Theories on the Ending

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#1 Mon, 03/19/2012 - 00:15
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Theories on the Ending

Looks like people besides just me are finishing the game, so I wanted to discuss people's thoughts on the ending. At this point, I'm a little talked out on the subject having spent hours and hours pouring through the theories on the Bioware forums. As things stand right now, I am a 100% believer in one theory only: Indoctrination Theory. You can check out a full explaination here:

 

http://www.gamefront.com/mass-effect-3-ending-analyzing-the-indoctrination-theory/

 

But to really get a grasp on it, search Youtube for Indoctrination Theory and Mass Effect 3. There are some interesting videos out there. 

 

Now, whether Bioware has a trick up their sleeve or not, I don't know. I hope they have ending DLC planned, but even if they don't, this theory is the truth for me and that's all that matters. From the time that I finished the game until the time I discovered this theory, I didn't give two craps about this game...the endings are that bad. So if the developers left the ending bad assuming that players would come up with their own endings in their heads: Mission Accomplished. However, the endings aren't so bad that I would write off the entire game. I still love to play it, but I play it with Indoctrination Theory in my head the whole time. 

 

By the way, all the evidence and PR bullcrap that Bioware has been sending out that points to this theory being false...I don't buy it. 

 

So what about you guys? Thoughts? 

Mon, 03/19/2012 - 08:25
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I was wondering about the Stargazer conversation and the illusive man/ Anderson symbolism, but I was so swept up in the end that my mind didn't even wander into this theory. It all makes sense. It follows everything the game has dealt with from ME1 and makes perfect sense. I'm with you Bar... I think the theorists are right and Bioware has produced one of the greatest endings and feets of all time. "Would you kindly" is now a thing of the past. I am ashamed to say I did choose to control the Reepers... looks like I'm the ass.

Mon, 03/19/2012 - 08:30
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Assuming ending DLC is coming, it will be interesting to see what BW does for those who chose different endings. I might be inclined to choose a few different ones just to see what happens. 

Mon, 03/19/2012 - 09:57
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So i was reading this article and i was thinking that could be true but eh.. until i read this

 

"The Indoctrination Ending theory is a pretty solid one given what we know about Mass Effect and a few of the more strange alterations found in those final moments. A great example is the “Paragon” and “Renegade” presentation of the endings. The Red “Renegade” ending during the final cutscene destroys the Reapers, synthetics and lots of technology, but it’s also depicted as being the choice Anderson would make — a character generally viewed as having Paragon alignment. Meanwhile, the Blue ending features The Illusive Man, generally viewed as a Renegade character. Anderson may be a kicker of many asses (you know his voice was in John Carpenter’s The Thing, right?), but it’s hard to put him up against a super-rich, racist, smoking douche and say that of the two,Anderson is the Renegade choice."

 

Holy crap I was thinking about that last night.  I thought it was odd they were reversed.  Because of that explanation, I agree with the indoc theory.  That could be the most awesome ending ever.  This explains the color switching, the reason I only had renegade options even though I was a pure paragon.  

 

In all seriousness, this would be an awesome ending if they pull something like this off.  

Mon, 03/19/2012 - 10:02
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It would be legen.....wait for it!    

 

 

....dary!!! Legendary! 

 

Bioware: "Challenge Accepted!" 

Mon, 03/19/2012 - 10:07
Mon, 03/19/2012 - 10:16
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I love the indoctrination theory.  But I have a different spin on it,  I personally think that the reapers won and wiped out all "advanced' civilizations.   This would end the Shepard Trilogy, but allow them to continue in the ME universe.  Think of it pretty much as wiping the slate clean.  Reapers came, destroyed humanity, but left the relays in place just as they did 50,000 years ago.   Now a few years down the line, enter ME 4 way in the future (storyline wise)..the new civilization has followed along the lines of tech just as every other past one has...this lets you restart the whole thing, but keep the basic bulding blocks intact....fucking genius. 

Mon, 03/19/2012 - 12:55
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Yeah, let's talk "genius". As you'll recall, the child at the end goes into a whole long speech about who/what the Reapers are (which Sovereign said couldn't be done, the kid did it in 2 minutes) and then he explains that without the Reapers, synthetics would destroy all organic life. The Geth prove this is bullshit. The ONLY example of synthetics killing organics is when the Quarians attack the Geth and they act to defend themselves. The Geth even STOP attacking once they deem the Quarians no longer a threat and allow them to leave when they could have easily pressed the attack. The only time the Geth actively attack is under Reaper control, so the Reapers exist to solve a problem they cause! And let's look at EDI, a perfect example of purely synthetic life. She's sworn allegiance to an organic crew.

 

And not to mention the child says the Citadel is part of him, meaning he is also synthetic. Then he goes on to say his purpose is to aid organics by solving the chaos, another perfect example of synthetics NOT harming organics. He also uses the pronoun "us" when talking about the Reapers. So why would every other Reaper try to kill the organics, and this one is so happy to help. 

 

They established in Arrival that the destruction of a Mass Relay results in a powerful supernova-like explosion that would destroy the star system that relay is in. Since every Mass Relay was destroyed, wouldn't that wipe out all organic life no matter what choice Shepard makes?

 

Suppose you picked the control ending. The blue wave sent out is intended to take control of the Reapers, yet it destroys the Normandy as seen in the scene with Joker running away. The Normandy is supposedly the most advanced ship according to Shepard, so can you imagine the destruction to every other ship? That's a happy thought, we control the Reapers but everyone who came to help is now dead.

 

The indoctrination theory seems kinda far fetched as well. Anyone remember the prothean VI detecting an indoctrinated presence on Thessia when Kai Lang appeared? Why didn't it say anything about Shepard if he is supposed to be indoctrinated?

 

Mon, 03/19/2012 - 14:38 (Reply to #8)
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KamakazeTaco wrote:

 

The indoctrination theory seems kinda far fetched as well. Anyone remember the prothean VI detecting an indoctrinated presence on Thessia when Kai Lang appeared? Why didn't it say anything about Shepard if he is supposed to be indoctrinated?

 

 

This is the only hole I can find in the indoctrination theory. However, I can justify it by saying that Shepard got knocked out by Harbinger's laser and was therefore more susceptible to indoctrination while asleep. This also opens up another hole: Why didn't Harbinger simply blast Shepard to dust instead of trying to indoctrinate him? 

 

On an unrelated note: Did anyone else notice when you are supposedly walking in the Citadel, that long ramp looks exactly like the inside of the Geth dreadnaught destroyed during the Quarian missions? Shepard even says he's never seen this part of the citadel. Then Anderson mentions something about how it looks like what Shepard described the inside of the Collector ship. Sounds like Reapers are just pulling stuff from his memory. 

Mon, 03/19/2012 - 16:54 (Reply to #9)
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Who's to say the Prothean VI wasn't talking about Shepard? And Kai Leng was just a space ninja?

Mon, 03/19/2012 - 15:25
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I dunno, to me this all just seems like that Scrotie McBoogerballs episode of South Park. It's just a story and people keep searching for meaning in it even though nothing is there. Which is exactly why BioWare isn't saying anything. They know they dodged a big bullet and the smartest thing they can do is clam up for now and work their asses off on a DLC that fixes things. If Shep is indoctrinated, why let him go through all this stuff? Shep spends the whole game fighting the Reapers, and the indoctrination finally sets in during the last 5 minutes of the war?

Mon, 03/19/2012 - 16:58
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Something I just noticed that throws a hiccup in the theory... In the beginning of the attack on Earth the escape shuttle waits for the little boy to get on before it takes off... clear as day that the guards are waiting for the child as they hit the door to signal close and evac. But supposedly Shep is the only one to have seen the child?

Mon, 03/19/2012 - 20:00 (Reply to #12)
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[quote=OutcastB]

Something I just noticed that throws a hiccup in the theory... In the beginning of the attack on Earth the escape shuttle waits for the little boy to get on before it takes off... clear as day that the guards are waiting for the child as they hit the door to signal close and evac. But supposedly Shep is the only one to have seen the child?

[/q

uote]

Did you also notice that no one helped the little boy get in the shuttle?No one reached down to give him a lift up as if they didn't see him.

Mon, 03/19/2012 - 20:59 (Reply to #13)
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Good point.

Mon, 03/19/2012 - 21:26
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I don't necessarily buy the fact that the little boy didn't exist. He could very well have existed and the Reapers just used that memory to harass Shepard. Regardless, it doesn't matter one way or the other to the indoctrination theory. It works either way. 

Tue, 03/20/2012 - 06:09
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True dat.

Tue, 03/20/2012 - 08:55
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According to research at Sanctuary, adrenaline is a very effecient means of speedy indoctrination. Fits right into the indoctrination theory because Shepard's adrenline had to be in full force during the final Reaper assault just before he passed out. 

Tue, 03/20/2012 - 09:23
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Yeah, but you can make ANYTHING fit into the indoctrination theory. "That wasn't the pistol my Shep was equipped with, must be a dream! Infinite ammo? Indoctrination dream! The child said reaper, that's just what the reapers would want me to hear!"

Tue, 03/20/2012 - 09:31
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So what's your theory then?

Tue, 03/20/2012 - 10:12
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My biggest issue with the Indoctrination theory is this:

 

IF you went with the option to destroy the Reapers, and your war assets score was high enough, you see Shepard awaken on Earth laying in the rubble. How did he destroy the Reapers if he was never on the Citadel and the whole ending just played out in his mind?

Tue, 03/20/2012 - 11:44
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My theory is it's a badly written ending purposefully left ambiguous and open for interpretation, that way they have time to wait for people to write the ending for them and write a DLC later on that caters to it. No matter what they did, they wouldn't have made an ending that left everyone happy. This way since the indoctrination theory seems so popular they can say that was the plan all along and finish up with a little bit of story that'll please more people.

Tue, 03/20/2012 - 13:08
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I dunno Taco Bioware is a strong dev with some great writers in their stable. Even if that is they case then they succeeded... look at all the buzz about it on the web. I keep trying to find anything I can to disprove the theory but I think the theorists are right. It just all points to indoctrination. I'll lose respect for Bioware if they fold and make an ending DLC just so the baby's can have the ending they wanted.... Yea I know the baby's are what make you money but damn man take a stand. Either way it goes they made a great game to close out a great trilogy. It's one that I can always go back and play again and again and never get bored... frustrated but never bored.

Tue, 03/20/2012 - 13:21
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I would have said that too, but have you played Dragon Age 2? That was pretty much a mess as well. Especially after their first ending was leaked, they may have just rushed to come up with this one, and that is what it feels like.

Tue, 03/20/2012 - 15:53 (Reply to #23)
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KamakazeTaco wrote:

I would have said that too, but have you played Dragon Age 2? That was pretty much a mess as well. Especially after their first ending was leaked, they may have just rushed to come up with this one, and that is what it feels like.

 

So you're saying BioWare ran out of time to properly finish the ending and rushed something through to meet the release deadline? Hmmm.....possibly.

Except that the whole concept being discussed on every forum about Indoctrination is that BioWare managed to write an "epic" ending by Indoctrinating the players into picking the wrong choice at the end. If that's true, the ending is exactly what BW intended. Or, it could be a case of BW sitting back and saying: "Look, everyone thinks they were Indoctrinated. Cool...never thought of that. Now, what's the best way to make some money off of this..."

But then, I picked Synthesis, so don't listen to me! I've been Indoctrinated!! LOL!

Tue, 03/20/2012 - 15:12
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No I heard it was bad though.

Tue, 03/20/2012 - 15:56
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I think Bioware has invested and cares too much about their flagship series to screw it up with a bad ending. Right now, I think they are using PR and buying time as a cover for their eventual DLC release. I believe it will be the true ending. If it's not, sucks to be them because their sales are going to reflect the product. You have to build a game to 100%, not 98%. 

Tue, 03/20/2012 - 17:43
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Another really good explanation of the indoctrination theory. If you're already familiar with it. skip to the bottom few paragraphs. 

 

http://uninhibitedandunrepentant.tumblr.com/post/19344938387/mind-holy-fuck

 

Quote:
The point of the ending of Mass Effect 3 isn’t to show that Shepard has been indoctrinated, at least, that’s no longer how I see it. And it isn’t some quasai-intellectual, pseudo-philosophical moment where we are prompted to contemplate the future of the galaxy, and make up our own ending. Bioware does not do that. We were literally meant to sit back, stare at the screen, and go ‘why would Bioware do this?’ Not ‘Bioware a fucking assholes who deserve to burn’, but ‘why would a company so renowned for loving its fans, and who make such wonderful stories, do this to us?’ We’re meant to wonder the reason why we were deliberately handed this ending.

You see, what we forget as we play through is that the only perspective we have is Commander Shepard’s. Some of us may not think of it that way, but that is the case. We only see what he or she sees, and we only perceive as he or she perceives. And Shepard would only know something was wrong with his or her own mind if we saw it.

What is the point of having an indoctrinated character if the person directing themknows they are indoctrinated? Shepard isn’t the only person that has been indoctrinated. We have. We didn’t see the subtle hints. Shepard didn’t notice the signs, and so we didn’t notice them. We were too caught up in saving Earth, just like Shepard. If Shepard had said, “Something’s wrong”, we would have noticed. We might have guessed. We would have gone straight for the ‘right’ option, regardless of what Bioware may have intended for the end. But because we were left with the idea that the control and synthesis options were the best options, we blindly moved towards them. Directed Shepard toward them.

And the Reapers win.

We, the players, were indoctrinated right alongside Shepard. And by sitting here and demanding that we have a different ending, we acknowledging that something is wrong. Something is broken. Something is not right. But instead of thinking that Bioware has done this deliberately to us, we swung immediately into rage and hate and slammed them for the decision.

We are raging that Bioware betrayed our trust.

But we didn’t trust them.

I, myself, am guilty of this. And now that I sit back and think about it, about the games, about Bioware, all I can say is if that this is right, if this is what Bioware intended… If the true ending is yet to come…

Tue, 03/20/2012 - 17:48
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This book is a great read and goes into a ton of detail about how indoctrination works: http://www.amazon.com/Mass-Effect-Retribution-Drew-Karpyshyn/dp/0345520726/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1332283086&sr=8-2

Wed, 03/21/2012 - 10:09
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Retribution was a great book.

 

I agree with Barheet a few above - I think Bioware, even with EA on their back, cares too much about this franchise and we'll have DLC that updates things..

 

In additon, my one further thought - let's say you chose destroy and killed the relays.  Bioware has repeatedly said that though this may end the Shepard trilogy, they're not done with with Mass Effect as a universe.  How do you continue the ME universe in a compelling way without the relays?

Wed, 03/21/2012 - 10:26 (Reply to #29)
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MTK005 wrote:

Retribution was a great book.

 

I agree with Barheet a few above - I think Bioware, even with EA on their back, cares too much about this franchise and we'll have DLC that updates things..

 

In additon, my one further thought - let's say you chose destroy and killed the relays.  Bioware has repeatedly said that though this may end the Shepard trilogy, they're not done with with Mass Effect as a universe.  How do you continue the ME universe in a compelling way without the relays?

 

You fast forward several hundred/thousand years so the relays are rebuilt and they can ignore any impact Shepard may have had in previous games with the exception of a line or two of dialog.

Wed, 03/21/2012 - 10:29
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Just posted on the bioware blog, a letter from the Bioware co-founder http://blog.bioware.com/2012/03/21/4108/

 

Quote:
To Mass Effect 3 players, from Dr. Ray Muzyka, co-founder of BioWare

 
 
 
As co-founder and GM of BioWare, I’m very proud of the ME3 team; I personally believe Mass Effect 3 is the best work we’ve yet created. So, it’s incredibly painful to receive feedback from our core fans that the game’s endings were not up to their expectations. Our first instinct is to defend our work and point to the high ratings offered by critics – but out of respect to our fans, we need to accept the criticism and feedback with humility.
 
I believe passionately that games are an art form, and that the power of our medium flows from our audience, who are deeply involved in how the story unfolds, and who have the uncontested right to provide constructive criticism. At the same time, I also believe in and support the artistic choices made by the development team.  The team and I have been thinking hard about how to best address the comments on ME3’s endings from players, while still maintaining the artistic integrity of the game.
 
Mass Effect 3 concludes a trilogy with so much player control and ownership of the story that it was hard for us to predict the range of emotions players would feel when they finished playing through it.  The journey you undertake in Mass Effect provokes an intense range of highly personal emotions in the player; even so, the passionate reaction of some of our most loyal players to the current endings in Mass Effect 3 is something that has genuinely surprised us. This is an issue we care about deeply, and we will respond to it in a fair and timely way. We’re already working hard to do that.
 
To that end, since the game launched, the team has been poring over everything they can find about reactions to the game – industry press, forums, Facebook, and Twitter, just to name a few. The Mass Effect team, like other teams across the BioWare Label within EA, consists of passionate people who work hard for the love of creating experiences that excite and delight our fans.  I’m honored to work with them because they have the courage and strength to respond to constructive feedback.
 
Building on their research, Exec Producer Casey Hudson and the team are hard at work on a number of game content initiatives that will help answer the questions, providing more clarity for those seeking further closure to their journey. You’ll hear more on this in April.  We’re working hard to maintain the right balance between the artistic integrity of the original story while addressing the fan feedback we’ve received.  This is in addition to our existing plan to continue providing new Mass Effect content and new full games, so rest assured that your journey in the Mass Effect universe can, and will, continue.
 
The reaction to the release of Mass Effect 3 has been unprecedented. On one hand, some of our loyal fans are passionately expressing their displeasure about how their game concluded; we care about this feedback, and we’re planning to directly address it. However, most folks appear to agree that the game as a whole is exceptional, with more than 75 critics giving it a perfect review score and a review average in the mid-90s. Net, I’m proud of the team, but we can and must always strive to do better.
 
Some of the criticism that has been delivered in the heat of passion by our most ardent fans, even if founded on valid principles, such as seeking more clarity to questions or looking for more closure, for example – has unfortunately become destructive rather than constructive. We listen and will respond to constructive criticism, but much as we will not tolerate individual attacks on our team members, we will not support or respond to destructive commentary.
 
If you are a Mass Effect fan and have input for the team – we respect your opinion and want to hear it. We’re committed to address your constructive feedback as best we can. In return, I’d ask that you help us do that by supporting what I truly believe is the best game BioWare has yet crafted. I urge you to do your own research: play the game, finish it and tell us what you think. Tell your friends if you feel it’s a good game as a whole. Trust that we are doing our damndest, as always, to address your feedback.  As artists, we care about our fans deeply and we appreciate your support.
 
Thank you for your feedback – we are listening.
 
Ray

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