Was The Ending Of Mass Effect 3 Telegraphed Five Years Ago?

There are nearly as many different specific complaints about the conclusion of Mass Effect 3 as there are players who've completed the game. One of the major recurring points of contention, however, is the way in which the very final sequence of the game seems disconnected from the rest of play and from the series.

(Spoilers for the ending of Mass Effect 3 follow.)

Opponents of the ending argue, among other things, that the revelation of the Catalyst — the ghost in the machine of the Citadel, as it were — comes from out of nowhere, and that no previous hints have been left in the series to indicate that such a conclusion was even possible. A sharp-eyed Reddit user replaying the first Mass Effect game has found that maybe, there were hints all along.

As Commander Shepard explores the galaxy in Mass Effect and Mass Effect 2, s/he comes upon a great many individual planets. Most of these worlds sport thorough descriptions not only of their physical characteristics and mineral compositions, but also of their history or cultural relevance. The first game's codex entry for the otherwise unremarkable planet of Klencory (Newton system, Kepler Verge) describes a crackpot volus who might have been a bit of a prophet after all:

Klencory is famously claimed by the eccentric volus billionaire Kumun Shol. He claims that a vision of a higher being told him to seek on Klencory the "lost crypts of beings of light." These entities were supposedly created at the dawn of time to protect organic life from synthetic "machine devils."

Shol has been excavating on Klencory's toxic surface for two decades, at great expense. No government has valued the world enough to evict his small army of mercenaries.

Klencory can also be a destination for the Normandy in Mass Effect 3, at which point its entry has been updated to read:

Klencory is famously claimed by the eccentric volus billionaire Kumun Shol. His once-ridiculed visions of "beings of light" protecting organic life from synthetic "machine devils" don't seem quite so far-fetched now. His private army of mercenaries are well-established on the planet, waiting for husks to come knocking in on their door. In all likelihood, they will be obliterated by the molten metal of a Reaper orbital bombardment, on its way to somewhere important.

Whether it's a fortuitous coincidence or whether someone at BioWare was playing a very long game indeed remains a point of discussion. Rock, Paper, Shotgun points out that one fan questioned the connection many years ago but, like the volus Kumun Shol, went mainly unheeded. Until now.

Found something rather fascinating while replaying the first game. Maybe the ending wasn't as unprecedented as most people think? [Reddit]


    Haha, soooo you're saying I should have scanned and read all of planet descriptions, ignoring all but one, to fully appreciate the ME3 ending? While that is a cool little detail to have thrown in, its not really enough is it? Had we all picked up on that it still wouldn't have stopped us from being blindsided by the only child in the galaxy. While I admit I am one of the unhappy ones with the ending, it didn't stop me from loving the shit out of every moment... Still satisfying. It will be a massive job, rewriting the ending to satisfy all parties. No matter what they do it wont be good enough, just enjoy the game for what it was: Great scifi escapism.

    Still doesn't explain why they created synthetic life to kill organic life to protect them from synthetic life.

      I thought it was obvious but I guess not...
      No Reaper intervention:
      Lets say synthetics prevail and wiped everything out. All organic life. Boom. Gone. No more presence in the galaxy. Just synthetics
      The Reaper plan:
      Harvest all life and preserve it in the form of a borderline immortal machine. This ensures that the harvested species is around forever. (or at least a couple hundred thousand years until someone finds away to destroy the Reapers)
      But, as Shephard says, that's not what the organics want. They want there own life, own free will, etc. Through the Reaper eyes however, it was the perfect solution. As they seem to be all connected, no government, no politics, just the same goal in mind, they see it as the only way to ensure organics preservation. Now that I think about it, it's kinda like assimilation.

      If I didn't make sense, apologies, I just woke up.

        Re-watch the ending, the reapers are just machines, they don't even have VI's let alone AI functions, the God-Child controlled them + the citadel + the mass relays.

        Makes perfect sense to me. Obviously you have to view it from the point of view of the Reapers, like you say. Which is something the game went on about time and again with the Geth, synthetics see life through fundamentally different eyes, which is why it's impossible to co-exist etc.

        I know thats the offical story, but it still doesn't make it logical. Re-read what you have just written and see the holes.

      Simple; the SC was convinced that Synthetic life would wipe ou ALL organic life, so it took the route of harvesting the most advanced organics while leaving others alive. It's argument was that if they didn't wipe out all space-faring races every cycle they would eventually make a synhetic race that would wipe out all organic life peroid and stop it from ever happening again.

      I'm sure it made sense a few billion years ago.

    Anyone else kind of like that there are questions left at the ending of a story?

      Questions are fine, the problems are all the retcon's and the lack of closure on the whole story line.

    I'm more curious about the whole indoctrination theory. I want to know if that is actually the case or fans have really imaginative minds Bioware could/should use.

    Mabye when bioware told us to keep out saves files they already had this planned.

    People are giving BioWare too much credit with these ending theories. The truth is they blew it. They wanted a cinematic ambigious for the sake of it ending to get people talking. Likely hoping that the true believers drowned out the confused masses with talk about how 'artistic' and perfect it was. They wanted a Sopranos ending.

    Yeeeeahhh no.
    But if you really want to run with it then it's still horrible forewhadowing.
    It's like if an author used foreshadowing on their blog post rather than in the actual novel.

    they had multiple ways of ending ME3. dark energy, this, total annihilation and much more but they took the easy way out and it has bitten them on the backside.

    I'm assuming that they're basically trying to claim that the dead kid/AI god/Catalyst thing equates to a "being of light"? The implication of a connection here is dumb for a few reasons.
    1. No living creature in the history of the galaxy has supposedly ever seen the Catalyst. Shepard is the first, the Catalyst says so itself. The idea that it would somehow show itself to a random volus in a vision for no real reason makes no sense. The whole excerpt is based on the account of one volus and his only evidence is a vision. Not relics or records. This strongly suggests the volus is more likely just crazy, having some kind of religious dream, and it's intended that way.
    2. There's no reason for "beings of light" to have crypts. If they're all like the Catalyst (assuming there even IS more of its kind, which doesn't seem likely in itself - we're only ever told of the Catalyst, and only in the last 5 minutes of the game) they're essentially immortal AIs.
    3. We already know from Drew Karpshyn's leaked script for the original ending (in which the Reapers were trying to find a way to stop Dark Matter from consuming everything), and a certain famous forum post by one of the writers (http://gamerant.com/bioware-mass-effect-3-ending-curt-139503/2/) that the current ending wasn't actually written until a point late last year. And it wasn't even written by the same writing team. No way they had such a ridiculous ending planned out right from the start.

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