Question about an element of Mass Effect 3 ending and the hatred towards it.

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Okay, spoilers, yadayada, blahblah

So it's come to my attention that a lot of people dislike Catalyst in the Mass Effect 3 ending and... I don't actually QUITE understand why.

Yes, a random omnipotent and cryptic character appearing at the end of something can blow.... or it's been done a ton and usually raises the most interesting questions and theories in the most interesting games.

I mean, G-Man did it in both Half-Life and Half-Life 2, the Anti-Spiral appeared out of nowhere at the end of Gurren Lagann as an omnipotent and rebellious presence as opposed to the giant fighting force we were led to believe the Anti-Spirals were, the end of Deus Ex comes to mind, and even the Moon Children at the end of Majora's Mask.

All of these aren't just critically acclaimed in whatever medium they are, they're some of the best around.

So, why is it when Mass Effect 3 did this, the character is deemed horrible, too spontaneous, and a blight on the entire franchise? I really just want some clarification here.

Disclaimer: This is not a thread to talk about the lack of closure in the ending or any of the other "problems." This is a thread to discuss this ONE element in the game.

Begin.

For me the Catalyst wasn't the issue. It was the fact that all three endings were the same. And nothing was explained. Earth was destroyed obviously, all planets with a gate in their system is destroyed. All Turians and Quarians off their ships died,and most likely the Quarians will NEVER get back to their planet. Not to mention that the ending means that every single thing you did in Mass Effect 3 is rendered completely pointless. Did you go around gathering every single thing you could? Well none of it mattered. At all.

Edit: Sorry Op didn't read the last line for some reason. Really the Catalyst for me was the game designer saying "Aw shit we don't have time for the ending we wanted. Uh, how about a glowing kid to change the entire conflict of the game." And it literally came out of nowhere.

For a start, in all your examples that I'm familiar with the omnipotent being is foreshadowed. For instance, the G-Man has been present throughout the Half Life games. Imagine if he had showed up put of absolutely nowhere at the end of HL2. It would have been incredibly stupid... like ME3.

Second, the Catalyst is utterly unnecessary. I've seen an edited fan ending where they just skipped the space kid altogether and cut straight to the destruction (red explosion) ending. It was a significant improvement.

Third, he does an extremely poor job of resolving the overarching plot of "stop the reapers". He only has 15 or so lines to explain the reapers motivations and then differentiate the three endings.

Fourth, he supplants the central conflict of the game ("stop reapers") with an almost entirely new one ("saving organics from their synthetic creations"). You do not introduce and then resolve an entirely new narrative conflict in the final ten minutes of a bloody story... not unless you're a gibbering idiot anyway.

Lastly... well... it's a fucking glowing kid turning up out of nowhere to present the end-o-tron 3000. I shouldn't have to explain why that sucks donkeys from a narrative standpoint.

Plus, y'know, complete lack of closure, gaping plot holes and no accounting for player choices.

Zhukov:
Fourth, he supplants the central conflict of the game ("stop reapers") with an almost entirely new one ("saving organics from their synthetic creations"). You do not introduce and then resolve an entirely new narrative conflict in the final ten minutes of a bloody story... not unless you're a gibbering idiot anyway.

"Organics vs. Synthetics" has been a key element of the Mass Effect world since the first game. That was the entire purpose of having the Geth be the bad guys in ME1, and going deeper into their war with the Quarians in ME 2 and 3. Not to mention the contrast between the two "bad" AI in ME1 with EDI in 2. People getting destroyed by reaching too far is a common theme in Mass Effect: It happened with the Quarians, the Krogan (and by extension, the Salarians), and even the Protheans. Heck, the Protheans were actually in the middle of their own Organic/Synth war when the Reapers showed up.

Zhukov:
For a start, in all your examples that I'm familiar with the omnipotent being is foreshadowed. For instance, the G-Man has been present throughout the Half Life games. Imagine if he had showed up put of absolutely nowhere at the end of HL2. It would have been incredibly stupid... like ME3.

Second, the Catalyst is utterly unnecessary. I've seen an edited fan ending where they just skipped the space kid altogether and cut straight to the destruction (red explosion) ending. It was a significant improvement.

Third, he does an extremely poor job of resolving the overarching plot of "stop the reapers". He only has 15 or so lines to explain the reapers motivations and then differentiate the three endings.

Fourth, he supplants the central conflict of the game ("stop reapers") with an almost entirely new one ("saving organics from their synthetic creations"). You do not introduce and then resolve an entirely new narrative conflict in the final ten minutes of a bloody story... not unless you're a gibbering idiot anyway.

Lastly... well... it's a fucking glowing kid turning up out of nowhere to present the end-o-tron 3000. I shouldn't have to explain why that sucks donkeys from a narrative standpoint.

Plus, y'know, complete lack of closure, gaping plot holes and no accounting for player choices.

If you don't mind, I'm going to respond by paragraph here

>First paragraph

I'm guessing you didn't play Half-Life 1, huh? He really did just kind of randomly show up. You can only find him during the game if you're looking at the right place in the right time, and he just comes off as a random NPC. Sooooo same thing.

>Second Paragraph

But the thing of it is, in that editted ending we're still only left to speculation as to why the Reapers are harvesting advanced species. Are you saying that should be left a mystery? And what's supposed to set the explosions in motion?

>Third paragraph

Thing of it is, WHY the Reapers were harvesting and destroying everything was always a question. He explained that question whiiiile sticking to the theme of the game: the battle of advancing technology. What Catalyst says made sense and was always central to all of Mass Effect. G-Man himself even only has one paragraph of dialogue and then never speaks again in the ending of Half-Life 1 and he's very much beloved.

>Fourth paragraph

But.... That's the entire point. The Reaper's existence was a conflict in itself that was almost never questioned during the game, and it was a conflict in of itself. As for Synthetics vs. Organics, this had been present throughout the entire game and was shown mainly through the Geth and even EDI's relationship with Joker. The Quarians were living proof of the paranoia in organics the second their synthetics gained a sign of sentience since rather than understanding, they started a war.

Ordinaryundone:

Zhukov:
Fourth, he supplants the central conflict of the game ("stop reapers") with an almost entirely new one ("saving organics from their synthetic creations"). You do not introduce and then resolve an entirely new narrative conflict in the final ten minutes of a bloody story... not unless you're a gibbering idiot anyway.

"Organics vs. Synthetics" has been a key element of the Mass Effect world since the first game. That was the entire purpose of having the Geth be the bad guys in ME1, and going deeper into their war with the Quarians in ME 2 and 3. Not to mention the contrast between the two "bad" AI in ME1 with EDI in 2. People getting destroyed by reaching too far is a common theme in Mass Effect: It happened with the Quarians, the Krogan (and by extension, the Salarians), and even the Protheans. Heck, the Protheans were actually in the middle of their own Organic/Synth war when the Reapers showed up.

Said it better than I could, atm.

Also, the Prothean's war was EXACTLY why the Reapers whipped them out, IIRC.

Actually, I don't have a problem with the Catalyst. I have a problem with the only reactions to it Shepard can have. I haven't been calling it "God child" like others have. Why? Because it is an AI. It is a Reaper AI. It is a Reaper AI telling you that you don't have to destroy the Reapers. It is a Reaper AI telling you that you don't have to destroy the Reapers when you are on the cusp of doing just that. And it does this while trying to manipulate Shepard by sort of "taking the form" of the child he feels guilty of not being able to save.

Why the hell would Shepard believe anything it says?

The only options you have are to blindly accept its claims and pick one of the options offered to you by a freaking Reaper AI.

It might have been good if we had to option to tell it to shove off, or to convince it that its claims that an synthetic-organic peace is impossible are wrong...or if the dozen shots or so that I put into its head actually killed it or at least initiated a hostile encounter.

DigitalAtlas:

>First paragraph

I'm guessing you didn't play Half-Life 1, huh? He really did just kind of randomly show up. You can only find him during the game if you're looking at the right place in the right time, and he just comes off as a random NPC. Sooooo same thing.

>Second Paragraph

But the thing of it is, in that editted ending we're still only left to speculation as to why the Reapers are harvesting advanced species. Are you saying that should be left a mystery? And what's supposed to set the explosions in motion?

>Third paragraph

Thing of it is, WHY the Reapers were harvesting and destroying everything was always a question. He explained that question whiiiile sticking to the theme of the game: the battle of advancing technology. What Catalyst says made sense and was always central to all of Mass Effect. G-Man himself even only has one paragraph of dialogue and then never speaks again in the ending of Half-Life 1 and he's very much beloved.

>Fourth paragraph

But.... That's the entire point. The Reaper's existence was a conflict in itself that was almost never questioned during the game, and it was a conflict in of itself. As for Synthetics vs. Organics, this had been present throughout the entire game and was shown mainly through the Geth and even EDI's relationship with Joker. The Quarians were living proof of the paranoia in organics the second their synthetics gained a sign of sentience since rather than understanding, they started a war.

1.) HL draws your attention to his presence at multiple points unless you're running around like that retard from third grade who always had his finger up his nose. There were at least 2 separate points at which you couldn't advance until he finished doing something. No such foreshadowing for the Catalyst. Little boy dreams do not count UNLESS indoc theory is correct, which assumes that Hudson's head isn't so far up his ass that he's drinking his own stomach acid and that they had time to put that ending together but still had to scrub all of Thessia's side content.

2.)He never said it was optimal, just that as an ending it was better than the one we got. Which it is. Oodles upon oodles better.

3.)Except it doesn't make sense. In fact, the very EXISTENCE of the Catalyst means that the events of ME1 are ENTIRELY retconned. For that matter, so are the events of 2 since a base at the center of the galaxy is unnecessary when the entire fucking citadel is a trojan horse with your sleeper agent ALREADY IN PLACE.

4.) The Synthetic/Organic conflict is resolved not once but TWICE. The Geth were never truly violent in the first place, and EDI was violent because she was programmed to be and achieved semi-sentience during a war games exercise. The game is pretty EXPLICITLY stating that AI are not inherently violent. Well, until the last 15 minutes anyway.

Ordinaryundone:

Zhukov:
Fourth, he supplants the central conflict of the game ("stop reapers") with an almost entirely new one ("saving organics from their synthetic creations"). You do not introduce and then resolve an entirely new narrative conflict in the final ten minutes of a bloody story... not unless you're a gibbering idiot anyway.

"Organics vs. Synthetics" has been a key element of the Mass Effect world since the first game. That was the entire purpose of having the Geth be the bad guys in ME1, and going deeper into their war with the Quarians in ME 2 and 3. Not to mention the contrast between the two "bad" AI in ME1 with EDI in 2. People getting destroyed by reaching too far is a common theme in Mass Effect: It happened with the Quarians, the Krogan (and by extension, the Salarians), and even the Protheans. Heck, the Protheans were actually in the middle of their own Organic/Synth war when the Reapers showed up.

No, no it wasn't. If I were to replace the geth and reapers with rebel turians and giant organic space jellyfish from beyond the 5th dimension respectively the story would be the same. On the other hand if I were to replace the robots from Binary Domain with turian rebels it would be a vastly different game. So no Mass Effect was never about Synthetics vs Organics, it was about overcoming an impossible odds through your choices and your crew.

Ordinaryundone:

Zhukov:
[snip]

"Organics vs. Synthetics" has been a key element of the Mass Effect world since the first game. That was the entire purpose of having the Geth be the bad guys in ME1, and going deeper into their war with the Quarians in ME 2 and 3. Not to mention the contrast between the two "bad" AI in ME1 with EDI in 2. People getting destroyed by reaching too far is a common theme in Mass Effect: It happened with the Quarians, the Krogan (and by extension, the Salarians), and even the Protheans. Heck, the Protheans were actually in the middle of their own Organic/Synth war when the Reapers showed up.

No.

a) "Organics vs synthetics" was arguably a present theme, but the inevitable destruction of organics by their own synthetics was most certainly not. It was made abundantly clear in ME2 and most of ME3 that the organic-synthetic situation was not a simple case of us-vs-them and did not have one inevitable outcome.

b) The Geth were a secondary subplot to the Reapers threat. A subplot that was entirely resolved in ME3. In fact, that resolution potentially makes the Catalyst's bullshit even more nonsensical. You do not supplant the central conflict with an already resolved subplot in the final ten minutes of a story.

c) "Being destroyed by reaching too far"? That's not relevant to the catalyst space-child garbage.

DigitalAtlas:

Zhukov:
[snip].

I'm guessing you didn't play Half-Life 1, huh? He really did just kind of randomly show up. You can only find him during the game if you're looking at the right place in the right time, and he just comes off as a random NPC. Sooooo same thing.

Yes I did play HL1 and what you are saying is hilariously incorrect. G-Man shows up early and often and it is made abundantly clear to anyone with half a brain that (a) there is something off about him and (b) he is keeping tabs on Gordon.

Allow me to pose this as a question: "If G-Man had showed up and done his thing at the end of HL2 with absolutely no foreshadowing or prior appearances, would you regard that as a good way to end a story?"

But the thing of it is, in that editted ending we're still only left to speculation as to why the Reapers are harvesting advanced species. Are you saying that should be left a mystery?

Leaving it unexplained would have been better than the utterly retarded last-minute two-line explanation that we got. "I made an army of synthetics to kill organics so they won't get killed by synthetics." Yeah, some real genius-level writing there.

Some people have tried to suggest that the stupid circular logic was intentional, but then that begs the question of why the player/Shepard isn't given any opportunity to call them out on it. Terrible writing no matter which way you slice it.

Also, the Prothean's war was EXACTLY why the Reapers whipped them out, IIRC.

Incorrect. The Reapers wiped them out because it was simply the end of their harvesting cycle. It is never said that they did it because of one of the Prothean wars.

DustyDrB:
Actually, I don't have a problem with the Catalyst. I have a problem with the only reactions to him Shepard can have to it. I haven't been calling it "God child" like others have. Why? Because it is an AI. It is a Reaper AI. It is a Reaper AI telling you that you don't have to destroy the Reapers. IT is a Reaper AI telling you that you don't have to destroy the Reapers when you are on the cusp of doing just that. And it does this while trying to manipulate Shepard by sort of "taking the form" of the child he feels guilty of not being able to save.

Why the hell would Shepard believe anything it says?

The only options you have are to blindly accept its claims and pick one of the options offered to you by a freaking Reaper AI.

It might have been good if we had to option to tell it to shove off, or to convince it that its claims that an synthetic-organic peace is impossible are wrong...or if the dozen shots or so that I put into its head actually killed it or at least initiated a hostile encounter.

All strong points, although there's still an argument to be made for "God Child", as it does issue a burst of Space Magic that fundamentally reshapes the universe depending on how many war assets you've accumulated.

But yes...Shepard's blind adherence to the script handed to him/her by the PRIMARY ANTAGONIST at the PEAK OF THE CONFLICT is rather amusing (and an antagonist, at that, which is notorious for attempting to manipulate and deceive). To quote Mel Brooks..."Now you see that evil will always triumph. Because good is dumb."

DigitalAtlas:
But.... That's the entire point. The Reaper's existence was a conflict in itself that was almost never questioned during the game, and it was a conflict in of itself. As for Synthetics vs. Organics, this had been present throughout the entire game and was shown mainly through the Geth and even EDI's relationship with Joker. The Quarians were living proof of the paranoia in organics the second their synthetics gained a sign of sentience since rather than understanding, they started a war.

Ordinaryundone:
"Organics vs. Synthetics" has been a key element of the Mass Effect world since the first game. That was the entire purpose of having the Geth be the bad guys in ME1, and going deeper into their war with the Quarians in ME 2 and 3. Not to mention the contrast between the two "bad" AI in ME1 with EDI in 2. People getting destroyed by reaching too far is a common theme in Mass Effect: It happened with the Quarians, the Krogan (and by extension, the Salarians), and even the Protheans. Heck, the Protheans were actually in the middle of their own Organic/Synth war when the Reapers showed up.

This excerpt from Ferretbrain's article on the ME3 ending sums up my feelings on this far more eloquently than I ever could:

Up until the final moment, Mass Effect Three could have been about a vast number of things. It could have been about idealism versus pragmatism, nationalism versus internationalism, unity versus self-interest, conflict versus reconciliation, or even - if you wanted - about organic versus synthetic life. The final moment, though, strips away all of the other possible interpretations and makes it a game about one thing and one thing only, about an inevitable conflict between synthetic and organic life, and about the necessity for a dramatic solution to that conflict, either in the form of the Reapers, or the the form of Synthesis. The ending removes all textual support for any reading of the game other than this rather tedious one.

http://ferretbrain.com/articles/article-848

First and foremost, he contradicts the message of the game. As he tells you that organics and synthetics cannot peacefully coexist, humans and synthetics are at peace trying to destroy a synthetic that refutes that even as a possibility. Nothing in the game suggests this is true. Synthetics fighting with organics to stop this other synthetic when they know his protocol is insane amounts of proof he is wrong. Instead, we just have to take his word on it. (The guy trying to kill organics with synthetics so that organics won't be killed by synthetics) I am sorry, but I don't trust his logic and, apparently, neither do other synthetics.

Second, he admits this has never happened and basically that this is all based on "if his calculations are correct, odds are...". He takes full credit for it never happening though. That would be like me saying that the reason the world hasn't ended is because I murder 15 people every year to the God of the Apocalypse and if I don't he will bring it. Don't I sound bat shit crazy? That is what this kid sounds like by not bringing any evidence, just his word, to the table.

Third, and this may be a minor point but he was made eons ago by an unknown civilization. He could have been built by either organics or synthetics, we don't know. As well, we don't know the ideologies of that culture. The world would be a very different place if the Axis forces had succeeded in WWII and brought an entirely new culture to the world. A different way of thinking. This is important to think about because what if this synthetic was created by other synthetics as an ultimate synthetic that feeds off of human lifeforce or some wierd shit we aren't advanced enough to understand and as well, he keeps us in check so that we will never understand it by wiping us out before we ever get that advanced. "Tons of speculation" allows for some very extreme motives to be brought to the table. How do we know we can trust the ideologies and intentions of this child from a culture dated eons ago in history that we know nothing about?

Lastly, by not allowing the player the option of not believing the kid, based on his stupid logic the game takes a hit in quality of story telling. 99.7% of the game series is in direct contrast to what the kid says and eludes to the opposite conclusion to what the kid claims. If he is correct, the entire rest of the story that contradicts him is invalidated which is like 50% of the overall story. If that part of the story is correct, then his .3% of the story is invalidated. By not allowing the player to decide which is correct and forcing the players hand into believing the kid, the game all but says that the kid is correct invalidating large parts of the story or, at best, making them superfluous. It takes half of the entire trilogy and makes it fluff or filler. This is why some people like myself say that this ruins the series for them. The story had much more potential without the kid than with him.

I am leaving some stuff out but it is hard to avoid talking about only the kid because he does tie into many other faucetts of the problems with the ending. But as for him alone, that is my look at it.

DigitalAtlas:

If you don't mind, I'm going to respond by paragraph here

>First paragraph

I'm guessing you didn't play Half-Life 1, huh? He really did just kind of randomly show up. You can only find him during the game if you're looking at the right place in the right time, and he just comes off as a random NPC. Sooooo same thing.

Wow, talk about your cherry picked arguments. What you just described is basically Half-Life's M.O. in general. Most of the details of the plot are never laid out for you, instead you have to pay attention to your surroundings which in turn inform you of the issues. Additionally, the G-Man seldom comes off as 'a random NPC'. His model is easy to distinguish as unique from other npcs, and the nonchalant attitude typically puts him at odds with the surrounding circumstances, as do his odd locations and departures. While this doesn't spell out his nature, it does allude very heavily to him being otherworldly.

Conversely, the idea of an AI inside the Citadel is never hinted at, to say nothing of the nature of that AI[1]. Unlike the G-Man, it is completely out of left field, and then proceeds to compound the issue through its role as a literal deus ex machina.

DigitalAtlas:
>Second Paragraph

But the thing of it is, in that editted ending we're still only left to speculation as to why the Reapers are harvesting advanced species. Are you saying that should be left a mystery? And what's supposed to set the explosions in motion?

As to the first, why not? For the sake of a plotline centering on "Stop the reapers", you don't need to know their motivations. You just need to know that they want you dead. In the case of beings who purportedly exist on a scale we can't imagine, explaining their nature actually can be detrimental to their strength as characters. And mind you, they've been harping on the Reapers' inexplicable nature since their introduction. It's the same principle as horror films: The fear a monster induces is often inversely proportional to how much of it you see/know.

As to the second: The crucible, of course. It's been presented as a super-weapon from the get-go, and even the game itself acknowledges that everyone was expecting it to just activate. (See Hackett commenting that it wasn't activating).

DigitalAtlas:
>Third paragraph

Thing of it is, WHY the Reapers were harvesting and destroying everything was always a question. He explained that question whiiiile sticking to the theme of the game: the battle of advancing technology. What Catalyst says made sense and was always central to all of Mass Effect. G-Man himself even only has one paragraph of dialogue and then never speaks again in the ending of Half-Life 1 and he's very much beloved.

Actually, a key component of the organics vs. synthetics subplot is that it was implied to be a red herring. You're told that AI are always bad news: Cue EDI, who is unfailingly loyal even after being unshackled and goes as far as to pursue a romance with an organic crewmate. You're led to believe that the Geth hate organics: Cue Legion, who introduces us to the rather lopsided Geth/Heretic divide, with the former being vastly more numerous, very much of the opinion that all life is worthwhile and as a group actively rejects the idea of warring with organics. Cue also Admiral Zaal'Koris, who advocates reconciling with the Geth and who comes off as the most lucid in that regard[2]. Cue also the end of the Quarian/Geth subplot in ME3, one ending of which allows the Geth to welcome back the Quarians with open arms and apparently no hard feelings[3]. Cue also the Geth being willing allies against the Reapers. There's a simple rule in storytelling: Show, don't tell. In this case, the two conflict. You're told that organics and synthetics cannot get along. Your experiences, however, show that the two can get along famously. And as you never actually hear it from an impartial source, what you're shown logically comes across as more reliable. The story itself treats the fatalism of the Reapers' cycle-logic as about the same as the Genophage and the Rachni choices: Not as black and white as first presented.

As to the G-Man comparison: The G-Man didn't derail the central during his speaking role, and in terms of that speaking role he fulfills a very different function. Take away the superficial comparison of measuring spoken lines, and actually the G-Man and Catalyst reveal dynamically different funtions. Catalyst is primarily exposition, the G-Man is primarily cryptic.

DigitalAtlas:
>Fourth paragraph

But.... That's the entire point. The Reaper's existence was a conflict in itself that was almost never questioned during the game, and it was a conflict in of itself. As for Synthetics vs. Organics, this had been present throughout the entire game and was shown mainly through the Geth and even EDI's relationship with Joker. The Quarians were living proof of the paranoia in organics the second their synthetics gained a sign of sentience since rather than understanding, they started a war.

See the above.

DigitalAtlas:

Said it better than I could, atm.

Also, the Prothean's war was EXACTLY why the Reapers whipped them out, IIRC.

No it isn't. The Protheans were in the middle of a war, yes, but the Reapers came in when the Protheans were winning. The Reapers invaded for the sake of the cycle - which is based on a technology benchmark - not because the Protheans actually went to war.

[1]
[2] Admiral Daro'Xen comes off very much like a supremecist and Admiral Han'Gerrel comes off as...well, rather Hatfield and McCoy towards the Geth.
[3] This last aspect is actually noted repeatedly in both ME2 (through conversations with Legion) and ME3 (see the aforementioned end to the conflict, see also the Geth's unwillingness to pursue the Quarians when the former gained the upper hand)

DustyDrB:
Actually, I don't have a problem with the Catalyst. I have a problem with the only reactions to him Shepard can have to it. I haven't been calling it "God child" like others have. Why? Because it is an AI. It is a Reaper AI. It is a Reaper AI telling you that you don't have to destroy the Reapers. It is a Reaper AI telling you that you don't have to destroy the Reapers when you are on the cusp of doing just that. And it does this while trying to manipulate Shepard by sort of "taking the form" of the child he feels guilty of not being able to save.

Why the hell would Shepard believe anything it says?

The only options you have are to blindly accept its claims and pick one of the options offered to you by a freaking Reaper AI.

It might have been good if we had to option to tell it to shove off, or to convince it that its claims that an synthetic-organic peace is impossible are wrong...or if the dozen shots or so that I put into its head actually killed it or at least initiated a hostile encounter.

This.

This makes the most sense to me.... Everything else misses the point or is wrapped up in "what I think the ending should've been because I'm clearly a writer for the series and know what it's been about the entire time" logic.

To add on to your point though, it can't be a Reaper A.I as the Reapers can't really create themselves. If they did, more power to them, there. Either way, if an omnipotent being offered you choices, would you take them? Yes, Shepard should've had the chance to argue with anecdotal evidence. Even if they were shut down five seconds after you said them like a few other dialogue suggestions, then it would've been infinitely better than to be led blindly astray (assuming no indoctrination theory). I guess what I'm saying here, without any structure, is if Shepard were allowed to argue and Catalyst gave a reasoning for Shepard to be locked into those three choices. Side note here: I think it all would've been significantly better if (if the indoctrination is true)during the Illusive Man and Anderson argument the color of the choices had swapped or gone away entirely and this led up to the Catalyst, to show the manipulation at work.

Either way, if you don't respond, then I'm done with this thread.

DigitalAtlas:
This.

This makes the most sense to me.... Everything else misses the point or is wrapped up in "what I think the ending should've been because I'm clearly a writer for the series and know what it's been about the entire time" logic.

To add on to your point though, it can't be a Reaper A.I as the Reapers can't really create themselves. If they did, more power to them, there. Either way, if an omnipotent being offered you choices, would you take them? Yes, Shepard should've had the chance to argue with anecdotal evidence. Even if they were shut down five seconds after you said them like a few other dialogue suggestions, then it would've been infinitely better than to be led blindly astray (assuming no indoctrination theory). I guess what I'm saying here, without any structure, is if Shepard were allowed to argue and Catalyst gave a reasoning for Shepard to be locked into those three choices. Side note here: I think it all would've been significantly better if (if the indoctrination is true)during the Illusive Man and Anderson argument the color of the choices had swapped or gone away entirely and this led up to the Catalyst, to show the manipulation at work.

Either way, if you don't respond, then I'm done with this thread.

Well the Reapers were created by someone or something. I don't see why the Catalyst couldn't be one of those creations. Anyway, it's either a Reaper AI or it's Reaper-affiliated AI. And it is clearly attempting to manipulate Shepard.

I can't disagree with you that things would have been much better had we been able to argue or choose our own way, even if it were fruitless or resulted in catastrophic failure. My biggest issue with Mass Effect 3 (which I still love as a whole, mind you) aside from the ending is that Shepard speaks too much on his own. And this issue is actually a core problem with the ending as well. I have no clue why they decided it was a good idea to take away some of the player agency with Shepard. That's a fundamental part of the series. My Shepard, even with all his diplomatic leanings, would never accept the words of a Reaper representative right at the end of things.

Even with the plot holes and the iffy Relay destruction sequences, I'd have liked things a whole lot better. This might just be me, though. I'm incredibly forgiving a plot holes because I tend to "overwrite" them or ignore them in my mind. But losing control of Shepard just made me cringe and squirm. It made me want to scream at the game. And I'm not just talking about at the ending. It bothered the hell out of me throughout the game when they did it. The ending was just the worst example.

DigitalAtlas:
So it's come to my attention that a lot of people dislike Catalyst in the Mass Effect 3 ending and... I don't actually QUITE understand why.

[Other games have done this]

So, why is it when Mass Effect 3 did this, the character is deemed horrible, too spontaneous, and a blight on the entire franchise? I really just want some clarification here.

DigitalAtlas:
This makes the most sense to me.... Everything else misses the point or is wrapped up in "what I think the ending should've been because I'm clearly a writer for the series and know what it's been about the entire time" logic.

What point? The point of the starchild? No, I think we covered that. You asked why we didn't like him and why he was deemed horrible, despite the other games "doing it too". (They didn't.) You seem to think people are mad that he just showed up spontaneously at the end, but people have explained that we are mad that he spontaneously shows up and contradicts the previous game content and provides no justification for doing so. It isn't about we think we know what the ending should have been, its that the ending and the rest of the game don't connect. Square peg, round hole. What I see is a translation for "I don't like what I have read in other people's responses."

To add on to your point though, it can't be a Reaper A.I as the Reapers can't really create themselves. If they did, more power to them, there. Either way, if an omnipotent being offered you choices, would you take them? Yes, Shepard should've had the chance to argue with anecdotal evidence. Even if they were shut down five seconds after you said them like a few other dialogue suggestions, then it would've been infinitely better than to be led blindly astray (assuming no indoctrination theory).

Careful, now you are missing the point. People have been saying in this thread the kid gives no evidence. We all can pretty much agree that if he could somehow make his little story plausible it would have been better but he didn't. We said "Why?" and he said "Just because. I am old, I know these things."

I guess what I'm saying here, without any structure, is if Shepard were allowed to argue and Catalyst gave a reasoning for Shepard to be locked into those three choices. Side note here: I think it all would've been significantly better if (if the indoctrination is true)during the Illusive Man and Anderson argument the color of the choices had swapped or gone away entirely and this led up to the Catalyst, to show the manipulation at work.

Again, you are claiming you are in "what I think the ending should've been because I'm clearly a writer for the series and know what it's been about the entire time" logic. So it is ok for you to do it, but not others. The only difference is you are saying "I think this would have made it better." (A few drops of rain is better than no water at all.) Others are saying "I don't know how the ending could have been worse." (There is a drought and the ground is bone dry so a few drops won't do anything.) What I mean by that is, the starchild's argument is so outlandish, it would take more than a brief explanation to lock you into those three choices. His three choices completely ignore the war raging out the window.

All of my Shepard's except maybe my paragon adept would choose to wait and see how the war sways, and if it looks like we will lose, I choose destroy and kill everyone to bring the reapers down as a last ditch effort. I don't trust synthesis because that's what reapers are and I view that option as being absolved by them logically by their own mentality. Control, is bogus based on the conversation between you and TIM. My adept would probably pick synthesis, however, he still wouldn't jump on it. The kids logic is so dumb I don't believe for a second any of my 5 Shepards would believe him. Renegade OR Paragon. Throughout the whole game, EVERY decision is based on evidence the game provides. That is a common denominator ALL of my Shepards share. He/She makes decision based on evidence at hand. In the final moments I have evidence the kid is lying no matter how I played through it. (Or at least suggests it) I am given NO evidence to support his claim. It is out of character for Shepard to just believe Reaper Boy's word no matter how you played it.

Zhukov:
For a start, in all your examples that I'm familiar with the omnipotent being is foreshadowed. For instance, the G-Man has been present throughout the Half Life games. Imagine if he had showed up put of absolutely nowhere at the end of HL2. It would have been incredibly stupid... like ME3.

Second, the Catalyst is utterly unnecessary. I've seen an edited fan ending where they just skipped the space kid altogether and cut straight to the destruction (red explosion) ending. It was a significant improvement.

Third, he does an extremely poor job of resolving the overarching plot of "stop the reapers". He only has 15 or so lines to explain the reapers motivations and then differentiate the three endings.

Fourth, he supplants the central conflict of the game ("stop reapers") with an almost entirely new one ("saving organics from their synthetic creations"). You do not introduce and then resolve an entirely new narrative conflict in the final ten minutes of a bloody story... not unless you're a gibbering idiot anyway.

Lastly... well... it's a fucking glowing kid turning up out of nowhere to present the end-o-tron 3000. I shouldn't have to explain why that sucks donkeys from a narrative standpoint.

Plus, y'know, complete lack of closure, gaping plot holes and no accounting for player choices.

Hey! Somebody else watches MrBtongue's videos! Awesome.

OT: Another huge problem with it was that the god child basically throws everything that happened in the entirety of Mass Effect 3 into question. I'll admit that I've only seen the ending secondhand and haven't played the game myself, but the following question comes to mind.
- If the god child has been in the citadel all along, then why did he need Sovereign and the keepers in the first place?
- If the god child knew where Mass Effect 3's Deus Ex Machina (the crucible, or whatever it was called) was for the entire game, why didn't the reapers just go and blow it up?
- If I choose the red ending, destruction, does that also destroy the Quarian's environment suits?
- How the hell does syntheses even work? I mean, I get it merges organic and synthetic life, but what's the process for how that goes down? Are Joker and EDI mashed together into some sort of eldrich horror? Or does Jeff suddenly have a mechanical arm for no apparent reason while EDI grows a human heart?
- If Shepard is dead for the control ending, how can he control the reapers? And what the hell does the god child mean by 'lose everything'? That doesn't make any sense.
- Can I just take control of the Reapers for long enough to just tell them to self-destruct? What's that? You're not going to tell me? Great. Thanks.
- Why is my Shepard going along with this when he just ended the Geth/Quarian war firsthand. Surely he's seen evidence first hand that proves this little god child wrong.
- How did my crew members, which were on the ground with me not even 5 minutes ago, suddenly on the Normandy? Did Joker really have time to go and pick them up before pussing out and leaving me to my death?
- Wait, WHY would my team members allow him to do that? There's no way that the crew would allow Joker to leave Shepard behind like that! Even IF the snowball in hell survives and Joker actually does chicken out of the final battle!

and that's just what I could come up with off the top of my head.

DustyDrB:

Well the Reapers were created by someone or something. I don't see why the Catalyst couldn't be one of those creations. Anyway, it's either a Reaper AI or it's Reaper-affiliated AI. And it is clearly attempting to manipulate Shepard.

I can't disagree with you that things would have been much better had we been able to argue or choose our own way, even if it were fruitless or resulted in catastrophic failure. My biggest issue with Mass Effect 3 (which I still love as a whole, mind you) aside from the ending is that Shepard speaks too much on his own. And this issue is actually a core problem with the ending as well. I have no clue why they decided it was a good idea to take away some of the player agency with Shepard. That's a fundamental part of the series. My Shepard, even with all his diplomatic leanings, would never accept the words of a Reaper representative right at the end of things.

Even with the plot holes and the iffy Relay destruction sequences, I'd have liked things a whole lot better. This might just be me, though. I'm incredibly forgiving a plot holes because I tend to "overwrite" them or ignore them in my mind. But losing control of Shepard just made me cringe and squirm. It made me want to scream at the game. And I'm not just talking about at the ending. It bothered the hell out of me throughout the game when they did it. The ending was just the worst example.

>Which I still loved as a whole

Thank you for being a smart human being that realizes the ending doesn't ruin a sixty hour experience in that one title alone, let alone the whole series. I'm just glad people didn't have that mentality when Mega Man X4 came around.

Limitation is actually a problem I can understand. See, I know the non-RPG fans of ME hated that you had to stop and think about every line of dialogue and just wanted to shoot things. But catering to them by making us pick less and Shepard speaking more just ruins the belief that the player IS Shepard.

So in short, we're in perfect agreement. All of ME1 and ME2 ended with the same scene with different words. This upgraded by adding different colors! I didn't mind it, ya know? It was a typical video game ending. I was just glad it was over. It could've been a whole lot better, but so could a lot of things in the series and gaming in general and this sin't worth going to the Federal Trade Commission about. It just would've been infinitely better if we were actually allowed to defend our case in the very last minutes.

SargentToughie:

OT: Another huge problem with it was that the god child basically throws everything that happened in the entirety of Mass Effect 3 into question. I'll admit that I've only seen the ending secondhand and haven't played the game myse-....

This is where I stopped reading, anyone else?

DigitalAtlas:

This.

This makes the most sense to me.... Everything else misses the point or is wrapped up in "what I think the ending should've been because I'm clearly a writer for the series and know what it's been about the entire time" logic.

...No, you do NOT get to pull that when so many of the points you're dismissing were made in direct response to what you yourself either said or asked for. That is not only condescending but hypocritical.

Asita:

DigitalAtlas:

This.

This makes the most sense to me.... Everything else misses the point or is wrapped up in "what I think the ending should've been because I'm clearly a writer for the series and know what it's been about the entire time" logic.

...No, you do NOT get to pull that when so many of the points you're dismissing were made in direct response to what you yourself either said or asked for. That is not only condescending but hypocritical.

He made a response that addressed every point and question I posted with only a few sentences. With it, I truly see an error in that segment that other games didn't make. Others did too, they just didn't say anything that wasn't full of hatred and go off onto a tangent that broke the disclaimer. I disregarded ignorance because I don't need stupidity headaches.

DigitalAtlas:

He made a response that addressed every point and question I posted with only a few sentences. With it, I truly see an error in that segment that other games didn't make. Others did too, they just didn't say anything that wasn't full of hatred and go off onto a tangent that broke the disclaimer. I disregarded ignorance because I don't need stupidity headaches.

And that in no way reflects on your stated rationale. To quote:

Everything else misses the point or is wrapped up in "what I think the ending should've been because I'm clearly a writer for the series and know what it's been about the entire time" logic.

Again: The rationale is condecending and hypocritical considering the arguments that many of the posts in question were responding to.

Asita:

DigitalAtlas:

He made a response that addressed every point and question I posted with only a few sentences. With it, I truly see an error in that segment that other games didn't make. Others did too, they just didn't say anything that wasn't full of hatred and go off onto a tangent that broke the disclaimer. I disregarded ignorance because I don't need stupidity headaches.

And that in no way reflects on your stated rationale. To quote:

Everything else misses the point or is wrapped up in "what I think the ending should've been because I'm clearly a writer for the series and know what it's been about the entire time" logic.

Again: The rationale is condecending and hypocritical considering the arguments that many of the posts in question were responding to.

It would only be hypocritical if I thought I was a writer of the series and at any point had said 'they should have done it this way' before his post. All I did was ask questions and defend an element because it exists in other games. Not one other post honestly states why it's different here.

DigitalAtlas:

It would only be hypocritical if I thought I was a writer of the series and at any point had said 'they should have done it this way' before his post. All I did was ask questions and defend an element because it exists in other games. Not one other post honestly states why it's different here.

Posts 7, 9, 11, 12 and 15 would like a word with you.

Asita:

DigitalAtlas:

It would only be hypocritical if I thought I was a writer of the series and at any point had said 'they should have done it this way' before his post. All I did was ask questions and defend an element because it exists in other games. Not one other post honestly states why it's different here.

Posts 7, 9, 11, 12 and 15 would like a word with you.

Except they're wrong.

Side note: Anything after where I said "unless you respond, I'm done with this thread." I didn't read so I believe I only read 7 and 9, disagreed and felt they missed the point, then moved on as the point of this thread was to find something I could agree with. Not debate.

EDIT: I did just skim post 12 (hi) and, like the other's before it, I stopped reading at a certain point because it was just wrong. It made some good points about the other games (still wish someone would use Gurren Lagann here), but when it got onto the subject of the Catalyst it was just wrong and sounded hateful. Sorry? I think I went two paragraphs in which is more than usual if it makes ya feel a tad better.

EDIT: Went back to post 12. I stopped the second I read "you don't need to know the Reaper's motivations." Yeah, that's just wrong. Not an opinion. It's wrong. Any villain burning down the entire universe every set amount of millenniums clearly has a motivation. The player needed to hear it. It's dumb to suggest anything else. A dumb element makes me not want to read, so I don't. Case closed.

Eh, what irked me wasn't the Catalyst. The fact that the option to destroy non-organics had a cinematic showing the ground team getting the D Terminator 2 Judgement Day style.

DigitalAtlas:

Except they're wrong.

Put your money where your mouth is, bucko. You can't just say 'they're wrong', you have to elaborate on why they are wrong.

DigitalAtlas:
EDIT: I did just skim post 12 (hi) and, like the other's before it, I stopped reading at a certain point because it was just wrong. It made some good points about the other games (still wish someone would use Gurren Lagann here), but when it got onto the subject of the Catalyst it was just wrong and sounded hateful. Sorry? I think I went two paragraphs in which is more than usual if it makes ya feel a tad better.

...How on earth did that come across as hateful? And what, praytell was 'just wrong' about it?

Zhukov:
No.

a) "Organics vs synthetics" was arguably a present theme, but the inevitable destruction of organics by their own synthetics was most certainly not. It was made abundantly clear in ME2 and most of ME3 that the organic-synthetic situation was not a simple case of us-vs-them and did not have one inevitable outcome.

b) The Geth were a secondary subplot to the Reapers threat. A subplot that was entirely resolved in ME3. In fact, that resolution potentially makes the Catalyst's bullshit even more nonsensical. You do not supplant the central conflict with an already resolved subplot in the final ten minutes of a story.

c) "Being destroyed by reaching too far"? That's not relevant to the catalyst space-child garbage.

A). Even if the current cycle wouldn't end in destruction, the Reapers had already mobilized and begun their cleansing. They couldn't be called off, regardless of how much evidence Shepard had to convince them otherwise. The Star Child says as much. Thats why he gives you the big choice: Dominate the Reapers at the cost of your own life, wipe them out at the cost of synthetics, or merge the two with unknown consequences. If you played a Paragon Shep who spared the Geth because "Synths are people too!", then destroying the Reapers would be hypocritical. You'd be wiping out an ancient sentient race because they threatened you; aka exactly what the Star Child was talking about. Synths and Organics work on entirely different levels.

B.) They are a subplot, but indicative of a much larger whole. EDI is part of it too; that the AIs in Mass Effect are beginning to gain true sentience. Its all foreshadowing to the revelation that the Reapers are also sentient beings, and the moral question of "is it ok to genocide them just because we are fighting? Especially if there is another option? What if they can be persuaded to be good, like the Geth or EDI?"

C.) It's exactly what the Star Child is talking about. Every cycle has it's examples of civilizations who grasp too far with technology and end up shooting themselves in the foot. It's in the nature of organics to keep pushing like that. The inevitable Synth war is simply the climax of these actions, which is what the Reapers are trying to prevent by blasting all galactic civilization back to the stone age. The Quarians, Krogan, Salarians, and even Humans are all examples of civilizations who have gone hog wild with their tech and caused galatic level crisis as a result. Can any of them be trusted with sentient AI?

Asita:

DigitalAtlas:

Except they're wrong.

Put your money where your mouth is, bucko. You can't just say 'they're wrong', you have to elaborate on why they are wrong.

DigitalAtlas:
EDIT: I did just skim post 12 (hi) and, like the other's before it, I stopped reading at a certain point because it was just wrong. It made some good points about the other games (still wish someone would use Gurren Lagann here), but when it got onto the subject of the Catalyst it was just wrong and sounded hateful. Sorry? I think I went two paragraphs in which is more than usual if it makes ya feel a tad better.

...How on earth did that come across as hateful? And what, praytell was 'just wrong' about it?

I do? I didn't see that in the rules. I'm pretty sure I can very well say "You're wrong." and leave it.

But I did elaborate in my second edit of that post on where I stopped reading and why.

I'm quite touched you want my approval so much.

Ordinaryundone:

Zhukov:
No.

a) "Organics vs synthetics" was arguably a present theme, but the inevitable destruction of organics by their own synthetics was most certainly not. It was made abundantly clear in ME2 and most of ME3 that the organic-synthetic situation was not a simple case of us-vs-them and did not have one inevitable outcome.

b) The Geth were a secondary subplot to the Reapers threat. A subplot that was entirely resolved in ME3. In fact, that resolution potentially makes the Catalyst's bullshit even more nonsensical. You do not supplant the central conflict with an already resolved subplot in the final ten minutes of a story.

c) "Being destroyed by reaching too far"? That's not relevant to the catalyst space-child garbage.

A). Even if the current cycle wouldn't end in destruction, the Reapers had already mobilized and begun their cleansing. They couldn't be called off, regardless of how much evidence Shepard had to convince them otherwise. The Star Child says as much. Thats why he gives you the big choice: Dominate the Reapers at the cost of your own life, wipe them out at the cost of synthetics, or merge the two with unknown consequences. If you played a Paragon Shep who spared the Geth because "Synths are people too!", then destroying the Reapers would be hypocritical. You'd be wiping out an ancient sentient race because they threatened you; aka exactly what the Star Child was talking about. Synths and Organics work on entirely different levels.

B.) They are a subplot, but indicative of a much larger whole. EDI is part of it too; that the AIs in Mass Effect are beginning to gain true sentience. Its all foreshadowing to the revelation that the Reapers are also sentient beings, and the moral question of "is it ok to genocide them just because we are fighting? Especially if there is another option? What if they can be persuaded to be good, like the Geth or EDI?"

C.) It's exactly what the Star Child is talking about. Every cycle has it's examples of civilizations who grasp too far with technology and end up shooting themselves in the foot. It's in the nature of organics to keep pushing like that. The inevitable Synth war is simply the climax of these actions, which is what the Reapers are trying to prevent by blasting all galactic civilization back to the stone age. The Quarians, Krogan, Salarians, and even Humans are all examples of civilizations who have gone hog wild with their tech and caused galatic level crisis as a result. Can any of them be trusted with sentient AI?

SEE ASITA? THIS IS A SMART ****ING POST! THIS POST MAKES MY BRAIN ROCK-HARD!

Honestly, this, this, this, and all of this. I think we disagreed earlier or you were one of the ones I ignored, don't care. This post is exceptional. It's actually a SOLID defense of Catalyst and how the choices did matter. Point "A" pretty much states "you had to make them matter" which is perfect because if you don't care or expect the game to spell it all out for you, that's not how life works.

For me it was the 3 button choice deal. And dont go as "Deus Ex" did it on me.

DigitalAtlas:
So, why is it when Mass Effect 3 did this, the character is deemed horrible, too spontaneous, and a blight on the entire franchise? I really just want some clarification here.

Disclaimer: This is not a thread to talk about the lack of closure in the ending or any of the other "problems." This is a thread to discuss this ONE element in the game.

Begin.

In Half-Life, the G-man was teased throughout. In Majora's Mask, the same thing was true with the moonfolk. They were the culmination of the plot you'd been running through the whole time. In HL, it was a bit more of a twist, but it didn't change the nature of the conflict.

The Catalyst, however, was not teased throughout. His presence actually undermined the Reaper threat, changing the very nature of the conflict. Instead of the Reapers being this world-ending force that occasionally harvested the galaxy for DNA, it was the toy of this child-god, who for some reason decided to give organic life the chance to do the exact opposite of what the Reapers were doing.

Let's also recall that this was set up over three games, not just one game or movie. This isn't like a one-off movie having a "twist" in which you learn the enemy you're fighting secretly works for someone you thought was on your side (yadda yadda). This is more like watching the Star Wars trilogy, and right when they're blowing up the second Death Star, Luke suddenly learns that it's not the Empire that's the real threat -- it's the Borg! And it doesn't set up a new conflict or anything... it's just a sudden shift, right at the end.

There's twists, and there's twists done poorly.

I guess what bothered people the most was that their choices throughout the games didn't have any impact at all when it came to the ending. I wasn't to annoyed myself since I got ME3 for PS3, while I have the first two on 360, so my past choices was made for me. Made the game a lot less "epic".

image

DigitalAtlas:

Asita:

DigitalAtlas:

Except they're wrong.

Put your money where your mouth is, bucko. You can't just say 'they're wrong', you have to elaborate on why they are wrong.

I do? I didn't see that in the rules. I'm pretty sure I can very well say "You're wrong." and leave it.

If course you can, but don't be surprised if people generally don't take you seriously if you just say "You're wrong." and leave it. Or if someone reports your post for low content, for that matter.

Eh anyway, I'm one of those weirdos who dare say the ME franchise wasn't the awesome digitalized orgasm people seem to make it out to be - even before the ending, it wasn't. It was good, but it was not the awesome digitalized orgasm people seem to make it out to be.

Vegosiux:

DigitalAtlas:

Asita:

Put your money where your mouth is, bucko. You can't just say 'they're wrong', you have to elaborate on why they are wrong.

I do? I didn't see that in the rules. I'm pretty sure I can very well say "You're wrong." and leave it.

If course you can, but don't be surprised if people generally don't take you seriously if you just say "You're wrong." and leave it. Or if someone reports your post for low content, for that matter.

Eh anyway, I'm one of those weirdos who dare say the ME franchise wasn't the awesome digitalized orgasm people seem to make it out to be - even before the ending, it wasn't. It was good, but it was not the awesome digitalized orgasm people seem to make it out to be.

Hence why I generally ignore ignorance rather than respond to it. Here, I felt the need and had to do a lot of edits to make sure that didn't happen.

DigitalAtlas:
the Anti-Spiral appeared out of nowhere at the end of Gurren Lagann as an omnipotent and rebellious presence as opposed to the giant fighting force we were led to believe the Anti-Spirals were

Gurren Lagann was supposed to make sense?

I'm only sort of joking. That show was the equivalent of pro wrestling. And I freaking loved it. But like pro wrestling, few were looking into it for intriguing plot twists.

Which is the issue: context.

The main thing that I noticed above all was this:

image

It did take me a while after things had died down to ponder into all the other issues with the ending, but out of everything this stood out instantly and I wondered why the hell the Catalyst was operating on such, as the Reapers put it, "incomprehensible" logic when I had managed to prove it wrong.

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