What do you guys think about ME3's Indoctrination Theory?

fuzzybabybunny

Moderator<br>Digital & Video Cameras
Moderator
Jan 2, 2006
10,455
35
91
SPOILERS of the ME3 ending

http://www.forbes.com/sites/insertc...mass-effect-3-ending-go-over-everyones-heads/

I just heard about this. I watched the video and suffice to say, I'm pretty convinced that it is a possibility for sure. And if BioWare gave away the explanation in a free DLC, it would be one of the most masterful moves of videogame storytelling ever. I even HOPE that the theory is correct. I love it. The thing that gives me considerable pause though is that some ME3 writers have publicly denounced the original ending, saying they were consulted on the ending, etc.
 

Gooberlx2

Lifer
May 4, 2001
15,381
6
91
I think it's good detective work and fan fiction. Pretty remarkable how well the pieces fit together, but I don't think there's much chance that was Bioware's original intention. If it was, I'd call it a fucking brilliant tactic to stir up and, essentially, "indoctrinate" the gamer base.
 

fuzzybabybunny

Moderator<br>Digital & Video Cameras
Moderator
Jan 2, 2006
10,455
35
91
I think it's good detective work and fan fiction. Pretty remarkable how well the pieces fit together, but I don't think there's much chance that was Bioware's original intention. If it was, I'd call it a fucking brilliant tactic to stir up and, essentially, "indoctrinate" the gamer base.

That's why I wish it were true. To have a false ending? In this day and age when all these highly reviewed games are just more of the same old run and gun and pretty graphics and simple endings, I'd love to have a game with truly masterful storytelling. A total reversal of the entire gaming base.

And yeah, the parts in the game just fit together so, so well. The ending created even MORE plot holes and questions, but perhaps that's the whole point, because the ending wasn't the actual ending. It wasn't real, hence the plot holes and all the things that didn't make sense.

But unfortunately the issues inside the game can make sense based on the theory, but the theory doesn't explain the real world issues like the writers denouncing the lead writers for writing the ending all on their own. Maybe BioWare really did screw up? Maybe the lead writers chose to pull a fast one on their own staff? Maybe the staff writers are all in this together and faking indignation?
 

Gheris

Senior member
Oct 24, 2005
305
0
0
Doubtful that this is the case. If so i will say what I said in the other thread. If the indoctrination theory is true than Bioware is clueless about it's player base. You can make an ending "smart", but when you make it too "smart" you just end up looking like an arse.

My personal opinion? Nobody really did an in depth check of the ending. If they had, anyone with a clue would have known that this does not reward the playerbase, esepcially those who have played all 3 games...carrying over the same save. It's abrupt, confusing, and leaves the player with more questions than answers. This is OK at times but nothing was really addressed....AT ALL.

In the end though, it's getting old. Bioware screwed up the ending(s). End of story.
 

Beev

Diamond Member
Apr 20, 2006
7,775
0
0
the general idea is that in reality, the entire ending sequence is occurring in your character&#8217;s mind.

No. That isn't what's happening. And if it IS then no amount of writing or set up would make it okay. If it's true it's just straight up a poor ending.
 

Red Storm

Lifer
Oct 2, 2005
14,233
234
106
No. That isn't what's happening. And if it IS then no amount of writing or set up would make it okay. If it's true it's just straight up a poor ending.

Exactly. This is like saying "What if Lost's ending was all a dream?" That doesn't make it any less crappy.
 

sigurros81

Platinum Member
Nov 30, 2010
2,371
0
0
Any ending that is "all in the person's mind", to any form of story telling, whether it's a novel, movie, or videogame, is just a cop-out. With the exception to the ending to Inception of course since the entire plot of that movie revolves around the mind, so it makes sense in the context. But to pull a fast one on the reader at the very last 1% of the narrative is just a lazy way for writers to address plot-holes in their stories without having to resort to actual work to fix their stories.
 

waggy

No Lifer
Dec 14, 2000
68,145
10
81
I think it's good detective work and fan fiction. Pretty remarkable how well the pieces fit together, but I don't think there's much chance that was Bioware's original intention. If it was, I'd call it a fucking brilliant tactic to stir up and, essentially, "indoctrinate" the gamer base.

agreed

Also from i been hearing rumors that its actually done by Bioware.
 

Gheris

Senior member
Oct 24, 2005
305
0
0
Exactly. This is like saying "What if Lost's ending was all a dream?" That doesn't make it any less crappy.

Not to go OT here but I don't get the Lost references at all. I have seen it mentioned in multiple posts. None of that ending was a dream. The ending was fully explained. A lot of questions were left unanswered but at it's core you found out what happened to the characters. ME3 does not do that. Totally different situation.
 

Red Storm

Lifer
Oct 2, 2005
14,233
234
106
Not to go OT here but I don't get the Lost references at all. I have seen it mentioned in multiple posts. None of that ending was a dream. The ending was fully explained. A lot of questions were left unanswered but at it's core you found out what happened to the characters. ME3 does not do that. Totally different situation.

Early on during the show's run, a lot of people theorized it was all going on in someone's mind, which the writers immediately shot down because they said they wouldn't do that to the fans.

... which is why it's odd that people find this indoctrination theory so compelling, when it is exactly the same thing as it all being a dream. That's called a cop-out, and does not improve ME's ending at all.
 

fuzzybabybunny

Moderator<br>Digital & Video Cameras
Moderator
Jan 2, 2006
10,455
35
91
Any ending that is "all in the person's mind", to any form of story telling, whether it's a novel, movie, or videogame, is just a cop-out. With the exception to the ending to Inception of course since the entire plot of that movie revolves around the mind, so it makes sense in the context. But to pull a fast one on the reader at the very last 1% of the narrative is just a lazy way for writers to address plot-holes in their stories without having to resort to actual work to fix their stories.

I think that if the Indoctrination Ending was the actual goal of BioWare, their most grievous error was making it too subtle, too hard for people to figure out. And the "all in one's mind" being a cop out - you're referring to entire movies where the entire length of the movie was actually just in the main character's mind. The slow play mind fuck. I don't see any problem with having 99% of the content of this game being real, and a small 1% of the game being an actual real mind trip. Hell, we're dealing with a game where ME1's main enemy Saren was under mind control (that was the whole point), ME2's main plot was centered around using mind control and the Illusive Man is in the early stages of mind control, and ME3's plot has the Illusive Man and his minions now completely 100% under mind control. Did you expect something different? You can argue that ME is just like Inception since so much of it revolves around the mind, just with far more additional complexity in the plot.

I was reading all these posts blasting the ending for being this and that, the only thing different was the color of the explosions, etc. So I was prepared for a complete let down when I played the ending for myself.

It was anything but.

1. I immediately noticed some weirdness during the ending portion. After I got hit by the laser I was sad seeing Liara and Garrus laying in pools of their own blood. I was confused at the infinite ammo pistol that took normal enemies down with no problem. I figured that they just had to do this because at this point the coders can't really put out enemies at full strength and expect the player to fend them off limping with just a pistol and no shields.

2. I remember being very confused that the radio said no one survived and that they were all pulling out. Hello? I survived... *waves*

3. I get transported to the hall of dead bodies and hear Anderson. WTF.... the radio said no one survived.

4. I tried shooting the collector with my pistol and nothing.

5. I limp to Anderson, do the whole cut scene thing with Illusive Man, shoot Anderson, shoot Illusive Man, sit down with Anderson and feeling very confused when Shepard is nursing a bleeding wound in his side. When did that happen? I figured it was just from the initial laser charge thing.

6. I see the boy ghost thing and thought WTF is the boy doing here? And I had also figured that Shepard's nightmares of the boy in the woods didn't really mean anything. They were just used to create artistic whatevers, to show that he was stressing and thinking of the boy.

7. Then I destroy everything and I get the heartbeat ending and by this time I was really confused. Why am I now buried in rubble... on Earth?

8. I was far more confused at the ending than being let down by the simplicity of it, hence the reason I searched for an explanation for it. I went in prepared for a really simple, rushed ending with one of 3 colors. I instead got something that left me with more questions because the ending just didn't make sense.

To me the Indoctrination ending fills in all the holes that I had during my own playthrough.
 
Last edited:

Gheris

Senior member
Oct 24, 2005
305
0
0
Early on during the show's run, a lot of people theorized it was all going on in someone's mind, which the writers immediately shot down because they said they wouldn't do that to the fans.

... which is why it's odd that people find this indoctrination theory so compelling, when it is exactly the same thing as it all being a dream. That's called a cop-out, and does not improve ME's ending at all.

I think you have me mistaken. As in my previous post I am not happy with the endings. Check my previous post on this topic. I am complimenting the ending of Lost for giving closure, something that ME3 does not do at all.
 

yllus

Elite Member & Lifer
Aug 20, 2000
20,577
432
126
I actually really enjoy when the public works together like a giant distributed brain to come up with plausible theories like these. Unfortunately, all those minds working in unison are in fact a lot smarter than the writers are - that the indoctrination theory makes sense to the extent that it does is completely by luck.

BioWare wouldn't dare give the "real" ending via DLC. What would be the point in that other than to enrage people who don't have Internet access to their consoles and who paid money for what is apparently not a complete game?

My secret hope is that with a "Effective Readiness" of some ridiculous number, you unlock the true ending that's already on the ME3 discs, hidden and waiting. But that's also very unlikely.
 

yllus

Elite Member & Lifer
Aug 20, 2000
20,577
432
126
5. I limp to Anderson, do the whole cut scene thing with Illusive Man, shoot Anderson, shoot Illusive Man, sit down with Anderson and feeling very confused when Shepard is nursing a bleeding wound in his side. When did that happen? I figured it was just from the initial laser charge thing.

The one enemy ("Marauder" or "Marauder Shields") that you encounter between getting up after being blown up by the laser and you actually entered the bright light to be transported to the Citadel shoots you in the midsection before you can shoot him.
 

Beev

Diamond Member
Apr 20, 2006
7,775
0
0
The one enemy ("Marauder" or "Marauder Shields") that you encounter between getting up after being blown up by the laser and you actually entered the bright light to be transported to the Citadel shoots you in the midsection before you can shoot him.

(there are three husks too)

The marauder simply shoots at you. If it hit you in the midsection in your game that was merely a coincidence :p
 

StinkyPinky

Diamond Member
Jul 6, 2002
6,763
783
126
I think you guys are giving Bioware way too much credit. They changed entire writing teams for this game for a start. More likely they rushed the ending and simply screwed it up.

Bioware are not the company they once were and I think some of us are perhaps reaching a bit to try and justify their decline.
 

Gheris

Senior member
Oct 24, 2005
305
0
0
To me the Indoctrination ending fills in all the holes that I had during my own playthrough.

Good points, but here's the issue. If we are going to see a true ending to this, then how are we going to get it? The indoctrination ending sells me an unfinished game. Bioware states that the trilogy will be the end of Shep's story. So what will be the real ending? DLC? Well then it better be free. Otherwise it's an unfinished game in my eyes, and the only indoctrination going on at this point would be Bioware indoctrinated by EA to release unfinished products then charge extra just to see the real ending.
 

yllus

Elite Member & Lifer
Aug 20, 2000
20,577
432
126
(there are three husks too)

The marauder simply shoots at you. If it hit you in the midsection in your game that was merely a coincidence :p

I dunno - I think getting shot once during slo-mo is a scripted event in the game - no way to avoid it. And I'm fairly certain that between being knocked down and having all of your armor blasted off and the end of the game, there is exactly one enemy (save for Illusive Man) in your way.
 

StinkyPinky

Diamond Member
Jul 6, 2002
6,763
783
126
Good points, but here's the issue. If we are going to see a true ending to this, then how are we going to get it? The indoctrination ending sells me an unfinished game. Bioware states that the trilogy will be the end of Shep's story. So what will be the real ending? DLC? Well then it better be free. Otherwise it's an unfinished game in my eyes, and the only indoctrination going on at this point would be Bioware indoctrinated by EA to release unfinished products then charge extra just to see the real ending.

What, you mean ripping out Javik and his mission and then selling it for $10 makes them not prone to this sort of behavior?
 

bebopulation

Junior Member
Mar 26, 2012
15
0
66
8. I was far more confused at the ending than being let down by the simplicity of it, hence the reason I searched for an explanation for it. I went in prepared for a really simple, rushed ending with one of 3 colors. I instead got something that left me with more questions because the ending just didn't make sense.

Yup, me too. In the other ME3 thread I brought up 3 points similar to your list:

1) You are locked in slow motion with no GUI/HUD available. This is exactly as it is in the dream sequences that haunt Shepard throughout the game. What point are the dream sequences if not to create a precedent for the ultimately confusing ending?

2) Shepard shoots Anderson in the arm -- the same arm that Shepard is bleeding from after Anderson passes. Shepard's arm was not covered in blood before this. The game goes to [not so subtle] lengths to bring attention to this detail by panning the camera IMMEDIATELY after Anderson passes.

3) In the 'good' ending following the destruction of the reapers, Shepard is shown waking up in a pile of rubble on earth. It is completely ridiculous to assume he survived the Citadel blowing up, burning through Earth's atomsphere and then crashing down thousands of miles when he's already bleeding to death and barely able to keep himself upright.

Nobody in that thread addressed these points and I doubt they'll address yours. It's easier for these people to remain angry at an ending that actually requires a good deal of thought rather than get spoon-fed another Michael Bay ending like they're used to getting. Shepard has been exposed to Reapers through all three games -- why should he be immune to the effects of indoctrination?

I give Bioware major props for the ending since it's so rare to get a thought-provoking ending that also ties together major themes that run throughout all 3 games.
 

PhatoseAlpha

Platinum Member
Apr 10, 2005
2,131
21
81
The only interesting question about the indoctrination theory is whether it's an example of stage 1: "Shock and Denial" or stage 3: "Anger and Bargaining".
 

StinkyPinky

Diamond Member
Jul 6, 2002
6,763
783
126
Yup, me too. In the other ME3 thread I brought up 3 points similar to your list:

1) You are locked in slow motion with no GUI/HUD available. This is exactly as it is in the dream sequences that haunt Shepard throughout the game. What point are the dream sequences if not to create a precedent for the ultimately confusing ending?

2) Shepard shoots Anderson in the arm -- the same arm that Shepard is bleeding from after Anderson passes. Shepard's arm was not covered in blood before this. The game goes to [not so subtle] lengths to bring attention to this detail by panning the camera IMMEDIATELY after Anderson passes.

3) In the 'good' ending following the destruction of the reapers, Shepard is shown waking up in a pile of rubble on earth. It is completely ridiculous to assume he survived the Citadel blowing up, burning through Earth's atomsphere and then crashing down thousands of miles when he's already bleeding to death and barely able to keep himself upright.

Nobody in that thread addressed these points and I doubt they'll address yours. It's easier for these people to remain angry at an ending that actually requires a good deal of thought rather than get spoon-fed another Michael Bay ending like they're used to getting. Shepard has been exposed to Reapers through all three games -- why should he be immune to the effects of indoctrination?

I give Bioware major props for the ending since it's so rare to get a thought-provoking ending that also ties together major themes that run throughout all 3 games.


Again, readin too much into it.

1) He was badly wounded and on his last legs. He's hardly in the shape to do special moves. The removal of the HUD is just to give the feeling he is seriously wounded. They do this in other games very often.

2) How do you know he was not shot before this? His arms were covered in blood prior to this already.

3) But he already did this in Part 2.
 

irishScott

Lifer
Oct 10, 2006
21,568
3
0
Yup, me too. In the other ME3 thread I brought up 3 points similar to your list:

1) You are locked in slow motion with no GUI/HUD available. This is exactly as it is in the dream sequences that haunt Shepard throughout the game. What point are the dream sequences if not to create a precedent for the ultimately confusing ending?

2) Shepard shoots Anderson in the arm -- the same arm that Shepard is bleeding from after Anderson passes. Shepard's arm was not covered in blood before this. The game goes to [not so subtle] lengths to bring attention to this detail by panning the camera IMMEDIATELY after Anderson passes.

3) In the 'good' ending following the destruction of the reapers, Shepard is shown waking up in a pile of rubble on earth. It is completely ridiculous to assume he survived the Citadel blowing up, burning through Earth's atomsphere and then crashing down thousands of miles when he's already bleeding to death and barely able to keep himself upright.

Nobody in that thread addressed these points and I doubt they'll address yours. It's easier for these people to remain angry at an ending that actually requires a good deal of thought rather than get spoon-fed another Michael Bay ending like they're used to getting. Shepard has been exposed to Reapers through all three games -- why should he be immune to the effects of indoctrination?

I give Bioware major props for the ending since it's so rare to get a thought-provoking ending that also ties together major themes that run throughout all 3 games.

Thought provoking? Yeah, if thinking about how to fill in the galaxy-sized (literally) plot holes they opened up. I'm not thinking about philosophy or heavy issues, I'm trying to figure out what the hell happened and how to make sense of a nonsensical situation. That's not "thought provoking", that's "forcing your fans to speculate for no reason."

And actually most fans want indoctrination theory to be real. Would ensure the possibility of a quality ending. The more cynical among us simply think it unlikely from a business standpoint (you know what'll make our game great? Not giving them the real ending but making them think it is!). But then again Bioware was too out of touch to foresee the biggest backlash in video game history, so I guess anything's possible.