Mass Effect Ending Discussion

I was contacted recently by a few friends who wanted to discuss the controversial ending to Mass Effect 3 (If you haven’t seen yet, a lot of people are angry about how Bioware ended the series). However, at the time, I hadn’t finished the game. So I told them that as soon as I finished it, I would make a post on here so that we could discuss the matter. I just finished it last night, so here it is! We will discuss whether we liked the ending, as well as a couple theories that several of us have pertaining to the game. If you’d like to give your own opinion or theory, don’t hesitate to make a comment! So let the spoilers begin!!!



13 opinions on “Mass Effect Ending Discussion

  1. Logan will post his thesis on here later if he hasn’t I already I can’t check from my phone.

  2. Alright, I’m going to try to lay this down as accurately as it occured to me. After completing the game with the “Synthesis” ending, I was anything but contempt with the cinematics that followed. It only left me with more questions rather than the series finale that was promised us. Even their slogan “Take Earth back” was not clearly represented or concluded in any one of the three (yes, only 3) possible endings. Now, after several days of raging, I decided that it was ultimately their artistic choice to end the game however they pleased. Needless to say, I was unhappy about how the end came about but decided to focus on the long, emotional ride their rather than the unsatisfing ending. But, while I was in bed, I began to ponder the extensive mass effect lore from the codex and running through what had happened over and over again. I had… a grand epiphany, and I’m going to try to lay this down as accurately as it occured to me.

  3. There are many unknowns in the final battle. After linking them all together, I concluded that everything after the point where Shepard got blasted by the Reaper’s laser… never actually happened at all! I believe that everything we saw after that, was an indoctrination attempt by the Reapers to stop Shepard from successfully destroying them. Here’s why: After Shepard rises from the remains of his fellow soldiers, seemingly the only one still capable of assaulting the Reapers, he steps into the beam that transports him to the Citadel. Once there, he is contacted by Anderson, who somehow got there before he did… hmmmmmmm. While Shepard moves through the halls, piled with bodies of gored humans, he also remarks “I’ve never seen this part of the Citadel before.” That struck me as odd for an elite Spectre who has spent so much time there. But the scene after the player conquers the Illusive Man contains the bulk of my argument. After being raised into what I called Jihad-Land, Shepard was confronted by “The Ultimate Being” who just so happened to take the form of the very same kid you see a total of 3 times at the beggining of the game and ravages Shepards dreams throughout the game. After that, he was presented with 3 choices to end the war. The left and middle choices forced you to show sympathy to the Reapers by allowing them to live, while the right ends ALL synthetic life entirely. When shown the 3 choices, the left hand side is represented as the path the Illusive Man would have taken and is shaded blue (Paragon) but the right hand, Anderson’s choice, is shaded red (Renegade). Now, in Mass Effect lore, an indoctrination attempt is successful when the subject gives in to Reaper ideology. If Shepard allows the Reapers to live, he has become fully indoctrinated and only BELIEVES he has saved the universe, when instead, he allowed himself to be taken by the Reapers. The reason I say this, is because of all 3 endings, only one shows Shepard waking up (not indoctrinated), and that’s the ONE choice that shows no remorse for the Reapers, the Renegade “bad” choice. This is because the Reapers have made it this way. They imply that the “good” way is to save them and the “bad” choice is to destroy them so that you give in to their ideals and become their puppet as Sarren did before you. Now, lets revisit the fact that these choices are presented to you by an AI that looks like a HUMAN BOY. Humans have not been around long enough for such an acient construct to resemble one. It’s not a coincidence, it’s a device for sympathy. At the beginning of the game, Shepard sees the boy on top of one building, in the air duct of another and then being escorted out by shuttles… How fast is that kid?! There’s no possible way that anyone, let alone a child, could cover so much ground. Focusing on the interaction between him and the boy when he’s in the air duct strengthens my thesis as well. Mass Effect lore also states that when someone resists Reaper indoctrination, they hear a growling sort of noise. If you listen after Shepard is “snapped out of it” by Anderson, you can hear one such noise. Plus, the fact that Shepard sees the boy while playing, while scared and his death, just increases the impact on him, exactly what the Reapers want. They want Shepard to see this boy and have an emotional inclination to do what he says is right (Paragon). The reason the Citadel didn’t seem familiar is because Shepard filled it with his most grusome thoughts of what would happen if he failed. The “Paragon” choice is what indoctrinates you, while the “Renegade” choice is what wakes Shepard up, still on Earth during the onslaught. Soooooooooo, that’s my theory, in all its verbose glory.

  4. The same exact theory is actually spreading around the internet right now. It’s called the indoctrination theory, I believe. As soon as I read about it, it made total sense. The first indicator that he’s not actually on the citadel is the fact that when he gets up after being annihilated by that laser, he doesn’t even have his armor on. There’s no way a laser can simply make armor vanish. Also, one thing that I read is that if you look at the numbers on the walls within the “citadel,” they’re backwards. Not just in reverse order, but as if they were in a mirror. This same concept carries out throughout the whole end scene. Think about it, killing the illusive man was considered a renegade cutscene option. That makes absolutely no sense. That’s because it was reversed due to indoctrination. And the fact that the option to save the reapers was made to look paragon is a good indicator as well, like you said. It makes sense to think that Shepard was just indoctrinated. After all, you see in all of those video diaries on the base that EDI was made with some reaper tech, and I believe part of the Normandy was as well. Shepard came into contact with lot of reapers. He was probably just indoctrinated and persuaded to save the reapers. The only thing I’m utterly confused about is the fact that after the final cutscene, your comrades come out of the Normandy after they supposedly died from the huge reaper laser! It makes no sense. And the whole “ghost child” thing was just weird. I was totally fine with just having it be a flashback in Shepard’s mind being caused by the brutality of war. But to tell us that it was all just an illusion? I think that was unnecessary. I definitely respect the ending. It’s artistic, and it’s ultimately Bioware’s decision. However, it really made no effort to show how your war assets were involved in the final push, and on top of that, the very end kind of makes all of the decisions you made throughout all of the games ultimately meaningless. I just feel like none of the actions I made in the series were really useful in the long run. Instead, I would’ve like to have an ending that reflected the decisions you made, rather than a pre-made ending where you choose 1 out of 3 options that don’t mean anything because the game ends right afterwards. However, it is Bioware’s game, not mine. I still appreciate the series. I just wish they ended it on a different note.

  5. The whole thing with Shepards crew coming out of the Normandy can be explained by the fact that when indoctrination takes place the subject is asleep. Along with the backwards numbers you were talking about, large gaps in time and the plot of a dream can shift instantly. Because Shepard had such an emotional attatchment to his crew, he rationalized the decisions he made by making himself believe they would survive. Not only that, but the Normandy lands on a remote planet rather than being destroyed. Shepard makes sure his friends are alive, even when the rest of the galaxy is affected by his decision because he is, after all, dreaming.

  6. Yeah, I see what you mean. That makes sense. Idk, I’m just trying to think of how/why they came up with this ending. I can understand if they didn’t want to simply have everyone live happily ever after, but the direction they took it was just weird.

  7. Screech, do you know if it is at all possible to unlock the final paragon renegade choice, I thinks its when you are talking to the Illusive man.

  8. I was actually wondering the same thing! I had full paragon and it still didn’t let me. I haven’t really looked at it online very much though.

  9. Same here Screech. My guess is those options are only available to those on a second play through. Or Bioware put them in there simply to drive us mad. If this Indoctrination theory is correct then perhaps some future DLC that expands the ending is not out of the question.

  10. Paul, I agree. That would make sense, although I still think that’s kinda dumb to do. Having to play through the game twice just to get a better ending is pretty bad. Idk, we’ll see when the DLC comes out. Cooper, that’s pretty cool if it’s true. However, it’ll probably be overpriced. I don’t think I’d spend 10 bucks just to have a couple extra weapons and characters, and that’s how much I’m guessing it’s gonna be.

  11. You unlock the paragon/renegade option with the Illusive Man if you used all the paragon/renegade options when talking to him earlier in the game. There is one that a lot of people miss on Mars when you are talking to his hologram because you have to like ask a specific question or something to get it to come up. Basically, the choice makes him kill himself.

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