ME3 Ending Player Choices and the Subsequent Justifications

Let me first start this off by saying that I have no intention of talking about whether the choices Bioware has made regarding the ending. I also apologize for those that feel rather tired about the whole topic; I wanted to wait until the forums died down a bit on ME3, but it seems like it won't happen soon.

What I wanted to do was ask everyone's choices at the end, why they chose these choices, and what they expected at the end.

I played a paragon male Shepard, with an Earthborn Survivor background. I envisioned him as a hardened, but ultimately tired man, sick of the blood and filth he's seen and experienced in his younger days. They did not turn him to bitter cynicism, however. It only made his resolve for peace even stronger. After being granted spectre status and tasked with saving the galaxy from the Reapers, he's always done what he could to preserve as well as save: he chose to save the rachni queen (twice) and cure the genophage because he couldn't bare the prospect of genocide; he saved the council, because they were civilians who were symbols of order in the galaxy; he destroyed the heretic geth, because he couldn't bring himself to rewrite their programming like the Reapers would indoctrinate humans; he destroyed the collector base, because he saw it as an atrocity, something that corrupts and tarnishes the sanctity of life by its mere existence. Is he naive, shortsighted, idealistic? Perhaps. Probably. But he was resolute, steadfast in his belief that we can be better, and that was one of the many reasons why I loved my Shepard.

When the end came, Shepard had done everything "right". He had cured the genophage and stopped the war between the Quarian and the Geth. Only the Reapers stood in his way for what he had believed to be a peaceful future. Then the choices came.

(I should probably say that a lot of what comes after is due to the fact that it was pretty late when I came to the ending, and I misunderstood various parts. But this isn't about what you felt after making the decisions, but what you chose, why, and what was expected)

Destruction was first off the table. Shepard had done everything to save the Geth, to understand what they truly were, as beings of life, not machines. If he were to choose to kill them, he would be committing genocide, as much as he would have were he to kill the rachni queen.

Synthesis was a tough choice. I had understood the option to be the third way out, where the cycle would break by blowing up the mass relays (without understanding that every option would blow up the mass relays), killing all organic and synthetic life from the galaxy. But where there were still possibilities of life, it would start anew, in new forms of both organic and synthetic nature, a hybrid that entailed a wholly different beginning, uncertain, but with hope. This would fit in with the utopian tendencies of my Shepard, but he would be forced to destroy everything he had worked to save. Everyone he knows and loves, sacrificed for something so unsure of succeeding.

Thus, the choice fell to Domination. It was repulsing (given that this was TIM's choice), but my Shepard would be different. He would gladly sacrifice himself, if he could only control them, even for a minute, to disable the Reaper armada and give the forces he had rounded up to destroy the Reaper threat once and for all, if not outright making them destroy each other. The future would be secure with minimal damage to the current galactic society, all for the price of Shepard's life.

So I chose the "blue" option, fully expecting a tragic end to the galactic hero, but a victory for the world at large. Needless to say, the ending didn't live up to my expectations, but I don't believe it cheapened my own expectations nor my investment in the story (if only because I've deluded myself into believing the ending didn't happen).

What did you choose out of the three options given (Domination, Destruction, Synthesis)? Why did you choose it and what did you expect out of that choice? In short, what kind of a person was your Shepard?

I played a "paragon to a fault" type Shepard. I did all the "good" options, saved the Rachnai, cured the genophage, brought peace between Geth/Quarrians etc. etc.
.
.
When I got to the ending I picked the destruction path. Everything else kinda felt like a trap.
-The Illusive Man was a tool, he was a tool incarnate, so his path being the "paragon" option just felt wrong.
-Synthesis also felt wrong because it what the Reapers are, it just seemed like that would only really help the reapers by making everything them.
-I chose destruction and I got, to an extent, what I thought what would happen.

At first I almost didn't pick it because of it supposedly killing the Geth, but the Reapers are known to be terribly inefficient in actually destroying things and I find it silly to think that there wasn't one Geth in a computer somewhere, and that the pulse wave would know the difference between a normal computer and a normal computer with a Geth hiding in it.
.
.
The destruction of the Citadel and Mass Relays didn't bother me. After Sovereign's big "WE CONTROL THE CHAOS THAT IS ORGANIC EVOLUTION WITH OUR STUFF" Speech on Virmire I had always felt that the Mass Relays and Citadel were gonna have to go.

The lack of a DAO style epilogue didn't bother me that much, I was never in the camp of people who think every piss you take should have giant world changing impacts on the game and should be mentioned in the Epilogue.

Most of the decisions we make wouldn't have mattered after about a week after the war ended, though I was somewhat bummed that the big decisions, the Geth/Quarrians, the genophage etc. etc. weren't mentioned but at the same time the hint along the way of what it would be like anywyas, so I was able to make fairly good guesses about what happened.
.
.
the Normandy scene was really contrived but I understand what they were trying to do with it, so while bothersome it wasn't game breaking.
.
.
All in all the endings were disappointing but far from terrible.

How long would I have to stay away from The Escapist before people stop talking about ME3? I'm not playing it & I'm sick of hearing about it.

I was a paragon and had just brokered peace between the Geth and Quarians so destroy was off the table. I didn't want to be like TIM and I knew that no one can control the Reapers. Plus I didn't want to force organics and synthetics to merge without their consent. So I picked control hoping that Shepard might be able to control the reapers somehow.
I got my cookie cutter explosion, mass relays getting destroyed killing most life in the galaxy and the Normandy crash landing on some planet with my crew that died in the suicide mission.
Yup. Gotta love Bioware.

But back to the original question. I chose control because it seemed to me (at the time) to be the option that compromised my morals the least. I didn't want to kill the Geth or EDI (or any other sentient synthetics for that matter) because I'd just fought an uphill battle to have peace between organics and synthetics. The synthetic ending seemed even worse in my opinion because it removed free will from the equation. Just imagine if you woke up one day and realized that you were now part machine and you could do nothing about it. Some guy had just chose that you would become part machine because he willed it. I'd hate that and definitely would want to inflict that on trillions of people.

I dunno. They all sucked in some way and none of them made logical sense. I mean, earlier on in the game we found out that the Reapers wave their own code, so why do we need to kill the Geth too. Why can't we just tale a skin sample for the synthetic ending instead of jumping into a beam of energy? Also, why do we have do die to control the Reapers? Nothing is explained and it makes no sense. Just makes the decision process that more annoying.

That's my choice and my rant...

If people were playing a true Renegade Shepherd, like me, then wasn't the whole backbone of his character "do what it takes to get the job done"? I went for destroy without any hesitation, thinking that destruction of the geth and EDI would suck, but be a worthy price to pay for the end of the super mega death cycle.

Plus, I wasn't gonna go 3 games and 100+ hours bent on destroying the Reapers and then NOT destroy them, fuck that.

EDIT -- Also, yes I know picking synthesis would've solved the issue without killing anyone but I DIDN'T GET THE SYNTHESIS CHOICE. Which proves, if nothing else, that BioWare wasn't lying about "the ending won't just be A, B or C." Sometimes it's just A or B :D

Synthesis. You should know that this doesn't kill anyone. It just makes all organic life have a synthetic component. Joker walks off the Normandy and has some circuits showing in his skin. They didn't describe it very well.

I chose this because, like you, I couldn't destroy the Geth, and I certainly couldn't destroy EDI. That would have been a betrayal. Control wouldn't work in the long-run either . . . let's just say that when they re-write the ending, their better be a way for the Mass Relay's to survive. That effectively kills off the series, and I'd like to see more in the ME universe (without Shepard being the main character).

After three games, I'd maintained Shepard as the ultimate paragon person who ends interspecies conflicts that have prevailed for centuries with but a waggle of her eyebrows and a spasmodic flexing of her tonsils.

Then the ending came. Three choices: Destruction, Synthesis, Control. In the context of my character's imagined personality, she couldn't justify any of them.

Destruction, you'd demolish the Geth, all the VI's and restricted AI's in control of cities and vital industries, frazzle all biotic and tech implants (perhaps even killing said people) and general make life a misery for everyone involved in the whole ordeal.

Control, ParaShep opposed this on an ideological stand point. As there was no information available on the extent and length of time involved with this control, removing the 'free will' of all synthetics is just a silly idea, 'specially with the whole cliché power trip that'd inevitably span from it.

Synthesis...this just seemed all wrong. All this eugenics nonsense about the final point in evolution didn't make all that much sense for a whole buncha reasons.

All of these were just compounded by the destruction of the Mass Effect relays. Sooo, I just stopped playing and imagined that Shepard bled out, the fleets destroyed the Sol Relay and bought themselves some time to prepare once more...or something.

I came all that way to destroy the Reapers, so I hobbled on over to that glowing red light and basked in destructive glory.

My Shepard did pretty much the same as yours, but I went for Destroy.

Anderson would have wanted it. Garrus would've wanted it. Hackett would have wanted it.

Shepard wasn't going to have come so far just to change his goal of destroying the Reapers at the very last moment. Hell I killed the Collectors and the Heretic Geth, so even though I'm Paragon I can still committ genocide. So I genocided the Reapers.

My Shepard was a sole survivor, so as she started towards control, she thought "TIM chose that, screw that". Synthesis felt like it was what the reapers wanted, they'd survive it. So I hobbled over to the red light, to win on my own terms, and also the one I was most likely survive. I was muttering out loud "sorry EDI, sorry legion" as I went there.

My First Shepard was a renegade, humanity first. Wrex was taken care of, the rachnii never coming back, I lost both Thane and Mordin in the assault on the collector base. All these decisions made 3 rather hard to play through.

Wreev being in charge of the Krogan meant it would be a massive warmonger culture and not saving Maelins research lost Eve, the genophage was not cured, I mearly pretended. I sided with the Geth after a debating it which lead to the destruction of the Quarians and drove Tali to suicide (a moment that I still can't fuly accept). I destroyed all synthetics when presented the choice, there was no real other option.

Second Shepard, my FemShep, an uncompromising Paragon, she had it much easier, allies came to her like moths to a flame. In the end, tired, beaten, surrounded by more death than a person should ever experiance, she took control of the reapers.

Hey Harbinger! Guess who's ASSUMING DIRECT CONTROL???

Paragon Male Shepard, totally went Control to show Harbinger how irritating it is when he shouts it across the battlefield every single time he does it (I know he's got a whole mess of lines, but he only ever said that one in my Shepard's ME2 run... quite weird.)

I watched the stream of the game. The ending wasn't as bad as I thought it was. Destroy seemed to make the most sense. It is unfortunate that the Geth and EDI had to die along with them, but then again it was bullshit how the game compartmentalized your decisions like that.

I had a spacer/sole survivor Shepard, and aside from a few bumps, did everything... 'right'. Cured the genophage and kept Wrex alive, kept peace between the quarians and geth, all that. When presented with the choices on the Citadel... I had to think a fair bit, figure out what my Shepard would do.

She couldn't destroy, obviously. Legion and the geth were too important to her, she couldn't risk destroying EDI. Controlling the Reapers wasn't an option either, not after she'd seen what TIM did to try and reach that end.

Synthesis... even if it wasn't perfect, that's what she went with. She regretted having to do this without giving any warning or explanation, but she had faith that the galaxy would adapt. And in time, maybe even figure out a way to go back to pure organic or synthetic. But it offered the most hope to forge ahead, as well as immediate survival for the likes of the quarians and turians.

And, well... I also liked, intentional or not, how it called back to the sacrifice of Legion. One person giving up everything about themselves so they can uplift others.

I chose Destroy, but that's because at that point, I didn't give a shit. Any and all goodwill I had for the franchise was drained at that point, so I just picked whatever.

That said, I have a couple of questions. Do not read if you have a low tolerance for the word "fuck", because it will be used and abused here. Thinking about this shit makes me angry.

The Crucible:
-Why is it controlled by either shooting at some wiring, taking two rods into your hands, or throwing yourself into a laser? What kind of a fucking interface is that for super advanced tech?
-Who designed it? How does "every species adding something on to its design" actually factor into the Crucible's design? What the fuck does that even mean?
-Why is there only this contrived full-power mode? Here's what would've been preferable to any of the idiotic outcomes. Choose control, have a low-powered explosion that doesn't go through the mass relays and only lets you control the reapers in Earth's orbit, proceed to wipe out the rest of the reapers with superior force.

The Destroy ending:
-How does this work? Does it target any computer hardware, or does it magically differentiate between "conscious" hardware and otherwise?
-Why do Shepard's "synthetic" parts make him a victim of this? This necessitates that the beam targets all metallic hardware that has electricity coursing through it, rendering any "good" to come out of this ending completely contradictory to what BioWare just set up. Not only are all ships stranded on Earth, but all computer hardware everywhere is rendered unusable, effectively throwing every single species back into their respective Dark Ages.
-This one applies to all endings, but here it's even more absurd. So Joker is mid-jump out of Sol system, and the explosion is right behind him. Explosion catches up to the ship, throws it out of the jump and fries its fucking electronics. How in the fuck did Joker, who was just thrown out of the middle of a Mass Relay jump:
A) Not drift into nothingness like the debris that he and his ship now is?
B) End up right next to a fucking habitable, lush, vacation-material planet?
C) Actually manage to land the bloody ship without being turned into mush?

The Synthesis ending:
-What is synthetic DNA supposed to be?
-How is said synthetic DNA supposed to fused to organic DNA?
-On what level does it actually affect organics? Does this change every cell of a living creature, or does it grant them some random synthetic advantage, like, in Joker's case, glowing eyes? What in the fuck are its effects on organics?
-How is giving synthetics organic DNA even supposed to work? How? What? Why? Why..
-Are single-celled organisms, trees and anything else that doesn't have a consciousness affected by this? Does it prevent "pure" organic life forms from evolving later on down the line on any level?
-How is it supposed to fix fucking anything? Everyone's still practically the same except with a little bit of their organic/synthetic counterpart magically sewn into them. How does that prevent future conflicts on any level? Does it fuck with every conscious being's heads? Is this a form of mind-control?

The 10 year old abortion:
-Is he the embodiment of deadline issues, coming in to wrap the series up in a nice, cheap little ending?

You'll notice that these aren't even any of the more complicated, trope or writing problems with the ending, just things that have to do with the bare-bone basics of middle school science and common sense.

Been waiting to burst out in violent anger for quite some time, but there wasn't a thread dedicated to the ending itself (in this way) for quite some time, so there. Hope I'm not going to be the last poster here.

Hammeroj:
I chose Destroy, but that's because at that point, I didn't give a shit. Any and all goodwill I had for the franchise was drained at that point, so I just picked whatever.

That said, I have a couple of questions. Do not read if you have a low tolerance for the word "fuck", because it will be used and abused here. Thinking about this shit makes me angry.

The Crucible:
-Why is it controlled by either shooting at some wiring, taking two tubes into your hands, or throwing yourself into a laser? What kind of a fucking interface is that for super advanced tech?
-Who designed it? How does "every species adding something on to its design" actually factor into the Crucible's design? What the fuck does that even mean?
-Why is there only this contrived full-power mode? Here's what would've been preferable to any of the idiotic outcomes. Choose control, have a low-powered explosion that doesn't go through the mass relays and only lets you control the reapers in Earth's orbit, proceed to wipe out the rest of the reapers with superior force.

The Destroy ending:
-How does this work? Does it target any computer hardware, or does it magically differentiate between "conscious" hardware and otherwise?
-Why do Shepard's "synthetic" parts make him a victim of this? This necessitates that the beam targets all metallic hardware that has electricity coursing through it, rendering any "good" to come out of this ending completely contradictory to what BioWare just set up. Not only are all ships stranded on Earth, but all computer hardware everywhere is rendered unusable, effectively throwing every single species back into their respective Dark Ages.
-This one applies to all endings, but here it's even more absurd. So Joker is mid-jump out of Sol system, and the explosion is right behind him. Explosion catches up to the ship, throws it out of the jump and fries its fucking electronics. How in the fuck did Joker, who was just thrown out of the middle of a Mass Relay jump:
A) Not drift into nothingness like the debris that he and his ship now is?
B) End up right next to a fucking habitable, lush, vacation-material planet?
C) Actually manage to land the bloody ship without being turned into mush?

The Synthesis ending:
-What is synthetic DNA supposed to be?
-How is said synthetic DNA supposed to fused to organic DNA?
-On what level does it actually affect organics? Does this change every cell of a living creature, or does it grant them some random synthetic advantage, like, in Joker's case, glowing eyes? What in the fuck are its effects on organics?
-How is giving synthetics organic DNA even supposed to work? How? What? Why? Why..
-Are single-celled organisms, trees and anything else that doesn't have a consciousness affected by this? Does it prevent from "pure" organic life forms to evolve later on down the line on any level?
-How is it supposed to fix fucking anything? Everyone's still practically the same except with a little bit of their organic/synthetic counterpart magically sewn to them. How does that prevent future conflicts on any level? Does it fuck with every conscious being's heads? Is this a form of mind-control?

The 10 year old abortion:
-Is he the embodiment of deadline issues, coming in to wrap the series up in a nice, cheap little ending?

You'll notice that these aren't even any of the more complicated problems with the ending, just things that have to do with the bare-bone basics of middle school science and common sense.

Been waiting to burst out in violent anger for quite some time, but there wasn't a thread dedicated to the ending itself (in this way) for quite some time, so there. Hope I'm not going to be the last poster here.

Dude, this has all been covered numerous, numerous times.

image

As for my ending, I chose red, for much the same reasons outlined elsewhere here. Blue and Green felt like traps.

My "main" Shepard is a Spacer/Ruthless, willing to do whatever it takes to get the job done. I worked my ass off to get as many troops as I could for this battle(except the Salarians...I just could not shoot Mordin in the back) and all I'm treated to is the fleets' arrival in the Sol system and a scene where Hammer gets it's ass handed to it. In the end, I chose Destroy. It has always been my goal to destroy the Reapers. And nothing, not even the death of EDI and the genocide of the Geth would stop me.

I wanted to see Hammer in action. I wanted to see more than that one scene of Humans, Turians, Krogan and Asari attacking a Reaper fruitlessly. I wanted to see all of the different races I brought to the fight actually fighting. I wanted to actually talk to my ME2 squad, not just over a holograph emitter, but in the flesh.

The fight in London just felt empty. I bring in hundreds of thousands of troops of several races, and the most you get to see is a squad of Krogan while Wrex/Wreav gives his speech and the aforementioned Reaper attackers. There was so much potential in this one single mission, but instead they went with as little interaction with Hammer as they could.

I would have loved to see the different fleet's in action for more than a couple quick shots. When you're up top with the Catalyst and the battle is going on above you, all you see is a few Reaper ships and a few Alliance vessels shooting at one another. There could have been one epic backdrop to the ending, but, again, they went with as little as they could.

This is one of the reasons that I believe the ending was rushed. There was just so much potential, I find it hard to believe that the overall generic feel of the ending was their intended design. It didn't feel like this was the culmination of everything. It felt like just another mission.

BloatedGuppy:
Dude, this has all been covered numerous, numerous times.

*Space Magic!*

I knew there had to be a simple, two-word answer to every single one of my questions! Someone has to turn that into a T-shirt.

Well I chose synthesis only because it was the only true way to end the cycle.

If I controled the reapers it didn't mean life would not eventually fubar up and I'd have to sweep in and kill em.

Destroying the reapers would only mean in the distant future people would just make them again and it'd start over.

Synthesis would be a long term end. Since hybrid organic/synthetic life wouldn't be so hostile to synthetic life to begin with and in turn wouldn't cause the chaos the geth rebellion did.

Then ofcourse I thought to myself, wait why did I go through all that war assets stuff and looked up the copy-pasted endings.

Let me start saying I only started with ME2 about 3 weeks before ME3 released. The copy I bought had the ME1 comic & all the DLC except Arrival.
I made a few less than optimal choices and finished my first run of ME2 the night before ME3 released. So I went into ME3 with a Spacer / War hero, all Paragon choices from ME1, Tali as my romance but an exile, Thane & Miranda died on the collector base, & Saeed survived but I didn't have his loyalty because I just couldn't handle letting all those people die in a fire (having nearly done the same myself in real life). (Side note, I went for the Renegade quickie with Jack on the sub-deck in ME2 which resulted in an interesting change in the conversation at Grissom Academy.)

I went through the early game picking all Paragon decisions, my heart sank when Mordin sacrificed himself to deliver the genophage cure. Not having Thane to help in the first encounter with Kai Leng cost me any shot at Salarian support other than the STG.

It made me literally want to cry when I picked the Geth and Tali committed suicide because the damned Admiralty wouldn't stand down. Made myself replay that mission the next night so I could pick the Quarians instead, but having Tali be forced to stab Legion in the back to save me, didn't make me feel any better.

The build up for the final assault at the FOB pretty well ripped my heart out before I even started the charge to the missile trucks. Everyone saying all those goodbyes with the finality of impending death had me 100% convinced Shepard would be the sacrifice to placate the damn Reapers no matter what you did at the end.

Now that I have dragged this out this long, my first choice at the end was Synthesis. My thought being that this would neutralize much of the disharmony between organic & synthetic by giving them all common ground, possibly (geeze I am a blind optimist) even make it viable for all the races and even synthetics to inter-breed. Slowly eliminating the differences that cause most of the fighting and wars, but still allowing independence and free will. I dismissed the Control option out of hand, cause I'll be damned if I did all this work to bring everyone together only to become the Mass Effect universe equivalent of Bolvar Fordragon. Destruction made all my work seem near pointless if I sacrificed the Quarians to save the Geth only to kill them and EDI anyway.

Well that's the problem for Bioware with the ending. Everyone has their own way of how their Shepard would end the series. So many different possibilities, so many variations, so many outcomes that Bioware had no possible way of including something for everyone who connected with their Shepard. So instead of shoehorning everyone into a specific ending, they left out a lot of details so the player could imagine how his own character completed the game, and not how Bioware figured Shepard would end based on their playthroughs.

Unfortunately, we like to have a story that is expressed through pictures or text, so when we saw Shepard do what he did, we didn't see how our character would do it, but instead we saw the 2 minute cutscene that left much to be desired.

To be honest, I believe that Bioware's intent on making the ending a bit vague so everyone could decide how their characters went off afterwards (such as blue babies on a tropical island) but it sorta crashed itself when everyone was expecting to see their Shepard in the ending, and how he lived afterwords (if he did live) or how the crew might have lived afterwords. But there is no way to make the fans happy in the end when they have bonded so closely to a character or characters they love.

 

Reply to Thread

This thread is locked