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Default Mass Effect 3 - The Indoctrination Theory

March 21st, 2012, 17:18
Originally Posted by Ashindai View Post
Interesting letter from Dr. Ray Muzyka regarding the ME3 ending and new content.
Indeed most interesting. Looks to me like BW got caught off guard by fan reaction… again… At least this time they decided to do something to give themselves time to do something…

And on a related note, Forbes takes a look at the possibility of a ME3 Indoctrination ending in Did the Real Mass Effect 3 Ending Go Over Everyone's Heads?. The author sees negative ramifications for fans and future games if the ending is designed to sell future dlc (ala Couchpotato and Alrik Fassbauer) and comments on Muzyka's post.

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March 21st, 2012, 18:42
Originally Posted by RPGFool View Post
Indeed most interesting. Looks to me like BW got caught off guard by fan reaction… again… At least this time they decided to do something to give themselves time to do something…

And on a related note, Forbes takes a look at the possibility of a ME3 Indoctrination ending in Did the Real Mass Effect 3 Ending Go Over Everyone's Heads?. The author sees negative ramifications for fans and future games if the ending is designed to sell future dlc (ala Couchpotato and Alrik Fassbauer) and comments on Muzyka's post.

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Very interesting … but then this whole blow up is rather fascinating in many ways. Just read a lot of the threads linked in this thread (and need to get back to work).

I don't really care all that much. I prefer any game with multiple endings to have a variety of flavors from dark/sad to happy/light but as long as there is some logic to them I can deal with them.

The common problem I see in *this* thread is a misconception however. For many it is not about a "happy" ending but more about closure. The endings are sloppy and rushed and don't really resolve much … or at least that appears to be the most common complaint if you really start reading up on what is going on.

For myself I was fine. I know my ending and personally will just go with the indoctrination theory whether it is official or not … because it works, makes sense and fits into the game well enough that it is totally plausible.

In that regard some vagueness to endings can help the player, who is good at RPing to fill in the missing stuff, while still making sense within the context of the game (i.e. if you are going to create your own ending it will be more "real" if it doesnt' clearly go against anything presented in the game).

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March 21st, 2012, 19:11
Originally Posted by basharran View Post
Like I said before people can't cope with non-Hollywood endings and not so happy ever after. But taken into consideration what is happening during these 3 games it might be the best end to a game series to date. But as pointed out above BW will probably give in to the masses and effect another ending to the series. I just hope they keep the original ending in as well since I think it makes perfect sense.
Really? I would love it if you could explain it to me then because …
Spoiler – Ending spoilers ahead


The more I read about it the more I lean towards the Indoctrination Theory because it is frankly the only explanation, however far out it may be, that makes ANY kind of sense.

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March 21st, 2012, 19:53
Well it seems Bioware gave in to the pressure and will be adding more closure to the ending.

The developer is considering new content to augment or fix the ending that some fans have decried

BioWare is looking into new "content initiatives" to fix the ending of Mass Effect 3. The current set of endings for the game has angered some fans, leading to a few to file complaints with the Federal Trade Commission and the Better Business Bureau. Others on the BioWare Social Network have used Amazon's liberal return policy to return the game after they've finished playing. In a post on the official Bioware blog, co-founder Dr. Ray Muzyka has revealed that the developer is looking into further content to change or flesh out the ending of the game.

"Our first instinct is to defend our work and point to the high ratings offered by critics - but out of respect to our fans, we need to accept the criticism and feedback with humility," wrote Muzyka. "The passionate reaction of some of our most loyal players to the current endings in Mass Effect 3 is something that has genuinely surprised us. This is an issue we care about deeply, and we will respond to it in a fair and timely way. We're already working hard to do that."

"Exec Producer Casey Hudson and the team are hard at work on a number of game content initiatives that will help answer the questions, providing more clarity for those seeking further closure to their journey. You'll hear more on this in April. We're working hard to maintain the right balance between the artistic integrity of the original story while addressing the fan feedback we've received. This is in addition to our existing plan to continue providing new Mass Effect content and new full games, so rest assured that your journey in the Mass Effect universe can, and will, continue."

Muzyka also took on some of the fans that attacked BioWare and its employees in comments.

"Some of the criticism that has been delivered in the heat of passion by our most ardent fans, even if founded on valid principles, such as seeking more clarity to questions or looking for more closure, for example - has unfortunately become destructive rather than constructive. We listen and will respond to constructive criticism, but much as we will not tolerate individual attacks on our team members, we will not support or respond to destructive commentary," he added.
Wow the internet finally worked and the fans wont be ignored. What a glorious day. Now I'm waiting for all the journalists to write articles on how its wrong and were all entitled bastards again.

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March 21st, 2012, 20:40
A recurring theme I suddenly find again is that of the feeling of being tricked by Bioware.

I had this feeling a few times when I played Dragon Age 1 - and the worst moment of this feeling was when I found out (via Gamebanshee) that what I had considered the most friendly and - positively - "best" "ending" for the Dwarved enclave was actually the opposite : It was - at least I consider i as such - the worst "ending" for the Dwarves.

I felt like having been tricked. By Bioware. My perceiving of what would be the positively best choice for this culture was actually the opposite : Stagnation and poorness.
And this is not the first time. Think of KOTOR. Also developed by Bioware.
Playing with the gamers themselves could therefore being a recurring theme with Bioware's products.

Yes, I think they could be doing it again.

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March 21st, 2012, 21:15
I assume you mean making Harrowmont King? Bioware basically put a modern day spin of globalism/multiculturalism/modern good and isolationism/homogeneity/traditional bad on the Orzammar epilogues… Which, while I found to be cliche and predictable, did make for deciding between Harrowmont and Bhelen interesting. Old traditionalist/isolationist vs Young psychopathic reformer.

I don't think it's being tricked, so much as railroaded… That said, if their scenario is played out(explained) logically or through some historical context I have no problem with it.

-EDIT-

The indoctrination theory seems reasonable… It would explain those awful dream sequences. I have yet to finish the game, but I would like to know when Shep was indoctrinated. As much exposure as Shep has had to Reaper tech they could retcon that in going back as far as ME1. Such a scenario will likely be taken as a slap in the face, the series was billed for previous choices affecting the game world/universe and their carryover throughout the trilogy played up by BW… I almost feel sorry for people engaged in escapism via games, it's like reality all over again(quit dreaming newb).
Last edited by MasterKromm; March 21st, 2012 at 21:37.
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March 21st, 2012, 21:31
Originally Posted by Alrik Fassbauer View Post
A recurring theme I suddenly find again is that of the feeling of being tricked by Bioware…
Wait a minute. Do you mean to say:

Spoiler – Proceed At Your Own Risk
Last edited by RPGFool; March 22nd, 2012 at 03:36.
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March 22nd, 2012, 07:55
I have not yet seen the end myself, but it sounds a lot like the ending of Final Fantasy VII (the ORIGINAL ending), which left a lot of unanswered questions and hinted at the possibility that the characters and the entire humanity had died. People were unhappy with that ending too (although I loved it myself).

I guess all this speaks volumes of how succesfully Bioware has managed to engage its audience. The storyline and characters have become so relatable, personal and emotionally involving that the frustrating ending has left a lot of players emotionally in the same vacuum as the main character. It's very rare for any kind of entertainment to create this sort of reaction. I'm reminded of the storm created by the death of Tara, a prominent lesbian icon, in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Also the chapter on the Beauty and the Beast fans in Henry Jenkins' book on media studies, Textual Poachers. These cases also opened a lot of discussion on audience/producer relationships, audience expectations vs. artistic aspirations, and the artistic freedom vs. artistic responsibility.
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March 22nd, 2012, 14:15
Originally Posted by RPGFool View Post
Wait a minute. Do you mean to say:
I meant that if this is true

Spoiler


THEN Bioware has been "tricking".

“ Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius – and a lot of courage – to move in the opposite direction.“ (E.F.Schumacher, Economist, Source)
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March 31st, 2012, 10:11
The problem isn't explaining the ending, it's the end not connected to C&C throughout the game.
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March 31st, 2012, 14:23
Originally Posted by Monk View Post
The problem isn't explaining the ending, it's the end not connected to C&C throughout the game.
It is connected to C&C:
  • It depends of your EMS level. EMS gathering is heavily connected to the choices you made in all 3 games. And that include the choice of playing or not playing DLCs.
  • If your EMS is too low, the only choice you have at the end is connected to your ME2 final choice (i.e. what you did to the Collector Base).
  • And the ending is a choice itself.
Also, TIM last discussion depends on your interaction with him through all of ME3 (paragon/renegade choices). Miss one (the first one is easy to miss) and you won't have the same outcome.

Also, people might not like the presentation and the lack of conclusion, but all the choices at the end have extremely different outcomes for the future Galaxy. If that is not C&C I don't know what is…
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March 31st, 2012, 14:49
Originally Posted by azarhal View Post
It is connected to C&C:
  • It depends of your EMS level. EMS gathering is heavily connected to the choices you made in all 3 games. And that include the choice of playing or not playing DLCs.
  • If your EMS is too low, the only choice you have at the end is connected to your ME2 final choice (i.e. what you did to the Collector Base).
  • And the ending is a choice itself.
Also, TIM last discussion depends on your interaction with him through all of ME3 (paragon/renegade choices). Miss one (the first one is easy to miss) and you won't have the same outcome.

Also, people might not like the presentation and the lack of conclusion, but all the choices at the end have extremely different outcomes for the future Galaxy. If that is not C&C I don't know what is…
You can't have been paying attention. There is no C&C - as long as you complete all quests, you'll get enough points to get the standard three-choice ending no matter what the outcome is of any quests. Whether you get 7000 rating or 5000 rating is completely irrelevant, as neither one is enough to get the bonus ending without multiplayer.

Spoiler – Example
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March 31st, 2012, 15:35
Originally Posted by Maylander View Post
You can't have been paying attention. There is no C&C - as long as you complete all quests, you'll get enough points to get the standard three-choice ending no matter what the outcome is of any quests. Whether you get 7000 rating or 5000 rating is completely irrelevant, as neither one is enough to get the bonus ending without multiplayer.

Spoiler – Example
Geez, you just proved my point: "There is no C&C - as long as you complete all quests". Getting the bonus isn't forced on you. You ask for choices, they are there. You can make the choice of having a low EMS (lots of people did in fact). Ignoring their existence because you want what you believe is the best ending doesn't mean they don't exist.

As for the other thing, forcing a certain X to be available to get a specific ending would be similar to BioWare only allowing Paragon to finish the game…
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March 31st, 2012, 20:14
Originally Posted by azarhal View Post
Geez, you just proved my point: "There is no C&C - as long as you complete all quests". Getting the bonus isn't forced on you. You ask for choices, they are there. You can make the choice of having a low EMS (lots of people did in fact). Ignoring their existence because you want what you believe is the best ending doesn't mean they don't exist.

As for the other thing, forcing a certain X to be available to get a specific ending would be similar to BioWare only allowing Paragon to finish the game…
Yeah, that makes Oblivion the greatest game for C&C ever made. I've said it before and I'll say it again: Turning down a side quest has never been, nor will it ever be, proper C&C. Being able to turn down a side quest is the very definition of a side quest - it's an optional quest. Proper C&C means you can play a role during a quest or story, and choose the outcome by playing that role.

The Geth and Genophage questlines are excellent examples, as both offer great C&C where you get to affect the quest during the execution of the quest. The ending, however, does not show the consequences of those actions. Whether you're Paragon or Renegade means absolutely nothing.

It doesn't make much sense for story arcs like the Geth and the Genophage to be superior to the main quest, but that's the reality of the situation. They are far superior to the whole Reaper thing, especially when it comes to C&C.
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March 31st, 2012, 20:49
Originally Posted by azarhal View Post
It is connected to C&C:
  • It depends of your EMS level. EMS gathering is heavily connected to the choices you made in all 3 games. And that include the choice of playing or not playing DLCs.
  • If your EMS is too low, the only choice you have at the end is connected to your ME2 final choice (i.e. what you did to the Collector Base).
  • And the ending is a choice itself.
Also, TIM last discussion depends on your interaction with him through all of ME3 (paragon/renegade choices). Miss one (the first one is easy to miss) and you won't have the same outcome.

Also, people might not like the presentation and the lack of conclusion, but all the choices at the end have extremely different outcomes for the future Galaxy. If that is not C&C I don't know what is…
Well according to established lore …

Spoiler – What we know so far


Some choice huh?

"Chess in particular had always annoyed him. It was the dumb way the pawns went off and slaughtered their fellow pawns while the kings lounged about doing nothing that always got to him; if only the pawns united, maybe talked the rooks around, the whole board could've been a republic in a dozen moves." - Commander Vimes in Thud! by Terry Pratchett
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March 31st, 2012, 21:38
That people thought the mass relays were blowing up the galaxy just shows Bioware gave the players too much credit.
Last edited by KapitanUnterhosen; March 31st, 2012 at 21:53.
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March 31st, 2012, 22:11
Originally Posted by KapitanUnterhosen View Post
That people thought the mass relays were blowing up the galaxy just shows Bioware gave the players too much credit.
Anymore smart remarks. I guess you didn't play The Arrivial DLC. Its sates that a destroyed Mass Effect gate will destroy an entire sector. Try again please.

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April 1st, 2012, 00:16
Originally Posted by Monk View Post
The problem isn't explaining the ending, it's the end not connected to C&C throughout the game.
EXACTLY. With the number of posters on Bioware's forums it was inevitable that somebody will to come up with ending which would tie the broken threads. But Indoctrination Theory was created more out of disbelief that Bioware could have screwed up so badly rather than any clues contained in the game. Bioware's reaction to the complaints also makes it difficult (at least for me) to believe that they did have anything like IT up their sleeve.
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April 1st, 2012, 01:08
Originally Posted by Couchpotato View Post
Anymore smart remarks. I guess you didn't play The Arrivial DLC. Its sates that a destroyed Mass Effect gate will destroy an entire sector. Try again please.


What you saw in arrival was that hurling a huge asteroid at a tremendous speed at the functioning and unique Alpha relay broke its structure and the dark energy/mass effect core reaction of the relay with nothing to control it went into an all-consuming supernova-esque chain reaction big enough to wipe out an adjoining system.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Vz5R5w_HfI#t=2m44


In ME3 you see the mass relays first directly transmitting a pulse/signal across the galaxy to their partner relays and it looks pretty much like the same signal/pulse the catalyst broadcast over earth. After sending the signal to another mass relay you then see the relay sending the signal in a radius that spans millions or even billions of systems. After the signal is sent the spirals stop and there no longer even seems to be a dark energy/mass effect core reaction left in the relay, you see different parts of the relay's structure falling apart and separately exploding/selfdestroying. It looks nothing like the all-consuming chain reaction from arrival.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fd4xtCGc3Kc#t=21m45

The scale of the detonation of the alpha relay's core in arrival(a system) is microscopic next to the nearly billions of systems each relay's signal reaches. You see the people on earth unaffected by the signal broadcast by the citadel(unless you have zero EMS), you see the normandy getting hit/engulfed by the pulse/signal at full speed and not be destroyed by it.

A reasonable person would not assume that the signal is destructive in nature if the people on earth are not destroyed by it, a reasonable person would not assume the normandy could resist a supernova-esque explosion, a reasonable person would not assume that the nature of the pulse sent by the relays is anything like the destructive detonation you saw in arrival, a reasonable person would not assume that the mass relays are detonating their cores and destroying the universe when everything else tells them they're saving the galaxy.

A reasonable person would not have made these assumptions based on a poorly understood event from a critically-bashed piece of DLC made for a previous game by a separate team that might even contradict previously established lore of a relay withstanding a supernova explosion.

Then again a reasonable person wouldn't have assumed I hadn't even read the post I was replying to, much less not played arrival.
Last edited by KapitanUnterhosen; April 1st, 2012 at 05:34.
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April 1st, 2012, 08:41
Originally Posted by KapitanUnterhosen View Post


What you saw in arrival was that hurling a huge asteroid at a tremendous speed at the functioning and unique Alpha relay broke its structure and the dark energy/mass effect core reaction of the relay with nothing to control it went into an all-consuming supernova-esque chain reaction big enough to wipe out an adjoining system.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Vz5R5w_HfI#t=2m44


In ME3 you see the mass relays first directly transmitting a pulse/signal across the galaxy to their partner relays and it looks pretty much like the same signal/pulse the catalyst broadcast over earth. After sending the signal to another mass relay you then see the relay sending the signal in a radius that spans millions or even billions of systems. After the signal is sent the spirals stop and there no longer even seems to be a dark energy/mass effect core reaction left in the relay, you see different parts of the relay's structure falling apart and separately exploding/selfdestroying. It looks nothing like the all-consuming chain reaction from arrival.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fd4xtCGc3Kc#t=21m45

The scale of the detonation of the alpha relay's core in arrival(a system) is microscopic next to the nearly billions of systems each relay's signal reaches. You see the people on earth unaffected by the signal broadcast by the citadel(unless you have zero EMS), you see the normandy getting hit/engulfed by the pulse/signal at full speed and not be destroyed by it.

A reasonable person would not assume that the signal is destructive in nature if the people on earth are not destroyed by it, a reasonable person would not assume the normandy could resist a supernova-esque explosion, a reasonable person would not assume that the nature of the pulse sent by the relays is anything like the destructive detonation you saw in arrival, a reasonable person would not assume that the mass relays are detonating their cores and destroying the universe when everything else tells them they're saving the galaxy.

A reasonable person would not have made these assumptions based on a poorly understood event from a critically-bashed piece of DLC made for a previous game by a separate team that might even contradict previously established lore of a relay withstanding a supernova explosion.

Then again a reasonable person wouldn't have assumed I hadn't even read the post I was replying to, much less not played arrival.
Okay a few points:

1) The sequence of the people on Earth is showing the effect of the Crucible's initial "bubble" burst. It is only AFTER this sequence that the beam is transmitted to the Charon relay starting the chain reaction. No scenes are shown of Earth afterwards so we have to go with established lore.

2) The Arrival may have been a DLC but the whether or not you played the DLC the game assumes that you did by starting ME3 with Shepard in house arrest. In ME3 the Arrival DID happen so we have to go with established lore.

3) I agree that the cinematics of the destruction of the Alpha relay and the destruction of the relay in the ending of ME3 are different. However, as I pointed out before, the game makes no attempt to discourage what we learned about the result of destroying a Mass Relay (Youtube clip - go to 31 minutes). If the Crucible's destruction method does not generate a the same scale of destruction as we saw in the Arrival all that was needed was a single comment from the catalyst and that would be that. However, nothing is said so we have to go with established lore.

4) If your ending generates lines of arguments like "A reasonable person would not assume…" then you've failed as a story teller. If your ending creates mass conspiracy theories like this Indoctrination Theory then you've failed as a story teller. You can make an open ending, fill it with mystery and you can keep your audience guessing but you can not start by saying: "This is the definitive end of the Shepard story" and then leave it with what we have now without having it being considered a humongous cock-up.

If the Indoctrination Theory turns out to be true and then ending we saw only took place in Shepard's head then Bioware played a really dirty trick and have consequently made a huge dent in their reputation.

If it is just a theory then Bioware seriously dropped the ball regarding the ending and have consequently made a huge dent in their reputation.

In either case Bioware f*cked up big time with the ME3 ending and time will tell if they'll be able to recover. I know I've been put on guard and they need to do some serious damage control if they're going to win me over to the fanboy club again.

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