A lot of fans were, to put it mildly, unhappy with the ending of the Mass Effect series. Like the creatives we are, many of us have our own beliefs about what went on in the ME universe, disregarding the official story.
With Andromeda coming out in less than a year, we have been talking about the franchise a lot. Here are some of our thoughts on the recent trailer:
Soco: We didn’t see much that we didn’t already know or expect, but what we did see was enough to keep me content until the next big reveal. Both the Asari character and Ryder looked amazing, and I’m incredibly excited to see what the other races will look like in Frostbite. (Who am I kidding, I just want romanceable, HD Turians.)
Melissa: Andromeda looks cool, but that’s about all I’m getting from it so far. Cool is a starting place, but I’m hoping for more from later trailers and information. I mean, let’s be real—I’m going to buy it when it comes out, no advertising necessary. But I’d like to know a little bit more about what’s going on anyway, especially because of the concerns that Soco mentions below!
Wendy: I’m pretty easy when it comes to BioWare. They have let me down in many ways over the years, but my obsession remains, mainly because, despite problematic story lines, rushed games, questionable choices (many of which can probably be blamed on Electronic Arts), they have always been consistent in giving me memorable characters to fall in love with. The trailer and information that has come out thus far doesn’t offer me much in terms of story and promises of Frostbite goodness, but I am certain they will once again give me companions to love or hate to my heart’s content.
So, what can we hope for in the game to come? What are we afraid of happening?
Soco: I understand Andromeda will focus on exploration, and that’s exactly what I’m hoping for: a huge, immersive experience where I can travel the galaxy with my new alien friends. But I feel I must briefly discuss what I fear, as well. We know that in this installment, we, humanity, are the aliens, and there will most likely be some sort of colonial effort on our part. How BioWare handles this element of the game will make it either a fun experience for me, or a violent nightmare.
Hard pass if this is the case, I don’t want to be Space Columbus. I don’t want to see indigenous peoples represented as uncultured, violent savages. But this is BioWare we’re talking about, so I also harbor a lot of hope that this will never happen, that my fear will evaporate into thin air once I’m actually playing the game. And even if it’s promptly replaced with heartbreak and tears over some fictional character dying or dumping me (in that order), I will be more than grateful.
Melissa: I’m seconding everything Soco says. BioWare tries harder than most other game companies to represent people of different genders, races, and ethnicities, and in doing so, they have a tendency to fail in other ways—casting a cis woman to voice Krem, for instance, which would have been the perfect opportunity to cast a trans voice actor, something that likely wouldn’t have happened if the character’s writer was trans. I’m hoping that what we’ve gotten so far is misleading and that there’s some level of critique going on, because they’ve crafted this fascinating universe full of unique aliens and then had us consistently play humans. In the original trilogy, Shepard is savior of the galaxy—isn’t it time we got a different take on humanity’s place in a huge universe we’ve only just begun to explore?
Also, I really, really, really want to play something other than a human. It doesn’t look like I’ll be getting the chance this time around, but that’s my biggest hope. Lady Turians, please!
Wendy: When I learned that they planned to step away from the current story, which had a rather definitive ending, no matter what you choose, I wondered how they would manage it. I have some hope, now that it’s clear Ryder and her crew have ventured off to another galaxy with little idea of what Shepard have been up to. But it does worry me that we’re off to impose ourselves onto this galaxy with our plucky human ideals. Sure we’ve got at least one Asari companion, but the Asari haven’t been so great with the sharing of the knowledge. Would the council really leave a human in charge of this mission? That said, since I do read the lore outside of the game, I wonder if we’ll see some of the other explorers that left our galaxy before Ryder’s mission. I’m also looking forward to far more information about the story and characters coming out as we get closer to launch time, similar to the character biographies and location details that BioWare teased with prior to the release of Dragon Age Inquisition. That kind of fan engagement was so important and I can’t imagine that BioWare would not continue with something similar.
What do you wish had happened to the end of the Mass Effect series? Do you have a different dream for the characters?
Soco: Oh my, do I have headcanons. I have more headcanons for Mass Effect than for any other body of fictional work, and that is to say something. I started to write fanfic just to get all my headcanons organized, and, well, if I ever get around to finish it, it will be a freaking long fanfic. But here are the main points of it, specifically as regards the ending:
Shepard chooses Destroy, but the child monster thing was lying to preserve himself. The Crucible doesn’t actually destroy every form of synthetic life, it had been designed by the Protheans to only destroy Reapers, so EDI and the Geth are not affected by it. Garrus overrides the order of escaping the explosion by means of knocking Alenko out, so the Normandy (unaffected, just like Earth) is fast to recover Shepard from the rubble. When she wakes up from a very long period of unconsciousness at the hospital (she was found on the brink of death, but still alive, courtesy of her amazing Cerberus-made new body,) she is overwhelmed by what she remembers doing, and it takes a very patient Garrus to assure her she made the best choice.
Long story short, everyone who survived the war enjoys the peace they’ve earned. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I don’t appreciate a bittersweet ending in fiction, but after watching my dearest Shepard give her all to save the galaxy, my imagination just flew to happier places, where the good and the selfless get the happiness they deserve.
Melissa: Honestly, I didn’t mind Mass Effect 3’s ending all that much. I know, I know, I should probably have some kind of fired-up opinion about it, but I loved so much of the series that the ending was just a brief blip of disappointment.
My Shepard was a complete Paragon, and I think her ending (Synthesis) suits what she would have done. It’s not an ideal ending for anybody, and, to inject a little bit of my fix-it headcanons, there was more nuance to this option than the game hinted at. A degree of understanding between synthetics and organics, maybe, or some kind of greater consciousness or connection that encourages all of these different organisms to consider their relationships with one another. I don’t like the idea of converting everybody to some new life form without their permission, so in my head it’s more of a gradual thing, like an aha moment that leads to more.
I totally accept her death, however. My Shepard was the self-sacrificing sort, and she’d have done whatever it took to save everybody else. Liara carries on her legacy through cute little Asari babies who all grow up to be as curious and kind as their mothers.
Wendy: I’m the girl who believes a suicide mission should not offer an achievement for getting everyone home alive. I am the girl who loves the heartbreak of romancing Solas and watching her dalish beliefs crumble before her eyes. I want that drama! So, although the first ending made little logistical sense, I was already working myself into acceptance long before they ‘fixed’ it with DLC that filled in the blanks and offered some level of closure. I never expected Molly Shepard to walk out of this battle alive. Nor did she. She never agreed with The Illusive Man, but throughout her battles, she came to see reason behind his growing insanity. I could not pick an ending that risked the lives of so many, but I refused to accept a Control ending that, well, didn’t control. So I created a hybrid Control/Destroy headcanon where Shepard takes command of the reapers and makes the tough call one last time.
Alright ME fans, what are your hopes and dreams? Tell us in the comments.