Failure is an option

Posted by JoshC (19 posts) -

So, as i'm sure the internet was aware the dlc add-on ending for Mass Effect 3 hit the digital market. So naturally having played all three games through multiple times over i decided that I would play through this expansion that provided clarity.

Now I played through it and made up my mind about the revision, i can finally put this series to rest in my eyes and move o with my gaming habits, at least that's what i thought would happen.

Potential Spoilers from here onward.

However one thing caught my attention in this ending, and i apologize if it was previously there and this is just me not paying attention to the dialogue choices, but there was an option to object to the choices that were presented to the player at the end of the game. This set the cogs off in my head.

The failure of the hero was taken into account and there was no true resolution to the characters lives after that point, you lose, you become another part of history and are just a reminder for the next cycle and the coming threat. I felt sad knowing that Javik had come all this way for Shepard to bottle it at the last moment and him having to relive the horrors of his past life. To Liara who as she feared would watch as the people and life she had being swept away by the reapers. All the hope and faith that was put into this plan and into Shepard was to no avail. All of the galaxy looked upon this one soldier to save them from their fate and he collapsed under the weight. For me it was one of the bleakest and depressing stories that i had experienced and I made it happen.

But i feel that this could have gone even further, I now want to experience a Mass Effect where Shepard lost Wrex and Ashley/Kaiden on Virmire. Who chose to let the council burn in order to get a better shot at taking down Sovereign. Who chose not to prepare against the Collectors instead believing that recruiting these people would be enough. And how some races can be deemed as more worthy of support than others. And eventually leaving Shepard virtually alone in the final battle against the reapers.

So i'm going to do that then, i have already worked out most of the choices that i would have to make throughout the games in order to give myself the lowest possible advantage against the reapers and to see if i can make that ending even more bittersweet.

For Mass Effect 1 the choices that i'm going to make are as follows:

  • Kill Wrex on Virmire, along with the other squad member (probably Ashley)
  • Kill the Rachni Queen
  • Kill everyone on Feros
  • Let the council die in the attack by Sovereign

I will most likely do a few of the side missions that have somewhat reoccurring consequences in the later games, such as the Helena Blake quest and the Bring Down the Sky dlc, just to add some more history to my Shepard's failure.

Now Mass Effect 2 is a little bit trickier than the first game as you can fail the final mission and be left to repeat play through the game again, so I worked out the possible characters that could be left alive knowing that they can still potentially die in the third game, my objective with this game is to kill off or ensure that all of the squad will die at some point before the ending of the final game. So without further ado:

  • Kill Zaeed on his loyalty quest.
  • Deny Kasumi the memories of her lover.
  • Garrus' loyalty cannot be failed either way so it will be ignored. The same goes for Jacob. However if i need to complete another mission in order to continue the story then i'll have to purposely send the loyal member to do the wrong job on the suicide mission to ensure they die
  • Give the evidence over during Tali's trial and offer no thoughts on the Quarian war effort.
  • I decided that i am going to complete Samara's loyalty quest but kill her and take Morinth with me instead this is down to for-knowledge of her fate in Mass effect 3, I guess Bioware didn't have time or want to do anything truly meaningful with that character.
  • Allow Mordin's quest to be completed but have him destroy the data so it effects Mass Effect 3.
  • Lose the tail entirely for Thane's loyalty mission.
  • Ship Legion off to the Illusive Man.
  • Complete Jack's loyalty quest and Miranda's. Now I know that the argument between these two can result in losing the loyalty for one of them so i'm going to side with Jack and drop Miranda in the final assault. With Jack in Mass Effect 3 being limited to a side quest and it being time sensitive meaning i can ignore it a prescribe her to her fate, while also killing off Kaylee Sanders and the children of Grissom academy.
  • Leave Grunt in his tank.

With that in order that would leave Kasumi, Garrus, Jacob, Tali, Morinth, Mordin, Thane, Miranda and Jack for the final assault. This excludes the potential of three members dying in the journey to the Collector base the members most likely to die at this point would probably be Jack, Thane, Kasumi or Tali as these characters normally have the lower chances of surviving the finale. But for the purpose of this plan, i'm going to assume that this is definitely the final group i'll have with me. So I'll send Garrus into the vents in order to eliminate him early and so there is less of a chance of him surviving in the fire teams. With Jacob Miranda leading the first diversion group. Then for the biotic barrier, this is tricky as i'm unsure if the person that dies at this point in the level is dependent on weather or not they are loyal, so to be sure i'll have either Morinth or Jack hold the barrier as i am sure that everyone involved in that part survives, taking the other loyal biotic along and probably Mordin. Tali, and the other will then have to go as the second squad.

At this point I'll have reached the tube scene were the other crew member are being held. I'm going to do some side missions after they have been taken from the Normandy to ensure that the majority of them die in the tube chamber as their fate is time sensitive, but just to make sure absolutely no one else will make it back to the ship i'll send Tali along with them so there can be no chance of survivors. And Tali's death will relieve me of two future squad mates for the next game. For the final leg of the game i'll as mentioned before bring along Morinth and Jack two loyal squad mates at this point, if perhaps one of these has died because an unforeseen circumstance i'll have Mordin tag along instead. Leaving four or five of them to guard the room and sealing their fate. The reason for the two loyal squad mates is from my understanding to ensure that two people apart from Joker can be alive to pull you onto the ship at the end. Assuming that all of this goes well then i should finish the game with two squad mates left alive in the game.

Which finally brings me onto Mass Effect 3 , essentially this is where most of my payoff (or lack thereof) will take place with the games and the recruiting of squad members would leave me with a potential of five squad members. Now the goal with this game is to essentially make tactical losses throughout choosing the options that will either give me the least amount of war assets or in some cases decrease the amounts that I already have. And these are the choices that i'm going to make though the game:

  • Side with the Salarian's and prevent the Krogan cure from being released. But also killing the Salarian that attempts to administer it. Due to my actions in Mordin's loyalty mission in the last game Eve should die as a result of making the cure. I am also going to leave the bomb on Tuchunka armed as this will also lead to a loss of war assets coupled with the withdrawal of Krogan troops when they find out about the cure.
  • Going to save the indoctrinated Rachni and lose Arlak company, there is also the hidden loss of the Rachni attacking and killing key personnel on the crucible project.
  • Side with the Geth in the conflict but not recruiting or trying to convince the admirals to stand down meaning that the two sides should destroy or decimate each others numbers, at the worst i get one group with severely lacking numbers. And doing none of the planet side missions.
  • Ignore all sidequests asking for the acquirement of any artifact or item.
  • Leave the current boss of the Eclipse alive, assassinate the Turian general asking for weapons for the Blue Suns.
  • While on the citadel there are multiple choices that you can make to ensure that the citadel war asset decreases with time, such as siding with the cop wanting to bust small time dealers or allowing too many refugees inside the citadel.
  • Killing the Virmire survivor when going after Udina. Eliminating a squad member.
  • Ignoring the call from Grissom Academy. And the Cerberus scientists attempting to defect.

After doing all of these things and avoiding most of if not all of the side missions leaving me with hopefully the bare minimum of potential war assets, for the final battle which should be around this point under 3000 hopefully. So during the final assault with my bare bones squad there should be an opportunity for two squad mates to die on the final sprint to the beacon, however i am a little unsure of this as the ending may have also removed this chance to kill of your two squad mates. Oh well, at that point it doesn't make that much of a difference. But my thoughts at this point was to originally to kill off Vega and perhaps Javik and then to choose the destroy ending that would then cancel out the Geth, Reapers and EDI. But from what I can tell that was revised in the new endings so instead i'll be choosing as mentioned right at the top of my post the reject ending and thus bringing the sad and disappointing story of Commander Shepard to its grim ending.

I know that what i'm doing to all of these characters is horrible and that this plan probably highlights my abundance of free time, but hey i finished university for this year so i have got some free time on my hands. I'll likely post any updates or changes to the plan if anything i didn't predict happens and i'll write on if all of the build up to the failure was indeed worth it. I know this isn't the first failure Shepard run but I hope it'll be fun. I've been the best, now it's time to be the worst.

.

#1 Posted by JoshC (19 posts) -

So, as i'm sure the internet was aware the dlc add-on ending for Mass Effect 3 hit the digital market. So naturally having played all three games through multiple times over i decided that I would play through this expansion that provided clarity.

Now I played through it and made up my mind about the revision, i can finally put this series to rest in my eyes and move o with my gaming habits, at least that's what i thought would happen.

Potential Spoilers from here onward.

However one thing caught my attention in this ending, and i apologize if it was previously there and this is just me not paying attention to the dialogue choices, but there was an option to object to the choices that were presented to the player at the end of the game. This set the cogs off in my head.

The failure of the hero was taken into account and there was no true resolution to the characters lives after that point, you lose, you become another part of history and are just a reminder for the next cycle and the coming threat. I felt sad knowing that Javik had come all this way for Shepard to bottle it at the last moment and him having to relive the horrors of his past life. To Liara who as she feared would watch as the people and life she had being swept away by the reapers. All the hope and faith that was put into this plan and into Shepard was to no avail. All of the galaxy looked upon this one soldier to save them from their fate and he collapsed under the weight. For me it was one of the bleakest and depressing stories that i had experienced and I made it happen.

But i feel that this could have gone even further, I now want to experience a Mass Effect where Shepard lost Wrex and Ashley/Kaiden on Virmire. Who chose to let the council burn in order to get a better shot at taking down Sovereign. Who chose not to prepare against the Collectors instead believing that recruiting these people would be enough. And how some races can be deemed as more worthy of support than others. And eventually leaving Shepard virtually alone in the final battle against the reapers.

So i'm going to do that then, i have already worked out most of the choices that i would have to make throughout the games in order to give myself the lowest possible advantage against the reapers and to see if i can make that ending even more bittersweet.

For Mass Effect 1 the choices that i'm going to make are as follows:

  • Kill Wrex on Virmire, along with the other squad member (probably Ashley)
  • Kill the Rachni Queen
  • Kill everyone on Feros
  • Let the council die in the attack by Sovereign

I will most likely do a few of the side missions that have somewhat reoccurring consequences in the later games, such as the Helena Blake quest and the Bring Down the Sky dlc, just to add some more history to my Shepard's failure.

Now Mass Effect 2 is a little bit trickier than the first game as you can fail the final mission and be left to repeat play through the game again, so I worked out the possible characters that could be left alive knowing that they can still potentially die in the third game, my objective with this game is to kill off or ensure that all of the squad will die at some point before the ending of the final game. So without further ado:

  • Kill Zaeed on his loyalty quest.
  • Deny Kasumi the memories of her lover.
  • Garrus' loyalty cannot be failed either way so it will be ignored. The same goes for Jacob. However if i need to complete another mission in order to continue the story then i'll have to purposely send the loyal member to do the wrong job on the suicide mission to ensure they die
  • Give the evidence over during Tali's trial and offer no thoughts on the Quarian war effort.
  • I decided that i am going to complete Samara's loyalty quest but kill her and take Morinth with me instead this is down to for-knowledge of her fate in Mass effect 3, I guess Bioware didn't have time or want to do anything truly meaningful with that character.
  • Allow Mordin's quest to be completed but have him destroy the data so it effects Mass Effect 3.
  • Lose the tail entirely for Thane's loyalty mission.
  • Ship Legion off to the Illusive Man.
  • Complete Jack's loyalty quest and Miranda's. Now I know that the argument between these two can result in losing the loyalty for one of them so i'm going to side with Jack and drop Miranda in the final assault. With Jack in Mass Effect 3 being limited to a side quest and it being time sensitive meaning i can ignore it a prescribe her to her fate, while also killing off Kaylee Sanders and the children of Grissom academy.
  • Leave Grunt in his tank.

With that in order that would leave Kasumi, Garrus, Jacob, Tali, Morinth, Mordin, Thane, Miranda and Jack for the final assault. This excludes the potential of three members dying in the journey to the Collector base the members most likely to die at this point would probably be Jack, Thane, Kasumi or Tali as these characters normally have the lower chances of surviving the finale. But for the purpose of this plan, i'm going to assume that this is definitely the final group i'll have with me. So I'll send Garrus into the vents in order to eliminate him early and so there is less of a chance of him surviving in the fire teams. With Jacob Miranda leading the first diversion group. Then for the biotic barrier, this is tricky as i'm unsure if the person that dies at this point in the level is dependent on weather or not they are loyal, so to be sure i'll have either Morinth or Jack hold the barrier as i am sure that everyone involved in that part survives, taking the other loyal biotic along and probably Mordin. Tali, and the other will then have to go as the second squad.

At this point I'll have reached the tube scene were the other crew member are being held. I'm going to do some side missions after they have been taken from the Normandy to ensure that the majority of them die in the tube chamber as their fate is time sensitive, but just to make sure absolutely no one else will make it back to the ship i'll send Tali along with them so there can be no chance of survivors. And Tali's death will relieve me of two future squad mates for the next game. For the final leg of the game i'll as mentioned before bring along Morinth and Jack two loyal squad mates at this point, if perhaps one of these has died because an unforeseen circumstance i'll have Mordin tag along instead. Leaving four or five of them to guard the room and sealing their fate. The reason for the two loyal squad mates is from my understanding to ensure that two people apart from Joker can be alive to pull you onto the ship at the end. Assuming that all of this goes well then i should finish the game with two squad mates left alive in the game.

Which finally brings me onto Mass Effect 3 , essentially this is where most of my payoff (or lack thereof) will take place with the games and the recruiting of squad members would leave me with a potential of five squad members. Now the goal with this game is to essentially make tactical losses throughout choosing the options that will either give me the least amount of war assets or in some cases decrease the amounts that I already have. And these are the choices that i'm going to make though the game:

  • Side with the Salarian's and prevent the Krogan cure from being released. But also killing the Salarian that attempts to administer it. Due to my actions in Mordin's loyalty mission in the last game Eve should die as a result of making the cure. I am also going to leave the bomb on Tuchunka armed as this will also lead to a loss of war assets coupled with the withdrawal of Krogan troops when they find out about the cure.
  • Going to save the indoctrinated Rachni and lose Arlak company, there is also the hidden loss of the Rachni attacking and killing key personnel on the crucible project.
  • Side with the Geth in the conflict but not recruiting or trying to convince the admirals to stand down meaning that the two sides should destroy or decimate each others numbers, at the worst i get one group with severely lacking numbers. And doing none of the planet side missions.
  • Ignore all sidequests asking for the acquirement of any artifact or item.
  • Leave the current boss of the Eclipse alive, assassinate the Turian general asking for weapons for the Blue Suns.
  • While on the citadel there are multiple choices that you can make to ensure that the citadel war asset decreases with time, such as siding with the cop wanting to bust small time dealers or allowing too many refugees inside the citadel.
  • Killing the Virmire survivor when going after Udina. Eliminating a squad member.
  • Ignoring the call from Grissom Academy. And the Cerberus scientists attempting to defect.

After doing all of these things and avoiding most of if not all of the side missions leaving me with hopefully the bare minimum of potential war assets, for the final battle which should be around this point under 3000 hopefully. So during the final assault with my bare bones squad there should be an opportunity for two squad mates to die on the final sprint to the beacon, however i am a little unsure of this as the ending may have also removed this chance to kill of your two squad mates. Oh well, at that point it doesn't make that much of a difference. But my thoughts at this point was to originally to kill off Vega and perhaps Javik and then to choose the destroy ending that would then cancel out the Geth, Reapers and EDI. But from what I can tell that was revised in the new endings so instead i'll be choosing as mentioned right at the top of my post the reject ending and thus bringing the sad and disappointing story of Commander Shepard to its grim ending.

I know that what i'm doing to all of these characters is horrible and that this plan probably highlights my abundance of free time, but hey i finished university for this year so i have got some free time on my hands. I'll likely post any updates or changes to the plan if anything i didn't predict happens and i'll write on if all of the build up to the failure was indeed worth it. I know this isn't the first failure Shepard run but I hope it'll be fun. I've been the best, now it's time to be the worst.

.

#2 Posted by amir90 (2178 posts) -

Good luck with that!

#3 Posted by HoppusMaximus (6 posts) -

I love this idea. If I had the time, I would definitely give that a try. Seems like it'd be a vastly different experience.

#4 Posted by thomasnash (586 posts) -

So reading through this post made me realise that a lot of the "choices" available to you are basically "play Shepard as a barely capable buffoon" mostly in the second game, where the "bad choices" you listed are basically, have no idea what the strengths of your team are. Or just totally failing to perform the task that Thane asks you to perform. I'm not saying this is a problem with you, I'm just interested to know whether by the end of this you'll end up with a disconnect where everyone is saying "Oh shepard you are the only person who could possibly save us" despite the fact that he gets there by stumbling through fucking literally everything up.

I guess it also makes me think that actually Mass Effect 1 was way better at handling pretty much all of this stuff. More limited, yeah, but the choices in that game were way weightier and didn't have the sense that one option is basically you just completely whiffing it.

#5 Posted by JoshC (19 posts) -
@thomasnash I have to say that already I am having this disconnect with the characters and the games never bring that up, for example Miranda and TIM never call you out on your bullshit in regards to perpetration to the suicide mission in 2.

I agree that the choices in Mass Effect 1 really didn't suffer from this and this was probably from the restriction of choice of one binary option or another. The problem that emerges in the second game is that story wise Shepard is supposed to be this baddass who never fails in the face of the Reapers. But I can see Bioware wanted there to be some tension in the finale by having the potential of your squad perishing. Thus the conflict arises that you mentioned with this character who is supposed to be a badass in our story but I am making him a buffoon and there is no real answer to this in the story. I think the reason for that is that Bioware gambled that characters would be so invested one way or another in their morality system that it would be a non issue, so essentially I am playing the second game wrong.

I hope that makes sense?
#6 Posted by thomasnash (586 posts) -

Yeah that makes perfect sense.

I suppose you can't really blame bioware for not including a cut scene where half way through the game the illusive man just gos "oh, actually you are a complete r-tard give me my ship back" or whatever, but it still means there is that disconnect.

The choices in 1 are great not because they are binary, I don't think. The Ashley/Kaiden moment hits hard because even if you do everything perfectly, there is just nothing you can do. I guess maybe some people might have been annoyed at that, I don't know, but when I first played Mass Effect, that was the moment where I was like "whoa, shit just got real yo." As for the Rachni queen and Wrex, they are great because the decision that immediately seems like the "right" decision actually has way more repercussions (reapercussions lol) than the bad one. Ok, so actually all the Rachni Queen stuff was horribly mismanaged by 3, and it annoyed me that no matter what you choose they are like "oh but now you'll have to fight them and stuff" but the Wrex decision is great, because if you let him live then actually it makes your life harder (sort of) later on, if you try and gyp the Krogan because Wrex will find out but his replacement won't. So while they are binary, I think what makes them work is they don't feel like they have a "fail state" decision.

Sorry, I rambled a bit but i hope that I made some sense...

#7 Posted by InternetCrab (1504 posts) -

Wow.... Um, holy shit.

#8 Posted by NicksCorner (432 posts) -

Is this still on? I just finished the extended ending myself, but that was with max. galactic readiness and rating. Would love to hear how your ending turned out.

#9 Posted by JoshC (19 posts) -

@NicksCorner i'm still working through just taking a while i will still update when i'm done. Thanks for reading.

#10 Posted by BigDaddyDre (17 posts) -

That sounds fucking epic dude. They should add an ending where Shepard gets hanged for all that...:).

#11 Posted by DeF (4958 posts) -

I love that you're actually doing this. I finished the game last night with everyone alive and super A+ student style completion of missions and immediately thought "huh, I wonder how all this would've played out had I fucked up a lot and gotten most of my team killed." In theory, this should create a completely different scenario but I highly doubt BioWare went that far (or realistically could go that far due to the implied scale, production values, technical restrictions and the fast that there is a limit to the budget).

One must applaud them for being that ambitious with Mass Effect but it's also obvious that it couldn't be fully realized simply because something so highly complex on such a massive scale (the Too Human dream, a AAA trilogy spanning 5 years--ignoring dev time for the original) is pretty much impossible to make without severe compromise, sadly.

#12 Posted by gregjay24 (31 posts) -

You have to make sure shepard survives the final assault on the collector base. He can die if you aren't prepared enough

#13 Posted by Sufferthorn (19 posts) -

@gregjay24:

He just has to have 3+ people survive. >_>

Worst. Shepard. Ever.

This edit will also create new pages on Giant Bomb for:

Beware, you are proposing to add brand new pages to the wiki along with your edits. Make sure this is what you intended. This will likely increase the time it takes for your changes to go live.

Comment and Save

Until you earn 1000 points all your submissions need to be vetted by other Giant Bomb users. This process takes no more than a few hours and we'll send you an email once approved.