Mass Effect 4: Sequel?

Jun 16, 2010
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BloatedGuppy said:
I'd like to see a smaller, more "human", less epic storyline this time. And less military, too. Maybe a Firefly style space-rogues set up.
I've been thinking about that. Although initially that seemed like a cool direction to go in, now I'm not so sure.

The world of Firefly was designed from the ground up to be an allegory for the Post-Civil War American Frontier, only in space. Every world-building decision was made to accentuate its gritty wild west atmosphere. And so stories of train robberies, bounty hunters, bar brawls, running from your past, et cetera, all fit in very well.

Mass Effect, on the other hand, was designed from the ground up to be an homage to space operas like Star Wars, Star Trek, Battlestar Galactica, et al. Epic, interstellar conflicts are at the very heart of the world's design. Almost everything is defined on a grand scale, in terms of planets and species and millennia. This sort of world just isn't conducive to tight, personal stories set in e.g. a single area with a handful of characters that takes place over a couple days.

I think Mass Effect 4 (whether sequel OR prequel) is caught between a rock and a hard place, with ultimately two options:

1. Have an epic story that spans the whole galaxy involving all the aliens, locales & technology of the previous games, but that will inevitably feel like a step down from the Reapers arc, or;

2. Have a smaller-scale story where you are not the "chosen one" and don't really have any justifiable reason to get involved in interstellar conflicts or explore the whole galaxy, which means either most of Mass Effect's lore will be left out (so why not make a new IP?), or they'll have to contrive silly reasons for you to become yet another planet-hopping hero.
 

Product Placement

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The Indoctrination Theory always intrigued me but like others have pointed out, it's already been shot down by Bioware in a rather conclusive manner. If they truly intend to capitalize on the theory and claim that this was their idea all along, then they did themselves a huge disservice with introducing the extended cut.

One of the main factors that allowed the IT to hold its ground was the slight vagueness of the ultimate outcome of your action. You picked your color, the citadel and the relays blew up and there was a massive, semi-crippled battle fleet parked outside of devastated Earth, packed full of aliens with no hopes of returning to their respected homes. And somewhere in all of this mess, we find that the Normandy had conveniently crash landed on some remote paradise planet, despite the fact that it was moments before in the middle of the epic space battle that was happening all around you AND your crew members, who were fighting beside you on Earth, are crawling out of it. What happens after that? Well... some old man tells his grandson the story of The Shepperd, some distant time in the future.

Essentially, the story stops, practically at the very moment when you pick your color for the ending. Once Shepard is conclusively dead, what with the Citadel exploding and all, there's no need for us to know more. After all, we were Shepard. How does Shepard know what happens after he's dead? This was but one factor of the massive list of things that upset the many, many, very angry fans; not only was there a massive lack of narrative closure, all of your choices seemed to result in Pyrrhic victory. After all, we're kinda left to conclude that all interstellar travel is history, what with the key component for it being gone, namely the Relays. There's also the fact that Earth is kinda screwed in all situations, since there's a massive battle fleet parked outside it, full of aliens that were banded together on the commonality that they all hated the idea of being eaten by the Reapers. Now that the Reapers are gone, they have all the opportunities to start bickering amongst themselves about old, still very relevant resentments and politics and there's now the added problem that they're all stranded and starving outside a planet with limited resources and a ruined infrastructure.

Yes, I know this is not supposed to be a rant thread about the ending of ME3 but we need to understand what kind of environment we were dealing with, when the IT was born and raised aloft as the shining beacon of hope and salvation for the massive disappointment that was the conclusion of the trilogy.

Me, paraphrasing the fanbase: "No... it couldn't have been that bad... not this bad. There has to be something... anything that can explain this ending."

People were desperate for a bone and someone threw them a very juicy one.

Now, IF and only IF this theory was correct, we could conclude that Shepard went with the red ending and somehow managed to survive the thing and fire up the Crucible. We could play with the idea that instead of outright destroying the reapers, perhaps it somehow did a heavily disabling thing to them, giving the allied fleet a fighting chance and maybe... possibly... the battle resulted in some sort of stalemate where the Reapers are still a threat but they no longer have the numbers to stage a Galaxy wide, systematic cleansing of all sentient life. This could give us some sort of premise like the one you're discussing, Spoonius, where you're born and raised in a battle scarred Universe, where countless generations have been constantly putting everything on the line to prevent the Reapers from gaining the upper hand. It's a clever premise. There's just one thing...

Enter the Extended Cut.

Again, IF Bioware were planing to use the IT to explain what happened to Shepard and plan ME4 around that, they really were doing themselves a disservice with the EC. One of the reasons why the IT made sense was because the story ends with Shepard's death. There's no conclusive, narrative epilog that tends to end with the words akin to: "...Garrus had that ulcer taken cared off, Rex went back to college and they all lived happily ever after. The end."

It wouldn't make sense to include one, if this was all a hallucinatory fantasy in Shepard's head. Why would someone come along to explain the results of your actions, long after your death?

The EC gave us that missing epilog: "Ho, ho, ho. You thought the Relays were gone? We repaired them, you silly goose... That or the Reapers did it, if you choose instead to do that."

Look. I understand where you're coming from. IT does a very good job at making loads of sense out of the original ending. It's actually quite impressive how well the pieces fit together. Had Bioware opted to go that path, it would have been super gutsy move. Hell, I probably would have called it a crowning achievement in gaming history if the game would have originally intended to play out this way, with the real ending hidden inside the destruction ending; only if you saw through the illusion and picked that path, would you wake up and continue playing the game and achieved the right ending. Now, wouldn't that have been cool?

But that's not the ending we got. We got this. We then got EC that said they were serious about it. If Bioware are honestly hiding that the IT is correct and intend to reveal that fact with ME4, then they're playing a very long con game and putting their name down the line, while at it.

...I'll admit that I'd be tempted to by that game.

But since that's not the game we're getting, I won't be buying it.
 

Radoh

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Jun 10, 2010
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I've said this before and I will say it again:
Why oh why would we ever have another Shepard game? Shepard's run their course and had their fun, we laughed, loved, and cried along with them. But seriously, with such a rich universe why would we ever go back to the same time?
Mass Effect: Rachni Wars. Fight in the Rachni Wars as a Krogan, Turian, Salarian, or Asari.
Mass Effect: Krogan Rebellion. Fight either for the Krogan or against the Krogan.
Mass Effect: STG. Squad based stealth tactical game focusing on Salarian STG team doing stuff.
Mass Effect: Vakarian. Be Vakarian during is C-Sec days/Archangel days, either pre or post tragedy.
Mass Effect: Tali'Zorah. Be Tali and do stuff, there are a lot of places that this can go since she travels around a lot.
Mass Effect: Justicar. Play as a Justicar, probably Samara, and have fun space adventures.
Mass Effect: First Contact War. Be a part of the Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy's opening.
Mass Effect: Spectre. Play as just some spectre, doesn't matter which.
Mass Effect: N7. Be an N7, either solo or squad based, doesn't matter much.
Mass Effect: Pilgrimage. Be a Quarian on a Pilgrimage, face racism and not fun stuff.
Mass Effect: Shadow Broker. Play as Liara as the Shadow Broker.
Mass Effect: Biotic God. I AM A BIOTIC GOD.
Mass Effect: Captain Anderson's wacky adventures with what's her name and also punch Kai Leng in the dick a couple times
Mass Effect: Anything other than Shepard's story

We could watch any point in this cycle, the previous cycle, or any other cycle before that.
We could literally do anything with this universe, why would we stick to Shepard?
Besides, they've already said it will have nothing to do with Shepard, or at the very least they will show their face at some point as a cameo.
Oh man, best easter egg for 4, Fem Shep and Male Shep sitting at a table or something and having a chat.
 

MrDumpkins

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sanquin said:
tippy2k2 said:
So in conclusion, they're likely going to continue stories in the Mass Effect universe. However, I would be incredibly shocked if they ever made a direct sequel.
Or they could go with the easy and cheap choice reset. Let's say they set the story 200 years later. I'm going with the blue ending as the intended ending here.

A: The reapers were destroyed, civilization rebuilt, etc.

B: There was an uprising against the shepard controlled reapers, and they were eventually destroyed.

C: With new technology they eventually reverted themselves back to biological lifeforms.

The quarians could just not be included in the sequel at all, or if they are there and the player got them destroyed they could go for a twist! A secret colony was present all along and the quarians are still alive.

There are plenty of cheap and easy cop-outs they could do do make a sequel and still have it fit with the choices the player made in the trilogy. It would immediately tell me it will be a bad game if they went with that approach though.
There actually is a secret colony of quarians, they left on a deep space mission in one of the mass effect books to try and find a new hospitable planet for them. That would be the perfect way to bring the quarians back regardless of the choices make.

The only way a sequel would work is to set it much later like 200 years for sure.
 

Sniper Team 4

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tippy2k2 said:
There is one GIANT issue standing in the way to a direct sequel here...

For everyone complaining that all three endings were "the same", they would all have VERY different results if you continued the story (not to mention all the side stuff that could be different).
You know, I said that same thing a while ago in another thread and people said I was being stupid. Glad to see I'm not the only one who realized that the implied consequences of the endings would paint three very different universes. I salute you! :)

If BioWare does come out and say, "Yes, ME 4 is in fact a direct sequel. We are going to 'fix' the ending to Mass Effect 3 with this game, and your old save games are going to matter--as are your choices," then I would be fully on board. As it stands, unless that happens (or they just let me have Shepard back and give me my happy ending with lots of blue children, dammit!), I honestly do not care about the Mass Effect universe anymore. When your universe's first story is about a threat that can literally end the entire universe as we know it, all other threats and story lines seem rather...small to me. Just my feelings though.
 

RJ 17

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Spoonius said:
My friend, you are in a severe case of denial, that's about the only way I can explain your opinion. Why do we assume that the IT rules out an epilogue? Ummmmm because it does? It implies that Shepard's got a 2 out of 3 chance of becoming fully Indoctrinated. Pick on of those two and you lose. Pick the other one and you've got a critically wounded (I don't know how else you can describe someone who miraculously survives getting hit by a full-on blast from a Reaper's main cannon) Shepard on a battlefield being overrun by the Reapers. The only reason Bioware said "We want it to be open for discussion" is so that they could try and cover their crappy writing. When that didn't work: out comes the EC. I mean come on, they even put in a bit to explain why your squadmates aren't with you when you make the final push: the Normandy comes down and picks them up.

Spoonius said:
RJ 17 said:
I could likely make a post almost as long as yours on all the reasons the IT theory is false, but I feel like being brief.
If you have a link to something I could read through, that would be great.
There is none, other than what fans of the game have said using their own common sense. Now you might think that's just a bunch of hot air made up by fans, but you know what else is a bunch of hot air made up by fans? The IT. The difference is that the literal interpretation of events is what's supported by what is actually seen and experienced in the game, the IT is based purely on conjecture.

Indoctrination doesn't equal incapacitation. And even indoctrinated characters are capable of breaking free of their mental restraints (Saren and Matriarch Benezia for example).

  • - He may be unable to select certain conversation options or actions.

    - He may be forced, against his will, to kill a dear friend or vital ally.

    - He may find it necessary to voluntarily kill himself at the very end of the game, as a preventative measure. Just like Saren did.

    - It may automatically lower his EMS (assuming it carries over).

    - He may spend the rest of the game staving off Harbinger's influence, resulting in spontaneous quick-time events during combat or other physical handicaps.
But guess what: none of that happened. That would all be neat if it was actually in the game, but it's not. There's absolutely nothing to suggest that Shepard was even partially Indoctrinated in the events that lead up to the final push. What we see is Shepard get blasted, miraculously survive, go to the Citadel, speak with Star Child, and then fire off the Crucible. We don't see Shepard forced to kill a friend, the EMS isn't suddenly lowered, there's no option to realize you're Indoctrinated and kill yourself.

RJ 17 said:
No matter which ending you pick, the magic bullet is never fired. Throughout the entire series it's firmly established that the Reapers can NOT be defeated in a straight-up fight.
The way I see it, that's what Shepard's been disproving the entire series. They've killed Reapers before. It can be done, they've done it. On the Citadel, on Tuchanka, on Rannoch... :)
So at least four fleets get absolutely decimated by a single Reaper at the Battle of the Citadel, the largest Thresher Maw in existence is summoned to take down one of the smaller Reapers, and an entire fleet of 50K ships focus-fires on a single Reaper that's again one of the smaller ones...and you think that means that they can win in a straight up fight? How about the video I linked of the entire Turian fleet - the most powerful military force in the galaxy - getting their asses handed to them by fewer than 10 Reaper capital ships? During the final battle on earth, the bulk of the Reaper fleet is present. How many fleets does Shepard gather? Human, Asari, Turian, Salarian, Geth, and Quarian...and that's assuming you made peace between the Geth and Quarians. And every single one of those fleets has been decimated already by the war so far. If they actually thought they would win a straight-up fight against the Reapers, there'd be no need for the Crucible by the end of the game. Everyone in the galaxy knows that the deus ex machina "Prothean" space-magic bomb is the only way to win the war, everything else is just buying time for the Crucible to be fired off.

Again, this is all what we actually see and experience in the game. No "well what if...", no "but on Rannoch...", no "well what about...". And that's all the IT is based off of: things that are not directly experienced in the game.

The Reapers have never faced a galaxy so united before, which is incidentally why they may find it necessary to indoctrinate Shepard in the first place. They're actually losing Reapers. They're being killed off, and they need a Plan B. If not to complete our cycle, then to retain enough strength for the next one. Sustainability has never been an issue for them, but this time it's different.
Actually, they did face a united galaxy: the Prothean Empire. According the Javik, the Protheans had nearly united the entire galaxy. All the races in the Prothean Empire were considered Protheans. To be fair, they're already on Plan C by the time ME3 happens. Plan A is to cut all lines of travel by coming through the Citadel relay, that's the most efficient. Plan B is to come through the back door: the Alpha Relay. Plan C is to say "fuck it, let's go!" Which is what they ended up going with, and they STILL almost won. Had the galaxy been fully united right out of the gate with when the Reapers emerged maybe, maybe they would have stood a chance...but they weren't. The war drags on and on, each race fending for themselves, which means each race suffering catastrophic losses. Sure, the galaxy is united by the end of the game, but by that time every fleet only has a fraction of their full strength.

RJ 17 said:
Sadly, since the IT theory can't possible be true, much of your theory for the next ME game falls apart as well. Please understand that I'm not trying to be a buzz-kill or come down on you or anything, I'm just engaging in a discussion you started with you're very well-written post.
Thanks, but I don't think you're a buzz-kill. What's debate without dispute after all?

I still maintain that IT is plausible. I know it may sound like the ramblings of a butthurt fanboy, but I find the entire concept fascinating. And like I said, I've actually seen surprisingly little evidence to refute it. Although maybe I just haven't looked hard enough. :/
And that's what I've been trying to say, my friend. The evidence is in the game itself. There aren't any essays or articles or videos needed for it. The literal interpretation of events is what happens, and the EC proves that. With the EC we either see the galaxy licking its wounds and starting to rebuild (Red) with a monologue from Admiral Hacket about how awesome Shepard was and how he/she gave the galaxy hope for the future though he/she had to sacrifice much, if we go with Blue we get to hear a monologue from Shepard speaking as though he/she has become a god (which effectively he/she has) talking about how he/she intends to become a warden and protector for the galaxy, or we hear about how the galaxy has been completely united in a utopian society that effectively resurrects all the civilizations that were used to make the Reapers now that they've been completely pacified if we go with Green. There's absolutely nothing that suggests that these are just hallucinations meant to placate Shepard...if that were true, why bother with showing us what happens if you pick the Red ending? Wouldn't it just cut to Shepard waking up if he/she breaks free of Indoctrination? Again, the evidence against IT is quite simply what you actually see and experience in the game.

But what if the battle for Earth was won? What if Shepard and the others actually manage to secure Earth?
With what? A fleet that's being crushed with every passing moment and the handful of troops that actually survived all the way to the final rush to the Citadel beam? I highly doubt you're going to be securing a planet with that.

Remember that with IT in effect, the Crucible was never actually activated. On Earth, nobody actually has any idea what this giant construct they've docked with the Citadel has the capability to do, and they're relying on Shepard to activate it and find out. If IT is true, then the Crucible's true purpose is still a mystery.
And remember that throughout the entire game, everyone - even Admiral Hacket - keeps reaffirming the fact "We're not going to win this is a straight up fight, we need the Crucible." If the Crucible is never fired, the Reapers win. Once again: that's what's heard, seen, and experienced in the game.

PS: I was referring to a time after the events of ME3, but still during the Reaper invasion (which has potentially become a protracted war of attrition rivalling the campaign against the Protheans fifty millenia ago).
Which, I'll remind you, the Protheans lost. :p

It could be set after the Reapers are defeated, but to remove the Reapers would be foolish IMO. Not only would they be irreplaceable as overarching antagonists, but players would be deprived of the opportunity to beat them once and for all.
Orrrrrr you could accept the literal interpretation of events as actually seen in the game, in which case the Reapers have been defeated once and for all. See how much simpler that makes things? :p
 

Nymi

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What's really saddening is that almost any mention of the Mass Effect universe since a little while after ME3 came out has been poisoned by all this herping and derping about some fan-made theory. Even now, in a thread speculating about another game than ME3, you're STILL going on about it. Lay it off, for fucks sake. Move on.
 

Imperioratorex Caprae

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Look, the IT theory is about as much crap and wishful thinking as the FF8 dying dream theory. I actually hope we can play in the ME universe pre-reapers and a different storyline and characters that don't deal with saving the fucking galaxy for once. I'm seriously getting tired of playing the "savior of all" hero and would rather enjoy a smaller scale story but with more galactic exploration options and no fucking reapers.
 

Hubbl3

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I think the best way to continue Mass Effect is making the destruction eding canon and place the sequal some years after the effects of it. They could show how this world changing event effects the galaxy, what new conflicts emerge out of it and so on. There is plenty of potential without changing the ending completly with some stupid indotrination theory.

I don't like prequels, because in the ende they show nothing new. We know hat the Rachni Wars ended, we know about the Genophage and how it plays out. We know everything and I think it will be very boing to replay those things. Sequel with destruction ending canon is the right way!
 

bug_of_war

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Spoonius said:
I will take a moment however to mention the Indoctrination Theory. I was a big advocate when I first heard about it, and I still am.
That's all well and good, but here's a few things for consideration:

1: Shepard was never in contact with a Reaper long enough for it to actually indoctrinate him.
2: The dream sequences can also quite easily be summed up as PTSD, he is human, and after all the shit he's been through it'd be odd for him NOT to be psychologically damaged.
3: Extended Cut makes it clear that the end decisions were not part of indoctrination.


I mean hey, you're welcome to believe all of that if you want.
 

Spoonius

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RJ 17 said:
My friend, you are in a severe case of denial, that's about the only way I can explain your opinion.
A strange combination of denial and optimism I think. P

RJ 17 said:
Spoonius said:
If you have a link to something I could read through, that would be great.
There is none, other than what fans of the game have said using their own common sense. Now you might think that's just a bunch of hot air made up by fans, but you know what else is a bunch of hot air made up by fans? The IT. The difference is that the literal interpretation of events is what's supported by what is actually seen and experienced in the game, the IT is based purely on conjecture.
But that's what IT is actually about. What is seen and experienced in the game? There are multiple ways of looking at those same events, one of which is indoctrination. Another is more literal, taking things at face value. Both are subjective opinions at this point; I might agree with the literal theory if Bioware had confirmed it, but they haven't.

RJ 17 said:
Why do we assume that the IT rules out an epilogue? Ummmmm because it does? It implies that Shepard's got a 2 out of 3 chance of becoming fully Indoctrinated. Pick on of those two and you lose. Pick the other one and you've got a critically wounded (I don't know how else you can describe someone who miraculously survives getting hit by a full-on blast from a Reaper's main cannon) Shepard on a battlefield being overrun by the Reapers.
I've already argued against the former (see the quote directly below).

As for the latter, we never actually see Shepard take the full brunt of Harbinger's energy beam. Those that do beforehand die instantly (the beam can punch through starship hulls for Christ's sake, it kills everything else charging alongside him with impunity), which actually lends credence to the theory that what we see didn't really happen. You honestly think that Shepard was hit by Harbinger's beam, at least directly enough to char his armour beyond recognition... but that he himself is fine? No burns, no dismemberment, nothing? Just a dit of disorientation? C'mon, seriously...

RJ 17 said:
Indoctrination doesn't equal incapacitation. And even indoctrinated characters are capable of breaking free of their mental restraints (Saren and Matriarch Benezia for example).

  • - He may be unable to select certain conversation options or actions.

    - He may be forced, against his will, to kill a dear friend or vital ally.

    - He may find it necessary to voluntarily kill himself at the very end of the game, as a preventative measure. Just like Saren did.

    - It may automatically lower his EMS (assuming it carries over).

    - He may spend the rest of the game staving off Harbinger's influence, resulting in spontaneous quick-time events during combat or other physical handicaps.
But guess what: none of that happened. That would all be neat if it was actually in the game, but it's not.
You do understand right that my entire point is that EA/Bioware may not be done with Shepard just yet? What else do you actually think I'm suggesting here?

RJ 17 said:
There's absolutely nothing to suggest that Shepard was even partially Indoctrinated in the events that lead up to the final push.
Hallucinations, dream sequences and audible Reaper growls (precedented indications of failed indoctrination attempts) for starters.

And he wasn't actually indoctrinated, at least not until the overwhelming attempt by Harbinger that constitutes the 'final boss battle'. But his mind was being constantly probed and manipulated throughout the game, the pressure increasing and increasing, leading to symptoms such as those mentioned above.

RJ 17 said:
Snip: Reapers will win.
Like I said (and you said), we have the Crucible. If IT is correct then it hasn't been activated yet. And Shepard is only metres away from the grav-lift he'd been trying to get to the entire time...

You're also assuming that the war is only winnable in space, whilst ignoring the entire ground war. If the Reapers could win from space they'd have done so. But they can't. Why else do they need to land upon the surface? Why else do they need an endless army of 'Reaperfied' ground troops?

All those examples I mentioned were surface kills. With some ingenuity, I'm sure the Reapers would be more vulnerable than they seem.

RJ 17 said:
The evidence is in the game itself. There aren't any essays or articles or videos needed for it. The literal interpretation of events is what happens, and the EC proves that.

...

There's absolutely nothing that suggests that these are just hallucinations meant to placate Shepard...if that were true, why bother with showing us what happens if you pick the Red ending? Wouldn't it just cut to Shepard waking up if he/she breaks free of Indoctrination? Again, the evidence against IT is quite simply what you actually see and experience in the game.
Do you even understand what indoctrination is? You don't just start living in Dreamland when you're indoctrinated, you do wake up. You continue to live your life, believing yourself to be in control and making the right decisions. You become an inadvertent sleeper agent for the Reapers. What use would a catatonic Shepard be?

And wouldn't it be a total give-away if Destroy did do something like that? Wouldn't it ruin the entire premise?

No, if IT is correct then the end cutscenes (even the Destroy one) are still hallucinations within Shepard's unconscious mind.

RJ 17 said:
Orrrrrr you could accept the literal interpretation of events as actually seen in the game, in which case the Reapers have been defeated once and for all. See how much simpler that makes things? :p
Simpler, yeah. Better... no. :)
 

Spoonius

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James Joseph Emerald said:
Have an epic story that spans the whole galaxy involving all the aliens, locales & technology of the previous games, but that will inevitably feel like a step down from the Reapers arc, or;

2. Have a smaller-scale story where you are not the "chosen one" and don't really have any justifiable reason to get involved in interstellar conflicts or explore the whole galaxy, which means either most of Mass Effect's lore will be left out (so why not make a new IP?), or they'll have to contrive silly reasons for you to become yet another planet-hopping hero.
If IT is true, then the Reapers still haven't been beaten and there's still an epilogue that still needs to be told. They may not need to abandon the overarching Reaper plot at all. :)

They might even combine the two concepts you mentioned. Put players in command of a mixed-species commando team during the fight for Earth or something.

Product Placement said:
IF Bioware were planing to use the IT to explain what happened to Shepard and plan ME4 around that, they really were doing themselves a disservice with the EC. One of the reasons why the IT made sense was because the story ends with Shepard's death.
But indoctrination doesn't kill people... just look at Saren and TIM. Indoctrinated organics can continue on for years before suffering any cognitive decay.

As for the EC, I'd like to think that:

  • - Bioware were already redesigning the ending in a hurry following the previous narrative leak, and were also then rushed for time by EA.

    - The retail ending was kneecapped as a result, with only the preliminary indoctrination sequence making it in.

    - Bioware always intended to release a proper ending after release, not as a separate game but as DLC. IT would have been their saving grace, allowing them to both meet EA's schedule demands and still produce their desired ending.

    - EA take note of the situation and believe they can capitalise upon it by releasing Bioware's planned ending as a fully-priced fourth instalment.

    - Fans go supernova with nerdrage following what they perceive to be the most shitty ending possible.

    - EA allows Bioware to release free ending DLC cut as a halfway measure in order to placate fans and persuade them to hold onto their copies.

    - Bioware come up with the EC, a way of temporarily giving fans some additional closure without compromising their upcoming game.

I know that's probably just wishful thinking, but goddamn I want it to be true. :/

Product Placement said:
Look. I understand where you're coming from. IT does a very good job at making loads of sense out of the original ending. It's actually quite impressive how well the pieces fit together. Had Bioware opted to go that path, it would have been super gutsy move. Hell, I probably would have called it a crowning achievement in gaming history if the game would have originally intended to play out this way, with the real ending hidden inside the destruction ending; only if you saw through the illusion and picked that path, would you wake up and continue playing the game and achieved the right ending. Now, wouldn't that have been cool?
Yep. Indescribably. :p

But you could still continue playing after a 'bad' decision. There are lots of ways the player could be inconvenienced by indoctrination without breaking the game.

Radoh said:
We could watch any point in this cycle, the previous cycle, or any other cycle before that.
We could literally do anything with this universe, why would we stick to Shepard?
Besides, they've already said it will have nothing to do with Shepard, or at the very least they will show their face at some point as a cameo.
You're probably right. I'm not saying that other settings are unlikely, just that it wouldn't surprise me if EA/Bioware have something else in store for Shepard. Even if that isn't ME4.
 

Spoonius

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bug_of_war said:
1: Shepard was never in contact with a Reaper long enough for it to actually indoctrinate him.
He's been exposed to all manner of Reaper forces and items over the years, it's very possible he even has Reaper tech implanted inside him by TIM (who did the same thing to himself and all his troops during ME3).

bug_of_war said:
2: The dream sequences can also quite easily be summed up as PTSD, he is human, and after all the shit he's been through it'd be odd for him NOT to be psychologically damaged.
That's true. But there are also lots of little hints that take place during those dreams that suggest there might be more to them than that. Reaper sounds (grownling and humming), "oily shadows", the boy who supposedly represents 'those Shepard couldn't save', etc.

A lot of these elements are shared with the end sequence aboard the citadel too.

bug_of_war said:
3: Extended Cut makes it clear that the end decisions were not part of indoctrination.
Like I've said earlier in this thread, I don't believe that's necessarily the case. At least I hope not.
 

CloudAtlas

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The Indoctrination Theory is not true, for reasons posters above me already explained. Indoctrination is a central theme throughout the narrative of all three games, yes, so naturally you will find lots of stuff that might hint at such a theory, but that doesn't make it evidence for anything.

Regardless of its merits, if you think basing a sequel on making the indoctrination theory the actual account of the events, thereby introducing many more thematic and narrative problems than solving them, pissing off many players by telling them a significant portion of their story wasn't real, just happened in their characters head, doubling down on all their statements BioWare made regarding Shepard's saga definitely 100% being concluded, 100%, and starting the whole sequel off on exactly the same thing that left many who played ME3 bitter, its ending, would be a smart move in any way, then you're seriously mistaken.

Edit: Like Zhukov said, indoctrination theory is primary the brainchild of people not being able to accept that the ending was what it was, for some reason or another. For the sake of the mental health of those people, all their mental effort spent on crafting this conspiracy theory probably would have been better spent on discovering and thinking about all the meaning that can actually be found in the narrative.
 

Timmibal

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The only way that ME4 can be developed as a DIRECT sequel is to basically 'Canon railroad' ME1-3. Most of the fantastical elements will likely be retconned or otherwise handwaved. Bioware have already established a precedent here as I'm pretty sure they're doing a similar thing with DA:I (You select from a series of pre-defined 'prestories' rather than importing a save.)

Although I can see a lot of backlash over this because 'Muh Shepard', It seems to work with environments like TES, where each game is far enough removed in time from each other that the 'hero' is just another character of folklore, and bioware's already said that they took a big page out of Skyrim's book in the way they were developing their new games.
 

bug_of_war

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Spoonius said:
He's been exposed to all manner of Reaper forces and items over the years, it's very possible he even has Reaper tech implanted inside him by TIM (who did the same thing to himself and all his troops during ME3).
Actually he really hasn't. In ME1 the only time he is actually close enough for Reaper technology to begin indoctrinating him is at the very end of the game, when Sovereign explodes and pieces fall into where Shepard fights Saren. The second game Shepard is only inside the 'dead' Reaper for an hour or two at max, literally being 3 years since the first encounter in ME1. In ME3 Shepard again is never in full contact or partial contact with a Reaper for more than a few minutes or an hour.

Also, saying that TIM implanted Reaper tech in Shepard is 99% highly unlikely. He was never actually in the physical presence Shepard's body during the reconstruction, Miranda was the lead scientist working to revive Shepard (you'd think siding with Shepard after Illusive Man would cause her to tell him if there were any "extras"), there is so little Reaper tech actually laying around after ME1 that could be collected to input into people, TIM explicitly says that he wants Shepard to be 100% himself with no additions what so ever (and keep in my TIM is actually fairly in control of himself during the events of the second game, and his Reaper upgraded soldiers are supposed to be fairly new).

I'm sorry, but you're grasping at straws mate.

Spoonius said:
That's true. But there are also lots of little hints that take place during those dreams that suggest there might be more to them than that. Reaper sounds (grownling and humming), "oily shadows", the boy who supposedly represents 'those Shepard couldn't save', etc.

A lot of these elements are shared with the end sequence aboard the citadel too.
All of what you have listed also HEAVILY imply he is experiencing post traumatic stress disorder. Hearing distant sounds, dark shadows and representations of those he could not save (especially when in the last dream we hear the voices of squadmates lost and Shepard burning with the little boy) it all points towards a person becoming mentally worn out. As for linking with the end scene, of course we're gonna hear Reaper sounds, they're slaughtering thousands in the background, and seeing as how Shepard is part synthetic after the reconstruction it's quite easy to see why and how a highly intelligent VI/AI would take the form of someone that had a huge impact on Shepard.

There is far more evidence suggesting that Shepard is experiencing PTSD than there is for the Indoctrination Theory. You of course are allowed to want the Indoctrination Theory to be true, but don't ignore the holes in the theory.

Spoonius said:
Like I've said earlier in this thread, I don't believe that's necessarily the case. At least I hope not.
I know that, but the very fact that bioware said that the Extended Cut was made to bring more clarity and closure to ME3, and the whole cut scenes that came along with it kinda point out that they're not going with the theory. The writers at Bioware would be fired instantly by EA if they went along with this as they could quite easily be prosecuted for stealing someone else's idea.

I can see that you really want the indoctrination theory to be true, but I'm telling you right now that it has been debunked by Bioware and has more holes in it than Swiss cheese.
 

AnarchistFish

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tippy2k2 said:
There is one GIANT issue standing in the way to a direct sequel here...

For everyone complaining that all three endings were "the same", they would all have VERY different results if you continued the story (not to mention all the side stuff that could be different).

You talk about Quarians as an example for a species hit hard by the destruction of the Citadels. Well...they were hit very hard in my game for they blew up. I cured the Genophage, which is going to have a very different impact than someone who decided not to do it. These are just two examples from my own play through.

For the main course, you have HUGE differences between the three cupcake endings. Either:

A. The Reapers were destroyed and are no longer a threat. However, you just killed millions of sentient robot life as well

B. The Reapers are in your control and they're still doing whatever it is that mind-controlled Reapers do.

C. Everyone has turned into androids after fusing all life and robots into one super race

Hell, you'd need an entirely different game based on whatever choice you made. One year or one hundred thousand years later, the story would have to change based on which major end choice you made.

So in conclusion, they're likely going to continue stories in the Mass Effect universe. However, I would be incredibly shocked if they ever made a direct sequel.
I'm thinking it might be a prequel. Would be the most sensible way to avoid this.
 

Simple Bluff

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AnarchistFish said:
tippy2k2 said:
There is one GIANT issue standing in the way to a direct sequel here...

For everyone complaining that all three endings were "the same", they would all have VERY different results if you continued the story (not to mention all the side stuff that could be different).

You talk about Quarians as an example for a species hit hard by the destruction of the Citadels. Well...they were hit very hard in my game for they blew up. I cured the Genophage, which is going to have a very different impact than someone who decided not to do it. These are just two examples from my own play through.

For the main course, you have HUGE differences between the three cupcake endings. Either:

A. The Reapers were destroyed and are no longer a threat. However, you just killed millions of sentient robot life as well

B. The Reapers are in your control and they're still doing whatever it is that mind-controlled Reapers do.

C. Everyone has turned into androids after fusing all life and robots into one super race

Hell, you'd need an entirely different game based on whatever choice you made. One year or one hundred thousand years later, the story would have to change based on which major end choice you made.

So in conclusion, they're likely going to continue stories in the Mass Effect universe. However, I would be incredibly shocked if they ever made a direct sequel.
I'm thinking it might be a prequel. Would be the most sensible way to avoid this.
I wish I had a link for this, but I'm nearly certain Bioware said ME4 is not a prequel. So I guess the only way to go forward is to choose a canon ending.
 

Souplex

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Going with Indoctrination Theory would require them to admit they were wrong.
Extended cut was just a bigger, shinier turd.
Bioware is too proud of their terrible ending to be rid of it.
 

RJ 17

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Nov 27, 2011
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Spoonius said:
RJ 17 said:
My friend, you are in a severe case of denial, that's about the only way I can explain your opinion.
A strange combination of denial and optimism I think. P
Nope, after having read this post I'm pretty sure it's just straight-up denial, but I'll touch on that in a moment in response to one of your responses. :p

RJ 17 said:
Spoonius said:
If you have a link to something I could read through, that would be great.
There is none, other than what fans of the game have said using their own common sense. Now you might think that's just a bunch of hot air made up by fans, but you know what else is a bunch of hot air made up by fans? The IT. The difference is that the literal interpretation of events is what's supported by what is actually seen and experienced in the game, the IT is based purely on conjecture.
But that's what IT is actually about. What is seen and experienced in the game? There are multiple ways of looking at those same events, one of which is indoctrination. Another is more literal, taking things at face value. Both are subjective opinions at this point; I might agree with the literal theory if Bioware had confirmed it, but they haven't.
Actually they have. It's called the Extended Cut. You're quite literally the only person I've encountered since the release of the EC that believes the IT still holds water. The extra sequences at the end showing how the galaxy moves on...there's nothing to suggest those are hallucinations or dreams. As I mentioned previously: if they were indeed hallucinations or dreams...then why does Shepard still have one if you pick Red? Doesn't that mean you officially break free of Indoctrination? Wouldn't Red just end with Shepard waking up broken and bloodied on the battlefield?

RJ 17 said:
Why do we assume that the IT rules out an epilogue? Ummmmm because it does? It implies that Shepard's got a 2 out of 3 chance of becoming fully Indoctrinated. Pick on of those two and you lose. Pick the other one and you've got a critically wounded (I don't know how else you can describe someone who miraculously survives getting hit by a full-on blast from a Reaper's main cannon) Shepard on a battlefield being overrun by the Reapers.
I've already argued against the former (see the quote directly below).

As for the latter, we never actually see Shepard take the full brunt of Harbinger's energy beam. Those that do beforehand die instantly (the beam can punch through starship hulls for Christ's sake, it kills everything else charging alongside him with impunity), which actually lends credence to the theory that what we see didn't really happen. You honestly think that Shepard was hit by Harbinger's beam, at least directly enough to char his armour beyond recognition... but that he himself is fine? No burns, no dismemberment, nothing? Just a dit of disorientation? C'mon, seriously...
Actually, you do see Shepard take a direct blast from Harbinger's canon...it's the last thing you see before you wake up and hobble to the beam. I know it's completely inconsistent, that's one of the reasons the IT was created in the first place: to cover up for Bioware's crap writing. But your argument is starting to lose consistency as well. The IT holds that everything that happens after the blast is a dream/hallucination. What you're now suggesting is that everything leading up to the blast was a dream/hallucination. That Shepard was hallucinating the entire time while on Earth.

RJ 17 said:
Indoctrination doesn't equal incapacitation. And even indoctrinated characters are capable of breaking free of their mental restraints (Saren and Matriarch Benezia for example).

  • - He may be unable to select certain conversation options or actions.

    - He may be forced, against his will, to kill a dear friend or vital ally.

    - He may find it necessary to voluntarily kill himself at the very end of the game, as a preventative measure. Just like Saren did.

    - It may automatically lower his EMS (assuming it carries over).

    - He may spend the rest of the game staving off Harbinger's influence, resulting in spontaneous quick-time events during combat or other physical handicaps.
But guess what: none of that happened. That would all be neat if it was actually in the game, but it's not.
You do understand right that my entire point is that EA/Bioware may not be done with Shepard just yet? What else do you actually think I'm suggesting here?
And this is why I made a comment to Bloated Guppy about your absolute refusal to believe anything that Bioware says. For one: you insist that the EC actually expands on the IT when it completely debunks it (which is also why I say you're in denial by insisting that the three possible epilogues are all just placating hallucinations). But also because of the fact that - by the very quote you posted earlier - Bioware has said that they are done with Shepard. Yes, they want it to be a Mass Effect game, and not a spin-off, but they also want to write a new story that has little or nothing to do with Shepard and his/her crew. The above implies "Nope, they're going to make this trilogy into a quadrilogy!"

RJ 17 said:
There's absolutely nothing to suggest that Shepard was even partially Indoctrinated in the events that lead up to the final push.
Hallucinations, dream sequences and audible Reaper growls (precedented indications of failed indoctrination attempts) for starters.

And he wasn't actually indoctrinated, at least not until the overwhelming attempt by Harbinger that constitutes the 'final boss battle'. But his mind was being constantly probed and manipulated throughout the game, the pressure increasing and increasing, leading to symptoms such as those mentioned above.
Which goes back to something someone else had pointed out before: they were thinking about doing something with Shepard being Indoctrinated but decided to scrap that idea. However hints to it still remain in the game.

As for the "Reaper Growls" while you're speaking with the Illusive Man...you do realize that HE is trying to Indoctrinate Shepard, right? Every time you hear a growl during that sequence and see the black tendrils along the outside of the screen, it's when TIM is flexing his power and using it to try and control you. There's an old saying: the simplest explanation is often times the correct one. It's way easier to think that that's just the sound in Shepard's mind every time TIM is trying to Indoctrinate him/her, not that it's an actual Reaper growling at Shepard through the haze of the dream. Notice that you only hear those growls when you're speaking with TIM? And only when he's using his power on you?

And while I'm at it, I might as well go ahead and debunk some of the other IT "evidence" as well.

"Why aren't your squadmates with you at the end?" The Normandy came and picked them up.

"Why does the Citadel look like the Collector Base?" Both were made with Reaper architecture. Beyond that, think of the Collector Base: long, dark hallways filled with bodies. Where are you when that comparison is made? A long dark hallway filled with bodies. Why is it filled with bodies in both cases? Because they're trying to make a Reaper in both cases.

"Backwards writing! Just like in a dream!" Go back and play ME1, long before Shepard has even encountered a Reaper, you see backwards writing on the elevator door (and in various other places). It's a glitch, a mistake, or just a design flaw, but it certainly doesn't mean that the entire series is a dream sequence.

"Moving panels, just like in the Shadow Broker's ship!" Sooooo the Shadow Broker's ship is the only thing in the entire galaxy to have moving parts? For that matter, what if you never played the Shadow Broker DLC? If you didn't, then your Shepard is completely unaware that Liara is the new Shadow Broker...your Shepard never went to the Shadow Broker's ship. How can one have a memory-based dream/hallucination about a place they've never been to and as such would have no memory of?

"Well what about all the lightning!" You realize you're effectively in the Citadel's core, right? One would expect to find lots of capacitors and such in this area, likely discharging lots of energy.

"Well what about the fact that Anderson gets to the control panel before you, says he arrived after you, yet there's only one-way in and one-way out!" Crappy design choices are crappy, or crappy writing is crappy. Anderson says he doesn't think he came up in the same place that you did. So it's possible that he was actually the first one up the beam and was farther ahead of you along the path. That, or the world designers couldn't be arsed to make the control panel platform accessible from multiple angles. Either way, it's crappy writing/design such as this that led to the creation of the IT in the first place as an attempt to compensate for crappy writing/design.

"Well why is it that the only ending that shows Shepard waking up is the Red one!" Because that's the only ending where Shepard actually still has a body.

"Well why is Anderson's choice Renegade Red and TIM's is Paragon Blue?" Because as much as you may hate and disagree with TIM, they want you to understand that he did have the right idea, just the wrong motivations. Anderson deals in absolutes: DESTROY THEM ALL AND DAMN THE CONSEQUENCES! I'd say destroying all technology in the galaxy and plunging it into a Dark Age that will likely take decades to rebuild from is a pretty renegade action. Sure you've destroyed the Reapers, but at what cost? Depending on how you resolved the War for Rannoch, you could even be wiping out the entire Geth race...seems pretty damn Renegadey if you ask me. TIM, on the other hand, wants to control the Reapers. This eliminates the Reaper threat without the need to cause the mass extinction of the Geth, without the need to plunge the galaxy into a Dark Age, and allows the benevolent will of ParaShep to control the Reapers as a guardian force for the galaxy and help with the rebuilding process, likely completing in years would would have taken decades.

RJ 17 said:
Snip: Reapers will win.
Like I said (and you said), we have the Crucible. If IT is correct then it hasn't been activated yet. And Shepard is only metres away from the grav-lift he'd been trying to get to the entire time...

You're also assuming that the war is only winnable in space, whilst ignoring the entire ground war. If the Reapers could win from space they'd have done so. But they can't. Why else do they need to land upon the surface? Why else do they need an endless army of 'Reaperfied' ground troops?

All those examples I mentioned were surface kills. With some ingenuity, I'm sure the Reapers would be more vulnerable than they seem.
So let me get this straight...you believe that the next ME game is going to be a 100% direct sequel that could start off right where ME3 leaves off with Shepard laying in a pile of rubble on the battlefield of Earth which is being overrun by the bulk of the Reaper army? That the game will start with him/her getting up and going to fire off the Crucible for realsies? Every. Single. Person...EVERYONE in the galaxy knows that if the battle for earth fails, the galaxy is doomed. It's do or die. There is no hope, no future, no tomorrow if the Battle for Earth is lost and the Crucible is never fired off. All or nothing, one last blaze of glory. If Shepard doesn't make it to the Crucible, the galaxy is doomed. THAT is why the IT leaves out any possibility of an epilogue or anything happening after the events of ME3, because just as you've said: it implies that Shepard never makes it to the Crucible. Instead he/she takes a 30 minute nap while fighting off Indoctrination, the battlefield gets zerg-rushed by Reaper ground forces. In short: if Shepard doesn't make it to the Crucible as we see it happen in the game, the galaxy is doomed and the cycle will continue.

Why do they need an endless army of Reaper ground forces? For the Harvest, of course. They can destroy entire cities from space - as Diana Allers points out towards the end of the game when she mentions that they didn't even bother landing on her home colony, they just blew it up from space - but they still need to send down ground troops to clean up all the technology and hunt down any survivors.

RJ 17 said:
The evidence is in the game itself. There aren't any essays or articles or videos needed for it. The literal interpretation of events is what happens, and the EC proves that.

...

There's absolutely nothing that suggests that these are just hallucinations meant to placate Shepard...if that were true, why bother with showing us what happens if you pick the Red ending? Wouldn't it just cut to Shepard waking up if he/she breaks free of Indoctrination? Again, the evidence against IT is quite simply what you actually see and experience in the game.
Do you even understand what indoctrination is? You don't just start living in Dreamland when you're indoctrinated, you do wake up. You continue to live your life, believing yourself to be in control and making the right decisions. You become an inadvertent sleeper agent for the Reapers. What use would a catatonic Shepard be?

And wouldn't it be a total give-away if Destroy did do something like that? Wouldn't it ruin the entire premise?

No, if IT is correct then the end cutscenes (even the Destroy one) are still hallucinations within Shepard's unconscious mind.
Which brings us to the last bit of evidence that proves that the IT isn't correct. Granted, I should have posted this to begin with, but I didn't think to until just now.

So in accordance to the IT, what does rejecting the choices signify? If picking blue or green equates to full indoctrination while red equates to breaking free...what happens if you reject those choices? The IT doesn't cover this possibility because the IT was made before the EC, and this is why many people were still unsatisfied even after the EC because they felt the Reject ending was Bioware slipping in a little "fuck you haters". Are you saying that if Shepard rejects the choices, he then has a dream about his cycle failing completely? I thought the entire point of the dream theory in the IT was that the dream sequences were made to placate Shepard, to make him/her think he/she made the right choice. Why then would they give Shepard a dream about failing? Wouldn't they give him/her a dream about heroically going on to save the day without the Crucible?

RJ 17 said:
Orrrrrr you could accept the literal interpretation of events as actually seen in the game, in which case the Reapers have been defeated once and for all. See how much simpler that makes things? :p
Simpler, yeah. Better... no. :)
Which is exactly why so many people were so pissed off at the ending. It's a simpler explanation than the IT, but it most certainly isn't better. The IT was created because of players refusing to believe the franchise they had loved so much could have such a crappy, bland ending. As I said when we started this discussion, I'd love to believe that the ending to ME3 is a masterpiece of such a grand scale that it flew right over the heads of most of the people that played the game, and the IT would certainly make it that. Sadly, though, that simply is not the case.