Well, since I made a post years after the Star Wars prequels came out about how I would have done those, I thought to myself – why not do one for the Mass Effect 3 ending? I have been putting a ton of thought into this, and I think what I have would work.
My redo would be nothing short of massive. I would be redoing this from the ground-up. It would start at everything that happened after the Victory Fleet goes to Earth. A lot like Mass Effect 2, the things that you did would massively affect the ending to the entire series. The war assets you gained would play an unbelievably huge roll. Yes, the showing of the battle against the Reaper fleet would take a million years. Worth it, for this. All the neat space-combat assets you got, like the Volus dreadnought and the Vorcha fighter squad would be shown, doing their thing. You could also show the assets you get as part of the DLC missions. It would be an add-on or patch for that. Whatever. Depending on if you got both the Quarians and Geth forces to have your back, it would also have some neat tie-ins with the space combat, as you would see Geth forces protecting Quarian ships, doing SO much damage to the Reapers. I also like the idea of seeing Aria’s fleet doing some damage to the Reapers, with that bat-shit crazy Asari captain.
Also, like in Mass Effect 2, what war assets you have will affect who lives and who dies in the final act. Along with your galactic readiness. Once you get to Earth, there would be some neat ways that you could strategically use your various assets, like the Geth Prime platoon, or the Krogans on Kakliosaurs. You can ever strategically place the Leviathan artifacts, to gain control of Reaper forces. Depending on how many you have to work with, I like the idea of there being a secret way that you could use them to take control of a Reaper, and get them attack their own. Admit it, that would be AWESOME to see! But yeah, if you scrounged the galaxy for assets, then you won’t be disappointed. Also, since you have old allies as assets, you can use them as well. Maybe even get some of them as additions to your squad. Getting to fight with your old crew again. Awesome, right? Instead of the fight being about taking out a Reaper destroyer, I would make it a ground war. You would have to use your assets to get specific tasks done on Earth. For some tasks, you would need forces who could take punishment and fight hard. For others, you would need stealthy but powerful units who could quickly go into a position and do damage. Your readiness level would come into play with how many assets you have to work with. If you are above 90%, you come into this battle with most of your ground assets intact. At 50%, your options are tight. At 100%, you have all the tools you need. Then it comes down to using them right.
But there would be another important aspect of this. Depending on how many assets you have an how well you use them, it will affect what shape you are in when you reach the Citadel. If you are maxed-out and use them wisely, then you will be in good health with your armor intact. If not, then you will be blasted to shit and have only one weapon. With no medigel to help. This is important because once you reach the Citadel, you run into an old friend – The Illusive Man. I would red-con the entire segment with Anderson. He is either dead or back on the ground, fighting it out. I would keep the bit with the Normandy getting your crew out. If they survived, that is. You get in there, alone, and then you find out one of two things.
Depending on whether or not you left TIM the Collector Base at the end of Mass Effect 2, it plays out differently. If you did, then he became Indoctrinated, and is now Harbinger’s puppet. If not, then you find out that he spent time studying Indoctrination. When he saw the power it had, he couldn’t resist putting it to use. Akin to the story of Prometheus and giving fire to humanity, if you know your Greek mythology. When he sees the capabilities that it gives him, he figures out that there must be a way to control not just soldiers, but the Reapers at large. After the mission on Thessia, you find out that he learned much from the Catalyst. He found out what the Crucible’s true purpose is. Instead of it being a device that tons of Cycles built, it would be a weapon that the Protheans designed. They had an idea. The Reapers are machines. They developed a special kind of signal. This signal was going to be bounced off the Mass Relays, using their power to broadcast it. This signal has one of two possibilities. Either it would shut them down, or take control. That’s right, no more Hologram Kid. He doesn’t exist. The Leviathan DLC already filled in the missing parts of the plot. We’re keeping this simple.
So, in homage to the original Mass Effect, you have a war of words with TIM. Depending on what you do, he either kills himself, or you end up having to kill him. But, like the original, if he is under Harbinger’s control, Harbinger mutates him, and you have one final battle. This is where your health comes into play. If your armor and whatnot is intact, this battle will be challenging, but you’ll be okay. Especially because it is just the two of you. If your armor is blasted and you have one gun, with only reflexes and your powers, then this battle will be nothing short of pure nerves. All your choices have meant something. If he isn’t under Harbinger’s control, then TIM mutates due to the Reaper upgrades he put in himself. Harbinger takes them over after he dies, and it’s the same deal. But the bonus here is the he isn’t NEARLY as powerful as when Harbinger upgraded the hell out of him. It’s still tough if your armor is blasted, but not as tough.
Then, after you kill The Illusive Man, and you will have options to how brutal you want this kill to be, you are left with two choices. Though Harbinger doesn’t get so lucky. Like ME1, when you kill TIM, he loses it and the Normandy and the fleet put that asshole down for good. The Crucible docks with the Citadel. Oh, and that’s another thing – you also get to see your upgrades in action with this as well. Depending on how well you put it together, then the Crucible will only have a couple scratches. If not, it will look ugly. But the armor comes off, and it’s full-steam ahead. The device comes online and you find out that you have a choice. Neither of these options kill you, unless you are totally blasted. If you aren’t, then your shields take it and you survive. If not, you die. But, you can either have the machine take control of the Reapers, or destroy them. And depending on what you do, the endings play out much different. If you destroy them, you see old-fashioned human ingenuity and elbow-grease putting things back together again. Along with the various other races. If you choose to take control, then you see Reapers helping out. But you have a chance with either option to survive this, instead of a ridiculously contrived death. You aren’t physically obliterated. The thing that potentially could kill you is the energy flowing out, since you are right at the center of it.
But, after you make your choice, you see the ending play out. It has bits and pieces showing what happens to your friends that you made. You see Zaeed finally finding a way that he can live out his retirement – helping the colonies get back on their feet. You see Kasumi at the place where the Crucible was constructed, stealing some tech they used as she leaves. She make a joke that Shepard was right, they didn’t check her pockets. Jack is with her students, getting them drunk (quite illegally, but it’s Jack). If he survived, Jacob is also there with his girlfriend and several of the scientists who helped build the Crucible, celebrating a job well-done. Tali is back with her people, helping rebuild Rannoch. Depending on if you saved them or not, the Geth are helping the Quarians rebuild their home. Garrus is doing as he said, living the good life from royalties on the vids. Vega goes back home, with an N7 commendation and a new command waiting for him. Ashley is back with the Alliance, moving on to her own command. Or Kaiden, if you saved him on the Virmire mission, and he survived the Retaking of Earth. Samara is with her daughter, seeing the future with new eyes.
A point that I thought would be interesting is if whether or not you choose to control or destroy the Reapers drastically affects the ending with Javik. If you choose to save them, then he says that you are a sell-out to all the ideals you stood for and that you have not only disrespected him, but also what he, his people and all the people in this Cycle have fought and died for. He then leaves, to go and rest with his ancestors, as he said he would do. But if you destroy them, then he says that you have honored his people’s memory, and you even have the ability to get him to stay with your crew in a dialogue with him. If you choose to let him go, then he will go to where his ancestors rest and say that he can go into that long night at peace. His people have been avenged.
You see the Krogan rebuilding their home, if you cured the Genophage. If you didn’t, then you see their culture dying out. Asshole. Wrek and Eve are rallying the clans. Unless you killed Wrex. Then it’s Wreav and his warriors being stopped by Eve and the clans who are with her. If Wrex is alive, and you cured the Genophage, you see him rebuilding Tuchanka. The Krogan hope is restored. And of course, Grunt is more than happy to help keep things safe in their new worlds by ruthlessly executing pirates and slavers.
There are also lots of little bits showing what happens to some of your friends, like Bailey retiring, some of your ex-Cerberus friends drinking together and merriment. Aria on Omega, helping to rebuild. Major Kirrahe is with the STG, lecturing them about holding the line. Depending on if you saved the Rachni Queen, you can see the Rachni helping rebuild several worlds, then retreating back, for silence again. Anderson and Sanders are back together, if they both survived. They have a flat in London and are happy to end their years together. Anderson even shows Shepard around.
That brings me to Shepard. If you got the Citadel DLC, then you see Shepard go back home, and since my last playthrough had me with Liara, romantically, you see the two of them greeting the morning together. Though if you didn’t have the Citadel DLC, he/she greets the morning on-board the Normandy, the place that they call home. If Shepard died, then you see a giant memorial statue in his/her honor, with various messages from the friends who survived, and a loved one as well. It would end with Shepard back on the Normandy, not in the saving-the-galaxy business anymore, but eager to see what there is to see.
So, what do you think?
Until next time, a quote,
“What, ‘job?’ You mean that you all are getting paid for this?” -Garrus Vakarian, Mass Effect 3