The Truth Behind Mass Effect 3's ending.

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Posted by comp13 (48 posts) -

edit on March 30th: For ongoing issues related to this theory, please go to the VERY LONG indoc theory thread on the BioWare forums. http://social.bioware.com/forum/1/topic/355/index/12047832/1

-

Let me start off first by saying HUGE SPOLIERS AHEAD and that when I beat Mass Effect 3, I was extremely disappointed with the ending. It feels weird and off somehow. After looking around on the internet, and adding some of my own thoughts, I decided that the truth behind the ending should be revealed on Giant Bomb as it has at several other sites around the web. Most people’s opinion is based on taking the ending as fact and not digging behind the scenes. If you look at the evidence, you will see that BioWare pulled a fast one on the gaming community worthy of Hideo Kojima. Let me say again, I totally missed this stuff like most people. After being alerted to it and analyzing everything myself, I wrote this analysis.

edit on March 19th: BioWare has started saying that they will talk about the ending once they feel enough people have played the game. It seems that the ending for Mass Effect 3 was changing until the end of development. What actions BioWare will take with the ending, including no action at all, no one can really know right now. Until we know for sure, I would like to think that they left the evidence pointing to indoctrination in so that they could leave their options open. Perhaps they planned to release DLC that added to the ending all along. Perhaps they will do so now that people have expressed deep frustration with the current ending. They may even make bigger changes that affect the entire story, or again, do nothing.

edit on March 15th: Something I did not include but have since read and find very compelling. Shepard is all beat up and hunched over, but after he starts shooting upon choosing the destroy option, he stands up straight, starts walking correctly, and puts both his hands on the pistol. This is the sign Shepard is regaining his strength/will. The other options see Shepard drop the pistol.

For the too long, didn’t read crowd:

- The child on Earth is not real. It is a manifestation of Shepard’s indoctrination.

- Everything that happens after the screen turns white from Harbinger's final shot during the dash to get to the Citadel is a dream sequence brought about by Shepard's near death experience and indoctrination.

- By bringing 5000 war asset strength to the final fight, and choosing the far right option to destroy synthetic life, Shepard can be seen regaining consciousness. We know he is on Earth because he is surrounded by dark, brick like building material. If the Citadel actually blew up, Shepard would not live and any Citadel debris would be silver, clean, and futuristic looking.

- Choosing the far right option is the only one where Shepard will be alive and wake up. This is despite the Star Child/ The Guardians not so subtle warning that Shepard has synthetics and could be considered part synthetic. This is in order to make that choice seem very bad, since it will kill the Geth, EDI, and Shepard too. The other two possible end game options see Shepard dissolve away, but supposedly for a noble cause. This is not the case and is, in fact, a symbol that the Reapers have won.

- BioWare is taunting you with huge continuity holes in the end sequence, seeing who will take note.

This is my attempt to bring the truth of the end sequence to Giant Bomb so everyone can talk about it and understand just how good BioWare’s writing is. Let’s start at the beginning.

The Start on Earth:

- The biggest thing to understand is that the child Shepard sees on Earth and throughout the game is not real. The child is a manifestation of the Reaper’s slow but steady indoctrination of Shepard. He has been around Reaper tech for the most consecutive amount of time. More than any other organic.

- Shepard first sees the child while waiting in his room on Earth, looking down from a window. This is the first sign the Reapers are close.

- The next time Shepard sees the child is when Shepard and Anderson are trying to get to the Normandy, and Anderson leaves the room. The child is again seen only by Shepard and tells him “you can’t help me”. This is the Reapers taunting Shepard, as the child represents all the people on Earth Shepard cannot save. More on this to come.

- When Anderson comes back and interrupts Shepard there is a slight roaring sound. My understanding is that this is similar to the effect witnessed by Paul Grayson while under Reaper control in Mass Effect: Retribution. Whenever Grayson fought Reaper control, he would hear roaring.

- Shepard starting to show the effects of indoctrination makes sense now that the Reapers are on Earth. The last thing Shepard did before being held on Earth was interact with the Reaper artifact in the Arrival DLC for ME 2. It would make sense that with Reapers all around him, and in such large numbers, his will would begin to fray.

- This video allows you to hear the roar at the :58 second mark, proving the previous point about those suffering from indoctrination will hear roaring when the Reapers are not getting their way. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f2DSx_C7rIU

- At the final scene before leaving Earth, the child looks right at Shepard. No one seems to pay the child any attention. Neither the soldiers nor the civilians grab him or yell at him to get on the shuttle. Also Shepard is the only person to witness this, as the other crew members that were previously on the ramp have turned and walked away. Finally, the loud Reaper sounding horns only blare and drown out the piano while Shepard (and the player) are looking at the child and what he is doing. The Reapers are inside Shepard’s head. The sound design is very deliberate.

Dreams in the middle of the game:

- This is where things start to get deep. Again, the child represents the people Shepard cannot save on Earth. The child is a way for the Reapers to mess with Shepard’s head.

- The twist comes in the understanding that the dream sequences themselves are there to mess with you, the player.

- Jeff Gerstmann has previously stated that he did not like the dream sequences. This is the point. Bioware is messing with him along with the rest of us.

- For a company that has shown in the past great ability to write tight, intricate stories, these dream sequences come off as hokey and weirdly paced. Everything is in slow motion. This is important to remember down the line.

Scenes with Kai Leng and the Prothean VI:

- On Thessia, Shepard talks with the Prothean VI. Just as the VI is about to talk about the catalyst, it says “indoctrinated presence detected.” Some people claim that the VI was actually talking about Shepard, and that we are simply to assume it meant Kai Leng. I find this to be a weak piece of evidence, but it may still hold some value.

The Final Push

It is here that we see the frustration about Mass Effect’s ending. It is because the ending does not make sense on purpose. It is convoluted to a fault. It is a tool for the Reapers to mess with Shepard. It is BioWare’s chance to mess with you, the player.

- Everything is “ok” up until Shepard makes a mad dash for the device that connects Earth to the Citadel. The first thing that happens is Harbinger (the main Reaper) drops onto Earth. This entrance is quick, nosily, and flashy. Harbinger's eyes glow bright. BioWare is sending you a message: "This is it, be on your guard."

- Shepard dodges Harbinger’s shots until one appears about to hit him. The screen fades to white.

- Shepard is knocked out cold. This will be proven at the end.

IT IS AT THIS POINT THAT REALITY STOPS

Please use YouTube to check all these facts yourself. Here is the first in a series of videos showing the end: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SaZg0nr4oYI

- When Shepard awakes, everything is in slow motion as he makes his way to the portal. This is a call back to when we know Shepard was dreaming.

- Also notice how close Shepard and other dying soldiers are to the beam, yet Shepard got hit much farther away. If Shepard got pushed in a direction by the hit, it could have only been further away.

- The next issue occurs when Shepard fights his way onto the Citadel. The hallway he finds himself in is completely unguarded.

- Shepard hears Anderson over the radio. Anderson said he followed Shepard up, but doesn’t know where he is. It is logical to assume that Anderson would have ended up in the same place as Shepard if he used the same beam transport.

- Furthermore, during the slow motion shootout, radio chatter can be heard that hammer force has been “wiped out.” It would seem unlikely that Shepard would make it to the beam, much less Anderson following after him.

- Anderson and Shepard continue to talk, noting that the area seems to be similar to the collector base. The second area Shepard reaches has similar design to the Shadow Broker’s ship, specifically the engine area where electricity jumped from point to point moving large metal pieces of the engine. The places Shepard has been before are bleeding into the dream. Shepard remarks that specifically the first area does not look like any area of the Citadel he has ever seen. BioWare is telling you that all is not well.

- As Shepard moves forward, Anderson says that doors are changing. He comes to a chasm and is able to cross it. Anderson arrives at the control station first, despite the fact that he followed Shepard to the Citadel, and there is only one path from the arrival point to the control panel.

- When Shepard comes to a dead end, doors simply open for him, revealing a straight path to some kind of bright light where the control panel will appear to be. Again, this linear path is completely unguarded.

- Once Shepard arrives, the Illusive Man appears COMPLETELY ALONE from the same linear path Shepard walked.

- The conversation with Anderson and the Illusive Man is a fight between good and bad, paragon and renegade in Shepard’s mind. The Illusive Man wants to control the Reapers, let them live. This would be similar to the end choice in Mass Effect 2 about whether to save the collector base or destroy it. Control would be the Renegade choice.

- Once this scene is over, Shepard opens the arms of the Citadel with the control panel. Ignoring the fact that Shepard has already seen and used the Citadel controls in Mass Effect 1 (they are at the Citadel Council chambers), assuming there is a second panel that allows for control of the Citadel, would the Reapers leave it unguarded?

- Shepard gets up once more, only to collapse from exhaustion and blood loss, and just happens to fall on a random elevator at the foot of the panel that becomes engulfed in white light as it rises? This is getting to be too much.

Meeting with Star Child/The Guardian:

- Having previously fallen and unable to get up, Shepard is order to stand up by a child and simply does it.

It is important to understand that the Reapers are trying to stop Shepard, and Bioware will be messing with you, the player. The following scene plays so unlike anything else in Mass Effect 3 because Shepard has no control, he is in a dream. At no point can Shepard ask any questions. Only once does a conversation choice come up, and either option is meaningless. This prevents the action from stopping, giving the player the chance to think about what is going on and how insane these events actually are. Shepard is in a dream, he has no control. Also note that Star Child used the word “we” when talking about the Reapers in the final scene.

- As seen in codex entries, and at the dead reaper where you acquire the Reaper IFF in Mass Effect 2, victims of indoctrination can begin to see” hallucinations of ‘ghostly’ presences.” I would say that appropriately fits the description of Star Child.

- Star Child begins this long process of talking in circles, finally giving Shepard three choices. The left most choice is shown in blue, the color of paragon. Yet control is what the Illusive Man wanted, and he is the symbol for Renegade choices. The middle choice is also awash in blue. It promoted the idea of everlasting peace by combining organics with synthetics. If either of these options gets picked, Shepard disintegrates. The Reapers have won. It is also interesting to note that choosing the control option sees Star Child linger and watch Shepard. The camera focuses on him and there appears to be a smirk cross his face.

- The third option is on the right. You know, THE RIGHT CHOICE. It appears red and shows Anderson acting it out. Yet Anderson is the symbol for Paragon. The Reapers further make you feel like it would be a bad choice by saying the Geth and EDI will be destroyed along with Shepard due to him perhaps being somewhat synthetic. However, if you chose this option Shepard is not dissolved away and Star Child disappears IMMEDIATELY after Shepard starts shooting, unlike the control option.

- This image shows the number one facing the wrong way. Some have seen this as a sign that morality has switched. http://oi41.tinypic.com/2nvgso4.jpg

- The final piece of the puzzle is that if Shepard brings 5000 or more war strength to the final battle, and chooses the option to destroy synthetic life. The same cut scene plays as if you had not gotten up to 5000 war strength except for that after the ending where the Normandy “crash lands” on an alien planet, Shepard regains consciousness on Earth and takes a loud inhale. We know it is Earth because he is lying in dark brick-like rubble, which fits with the idea that Shepard was dreaming/being tested after his near death experience, and because the whole “ending” sequence is a mess of nonsense to anyone who actively observes and is a fan of the Mass Effect Universe. The fact that one would need at least 5000 war strength score to see this brief clip of Shepard being alive after passing the Reaper/indoctrination “test” means it is only initially seen by those who have played a lot of Mass Effect, i.e. fans who have done a very complete play through.

The final cut scenes:

I will now talk briefly about the final cut scenes that see cookie-cutter movies play with the only changes being the color of the energy blast, if the reapers lift off Earth or fall down, and Joker’s eyes if the synthesis option was chosen. It is important to note that this part is also not happening, and is included just so BioWare can again mess explicitly with you, the player. When Shepard wakes up after brining 5000 war assets and choosing the RIGHT option, it is after these scenes that he does so. This proves these events do not happen as well.

- One source of ire about the ending is that all three choices are basically the same except the random ball of energy is a different color. This implies lazy writing on the part of BioWare, and that your choice doesn’t matter. Having built a huge well-connected and well-defined universe, this is clearly not the case. BioWare is messing with you. Having been accused of losing the magic and watering down the experience, BioWare is testing your faith in them. Would they really be able to tie everything back together in Mass Effect 3, and then simply drop the ball in the last 15 minutes?

- There is the issue of the energy itself. Mass Effect prides itself on tying everything together scientifically. How would this random energy blast solve anything? It would certainly not allow everyone to suddenly be half machine. This is an example of pure magic in Mass Effect, and many simply believe it.

- Every choice sees the destruction of the mass relays. As seen in the Arrival DLC for Mass Effect 2, destroying a relay basically destroys an entire system. This implies that Earth, along with many other planets, are wiped clean and destroyed all across the galaxy. This is horrific if you think about it, and implies civilization of any kind will cease to exist because pretty much everything is dead, and life sustaining planets have been ruined.

- Speaking about the Normandy specifically, for the ship to be running from the energy blast it had to have entered the relay system before the energy started spreading. Why would they do this? Taking the ending at face value (which is wrong), no one would have known what was about to happen. They had no warning time. The final fight was at Earth. Why would they be running?

- The blast eventually catches up with the Normandy, blowing up the back part of the ship. This would immediately drop the ship out of FTL travel. According to the codex, this would kill everyone alive. “If the field collapses while the ship is moving at faster-than-light speeds, the effects are catastrophic. The ship is snapped back to sublight velocity, the enormous excess energy shed in the form of lethal Cherenkov radiation.”

- This is separate from the insane notion that with the back half of the ship gone, and snapping out of FTL flight, the Normandy would be anywhere near a planet, much less safely land on it.

- The final insult to anyone who cares about the Mass Effect universe is that after all that, BioWare takes us for such fools that we would believe Joker, the guy with brittle bone disease, is the first one up and kicking to open the door. When the Normandy crash lands on the collector base in Mass Effect 2, Joker says he might have “broken a rib, or all of them.” Do you think after snapping back to sub-FTL travel, and the back half of the ship breaking up, AND crash landing on a planet, that Joker would be alive much less the first one to the door?

So this concludes my analysis. If you have made it this far you have no doubt seen the huge amount of evidence that points to the fact that BioWare has fooled us all. The entire argument comes down to your faith in BioWare. Did they make such a great series of games only to have huge continuity holes in the last half hour? Did they make you think your choices mattered only to see them have no bearing on the “ending”? They did, but knowingly so they can mess with us. How great is that?

Spread the word around the Giant Bomb community and the internet at large. Make sure people are not angry because the ending is bad. Make sure they are angry because BioWare pulled a fast one on us all and now we will have to pay for DLC to actually finish the fight. I am much more ok with that option.

This is my first blog post of this size and importance. Please excuse any writing errors and feel free to add on to this discussion.

#1 Posted by comp13 (48 posts) -

edit on March 30th: For ongoing issues related to this theory, please go to the VERY LONG indoc theory thread on the BioWare forums. http://social.bioware.com/forum/1/topic/355/index/12047832/1

-

Let me start off first by saying HUGE SPOLIERS AHEAD and that when I beat Mass Effect 3, I was extremely disappointed with the ending. It feels weird and off somehow. After looking around on the internet, and adding some of my own thoughts, I decided that the truth behind the ending should be revealed on Giant Bomb as it has at several other sites around the web. Most people’s opinion is based on taking the ending as fact and not digging behind the scenes. If you look at the evidence, you will see that BioWare pulled a fast one on the gaming community worthy of Hideo Kojima. Let me say again, I totally missed this stuff like most people. After being alerted to it and analyzing everything myself, I wrote this analysis.

edit on March 19th: BioWare has started saying that they will talk about the ending once they feel enough people have played the game. It seems that the ending for Mass Effect 3 was changing until the end of development. What actions BioWare will take with the ending, including no action at all, no one can really know right now. Until we know for sure, I would like to think that they left the evidence pointing to indoctrination in so that they could leave their options open. Perhaps they planned to release DLC that added to the ending all along. Perhaps they will do so now that people have expressed deep frustration with the current ending. They may even make bigger changes that affect the entire story, or again, do nothing.

edit on March 15th: Something I did not include but have since read and find very compelling. Shepard is all beat up and hunched over, but after he starts shooting upon choosing the destroy option, he stands up straight, starts walking correctly, and puts both his hands on the pistol. This is the sign Shepard is regaining his strength/will. The other options see Shepard drop the pistol.

For the too long, didn’t read crowd:

- The child on Earth is not real. It is a manifestation of Shepard’s indoctrination.

- Everything that happens after the screen turns white from Harbinger's final shot during the dash to get to the Citadel is a dream sequence brought about by Shepard's near death experience and indoctrination.

- By bringing 5000 war asset strength to the final fight, and choosing the far right option to destroy synthetic life, Shepard can be seen regaining consciousness. We know he is on Earth because he is surrounded by dark, brick like building material. If the Citadel actually blew up, Shepard would not live and any Citadel debris would be silver, clean, and futuristic looking.

- Choosing the far right option is the only one where Shepard will be alive and wake up. This is despite the Star Child/ The Guardians not so subtle warning that Shepard has synthetics and could be considered part synthetic. This is in order to make that choice seem very bad, since it will kill the Geth, EDI, and Shepard too. The other two possible end game options see Shepard dissolve away, but supposedly for a noble cause. This is not the case and is, in fact, a symbol that the Reapers have won.

- BioWare is taunting you with huge continuity holes in the end sequence, seeing who will take note.

This is my attempt to bring the truth of the end sequence to Giant Bomb so everyone can talk about it and understand just how good BioWare’s writing is. Let’s start at the beginning.

The Start on Earth:

- The biggest thing to understand is that the child Shepard sees on Earth and throughout the game is not real. The child is a manifestation of the Reaper’s slow but steady indoctrination of Shepard. He has been around Reaper tech for the most consecutive amount of time. More than any other organic.

- Shepard first sees the child while waiting in his room on Earth, looking down from a window. This is the first sign the Reapers are close.

- The next time Shepard sees the child is when Shepard and Anderson are trying to get to the Normandy, and Anderson leaves the room. The child is again seen only by Shepard and tells him “you can’t help me”. This is the Reapers taunting Shepard, as the child represents all the people on Earth Shepard cannot save. More on this to come.

- When Anderson comes back and interrupts Shepard there is a slight roaring sound. My understanding is that this is similar to the effect witnessed by Paul Grayson while under Reaper control in Mass Effect: Retribution. Whenever Grayson fought Reaper control, he would hear roaring.

- Shepard starting to show the effects of indoctrination makes sense now that the Reapers are on Earth. The last thing Shepard did before being held on Earth was interact with the Reaper artifact in the Arrival DLC for ME 2. It would make sense that with Reapers all around him, and in such large numbers, his will would begin to fray.

- This video allows you to hear the roar at the :58 second mark, proving the previous point about those suffering from indoctrination will hear roaring when the Reapers are not getting their way. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f2DSx_C7rIU

- At the final scene before leaving Earth, the child looks right at Shepard. No one seems to pay the child any attention. Neither the soldiers nor the civilians grab him or yell at him to get on the shuttle. Also Shepard is the only person to witness this, as the other crew members that were previously on the ramp have turned and walked away. Finally, the loud Reaper sounding horns only blare and drown out the piano while Shepard (and the player) are looking at the child and what he is doing. The Reapers are inside Shepard’s head. The sound design is very deliberate.

Dreams in the middle of the game:

- This is where things start to get deep. Again, the child represents the people Shepard cannot save on Earth. The child is a way for the Reapers to mess with Shepard’s head.

- The twist comes in the understanding that the dream sequences themselves are there to mess with you, the player.

- Jeff Gerstmann has previously stated that he did not like the dream sequences. This is the point. Bioware is messing with him along with the rest of us.

- For a company that has shown in the past great ability to write tight, intricate stories, these dream sequences come off as hokey and weirdly paced. Everything is in slow motion. This is important to remember down the line.

Scenes with Kai Leng and the Prothean VI:

- On Thessia, Shepard talks with the Prothean VI. Just as the VI is about to talk about the catalyst, it says “indoctrinated presence detected.” Some people claim that the VI was actually talking about Shepard, and that we are simply to assume it meant Kai Leng. I find this to be a weak piece of evidence, but it may still hold some value.

The Final Push

It is here that we see the frustration about Mass Effect’s ending. It is because the ending does not make sense on purpose. It is convoluted to a fault. It is a tool for the Reapers to mess with Shepard. It is BioWare’s chance to mess with you, the player.

- Everything is “ok” up until Shepard makes a mad dash for the device that connects Earth to the Citadel. The first thing that happens is Harbinger (the main Reaper) drops onto Earth. This entrance is quick, nosily, and flashy. Harbinger's eyes glow bright. BioWare is sending you a message: "This is it, be on your guard."

- Shepard dodges Harbinger’s shots until one appears about to hit him. The screen fades to white.

- Shepard is knocked out cold. This will be proven at the end.

IT IS AT THIS POINT THAT REALITY STOPS

Please use YouTube to check all these facts yourself. Here is the first in a series of videos showing the end: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SaZg0nr4oYI

- When Shepard awakes, everything is in slow motion as he makes his way to the portal. This is a call back to when we know Shepard was dreaming.

- Also notice how close Shepard and other dying soldiers are to the beam, yet Shepard got hit much farther away. If Shepard got pushed in a direction by the hit, it could have only been further away.

- The next issue occurs when Shepard fights his way onto the Citadel. The hallway he finds himself in is completely unguarded.

- Shepard hears Anderson over the radio. Anderson said he followed Shepard up, but doesn’t know where he is. It is logical to assume that Anderson would have ended up in the same place as Shepard if he used the same beam transport.

- Furthermore, during the slow motion shootout, radio chatter can be heard that hammer force has been “wiped out.” It would seem unlikely that Shepard would make it to the beam, much less Anderson following after him.

- Anderson and Shepard continue to talk, noting that the area seems to be similar to the collector base. The second area Shepard reaches has similar design to the Shadow Broker’s ship, specifically the engine area where electricity jumped from point to point moving large metal pieces of the engine. The places Shepard has been before are bleeding into the dream. Shepard remarks that specifically the first area does not look like any area of the Citadel he has ever seen. BioWare is telling you that all is not well.

- As Shepard moves forward, Anderson says that doors are changing. He comes to a chasm and is able to cross it. Anderson arrives at the control station first, despite the fact that he followed Shepard to the Citadel, and there is only one path from the arrival point to the control panel.

- When Shepard comes to a dead end, doors simply open for him, revealing a straight path to some kind of bright light where the control panel will appear to be. Again, this linear path is completely unguarded.

- Once Shepard arrives, the Illusive Man appears COMPLETELY ALONE from the same linear path Shepard walked.

- The conversation with Anderson and the Illusive Man is a fight between good and bad, paragon and renegade in Shepard’s mind. The Illusive Man wants to control the Reapers, let them live. This would be similar to the end choice in Mass Effect 2 about whether to save the collector base or destroy it. Control would be the Renegade choice.

- Once this scene is over, Shepard opens the arms of the Citadel with the control panel. Ignoring the fact that Shepard has already seen and used the Citadel controls in Mass Effect 1 (they are at the Citadel Council chambers), assuming there is a second panel that allows for control of the Citadel, would the Reapers leave it unguarded?

- Shepard gets up once more, only to collapse from exhaustion and blood loss, and just happens to fall on a random elevator at the foot of the panel that becomes engulfed in white light as it rises? This is getting to be too much.

Meeting with Star Child/The Guardian:

- Having previously fallen and unable to get up, Shepard is order to stand up by a child and simply does it.

It is important to understand that the Reapers are trying to stop Shepard, and Bioware will be messing with you, the player. The following scene plays so unlike anything else in Mass Effect 3 because Shepard has no control, he is in a dream. At no point can Shepard ask any questions. Only once does a conversation choice come up, and either option is meaningless. This prevents the action from stopping, giving the player the chance to think about what is going on and how insane these events actually are. Shepard is in a dream, he has no control. Also note that Star Child used the word “we” when talking about the Reapers in the final scene.

- As seen in codex entries, and at the dead reaper where you acquire the Reaper IFF in Mass Effect 2, victims of indoctrination can begin to see” hallucinations of ‘ghostly’ presences.” I would say that appropriately fits the description of Star Child.

- Star Child begins this long process of talking in circles, finally giving Shepard three choices. The left most choice is shown in blue, the color of paragon. Yet control is what the Illusive Man wanted, and he is the symbol for Renegade choices. The middle choice is also awash in blue. It promoted the idea of everlasting peace by combining organics with synthetics. If either of these options gets picked, Shepard disintegrates. The Reapers have won. It is also interesting to note that choosing the control option sees Star Child linger and watch Shepard. The camera focuses on him and there appears to be a smirk cross his face.

- The third option is on the right. You know, THE RIGHT CHOICE. It appears red and shows Anderson acting it out. Yet Anderson is the symbol for Paragon. The Reapers further make you feel like it would be a bad choice by saying the Geth and EDI will be destroyed along with Shepard due to him perhaps being somewhat synthetic. However, if you chose this option Shepard is not dissolved away and Star Child disappears IMMEDIATELY after Shepard starts shooting, unlike the control option.

- This image shows the number one facing the wrong way. Some have seen this as a sign that morality has switched. http://oi41.tinypic.com/2nvgso4.jpg

- The final piece of the puzzle is that if Shepard brings 5000 or more war strength to the final battle, and chooses the option to destroy synthetic life. The same cut scene plays as if you had not gotten up to 5000 war strength except for that after the ending where the Normandy “crash lands” on an alien planet, Shepard regains consciousness on Earth and takes a loud inhale. We know it is Earth because he is lying in dark brick-like rubble, which fits with the idea that Shepard was dreaming/being tested after his near death experience, and because the whole “ending” sequence is a mess of nonsense to anyone who actively observes and is a fan of the Mass Effect Universe. The fact that one would need at least 5000 war strength score to see this brief clip of Shepard being alive after passing the Reaper/indoctrination “test” means it is only initially seen by those who have played a lot of Mass Effect, i.e. fans who have done a very complete play through.

The final cut scenes:

I will now talk briefly about the final cut scenes that see cookie-cutter movies play with the only changes being the color of the energy blast, if the reapers lift off Earth or fall down, and Joker’s eyes if the synthesis option was chosen. It is important to note that this part is also not happening, and is included just so BioWare can again mess explicitly with you, the player. When Shepard wakes up after brining 5000 war assets and choosing the RIGHT option, it is after these scenes that he does so. This proves these events do not happen as well.

- One source of ire about the ending is that all three choices are basically the same except the random ball of energy is a different color. This implies lazy writing on the part of BioWare, and that your choice doesn’t matter. Having built a huge well-connected and well-defined universe, this is clearly not the case. BioWare is messing with you. Having been accused of losing the magic and watering down the experience, BioWare is testing your faith in them. Would they really be able to tie everything back together in Mass Effect 3, and then simply drop the ball in the last 15 minutes?

- There is the issue of the energy itself. Mass Effect prides itself on tying everything together scientifically. How would this random energy blast solve anything? It would certainly not allow everyone to suddenly be half machine. This is an example of pure magic in Mass Effect, and many simply believe it.

- Every choice sees the destruction of the mass relays. As seen in the Arrival DLC for Mass Effect 2, destroying a relay basically destroys an entire system. This implies that Earth, along with many other planets, are wiped clean and destroyed all across the galaxy. This is horrific if you think about it, and implies civilization of any kind will cease to exist because pretty much everything is dead, and life sustaining planets have been ruined.

- Speaking about the Normandy specifically, for the ship to be running from the energy blast it had to have entered the relay system before the energy started spreading. Why would they do this? Taking the ending at face value (which is wrong), no one would have known what was about to happen. They had no warning time. The final fight was at Earth. Why would they be running?

- The blast eventually catches up with the Normandy, blowing up the back part of the ship. This would immediately drop the ship out of FTL travel. According to the codex, this would kill everyone alive. “If the field collapses while the ship is moving at faster-than-light speeds, the effects are catastrophic. The ship is snapped back to sublight velocity, the enormous excess energy shed in the form of lethal Cherenkov radiation.”

- This is separate from the insane notion that with the back half of the ship gone, and snapping out of FTL flight, the Normandy would be anywhere near a planet, much less safely land on it.

- The final insult to anyone who cares about the Mass Effect universe is that after all that, BioWare takes us for such fools that we would believe Joker, the guy with brittle bone disease, is the first one up and kicking to open the door. When the Normandy crash lands on the collector base in Mass Effect 2, Joker says he might have “broken a rib, or all of them.” Do you think after snapping back to sub-FTL travel, and the back half of the ship breaking up, AND crash landing on a planet, that Joker would be alive much less the first one to the door?

So this concludes my analysis. If you have made it this far you have no doubt seen the huge amount of evidence that points to the fact that BioWare has fooled us all. The entire argument comes down to your faith in BioWare. Did they make such a great series of games only to have huge continuity holes in the last half hour? Did they make you think your choices mattered only to see them have no bearing on the “ending”? They did, but knowingly so they can mess with us. How great is that?

Spread the word around the Giant Bomb community and the internet at large. Make sure people are not angry because the ending is bad. Make sure they are angry because BioWare pulled a fast one on us all and now we will have to pay for DLC to actually finish the fight. I am much more ok with that option.

This is my first blog post of this size and importance. Please excuse any writing errors and feel free to add on to this discussion.

#2 Posted by LordXavierBritish (6320 posts) -

Stop. Stop right fucking now.

Don't let them fucking do this.

Don't cling to this retarded fucking theory and let Bioware retcon their shitty ending or let them exploit fans for more money.

Why do you fuckers want to be used so badly.

Stop letting EA and Bioware make you their bitch.

#3 Posted by Yummylee (22579 posts) -

I fucking knew this was going to happen. People were going to spin the shitty ending into BioWare being ''clever'' or whatever, professing that the story was hiding the ''true'' motivations behind it all. It's understandable, I mean that ending is pretty messy and incoherent, so naturally the overt ludicrousness is going to bring about all of this crazy speculation that Bioware planned this all along! I don't believe it. I think it's awesome that people are able to spin it into something much more believable and intriguing, but in reality I think BioWare simply dun goofed because of writing staff changes, a rushed development nearing the end, or they were so pressured about wanting to end one of most beloved narratives in gaming that they purposely went all out and tried to really throw something fucking massive in your face--only instead of metaphorical genius it was semi-literal shit. It was probably a bit of all three. I can see where they were going with things, but nah, I frankly think it was down to some really bad judgement calls rather than BioWare leaving a long breadcrumb trail within the game leading to the ''true'' ending.

#5 Posted by Yummylee (22579 posts) -

@rebgav said:

@Abyssfull said:

I think it's awesome that people are able to spin it into something much more believable and intriguing

It will be less awesome when Bioware co-opts this stuff for future dlc ideas and then pretends that this was the plan all along.

I wouldn't expect any different.

#6 Posted by RE_Player1 (7526 posts) -

Interesting... is it weird though that I don't think Bioware is capable of an ending as complex as the one you presented?

#7 Posted by Hailinel (25205 posts) -

Mass Delusion Effect, amirite?

#8 Posted by mordukai (7185 posts) -

@Hailinel said:

Mass Delusion Effect, amirite?

At this point it's more like Meh Effect.

#9 Edited by Slaker117 (4843 posts) -

Ok, I'm not reading all that. Is the basic idea that Shepard is indoctrinated, and the "destroy" option is him actually breaking Reaper control, making the short shot of him breathing actually him waking up in the real world?
 
It's an attractive theory because it means the terrible endings are not real, but I'm not ready to believe Bioware ended their trilogy with a fake-out, and I'm even less willing to believe that they are going to sell a "real" ending as DLC. Even as someone who's fine with day-one or on-disc DLC, that would actually piss me off.

#10 Posted by huser (1106 posts) -

Woah is there another post along this vein? Either way, still support this even if I think this is sadly wishful thinking.

#11 Posted by penINC (136 posts) -

If it hadn't been for the ending scenes that don't relate Shepard, I might have believed this. As it stands, creating fake, purposely bad cutscenes to "test the faith" of fans seems like a hugely irresponsible thing for a large company to do.

#12 Posted by huntad (1958 posts) -

I think this theory is fine, and I actually like parts of it, but I am hesitant to believe that they will release DLC that continues where this left off - Or, if we're looking farther ahead, make another game that continues the story from this point.

If this is the case, I don't know whether to call Bioware 'bold' or 'crazy'. Maybe both? In any case, if this was truly how the ending was supposed to be interpreted, then it sounds pretty cool. If not, thank you Mass Effect fans for doing this.

#13 Posted by Zithe (1040 posts) -

Yeah, this definitely feels like wishful thinking. The fact that they put a big black wavy effect all around the screen when Shepard is being controlled during the Illusive Man conversation and not in the rest of the ending tells me that Shepard is in full control. Thinking that BioWare made the ending bad on purpose just to mess with the player really seems like over thinking. Also, some of the statements in your post like when you claim that Joker "kicks the door open" are just plain untrue. You are fudging the language to make your case seem more plausible.

#14 Posted by BlatantNinja23 (928 posts) -

I kinda always figured the child on earth was real, and that the catalyst used his form as a way to communicate to Shepard

whatever i guess

#15 Posted by comp13 (48 posts) -

@Zithe said:

Also, some of the statements in your post like when you claim that Joker "kicks the door open" are just plain untrue. You are fudging the language to make your case seem more plausible.

I said Joker was up and kicking, not that he kicked open the door.

@msavo said:

Interesting... is it weird though that I don't think Bioware is capable of an ending as complex as the one you presented?

This argument only works if you still have faith in BioWare. If you don't that is fine. I don't think they would have gotten as far as they did to simply rush or ruin the ending in the last 20 minutes. That's my opinion. I think it is just too weird that the game is clicking up to the last part, then everything simply goes sideways. If I'm wrong, and the ending was simply rushed or whatever, then BioWare has lost me as a customer. I just would rather believe people are smart instead of stupid, and I think that is the easier option given the evidence.

@rebgav said:

@Abyssfull said:

I think it's awesome that people are able to spin it into something much more believable and intriguing

It will be less awesome when Bioware co-opts this stuff for future dlc ideas and then pretends that this was the plan all along.

If BioWare actually starts pulling their story ideas off of forums, the romance options are going to get really weird.

#16 Posted by Willin (1285 posts) -
@comp13: Finally my Legion romance option is possible!
#17 Posted by comp13 (48 posts) -

@Willin said:

@comp13: Finally my Legion romance option is possible!

About damn time.

#18 Posted by Willin (1285 posts) -
@comp13: Finally my Legion romance option is possible!
#19 Edited by Tennmuerti (8174 posts) -
@comp13 said:
- The child on Earth is not real. It is a manifestation of Shepard’s indoctrination.

- Everything that happens after the screen turns white from Harbinger's final shot during the dash to get to the Citadel is a dream sequence brought about by Shepard's near death experience and indoctrination.

Assuming your theories are correct (which is already a huge if)

That makes the ending matter even less, which makes it even worse for me.
It makes the ending worse from writing standpoint, lets cram last 10-20 minutes of drivel, for what? To lead people on a wild gooschase and make up their own crazy theories? We made it bad so that it is not believable? This theory makes the writing go from bad to worse.
It makes player choice and efforst matter even less then it did before. The culmination of all the decisions we did and shit we went through, was already taken away by the ending. Now even that does not exist. the end is even more of a joke.
The theory creates an incredible amount of logical inconsistencies and even more plotholes. you are opening an incredible can of worms by assuming indoctrination. Because of that assumption alone one can present an entirely new set of "why not, this doesn't make sense, etc" arguments. 

- Choosing the far right option is the only one where Shepard will be alive and wake up. This is despite the Star Child/ The Guardians not so subtle warning that Shepard has synthetics and could be considered part synthetic. This is in order to make that choice seem very bad, since it will kill the Geth, EDI, and Shepard too. The other two possible end game options see Shepard dissolve away, but supposedly for a noble cause. This is not the case and is, in fact, a symbol that the Reapers have won.

Why does this even matter if you are imagining/dreaming/halucinating the entire end? 

  - BioWare is taunting you with huge continuity holes in the end sequence, seeing who will take note.

You do realise that assuming this is true, Bioware has shot themselves in the foot with a double barrel shogun?
This is literally the worst possible thing they could do as a financially responsible company. 
To present people with a super deep meta ending, making it so dumb that it can't be real, pinning their hopes that it is seen as high art.
But risking a huge dissatisfaction from their fanbase, one of unprecedented proportions. (which is exactly what happened)
It's a step illogical to an extreme.
 
Especially after already strained relashiponship with their fanbase due to DA2.
If they further release DLC to "fix" the ending and it will, god forbid, not be free, it will be a shitstorm of even bigger proportions.   

If someone(s) made exactly this decision you suggest they did with the ending, rest assured they are getting fired right now for being so darn clever.
Purely because of how much this entire debacle has hurt Bioware reputation.

This is my attempt to bring the truth of the end sequence to Giant Bomb so everyone can talk about it and understand just how good BioWare’s writing is. Let’s start at the beginning.

This is your attempt to convince others like you have already done to yourself on a fan fiction theory to excuse what passed for an ending of the trilogy.
Throwing around terms like "truth" will only serve to make people more pissed at your argument.
You don't try to shove "truth" down people throats, you try to gently bring them over to youtr point of view and your theory.
 
Also a humongous falacy at the end that assumes just because you made up an excuse for poor writing at the end it is suddenly good quality writing.
The quality of writing is not something tied simply to the facts of events. It is in presentation, delivery, justification, handling, creating apropriate connections and surfacing them to the appropriate degree.
 
The last part of the entire argument seems to be: "the ending is so totally shit and insulting to the fans, that it can't possibly be real, it's a trick, therefore Bioware writing is so meta and amazing"
It's kind of sad.
#20 Posted by comp13 (48 posts) -

@Zithe said:

Yeah, this definitely feels like wishful thinking. The fact that they put a big black wavy effect all around the screen when Shepard is being controlled during the Illusive Man conversation and not in the rest of the ending tells me that Shepard is in full control.

This is a good point. I would argue that a big black wavy effect is more evidence that the events are taking place only in Shepard's mind. With dream logic, Shepard is simply frozen in place without the traditional appearance of the stasis power/effect.

#21 Posted by N7 (3677 posts) -

I don't care what anyone says. Slow motion, nonsensical-happenings and an infinite ammo pistol(Among other things) all wreak of two things: 1: Shepard is dead and his cybernetics are turning what's left of his dying brain into a retarded potato, or 2: It's a dream.
 
Nothing else makes sense. TIM was onto something! He had it figured out! He was taking to the Citadel and he had a plan. But... then he went full on retard and shot himself? Da fuk? The story was perfectly fine up until that point. There is just no fucking way THAT was the logical ending for Shepard and the series. NO. MOTHERFUCKING. COCKADOODLEDOO-ING WAY.
 
Also, I may also be grasping at straws here, but if the Prothean VI was talking about Raiden being indoctrinated, what about Anderson talking about how much of a menace that guy was to him and the Alliance? Wasn't he always with Cerberus? Why, or rather, how, could be he indoctrinated? When you look at TIM, he was riddled in HUSK-y decay-ness.
 
But let's say it's not a dream. During the final mission, I took Garrus and Kaidan with me. So, they're dead? Lickitysplit? No nothing to it? Just, boom, dead? Not even given more respect than the non-loyality deaths on the Collector base? I don't know about that. Thane, Mordin and Legion's deaths were all handled with such... grace, that there is no fucking way they are just dead boom shakalaka.
 
Further to the point, since this is totally dumb and not valid, what the fuck was Joker running from? How did he know ANY of that was happening? And how did he get everyone on the ship so fast? Liara was doing medical shit way goddamn far away from him, and Javik was doing some crazy Prothean shit next to the Krogan, and Cortrez was, you know, shot down. How did they get to the Normandy so fast that they could have even began out-running the Relay destructive EMP?
 
Hammer was wiped out, and they were in a losing proposition. How could they have rounded everyone up so fast and BOUNCED up outta that bitch? Also, why were they running in the first place? It's a goddamn war. They were supposed to stand their ground. This is it. See you on the other side. That's what almost all of them said. Why day runnin fo?
 
Because it's a DREAM. You want to fucking fight me? LET'S FUCKING FIGHT. Life is violence, violence is life. Peace is a dream REALITY IS A KNIFE.

#22 Posted by JohnDudebro (924 posts) -

Look, I know it's hard. But you're gonna have to accept it.

Bioware just made a bad ending. Nothing more, nothing less.

#24 Posted by N7 (3677 posts) -
@rebgav: Yeah, I thought of that right after posting.
 
Also probably doesn't help that he is totally a cyborg ninja. It's probably impossible for him to be indoctrinated. I mean, he's no Zombie Pirate, but still.
#26 Posted by N7 (3677 posts) -
@rebgav: Oh no, that's what I meant. I thought it was pretty obvious they had begun brainwashing their own people to get them to stay since The Illusive Man was going crazy, essentially.
#27 Posted by Nexnecis (43 posts) -

I've read alot about this 'indoctrination' ending, and, yeah, it makes lots of sense. OP described it wonderfully.

So let's just say that this is the true ending, where you choose the 'right' option and you resist the indoctrination and with the 5000 readiness score your Shepard takes a breathe back down on Earth....

.... and guess what? The game HAS NO END. You resisted indoctrination, woke up after being hit blasted by Harbingers' laser... and??

You failed to get to the Citadel, the Reapers are still alive kicking Earths ass and you're buried in a pile of rubble. Yup. Epic end to a trilogy.

Fuck Bioware.

#28 Posted by LassieME (234 posts) -

@LordXavierBritish said:

Stop. Stop right fucking now.

Don't let them fucking do this.

Don't cling to this retarded fucking theory and let Bioware retcon their shitty ending or let them exploit fans for more money.

Why do you fuckers want to be used so badly.

Stop letting EA and Bioware make you their bitch.

^^This. Really guys?

#29 Posted by comp13 (48 posts) -

@Tennmuerti:

You make some good points. I am sorry if my use of the word truth comes off as forcing it down everyone's throats. That is not my intention. If my idea turns out to be true, you very well may be right that BioWare has hurt their reputation beyond repair.

The last part of the entire argument seems to be: "the ending is so totally shit and insulting to the fans, that it can't possibly be real, it's a trick, therefore Bioware writing is so meta and amazing" It's kind of sad.

I don't necessarily think the ending is insulting, so much as wink and a nod that something is wrong. I think the evidence is there to see "behind the curtain" so to speak if someone is dedicated enough to do some research. I do appreciate your opinion, and thank you for reading the post so thoroughly.

@Nexnecis said:

The game HAS NO END. You resisted indoctrination, woke up after being hit blasted by Harbingers' laser... and??

You failed to get to the Citadel, the Reapers are still alive kicking Earths ass and you're buried in a pile of rubble. Yup. Epic end to a trilogy.

Fuck Bioware.

This goes with my closing point that people should be mad about there not actually being an ending, instead of accepting the current ending as fact and disliking it. I am going to be very interested in any future Mass Effect DLC as I am clearly invested enough to write this much about the universe BioWare has created.

#30 Posted by DefaultProphet (554 posts) -

I don't think it's true, I don't think Bioware is that "clever". But I'd gladly pay to make it true it =/

#31 Posted by MikkaQ (10344 posts) -

Jesus christ are people so fucking appalled at the ending that they're literally scraping together a new ending from what little they have? It's terrible, yes! But let it lie like every other terrible ending. Loose interpretation and denial won't make it any better.

People are giving Bioware too much credit too. This is a classic bad Bioware ending, they never know how to end games in a fashion that keeps your choices relevant. It just took the entire trilogy for everyone to realize that was the case with ME too.

#32 Posted by comp13 (48 posts) -

@MikkaQ said:

People are giving Bioware too much credit too. This is a classic bad Bioware ending, they never know how to end games in a fashion that keeps your choices relevant. It just took the entire trilogy for everyone to realize that was the case with ME too.

I would say that the previous two Mass Effect games did a good job of building up choices that would matter later, and let you get out of sticky situations if your Paragon/Renegade score was high enough. For example, getting Saren to shoot himself instead of fighting him in Mass Effect 1, or getting the Illusive Man to also shoot himself in Mass Effect 3. I believe the previous two Mass Effect games did a good job of closing out their story while providing a link to the next game, but that is just my opinion.

You may be also speaking about Dragon Age, but I have never played those games so I do not know. Thank you for adding your opinion.

#33 Posted by MikkaQ (10344 posts) -

@comp13 said:

@MikkaQ said:

People are giving Bioware too much credit too. This is a classic bad Bioware ending, they never know how to end games in a fashion that keeps your choices relevant. It just took the entire trilogy for everyone to realize that was the case with ME too.

I would say that the previous two Mass Effect games did a good job of building up choices that would matter later, and let you get out of sticky situations if your Paragon/Renegade score was high enough. For example, getting Saren to shoot himself instead of fighting him in Mass Effect 1, or getting the Illusive Man to also shoot himself in Mass Effect 3. I believe the previous two Mass Effect games did a good job of closing out their story while providing a link to the next game, but that is just my opinion.

You may be also speaking about Dragon Age, but I have never played those games so I do not know. Thank you for adding your opinion.

Haven't played Dragon Age till the finish, was thinking more like Jade Empire, KOTOR, etc.

I think the problem with those last two games is that the choices importing only really mattered to me in the context of ME3. That's when they should all be brought to light as important, galaxy-changing events, but no... they just kinda let it all go.

#34 Posted by Nexnecis (43 posts) -

The one thing Pre-DA2 Bioware games did was at least end satisfyingly. ME 1 & 2? Great within their stories. DA1? Epic.

It's kinda hard to go into without spoiling those other games, but old Bioware games ended. ME3 just... ended???

#35 Edited by Ares42 (2800 posts) -

Said this before, but I'll say it again. Even IF you are right, that's a terrible ending. You're telling me that after spending 100+ hours over 3 games getting immersed in this universe and all the conflicts, getting to know all these characters etc etc. The story basically just ends in a blink with "and then Shepard died (or almost died, but rejected indoctrination)" and there's no form of epilogue or anything ? The entire universe is still right in the middle of a world-changing conflict that you have been working against since hour 1, and there's absolutely no resolution to this part of the story (which has been the main focus in the entire series). It can be the most symbolic meaningful experience in the world, but it doesn't matter at all as nothing of it is connected to the "real" world and won't have any impact on the situation. It's a complete non-ending, and would only make sense if the game actually continued after having rejected indoctrination.

#36 Posted by huser (1106 posts) -

@Ares42 said:

Said this before, but I'll say it again. Even IF you are right, that's a terrible ending. You're telling me that after spending 100+ hours over 3 games getting immersed in this universe and all the conflicts, getting to know all these characters etc etc. The story basically just ends in a blink with "and then Shepard died (or almost died, but rejected indoctrination)" and there's no form of epilogue or anything ? The entire universe is still right in the middle of a world-changing conflict that you have been working against since hour 1, and there's absolutely no resolution to this part of the story (which has been the main focus in the entire series). It can be the most symbolic meaningful experience in the world, but it doesn't matter at all as nothing of it is connected to the "real" world and won't have any impact on the situation. It's a complete non-ending, and would only make sense if the game actually continued after having rejected indoctrination.

Seems like this being a terrible ending, in fact worse ending, is right there in the first post.

#37 Posted by AdmiralStupid (78 posts) -

Not sure if it'd already been mentioned, but one (tiny) bit of the last 10-15 minutes that stuck out to me:

when you're shambling across the 'chasm', you head up a set of stairs/ramp to the control room for the Citadel's arms. On either side, there are bulkheads/structural points that have 1M1 (or something like that) written on them.

Am I just missing something here (or was Bioware just re-appropriating in-game assets), or is it odd that on this ancient and long-hidden part of the citadel, there's stuff written in English/human script on the walls?

Tell me it's not just me.

#38 Edited by Pinworm45 (4088 posts) -

I replayed the ending again, and I'm fucking convinced now. There's just so many little things that are hard to ignore. I think my favourite is when Shepard asks, after the kid explains one of the choices, "but it will stop the reapers?" and the little shit fucking hesitates and then goes "..yes." It's small as hell, definitely not "evidence", but it just seems too intentional.

Also, if you listen to the background after Harbinger arrives, you hear shit tons of whispering, shepard constantly grabs his head in pain, there's buzzing and humming, and you see the ghost kid. Every one of those is a symptom of indoctrination as described in the Codex.

Also, this is pretty good evidence: http://o.imgbox.com/aarTjQEM.png?temporary-url---please-use-the-provided-share-codes-instead (note the model name).

I thought it was fanwankery before, but I'm coming over to this side. Even if it's not true, this is what I've headcannoned.

#39 Posted by Zithe (1040 posts) -

@Pinworm45: Allow me to help bring you back to sanity.

#40 Posted by Pinworm45 (4088 posts) -

@Zithe: That Dialogue means nothing. The "one more story" continue into Shepard waking up, and the real ending. In fact, the fact that keep making it so clear they'res going to be more DLC, both via the dialogue at the end and that text message, is kind of suspicious. The second game didn't go out of its way to point it out. That dialogue is neither for or against. As for that picture, what of it? My understanding from the forums is that there's two models, one named Harbinger, one not. It's easily verifiable, so did something happen and it was "confirmed fake" (even though I saw tons of people say they checked and it was there. Could have been lying, I guess, I didn't go that deep into the thread)?

#41 Posted by Zithe (1040 posts) -

@Pinworm45: Hmm, I don't know much about the second model. You could be right there.

As for the other point, your argument is that they sold ME3 without a real ending and will be charging more to get it? Man, if that happened the shitstorm would be much bigger than this one.

#42 Edited by Pinworm45 (4088 posts) -

@Zithe: I honestly have no idea. There's what I consider to be evidence for it, and there's tons of evidence against it. You're right, the thought that they'd do that is pretty absurd. But is it possible? maybe.

I mean, in some ways, it's no different than The Arrival, which was the "real" ending to Mass Effect 2. It's.. kind of.. like that. I guess. Maybe they're releasing for free. Maybe they ran out of time and this is their "placeholder". I have no idea. Regardless of what happens, or doesn't happen, this is my ending, and it works.. whether that's intentional or not.

#43 Edited by Pinworm45 (4088 posts) -

So there's this, from the Bioware staff's Twitter. Some of it could simply be PR, some of it could be "the end is what you make of it", but some of it definitely hints at stuff. It's interesting, at any rate.

#44 Edited by Zithe (1040 posts) -

@Pinworm45: "Hey guys, we're totally going to retcon the ending of our game with DLC and guess what...it's all because of how much we care and listen to our fans. ;)"

#45 Posted by Pinworm45 (4088 posts) -

@Zithe: These messages don't make it sound like they're going to retcon it as much as they already have it planned out. At least between those two options. It could just easily be PR.

#46 Posted by Zithe (1040 posts) -

@Pinworm45: I don't think they will either, but that's what the image and its creator are insinuating.

By the way, I can't for the life of me find anywhere online where people are talking about that harbinger kid character model. Do you know of any legitimate source that has confirmed it?

#47 Posted by Pinworm45 (4088 posts) -

@Zithe: I looked but I can't find it. It was a thread on the Bioware forums. I only read the first page, but I remember the guy explained where you can find the file and how to open it, and a few people confirmed that they did it and it was true. Could be bullshit, I don't know.

#48 Posted by Sooty (8082 posts) -

@comp13 said:

For the too long, didn’t read crowd:

- The child on Earth is not real. It is a manifestation of Shepard’s indoctrination.

Doubt it, you see him at the start of the game and I don't think it's from Shepard's POV.

#49 Posted by Zithe (1040 posts) -

@Pinworm45: According to the people in this theadit seems that the harbinger kid was a photoshopped image, but they have found something new now. Apparently the lightning pillar things that you put your hands on in the control ending are called "End_Choice_BadA_01." So I guess the argument goes on.

#50 Posted by Enigmatical (137 posts) -

While I enjoyed reading that very long summary of the ending, I think the reality is BioWare's original ending (Dark Energy and such) was leaked so they decided to introduce a new ending.

I also think you are making BioWare to be more clever than they actually are. I'm not sure where I read it, but BioWare is not known for making great stories, just great conversations.

The whole "BioWare is out to fool you, the player, and Jeff" was where I started to waver.

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