After much discussion about the end of Mass Effect 3, I have concocted an ending that I would have loved to have seen in the actual game. It would in fact be preferred to the official ending. Even though I thoroughly enjoyed all of Mass Effect 3, including the ending, what I have come up with I think would not only make more sense for the series but also be much more powerful.
Spoilers from here on.
The basic premise of my ending is this: we should have lost the final fight on Earth and gone on to be completely eradicated by the reapers.
If Mass Effect 3 had abruptly ended on earth, with the player watching as Shepard and his/her squad mates die, it would have been shocking. The feeling given to the player would be a profound one. Shepard is dead. Anderson is dead. All squad members are dead. And without any further explanation, the credits just roll.
There would be no other ending.
For three games we have been told how powerful the Reapers are and how impossible this battle will be. The protheans, a race acknowledged as being more advanced than any of those currently around, was wiped out. It only makes sense that we would also lose.
Throughout ME3, you see only a couple of reapers get destroyed and each time it is more crazy and unbelievable than the last. Not to mention the amount of effort it required. And that was only a few of them.
There are thousands of Reapers.
Their only weaknesses seem to be underestimating society and the way they slowly have to feed on a population to ensure their own survival.
Based on all these encounters with the reapers, the universe should have lost. It might not have been a quick loss but we were clearly on the losing side of a battle that was looking increasingly worse. Think about it, all the major alien home worlds were devastated with others completely wiped out.
With all these facts it would only makes sense for Shepard and everyone else to arrive on Earth for their final battle.
This would make the war assets number entirely trivial now but that is an important message to the player. That there was no way the universe could have succeeded. Even with every military force in the world, it was not enough.
The feeling given to the player– telling them that everything up to that point, all the choices, were for nothing—is a powerful feeling. One that is not just saying, ‘Ha, you have no choice in the matter,’ but is saying that there was nothing you could do. You played through three games in a losing battle. You would truly mourn the loss of Shepard, the Normandy, and countless other characters. You would know that everyone is dead and that nothing could be done.
It would show how sometimes all your choices don’t matter. Some battles cannot be won.
This ending would be sad one but also one that would leave you thinking of what could have been; what if we had won?
Now here’s where things would get interesting.
Following the credits would be a scene showing two of a yet to be seen race of alien in space suits walking out of an early spacefaring ship. The whole scene would mimic the moon landing footage seen here.
They spot something on a nearby hill and walk over to it. The object is the time capsule Liara was making to warn future races of the Reapers. The aliens reach it and it activates. A hologram of Shepard pops out and says something along these lines:
“Every 50,000 years, creatures known as the Reapers arrive and eliminate all organic life in the universe. Everyone in the universe needs to put aside their differences and stand together against this threat. The last time the Reapers came, we mounted an offensive of the combined forces of all the spacefaring races of our time to combat them.
If you are seeing this, it means we failed.”
The message keeps playing and the two creatures look at each other as the camera pans to the sky. The Mass Effect theme starts and the game ends to a still shot of the sky.
This ending would be much more interesting and plausible while still being satisfying. The implications of this ending are also much more meaningful and thought provoking than having us win at the last second. People would still complain but I think an ending where we lose would be worth it for the impact.
Anyway, that’s how I would have preferred Mass Effect 3 to end. It is probably way different than what most people would have wanted but that’s too bad!