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View Poll Results: Do you believe in Indoctrination Theory?
Yes, the endgame of ME3 was a battle in Shepard's mind. 3 18.75%
No, the endgame of ME3 was literally what it appeared to be. 12 75.00%
I don't know, there is not enough evidence either way. 1 6.25%
Voters: 16. You may not vote on this poll

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Old April 30 2012, 03:22 AM   #1
Destructor
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ME3: The argument for/against Indoctrination Theory (Spoilers)

[COMPLETE SPOILERS. DO NOT READ IF YOU'VE NOT FINISHED MASS EFFECT 3]

So, I finished ME3 last Wednesday, and was, like many of you, a bit underwhelmed and confused about the ending. Even if I didn't think it was terrible enough to justify the ridiculous outrage from fans that I had been hearing about, it did seem to contain a number of inexplicable events that just seemed like errors.

Then I watched this video:

http://www.youtube.com/embed/ythY_GkEBck

...and everything clicked into place. Indoctrination Theory explained every hole, every error, and seemed so in line with the writing and quality of the rest of the series that it just seemed obvious to me that it was true. However as I looked around the internet for more information, including our own thread on ME3, I found that IT was being generally dismissed, even as it seemed to be the only coherent explanation for the events portrayed by the game.

Since that time I have been wrestling with the idea, sometimes convincing myself, sometimes full of doubt. It's actually become a minor obsession for me, I've read absolutely everything I can on the topic, and have lost sleep poring over every detail in my mind, trying to make it all fit together- and I keep coming back to IT. Only the ending DLC will truly answer the question with a yes or a no, but until that time, I want to use this forum as a sort of 'scratchpad' for all the evidence for/against the veracity of IT. I'll divide the evidence into three categories: Explicit, Implicit and External.

Explicit - This is information from the text that clearly points to Shepard's final experiences in the game being an illusion or hallucination of some kind.

1. The trees in the end sequence: After Shepard is blasted by Harbinger, he awakes in London, but as he walks towards the beam, there are black, ghostly trees around him that were not there before- the same trees that were in his dream sequences with the little boy. If you look into the architecture of the game these trees are even labelled 'dream trees'. This seems to me a clear indicator that Shepard is no longer in 'reality' as it was previously established (in fact, the whole sequence is generally dreamlike- in slow motion like it is in the regular dream sequences, with a wavery filter over everything, your pistol never runs out of ammo, you never need to reload it, you can't access your powers, etc).

2. The wound to Shepard's side: When Shepard shoots Andersen, she shoots him in the lower left flank. Shortly after this, Shepard inspects a wound on her own left flank- she puts a hand to the wound, then brings it away and looks confused by the blood on her fingers. This seems to me a clear indicator that something is surreal or not right about the scenario.

3. The child and the dream sequences: When Shepard first sees the child in the air duct, the child says: "You can't save me." Shepard looks away for a moment, then looks back and the child is gone- at this point a low growl can be heard. From that point on, Shepard encounters the child in a series of dream sequences. During these sequences Shepard sees 'black, oily shadows'- the description the Rachni Queen gave of the experience of being indoctrinated- and hears the voices of both the Reapers and his former dead crewmen. The dreams culminate with Shepard watching himself joining with the boy and then burning alive. This seems to me a clear indicator that Shepard's psyche is under assault, and a warning that joining the boy is the wrong decision.

4. Shepard's eyes: If you choose the Control or Synthesis options in the final sequence, your eyes turn bright blue and your skin flakes away to reveal a black, husk-like corruption underneath. In Mass Effect 1 the villain was Saren, who wanted organic and biological life to join together (synthesis). Saren was indoctrinated and had bright blue eyes as a consequence. In Mass Effect 2 the villain was The Illusive Man, who wanted to control the Reapers (control). The Illusive Man was indoctrinated and had the same bright blue eyes. These seem to me clear indicators that choosing control or synthesis indicated 'giving in' to indoctrination.

5. The breath: If you choose 'destroy' (ie- not giving in to indoctrination) and have a high enough EMS, the last thing you see is Shepard, lying in rubble, taking a sharp intake of breath. This seems to me a clear indicator that choosing destroy breaks Shepard out of indoctrination, and that she never left earth (otherwise she would have died during the destruction of the Citadel).

Implicit - This is information from the text that circumstantially indicates that IT might be true.

1. The musical cues: If you choose control or synthesis, the same musical cue is played- dark music and the blare of a Reaper horn. If you choose destroy, a hopeful piano song is played. Given the importance of music in the game, this subtly points towards IT being true.

2. The 'garden world': This is quite important and oft discussed. In all choices, the Normandy is inexplicably in transit via mass relay when the relays are destroyed. The reason for this is not revealed. The Normandy crash lands in a 'garden paradise', and Joker plus two crewmembers emerge. If you chose Synthesis, EDI is one of them. Otherwise it is your love interest and closest companion, or the squad you were with in the London battle if you had no LI. This makes no sense- why would Joker pick up the people who were just with you on the planet and then flee the system? When asked about this incongruity, the official Mass Effect twitter account said: "Probably a good thing to be cautious of." This seems to me a clue that what you saw is suspect or not real for some reason- most likely because Shepard, in his final moments, wanted to imagine that his closest friends escaped and were safe in paradise.

3. The 'stargazer' epilogue: The last lines in the series are: "Okay, there is time for one more story." This seems to me an indicator that Shepard's story is not finished and that they planned to extend it all along.

4. The black distortion: During your conversation with Andersen and the Illusive Man, black, oily shadows appear at the corners of the screen. The game seems to indicate that this is the Illusive Man attempting to exert some kind of control over you, but there are multiple scenes in the rest of the story that go to some lengths to point out that The Illusive Man thought about but did not install a device for controlling Shepard. When he forces you to shoot Andersen, TIM says: "Look at what they can do!" indicating that you are, in fact, being influenced by indoctrination.

5. The 'hum' on the Normandy: James repeatedly asks: "What's that humming?" and "Do you hear that hum?" during casual conversation on the Normandy. A low-level hum is previously established as one of the early signs of indoctrination. Some have theorized that EDI herself could be the source of the hum, since her new body was appropriated from Reaper tech. This at least seems an indicator that something is amiss.

6. The voice of the Star Child: When talking to the crucible entity, there are three voices- the child's voice, then male Shepard in the right ear and the female Shepard in the left ear. This is an intentional clue that Shepard is literally 'talking to him/herself'- a subtle indicator that s/he is hallucinating. As the starchild encourages Shepard NOT to choose destroy, the voice of Harbinger is subtly overlaid, again indicating that Harbinger is trying to get Shepard to choose the control/synthesis options.

7. Andersen and The Illusive Man: It's really unclear how they got onto the Citadel. Andersen says he 'came up' after you did, but he is in the chamber before you, even though there is only one way in or out. At the start of the endgame sequence, you hear radio chatter saying that 'nobody got in'. It's established that this is part of the Citadel that 'no-one has ever seen before', even though there have been Asari studying the Citadel for thousands of years. The Illusive Man appears from nowhere and appears heavily indoctrinated, his skin corrupted like a husk. These could be subtle indicators that Andersen and the Illusive Man's presence on the Citadel is suspicious.

External - This is information from outside the text (real world information) that circumstantially indicates that IT might be true.

1. Official reaction: Bioware has remained oddly tight-lipped about the entire endgame situation. They have expressly, repeatedly refused to confirm or deny IT. When asked at PAX, they said they wanted to keep it open ended to let people make up their own minds. Mike Gamble said on twitter, only a few days after release: "If the fans knew what was in store, the reaction would be different."

The community manager did let slip on twitter that she believed the endgame to be a hallucination- this tweet was quickly removed and the CM said she would not longer engage with fans in speculation on the ending, because some markets have not yet had a chance to play the game. I feel like she was given a slap on the wrist because they are playing an extremely long game, trying to remain as spoiler-free as possible on the ending. When questioned about IT, the CM said: "I want people to make up their own minds right now, then when more people have played we'll talk "

Even the announcement of the DLC was strangely vague and noncommittal. They did specify that there were 'proud of their artistic choices' (ie- they are not admitting that the errors were bugs or mistakes) and that the dlc would EXTEND the ending, not rewrite it. So unless IT is true, the complaints people have about the ending would remain. This indicates to me that the 'artistic choice' they made was IT.

2. Knights of the Old Republic: This is not the first time Bioware has ended a game with a WTF moment. KotOR ended with a reveal that the villain of the game was YOU. This was meant to be an 'I am your father' moment. I believe they are trying to do a similar cultural watermark moment with ME3 (oft described as the Star Wars of its generation)- only bigger.

3. How games are made: I am a project manager at a company that makes educational games. Games are not written like books. It is facile to say that Bioware simply ran out of time so they rushed the ending. That's not how games are made. When you initiate the project you scope out the entire story FIRST, before anything is made. This is BASIC project management, something I assume Bioware has mastered by now. Yes you do cut corners as deadlines loom, but you don't cut them on the ending, you cut them on things like side missions and dlc and QA. A game isn't made in the order you play it- you don't do the first 95% first and then finish up the last 5% just before publish- especially in a game like ME3 where all your choices tie into each other in such a way that it would have all needed to be intricately mapped out beforehand. Different parts get worked on simultaneously- the ending would have been getting made at the same time as the beginning. In other words: The ending was planned. It is meant to be the way it is. The odd things are bugs or errors or bad writing, they are clues, put there specifically to guide us to the Indoctrination Theory conclusion.

The alternative to this is that Bioware simply screwed up, and since the previous 95% of the game was so good, that's not an alternative that seems logical to me (although I certainly admit it is a possibility).

Anyway, I will add more evidence about IT to this thread as I come across it (there is definitely more out there), but would welcome your input, for or against the theory.

As it stands, I am convinced IT is true and that the ending dlc will bear this out. That said, I am willing to be wrong on this and have frequently questioned myself on the issue, so am happy to hear alternatives to the theory that also explain the odd events in the finale.

Sources

http://www.forbes.com/sites/insertco...eryones-heads/
http://social.bioware.com/forum/1/to...ndex/9727423/1
http://acavyos.de.tl/FAQ.htm
http://www.thevine.com.au/life/tech/...nding-debacle/
http://www.gamefront.com/mass-effect...nation-theory/
http://pg4d.wordpress.com/tag/indoctrination-theory/
http://thatguywiththeglasses.com/bt/...n-theory-a-dlc

Last edited by Destructor; April 30 2012 at 05:32 AM.
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Old April 30 2012, 03:48 AM   #2
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Re: ME3: The argument for/against Indoctrination Theory (Spoilers)

Though I would like to think the ending was other than it was, Bioware has stated that the events in the ending occurred in real time, and had effectively nullified the Indoctrination Theory. The Extended Ending DLC will elaborate on those events.
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Old April 30 2012, 04:51 AM   #3
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Re: ME3: The argument for/against Indoctrination Theory (Spoilers)

Do you have a link to that statement, throwback? I have been reading exhaustively on this issue for the last five days and have not come across that, would welcome any information you could direct me to.
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Old April 30 2012, 09:03 AM   #4
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Re: ME3: The argument for/against Indoctrination Theory (Spoilers)

It's a nice theory, but I don't buy it for a second. Most of that stuff is easily refuted. I won't go point for point, but I will say the tree thing is nonsense. You can clearly see the same trees during the charge *before* Harbinger cuts you down.

As for the dreams themselves, they're not a side-effect of indoctrination. People who are indoctrinated have *waking* hallucinations. You don't have the be a psychologist to interpret the purpose of the dreams. It's Shepard's expression of guilt over all those she couldn't save. That's why if you listen to the background "chatter" you can hear a distorted version of the kid's lines from the opening level ("you can't help me." "everyone's dying!") mixed in with reaper sounds. On top of that you can hear different voices of characters who've died. Obviously this is more obvious if you have a Shepard that lost a lot of people in the suicide mission, otherwise all you're likely to hear is the VS and maybe Mordon or Eve. As for why it's in a park (note: there are benches, so it's not the woods)...I suppose it's an expression of organic civilization, that is to say natural life (ie: trees) but grown within an artificial setting. On the other hand it could be a metaphor for how the reapers cultivate and manage organic civilizations. Either way, these are valid and consistent with Shepard's POV and how her subconsious might be processing reality.

Bottom line though; if the indoctrination theory is true then the game ends with Shepard half dead, buried in rubble while everyone she cares about is being cut to ribbons. It's actually *worse* than what we got since according to this theory, the Reapers won and you get even *less* closure. If they were going to introduce an indoctrination sub-plot (as cool as that might be) they wouldn't do it like *this*.
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Old April 30 2012, 09:50 AM   #5
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Re: ME3: The argument for/against Indoctrination Theory (Spoilers)

Reverend wrote: View Post
As for the dreams themselves, they're not a side-effect of indoctrination. People who are indoctrinated have *waking* hallucinations.
Then what are the dreams there for? Why do they seem to have an arc, why do they see to be trying to convey information, and what is the point of that information, if Indoctrination Theory is not true?

Reverend wrote: View Post
Bottom line though; if the indoctrination theory is true then the game ends with Shepard half dead, buried in rubble while everyone she cares about is being cut to ribbons. It's actually *worse* than what we got since according to this theory, the Reapers won and you get even *less* closure. If they were going to introduce an indoctrination sub-plot (as cool as that might be) they wouldn't do it like *this*.
Well, one of the merits of Indoctrination Theory is that you CAN extend the ending- even if Shep WAS indoctrinated, it's not like Saren and Illusive Man couldn't break free- they regained control in their own ways. This means that even if you are indoctrinated, the ending dlc may cover his escape from that (complete speculation here, obviously), and if you escaped indoctrination (as the final email from Kaiden implies) you presumably recover and take the right back to the Reapers.

On the other hand, if Indoc theory is NOT true, what would the ending dlc consist of? Everyone stranded without mass relays, Shepard dead, earth in ruins? Not much story opportunity there, frankly. Loads of story opportunity if Indoc is true- especially since there's so much evidence that that is what they intended. Whether Shep was or wasn't indoctrinated does not necessarily mean that the Reapers won or lost- it just means it's all open for interpretation.

If it's not true, how DID Shepard survive the destruction of the Citadel?
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Old April 30 2012, 10:14 AM   #6
Camren
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Re: ME3: The argument for/against Indoctrination Theory (Spoilers)

I think the IT is a desperate attempt to somehow explain the ending. It reminds me of all the "Matrix-within-a-Matrix" theories to explain how Neo was able to affect machines outside of the Matrix because nobody wanted to believe Neo had magical powers in the real world.
IT is a fan-made theory and has no basis in reality and anyone believing Bioware had intended this is living in cloud cuckoo land.
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Old April 30 2012, 11:59 AM   #7
Reverend
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Re: ME3: The argument for/against Indoctrination Theory (Spoilers)

Destructor wrote: View Post
Then what are the dreams there for? Why do they seem to have an arc, why do they see to be trying to convey information, and what is the point of that information, if Indoctrination Theory is not true?
They have an arc because they're part of Shepard's own arc. She's feeling/fighting the increasing pressure and guilt over all the people she can't save. Every time she has the dream there are more dead, more ghosts, more voices of friends she's lost and in the very last one, she sees herself burning with the kid-personification of those she couldn't save. She knows she's going to die.

Well, one of the merits of Indoctrination Theory is that you CAN extend the ending- even if Shep WAS indoctrinated, it's not like Saren and Illusive Man couldn't break free- they regained control in their own ways. This means that even if you are indoctrinated, the ending dlc may cover his escape from that (complete speculation here, obviously), and if you escaped indoctrination (as the final email from Kaiden implies) you presumably recover and take the right back to the Reapers.
That is a *horrible* concept. Leaving aside for a second the implied denial and the "Bobby in the shower" aspect of this argument, it means the game as presented HAS NO ENDING. It just stops, with no conclusion or any clue as to how to defeat the reapers. "Just keep fighting" isn't enough. It was said throughout the game, ad nauseum, that "there's no way to defeat the reapers conventionally." Hackett says it, Liara says it, EDI says it and Vendetta says it. The reapers are too powerful and too numerous to be beaten in open combat. The crucible was the *only* hope they had and the only purpose of the fleet was to buy enough time to get the thing into position and switch it on.

So what happens exactly in this mythical DLC that confirms the "indoctrination theory"? You wind up back in London and have to go though all that crap again? Only this time it magically makes more sense and gives you the mega-happy ending? If they wanted that then that's what they'd have done *the first time*. It would have been a lot easier and cheaper than what's being proposed.

On the other hand, if Indoc theory is NOT true, what would the ending dlc consist of? Everyone stranded without mass relays, Shepard dead, earth in ruins? Not much story opportunity there, frankly. Loads of story opportunity if Indoc is true- especially since there's so much evidence that that is what they intended. Whether Shep was or wasn't indoctrinated does not necessarily mean that the Reapers won or lost- it just means it's all open for interpretation.
This is the real crux of it though, isn't it? as Camren points out, it's not that the indoctrination theory is correct, it's that a lot of fans are desperate for any alternative to the ending they were presented with. It's time to let go. The ending was rushed and poorly written. Deal with it.

If it's not true, how DID Shepard survive the destruction of the Citadel?
Except the citadel isn't destroyed. If you actually watch the cinematic again, you'll see that the last we see of the citadel, it's still there. Yes, it's taking damage from debris impacts and the ward arms appear to on the verge of breaking away from the presidium ring but the major structures appear to be perfectly intact, including it appears the base of the tower where Shepard would have been. The "bang" at the centre wasn't the citadel, it was the crucible blowing apart.
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Old April 30 2012, 01:55 PM   #8
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Re: ME3: The argument for/against Indoctrination Theory (Spoilers)

Reverend wrote: View Post
Except the citadel isn't destroyed. If you actually watch the cinematic again, you'll see that the last we see of the citadel, it's still there. Yes, it's taking damage from debris impacts and the ward arms appear to on the verge of breaking away from the presidium ring but the major structures appear to be perfectly intact, including it appears the base of the tower where Shepard would have been. The "bang" at the centre wasn't the citadel, it was the crucible blowing apart.
So not only does Shepard survive the explosion from blowing up the tube, she survives the explosion from the Crucible that's about, oh, 50ft away from her? An explosion that DOES break apart the arms of the Citadel. 12 o'clock arm can be seen rotating counter clockwise away from the Citadel.

So how does Shepard survive not one only one explosion at spitting distance, but another explosion still close by that's powerful enough to destroy the Citadel?

And more importantly, how does EMS have anything to do with Shepard surviving the explosions?
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Old April 30 2012, 02:35 PM   #9
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Re: ME3: The argument for/against Indoctrination Theory (Spoilers)

Where is it even established that indoctrinated folk suffer hallucinations? They might get the odd vision from the Reapers but not to the extent where an entire sequence such as the one we saw was simply imagined.
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Old April 30 2012, 03:38 PM   #10
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Re: ME3: The argument for/against Indoctrination Theory (Spoilers)

When I completed the game many weeks ago, I believed in the IT for a few days, but following the information coming out of Bioware at that time made it very, very clear that it was an unintended fan theory and nothing more. Bioware weren't prepared for the backlash, they thought the ending was fine and had no plan for handling the reaction they got. They went into siege-mode, their PR department couldn't handle the hate, several of their leading community relations people had to step away from engaging with fans for a few weeks because their disorganised response was making things worse. They blacked-out as much as they could and retreated to come up with the current plan of releasing an extended ending DLC. There was no sign on an ingenious plot under the surface, it was the panicked reaction of a company that was coming to terms with just how badly they had screwed up.

If the IT was true then the "real" ending would have been released by now, they wouldn't have allowed the bad publicity to last for another 3 months. Also, Casey Hudson would have been fired for the damage that the stunt has done to Bioware's reputation.

Looking back now I realise that my willingness to believe in the IT was because I was in the first stage of grief; denial. I didn't want to believe that the ending sucked that bad so I clung on to any idea that promised it wasn't so. But after a few days it became clear that it was so, and that denial turned into anger. I'm currently in a holding pattern, waiting to see what the extended ending DLC will bring. I don't think that ME3 will ever have a good ending as it's sticking with the Catalyst and its bullshit, but if they can provide closure for the characters and make me feel like my decisions mattered, I will accept that.
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Old April 30 2012, 10:51 PM   #11
Reverend
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Re: ME3: The argument for/against Indoctrination Theory (Spoilers)

Camren wrote: View Post
Where is it even established that indoctrinated folk suffer hallucinations? They might get the odd vision from the Reapers but not to the extent where an entire sequence such as the one we saw was simply imagined.
From the codex:-
"...Organics undergoing indoctrination may complain of headaches and buzzing or ringing in their ears. As time passes, they have feelings of "being watched" and hallucinations of "ghostly" presences. Ultimately, the Reaper gains the ability to use the victim's body to amplify its signals, manifesting as "alien" voices in the mind."
You may also recall the recordings of the Cerberus scientists on the derelict reaper in ME2. Aside from experiencing shared memories, confusion, non-specific feelings of oppression, dread and awe for the reaper we saw at least one of them see things that weren't really there. Oh and just so we're clear on our terminology, an hallucination is by definition a waking phenomenon. It is a sensory perception without an external stimuli. By no definition can it occur while asleep as there is a separate word for that and it's called "dreaming."

Jeyl wrote: View Post
Reverend wrote: View Post
Except the citadel isn't destroyed. If you actually watch the cinematic again, you'll see that the last we see of the citadel, it's still there. Yes, it's taking damage from debris impacts and the ward arms appear to on the verge of breaking away from the presidium ring but the major structures appear to be perfectly intact, including it appears the base of the tower where Shepard would have been. The "bang" at the centre wasn't the citadel, it was the crucible blowing apart.
So not only does Shepard survive the explosion from blowing up the tube, she survives the explosion from the Crucible that's about, oh, 50ft away from her? An explosion that DOES break apart the arms of the Citadel. 12 o'clock arm can be seen rotating counter clockwise away from the Citadel.

So how does Shepard survive not one only one explosion at spitting distance, but another explosion still close by that's powerful enough to destroy the Citadel?

And more importantly, how does EMS have anything to do with Shepard surviving the explosions?
She head-butts uppity Krogan and karate kicks varren in the face. She's just that hard!
Seriously, I don't pretend any of the endings make any kind of logical sense and Shepard surviving long enough to take at least one more breath is the least of the plot-holes.

I suppose you could argue that the area was encased in a powerful kinetic barrier that took the brunt of the damage. I mean something had to be keeping the atmosphere in, no?
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Old May 1 2012, 12:57 AM   #12
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Re: ME3: The argument for/against Indoctrination Theory (Spoilers)

Official XBOX Magazine, June 2012, page 08:

If a creative team delivers what they think is a fitting conclusion for their series, haven't they done their job even when we still want more?
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Old May 1 2012, 01:17 AM   #13
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Re: ME3: The argument for/against Indoctrination Theory (Spoilers)

Jeyl wrote: View Post
So not only does Shepard survive the explosion from blowing up the tube, she survives the explosion from the Crucible that's about, oh, 50ft away from her? An explosion that DOES break apart the arms of the Citadel. 12 o'clock arm can be seen rotating counter clockwise away from the Citadel.
This. It doesn't matter if the Citadel survived or not- Shepard walks INTO the explosion. There is no way she would have survived- yet she does. IT explains this.

Jeyl wrote: View Post
And more importantly, how does EMS have anything to do with Shepard surviving the explosions?
My theory would be that if you have gathered sufficient forces, they would rally and press the attack on the area where Shepard was hit by the beam. This is supported by the fact that if Shepard does survive, you receive a message from Kaiden in the datapad app saying he will come down and see you- if they let him. The implication being that you are hospitalized.

TheGodBen wrote: View Post
Bioware at that time made it very, very clear that it was an unintended fan theory and nothing more.
Can you direct me to a statement Bioware that makes this clear? I swear I've scoured the internet up and down and every statement from Bioware seems so purposefully vague that it does nothing but confirm my suspicions- why wouldn't they deny it, were it not true? The fact that they keep talking about 'artistic intent' and 'wanting to give everyone time to interpret it themselves' and that they are remaining extremely tight-lipped on the matter gives credence to IT. I actually think the response from Bioware is a symptom of IT- they can't confirm or deny it because to do either would be to deny the whole point.

TheGodBen wrote: View Post
They blacked-out as much as they could and retreated to come up with the current plan of releasing an extended ending DLC.
Again, that is not how games are created. You don't throw them together in a couple of months. It is all pre-planned as part of the original project planning of the game- if the ending dlc really is 'the truth' and IT is revealed to be true, that means this was planned in advance. All these fans crowing about how they 'held the line' and 'retook mass effect' are living in a dreamworld. Creating game content takes a very long time- the original game structure needs to be built to accommodate it. This was planned- it's not just the clues in the game that point to this, it's the fact that Bioware very quickly responded with 'Yep, there is more.' Hell, a few days after release, Mike Gamble said the reaction of fans would be different if they knew what was coming- ie, they had content planned BEFORE the game was even released. Obviously they did- that is how game development works. You plan everything first, THEN you execute it. To pretend that Bioware is only just now developing this DLC is ridiculous- development cycles are way too long to explain it.

TheGodBen wrote: View Post
Also, Casey Hudson would have been fired for the damage that the stunt has done to Bioware's reputation.
But he hasn't been fired. Because this has all been planned from the start.

TheGodBen wrote: View Post
Looking back now I realise that my willingness to believe in the IT was because I was in the first stage of grief; denial.
That is a really good point and, look, I admit I may be wrong on this and denial is definitely a good reason for that. But as I looked into it, I mean, there is just so much in-game evidence (and external evidence), it actually became clearer and clearer that IT was right- because no other explanation covers everything that was wrong with the ending. Given how intricately the rest of the game was written (seriously, have you read all the codex entries? Looked at how much the script changes based on your decisions), it makes no sense that the ending would be so nonsensical. Unless it was intentional- and I believe it was. This is why Bioware has said they are sticking with their original ending- because they know it's not the real ending- they have always known. Because it's written into the game.

Reverend wrote: View Post
Seriously, I don't pretend any of the endings make any kind of logical sense and Shepard surviving long enough to take at least one more breath is the least of the plot-holes.
Unless you subscribe to IT- in which case all of the endings make sense. In fact, that is why I believe in it- because it's the only explanation that covers all of the plot holes- in fact, it relies on the plot holes to indicate to you that something is not right.

throwback wrote: View Post
Official XBOX Magazine, June 2012, page 08:

If a creative team delivers what they think is a fitting conclusion for their series, haven't they done their job even when we still want more?
If IT is not true, then everyone is right and Bioware just wrote a shitty, nonsensical ending. I ask you: Given the incredible (and it is incredible- no computer game is as well-scripted as Mass Effect 3) writing in the other 95% of the game... how likely is that? Seriously, how likely is it that they did an amazing job on the first 95% but just phoned it in for the most important part? It's not impossible, it just seems unlikely. The alternative is that the ending is actually incredibly scripted- it is scripted as a battle in Shepard's mind, with specific clues put there to indicate to us that it was not real- not just in the sequence itself, but layered throughout the entire game, like the last season of the Sopranos was filled with clues about the final moment. That's amazing writing.

The reason we were left wanting more is because we became so involved with the characters and their story- because the writing was so good. IT is just an extension of that. I think the reason people have trouble believing in it is because we're not used to games getting metaphysical on us- even though ME3 not only puts us inside dream sequences earlier in the game, but it also puts us in another artificial environment- the Geth network. That's not 'real', either, but it seems real, and has real-world consequences. I think those sequences were preparing us for the final sequence. I think the clues were being laid down to point us in the right direction. Everything comes together. The only other explanation is gross incompetence, but even that doesn't really make sense.
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Old May 1 2012, 03:26 AM   #14
-Brett-
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Re: ME3: The argument for/against Indoctrination Theory (Spoilers)

As dissatisfied as I am with the ending, I don't for a moment subscribe to the idea that it was all a dream. Not only does it reek of wishful thinking, but it would really only create a whole new set of problems with the ending. First and foremost being that there isn't one.
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Old May 1 2012, 03:34 AM   #15
Destructor
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Re: ME3: The argument for/against Indoctrination Theory (Spoilers)

-Brett- wrote: View Post
As dissatisfied as I am with the ending, I don't for a moment subscribe to the idea that it was all a dream. Not only does it reek of wishful thinking, but it would really only create a whole new set of problems with the ending. First and foremost being that there isn't one.
Well, I don't know if it was 'all a dream'. I would say it was a battle that took place inside Shepard's mind. That's no more or less a dream than his trip into the Geth consensus- it's a metaphysical representation of a real-world struggle.

You're right about there being no ending, though. I think Bioware took a big (huge) risk with this strategy, but I think their thinking was: If you don't want the DLC, you can accept the ending as given. If you do want the DLC, the veil is lifted and the real ending is revealed. Why else would the DLC be called 'The Truth', unless what we have already seen is not the truth?
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