Marjorie Stephens, Director of Communications of The Better Business Bureau (BBB) branch in Northern Indiana, has stated that BioWare may have engaged in the false advertising practices regarding Mass Effect 3, and more specifically, the controversial ending sequence:
The issue at stake here is, did Bio Ware falsely advertise? Technically, yes, they did. 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. This statement, really though, is very subject to interpretation. Also this is just a small example of their advertising and does not take into account anything that might have been said, as far as their public relations and other advertising campaigns.
The Better Business Bureau is a privately held corporation and is not related to the United States government or any federal authorities.
Analysis: Could a person have a court case against BioWare or EA about the endings to Mass Effect 3? The real point of dispute is this line from the web site:
“Along the way, your choices drive powerful outcomes, including relationships with key characters, the fate of entire civilizations, and even radically different ending scenarios.”
The keywords being “radically different.” The endings were criticized for being, “Red, Blue, and Green explosion” endings, referring to the color of the large explosion at the end with no real difference in other content of the final cutscene.
I doubt any potential court case will result in anything against BioWare as the three endings do have different outcomes on the fate of galactic life afterwards, which can be interpreted as radically different in the grand scheme of things. The upcoming free DLC pack may shed some light on these differences and bring them to the fore.
As for quotes from members of the development team regarding things that turned out to be false? I’m not sure how the law deals with that, but if it’s punishable, then Peter Molyneux should be serving several life sentences.
Also, it’s important to note that this article about Mass Effect 3 was posted in the opinion blog of the BBB, so don’t expect them to actually do anything about it. Don’t even expect them to report all the other things that EA has been doing, like data mining your PC through Origin or Capcom shipping full characters as on disc DLC for Tekken X Street Fighter.