1 
Reply  
#1

Hi all,

First of all, let me say I'll be sorry to see these boards vanish. I've had countless great conversations here over the years and it's honestly been one of my favorite forums I've ever participated in.

To the point of my post, I'm getting ready to start a new playthrough of the original trilogy with the aim of it being my 
"official canon" for Mass Effect: Andromeda. Knowing what we know about Andromeda (no import, new galaxy, etc.) I'm inclined to be more open minded regarding which ending to choose, but I'm still undecided.

I've almost always picked the Destroy Ending with High EMS. Because I wanted Shepard to be alive and have a somewhat happy ending (although Destroy has some awful drawbacks) and we did set out to destroy the Reapers. 

I picked Synthesis once and it was... interesting, but I've always avoided it after. Never picked Control.

But since we're moving on to a new galaxy, I feel like I'm less obliged to leave the Milky Way in a recognizable state. In fact, having it be totally borked might even enhance my headcanon for Andromeda since it will seem a much better idea to have to sought refuge to start again elsewhere.

My questions are as follows:

Control

Are we given any idea of what happens? I know Shepard becomes the Reaper overlord, either by uploading and enhancing his consciousness or a new AI being based on his mind, but what then? Do the cycles continue but... more nicely? I don't believe that this results in Indoctrination, so taking that on faith, do we have any indication of what Shepard controlling the Reapers really does? Do the Reapers all stay around as interstellar badasses and help everybody out? Do they go away again only to return if needed?

Synthesis

What the actual ****. I mean, what does this even mean. Does it mean organics will now build offspring instead of breeding? Can machines reproduce sexually? Both? Do organics now have less emotion or "humanity" or do machines have more? If even the plants are robots, does anyone need to poop anymore? How does synthetic/organic hybridization prevent these hybrid beings from creating pure AI down the line that would pose the same threat? Would any new AI be somehow organic when it came into being because of space magic?

Refusal

I almost kind of lean towards this one. Like a lot of players, my instinct during the Catalyst confrontation was to not trust anything it says and tell it to go to hell. I basically metagame my way out of it and have Shepard pick something because I know the Crucible does what you choose. Is there still an epilogue? Is the idea that even though this cycle, and perhaps the next several, fail to destroy the Reapers, eventually they do? If so, I might like this idea best as it means Ryder and co. are starting over in another galaxy while the Milky Way remains ravaged by war for eons.

All thoughtful commentary is appreciated!


#2

Similar to destroy, the slides showing what happens after are different depending on your EMS and Shepard's speech changes depending on whether he/she is Paragon or Renegade.  I think it's probably best if you view a few different ones of all the endings on YouTube to see if anything fits or contradicts what you'd like for your head canon.

As best I can tell...

1) There is nothing in the game that actually indicates that destroy successfully kills every single reaper.  In fact, the game suggests just the opposite since clearly fully eradicating any species has not been successful in the past... e.g. the Rachni we thought to be extinct... but weren't; the Reapers thought they had eliminated the Protheans and the Levaithan... but didn't; regardless of whether or not Shepard eliminates the Rachni Queen (in a second attempt to annihilate that species), she returns.  On a symbolic level... this equates to how ridiculous and unsuccessful human historic attempts at genocide has been... heck, we couldn't even eliminate smallpox - had to weaponize it instead).  In Destroy's favor - it is what one sets out to do from the beginning, so if a player is not prepared to destroy the Reapers, they probably have no business starting the game at all.  The question it asks of the player is, IMO, "At what point does the collateral damage become to high?"  If one views the geth and EDI as just machines, this probably is not much of a dilemma for one.  If one views them as a form a life equating "humanity" - the issue becomes a real moral dilemma with no "good" outcome.

2) There is nothing in the game that actually indicates that Shepard becomes any sort of AI when taking control of the Reapers... he/she does die (making references to the man or woman he/she "once was" make perfect sense in that context).  It seems more similar to me to a person ascending to Heaven (becoming immortal and godlike, much like in a Greek sense where their gods had the power to influence and actively interfer in the lives of mortals).  So I think it's your choice whether or not Shepard becomes evil (absolute power corrupts absolutely) or not.  On a symbolic level, human history is full of absolute rulers (kings, queen, dictators) - some who have been reasonably good and others who have been notoriously bad.  Shepard is expressly given the power to control the Reapers "as he/she sees fit."

3)  To me, synthesis is symbolic of what it would take to achieve a mutually beneficial (equal) peace between any warring peoples that have been at each other for generations.  Hatred of the "other" becomes so ingrained that it would require a deep change in their understanding of each other for them to live peacefully with each other (essentially a change in their DNA).  That this sort of change is represented in a physical way (i.e green glowing eyes) is IMO the problem that many people have with this idea.

4) To me, refusal can be interpreted on a symbolic level as just letting the galaxy continue on as it had for many millennia... harvests included.  We all eventually die to make room for new life.


#3

I'll definitely check out the youtube videos. 

Regarding Refusal, I agree. But I think I remember there still being the "stargazer" epilogue when I looked into it before which would, in my mind, suggest that the Reapers were eventually defeated. I'm posting from work so I can't watch videos right now.

Regarding Synthesis, I'm still just fundamentally confused about the specifics. I get what you're saying that.... like, you're ending the conflict by removing the difference that causes the conflict. Organics and synthetics are the same now, so no more need for them to oppose each other... on those grounds at least. But what does "the same" mean? If you flipped a switch to stop an ideological war between Muslims and Hindus to make them "the same", what does that mean? That Hindus accepted Allah? That Muslims changed their views on him? That they both believe something new and different about the origin of life now? It's just crazy to me.

Weirdly enough, Control is seeming more appealing to me now which is one I thought I would never choose.


#4

I think none of the endings actually happen and here is why I think that:

After knowing that the ark left the milky way before the ME3 ending, I've been thinking about the possibility that the story told in the trilogy is being told from Andromeda's point of view. Meaning that anyone in Andromeda will know the real story up until they left the milky way, and even then it could have been edited to remove whatever inconvinience they found. Therefore, they will not possibly know what happened after they left. Which means the ME3 ending is an invention made by those who reach Andromeda in order to tell their descendant the story of their ancestors. As shown during the stargazer scene.

That will also explain why priority Earth is so confusing, rushed and lacks sense, because is merely just an intent of finishing a story that the people in Andromeda never knew how it ended. Also what they could have is the device that Liara scatter around the galaxy to tell the story of commander Shepard, which will certainly lack an ending. Someone must say that the ark could have a quantum entanglement communicator with the milky way so they could know for certain what happen at the end. But in order to avoid the reapers (or any indoctrinated agent aboard the ark) to find out about the ark's destination or even existence, it make sense that any sort of communication with the milky way should be avoided.

There are, however, some flaws with this theory regarding the stargazer scene. The fourth ending that was included with the extended cut replaces the human stargazer for an unknown alien stargazer hinting that the known civilizations of the milky way have been wiped out and these aliens are from a new civilization that raises on the milky way. This contradicts the previously stated about the stargazer been telling the story from Andromeda since the anihilation of the milky way's civilizations should not affect this scene.
 

TL;DR; it doesn't matter what ending you choose, it simply does not affect Andromeda.

But if you want to pick one I almost always choose Destroy because that is the right thing to do IMO. Control is just Shepard becoming the mind of the human Reaper and anything shown in the epilogue is just a simulation running in the core of the human Reaper. I don't know if was Sovereign or Harbinger but one of them mention that each Reaper is a nation that preserves the culture of the harvested civilization. A simulation is the only thing that could possibly preserve that civilization in a Reaper form. Synthesis is more trickier to non-literally interpret so for now I have no clue. IMO a literal interpretation of the endings is wrong.


#5

I'll definitely check out the youtube videos. 

Regarding Refusal, I agree. But I think I remember there still being the "stargazer" epilogue when I looked into it before which would, in my mind, suggest that the Reapers were eventually defeated. I'm posting from work so I can't watch videos right now.

Regarding Synthesis, I'm still just fundamentally confused about the specifics. I get what you're saying that.... like, you're ending the conflict by removing the difference that causes the conflict. Organics and synthetics are the same now, so no more need for them to oppose each other... on those grounds at least. But what does "the same" mean? If you flipped a switch to stop an ideological war between Muslims and Hindus to make them "the same", what does that mean? That Hindus accepted Allah? That Muslims changed their views on him? That they both believe something new and different about the origin of life now? It's just crazy to me.

Weirdly enough, Control is seeming more appealing to me now which is one I thought I would never choose.

Regarding Refusal - Go back to my "destroy" explanation... The Reapers were not totally successful with either the Protheans or Leviathan, right?  (ETA:  Although I have to agree that it would be a bit strange for the remaining humans to idolize "The Shepard" for refusing to do anything about the Reapers... but it wouldn't be the first time that a civilization totally messed up its history.)

Regarding Synthesis - I didn't say that everyone was made the same... just that there was a change in their deep understanding of each other that was represented as "glowing green eyes."  The game clearly shows that Asari remain Asari, Krogans remains Krogans (even Krogan babies are still very much Krogan); Reapers remain Reapers... they are not made all the same... understanding removes the "inborn" hatred of the other.  It's an idealistic POV, to be sure... but since when, at any point, is Mass Effect realistic?

Personally, I find that any of the endings can be applicable depending on what "character" my Shepard is for that playthrough.  I find the best way to "deal with" the endings is to not take them too personally or too emotionally... they are just endings to a video game after all.  There is no inherently "right" one nor is there any singular way to interpret any of them.  They were intentionally written to be "maliable" and people can insert their own thoughts into each ending - both negative and positive, depending on what they personally believe in - religion, form of government, about war, about the nature of life, etc., etc.  That is, in part, why people are still arguing over them today.

As for which will  carry forward best into ME:A... I honestly think we'll leave the galaxy before the end of ME3 and just never know what happened there... so anything could be applied.  People might be unhappy with the "retcon" and gripe about breaking bits of their own lore, etc.... but, IMO, it just doesn't matter a whole lot.  ME:A will either be a good video game in its own right or not.   IMO, the ME Trilogy story should be pretty irrelevant now.


#6

Definitely. I'm just trying to figure out which one I want, even though it will have zero impact on Andromeda. Just pure headcanon. I like my headcanon to follow lore as much as possible so I'm just looking for thoughts on the different endings so I can imagine how the Milky Way is left changed after Ryder leaves for Andromeda.


#7

See here, OP. 


#8

No, I get that. I know there's no import and it won't be reflected at all in Andromeda, but I'd still like to know the fate of the Milky Way even though the characters in Andromeda never will.

That's why I somewhat leans towards Refuse, because I think it would be cool for the Milky Way to be ravaged by war for millenia, thus making the expedition to Andromeda a very good move.


#9

Definitely. I'm just trying to figure out which one I want, even though it will have zero impact on Andromeda. Just pure headcanon. I like my headcanon to follow lore as much as possible so I'm just looking for thoughts on the different endings so I can imagine how the Milky Way is left changed after Ryder leaves for Andromeda.

No, I get that. I know there's no import and it won't be reflected at all in Andromeda, but I'd still like to know the fate of the Milky Way even though the characters in Andromeda never will.

That's why I somewhat leans towards Refuse, because I think it would be cool for the Milky Way to be ravaged by war for millenia, thus making the expedition to Andromeda a very good move.

Further suggestions to help you make up your own mind here: 

1) Re Control:  Do look closely at the difference in the changes taking place with Shepard during a Paragon Control vs. Renegade Control (the differences is quite subtle, but it is there).  Control can also be used by Shepard as a means of ultimately destroying the Reapers.  If he/she only orders them to cease the harvest and also orders them to cease defending themselves, the Reapers do become vulnerable to being destroyed by organics (which are not placed under Shepard's control).  Whether or not the Reapers survive then would depend more on organics individually deciding on their own to make peace with them (since the Reapers would, in that scenario, just no longer be trying to harvest organics).  Shepard could, theoretically, even order the Reapers to turn on each other.  The slide show at the end does show Reapers apparently repairing the Citadel; but the timeline for Shepard to "arrange" for the Reapers to destroy each other is unlimited... the only condition is that he/she stays true to the purpose of ultimately destroying the Reapers and does not become corrupted by being in such absolutely control of them.

2) Re Refusal:  I don't think the duration it took for the Reapers to harvest the current cycle is ever mentioned; and we do know that it took centuries for them to complete their harvest of the Protheans, so I think your scenario of the galaxy being ravaged by a war of a long duration is feasible.  Someone mentioned that the stargazer changes into an alien if Refuse is selected.  I honestly can't remember, though.  I don't see where that would necessarily affect the head canon that the stargazer scene could be taking place somewhere in Andromeda and without real knowledge of what happened.

Again, I think any of the endings are flexible enough to work out an appropriate "blending" head canon once ME:A is released and we know more details about that game.


#10

Right on, man. That gives me some thoughts to chew on. I appreciate your insight. Exactly what I will miss about these boards  :crying:


1