Mass Effect 3 Ending: Analyzing The Indoctrination Theory
Why It Could Be True
But before we place our bets, it’s worth noting that in The Final Hours, Hudson firmly ruled out any post-game DLC. “Whatever we do would likely happen before or during the events of Mass Effect 3, not after,” he says. In keeping with BioWare’s maddening silence on the controversy, this may very well include ending DLC. After all, the events of Mass Effect 3 end with the Stargazer, not with the beam up to the Citadel. And that leaves a lot of room to play around with the ending.
The Indoctrination Ending theory is a pretty solid one given what we know about Mass Effect and a few of the more strange alterations found in those final moments. A great example is the “Paragon” and “Renegade” presentation of the endings. The Red “Renegade” ending during the final cutscene destroys the Reapers, synthetics and lots of technology, but it’s also depicted as being the choice Anderson would make — a character generally viewed as having Paragon alignment. Meanwhile, the Blue ending features The Illusive Man, generally viewed as a Renegade character. Anderson may be a kicker of many asses (you know his voice was in John Carpenter’s The Thing, right?), but it’s hard to put him up against a super-rich, racist, smoking douche and say that of the two, Anderson is the Renegade choice.
Those contradictions are strange, to say nothing of the fact that the Prothean VI on Thessia makes mention of indoctrinated Protheans believing that controlling the Reapers was possible 50,000 years ago — straight-up telling you that that s–t is crazy talk. Why would Shepard be capable of controlling the Reapers, but not The Illusive Man? The star child’s explanation for this inconsistency is pretty thin, making it possible to be a manipulation.
There’s a whole helluva lot more evidence gleaned from the game — some of it substantial, some of it perhaps a little less so — available in posts on the BioWare Social Network forums. Users Lookingglassmind and Byne tore through the game’s ending, snapped images and compared them and spent way more time analyzing the game looking for clues than we ever could. Suffice to say there’s a lot that really could stack up in favor of this theory, and only a few of the highlights are discussed by us or in the video above. High five to dedicated fans for digging so deeply.
The in-game lore syncs nicely with an Indoctrination Ending, to a point. The evidence is there, as are lots of clues throughout the entire journey. It still doesn’t completely jive with some of the things we see — what’s the deal with the end cutscene of the Normandy and Joker suddenly pulling a Shaggy-and-Scooby runaway, for example — but it does fill several plot holes throughout the ending. There’s just one problem with this interpretation: it makes the endings as they stand even worse.