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Thanks to a report from the Gamer about a documentary from YouTube channel People Make Games, we now know about a supposed early alternate ending that was originally planned for Mass Effect 3. Mass Effect is one of if not the greatest video game saga's ever made, and it's ending was marked in debate and controversy back in 2012. So much so that Bioware reportedly crunched to come up with the Extended Cut DLC. This isn't the first time we've heard about the possible narratives Mass Effect 3 was going to tackle. One of my favorites is how Tali's recruitment mission in ME2 was originally planned to introduce some type of "mass effect is destroying the dark matter of the universe" or something.

Now we have even more news on one of the original and alternate endings for the Mass Effect trilogy, and in what ways it was similar to the one we got and in the ways it was different.

At some point in development, Commander Shepard was going to meet the Reaper Queen instead of the Catalyst. Shepard was going to "plug in" to the Citadel somehow and the meeting was going to be in a virtual world similar to Legion's ME3 mission. The way it is described, reminded me much of the ending scene in Halo 4 where Master Chief finally "meets" Cortana in her virtual world.

(Source: TheGamer)

This was going to be a similar meeting on the Citadel where we learned that the Queen wanted the Reapers to evolve into some "next stage" of evolution, citing that the Cycle couldn't last forever. However, the Reapers had rebelled against their queen and locked her up inside the citadel. She wanted to move forward but her Reaper subjects wanted the Cycle to last indefinitely. She was going to offer Shepard a choice, and the end choices were similar and different in ways to the one we got.

The renegade ending was going to be one where Shepard "told off" the Queen, and decided to initiate the Crucible which would have destroyed the Citadel in a massive explosion. This option is similar to "Destroy" but instead of killing all synthetics in the galaxy, Earth is destroyed in this dark ending. The paragon ending was similar to the Control ending where Shepard would take the Queens place, and convince the Reapers to stand down under his control. In this alternate meeting, Synthesis wasn't going to be the hardest one to obtain, but in fact be the easiest, the default one "anyone" could get. This was where the Reaper Queen asks Shepard to join her and together they could achieve the peace together.

(Source: TheGamer)

What is interesting about this similarities proving that much of this foundation was used in the final game, but how it varied somewhat. The change to the Destroy ending sounds much more like a variation of the Reject ending we got in the Extended Cut DLC where Shepard just rejects the Starchild. Only in this version, the Reapers are destroyed, but the cost is very different. Destroy is lauded by many fans as the "true ending" despite the hotly debated ethical conundrum of destroying all synthetics. I've always taken issue with the ethical dilemma that is the Destroy ending. Sacrifice one innocent race to save your own? I feel like if this alternate endings consequences made it to the final game, it would have be skewed negative with gamers. Destroy the Reapers but Earth is destroyed? That would have been dark for Bioware. I could only hope that it would have evolved to a point where a high enough, perhaps Max EMS score would have been Destroy - minus Earth's destruction.

One thing that I think would have been better about this ending idea is just the reception to a Queen-like character rather than the "Star-child". One of the most controversial things about ME3 is the Star-child and just how having the "reaper-god" manifesting as a child never really resonated with fans. The Queen character could have. Where the star-child was stubborn and unwilling to listen to Shepard's reasoning, this Queen character may have been relatable in that she seemed open to the idea that the Cycle needed to end. Whether you helped her, fought her, or replaced her, would have lead to in-lore explanation for why these three choices even exist in the first place. She wants to help where as the Catalyst did not. We also have queen characters in the form of the rachni and a female AI in EDI, that all could have served as great narrative parallels to the Reaper Queen.

One thing not touched on in this news story was whether or not the Reaper Queen was clued at throughout the game like Shepard's visions and dreams of the Catalyst, or did she just pop up at the end without warning. I think that would have been narratively jarring, so if they had done it, I hope that they would have adapted Shepard's dreams and visions in that narrative somehow.

They made her sound more reasonable, more open, than the Catalyst. I think she may have been resonated with fans well. Now that this news it out, it would be really interesting to see Bioware tell an Alternate Universe story with her character perhaps in the form of a comic or animation.

What did you think of this news? Do you want to see the Reaper Queen used in any other Mass Effect story in the future? Tell us in the comments on this post on @masseffectinfinite or @gameinfinite !!!


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