My SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER Thoughts About Mass Effect 3’s Ending (UPDATED)
I’m going to go ahead and talk about the ending of Mass Effect 3 and their curious decision to have Chewbacca appear at the very end of the game and lead everyone in the Macarena while the blue elephant plays his round piano. Yes, I know that didn’t happen, but I didn’t want the preview thing to show any actual spoilers to ruin someone else’s experience. I will wait until after the jump, which is right here.
When I played through, like everyone else, I got the three choices we all had available: control the Reapers, destroy the Reapers, or change all organic and synthetic DNA to essentially blur the difference. Of course, before then, I’d fought through waves of enemies on Earth, some of the hardest battles in the game to date. It was a tough slog. I went through my discussion with the Illusive Man and convinced him to shoot himself in the head, a nice callback to Saren and a bit of a chance for redemption for someone who really did have humanity’s best interests at heart. I sat with Anderson at the End of All Things, content to watch and die. I’d just saved the fucking galaxy, after all. Anderson passes out – maybe he dies, but it’s not definitive – and I am ready to do the same. There you go, galaxy. I’ve given it all I can. Shepard out.
Then Hackett gets on the radio, bugging me. My journey isn’t done. I need to do something. I don’t know what. I end up giving up, when a lift takes me to the true heart of the Citadel. There I meet the AI that is running the show. He tells me why it’s happening and I see his point. I still don’t like it, but at least I know why it’s happening. But I’ve fucked up his cycle, and now it’s up to me to choose what comes next. Now, I ended up seeing/playing all 3 of my choices, but my favorite is this one:
I just spent 3 game-years and 5 me-years fighting the Reapers. I reflect for a minute – I’d kill the geth if I chose to end the Reapers. I can live with that. I loved Legion, but he’s gone, and the geth that are now self-aware are not him. I think about EDI, and Joker, and I feel bad. Really bad. I liked EDI. I ask myself, would they sacrifice themselves, here at the end of all things, to stop the Reapers forever? I think they would. This isn’t the first time I’ve held a race in my hand and had to choose to end them or save them, or the first time I’ve had to pick someone to die.
I could control the Reapers and give up my mortal shell. I could control the single-most powerful thing in the galaxy and use them for Good. The synthetics and organics have to figure out how to get along. I think they will. I’ll be destroying the mass relays, just like with every other choice, but I believe there is enough “Reaper Tech” around to rebuild them. We have gathered the greatest minds in the galaxy in one place already; they can figure it out.
Or I can make the distinction between organic and synthetic a moot point. Joker and EDI can be together. Presumably, every race can bond together; I don’t know. This is Utopia, and by giving myself up I can make it possible.
But I am Shepard. A human. A soldier. I am flawed.
I have come this far to stop the Reapers. I have watched people I loved die because of them. I want revenge, not just for me, but for the Protheans and all the races before me. Goodbye, Geth. Goodbye EDI. I will miss you. But I know I will die if I choose the other 2 options. It is explicitly stated. I am part machine. I am not all machine.
I kill the geth. I kill EDI. More importantly, I kill the Reapers.
I destroy the mass effect relays, but I believe that is a technical obstacle that our peoples can solve, even if in lesser form. We can achieve this. The Citadel shatters, and I am alone, here at the End of All Things.
All is still. I gasp for breath. I am Shepard. A human. A soldier. I’m not dead yet.
I didn’t honestly expect this post to come out this way. Just happened when I let go of my fingers. But I think it sums up how I feel about it. The whole game was a giant eulogy for Shepard, the Avatar of this cycle. I got to say goodbye a dozen times to the friends I’d made along the way. And I saved as many as I could. It was very rewarding to me. I understand the feelings of the vocal masses, but I don’t feel the same way. I agree with Penny Arcade’s take on the apparently-quite-popular Hate Take on the game’s ending, 5 Reasons to Hate the Ending. The ending is good enough for me.
But what about you?
There is a theory going around, some fueled by the fans, some by admittedly cryptic remarks made by official Mass Effect channels, that indicates that this isn’t the actual ending of the game. Devs are making statements of “hold onto your saved games” and are indicating that there is more to the story. If you are interested in the Indoctrination Theory, as it’s known, go here and read its tenets for yourself. Is it true? No idea. Is it possible? I’d say yes. If I were Bioware, even if it wasn’t what I’d planned, you are damn right that I would be working on making it come true right this second. All I know is this: if this is a fake, fuck with people ending, then whoever was behind it has the biggest fucking balls in the history of gaming. It’s a stunt that can only work once. I’m good with the ending, but still hoping that this is true. Heh.