Mass Effect aliens/conflicts in a real world context?

#1 Edited by Deathstriker (308 posts) -

I'm not sure if Bioware has ever come out and said they were inspired by our real history when creating this world or not, but when I was playing the ME games I couldn't help but equate some of these aliens or conflicts with certain real world ones.

Quarians = Muslims/Arabs - They're covered head to toe, both take pilgrimages, to outsiders their customs are strange/weird, both lost their homeland, and so on.

Krogan history = Europeans colonizing Africa - Krogans were tribal and the other supposedly more advanced aliens used them for their own needs, which could be paralleled to Europeans stealing the natural resources of Africa and kidnapping millions of the people for slavery. In both cases, once they stopped being "useful", their growth was purposely stunted.

Turians vs. Humans = UK vs. US - The old top dog fighting the new one.

There are a few more, but I was mainly curious what parallels other people drew when they were playing.

#2 Posted by probablytuna (3614 posts) -

Well everybody takes inspiration from somewhere, it wouldn't surprise me if the examples you've mentioned were ones that inspired them when they were creating the races.

#3 Posted by Brodehouse (9875 posts) -

If quarians were Muslims they would have a massive empire sandwiched between two others, not be a displaced nomadic people. The quarian reference is diaspora Jews or Roma/gypsies.

A better reference for the krogan would be the Goths/Germanics of Roman times. First encounters were brief and violent, diplomacy eventually begins, the Germanics/krogan are used as intercessionary mercenaries between Rome/Council and enemies. Germanic/krogan mercenaries were considered uncivilized and brutal to the effete Romans/Council races. After doing the dirty work for so long, and receiving so little in return, there's a rebellion... only the Goths won and the krogan lost. Ironically to the Roman themed turians.

#4 Posted by TheHumanDove (2523 posts) -

If quarians were Muslims they would have a massive empire sandwiched between two others, not be a displaced nomadic people. The quarian reference is diaspora Jews or Roma/gypsies.

A better reference for the krogan would be the Goths/Germanics of Roman times. First encounters were brief and violent, diplomacy eventually begins, the Germanics/krogan are used as intercessionary mercenaries between Rome/Council and enemies. Germanic/krogan mercenaries were considered uncivilized and brutal to the effete Romans/Council races. After doing the dirty work for so long, and receiving so little in return, there's a rebellion... only the Goths won and the krogan lost. Ironically to the Roman themed turians.

this

#5 Posted by Irvandus (2877 posts) -

Most stories are inspired by history in some form or another.

#6 Posted by Blu3V3nom07 (4202 posts) -

Oh hey, yea. That's pretty good. Where are those Salarians from then? Norway?.

#7 Posted by Brodehouse (9875 posts) -

Oh hey, yea. That's pretty good. Where are those Salarians from then? Norway?.

The salarians are a difficult thing. They're simultaneously extremely interested in the affairs of all the other races but very muted when it comes to the inclusion of others in their domestic affairs. It can be said they are the leaders in galactic espionage, and yet their markets, research and way of life is far removed from the rest of the galaxy. They're largely seen as the most intelligent and advanced race, and their military is centered around harassing and sabotaging the enemy from within rather than meeting them head on. If I were to place them, it would have to be something like Tang Dynasty China. The focus on education and civil service, the use of political intrigue played out both domestic and foreign, both examples control their frontiers by turning possible threats against each other before being attacked themselves, and like said before, the combination of trade and expansionism with intense domestic isolationism. The plots of the dalatrass against one another are similar to the various conspiracies and plots you'd find in Imperial palaces.

#8 Edited by Deathstriker (308 posts) -

@brodehouse said:

If quarians were Muslims they would have a massive empire sandwiched between two others, not be a displaced nomadic people. The quarian reference is diaspora Jews or Roma/gypsies.

A better reference for the krogan would be the Goths/Germanics of Roman times. First encounters were brief and violent, diplomacy eventually begins, the Germanics/krogan are used as intercessionary mercenaries between Rome/Council and enemies. Germanic/krogan mercenaries were considered uncivilized and brutal to the effete Romans/Council races. After doing the dirty work for so long, and receiving so little in return, there's a rebellion... only the Goths won and the krogan lost. Ironically to the Roman themed turians.

For Muslims, I was talking more about Palestinians particularly as far as losing their home and being displaced. Quarians do have the largest fleet, so it's not like they're weak. When it comes to clothing/culture, they seem to have more in common with the Middle East; some of the voice actors are from that region too. Israel is the one that's literally surrounded by enemies, I'm not sure what two forces you're referring to with Arabs.

Your second example makes sense, but I wouldn't say more so than mine since they won. Also, I don't know if the elitism is there as far as the winning groups rationalizing their misdeeds as having "uplifted" the supposed savages, like with Krogans and Africans. Salarians and Europeans were acting in their best interests and later try to pass it off as if they did a favor to the other people. I can't say if the Romans did that since I haven't studied them deeply yet. This thread is more about your initial, perhaps subconscious connections rather than fact checking.

#9 Edited by Brodehouse (9875 posts) -

@deathstriker said:

@brodehouse said:

If quarians were Muslims they would have a massive empire sandwiched between two others, not be a displaced nomadic people. The quarian reference is diaspora Jews or Roma/gypsies.

A better reference for the krogan would be the Goths/Germanics of Roman times. First encounters were brief and violent, diplomacy eventually begins, the Germanics/krogan are used as intercessionary mercenaries between Rome/Council and enemies. Germanic/krogan mercenaries were considered uncivilized and brutal to the effete Romans/Council races. After doing the dirty work for so long, and receiving so little in return, there's a rebellion... only the Goths won and the krogan lost. Ironically to the Roman themed turians.

For Muslims, I was talking more about Palestinians particularly as far as losing their home and being displaced. Quarians do have the largest fleet, so it's not like they're weak. When it comes to clothing/culture, they seem to have more in common with the Middle East; some of the voice actors are from that region too. Israel is the one that's literally surrounded by enemies, I'm not sure what two forces you're referring to with Arabs.

That breaks for me because of the migrant nature of the migrant fleet. The Palestinean example would require the quarians have been locked in an ongoing struggle against the geth, rather than given up and left long ago. They're divided into very tightly-knit family centered communities, they're seen as troublemakers and pickpockets by the greater culture. While I wouldn't be surprised if elements of Muslim or Arabic elements entered them, they are heavily based on the Roma.

My 'massive empire sandwiched between two others' is the caliphate during its greatest period wedged between Imperial China and Christian Europe. And while both Muslims and quarians have a pilgrimage, they're vastly different in their meaning. Muslim pilgrimage is in most cases, leaving the outside world to travel to the heart of the religion, to show obediance and submission before returning to your outside life. Quarian pilgrimage is closer associated to Catholic good works or Protestant work ethic, it's leaving the heart of your culture to visit the outside world and return with something that betters your culture.

Your second example makes sense, but I wouldn't say more so than mine since they won. Also, I don't know if the elitism is there as far as the winning groups rationalizing their misdeeds as having "uplifted" the supposed savages, like with Krogans and Africans. Salarians and Europeans were acting in their best interests and later try to pass it off as if they did a favor to the other people. I can't say if the Romans did that since I haven't studied them deeply yet. This thread is more about your initial, perhaps subconscious connections rather than fact checking.

Oh trust me, the Romans were pretty elitist when it came to their shit. Romans viewed legal citizenship as their greatest treasure they had, but unlike Europe in the colonial period, there was no 'white man's burden' or social Darwinist theories. They held onto the privileges of their citizenship like a greedy king, and only let it go to foreigners when they ran out of options for appeasing them. The uncouth barbarians were... barbarians, and would always be so. The Romans didn't feel the need to justify savagery against foreigners as benefitting the foreigners, they viewed war as life rather than hell, though I wouldn't doubt that kind of thinking existed. It is difficult to argue that Rome's incredible infrastructure did not benefit people, that sanitation and Roman roads were not a positive influence to future growth in the area. If you perform some historiography to the post-Roman (extremely positive) interpretation of Rome, that's where you see the justification of Roman expansion, which makes me wonder if the 'we helped them by conquering them' ethos is not largely universal to superior technological powers throughout history.

Where the Europe/Africa breaks down compared to the Krogan Rebellions is the lack of the rebellion threatening the occupiers position. African rebellions are of the typically anti-colonial measure, they're largely about securing independence from the colonists. The Krogan Rebellions threatened the Council itself, they took worlds from them. The example I pulled had to have this example, it had to have the anti-imperial forces actually threatening to bring down the entire empire. Like if the American Revolution featured the Americans marching to London.

#10 Posted by Deathstriker (308 posts) -

@deathstriker said:

@brodehouse said:

If quarians were Muslims they would have a massive empire sandwiched between two others, not be a displaced nomadic people. The quarian reference is diaspora Jews or Roma/gypsies.

A better reference for the krogan would be the Goths/Germanics of Roman times. First encounters were brief and violent, diplomacy eventually begins, the Germanics/krogan are used as intercessionary mercenaries between Rome/Council and enemies. Germanic/krogan mercenaries were considered uncivilized and brutal to the effete Romans/Council races. After doing the dirty work for so long, and receiving so little in return, there's a rebellion... only the Goths won and the krogan lost. Ironically to the Roman themed turians.

For Muslims, I was talking more about Palestinians particularly as far as losing their home and being displaced. Quarians do have the largest fleet, so it's not like they're weak. When it comes to clothing/culture, they seem to have more in common with the Middle East; some of the voice actors are from that region too. Israel is the one that's literally surrounded by enemies, I'm not sure what two forces you're referring to with Arabs.

That breaks for me because of the migrant nature of the migrant fleet. The Palestinean example would require the quarians have been locked in an ongoing struggle against the geth, rather than given up and left long ago. They're divided into very tightly-knit family centered communities, they're seen as troublemakers and pickpockets by the greater culture. My 'massive empire sandwiched between two others' is the caliphate during its greatest period wedged between Imperial China and Christian Europe. And while both Muslims and quarians have a pilgrimage, they're vastly different in their meaning. Muslim pilgrimage is in most cases, leaving the outside world to travel to the heart of the religion, to show obediance and submission before returning to your outside life. Quarian pilgrimage is closer associated to Catholic good works or Protestant work ethic, it's leaving the heart of your culture to visit the outside world and return with something that betters your culture.

Your second example makes sense, but I wouldn't say more so than mine since they won. Also, I don't know if the elitism is there as far as the winning groups rationalizing their misdeeds as having "uplifted" the supposed savages, like with Krogans and Africans. Salarians and Europeans were acting in their best interests and later try to pass it off as if they did a favor to the other people. I can't say if the Romans did that since I haven't studied them deeply yet. This thread is more about your initial, perhaps subconscious connections rather than fact checking.

Oh trust me, the Romans were pretty elitist when it came to their shit. Romans viewed legal citizenship as their greatest treasure they had, but unlike Europe in the colonial period, there was no 'white man's burden' or social Darwinist theories. They held onto the privileges of their citizenship like a greedy king, and only let it go to foreigners when they ran out of options for appeasing them. The uncouth barbarians were... barbarians, and would always be so. The Romans didn't feel the need to justify savagery against foreigners as benefitting the foreigners, they viewed war as life rather than hell, though I wouldn't doubt that kind of thinking existed. It is difficult to argue that Rome's incredible infrastructure did not benefit people, that sanitation and Roman roads were not a positive influence to future growth in the area. If you perform some historiography to the post-Roman (extremely positive) interpretation of Rome, that's where you see the justification of Roman expansion, which makes me wonder if the 'we helped them by conquering them' ethos is not largely universal to superior technological powers throughout history.

Yeah, the Quarian pilgrimage is closer to Rumspringa rather than going to Mecca, I was talking about the phrasing used. I doubt the clothes, voice actors, and so on are all coincidentally pointing in that direction. Also, the phrase that Tali says in their native language sometimes (I believe Legion says it to her as he dies) sounds very much and is kinda used like As-Salaam-Alaikum. I have no doubt that Bioware took inspiration from different areas, but personally, I mainly see the Middle East in the Quarians. However, feel free to agree to disagree since this is open to interpretation.

#11 Posted by MonkeyKing1969 (2690 posts) -

I'm not sure if Bioware has ever come out and said they were inspired by our real history when creating this world or not, but when I was playing the ME games I couldn't help but equate some of these aliens or conflicts with certain real world ones.

Quarians = Muslims/Arabs - They're covered head to toe, both take pilgrimages, to outsiders their customs are strange/weird, both lost their homeland, and so on.

Krogan history = Europeans colonizing Africa - Krogans were tribal and the other supposedly more advanced aliens used them for their own needs, which could be paralleled to Europeans stealing the natural resources of Africa and kidnapping millions of the people for slavery. In both cases, once they stopped being "useful", their growth was purposely stunted.

Turians vs. Humans = UK vs. US - The old top dog fighting the new one.

There are a few more, but I was mainly curious what parallels other people drew when they were playing.

The Quarians are more like the Roma (Gypsies) with no fixed homeland any more, distrusting and distrsurted by other cultures because of their culture and poor economic conditions when they arrive in your system. You could even argue they are European Jews in a similar vein since until the 19th century Jews and Roma were see as about as equal in social status in the west.

Krogans are more like the Americans of the 21sts century. Powerful and useful during WW 1 & 2 ( Rachni Wars), but overly prosperous and war like, so they are being systematically lead to a controlled to extinction. For the US it is currently via economics & the assertions of power by other nations; but for the Krogs it's just genetic sterilization.

Turians are without a doubt the French, not the English. The Turians are a once powerful nation that is very proud with a storied history, but has lost its edge as a cohesive force that holds power. The Turians, like the French, struggle to find their place when they are now the least among equals.

#12 Edited by Brodehouse (9875 posts) -

Krogans are more like the Americans of the 21sts century. Powerful and useful during WW 1 & 2 ( Rachni Wars), but overly prosperous and war like, so they are being systematically lead to a controlled to extinction. For the US it is currently via economics & the assertions of power by other nations; but for the Krogs it's just genetic sterilization.

I have to systematically disagree. While I'm open to pondering if the European Allies 'used' America the way the Council used the krogan, the last 70 years since World War 2 does not coincide with the actions of the Krogan Rebellions. America has not gone to war with NATO members, and I don't want to get into future speculation. The Americans rise to power was simply due to resources and economics, and the brain-drain of massive immigration that led to the market revolution.

If I was going to go current/speculative with the connections, I would actually connect the turians and humans to America and China, with similar positions but swapped internal natures. China is this new power rising, making America's long dominance of global military affairs questionable.... but meanwhile, America more closely resembles the humans individualism and some might say hyper-idealized ambition, whereas the Chinese closer represent the turians obsession with civil service, deference to authority and personal sacrifice.

#13 Edited by Deathstriker (308 posts) -

@deathstriker said:

I'm not sure if Bioware has ever come out and said they were inspired by our real history when creating this world or not, but when I was playing the ME games I couldn't help but equate some of these aliens or conflicts with certain real world ones.

Quarians = Muslims/Arabs - They're covered head to toe, both take pilgrimages, to outsiders their customs are strange/weird, both lost their homeland, and so on.

Krogan history = Europeans colonizing Africa - Krogans were tribal and the other supposedly more advanced aliens used them for their own needs, which could be paralleled to Europeans stealing the natural resources of Africa and kidnapping millions of the people for slavery. In both cases, once they stopped being "useful", their growth was purposely stunted.

Turians vs. Humans = UK vs. US - The old top dog fighting the new one.

There are a few more, but I was mainly curious what parallels other people drew when they were playing.

The Quarians are more like the Roma (Gypsies) with no fixed homeland any more, distrusting and distrsurted by other cultures because of their culture and poor economic conditions when they arrive in your system. You could even argue they are European Jews in a similar vein since until the 19th century Jews and Roma were see as about as equal in social status in the west.

The Quarians never seemed all that disliked... well no one is fully liked by everyone besides maybe the Asari, but the Krogans and Batarians seemed to be way higher on the hate list and seemed to have worse living conditions/jobs. If anything, it seems like people thought the Quarians were just strange since they're a bit cutoff from everyone else and you can't see their face. The Romani lack the major criteria of having a main nemesis and being locked in war. Jews lack the customs like the way Quarians are dressed, "keelah se'lai" echoing "as-salamu alaykum", and so on.

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.