Mass Effect 3 ending question (Spoilers present)

No doubt there are a huge number of people who disagree with me, but I had no real problem with the ending. I just have one, small, niggling doubt - Where did the star child/catalyst/thing actually come from? I ask in case I somehow missed something, and if I didn't, I wonder about what people might think.

Never.

Explained.

Not even a little.

He came out of Casey Hudson's ass. No, really. Casey and the lead writer came up with the ending without any input from the rest of the writing team.

This saddens me greatly - I mean I can live with it. They were still brilliant games and a slightly spoiled ending doesn't change that for me, just... ehh.

I thought he came from some German kid who sent Casey Hudson a letter about how there should be a really important child in the game.

Where did he come from in real life or where did he come from "canon"-wise? Well since real life has been answered, I'll take the canon answer.

Canon-wise, I always thought that Star Child was never really talked about but not really unexplainable. Reapers are machines and something has to run those machines, so why not an AI (especially considering the millions of years these things have been running)?

As for why it looked like a kid, I always figured it was like the movie Contact where the advanced life-form takes the form of something that the human can understand.

Now whether you think this ending is a good thing or not is on you...

tippy2k2:
Where did he come from in real life or where did he come from "canon"-wise? Well since real life has been answered, I'll take the canon answer.

Canon-wise, I always thought that Star Child was never really talked about but not really unexplainable. Reapers are machines and something has to run those machines, so why not an AI (especially considering the millions of years these things have been running)?

As for why it looked like a kid, I always figured it was like the movie Contact where the advanced life-form takes the form of something that the human can understand.

Now whether you think this ending is a good thing or not is on you...

The explanation for why it looked like a kid is the exact same one I jumped to - i just had to kind of wonder, if he made the reapers, who made him

I figured it was a final survivor of those who created the Reapers, who chose to be turned into an AI and uploaded into the Citadel. And as tippy said, it's entirely likely it decided to take the form of something Shepard could understand. It's also entirely possible it was able to do a brief mind probe and saw how the kid had been haunting Shepard.

But yeah, it's all just theory at this point, that one never did get explained. -shrug- I didn't really mind, it would have been a fairly unimportant detail anyway. And it's nice to see someone else who didn't flip out over the ending :)

IrritatingSquirrel:

tippy2k2:
snip

The explanation for why it looked like a kid is the exact same one I jumped to - i just had to kind of wonder, if he made the reapers, who made him

Well, you could probably wonder that about real life too...

If the world exist, how did it happen?
If it was God, where did God come from?
If it was the Big Bang, where did the original stuff for the Big Bang come from?

tippy2k2:

IrritatingSquirrel:

tippy2k2:
snip

The explanation for why it looked like a kid is the exact same one I jumped to - i just had to kind of wonder, if he made the reapers, who made him

Well, you could probably wonder that about real life too...

If the world exist, how did it happen?
If it was God, where did God come from?
If it was the Big Bang, where did the original stuff for the Big Bang come from?

I gave up on such real life questions after I got tired of arguing about it - this however gets me a little bit since it seems just so bloody out of the blue. A little explanation would have been nice.

That was a main question from me too. You listen to him spewing sci-fi bullshit for 10 minutes without any idea who the hell he is. Also, I felt no closure with all those forest dreams.

Another question from me; how did TIM make Shephard shoot Anderson?

The Reapers created the citadel.
The Catalyst is part of the citadel.
Yet the Reapers are his solution.
Did he tell them to create the citadel? And if so, how is that possible if the citadel is also part of him?
Great job, Casey Hudson.

Chances are it's a VI built by whoever built the Reapers. I though that was obvious, but apparently I was dead wrong, since these days when an explanation isn't given, it's just a plot hole.

IrritatingSquirrel:
Where did the star child/catalyst/thing actually come from?

image

So how about them Reaper IFF stuff? Did the Normandy lose it or something? Probably could of saved some trouble by using that to sneak by the Reaper's sensors if they work like I think they do into the Citedal.

Oh shit, I think I just found a way to avoid being laser blasted. :D
But that still leaves the Star Boy. D:

tippy2k2:
Where did he come from in real life or where did he come from "canon"-wise? Well since real life has been answered, I'll take the canon answer.

Canon-wise, I always thought that Star Child was never really talked about but not really unexplainable. Reapers are machines and something has to run those machines, so why not an AI (especially considering the millions of years these things have been running)?

As for why it looked like a kid, I always figured it was like the movie Contact where the advanced life-form takes the form of something that the human can understand.

Now whether you think this ending is a good thing or not is on you...

One problem. *Mass Effect 1 spoilers!*

When conversing with Sovereign, he says that "each of us is a nation", i.e. each Reaper is a free thinking beast. So to consider them a collective ruled under the Star Child is not only completely against the pre-determined canon, it also makes no sense.

worldruler8:

tippy2k2:
Where did he come from in real life or where did he come from "canon"-wise? Well since real life has been answered, I'll take the canon answer.

Canon-wise, I always thought that Star Child was never really talked about but not really unexplainable. Reapers are machines and something has to run those machines, so why not an AI (especially considering the millions of years these things have been running)?

As for why it looked like a kid, I always figured it was like the movie Contact where the advanced life-form takes the form of something that the human can understand.

Now whether you think this ending is a good thing or not is on you...

One problem. *Mass Effect 1 spoilers!*

When conversing with Sovereign, he says that "each of us is a nation", i.e. each Reaper is a free thinking beast. So to consider them a collective ruled under the Star Child is not only completely against the pre-determined canon, it also makes no sense.

What I thought was the following:

The cycles have been going for... 37 millions of years right? More or less, so someone might've created the Catalyst VI (or AI) in order to... something or other... Play God maybe? The Catalyst would've spawned the Reapers which in turn would have had a evolutionary process like the Asari in which they forget/cover up/adapt their lore so that the Prothean intervention is forgotten. Besides even though the Reapers are machines they seem to be pretty full of themselves.

Also there's something... Even tho' I kind of see the cyclical culling logic of the AI that created the Reapers to "Harvest and preserve the advance organics in reaper form" (as a congratulations you made it this far! kind of award :P) it seems that they tackled the subject in a Terminator/Matrix Synthetics vs Organics mind set. (Deux ex explanation is shoved into the last minute that undermines the established lore in order to get a rushed conclusion and achieve a sort of peaceful co-existence with the machines) (Look the alt ending that Salvation was going to get :S).

In any case the AI understands with its own twisted logic the function of that weird process. I dig the whole entropy theme but I would rather wait and see what explanation they come up with in the DLC.

I chose to destroy and shed a few tears for the Geth :(

I like to think that the star child is the collective consciousness of the species (most likely synthetic) that created the reapers that was left behind to supervise the collection and archiving process of organic civilisations because they believed that organic prejudice prevented them from accepting synthetics. I like to think this because it implies a cycle within cycle theme where if you choose control or destroy he turns out to be right and there really is no way to reconcile organics and synthetic (probably because of the emotional nature of organics rather than the logical synthetics) which will cause either organics trying to preserve them selves in machine form to restart the cycle or synthetics who decide to do the organics they must destroy a kindness by preserving their essence in reaper form depending on who wins the war.

He came from the last half-hour of 2001: A Space Odyssey.

"Shit that doesn't make sense is, like, deep man."

jensenthejman:
The Reapers created the citadel.
The Catalyst is part of the citadel.
Yet the Reapers are his solution.
Did he tell them to create the citadel? And if so, how is that possible if the citadel is also part of him?
Great job, Casey Hudson.

Alternative solution: The egg.

IrritatingSquirrel:

tippy2k2:
Where did he come from in real life or where did he come from "canon"-wise? Well since real life has been answered, I'll take the canon answer.

Canon-wise, I always thought that Star Child was never really talked about but not really unexplainable. Reapers are machines and something has to run those machines, so why not an AI (especially considering the millions of years these things have been running)?

As for why it looked like a kid, I always figured it was like the movie Contact where the advanced life-form takes the form of something that the human can understand.

Now whether you think this ending is a good thing or not is on you...

The explanation for why it looked like a kid is the exact same one I jumped to - i just had to kind of wonder, if he made the reapers, who made him

My theory? The Keepers are the race that originally build the Citadel, Mass Relays and the Reapers. Over time, they did to themselves the same thing that was done to the Protheans that turned them into the Collectors so that they could continue to keep the Citadel in working order.

Phlakes:
Chances are it's a VI built by whoever built the Reapers. I though that was obvious, but apparently I was dead wrong, since these days when an explanation isn't given, it's just a plot hole.

1. It's not the audiences job to tell a story.
2. Without any kind of allusion or foreshadowing, it's a plot-hole.
3. See my other post in this thread.

jensenthejman:

Phlakes:
Chances are it's a VI built by whoever built the Reapers. I though that was obvious, but apparently I was dead wrong, since these days when an explanation isn't given, it's just a plot hole.

1. It's not the audiences job to tell a story.
2. Without any kind of allusion or foreshadowing, it's a plot-hole.
3. See my other post in this thread.

1. It's the audience's job to be able to infer obvious things.
2. I don't think allusion and foreshadowing are the right words, but no, it's a plot hole if there's no reasonable explanation for it.

Phlakes:

jensenthejman:

Phlakes:
Chances are it's a VI built by whoever built the Reapers. I though that was obvious, but apparently I was dead wrong, since these days when an explanation isn't given, it's just a plot hole.

1. It's not the audiences job to tell a story.
2. Without any kind of allusion or foreshadowing, it's a plot-hole.
3. See my other post in this thread.

1. It's the audience's job to be able to infer obvious things.
2. I don't think allusion and foreshadowing are the right words, but no, it's a plot hole if there's no reasonable explanation for it.

You are correct that the audience should be able to infer obvious things, but however the Catalyst was never obvious because the citadel was created by the Reapers, yet he claims that the Reapers are his solution. No hints, no building up to it; it just shows up out of nowhere. No explanation at all, making it a plot-hole. Perhaps I didn't choose my words carefully enough, but if they were going to do something like that, there should have been some kind of hint (foreshadowing) that implied there was something about the citadel we were unaware of. They didn't have to spell it out for us, but there needed to be something before-hand.

IrritatingSquirrel:
Where did the star child/catalyst/thing actually come from? I ask in case I somehow missed something, and if I didn't, I wonder about what people might think.

It is transparent plot device given the barest of backgrounds. No amount of analysis will come to a furtive or fulfilling conclusion because any amount of analysis beyond the most superficial constructions is more than the thought put into the character. It is the pinnacle of bad storytelling.

What the writer(s) wanted you to see was a mystical, vaguely-omniscient being that is older than properly conceivable by human minds. It takes the form of Shepard's inner turmoil to connect to Shepard. It doesn't display remorse or disappointment at your (its?) choice because the authors want to imply it's already seen the outcome, and the only way to avoid constant massacres are with selective massacres via the Reapers. Like the authors, it gives you the illusion of choice, with only one way to change the fundamental forces at work (Synthesis).

What the players pick up, though, is this:

-How does it know what the little boy looks like? Yes, the Reapers are capable of mind manipulation and reading to some extent, but Shepard was never "probed" for the information.

-Why didn't it signal the Reapers itself? Why does it rely on a benign race of organics inhabiting its corporeal body to initiate the cycle?

-How did previous species know about this? Seriously, how? How did the Protheans know there was an Easter Egg in the Citadel that would result in their salvation? Who figured it out first? Why aren't there more hints strewn about the Galaxy about it? Why isn't there a giant warning about the Citadel?

-Why does it come to its conclusions despite being presented with the anathema in the form of a successful Geth/Quarian alliance?

-What advantages does waiting every 50k years have to, say, out-right destroying space-faring species the minute they find some technological doodad? Wouldn't it just be easier to station an actual Reaper in prospective systems with a few warning bells scattered about to awaken it?

-What has it done with the other Synthetic races? It implies that there have been several, if not dozens, in the past. Where did they go? Were they turned into Reapers as well?

-Why does an entity whose intractable, inevitable conclusion is that Synthetic life WILL end up going to war with the Organics that created them even offer Shepard options that won't solve the problem? Does it believe Organics will "learn from their mistakes" at some point, or what?

-Assuming the argument for the Reapers' purpose was stronger, why doesn't it offer an option to let the Reapers continue their genocide? It obviously thought there was good enough reason, so it shouldn't be difficult to convince someone else.

-Why does it even take the form of a child? Why does it care? What's the difference to it between Shepard's delusions of inadequacy and a floating ball?

-Why doesn't it have a backup plan for being discovered? It obviously noticed as species came closer and closer to discovering the cream inside the Citadel's egg - why couldn't it have moved to a different platform? Why did its logic dictate that should it ever be uncovered that it offer the organic two choices that will only end up fucking everything over again, and one choice to spin the wheel and hope it has better odds than the last form of life?

-Why is it willing to destroy itself as an option? Legion proved that Synthetics value individual lives. Why sacrifice itself for absolutely no gain?

-How the hell does it merge Synthetic and Organic life? If it could always do this, why didn't it merge everything before and avoid slaughtering trillions of living beings? If all it took was an assload of power and the correct mechanism, why didn't it tell the Reapers to build it?

-Does the Catalyst value all life? Organic life? Synthetic life? One over the other? How does its value system work that its perfectly fine brainwashing the Geth to fight for its purpose AND wipe entire organic species from history?

-No, seriously, where the fuck are the other Synthetic species? Best case scenario is that the Catalyst was the lucky one in a long line of Synthetic genocides spanning billions of years and happened to be the last man standing after some epic war. Based on the history it learned/witnessed, it came to the conclusion that war is inevitable. Then it calmly harvests organic species a few thousand (million?) times until the Geth appear - leaving a few million years in which its conclusion was never confirmed because there weren't other Synthetic species. Worst case Scenario is that it has a persecution complex and took attempts by its original creators as a sample size of "1" and came to the conclusion based off of hypothetical, untested situations. Then in either case it brainwashed the Geth - wtf?

I'm sure there are more, but it doesn't take long to realize what the Catalyst really is:

An incredibly obvious Deus ex machina.

"...a plot device whereby a seemingly unsolvable problem is suddenly and abruptly solved with the contrived and unexpected intervention of some new event, character, ability, or object."

It doesn't need an explanation, because the writer(s) don't even consider it a character. To them, it is a hammer, and the plot is the nail. Time to drive it home.

See, I had no problem with him showing up out of nowhere in that form. The way I looked at it, the thing was taking the form of Shepard's guilt. That one kid was haunting her throughout the entire game, so I just looked at it as the Catalyst scanning Shep's mind, seeing that that image was what was dominating her thoughts at the moment, and went with that.
Like how the machines decided to use the female doctor's face in Terminator Salvation. I was fine with it.
I was not fine with it the moment he started ruining everything, taking my choices away, telling me that the entire galactic fleet I had gathered had no part in the final battle, and basically told me to go kill myself in a number of ways, and then LIED to me on top of that. "You're also synthetic, so you'll die too. Except, you won't, because you'll wake up back on Earth. Yeah, you shouldn't believe anything I say. Sorry."

tippy2k2:

Well, you could probably wonder that about real life too...

If the world exist, how did it happen?
If it was God, where did God come from?
If it was the Big Bang, where did the original stuff for the Big Bang come from?

See this argument would hold up if we were actually told what the fuck the starchild was.

It's not just that we don't know the details of his creation, we don't know ANYTHING about him. The reason people wanted to know the reapers' origin so badly is because it would reveal something about their nature; why, when, under what circumstances, and how they were created would tell us a lot about them as characters had any of these been addressed beyond "I made them."

Was he an AI?....probably? But then why didn't he destroy himself, since obviously he would kill all organic life like he says all synthetics do, right?

Is he an energy being of some kind? There's been no mention of such things before.

What prompted his assertions about synthetics?

What made him believe 'the cycle' to be necessary?

If he can't activate his own home without outside help, how did he even build anything?

How did he discover mass effect technology?

Is he a god? There've been no actual gods in Mass Effect.

We wouldn't have to go back to the beggining of the universe to answer these questions, if he was anything but a god. We don't know, they don't tell us. The origin of a villain is pertinent information. Even the Joker from batman, with his ambiguous background, is clearly human. That helps us define and identify with the character. He was birthed and grew up into a psychopath. The starchild? Maybe he's one of Cthulhu's farts for all we know.

Phlakes:
it's a plot hole if there's no reasonable explanation for it.

Well then the starchild is a plothole.

If it's a VI, then it didn't evolve from space dust like an energy being or an organic would. Some intelligence had to have made it purposefully. There is literally not even the possibility of an intelligence predating the reapers vaguely suggested throughout all of Mass Effect. We have no idea what pre-cycle life was like, and therefor have NO context in which to place the creation of this supposed VI. We have no idea if some event happened that justified the VI's strange outlook on synthetic life.

Even the Prothean's precursors were given a name(The Innusannon), appearance(Ilos statues), and historical event(a war with another spacefaring species). For a series that has put such painstaking attention to detail forth, this ending was just shocking.

Reason isn't born from nothing. If we try to look past the starchild's origin, we've literally nothing. There are thus far no gods in Mass Effect, so that makes the child a plothole.

Sniper Team 4:
Except, you won't, because you'll wake up back on Earth. Yeah, you shouldn't believe anything I say. Sorry."

that pissed me off mre than anything

but it dose give me hope that I didnt choose the wrong ending

if indoctrination theory is untrue...then why does shepard wake up somwhere which is CLEARLY not the citadel?

tippy2k2:
Reapers are machines and something has to run those machines, so why not an AI

It used to be the awesome mystery of the Reapers that they didn't need that shit (plus it was established that they are not just machines); but no, it has to be a central AI even if it makes no sense because:

Phlakes:

jensenthejman:

Phlakes:
Chances are it's a VI built by whoever built the Reapers. I though that was obvious, but apparently I was dead wrong, since these days when an explanation isn't given, it's just a plot hole.

1. It's not the audiences job to tell a story.
2. Without any kind of allusion or foreshadowing, it's a plot-hole.
3. See my other post in this thread.

1. It's the audience's job to be able to infer obvious things.
2. I don't think allusion and foreshadowing are the right words, but no, it's a plot hole if there's no reasonable explanation for it.

Sovereign says: "We are each a nation, independent and free of all weakness." If I infer the obvious from that, then there is no central reaper AI, (much less on the Citadel, since that was the linchpin of the reaper plan which the protheans managed to foil and the whole reason for Sovereign's "suicide" rush to the Citadel in ME1).

 

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