*spoilers* Revisiting the Mass Effect 3 ending.

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#1 Edited by Forum_User (310 posts) -

So, I recently finished Mass Effect 3, and then just today decided to Google the ending to see what others thought about it. Of course one of the first things I came across was the "indoctrination theory." While I have actively avoided spoilers about Mass Effect 3's plot until I got around to finishing it, I'm sure that many are aware of this theory by now. What kind of blows my mind is the number of people who actually deny it. I suggest they watch this video, if they haven't.

Now, of course I had not thought about all of these points, but once Shepard set foot inside a Reaper ship, I began to suspect that the Reapers were going to try to take control of Shepard. I think I had considered it even in the first game, but actually going into a Reaper ship was the thing that really made me strongly suspect it. Even early on in Mass Effect 2, though, I toyed with the idea that the new Normandy was actually a Reaper ship, and l that the Illusive Man was actually a Reaper creation. As for the third game, why is the Illusive Man always a step ahead of Shepard? Is he really just that amazing? (I'm kind of reserving judgment on all that until I play through the trilogy again, but regardless of where the ship actually came from, the Normandy does at least have a Reaper part by Mass Effect 3 (and with that being a plot device, that also means that the ship probably did not actually have anything to do with the Reapers before that point.)) Anyway, after watching the video linked above, I'm firmly convinced that not all is as it seems. Just how much, I'm not entirely sure. I am quite sure of two things, though:

1. The child that Shepard keeps feeling guilty about throughout Mass Effect 3 is not real. There are too many clues for that not to be the case, but it's really the ending that rather seals the deal here.

2. The stuff that happens after Shepard gets back up and heads toward the beam to get to the Citadel is not real. It is an internal battle against indoctrination. There are many indicators here, as explained in the video, but perhaps the biggest giveaway is that it makes no sense at all for Anderson and the Illusive Man to be on the Citadel. Actually, there is a bigger tell, but many might not witness it, and that is that if you choose the destruction ending (the "correct" path to fight indoctrination) with a high enough galactic readiness, there is a brief cut of Shepard still alive under some rubble.

I would also like to bring up another point which I do not think was brought up in the video, something that I was thinking about long before the trilogy ending: The Citadel is, as far as we know, a Reaper invention. Doesn't it logically follow that the Reapers would use the Citadel itself to indoctrinate those who are on it? I'm not too sure about that, but consider the overall behavior of the Citadel Council with regards to Saren and the Reapers from the very beginning, and the behavior of Earth's recently appointed Council member, also. That is something that I was thinking about for a long time. Are we just supposed to pass it off as a mere coincidence that the galactic center of power is in one of the Reapers' largest (that we know of) creations? A creation that is already known to be even more significant to the Reapers than anyone initially suspected? I don't think so. (Actually, I think it was pointed out in one of the first two games how that is part of the Reapers' plans, but I don't think anything was said about it being used for indoctrination.)

So basically, Mass Effect 3's ending, while, upon further inspection, not offering much closure, is quite a bit more than people initially gave it credit for. (Yes, I know they added to it with DLC, also.)

#2 Posted by Devise22 (183 posts) -

You have just in length described one of the main reasons why we will will never see any serious Mass Effect content post Mass Effect 3.

I have also read into these theories, and a lot of them have serious basis to be considered. The Shepard is indoctrinated theory has legs for sure. So does a theory that the little boy on the ship at the end of the game is lying to you the whole time. But what always throws all these things off is when you get to the ending and pick what you pick the game attempts to show you the results of what you did on the game world. Which means if Shepard alone was indoctrinated and it was all a dream or a hallucination then whatever you did shouldn't of had any affect on the overall universe. Yet it did, or it appeared to with what we were shown.

At the end of the day I think the most logical thing to look at is simply that Bioware was in over it's head. They had so much hype, so much build, so much going on that when it came time to solve it all at the end of Mass Effect 3....they were likely stumped. I don't imagine they had this type of thing in the ground in advance. It was "oh dear, how do we end this?" There is far too much inconsistency with every theory used and I think for the purposes of canon if any game or movie ever decides to take something and go with it, it shall be the destroy ending. However I still doubt that would ever happen. Such a mess was made of the way the series ends that I think everyone is just smart enough to leave it alone, and tell stories either a long ways after when civilization would of had time to get back to normal and Shepard is nothing more than a myth, or long before the existence of Shepard.

#3 Posted by DeeGee (2096 posts) -

Indocrination Theory would have been an amazing, powerful and effective ending to the game.  
 
It's a shame that Bioware didn't think so too.

#4 Edited by Forum_User (310 posts) -

@DeeGee said:

Indocrination Theory would have been an amazing, powerful and effective ending to the game. It's a shame that Bioware didn't think so too.

Did you watch the video? You have to watch the whole thing. I know it seems like fluff at the beginning.

#5 Posted by FilipHolm (663 posts) -

@Forum_User said:

@DeeGee said:

Indocrination Theory would have been an amazing, powerful and effective ending to the game. It's a shame that Bioware didn't think so too.

Did you watch the video? You have to watch the whole thing. I know it seems like fluff at the beginning.

They said themselves it's a false theory. I would've loved it to be true personally. They should've just shut up.

#6 Edited by Ghostiet (5153 posts) -

No. Fucking no. BioWare denied the indoctrination theory many times. They wanted to do something with indoctrination, but they couldn't figure out how to integrate it into gameplay. This entire thing is just simple fan wank. Stop saying it's not.

The reason for Mass Effect 3's ending is not misunderstood brilliance. It's because the game is a massive rush job (without the effective patchwork that ME2 had after ideas changed), Karpyshyn bailed, and the writers didn't want to give answers. Because they didn't know them. BioWare admitted as much - hell, they confirmed that the primary reason there were no female turians until the Omega DLC was that they had no idea how they looked like.

Many would like the indoctrination theory to be true. But it's not. BioWare denied that. Their notes confirm that. That theory was born not out of the brilliance of the writers, but out of the fans' desire to turn a badly written conclusion into something better.

#7 Edited by Forum_User (310 posts) -

@Devise22 said:

You have just in length described one of the main reasons why we will will never see any serious Mass Effect content post Mass Effect 3.

I have also read into these theories, and a lot of them have serious basis to be considered. The Shepard is indoctrinated theory has legs for sure. So does a theory that the little boy on the ship at the end of the game is lying to you the whole time. But what always throws all these things off is when you get to the ending and pick what you pick the game attempts to show you the results of what you did on the game world. Which means if Shepard alone was indoctrinated and it was all a dream or a hallucination then whatever you did shouldn't of had any affect on the overall universe. Yet it did, or it appeared to with what we were shown.

At the end of the day I think the most logical thing to look at is simply that Bioware was in over it's head. They had so much hype, so much build, so much going on that when it came time to solve it all at the end of Mass Effect 3....they were likely stumped. I don't imagine they had this type of thing in the ground in advance. It was "oh dear, how do we end this?" There is far too much inconsistency with every theory used and I think for the purposes of canon if any game or movie ever decides to take something and go with it, it shall be the destroy ending. However I still doubt that would ever happen. Such a mess was made of the way the series ends that I think everyone is just smart enough to leave it alone, and tell stories either a long ways after when civilization would of had time to get back to normal and Shepard is nothing more than a myth, or long before the existence of Shepard.

No, see, that is what they want you to think, at least at first. That is the mindfuck they have pulled, and that is what makes this kind of an amazing ending, at least by video game standards (even though I'm not sure if it is the real "ending," despite the fact that that is what they have told people, which is kind of what they would have to do in order to pull off the deception.)

Seriously, watch the whole video. It's insane. It all fits together too perfectly. It doesn't seem like much at first, but you really have to watch the whole thing. In particular, there is the fact that the people who were with you on the ground come out of the Normandy at the end and that if you have a high enough rating and choose destruction, Shepard is shown to still be alive.

#8 Posted by csl316 (7344 posts) -
@Ghostiet

No. Fucking no. BioWare denied the indoctrination theory many times. They wanted to do something with indoctrination, but they couldn't figure out how to integrate it into gameplay. This entire thing is just simple fan wank. Stop saying it's not.

All this.
#9 Posted by Mike76x (555 posts) -

@Forum_User: Indoctrination was supposed to take place at the end of the game.

They said the mechanics of controlling an indoctrinated Shepard and decision making didn't work so they dropped it and ended there game right there.

They also dropped the Illusive Man boss battle, because Casey Hudson thought it was too video-gamey.

"Indoctrination Theory' is merely realizing how lazy the Mass Effect team was when they ran out of time toward the end of development.

#10 Posted by Forum_User (310 posts) -

@csl316 said:

@Ghostiet

No. Fucking no. BioWare denied the indoctrination theory many times. They wanted to do something with indoctrination, but they couldn't figure out how to integrate it into gameplay. This entire thing is just simple fan wank. Stop saying it's not.

All this.

Where did they deny it? They have said things that people interpreted as denying it. I have not read an actual denial anywhere, and I tried to find one before making this thread.

#11 Posted by Forum_User (310 posts) -

@FilipHolm said:

@Forum_User said:

@DeeGee said:

Indocrination Theory would have been an amazing, powerful and effective ending to the game. It's a shame that Bioware didn't think so too.

Did you watch the video? You have to watch the whole thing. I know it seems like fluff at the beginning.

They said themselves it's a false theory. I would've loved it to be true personally. They should've just shut up.

I would like to see the exact quote and source of this.

#12 Posted by Devise22 (183 posts) -

@Forum_User said:

@Devise22 said:

You have just in length described one of the main reasons why we will will never see any serious Mass Effect content post Mass Effect 3.

I have also read into these theories, and a lot of them have serious basis to be considered. The Shepard is indoctrinated theory has legs for sure. So does a theory that the little boy on the ship at the end of the game is lying to you the whole time. But what always throws all these things off is when you get to the ending and pick what you pick the game attempts to show you the results of what you did on the game world. Which means if Shepard alone was indoctrinated and it was all a dream or a hallucination then whatever you did shouldn't of had any affect on the overall universe. Yet it did, or it appeared to with what we were shown.

At the end of the day I think the most logical thing to look at is simply that Bioware was in over it's head. They had so much hype, so much build, so much going on that when it came time to solve it all at the end of Mass Effect 3....they were likely stumped. I don't imagine they had this type of thing in the ground in advance. It was "oh dear, how do we end this?" There is far too much inconsistency with every theory used and I think for the purposes of canon if any game or movie ever decides to take something and go with it, it shall be the destroy ending. However I still doubt that would ever happen. Such a mess was made of the way the series ends that I think everyone is just smart enough to leave it alone, and tell stories either a long ways after when civilization would of had time to get back to normal and Shepard is nothing more than a myth, or long before the existence of Shepard.

No, see, that is what they want you to think, at least at first. That is the mindfuck they have pulled, and that is what makes this kind of an amazing ending, at least by video game standards (even though I'm not sure if it is the real "ending," even though that is what they have told people.)

Seriously, watch the whole video. It's insane. It all fits together too perfectly. It doesn't seem like much at first, but you really have to watch the whole thing. In particular, there is the fact that the people who were with you on the ground come out of the Normandy at the end and that if you have a high enough rating and choose destruction, Shepard is shown to still be alive.

I have seen the whole video, at least all the way through twice.

The fact of the matter is that it's fans putting pieces together in a phantom puzzle. When you get near the end of the video and throuhgout they constantly reference inconsistencies and plot holes in the way the ending is presented and tie it all together to show how indoctrination fits the bill. But truthfully all I garnered from it was a theory that has some merit set against a development team that simply left all these holes in because they had zero of a clue how to properly end their franchise. The fact that I see other game developers, movie developers and TV developers do the same thing time and time again when it comes to endings...proves this to me. So many endings of many things have mountains of plot holes and inconsistent things that one could use to garner their own fan made theories. Which ultimately is what I think Bioware wanted here. Give a weird ending that is chalk full of holes so that the fans can get what they want from the game. It's a half ass solution that comes as a result of not having any idea how you want to truly end your trilogy.

#13 Edited by Ghostiet (5153 posts) -

@Forum_User said:

@csl316 said:

@Ghostiet

No. Fucking no. BioWare denied the indoctrination theory many times. They wanted to do something with indoctrination, but they couldn't figure out how to integrate it into gameplay. This entire thing is just simple fan wank. Stop saying it's not.

All this.

Where did they deny it? They have said things that people interpreted as denying it. I have not read an actual denial anywhere, and I tried to find one before making this thread.

"Lots of speculation from everyone" is essentially the best denial they offered. So is the Extended Cut. They never flat out denied it, but they did say that they have only planned indoctrination as a gameplay gimmick, but they scrapped it early on.

And honestly, the biggest problem with this theory is not that there are holes in it. It's the simple fact that BioWare are not good writers. They write great dialogue and create good worlds, but they aren't good at doing stories. ME3 went out of its way to retcon pretty much the entirety of ME2, since the game's conclusion was supposed to be about something completely different.

#14 Posted by Forum_User (310 posts) -

@Devise22 said:

@Forum_User said:

@Devise22 said:

You have just in length described one of the main reasons why we will will never see any serious Mass Effect content post Mass Effect 3.

I have also read into these theories, and a lot of them have serious basis to be considered. The Shepard is indoctrinated theory has legs for sure. So does a theory that the little boy on the ship at the end of the game is lying to you the whole time. But what always throws all these things off is when you get to the ending and pick what you pick the game attempts to show you the results of what you did on the game world. Which means if Shepard alone was indoctrinated and it was all a dream or a hallucination then whatever you did shouldn't of had any affect on the overall universe. Yet it did, or it appeared to with what we were shown.

At the end of the day I think the most logical thing to look at is simply that Bioware was in over it's head. They had so much hype, so much build, so much going on that when it came time to solve it all at the end of Mass Effect 3....they were likely stumped. I don't imagine they had this type of thing in the ground in advance. It was "oh dear, how do we end this?" There is far too much inconsistency with every theory used and I think for the purposes of canon if any game or movie ever decides to take something and go with it, it shall be the destroy ending. However I still doubt that would ever happen. Such a mess was made of the way the series ends that I think everyone is just smart enough to leave it alone, and tell stories either a long ways after when civilization would of had time to get back to normal and Shepard is nothing more than a myth, or long before the existence of Shepard.

No, see, that is what they want you to think, at least at first. That is the mindfuck they have pulled, and that is what makes this kind of an amazing ending, at least by video game standards (even though I'm not sure if it is the real "ending," even though that is what they have told people.)

Seriously, watch the whole video. It's insane. It all fits together too perfectly. It doesn't seem like much at first, but you really have to watch the whole thing. In particular, there is the fact that the people who were with you on the ground come out of the Normandy at the end and that if you have a high enough rating and choose destruction, Shepard is shown to still be alive.

I have seen the whole video, at least all the way through twice.

The fact of the matter is that it's fans putting pieces together in a phantom puzzle. When you get near the end of the video and throuhgout they constantly reference inconsistencies and plot holes in the way the ending is presented and tie it all together to show how indoctrination fits the bill. But truthfully all I garnered from it was a theory that has some merit set against a development team that simply left all these holes in because they had zero of a clue how to properly end their franchise. The fact that I see other game developers, movie developers and TV developers do the same thing time and time again when it comes to endings...proves this to me. So many endings of many things have mountains of plot holes and inconsistent things that one could use to garner their own fan made theories. Which ultimately is what I think Bioware wanted here. Give a weird ending that is chalk full of holes so that the fans can get what they want from the game. It's a half ass solution that comes as a result of not having any idea how you want to truly end your trilogy.

So, you really think it's an accident that Shepard was the only one that ever took notice of the child, and that the child was suddenly gone at the beginning when Anderson showed up, even after having it clearly pointed out. I guess they really got you good.

#15 Posted by Napalm (9020 posts) -

The original endings don't make sense. The Indonctrination Theory doesn't make sense. It's just that, at the time, the Indoctrination Theory made slightly more sense.

#16 Posted by Forum_User (310 posts) -

@Napalm said:

The original endings don't make sense. The Indonctrination Theory doesn't make sense. It's just that, at the time, the Indoctrination Theory made slightly more sense.

What part of the Indoctrination Theory doesn't make sense?

#17 Posted by believer258 (11035 posts) -

But even if the Indoctrination theory, er, "fixes" the ending, what are we going to do about the mostly cheesy dialogue, the super generic story, or the bland gameplay?

I like Mass Effect 1 and 2 a whole lot, but 3 was just a let down. I really wanted to like it, and that "want" to enjoy what I was doing drove me to the end of the game, but that doesn't make it good. It's not just the ending that isn't good. It's the whole story. There are only a handful of interesting moments throughout the whole thing.

Meanwhile, the Indoctrination theory doesn't fix the idea that all of our past decisions were supposed to play into the ending and... they didn't. An entire series lauded for its choice systems and in the end none of them actually mattered at all. That's the "closure" that it's missing, it wasn't satisfying at all, even with the... uh... "Indoctrination theory."

Can we stop saying "Indoctrination theory" as well? It's not a theory. It's an idea that a fan had to settle his doubts about the ending, which is fine but giving it this whole "theory" thing and then discussing the hell out of it like it's actually something truly brilliant just comes across as sad. It's like people that take it seriously NEEDED this game's ending to be really, really good, so when it wasn't they made up something and said "Hey, it's actually bloody genius!"

#18 Posted by Brodehouse (9370 posts) -

I think they should've split The Reaper War across several (3) games, because they simply bit off more than they could chew. They should have slowed development down and did an entire 20-30 hour game about each of the main thrusts in 3, and _resolved_ plot threads well instead of having to rush through them because there isn't enough time in a 30 hour game to get deep into any one area. As it was, the conflict was just too grand and big to really do in a 30 hour game with two years development.

#19 Posted by Napalm (9020 posts) -

@believer258 said:

I like Mass Effect 1 and 2 a whole lot, but 3 was just a let down. I really wanted to like it, and that "want" to enjoy what I was doing drove me to the end of the game, but that doesn't make it good. It's not just the ending that isn't good. It's the whole story. There are only a handful of interesting moments throughout the whole thing.

Meanwhile, the Indoctrination theory doesn't fix the idea that all of our past decisions were supposed to play into the ending and... they didn't. An entire series lauded for its choice systems and in the end none of them actually mattered at all. That's the "closure" that it's missing, it wasn't satisfying at all, even with the... uh... "Indoctrination theory."

I see where you're coming from, but I'm kind of over that part of my problem with it. I was more concerned and perturbed by the Star Child who took the story in a complete one-eighty. If they had a sacrificial ending without Star Child, without that hamfisted late story beat, I would've been fine with that. It's that character's entire existence that undermines everything about the story, both past and present, and technically future. The Reapers were supposed to be this sentient race that were above our understanding... but instead they were being controlled by... a ghostly child. Goddamn it, Bioware.

#20 Posted by Forum_User (310 posts) -

@Ghostiet said:

They never flat out denied it, but they did say that they have only planned indoctrination as a gameplay gimmick, but they scrapped it early on.

Again, I'd like to see what exact quote this is based on. As for the rest, I don't see how your personal opinions / assumptions of their overall storytelling capabilities are really relevant to what story they actually wrote.

#21 Posted by Devise22 (183 posts) -

@Forum_User said:

@Devise22 said:

@Forum_User said:

@Devise22 said:

You have just in length described one of the main reasons why we will will never see any serious Mass Effect content post Mass Effect 3.

I have also read into these theories, and a lot of them have serious basis to be considered. The Shepard is indoctrinated theory has legs for sure. So does a theory that the little boy on the ship at the end of the game is lying to you the whole time. But what always throws all these things off is when you get to the ending and pick what you pick the game attempts to show you the results of what you did on the game world. Which means if Shepard alone was indoctrinated and it was all a dream or a hallucination then whatever you did shouldn't of had any affect on the overall universe. Yet it did, or it appeared to with what we were shown.

At the end of the day I think the most logical thing to look at is simply that Bioware was in over it's head. They had so much hype, so much build, so much going on that when it came time to solve it all at the end of Mass Effect 3....they were likely stumped. I don't imagine they had this type of thing in the ground in advance. It was "oh dear, how do we end this?" There is far too much inconsistency with every theory used and I think for the purposes of canon if any game or movie ever decides to take something and go with it, it shall be the destroy ending. However I still doubt that would ever happen. Such a mess was made of the way the series ends that I think everyone is just smart enough to leave it alone, and tell stories either a long ways after when civilization would of had time to get back to normal and Shepard is nothing more than a myth, or long before the existence of Shepard.

No, see, that is what they want you to think, at least at first. That is the mindfuck they have pulled, and that is what makes this kind of an amazing ending, at least by video game standards (even though I'm not sure if it is the real "ending," even though that is what they have told people.)

Seriously, watch the whole video. It's insane. It all fits together too perfectly. It doesn't seem like much at first, but you really have to watch the whole thing. In particular, there is the fact that the people who were with you on the ground come out of the Normandy at the end and that if you have a high enough rating and choose destruction, Shepard is shown to still be alive.

I have seen the whole video, at least all the way through twice.

The fact of the matter is that it's fans putting pieces together in a phantom puzzle. When you get near the end of the video and throuhgout they constantly reference inconsistencies and plot holes in the way the ending is presented and tie it all together to show how indoctrination fits the bill. But truthfully all I garnered from it was a theory that has some merit set against a development team that simply left all these holes in because they had zero of a clue how to properly end their franchise. The fact that I see other game developers, movie developers and TV developers do the same thing time and time again when it comes to endings...proves this to me. So many endings of many things have mountains of plot holes and inconsistent things that one could use to garner their own fan made theories. Which ultimately is what I think Bioware wanted here. Give a weird ending that is chalk full of holes so that the fans can get what they want from the game. It's a half ass solution that comes as a result of not having any idea how you want to truly end your trilogy.

So, you really think it's an accident that Shepard was the only one that ever took notice of the child, and that the child was suddenly gone at the beginning when Anderson showed up, even after having it clearly pointed out. I guess they really got you good.

I don't think it's an accident. The purpose of the boy and the dreams seemed pretty apparent to me throughout the whole game. It was a internal character storytelling element used to help Shepard struggle with the war, the pressures he put on himself and what he couldn't prevent being the Reaper invasion and all the deaths he had to face. It also seemed to tease the lead in to Shepards eventual climax.

Either way I don't discredit the indoctrination theory. I have said multiple times that it has legs. I don't understand why you assume "they got you" though. If by got me, you mean Bioware has convinced me that they don't know how to end a series? How is that getting me? It doesn't matter if it's the indoctrination theory, the original endings or the extended endings...ALL OF IT has plot holes that prevent any of them from truly making complete sense. The video details tons about both the extended and original endings that make no sense. And the endings themselves show all the Reapers either being destroyed, controlled, or synthesized along with the rest of the world. They show the relays blowing up. If the indoctrination theory is correct none of that would happen.

I just think you, along with several other Bioware faithful refuse to believe that the developers at Bioware were not good enough to make a justifiable ending to the Mass Effect trilogy. The shere fact that they have detailed in journals and as the book page listed above how they flip flopped on what they wanted to do with a Indoctrinated Illusive Man robot boss and how they wanted to handle the endings to me shows me all I need to know.

I however sit on a fence that most don't. While those that support the indoctrination theory seem to give all the credit to Bioware for this somehow so subtle crafted ending that nobody other than a select few crafted it and on the other side you have people who basically hate the game and our soured to the franchise due to the failed attempts at a proper ending I sit in the middle. As I previously stated, it is hard to end anything. Specifically a trilogy with as much hype and build as this had. Bioware hasn't really ever had to go full force to end something with the type of build this has had, and it is completely reasonable and doesn't take away from any of my experiences with the game that they couldn't manage it. I'd argue very few could.

#22 Posted by Ghostiet (5153 posts) -

@Brodehouse: I agree wholeheartedly. Hell, it didn't even need to be so drastic - simply turning the final push against the Reapers into ME4 (Deathly Hallows-style) would makes things easier for them.

I never understood the fixation on trilogies.

#23 Posted by Colourful_Hippie (4281 posts) -

@csl316 said:

@Ghostiet

No. Fucking no. BioWare denied the indoctrination theory many times. They wanted to do something with indoctrination, but they couldn't figure out how to integrate it into gameplay. This entire thing is just simple fan wank. Stop saying it's not.

All this.

Yup.

And to the OP in denial about the indoctrination crap, I don't think Bioware ever directly denied that so called "theory". They only said they will provide more clarity in the new ending DLC and they did just that. There were several instances where it was obvious that they clearly removed any chances of someone mistaking something as evidence for that theory. I'm not going to list the events because I don't remember all of the changes that well nor do I care enough about the franchise anymore to bother watching that ending again.

#24 Posted by _Chad (956 posts) -

The Reapers were on the grassy knoll.

#25 Posted by Forum_User (310 posts) -

@believer258 said:

But even if the Indoctrination theory, er, "fixes" the ending, what are we going to do about the mostly cheesy dialogue, the super generic story, or the bland gameplay?

I didn't create this thread to debate the merits of the game as a whole, though personally, I think ME1 was a mess of a game, aside from the story, from the rather bad AI to the mind-bogglingly horrible inventory management system. Seriously, I can't believe someone put out a AAA game with item management that bad in 2007. It would have hardly been believable in the 90's.

#26 Posted by Rasmoss (401 posts) -

@Brodehouse said:

I think they should've split The Reaper War across several (3) games, because they simply bit off more than they could chew. They should have slowed development down and did an entire 20-30 hour game about each of the main thrusts in 3, and _resolved_ plot threads well instead of having to rush through them because there isn't enough time in a 30 hour game to get deep into any one area. As it was, the conflict was just too grand and big to really do in a 30 hour game with two years development.

In my opinion, they should have never had a full Reaper invasion. The way they build up the Reapers in ME1 and 2, no resistance should have lasted against the Reapers as long as it does in 3. Also it makes all the fannying about the galaxy, one of the best parts of any ME game, seem completely silly, since you should be focusing your efforts on all the people dying. The last game should be stopping the Reapers entering the galaxy, like in the other games, but somehow make the solution more permanent.

#27 Edited by DeeGee (2096 posts) -

The Leviathan DLC confirms the existance of the Star Child outside of Shephards mind and explains its origins, and the Extended Cut DLC adds in a scene where Joker swoops down to pick up the team mates you brought with you on the final charge. Bioware has slowly crushed all the good reasons for the Indoctrination DLC to have any ground to stand on.

#28 Posted by Forum_User (310 posts) -

@Napalm said:

@believer258 said:

I like Mass Effect 1 and 2 a whole lot, but 3 was just a let down. I really wanted to like it, and that "want" to enjoy what I was doing drove me to the end of the game, but that doesn't make it good. It's not just the ending that isn't good. It's the whole story. There are only a handful of interesting moments throughout the whole thing.

Meanwhile, the Indoctrination theory doesn't fix the idea that all of our past decisions were supposed to play into the ending and... they didn't. An entire series lauded for its choice systems and in the end none of them actually mattered at all. That's the "closure" that it's missing, it wasn't satisfying at all, even with the... uh... "Indoctrination theory."

I see where you're coming from, but I'm kind of over that part of my problem with it. I was more concerned and perturbed by the Star Child who took the story in a complete one-eighty. If they had a sacrificial ending without Star Child, without that hamfisted late story beat, I would've been fine with that. It's that character's entire existence that undermines everything about the story, both past and present, and technically future. The Reapers were supposed to be this sentient race that were above our understanding... but instead they were being controlled by... a ghostly child. Goddamn it, Bioware.

That's just it. It doesn't make sense, and that is because the "Star Child" is not real. Just like it doesn't make sense that Anderson and the Illusive Man are on the Citadel. It is an attempt to get Shepard to agree with what the Reapers want. They don't want synthetics (i.e. themselves) to be destroyed, which is why they want to convince Shepard that is the worst choice. It's all about bringing Shepard to their way of thinking. Then, the indoctrination is complete.

Also, as I said above (in an edit), if you choose the destruction option with a high enough readiness rating, Shepard is shown to still be alive, and on Earth, apparently.

#29 Posted by Ghostiet (5153 posts) -

@Forum_User said:

Also, as I said above (in an edit), if you choose the destruction option with a high enough readiness rating, Shepard is shown to still be alive, and on Earth, apparently.

Look at DeeGee's post. You also always have the Destroy ending available, even when you have low EMS, which makes little sense if the Reapers don't want you to choose it.

#30 Posted by Rasmoss (401 posts) -

@Forum_User said:

@Napalm said:

@believer258 said:

I like Mass Effect 1 and 2 a whole lot, but 3 was just a let down. I really wanted to like it, and that "want" to enjoy what I was doing drove me to the end of the game, but that doesn't make it good. It's not just the ending that isn't good. It's the whole story. There are only a handful of interesting moments throughout the whole thing.

Meanwhile, the Indoctrination theory doesn't fix the idea that all of our past decisions were supposed to play into the ending and... they didn't. An entire series lauded for its choice systems and in the end none of them actually mattered at all. That's the "closure" that it's missing, it wasn't satisfying at all, even with the... uh... "Indoctrination theory."

I see where you're coming from, but I'm kind of over that part of my problem with it. I was more concerned and perturbed by the Star Child who took the story in a complete one-eighty. If they had a sacrificial ending without Star Child, without that hamfisted late story beat, I would've been fine with that. It's that character's entire existence that undermines everything about the story, both past and present, and technically future. The Reapers were supposed to be this sentient race that were above our understanding... but instead they were being controlled by... a ghostly child. Goddamn it, Bioware.

That's just it. It doesn't make sense, and that is because the "Star Child" is not real. Just like it doesn't make sense that Anderson and the Illusive Man are on the Citadel. It is an attempt to get Shepard to agree with what the Reapers want. They don't want synthetics (i.e. themselves) to be destroyed, which is why they want to convince Shepard that is the worst choice. It's all about bringing Shepard to their way of thinking. Then, the indoctrination is complete.

Also, as I said above (in an edit), if you choose the destruction option with a high enough readiness rating, Shepard is shown to still be alive, and on Earth, apparently.

Why offer him a chance to destroy them at all, if they don't want him to?

#31 Posted by Forum_User (310 posts) -

@DeeGee said:

The Leviathan DLC confirms the existance of the Star Child outside of Shephards mind and explains its origins, and the Extended Cut DLC adds in a scene where Joker swoops down to pick up the team mates you brought with you on the final charge. Bioware has slowly crushed all the good reasons for the Indoctrination DLC to have any ground to stand on.

Hm, guess I'll have to look into that.

Still doesn't explain why Shepard is alive on Earth when you pick the destruction option with a high enough galactic readiness.

#32 Posted by Forum_User (310 posts) -

@Rasmoss said:

@Forum_User said:

@Napalm said:

@believer258 said:

I like Mass Effect 1 and 2 a whole lot, but 3 was just a let down. I really wanted to like it, and that "want" to enjoy what I was doing drove me to the end of the game, but that doesn't make it good. It's not just the ending that isn't good. It's the whole story. There are only a handful of interesting moments throughout the whole thing.

Meanwhile, the Indoctrination theory doesn't fix the idea that all of our past decisions were supposed to play into the ending and... they didn't. An entire series lauded for its choice systems and in the end none of them actually mattered at all. That's the "closure" that it's missing, it wasn't satisfying at all, even with the... uh... "Indoctrination theory."

I see where you're coming from, but I'm kind of over that part of my problem with it. I was more concerned and perturbed by the Star Child who took the story in a complete one-eighty. If they had a sacrificial ending without Star Child, without that hamfisted late story beat, I would've been fine with that. It's that character's entire existence that undermines everything about the story, both past and present, and technically future. The Reapers were supposed to be this sentient race that were above our understanding... but instead they were being controlled by... a ghostly child. Goddamn it, Bioware.

That's just it. It doesn't make sense, and that is because the "Star Child" is not real. Just like it doesn't make sense that Anderson and the Illusive Man are on the Citadel. It is an attempt to get Shepard to agree with what the Reapers want. They don't want synthetics (i.e. themselves) to be destroyed, which is why they want to convince Shepard that is the worst choice. It's all about bringing Shepard to their way of thinking. Then, the indoctrination is complete.

Also, as I said above (in an edit), if you choose the destruction option with a high enough readiness rating, Shepard is shown to still be alive, and on Earth, apparently.

Why offer him a chance to destroy them at all, if they don't want him to?

They aren't. It's not real. They are simply trying to indoctrinate him / her. That is what they want, for Shepard to be on their side. Shepard never left Earth. Shepard is not on the Citadel. (I wasn't too sure about that until I considered the destruction ending with high galactic readiness, where there is a quick cut of Shepard breathing under some decidedly Earthly-looking rubble.)

I had my doubts about some of it at first, until I considered all of the evidence.

#33 Posted by TheHumanDove (2394 posts) -

Dude, the indoctrination theory has been dismissed by the devs themselves. I know you want a source or something, but I'm really not going to go back looking for quotes that were made months and months ago. You're a little bit late to the party as far as the ME3 ending goes, but I assure you that that theory has been dead in the water for a long time now.

#34 Posted by Forum_User (310 posts) -

@TheHumanDove said:

Dude, the indoctrination theory has been dismissed by the devs themselves. I know you want a source or something, but I'm really not going to go back looking for quotes that were made months and months ago.

Yep, I always love the, "There is a source, but I'm not going to bother finding it," type comment. Is that actually supposed to convince me of anything?

#35 Posted by TheHumanDove (2394 posts) -

Well, it seems unlikely I'd be lying to you. But whatever, keep holding onto those dreams, space cowboy.

#36 Posted by Devise22 (183 posts) -

@DeeGee said:

The Leviathan DLC confirms the existance of the Star Child outside of Shephards mind and explains its origins, and the Extended Cut DLC adds in a scene where Joker swoops down to pick up the team mates you brought with you on the final charge. Bioware has slowly crushed all the good reasons for the Indoctrination DLC to have any ground to stand on.

Interesting, wasn't aware that the DLC for Leviathan went into that detail. Is it worth playing from a gameplay perspective as well?

#37 Posted by Forum_User (310 posts) -

@TheHumanDove said:

Well, it seems unlikely I'd be lying to you. But whatever, keep holding onto those dreams, space cowboy.

It's not a matter of lying. It's a matter of if you are interpreting deliberately ambiguous dev comments about "dedicated fans" or something to mean denial.

#38 Edited by EXTomar (4120 posts) -

This topic is a no-win situation. Either the story was so clever too few got it which is bad or the story was just plain old bad. The irony would be they had a solid ending if they simply showed Shepard and Anderson dying and the Citadel destroyed. The relays would be open and there would still be enough danger from dangerous but directionless Reavers left out there for many more games but for whatever reason the core writers felt they needed an absurd setup to justify not completely defeating the bad guys.

#39 Posted by Napalm (9020 posts) -

@Forum_User said:

@Napalm said:

@believer258 said:

I like Mass Effect 1 and 2 a whole lot, but 3 was just a let down. I really wanted to like it, and that "want" to enjoy what I was doing drove me to the end of the game, but that doesn't make it good. It's not just the ending that isn't good. It's the whole story. There are only a handful of interesting moments throughout the whole thing.

Meanwhile, the Indoctrination theory doesn't fix the idea that all of our past decisions were supposed to play into the ending and... they didn't. An entire series lauded for its choice systems and in the end none of them actually mattered at all. That's the "closure" that it's missing, it wasn't satisfying at all, even with the... uh... "Indoctrination theory."

I see where you're coming from, but I'm kind of over that part of my problem with it. I was more concerned and perturbed by the Star Child who took the story in a complete one-eighty. If they had a sacrificial ending without Star Child, without that hamfisted late story beat, I would've been fine with that. It's that character's entire existence that undermines everything about the story, both past and present, and technically future. The Reapers were supposed to be this sentient race that were above our understanding... but instead they were being controlled by... a ghostly child. Goddamn it, Bioware.

That's just it. It doesn't make sense, and that is because the "Star Child" is not real. Just like it doesn't make sense that Anderson and the Illusive Man are on the Citadel. It is an attempt to get Shepard to agree with what the Reapers want. They don't want synthetics (i.e. themselves) to be destroyed, which is why they want to convince Shepard that is the worst choice. It's all about bringing Shepard to their way of thinking. Then, the indoctrination is complete.

Also, as I said above (in an edit), if you choose the destruction option with a high enough readiness rating, Shepard is shown to still be alive, and on Earth, apparently.

You really want to have the Indoctrination Theory debate again? Just because you weren't here when that was proposed doesn't mean you get to reply to everybody in this thread to try and convince them otherwise. Beside, the Extended Cut nullified that theory.

#40 Posted by Mike76x (555 posts) -

@Ghostiet said:

No. Fucking no. BioWare denied the indoctrination theory many times. They wanted to do something with indoctrination, but they couldn't figure out how to integrate it into gameplay. This entire thing is just simple fan wank. Stop saying it's not.

The reason for Mass Effect 3's ending is not misunderstood brilliance. It's because the game is a massive rush job (without the effective patchwork that ME2 had after ideas changed), Karpyshyn bailed, and the writers didn't want to give answers. Because they didn't know them. BioWare admitted as much - hell, they confirmed that the primary reason there were no female turians until the Omega DLC was that they had no idea how they looked like.

Many would like the indoctrination theory to be true. But it's not. BioWare denied that. Their notes confirm that. That theory was born not out of the brilliance of the writers, but out of the fans' desire to turn a badly written conclusion into something better.

How is leaving indoctrination plot-points fan wank?

It's simple laziness/stupidity by Bioware.

The official term would be "plot hole", because the indoctrination stuff was never removed when they changed the ending.

#41 Posted by Mike76x (555 posts) -

@TheHumanDove said:

Dude, the indoctrination theory has been dismissed by the devs themselves. I know you want a source or something, but I'm really not going to go back looking for quotes that were made months and months ago. You're a little bit late to the party as far as the ME3 ending goes, but I assure you that that theory has been dead in the water for a long time now.

They also claimed "artistic integrity" when people criticized their pile of shit ending, but a month before the game game out they were saying they wanted to hear what the fans wanted.

But had no problem ripping out Javik and re-writing the entire plot to fit in with EA's "project ripoff" where was the artistic integrity there?

Or Mac Walters saying by the end of ME3 the galaxy was a "wasteland" one month before the game came out, then completely negating that in the extended cut.

They left in the indoctrination story beats, they fucked up and the discarded scraps of their aborted ending is still better than what they ended with.

#42 Edited by Forum_User (310 posts) -

@Ghostiet said:

@Forum_User said:

Also, as I said above (in an edit), if you choose the destruction option with a high enough readiness rating, Shepard is shown to still be alive, and on Earth, apparently.

Look at DeeGee's post. You also always have the Destroy ending available, even when you have low EMS, which makes little sense if the Reapers don't want you to choose it.

Because it's not about actually destroying the Reapers. You don't actually get to. It's whether or not they can bring you around to their way of thinking. The synthesis option is the one most in line with the Reaper way of thinking. It fits precisely with their goals. The control option is similarly a trick. "Controlling" the Reapers is what the Illusive Man wanted, and no matter how you look at it, the Illusive Man was indoctrinated. The destruction option (representing Shepard's desire to destroy the Reapers) is what they want you to abandon, which is why they attempt to make it seem the least appealing.

The theory holds that Shepard is not really on the Citadel. It is a battle for Shepard's mind. The Illusive Man and Anderson, in this scene, represent Shepard's internal struggle. Of course there is no good explanation for either of them being on the Citadel, let alone both. The plants like the ones in Shepards past dreams appear on the ground when Shepard wakes up, when they were not there before. How can that possibly be an accident? The giant Reaper flies off for no apparent reason. You are contacted on the radio by someone who moments before said that everyone in the assault died. That goes far beyond what would be expected from "bad writing." It's deliberately illogical. It's dream logic.

#43 Posted by believer258 (11035 posts) -

@Forum_User said:

@Rasmoss said:

@Forum_User said:

@Napalm said:

@believer258 said:

I like Mass Effect 1 and 2 a whole lot, but 3 was just a let down. I really wanted to like it, and that "want" to enjoy what I was doing drove me to the end of the game, but that doesn't make it good. It's not just the ending that isn't good. It's the whole story. There are only a handful of interesting moments throughout the whole thing.

Meanwhile, the Indoctrination theory doesn't fix the idea that all of our past decisions were supposed to play into the ending and... they didn't. An entire series lauded for its choice systems and in the end none of them actually mattered at all. That's the "closure" that it's missing, it wasn't satisfying at all, even with the... uh... "Indoctrination theory."

I see where you're coming from, but I'm kind of over that part of my problem with it. I was more concerned and perturbed by the Star Child who took the story in a complete one-eighty. If they had a sacrificial ending without Star Child, without that hamfisted late story beat, I would've been fine with that. It's that character's entire existence that undermines everything about the story, both past and present, and technically future. The Reapers were supposed to be this sentient race that were above our understanding... but instead they were being controlled by... a ghostly child. Goddamn it, Bioware.

That's just it. It doesn't make sense, and that is because the "Star Child" is not real. Just like it doesn't make sense that Anderson and the Illusive Man are on the Citadel. It is an attempt to get Shepard to agree with what the Reapers want. They don't want synthetics (i.e. themselves) to be destroyed, which is why they want to convince Shepard that is the worst choice. It's all about bringing Shepard to their way of thinking. Then, the indoctrination is complete.

Also, as I said above (in an edit), if you choose the destruction option with a high enough readiness rating, Shepard is shown to still be alive, and on Earth, apparently.

Why offer him a chance to destroy them at all, if they don't want him to?

They aren't. It's not real. They are simply trying to indoctrinate him / her. That is what they want, for Shepard to be on their side. Shepard never left Earth. Shepard is not on the Citadel. (I wasn't too sure about that until I considered the destruction ending with high galactic readiness, where there is a quick cut of Shepard breathing under some decidedly Earthly-looking rubble.)

I had my doubts about some of it at first, until I considered all of the evidence.

You do realize that particular plot twist - whether it was intended by the devs or not - is just as dumb and unfulfilling as the "star child" thing we see in the actual game?

"Hey, guys, it doesn't make sense because it's (essentially) a hallucination"!

Yes, you're right, the games all talk about indoctrination to an extent, but as far as "good endings" go, badly wounding your main character and ending it in a hallucination or dream or whatever is just plain bad storytelling. It's a bad ending no matter which way you twist it. It's dumb. It's horrible. It's pointless to argue about.

#44 Edited by EXTomar (4120 posts) -

How is it possible? Because it is a work of questionable fiction. Instead of trying to finch up some reasoning that looks more like a pretzel than anything, it simply could be illogical because it was poorly written.

#45 Posted by Turambar (6482 posts) -

The indoctrination theory hinges on the fact that if you don't choose destroy, the reapers win. In the extended cut DLC, all endings result in a reaper loss. Boom, indoctrination theory disproven.

*Drops mic*

#46 Posted by csl316 (7344 posts) -
@Turambar said:

The indoctrination theory hinges on the fact that if you don't choose destroy, the reapers win. In the extended cut DLC, all endings result in a reaper loss. Boom, indoctrination theory disproven.

*Drops mic*

Damn, son.
#47 Edited by Ghostiet (5153 posts) -

@Forum_User said:

It's deliberately illogical. It's dream logic.

And this is precisely the reason why I was never on board with the indoctrination theory. The problem with "it was all a dream" interpretations is that it is way too easy to hand wave shit with dream logic. It's especially risky in video games and it only really worked in Metal Gear Solid 2 and Spec Ops: The Line, which have the benefit of being deconstructions of the entire concept of player agency. And the context of the writer does matter - Spec Ops: The Line openly lampshades the "dying dream" interpretation, while MGS2's VR theory is more plausible due to Kojima's track record and the breakdowns he had.

BTW, sure, they are trying to show Destroy as the least appealing option, but it still doesn't fit in with the fact that it's the only option with low EMS. Unless you dabble into meta stuff, which also makes this theory unlikely and unappealing, since the endings are already thematically incoherent with what ME is all about.

And yeah, as the others mentioned, the Extended Cut + the Leviathan DLC throws wrenches into the theory which I don't think were addressed. Believe it if you want to.

#48 Edited by Brodehouse (9370 posts) -

@Rasmoss said:

@Brodehouse said:

I think they should've split The Reaper War across several (3) games, because they simply bit off more than they could chew. They should have slowed development down and did an entire 20-30 hour game about each of the main thrusts in 3, and _resolved_ plot threads well instead of having to rush through them because there isn't enough time in a 30 hour game to get deep into any one area. As it was, the conflict was just too grand and big to really do in a 30 hour game with two years development.

In my opinion, they should have never had a full Reaper invasion. The way they build up the Reapers in ME1 and 2, no resistance should have lasted against the Reapers as long as it does in 3. Also it makes all the fannying about the galaxy, one of the best parts of any ME game, seem completely silly, since you should be focusing your efforts on all the people dying. The last game should be stopping the Reapers entering the galaxy, like in the other games, but somehow make the solution more permanent.

I understand where you're coming from but there are two things;

1) Vigil even states himself that the destruction of an entire species is not a quick affair; it took centuries for the Reapers to wipe out the Protheans. This goes further into 2...

2) This is a force the Reapers have never remotely contended with. They have always started out affairs with a sneak attack at the Citadel, destroying the galaxy's main source of communication and travel. They were denied that this time. if you go by some of the hints offered regarding the rachni, and the Reapers broken hold over the keepers, this cycle should have began a thousand years before. That's a thousand years of technological advancement it should never have received (think of the QEC). Add to that the various advances discovered by looting Sovereign and the Collector's equipment, advances that no other cycle had been privy to. The asari themselves, genetically modified by the Protheans to be better biotic soldiers, are a plus. And even though it appears like no one prepared for the Reapers outside of STG and Shepard, it's a hell of a lot more than the Protheans or anyone else did.

But absolutely, there is a weird amount of dicking around that just doesn't seem like Shepard should be doing. They could have kept most of it if they just increased the sense that each mission is vitally important and Shepard is the only one they think can pull it off (a lot of it is rather important from a galactic stance, acquiring those Cerberus scientists, investigating the rachni signal, stopping the assault on Grissom Academy). Or just the sense that Shepard actually ran a hundred missions and these are just the ones we're showing you. I think what could have made them feel more important is if the galactic strength meter wasn't so piss easy to fill up. You never really feel like you need those scientists, or you need to make an ethically dubious choice in order to have enough strength to win. And yeah, take out all the stupid fetch questy stuff. That's about as bad as the Mako collect resources stuff, or the planet scanning from 2.

Maybe they shouldn't have made a meter at all, and let people wonder about what they needed.... then again, this is the age of the FAQ. People like Vinny would look it up 100% of the time.

#49 Edited by Forum_User (310 posts) -

@Turambar said:

The indoctrination theory hinges on the fact that if you don't choose destroy, the reapers win. In the extended cut DLC, all endings result in a reaper loss. Boom, indoctrination theory disproven.

*Drops mic*

Cute, but the theory is that everything that happens after the beam attack is in Shepard's head. That was the theory when the ending was just the Normandy escaping and performing a miracle landing on some planet, and it still is the theory now that they added a bit more to it in an attempt to appease a whole lot of internet whining.

#50 Edited by Napalm (9020 posts) -

@Ghostiet said:

the Leviathan DLC throws wrenches into the theory which I don't think were addressed.

Whoa, wait, the Leviathan DLC also addresses the ending? No spoilers, but, I didn't expect that from that DLC.

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