Mass Hysteria Over Mass Effect Ending - Fordham Intellectual Property, Media & Entertainment Law Journal
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Mass Hysteria Over Mass Effect Ending

Mass Hysteria Over Mass Effect Ending

On March 6, the Mass Effect 3 was released as the final part of the Mass Effect video game trilogy.  While it has so far enjoyed both critical and commercial success, it has also caused one of the biggest fan outcries in video game history.

Fans are taking issue with the ending of the game which is also the ending of the trilogy’s story.  The ending, fans complain, is underwhelming with large plot holes and, most frustrating of all, doesn’t really take into account any of the choices made by players over the course of the three Mass Effect games.  Disappointed and furious, a group of angry fans have started an online petition demanding that the developer, Bioware, should change the ending.  The group has even started raising money (all of which will go to the charity Child’s Play.)

At first, Bioware stated that it had set out to make a memorable ending and did not seem to consider changing it.  But the demands for an alternative ending had reached a new level (no pun intended) when one fan filed a false advertising claim with the Federal Trade Commission.  The fan claims that “after reading through the list of promises about the ending of the game they made in their advertising campaign and PR interviews, it was clear that the product we got did not live up to any of those claims.”  This complaint isn’t likely to go anywhere because, as one lawyer claims, “most of the ‘advertising’ fans were complaining about came in the form of interviews or press statements made at various times prior to and after release of the game.”

However, after all of the petitions, social media outcries, and false advertising complaints, Bioware has announced that it will release an update to the game that will give fans closure.  Bioware cofounder Dr. Ray Muzyka stated that after listening to fans’ complaints “the team [is] hard at work on a number of game content initiatives that will help answer the questions, providing more clarity for those seeking further closure to their journey.”  No details have been given as to what the update will entail or whether it will be free or not.

Arguably, making this change is a good move for Bioware.  (Or is it?)  Either way, gamers are definitely still talking about the original ending while others have started speculating about the altered version in anticipation.

Gregg Katz

Gregg Katz is a 3L at Fordham University School of Law. He grew up on Long Island, New York and played a lot a video games and watched a lot of TV. Now he is trying to turn those interests into a career in entertainment law. Gregg is IPLJ’s resident video game expert but we promised him we’d keep that secret between us.