game--which is ENTERTAINMENT and therefore a FRIVOLOUS activity that will NOT impact a person's life all that much--and false advertising a dangerous drug--which can kill people, screw with their well-being, and many other hazardous things. If you really want to believe there's a comparison there, then I think you should reevaluate what is considered a "necessity" in economics and what is considered a "luxury." Here's a hint: video games are the latter.

 

You have not proven to me that there is no significant variation in the endings with that video, nor have you proven that they falsely advertised it. I BELIEVE that they did, but you haven't proven it. Not to mention it was clearly made by a butthurt fanboy. Do I find many of those statements suspicious and misleading? Yes. But those quotes in the video are coupled with other pointless, idiotic complaints about the use of a stock photo and the implication that that indicates a lack of effort on Bioware's part. The ONLY thing the use of a stock photo proves is that...they used a stock photo. It does NOT prove they weren't trying, it does NOT prove they didn't care, it does NOT prove anything other than what's obvious. Not even when it's coupled with the Jessica Chobot issue. How do players know that they didn't choose to create her early in the development cycle but simply ran out of time or money for Tali later on? Are we going to claim that running out of money is the same thing as "not trying"? So the presence of that argument makes me suspicious about the implications behind the REST of the video: that Bioware deliberately screwed fans.

 

Has anybody who complains about the endings in ME3 actually bothered to play the game through more than once? Cause that would seem to be a prerequisite to saying, "THERE IS NO VARIATION IN THE ENDINGS! RAAAAAAWWWRRRRRR!!!!" Has anybody bothered to play it through more than 3 times to MAKE SURE the endings don't vary at all? For all I know, there ISN'T much variation in the endings--as I'm not yet into the ME universe--but as I've said at least a hundred times on here, you have to PROVE THIS. To do that, somebody has to play the game AT LEAST 10 times making a variety of choices and seeing if they change things. Is there NO chance that people just haven't FOUND the variations because they aren't actually LOOKING?

 

Finally, are you aware that many argue the FDA is actually hindering scientific progress with its regulations? There are hundreds of potential cures for cancer that have not been allowed on the market because they are deemed "too dangerous." While I'm not going to say I'm unhappy about that, what does it say for the consumers that WANT to take the dangerous risks if it means they can be cancer free? It essentially says two things: 1) "Sorry pal. You'll have to die from cancer anyway!" and 2) "We somehow know what's best for your body more than YOU know what's best for your body!" That means, in a sense, that the FDA is responsible for MANY deaths that could have been prevented with drugs deemed "unsafe." The FDA is not an all-positive entity. NOTHING is all-positive.

franky111
franky111

 @cachinscythe

 

The proof is in the picture and YouTube video I posted. Pay attention.  

franky111
franky111

 @cachinscythe

 That's a pretty speech, but it all boiled down to you saying it was my fault for purchasing a falsely-advertised product. Which, no matter how wordy you try to make it, completely wrecks your argument.

Being disappointed with the product is by no means grounds for lawsuit. However, if you market a product as one thing, and then promise that the product will yield quite specific things (and you know the foundation of your ENTIRE marketing campaign are based around these claims and promises), the product better deliver what it is claimed to. When you mislead a customer body with false claims as BioWare and EA did, THAT is grounds for lawsuit and sanction.

 

Why do you think the FDA exists today? To prevent people from selling deceptive placebos after making countless claims and promises of what the said drug would do for the customer.

 

That ideal can be used in the gaming market, because it is still a business, no matter how you try to twist it, it is. EA, again, falsely claims that the variation takes place in the final 3-5 hours of the game. That is quite the opposite.