During the launch of Mass Effect 3, a claim was filed against EA on the grounds of false advertising, citing that the story’s outcome didn’t change based on player choice or the various decisions made throughout the three-game saga. EA is in the clear, however, as the Advertising Standards Authority has sided with the publisher, saying that the choices in Mass Effect 3‘s ending were “thematically different.”
CVG has the official statement from the ASA:
“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.”
Obviously, this ruling won’t jibe with the feelings of the majority of the Mass Effect 3 fanbase, who have generally voiced the opinion that BioWare and EA ruined the end of the saga with a terrible final act.
[Editor's Note: CAUTION! MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD.]
As noted by fans everywhere, no matter how high your “Galactic Readiness” gets, and no matter which of your crewmates survive to the final confrontation on Earth with the Reapers, the three endings all seem to play out the same way, with extremely minor differences.
Even though you have the option to destroy or merge all organic or non-organic life in the galaxy, the Mass Effect relays are destroyed, the entire allied fleet is stranded in the Sol system, and the Normandy is shipwrecked on an unknown planet. None of the endings change these consequences, and what’s most likely worse, all of the sequences are represented with very similar cut-scenes.
At the very least, BioWare is still working on an “extended cut” DLC addition that will provide some clarity for the story (and we hope that it’s free). However, it doesn’t look very optimistic that the actual events surrounding Commander Shepard and the galaxy’s fate will actually change, for better or worse.