While the Mass Effect Trilogy remains one of the most beloved trilogies in all games, the ending of Mass Effect 3 is still as divisive today as it was in 2012. Now, certain members of the BioWare development team have spoken and shared a a bit about what the original final plans were and why they may have used those controversial color options.
These developers who worked on Mass Effect 3 were part of a People Make Games video titled ‘The Inside Story of Mass Effect 3 Endings, Finally Told’ and they were very open about not only the actual ending of the game and what it might have been, but also receiving it is finally out in the wild.
SPOILERS AHEAD for Mass Effect 3.
When people talk about the Mass Effect 3 endings, they usually always mention that they were roughly narrowed down to three options, represented by the colors blue, red, and green, which were very similar to each other and were not. quite a factor in the player’s choices as expected.
According to former BioWare Montreal animation director Dave Wilkinson, these color options were used early on to help him differentiate his work across the multiple endings and he didn’t think they would actually make it into the game.
“According to Wilkinson, he chose these three colors as an easy way to differentiate between his work in the final three and did not necessarily expect them to end up in the final product,” said Chris Bratt of People Make Games. “In fact, he chose blue and red because they referred to what was originally being talked about as the ‘Paragon’ and ‘Renegade’ options, and green was just … the other.”
Wilkinson went on to share a bit more about his early work on the Mass Effect 3 finale, including his original plans for them. While they are not radically different from what ended up being part of Mass Effect 3, one of the big changes involved the Queen of the Reapers facing Shepard at the end instead of The Catalyst / Intelligence / Star Child.
He shared the original plans for the Paragon, Renegade, and Synthesis endings and how it all started when Shepard hooked up to The Citadel.
“At the time, Shepard was so augmented with electronic bits and all the rest of this shit,” Wilkonson said. “I actually asked him to connect to the Citadel, and then, within a virtual world, he has a conversation with what was described as a god of the Reapers. I think she was a queen? And he had this conversation with the queen, and the queen basically said, ‘the way the Reapers go on, this is not sustainable, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, we have to evolve, but we are unable to evolve due to the limitations of our AI and things like that’. ‘
“She was their queen, but she proposed things the Reapers didn’t like, so they basically locked her inside the Citadel and never heard her again. So the conversation was really like she was saying, ‘This is the chance to make everything evolve, we can make everything advance. ‘”
After this initial conversation, Shepard would have a few options, much like those found in Mass Effect 3. However, the results were a bit different.
“And so the Renegade option was like Shepard just said, ‘Fuck off,’ and he rips off the thing and starts blowing up the damn … room in the Citadel where the things are kept, which He makes the Citadel detonate, because he was in the middle of doing something and he screwed it all up, “Wilkinson said. “And then the entire Citadel basically explodes and devastates the Earth, but in the process, it has now destroyed the Reapers and given the organics a chance.”
The Paragon option was a bit more hopeful and also had the benefit of making Shepard the “great King Reaper”.
“The Paragon option was like, ‘I’m so awesome, that I can take control of these Reapers and I’ll use them for the right reason.’ So Shepard becomes kind of like the great King Reaper,” Wilkinson continued. “You still said, ‘Fuck you’ to the queen, but you did it because you became the reaper and you could lead the reapers to be a power for good or whatever that means. ”
The last option, Synthesis, was available to everyone and has an ending similar to what is seen in one of the final scenes with Stargazer.
“And the ending that everyone could get was Synthesis, where the queen said, ‘We’re going to use space magic and we’re going to combine the best parts of you and the best parts of me and we’re going to send it across the universe and it’s going to change. Everything. Everyone will be affected by this, and everyone will change, “shared Wilkinson.
“There was an ending where there was a mother and a daughter, and I had them sitting on a hill, and I shot with us drifting through the stars and the stars became blurry, then we refocus and it’s like a dandelion fluffy things that float in the wind, but everything has this strange green circuit coating material, as if it was just an effect on it.
“And then we were adrift and we followed them and we heard this woman explain to her daughter how we got to this place, and we reached them and they are like Asaris, but they are Asaris who are a little bit.” a little different, and he’s just telling the story of how Shepard made everything better and saved everyone from the Reapers. “
It was also explained how endings occurred very late in the development cycle and were very expensive to make, which may have led to the reuse of some of the assets seen in the game. Additionally, film designer Zachariah Scott shared that while they should have waited for reception from some until the very end, they just didn’t.
“You know, it’s Scorpion and Sub-Zero,” Scott said as he compared two of Mortal Kombat’s most iconic fighters to the color choices at the end. “It’s two ninjas that are two different colors. Look, it’s not a good solution, but we weren’t expecting it to explode like … I mean, we should have, we should have, but we weren’t expecting it to explode completely.”
This inside look at the Mass Effect 3 endings is well worth a look and dives into much more about the fan reception at the end, how the team was divided over the Extended Cut DLC that was released, and how. the team even received green, red and blue cupcakes with the letters a, b and c after the launch of the game. The kicker? The cupcakes were all the same flavor.
For more information on Mass Effect, check out our Mass Effect: Legendary Edition review and the latest news on the next entry in the franchise that may very well see Liara T’Soni return.
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