Mass Effect 3: Indoctrinated Fanbase?

Alright. I have to post this addendum to my last entry.

I touched briefly on what’s called the “Indoctrination Theory” concerning the ending to Mass Effect 3.

This theory basically states that the reason the ending makes no sense is because it’s intentionally dream like, because Shepard is undergoing ‘indoctrination,’ which is essentially Reaper mind control. And it has a lot going for it, as a theory. See here for a good video breakdown of the evidence via the Angry Joe show: of special note is that about 19 minutes in, he cites one Jessica Merizan’s responses to my tweets with her about the ending. I guess this makes me a contributor to the Angry Joe show now, albeit unintentionally. You’re welcome, Joe!

Obviously, spoilers, if you haven’t played the game.

Do I believe it? I don’t know. I want to. I want to because it gives BioWare a LOT of credit, and I want to believe that. On the other hand, I don’t want to, because it’s a giant mind screw, and I genuinely loath giant mind screw endings.

The problem, as I see it, is this:

If the Indoctrination theory is false, the ending is BAD and needs to be FIXED. This belief requires me to assume that BioWare dropped the ball in a way that I’ve never seen them drop the ball before… and it requires me to believe that they actively violated their own franchise.

If the Indoctrination theory is true, the ending is GOOD, but it’s INCOMPLETE, which is almost more galling.

I don’t know what to think. I don’t know what makes more sense. I suppose whichever one lets me enjoy the game again… until April, when they’ve said they’ll be announcing their ‘content initiatives.’ Whatever that means.

Time will tell…


2 responses to “Mass Effect 3: Indoctrinated Fanbase?

  • magnetite

    When asked about the indoctrination ending at PAX, here’s what they had to say:

    “We don’t want to tell people what to think. We want the content to speak for itself”

    Short answer, the ending being indoctrination doesn’t need to be explained, as it was meant to be fairly obvious. As for the Reapers still being there and the war isn’t finished yet, they said before the game was launched that it wouldn’t end with “beat Reapers proceed with medal ceremony”.

    Reapers are still there, and there was no medal ceremony.

    They also advertised that this is the end of Shepard’s story, not the Reapers.

    Mass Effect has never been about destroying the Reapers. It’s always been about Shepard. At the end, we see that either Shepard gets indoctrinated, or he doesn’t.

    There was another line during the pre-release statements saying “I’m going to win this war, but I’m not going to sacrifice the soul of our species to do it”. Pick control or synthesis, and you will sacrifice the soul of organic life. Pick destroy and you won’t.

    They also mentioned that Mass Effect 3 being the battle to retake Earth. In a big war, there is many battles. Just like in World War 2. There was the big war, which lasted 6 years, but in it, there were many battles. Mass Effect 3 is one battle.

    The next game may take place during Mass Effect 3 (presuming it’s not a prequel):

    So like I said, this was the battle for Earth. The next game may be about a different battle during the Reaper War. Perhaps expanding on the war on Palaven, Thessia or Rannoch with the Reapers. .

    “If you had three games centred around a group of key soldiers in the US army during World War I and then decided to make a game about another group of people during the Second World War, the games could have many points in common and feel true to one another,” he continued.

    “You likely would have to recognise how the events of the first war influenced the ones of the second, but you would not necessarily think of it as a sequel. Again, the analogy is not great, but what I’m trying to say is that the ME universe is so rich that we are not limited to a single track when coming up with a new story.”

    Not exactly sure what that means, other than the next Mass Effect game will have many things in common with Mass Effect 3 and won’t be a sequel (as said earlier).

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