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Back in 2012, the ending to the epic odyssey that is Mass Effect split its fans like Kaidan (or Ashley) on Virmire. Yet, in an interview, it transpires that BioWare originally had very different ideas for how the war between organic life and the Reapers came to a conclusion.
Mass Effect Legendary Edition arrived for PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One with backwards compatibility for PlayStation 5 and the Xbox Series consoles earlier this year. As well as offering "super-sharp resolutions, faster frame rates, and beautiful visual enhancements,” the gameplay was revitalised with new HUD updates to reflect more modern shooters and all difficulty levels were available without the need to complete a playthrough ahead of time.
Not only did it revive the classic sci-fi series, the reception to the remakes pushed sales “well above [Electronic Arts’] expectations.” It’s all sounding shipshape for the future of Mass Effect, which had taken a stumble with the poor performance of Andromeda, and fans await the fifth game with excitement rather than anxiousness.
Check out this comparison between the original Mass Effect and its overhauled version below!
The issues that fans had with the ending of Mass Effect 3 weren’t confined to the narrative implications. Most felt that the final mission didn’t create the level of urgency and that this is the last chance that organic life would have against the infinite cycle of destruction. Of course, the Legendary Edition doesn’t veer from the original ending, but this interview with former BioWare animation director Dave Wilkinson sheds a little light on what could have been.
"At that point, Shepard was so augmented with like electronic bits and all the rest of this sh*t," said Wilkinson, explaining that Shepard would have plugged themself into the Citadel itself. "Within a virtual world he has a conversation with what was described as a god of the Reapers. I think it was a queen? And he had this conversation with the queen, and the queen basically said, ‘the way the Reapers keep going, this isn’t sustainable, blah blah blah blah blah blah, we have to evolve, but we’re incapable of evolution because of the limitations of our AI and stuff like that.’”
The progressive motivations of this Reaper Queen caused the other Reapers to imprison her to prevent her ideology from contaminating the rest of the race. “So, then the conversation was really like her going, ‘This is the chance to evolve everything, we can move everything forward,’” continued Wilkinson.
The player then had three choices to decide the fate of all organic and synthetic life in the galaxy. The Renegade option saw Shepard rip themselves out of the Citadel, thereby disrupting its operations and triggering an explosion that destroys Earth as well as the Reapers. Organic life continues without the interference of the machine race.
The Paragon option led Shepard to become the “Reaper King” and direct the Reapers to a better purpose in the Milky Way. Then the Synthesis option would have seen the bodies of both Shepard and the Reaper Queen fuse to become the “best” of both. As a result, the “space magic” would have changed all organic and synthetic life to reflect each other.
“There was an ending where there was a mom and a daughter, and I had them sitting on a hill, and I shot in with us drifting through stars and the stars get blurry,” said Wilkinson. “Then we would be drifting, and we’d follow them and we’d hear this woman explaining to her daughter how we came to this place, and we reach them and they’re like Asaris but they’re Asaris who are a little bit different, and she’s just telling the story about how Shepard made everything better and saved everybody from the Reapers.”
That’s rather sweet. With this scoop, it’s even possible that some talented players might mod the game to recreate the original intentions that BioWare had for the end of its awesome series.
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