June 23, 2012
It’s here… I don’t know about you, but I’ve been nervous about this coming out since they announced it. The internet uproar regarding the original ending to Mass Effect 3 caused so many conversations here at Lost Level. We’ve talked about the ending to death on podcasts, the round table, and just between ourselves. There’s one thing we all can agree on, Bioware didn’t have to make this. They shouldn’t have. They ended the game the way they intended, and considering all the choices a player gets to make across the entire trilogy it stands as one of the greatest accomplishments in gaming history. No matter what Bioware did to end the story of Shepard there was simply no way to please everyone. Bioware gave us to option to choose between three different fates of Shepard at the end, but more importantly they gave us the chance to let our imaginations fill in the remainder.
I believe in the ‘indoctrination theory’ and it is something that has been dissected across forums, and on youtube. If you never heard of this theory I am attaching my personal favorite documentary regarding this theory after the break. If you have time I want you to watch it and understand that if this is what Bioware had intended from the beginning then all the people fighting for a better ending will have to eat crow. If on June 26th Bioware “expands on the endings of Mass Effect 3 through additional scenes and epilogue sequences” by telling us that the indocrination theory is correct, then this will be the best video game ending of all time.
The reason I am scared about this is because I want to believe in the theory. I want to believe that all the subtle music and sound queues were intentional, or that all the strange things we see after Shepard wakes are from the Reapers trying to indoctrinate him one final time. The indoctrination ending would simply change the way people talk about gaming. It will quell the discussion that gaming is not art, and it would be cited in every argument going forward that video game writing can be taken seriously, and that video games are a legitimate media for exceptional story telling. Yes, I am putting a lot on the theory, but in order for people to change the way they perceive the game industry a single spark has to be ignited somewhere. This ending could be the paradigm shift the industry needs to take in order to become more socially acceptable.
Or Bioware releases some cut scenes that gives us the fate of some of the crew members. Like I said, I am nervous about this. Watch the video and make up your own minds. Discuss your theory with us. I know we will be discussing this on future podcasts.