Mass Effect's abandoned 'cyclical' ending

Yet another possible end for Shepard has surfaced through Matt Rhodes, concept artist on the series. This potential ending draws from one of Mass Effect 1's crucial decisions and alludes to Saren.


Mass Effect 3's ending has been hotly debated among fans. Many were simply disappointed. Others cling onto the (admittedly compelling) indoctrination theory. It's clear that many ideas were tossed around at BioWare--and even the original game's writer had his own ideas.

Yet another possible end for Shepard has surfaced through Matt Rhodes, concept artist on the series.

One of the "very, very early" ideas had Shepard meeting his demise at the hands of Ashley (or Kaiden)--the new human Specter. "In this image he has been forced to turn to Reaper technology to accomplish his goals," Rhodes explained in his blog, saying the end would echo Saren's eventual fall from grace.

This potential ending certainly gives the indoctrination theory more weight, as that popular idea suggests Shepard was actually being controlled by the Reapers by the end of the series. Having the surviving human squad mate of the original Mass Effect ultimately defeat you does give the series a surprising "cyclical twist," Eurogamer pointed out.

However, this idea was ultimately scrapped, a decision that Rhodes says was "necessary." For more unseen concept art from the game (including Tali's potential alien face), make sure you read Rhode's blog.

From The Chatty

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    July 24, 2013 11:00 AM

    Andrew Yoon posted a new article, Mass Effect's abandoned 'cyclical' ending.

    Yet another possible end for Shepard has surfaced through Matt Rhodes, concept artist on the series. This potential ending draws from one of Mass Effect 1's crucial decisions and alludes to Saren.

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      July 24, 2013 12:00 PM

      Scrapped necessarily? Man that would have been a great option.

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        July 24, 2013 12:24 PM

        That would have been an awesome Renegade ending! As you decide to use more Reaper tech it slowly corrupted you leading to this path. Better than any color coded ending they gave us!

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      July 24, 2013 12:35 PM

      How can anyone complain after the Extended Cut DLC?

      I played ME3 thru on release and just recently finished another playthrough like 2 days ago, and I can confidently say the EE stuff sorts it right out :)


      All the little bits that were fixed were really nice, like what happens to the people you take with you to reach the beam, how the Normandy escapes, the last, tearful goodbye with your LI on the battlefield (if you took them).

      Also, I went for the Control ending, it was my reasoning that in the end, the Illusive Man was right, to dominate is better than destroy, especially as I was bantering on all game about how destroying synthetic life is akin to murder!

      The epilogue fit nice as well, all in all, impressed with the EE changes.

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        July 24, 2013 12:49 PM

        Filling gaps in an awful ending with more nostalgia doesn't fix it.

        There are plenty of issues people highlighted after it was released, and most were not fixed. The choices you were given and the deus ex machina were an antithesis of all the choices that came before it, and many of the things the Starchild mentioned as their argument for enacting this cycle were contradicted by events immediately prior in ME3. Things like peace between the Geth and Quarians, in contrast to 'AI will always destroy organics'.

        Much of that document is still relevant. It was a an awful ending with a patch that improved things, but it was still an awful ending after the fact.

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          July 24, 2013 1:24 PM

          I thought the reasoning was fairly sound. I mean isn't that the point? That YOU are the only organic in galactic history that has obtained the peace between synthetics and organics? That YOU are the ultimate hero?

          Also, talk to Javik, in his cycle synthetics destroyed organics, there are loads of examples in the game of this happening, not to mention the fact that it's kinda of a big deal managing to obtain a peace, and even so, the peace is fragile...

          I'm not trying to convert you, I just think the hate is EXTREMELY unjustified.

          For me, the EE was top quality and it finished things off nicely :)

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            July 24, 2013 2:16 PM

            Javik? The guy who plenty of people never had in their party becuase he was cut so they could use him as a pre-order incentive, despite him having a lot of information on the games backstory.

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            July 24, 2013 2:27 PM

            Well I didn't play the extended cut ending. I played the original game and it sucked dick. I also didn't play with the DLC character so I don't have that, either. I can complain about the shit ending all I want because that's what they gave me. I'm not going to go back and replay it just so I can see the turd that the devs supposedly polished up.

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            July 24, 2013 2:49 PM

            No, the point of the game isn't that you're the ultimate hero that saves the day. 99% of games with a narrative are based around you being a protagonist. It's never the point.

            The entire franchise is based around each cycle of species trying to protect themselves, and many have failed to unite, or even when united through dictatorship (The Collectors) they weren't strong enough.

            You spend 3 games crafting political ties for these species to fight the Reaper threat and none of your choices matter.

            None. You get a blue, red, and green ending. A "fuck you, the cycle continues" one if you played the EE.

            Did you fuck up with Tali in ME2, causing her to commit suicide when you side with the Geth in ME3? You don't see the ramifications of this causing you to lose the Quarian fleet. It doesn't change the outcome of the battle.

            Did you maintain the Genophage? Oh cool, the extended ending shows a painting of baby fucking Krogans.

            Did you wipe out all your allies at the end of ME2? No worry. EMS points get you the same cutscene.

            They promoted choices as a big part of the series, and up until the final 10 minutes that was true. Then when they had the chance to show the outcomes, they gave us 3 cutscenes that were out of tune with the previous 60 hours you'd played through.

            It was like eating a fancy three course dinner and then finding a pubic hair in your last bite.

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              July 24, 2013 9:48 PM

              I agree. The lol was for the last line.

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                July 25, 2013 1:19 AM

                Haters gonna hate. I feel bad for you guys. I enjoyed it. Soz if that makes you cry.

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                  July 25, 2013 2:40 AM

                  There are no consequences to any of your major decisions as flip described above. It's not hating, it's just that they failed to do the one thing they claimed they would do since the beginning of the series.

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                  July 25, 2013 3:22 AM

                  I'm glad you enjoyed it. I wasn't angry, just bitterly disappointed. The threads here last year were pretty much the same, with people unable to comprehend how they fumbled it so badly.

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          July 25, 2013 2:30 AM

          Peace between Geth and Quarians? Fuck that, I wiped those robot assholes out, I loved playing a robot-racist in that game so much! I punched a fist sized hole in Legion's head with my pistol and enjoyed it!

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            July 25, 2013 3:21 AM

            The Quarians were the true assholes. The Geth were just fighting for their freedom and survival.

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              July 25, 2013 5:37 AM

              Eh, I didn't want to risk it TBH, just felt like they could have wiped everything out. Plus I loved Tali although my actual character was busy scissoring Liara, sooooo....

              I mean, if I played it again I'd probably do it differently, I just decided that was the nature of my ice bitch lady Shepard on that playthrough. Hell I'd have let her kill EDI out of mistrust too if the game had let me.

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      July 24, 2013 12:40 PM

      The linked blog with the concept art is extremely cool. What a fun job that dude has!

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      July 24, 2013 12:59 PM

      definitely interesting... i think at this point, they could simply make Mass Effect 4 and continue with more Shepard adventures.. everything after that dazed, slow-mo sequence was a dream or some shit... have the player (Shepard) wake-up and the Reaper threat still ain't over... WHY NOT

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      July 24, 2013 1:14 PM

      Meh, I think the choices were cool. I can kinda understand why some people thought it was an awfully short ending given the epicness of the series, but when I beat it a few months or weeks or whatever after all the bitching I don't think it was nearly as bad as a lot of people made it out to be.

      Great series, hope they can continue it somehow. It's a great fiction they created. Writing, characters, cinematics, and whatnot were all top notch.

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      July 24, 2013 2:19 PM

      sigh. they need to release EVERYTHING for free at this point. I got into the multiplayer to finally get ready to finish the game (not realizing the 100% rating decays every day WTF) and now there's other endings.


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      July 24, 2013 2:58 PM

      cool blog

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      July 24, 2013 9:31 PM

      Seeing either Ashley or Kaiden kill off my Shepzord would have been disappointing. I couldn't form much of an attachment to either character.

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        July 24, 2013 9:51 PM

        It'd be fine if the approach would have been you asking them to do it.

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        July 25, 2013 2:09 AM

        yeah those 2 characters sucked, maybe if it was one of the better ones

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      July 25, 2013 2:09 AM

      that would have been pretty cool