Spoiler Warning: This article refers to some major plot points of Bioware games past and present, so proceed with care.
It would be fair to assume that Bioware’s long history of rip-roaring, twisty-turning, jaw-dropping storytelling will lend some clues as to how one may finish the epic yarn that is Mass Effect. By meticulously analyzing their previous games, we have assembled a list containing the five most probable revelations of this sci-fi trilogy, one of which is absolutely guaranteed to be used in the final work. I would swear the names of your ancestors on it.
Yes, it may remind you of your mother’s dreadful soap operas, but space operas are no less prone to shocking family revelations. The simple fact of the matter is that these surprises work, no matter how far fetched they seem. Baldur’s Gate incorporated this little cliché, yet it remains a beloved Bioware classic. For maximum shock value, secret blood ties should be revealed between bitter rivals or impassioned lovers. If the writer is especially cruel, both can occur with the same character – just ask poor Luke Skywalker.
Villains and other characters who disguise their identities can find varying degrees of success in utterly fooling their audience (see Ninja Gaiden or Ocarina of Time). However, the effect is particularly interesting when that classic narrative device, amnesia, is put into use. And with all this sophisticated technology floating about, drastically altering one’s appearance is entirely possible. Could Yeoman Kelly Chambers actually be the stoic Anderson in disguise? One never sees them together in the same room. Think about it, and enjoy the nightmares.
Some would say betrayal is a theme Bungie is particularly fond of, but just take a look at the tale of Jade Empire. The entire narrative’s history is riddled with treacherous acts, making the loyalty of your fellows all the more poignant. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that betrayal is made all the more painful when it’s performed by someone we care about, but even this can vary within Mass Effect given the personal nature of the relationships Shepard may choose to cultivate. If you’re someone who likes to put the “player” in “player character,” just ask yourself this: How would you feel about that certain squad member shacking up with someone else behind your back? Oh, who are we kidding. You’d love that.
From the look of the latest trailer, things aren’t getting any brighter in the Mass Effect universe. The end of life as we know it, the relentless destruction of our homeworld, and very few opportunities to save your game in between battles. But really, none of this carnage matters unless we lose someone close to us. Maybe the developers will zero in on that special someone, and put them in mortal danger. Perhaps their rescue requires a massive sacrifice or gutwrenching decision on Shepard’s part, or maybe they are tragically killed off regardless of our actions. This would likely upset a lot of players, but after a few weeks in therapy, they would still come crawling back to finish their beloved Mass Effect. Unless it was Garrus. Then nobody would play a Bioware game ever again.
Happily Ever After
More and more often, RPGs (including ME2) have allowed players the chance to continue operating in the universe even after the main story was completed. What could this mean for Mass Effect 3? Any number of rewards and opportunities could open up. A golden crown or sash that says “Savior of the Universe” might work nicely. Some bonus missions, the screams of an adoring public, masses of asari fawning over you, or maybe an epic wedding where you can marry each of the twelve lovers you’ve enjoyed at some point in the trilogy. Poor Shepard thought the worst was over, and then came marriage.