ME3 Indoctrination theory analysis

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I've been analyzing the indoctrination theory and I am starting to believe it might be true. A lot of things about Mass Effect lore seem to suggest that. It's really the most logical explanation.

Consider this:

"good" ending (blue) one is about controlling the Reapers. The very same thing that The Illusive Man thought he could do. And that was considered the wrong choice all along.

-The middle ending is the most vague one of them all and it's basically making Shepard kill himself. Or is he allowing Reapers to implant him with Reaper tech the same way Saren allowed Sovereign in ME1?

-The "bad" ending (red), is actually the one that makes you do what you've been trying to do all along. It's what the game was all about. And now it's presented with a color that represents a bad moral choice (sneaky Bioware).

That's actually the good choice. We've just been manipulated into believing it is the bad one because Bioware knows that we think red color symbolizes bad moral choice. They manipulated with us like we were sex slaves.

The last sequence wasn't a choice of ending at all, it was a battle of will. Choosing the red ending, Shepard survives if your EMS is over 5000, and he wakes up in a pile of rubble. The Citadel was destroyed in that ending. No one could have survived that. Especially not without any armor in space.
And do you really believe that someone can write an awesome script and then ruin it completely in the last 5 minutes? Or is it possible that we are missing something? Especially since EA and Bioware are big on DLC's.

There is another thing to consider. If you remember in ME2 derelict Reaper level, Cerberus scientists went crazy. Even a 37 million years old derelict Reaper was able to manipulate their thoughts. God only knows what Harbinger is able to do to your head.
We can definitely expect him to be able to implement false memories into our mind. That would also go along well with what Sovereign said about Reapers being beyond our understanding.

I would like to hear your own thought about the indoctrination theory. Do you think it's plausible? Why? Why not? And if you have something to add that would be nice.

I'd like to hope the indoctrination theory is bang on. I seem to remember being told within the first 20 mins of Mass Effect 1 that the reapers come down bellowing out a signal that bores into your brain causing indoctrination.

Harbinger himself appears just as the theory about indoctrination kicks off. This is coincidently the first time Shepard comes face to face with one of the capital class reapers... Far too convienient. Why should Shepard be any less vulnerable to the effects of indoctrination than anyone else? Especially since it was Harbinger, said to be the most powerful of all the reapers and taking a personal interest in Shepard. I find the theory highly likely.

Hopefully Bioware will save the day by riding in with some free DLC which shows how the indoctrination attempt fails once Shepard chooses the destroy option. Shepard then waking up on Earth, covered in rubble as hinted in the ending vid, heads towards the conduit to kick ass the way it was always meant to be.

I wouldn't put it past Bioware to have planned something this ambitious from the start. Also backed up by the comments made on behalf of them via twitter...

In Bioware we trust

Edit: Please let this be true, if only to put Hitler out of his misery...

Raven's Nest:

I wouldn't put it past Bioware to have planned something this ambitious from the start. Also backed up by the comments made on behalf of them via twitter...

In Bioware we trust

Edit: Please let this be true, if only to put Hitler out of his misery...

what twitter posts? any chance of a link ?

the one thing i can think of to support this is the
"tell me more of the shepard"
"ok ONE MORE story" line at the end, this makes me think that there must be more Shepard to come, how else can there be more story other than cannon he survives and does more
Bioware said this was the end of the Shepard story bust they said he dies in 2 so does this mean the end of his story concerning the reapers ?
Hell they put that at the end of the game foreshadowing or what?

gee666:

what twitter posts? any chance of a link ?

Link to Michael Gamble's Twitter account (Producer of Mass Effect 3) https://twitter.com/#!/GambleMike/status/177942797880541185

In case it disappears, it reads "Hardest. Day. Ever. Seriously, if you people knew all the stuff we are planning...you'd, we'll - hold onto your copy of me3 forever."

Raven's Nest:

gee666:

what twitter posts? any chance of a link ?

Link to Michael Gamble's Twitter account (Producer of Mass Effect 3) https://twitter.com/#!/GambleMike/status/177942797880541185

In case it disappears, it reads "Hardest. Day. Ever. Seriously, if you people knew all the stuff we are planning...you'd, we'll - hold onto your copy of me3 forever."

thanks man

eddited my post above to add a point I made in another thread

You know what I think guys?

That Bioware is over at their HQ laughing about this ridiculous shit. sipping some fruity cosmos, while they braid eachothers hair.

I can just imagine it

Bioware prick: "they're flipping their shits over the shitty ending we made. What do we do?"
Casey Hudson: "Get a producer to leave a vague convoluted tweet and then strap them with useless overpriced DLC's."
Bioware prick: "will that work?"
Casey Hudson: "Come on? These are Bioware fanboys aren't they? We could piss in their open mouths and they'd find it acceptable."

and then they'd put on their black robes and dance the cha-cha to "Mo-Moneys, Mo-problems" by Notorious B.I.G

It must be nice to be able to just turn off all critical thinking skills and just react emotionally at everything. You're like a 16 year old girl on her sweet 16 when she doesn't get the car she wanted. Can you just for a second stop whining and try to analyze the ending? Maybe you'll actually contribute something useful to one of these topics for a change.

The one thing I wonder about the indoctrination theory is how come, if you have a particularly low point score of War Assets, you only get the destroy ending? Unless the Reapers have porridge istead of brains, why would they only offer Shepard the ability to destroy them all? Makes no sense.

I've commented on a similar thread before. So I will simply reiterate what I said there.

This is clutching at straws, it looks to me like you are so dissipointed that bioware made a bad ending that you have to find a way to delude yourself into not accepting it.

The first stage of loss is denial, then anger, then bargaining, then depression and finally acceptance. I accept bioware made a bad ending, they did it in DA2 as well.

However lets say your proposal is true, that would mean the deliberately withheld vital content from the game, the ending, so they could hold it to ransom for more cash. While EA seems capable of anything, I really doubt they would stoop that low.

Edit additional: Oh and if you wonder why various scenes don't make sense, none of the scenes made sense in the ending, not much of the over arching plot did either it was inconsistant with the story being set up through 1 and 2. Its because they changed the story from one of dark energy expansion to one of synthetics vs organics at the last moment and had to piece something together from the files they had.

Edit additional 2: I do hope they are planning to rewrite in a DLC, however they will have to also add substantial content for me to consider it, like broken steel did for fallout 3.

Adam Jensen:
It must be nice to be able to just turn off all critical thinking skills and just react emotionally at everything. You're like a 16 year old girl on her sweet 16 when she doesn't get the car she wanted. Can you just for a second stop whining and try to analyze the ending? Maybe you'll actually contribute something useful to one of these topics for a change.

Just ignore him, it's what I do, I see a post made by "Zeel" and skip to the next post. It's a pretty sound strategy that preserves both my sanity and my IQ.

Something I would add, for discussion benefit. Something that I noted as I'm working on my second playthrough, Have you noticed that the only person who actually takes notice of the child is Shepard. Even at the LZ, nobody looks at the child, or helps him when he struggles to get into the shuttle. This offers an interesting perspective, what if he isn't real? Shepard has lost a lot, he has the blood of 130,000 Batarians on his hands, he has been pushing himself to the limit ever since Eden Prime, with barely a moment to rest, he's been subjected to an ancient beacon, one that, as Liara said, would have likely killed a lesser man. And he's even died.

My theory is that the child is a creation of Shepard's mind, whether the product of a mind strained to the limit, or an effect created by the Reapers in an effort to indoctrinate their greatest foe is as much up to personal interpretation as anything else. But the anecdotal evidence does point towards it.

Yeah, that all has been discussed on official forums since people started reaching the ending. Problem is, it doesn't really make things better. It makes things worse.
I can live with the idea BioWare made crappy ending due to investors/EA pushing for faster release, they were invested into TOR a lot over last months and with so many people leaving the studio it was obvious they would be pressed hard.
What I can't excuse is the very idea that a real ending would be a DLC, because that means they lied to customers by selling unfinished product, and if the "ending" DLC would be paid it would be the worst thing they could do at this point PR wise.
If a company wan'ts to sell single game cut into episodes then lower the initial price to begin with. Want to sell me ending for 10$ - sell me the core game for 40$. Else it's simple rip off.

Valanthe:

Adam Jensen:
It must be nice to be able to just turn off all critical thinking skills and just react emotionally at everything. You're like a 16 year old girl on her sweet 16 when she doesn't get the car she wanted. Can you just for a second stop whining and try to analyze the ending? Maybe you'll actually contribute something useful to one of these topics for a change.

Just ignore him, it's what I do, I see a post made by "Zeel" and skip to the next post. It's a pretty sound strategy that preserves both my sanity and my IQ.

Something I would add, for discussion benefit. Something that I noted as I'm working on my second playthrough, Have you noticed that the only person who actually takes notice of the child is Shepard. Even at the LZ, nobody looks at the child, or helps him when he struggles to get into the shuttle. This offers an interesting perspective, what if he isn't real? Shepard has lost a lot, he has the blood of 130,000 Batarians on his hands, he has been pushing himself to the limit ever since Eden Prime, with barely a moment to rest, he's been subjected to an ancient beacon, one that, as Liara said, would have likely killed a lesser man. And he's even died.

My theory is that the child is a creation of Shepard's mind, whether the product of a mind strained to the limit, or an effect created by the Reapers in an effort to indoctrinate their greatest foe is as much up to personal interpretation as anything else. But the anecdotal evidence does point towards it.

I mean with Shep having all those nightmares and various crew asking is he ok. I'm inclined to believe Shep might have succumbed to Indoctrination due to stress. Think about all the Reapers, Reapers tech and etc that Shep has run into over the series. It was bound to happen sooner or later

Indoctrination was a theory of mine for a while. In fact, I thought it would be a game mechanic in ME3. I haven't beaten it yet though, so I might be a little off.

I just hope that the ending isn't in expensive DLC. Making it free is a nice cliffhanger, making you pay for it is just dickish.

Da Orky Man:
The one thing I wonder about the indoctrination theory is how come, if you have a particularly low point score of War Assets, you only get the destroy ending? Unless the Reapers have porridge istead of brains, why would they only offer Shepard the ability to destroy them all? Makes no sense.

Because if their not high enough you die during that ending too.

Da Orky Man:
The one thing I wonder about the indoctrination theory is how come, if you have a particularly low point score of War Assets, you only get the destroy ending? Unless the Reapers have porridge istead of brains, why would they only offer Shepard the ability to destroy them all? Makes no sense.

Maybe a lack of war assets conveys the idea that Shepard had no doubt that the reapers will be destroyed.
Shepard can't be persuaded with other options if he has no doubts as to what the outcome was always going to be.

KingParappa:

I mean with Shep having all those nightmares and various crew asking is he ok. I'm inclined to believe Shep might have succumbed to Indoctrination due to stress. Think about all the Reapers, Reapers tech and etc that Shep has run into over the series. It was bound to happen sooner or later

Precisely, The child never having existed would fit right along those lines. Though I just read an incredibly depressing thread just before this that is basically Casey Hudson flipping the bird to all Bioware's fans. So we'll likely never know the truth, and simply have to live with the fact that Mass Effect will go down in history as the story that might have been epic. I'm going to finish off the playthroughs I've already started, maybe I'll get this supposed 'secret ending' that will completely change my opinion of the endings, but it's a dim and quickly fading hope.

Valanthe:

Adam Jensen:
It must be nice to be able to just turn off all critical thinking skills and just react emotionally at everything. You're like a 16 year old girl on her sweet 16 when she doesn't get the car she wanted. Can you just for a second stop whining and try to analyze the ending? Maybe you'll actually contribute something useful to one of these topics for a change.

Just ignore him, it's what I do, I see a post made by "Zeel" and skip to the next post. It's a pretty sound strategy that preserves both my sanity and my IQ.

Something I would add, for discussion benefit. Something that I noted as I'm working on my second playthrough, Have you noticed that the only person who actually takes notice of the child is Shepard. Even at the LZ, nobody looks at the child, or helps him when he struggles to get into the shuttle. This offers an interesting perspective, what if he isn't real? Shepard has lost a lot, he has the blood of 130,000 Batarians on his hands, he has been pushing himself to the limit ever since Eden Prime, with barely a moment to rest, he's been subjected to an ancient beacon, one that, as Liara said, would have likely killed a lesser man. And he's even died.

My theory is that the child is a creation of Shepard's mind, whether the product of a mind strained to the limit, or an effect created by the Reapers in an effort to indoctrinate their greatest foe is as much up to personal interpretation as anything else. But the anecdotal evidence does point towards it.

That might explain why he doesn't react at all like a normal kid. If I was in his place and I see an armed man I'd be running into his arms. "SAVE ME PLEASE I WANT TO LIVE!!" course I'm a chicken shit coward. Expect in video games....which is why I play them.

Adam Jensen:

And do you really believe that someone can write an awesome script and then ruin it completely in the last 5 minutes?

Someone clearly has not seen BSG or Lost.
But eh, this exact same thread was done yesterday cept in more detail.

As much as I hope it is the indoctrination theory, I can come up with some "Bioware-Quality" answers to some of the points I believe:
-Destroy is Red, Control is Blue:
Simply put, Destroy destroys the Reapers, yes, but it also Destroys EDI and the Geth, as well as any other synthetics out there. Killing your friends and possibly allies to destroy the Reapers is what Cerberus was doing - though it was killing its people to try and control the Reapers - and thus is represented as the Red option: You destroy the Reapers and all the Biological information they hold about the earlier species, you destroy an entire species - they Geth - themselves, and you destroy your friend and, to an extent, saviour: EDI.
Control is blue as it saves everyone and everything. The Reapers still exist, but are under Shepards control. As such, they stop harvesting Organic life, start defending it, and can help rebuild the Mass Relays. In addition, the Citadel is still intact, so the seat of Galactic power still exists for people to live on, and for the Council to govern from. We can assume it is also controlled by Shepard. From there, everyone lives. The biological data of the Species from previous cycles stored within the Reapers survives, the Geth survive, EDI survives. It offers a great chance for the galaxy to rebuild, with everyone maintaining their individuality, but still surviving. In addition, it has the best watch dog fleet to stop trouble from ruining it.
-The "One more Story" line must hint towards after end DLC:
Not necessarily. After that scene, you are told that you can now continue to build on Shepard's legend by continuing to play through the game, and through DLC. What that line implies is basically that the Stargazer tells another story about one of the other missions Shepard went on, so that as you finish up anything you hadn't done before attacking Cronos Station, it is merely the Stargazer telling another story and building on the legend of 'The Shepard'.
-Can someone write a script and ruin it completely in the last 5 minutes:
Yes, if rushed. I believe there was another planned ending, something to do with Dark Matter, but for some reason that didn't go ahead and they shoved this stuff in to work with what they already had and finish the game on time. Don't know what happened there, but I will hunt down and kill whoever forced the script change.
Also note that in DA2, whilst a different group - same publisher, Leliana lived no matter whether you killed her in DA:O, and rather than admit it was a bug, they said that it was perfectly intended that way and that the player didn't necessarily know, but she survived that incident. Even though you decapitated her.
-The child seems to be merely a manifestation of Shepard's fears or W/E, and thus that whole last section is likely in his head:
Whilst the child may be purely in his head (I fully agree with this), the child being in the final section is likely either his perception of the Catalyst, or how the Catalyst chooses to present itself to him.
-The Citadel exploded and Crashed to Earth or W/E, Shepard couldn't have survived that:
An unknown device fired a beam of energy that magically disintegrated all Reapers/Synthesised all Organics with Synthetics (Control is more understandable, but why the Relays blow up in it is beyond me) - Your argument is invalid.

I am hoping for the indoctrination theory is true.
When I was actually playing the game I was thinking that the control choice was actually the losing one where you are absorbed and the reapers kick the shit out of everyone.
would rather him still be on the ground in london then have this ending but if bioware isn't kidding that this is the end and everyone thinks they are smart than we have alot of problems.

How is renegade a "bad" moral choice? I think at that point you don't need to care about any points? For me I chose the domination(blue) route, because I felt it would've been a waste to destroy the geth after I sacrificed quarians to defend them.

Ive been reading over this idea for a day or two now, and honestly, it makes the most sense to me. The ending just.... doesnt fit mass effect at all. The only way this ending is real, is if the lead writer died, rolled over in his grave, and gave production of the script to his 5 year old son.

Honestly, i didnt think it was THAT bad of an ending to begin with. But everything about it did feel off. I cant name a single thing about it that felt right. It was the fact that the crucible was the child Shepard saw in his sleep that set it over for me. If its been designed and built by aliens over hundreds of thousands of years ((maybe more)) theres no reason it would be a human child unless it was a projection of Shepard's mind. And if your hit by a Reaper Beam dead on, you have no chance of getting up and stumbling for another 100 yards plus more.

I mean, earlier in the game, just being in the same country as it insta-gibbed you for a game over. And thats if you took a glancing hit to one of the feet. Shep took a head-on blast. He'd be crispier then spawn, and thrice as dead.

And im not just thinking this cause im a bioware fanboy. Ive never held them to higher standards then any other company. They are capable of failing too. But this ending just.... Isnt Bioware in the slightest, unless it is a fake ending. At which point, it one of the best endings ive seen in a long time. It would also explain the conversation at the end about another story from "The Shepard". Why would they promise another story about Shep if its completely over?

Da Orky Man:
The one thing I wonder about the indoctrination theory is how come, if you have a particularly low point score of War Assets, you only get the destroy ending? Unless the Reapers have porridge istead of brains, why would they only offer Shepard the ability to destroy them all? Makes no sense.

Simple. If your score is low, the Reapers don't have to really care about Shep's indoctrination because they've already won. At that point, the indoctrination is a delaying tactic to allow them to finish everyone off. If your score is high, on the other hand, the indoctrination attempt is an attempt by the Reapers to stop Shep from destroying them.

I felt bad for killing off my allies but I was also angry enough to be unable to fight the urge to shoot something so I went for Red option as the kid was bulletproof(since synthesis wasn't presented to me - seriously F&$! multi-player, besides it's not all that much better then other endings).
Shepard can hold off Ardat-yakshi (or how do you spell that thing) close-up influence and even though you come close to Reaper tech you usually don't spend all that much time around (unlike the Cerberus dudes in the dead one).
And it would so much like a dream sequence it might make me feel even worse then Deus Ex (Machina) endings we have now.
Besides whole ME3 ignores indoctrination - they even report some sorts of detachment camps but why would they need them if they can just make people obey? And even statistics on how many people rat out their run away co-prisoners (as much as Id like to know how would anyone get reliable statistics on this matter) would have to be higher if all the reapers needed to achieve complete control was to use a little bit of their magic :))

Joccaren:
As much as I hope it is the indoctrination theory, I can come up with some "Bioware-Quality" answers to some of the points I believe:
-Destroy is Red, Control is Blue:
Simply put, Destroy destroys the Reapers, yes, but it also Destroys EDI and the Geth, as well as any other synthetics out there. Killing your friends and possibly allies to destroy the Reapers is what Cerberus was doing - though it was killing its people to try and control the Reapers - and thus is represented as the Red option: You destroy the Reapers and all the Biological information they hold about the earlier species, you destroy an entire species - they Geth - themselves, and you destroy your friend and, to an extent, saviour: EDI.

The destroy choice is made to look as bad as possible, while the Catalyst talks up the benefits of the other two choices. If you think of it as Shepard breaking the indoctrination by choosing the destroy option, then they would want the destroy option to look as unsavory as possible, while making the other two look as good as possible.

wintercoat:
The destroy choice is made to look as bad as possible, while the Catalyst talks up the benefits of the other two choices. If you think of it as Shepard breaking the indoctrination by choosing the destroy option, then they would want the destroy option to look as unsavory as possible, while making the other two look as good as possible.

Now you are attempting to change the scene to match the theory, rather than the theory to match the scene (To an extent). Yes, the destroy ending is made to look Renegade - that's because it IS and 'Ends Justifies the Means' ending. You sacrifice friends, allies and more simply to destroy the Reapers.
Whilst the indoctrination ending does largely fit, there are other explanations for things too. I am merely providing these other explanations. Personally I hope the indoctrination ending is adopted by Bioware, but I doubt it will be, and we will be given explanations somewhat along these lines.

Red ending doesn't destroy EDI. It destroys the geth because they adopted the Reaper code. If you chose to let them adopt it. The Catalyst never says anything about EDI. It just mentions the geth. If it did involve EDI it would say so because it would be impossible to miss that one.

Adam Jensen:
Red ending doesn't destroy EDI. It destroys the geth because they adopted the Reaper code. If you chose to let them adopt it. The Catalyst never says anything about EDI. It just mentions the geth. If it did involve EDI it would say so because it would be impossible to miss that one.

Doesn't the red ending say it will destroy all synthetic life?
EDI is a synthetic.

Anyway, onto the theories themselves.

While I do think there is some potential for it to be true, the thing is it could also just be 'saving throw' thing. Leave it open to fans for what they believe.

There's also the problem that, while we often take internet access for granted, not everyone who owns a console or computer has it attached to the internet or has access to it.

If indoctrination theory is right and DLC is released...that does mean a lot of people bought a literally incomplete game that they will not be able to attain the true ending of.

I loved the game till the last few minutes, and while the indoctrination theory being shown as true would help....it'd be kind of a band-aid solution.
It doesn't change the fact the ending I got in the product I paid for was disappointing.
If it was PLANNED to be disappointing.... that's not much better to me.

Adam Jensen:
Red ending doesn't destroy EDI. It destroys the geth because they adopted the Reaper code. If you chose to let them adopt it. The Catalyst never says anything about EDI. It just mentions the geth. If it did involve EDI it would say so because it would be impossible to miss that one.

EDI is based on Reaper tech. If you encourage her and Joker's relationship, Joker mentions it while in Purgatory.

Adam Jensen:
Can you just for a second stop whining and try to analyze the ending?

I hope the theory ends up being correct because all I see at the moment is a bunch of people brainfarming themselves into thinking their opinion is fact.

It's a theory at this time, nothing more. That it seems to fit doesn't make it the truth.

Incomer:

Shepard can hold off Ardat-yakshi (or how do you spell that thing) close-up influence and even though you come close to Reaper tech you usually don't spend all that much time around (unlike the Cerberus dudes in the dead one).

Remember how Cerberus implanted Shephard with cybernetics while rebuilding him/her? Now, we know that the Illusive Man always admired reaper tech and that he was ready to go to any extent to harness it (his eyes might even be an indication that he's implanted himself with reaper tech since before the start of ME2), so why not put some into Shephard when given the chance? If the Illusive Man thought it was safe for himself to do it, why not do it to Shephard to? That would explain part of the indoctrination at least, since it could have been a process going on since the start of ME2 and the recurring dreams Shephard have in ME3 are actually indoctrination taking effect.

I personally think it is a longshot that we'll see another ending to ME3, even if I would like one that actually gave some closuer to the ME-universe.

wintercoat:

Adam Jensen:
Red ending doesn't destroy EDI. It destroys the geth because they adopted the Reaper code. If you chose to let them adopt it. The Catalyst never says anything about EDI. It just mentions the geth. If it did involve EDI it would say so because it would be impossible to miss that one.

EDI is based on Reaper tech. If you encourage her and Joker's relationship, Joker mentions it while in Purgatory.

Agreed, the god/child/thing say's that destroy option will destroy all synthetic life in the galaxy, including you (Shepard) due to the synthetics Cerberus used to bring her/him back to life.

What I don't get is, I've read to get the secret ending you have to have 5000 in EMS, I only had 4621, picked the Destroy ending but


is there a different ending after that?

EDIT: Ignore my question, I just checked it out... no there isn't :(

putowtin:

wintercoat:

Adam Jensen:
Red ending doesn't destroy EDI. It destroys the geth because they adopted the Reaper code. If you chose to let them adopt it. The Catalyst never says anything about EDI. It just mentions the geth. If it did involve EDI it would say so because it would be impossible to miss that one.

EDI is based on Reaper tech. If you encourage her and Joker's relationship, Joker mentions it while in Purgatory.

Agreed, the god/child/thing say's that destroy option will destroy all synthetic life in the galaxy, including you (Shepard) due to the synthetics Cerberus used to bring her/him back to life.

What I don't get is, I've read to get the secret ending you have to have 5000 in EMS, I only had 4621, picked the Destroy ending but


is there a different ending after that?

Red doesn't destroy EDI because she stepped off the Normandy on the jungle planet in my playthrough. She clearly survives.

wintercoat:

putowtin:

wintercoat:

snip

Agreed, the god/child/thing say's that destroy option will destroy all synthetic life in the galaxy, including you (Shepard) due to the synthetics Cerberus used to bring her/him back to life.

What I don't get is, I've read to get the secret ending you have to have 5000 in EMS, I only had 4621, picked the Destroy ending but


is there a different ending after that?

Cheers! Still p1ssed off, but at least I now know why I got that ending!

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