The rumors of a remastered version of a remastered Mass Effect Trilogy for modern systems will likely be confirmed today, and the updated ports have the chance to redeem the series’ botched ending by making the popular Indoctrination Theory canon.
To say that the ending of Mass Effect 3 was controversial was an understatement. Fans were furious that the story they had invested so many hours into was given such a slapdash ending. In short, Commander Shepard is given three choices in how to deal with the Reapers by a magical being who is introduced ten minutes before the end of the game. Shepard can use a special beam to destroy the Reapers, control them, or fuse all organic and synthetic life forms together. There are some variations of this ending, such as mankind being destroyed or a scene hinting that Shepard is still alive at the end, but it still boiled down to three choices. These choices weren’t helped by nonsensical scenes earlier, where crew members could be killed, but would then show up alive on the Normandy after it crashed. In response to these issues, the developers released the free Extended Cut DLC, which added new scenes to the endings. The Extended Cut content certainly made the endings better, but none of them were as satisfying as what the fans had expected.
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It didn’t take long for fans to start spreading information about a supposed secret meaning to the ending of Mass Effect 3. This was referred to as the Indoctrination Theory, and it claimed the ending took place in Shepard’s head after he was struck by Harbringer’s beam. The Reapers in Mass Effect have the ability to slowly take over the minds of other life forms by exposing them to their technology. Shepard had been battling Reapers and their allies for a long time by this point, so it made sense that they could have gained a foothold in his mind.
The Indoctrination Theory states that the three choices are his mind’s attempt at fighting back from being possessed. The Reapers are trying to get him to choose to control the Reapers or fuse with technology as a means of controlling him. This is why the scene where Shepard survives only appears during the Destroy ending, as he has successfully fought off the Reaper’s control. The Indoctrination Theory explains a lot (but not everything) about the bizarre ending of Mass Effect 3, and it sets the stage for more content to come.
The new content in the Extended Cut DLC seemed to dig in its heels and disprove the Indoctrination Theory, which saddened a lot of fans, as it would have greatly improved what was there. A huge Mass Effect announcement will happen today and it’s expected that a remaster of the trilogy is on the way. It’s unclear exactly what this remastered trilogy will include, outside of improved visuals, but new content would help bring back returning fans. The addition of hints relating to the Indoctrination Theory would be an exciting twist after all of these years, even if it wasn’t the original intention of the developers.
Next: Remastered Mass Effect Trilogy Might Be Coming To The Nintendo Switch
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Scott has been writing for The Gamer since it launched in 2017 and also regularly contributes to Screen Rant. He has previously written gaming articles for websites like Cracked, Dorkly, Topless Robot, and TopTenz. He has been gaming since the days of the ZX Spectrum, when it used to take 40 minutes to load a game from a tape cassette player to a black and white TV set.
Scott thinks Chrono Trigger is the best video game of all time, followed closely by Final Fantasy Tactics and Baldur’s Gate 2. He pretends that sorcerer is his favorite Dungeons & Dragons class in public but he secretly loves bards.
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