Watch Mass Effect 3's Different Endings, See What All The Fuss Is About

OK, just in case this needs spelling out, this will contain ENORMOUS SPOILERS. It's essentially all spoilers. But if you've already finished the game, or more importantly have not, will not and still want to see what all the ruckus has been about, read on!

This isn't a definitive guide on how to achieve them. If some kind of Google magic has led you here thinking otherwise, sorry. It's just a collection of the most important ones so you can arm yourself for one of the most passionate discussions about a game's ending we've seen in a long time.

There are, apparently, sixteen different endings to the game. Or, should I say, "different", because many of them are largely identical, sharing most animated sequences and differentiated only by changes to an effect's colour palette.

The endings you receive when completing the game depend on two things: whether you destroyed the Collector Base at the end of Mass Effect 2, and what your Effective Military Strength was when setting off on the game's final mission.

Many players when reaching the end of Mass Effect 3's playable content are given two options (either destroy or control the Reapers) with how to save/change the galaxy. If you'd passed certain criteria, you were also given a third, neutral one (synthesis).

Since many of the clips are almost identical, I've included just the important ones (those showing the most dramatic differences) in the gallery above.

In the first one, you'll see one of the "best" endings (really just an additional few seconds shown after a regular conclusion, at the 4:31 mark), in which it suggests that Commander Shepard somehow survives the whole ordeal. Leading to the week's most popular conspiracy theory.

The best "Destroy" ending. All Reapers are destroyed, the Earth is saved, the Normandy escapes to an alien world. Head to 4:31 to see the SHEPARD LIVES moment.

The best "Synthetic" ending, in which all synthetic and organic beings somehow become one. Again, the Normandy escapes, and pilot Joker now has the added benefit of being able to knock boots with EDI.

The best "Control" ending. Shepard sacrifices his body to take command of the Reapers, flying them away from Earth. The Normandy once again survives.

The worst "Destroy" ending, in which you didn't get enough forces together and made some pretty crummy decisions. Reapers are killed, Earth is destroyed, everything is super depressing. It's even suggested the crew of the Normandy are DOA.

Watch Mass Effect 3's Different Endings, See What all the Fuss is About

An average "Control" ending, in which for some reason the Citadel, which explodes in just about every other ending, survives.


    All the people complaining about the endings being vague, thats part of the fun. If you saved the Krogan for real, Wrex surely leads them to being a strong and united people, thats all they wanted after a thousand years of watching their young die. If you didn't, then nothing would have really changed for them. The Geth and Quarians apparently get along, the Geth were even helping alter Rannon in order to allow the Quarians to live outside of their suits after a few years compared to decades. If you allowed one side to destroy the other that obviously doesn't happen. Destroying the mass relays and citadel in each of the ends is more symbolic than anything else I think, breaking the cycle of destruction by breaking the old technology and allowing the new races the chance to figure things out for themselves. As for why the Normandy was cruising along the mass relay routes for no apparently reason, ...maybe Shepard's crew bailed once they see him get hit with that Reaper laser when he was running toward the citadel transport? I don't have an answer for that one.

    So you would only be happy with trite?

    Mass effect 3 is a utter disappointment. Bioware really didn't even try with this game Just look around the citadel a little, its like the same 10 or so character models everywhere ?(some still have no texture ) And why is the whole game is filled with these strange pointless cut-scenes with weird awkward silences that have NO relevance to the entire series ? The endings are ALL pathetic, i mean you play ME1 for 60 hours to get lvl 60, then you play ME2 for 30 hours or so (since ME2 was also failed) Now you play ME3 for 36 hours and that is the ending /endings you get? PATHETIC! a 5 minute ending sequence would really not be to much to ask for after 126 hours of play. PS why read a forum about Mass Effect 3's ending if ur not even done with ME3?????

    The Extended Cut reveals that the mass relays are only heavily damaged by the Crucible's firing instead of being destroyed as per the original ending, but most aspects of the plot remain the same. Additional scenes and dialogue have been added to clarify events and resolve perceived plot holes.
    The three original ending choices have been modified to include a varying narration provided by Hackett (Destroy), Shepard (Control), or EDI (Synthesis) along with slides showing the impact the player's choices have had upon the galaxy, as well as the fate of surviving characters. If the player has a sufficiently high EMS score, the surviving crew of the Normandy is shown holding a memorial service for Shepard before repairing the damage from the crash and launching into space.
    The Extended Cut also provides a fourth ending, triggered by either refusing the Catalyst's choices, or attempting to kill it when the player resumes control of Shepard. Consequently, the Crucible is not fired and the war ends with the systematic destruction of all space-faring civilizations, and the continuation of the Reaper cycle. The scene then shifts to an unknown garden world in the future where one of Liara's beacons has been discovered. Dialogue in the post-credits scene reveals that the knowledge gained from the beacon ultimately led to the next cycle's victory over the Reapers.

    And as for the Normandy crash scene i'm pretty sure if you listen carefully Hackket orders everyone to fall back out of system before catalyst is activated..

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