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EA in the clear after investigation into Mass Effect 3 ending

Publisher 'not in breach of advertising standards'

Electronic Arts has successfully defended its position after being the subject of an investigation into the advertising campaign behind Mass Effect 3.

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The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) launched a probe into the matter after vehement backlash from online communities regarding the game's ending, considering whether EA had misled or exaggerated to the extent that it was in breach of advertising protocols.

Though the onslaught of complaints were criticising EA in general, the ASA became involved in the process after being alerted to a Mass Effect 3 advertisement which claimed that "decisions you make completely shape your experience and outcome".

Central to most complaints regarding the Mass Effect 3 ending is that the game's multiple-choice conclusions are too similar.

But after hearing evidence from Electronic Arts, the ASA has ruled in favour of the publisher.

It said: "The ASA acknowledged the 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 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 Mass Effect 3, 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 studio BioWare is developing ME3 add-on content which it says will clarify the ending.

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