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Unmarked spoilers of Mass Effect and Mass Effect 2 (including DLC)!

General, squad, and romance theories are here. Storyline, final battle, post-game, and multi-player theories are here.


Krogan head crests are similar to deer antlers, and only adult male Krogan have head crests.
Evidence for this:1. in Mass Effect 2, we see that male Krogan use their head crests to bash each other in the head when fighting over females, similar to how male deer use their antlers on earth.

2. Grunt, said to be an adolescent Krogan has a less developed head crest. Going back to the "antler" analogy, Krogan, like deer are born without crests, but males begin to grow them during puberty as a result of growing male hormone levels. This is how other Krogan instantly identify him as adolescent.


3. Eve is the only female Krogan we ever see, and although we never see her without her headdress, the shape of it seems to indicate that a crest wouldn't be able to fit under it. This is again in keeping with the "antler" analogy, because again, only male deer grow antlers, because they are used, primarily to battle other males.

  • Now that we've seen krogan females without headdresses, this theory seems even more plausible. Females have even less of a crest than Grunt did: their heads are smooth and flat.

Rupe Elkoss knows the true nature of Sanctuary.
His company, Elkoss Combine, was involved in the construction of Sanctuary. Eventually he learned of the true nature of the colony. Just because he's a hardcore capitalist, doesn't mean he's not disgusted by what's happening there, but this presents a moral dilemma. If he comes forward with his knowledge of what's happening there, he also has to reveal his involvement, which could mean he faces legal ramifications, both for working with Cereberus, and as an accessory to war crimes. However, if he does nothing, then his conscience will haunt him. In short, it's a conflict between morality and self interest. So, he works out a compromise, which is to subtly warn people away from Sanctuary, without revealing his knowledge of what's actually happening there. This is why he's spending all his time in front of the Sanctuary recruiting billboard on the Citadel. By warning Sara to steer clear of Sanctuary, he's actually saving her life, and he knows it.
  • This would also explain why he's never seen again after the Cerberus Coup attempt. Cerberus figured out what he was doing, and killed him to shut him up.

If there is a Mass Effect 4, the Leviathans will be the main villains.
The Leviathans have been lying in wait since the beginning of the cycle, waiting for the Reapers to be defeated. Once they are, the Leviathans will want to return, and enslave all the "lesser races" once again. The major powers of the Galaxy, weakened from their war with the Reapers, will have a hard time fighting the Leviathans, and it will be up to either Shepard, or a new player character to defeat them.

Wrex is Liara's Grandfather, but neither of them realise it.
The battle that Wrex described with the Asari in Mass Effect 1, is the exact same battle that Liara's "father" the bartending matriarch describes between her two parents in Mass Effect 2. Neither parent ever contacted her again, probably because they couldn't face her after what they did, so she assumed both died. Years later, Liara's "father" impregnates Liara's mother. Liara's grandmother and Wrex's Asari wife/rival? Aria T'Lok. Since both Krogan and Asari have lifespans measured in thousands of years, it's entirely plausible that both Wrex and Aria would still be alive centuries after the fact.
  • While there's been some suggestion that Wrex may have been born during the Krogan Rebellions, saying that he was a veteran of the Rachni Wars, as Liara's grandfather explicitly was, is...pushing it. Doesn't rule out Wrex and Liara being "related" for lack of a better term(given that asari bonding "doesn't work that way"), But Wrex is almost certainly not her grandfather. If nothing else, Wrex doesn't seem like the type who'd abandon a kid if he knew he had one.
  • This is Jossed by the fact that both of Aethyta's parents ended up in a Mutual Kill when the truth of Mom's involvement in the Krogan Rebellions came to light and Aethyta's parents' marriage became... highly irreconcilable.
  • In addition, Aethyta herself is a Matriarch, which is the last stage in an asari's life cycle. Her mom would naturally be at least a few centuries older than that (given Liara is still a Maiden at ~100), so even if she was alive today, she'd be very old even by asari standards. We don't know either Aria's or Wrex's ages, but you'd think someone would have pointed out Aria's Matriarch status by now if she had it, so they're probably not that old.

All of the player-controlled characters in multiplayer are Spectres.
In the first game, Anderson explains that the Spectres are a highly prestigious outfit, that each one is vetted thoroughly by the Council before being asked to join, and that their numbers are estimated at under a hundred. But when the Reapers began their full-scale invasion of the galaxy the Council became desperate and decided to fast-track the Spectre induction process and recruited several hundred sufficiently talented soldiers, mercenaries, assassins, biotics, hackers and other specialists from all of the civilized races. Even races that are commonly looked down upon by the Council, such as the Krogan and Quarians are considered viable sources of Spectre recruits provided they have a certain degree of training or effectiveness.

As the conflict dragged on and the Reapers gained more ground, the Council even started accepting Batarians and Geth into the Spectres. The new Spectres were organized into four-man strike teams (Spectres have been described as sometimes working in small groups) and sent on search and destroy missions across the galaxy directed at Reaper armies, Cerberus bases, and Geth installations. Despite that fact that this strategy emphasized quantity over quality, these operations were generally met with success (More often then not, multiplayer sessions tend to conclude with the players surviving every wave and winning the game), and even managed to effect the outcome of the conflict as a whole...

  • The multiplayer characters are stated to be N7 soldiers (that got wider recruitment due to necessity) set up by Admiral Hackett. And SPECTREs aren't just Badass soldiers, they are a combination of things.
    • Hackett's email explains that they're colloquially referred to as "N7 Special Ops" because they were initially commanded by N7 operatives. They're not officially N7 themselves.
      • To be precise, all characters in the multiplayer are part of the "N7 Special Ops", who are so called, as mentioned above, because they were initially led by N7 marines, presumably the human characters. None of the multiplayer characters are Spectres, although the Salarians and Asari are implied to be (former) STG and Justicars, respectively. Additionally, the Krogan Vanguard is a Battlemaster.
      • With the onset of the Earth DLC and the availability of actual "N7" classes, this has only become more confusing.
There will be a DLC released which will be "What If? Shepard did not survive the suicide mission?"
  • There are two ways this might work:
    • Ala The Darkspawn Chronicles, you control a minion of the Reapers during the final battle, and cut your way through what is left of the forces of good.
    • You control Joker, Conrad Verner, Niftu Cal, and others in their desperate attempt to stop the Reapers. They all die within hours of what would have been just the start of Shepard's quest.
    • You play as Maruader Shields as he fights to give us a better ending to the game!
  • But no matter what, it will end in the complete and total victory of the Reapers.
    • Jossed: the latest announced "Citadel" DLC will be the last for ME3.

Observing the massive discrepancies in the trailers for Mass Effect and Mass Effect 2; it's not crazy to speculate that the same will happen in this game. Oh; generals will be the same. There will be a trial for Shepard; Reapers invading, etc. But it may not happen all in the prologue or the way we're thinking.
  • Nope. The invasion is in the first 5 minutes.

Shepard's already Indoctrinated
Okay, long shot, but so far, Shepard has been in the presence of Reaper Tech: Briefly on Virmire, Citadel at the end of ME1, the various encounters with the Collector vessel, the Dead Reaper, inside the Collector Base and, most notably, TWO DAYS on the same stations as Object Rho after being knocked out by the talking Reaper artifact. Now, Indoctrination is a slow, subtle process, but with two days to work and with all the previous encounters? Maybe the Reapers decided to focus their efforts a bit and put a backdoor in Shepard's mind for future use, just in case the uppity humans actually pose a threat in the final invasion. I mean, why else would the Reapers have him knocked out but not killed?
  • Not to mention that Collector sphere artifact. (From DLC Project Firewalker). The one of the same type shown to send psychic images. The one s/he keeps on a desk in Shepard's quarters.
    • That sphere is a Leviathan indoctrination/control device, not Reaper.
      • ... Or is it? The researchers who found it quickly became unstable and started making questionable choices.
      • Well, one of them was unhinged from the beginning and the other was betraying him in order to save his wife...
  • There's actually something in the ME3 material revealed already that heavily hints at this; the child in the vent. Shepard is the only one who sees him, Anderson conveniently doesn't return to the room until he's pulled his Stealth Hi/Bye, said Stealth Hi/Bye makes no sense considering Shepard realized the kid was there because of the noise he was making in the first place, and most tellingly, the child's reaction is downright bizarre. You'd think a terrified kid's response to an adult in a military uniform offering help against the massive clusterfuck going down around him would be something other than a monotone "You can't help me." Now, it's certainly believable that a child in this situation would be scared beyond rational thought, but he's not scared, he's calm to the point where this reaction is surreal. "You can't help me" could be symbolic of Shepard's helplessness and his indoctrination actively working to alter his mindset to a negative outlook; "you can't help a single child, how can you help anyone." This continues when Shepard sees the shuttle the kid gets on destroyed by a Reaper. The child is also pulling a Bruce Willis at this point, he directly interacts with no one, he doesn't touch anyone, and, even as Alliance personnel are helping wounded make it to the shuttle, none of them so much as bends down to help the kid up when he has to vault into the shuttle on account of being too short to step into it.
    • On the other hand, before you meet him, you kill a pair of husks. What if they were the kid's parents?
      • Husks are made with Dragons' Teeth, and there aren't any around. The previous game, on Horizon, makes a big deal of this being how one tells the difference between husks made locally and husks that have been brought from a previously hit. The fact that there are batarian husks dropped in before the invasion's been going on a half hour would mean the Reapers have definitely been hitting other places prior to Earth to build up their husks for dropping off.)
      • Except that in ME2 you can find a cave full of Husks created by a Reaper device that doesn't remotely resemble Dragon's Teeth. Husks can be made in several ways, the Dragon's Teeth were just the version taught to the geth.
      • By the time you run into the kid, the Reaper's have been on Earth a grand total of 10 minutes. Indoctrinating people into Husks is fast, yes, but not that fast.
  • And the caveat: The Illusive Man is actually not indoctrinated. The Reaper attack on Sanctuary makes little sense if the Reapers had him in their pocket. Assuming the Illusive Man or Anderson are even present in the final sequence, the Reapers have rewritten their dialogs and reactions to get you to do their bidding.
    • Actually the attack on Sanctuary makes perfect sense: the whole purpose of those ghastly experiments was not to create Husks- that was just a byproduct - but so the IM and Henry Lawson could learn how to control Reapers by turning Indoctrination tech against them. The Reapers rightly saw that as a threat to themselves.
    • TIM wasn't "enhanced" until shortly before the Horizon attack, when the Reapers would've already been on their way. We actually talk with him before his upgrades, remember? He can say Lawson was a "rogue cell", and oh, also, he knows what Shepard is up to. That'll be pretty good for defraying any wrath, and "indoctrinated" doesn't mean "totally subservient".
  • This video made an argument that the entire ending sequence was a Battle in the Center of the Mind with Anderson and TIM all representations to different parts Shepard's mind, and that the destroy ending is the only one that allow you to fight off the Reaper's Indoctrination.
    • This is pretty clearly not the case. The Prothean VI, Vendetta, could sense that Kai Leng was indoctrinated when he approached. If Shepard was Indoctrinated, Vendetta would have said so, and would not even have activated for Shepard. Given that the battle on Thesia was only 3 missions before the end game, Indoctrination would only have been possible at the very last second, during the fight during Harbinger. And Indoctrination does not work like that. Indoctrination takes days or weeks of constant, non-stop exposure to work. All of Shepard's encounters with Reaper artifacts were brief. The fact that Vendetta responded to Shepard, and made no mention of indoctination until Kai Leng showed up, pretty much definitively disproves the theory.
    • Even if some indoctrination was ongoing, the Leviathan DLC outright undoes it. In this DLC, the titular Leviathan gains total control of Shepard's mind, down to controlling the breathing impulse. If any reaper influence was present, Leviathan overrides it with its "enthrallment" ability. A stronger case could be made that Shepard was under Leviathan's control ever since s/he got off Despoina.

Going on the above, fallen squadmates will make a short appearance...
As hallucinations, possibly triggered by Reaper indoctrination. Whether they try to give Shepard a pep talk or guilt trip him/her over failing to save them will depend on how you treated them while they were alive, as well as how far gone Shepard is by the end of the game.
  • You can hear their voices as whispers in dream sequences.

You can install a theater in the Normandy
If you want to, you can invite your love interest in there and watch a number of movies together, which will be cutscenes ranging in length from a few minutes to around ten, all skippable if you get bored. You can watch Blasto, Fleet and Flotilla, Elcor Hamlet, and more.
  • Vaena
  • Citadel, with quick time events to let you throw popcorn at the terrible/inaccurate parts.

Shepard was rebuilt in ME2 using Reaper technology
The comics have shown that TIM has been somewhat indoctrinated. The game's final twist is that that Shepard is a Human-Reaper.
  • Nope. He is partly synthetic, which creates an interesting choice at the end.

Grunt's popularity
In the game we will go to Tuchanka to gather reinforcement and recruit Wrex. We will also see Grunt, who has so many breeding requests that he has become the equivalent of a pimp.
  • And he's bored of all the sex so he joins your team to fight again, along with the entire clan Urdnot.

Mongolian Death Worms are actually Thresher Maw larvae
Think about it. Threshers burrow underground, and can spit yellows acid, something Mongolian Death Worms are said to do. It's entirely possible that we'll run into Threshers on Earth in the Gobi Desert.

The Illusive Man wishes to replace the Reapers with Humanity
This would explain the hints that TIM has access to some Reaper tech and why he wished to get his hands on the collector tech at the end of ME2. TIM wants to replace the Reapers with Humanity in the driver's seat.
  • Some suggestions state that The Illusive Man is after Prothean tech which will enable him to control the Reaper fleet and thus guarantee humanity's domination of the universe. Given we know full well what went down with Saren, it's likely that the Reapers would be blatantly aware of such attempts to control them, although the The Art of the Mass Effect Universe book basically denies that the Illusive Man will be a giant final boss monster.
    • Turns out the tech goes back much earlier than the Protheans - they simply adapted what they found from a previous cycle, which would've been adapted from an even earlier cycle, and so on. And yep, TIM thinks he can use it to control the Reapers. He can't.

Thresher Maws are intelligent.
And it will be possible to recruit them to help against the Reapers. Think about it; Reapers fly, and yet one got taken down by a Colossal Thresher. It's hard to believe it was just a lucky shot; more likely Shepard & co. lured the Reaper there for the Thresher to ambush. Threshers have been fairly prominently featured in both games so-far, and we all know what they're capable of in a fight. We already have the rachni and geth as examples of non-typical intelligence, why not add threshers to the list?
  • I could see the Thresher Maws as being similar to the Rachni, but more savage and/or without means to communicate psychically like the Rachni.
  • Or, Alternately, the Thresher Maws aren't "Intelligent" but instinctively know to attack the Reapers as they are unnatural and destructive to all organic life, Thresher Maws included.
    • The Reapers don't want to destroy all organic life, and have never made any effort towards such a goal. They only destroy spacefaring civilizations that use the Mass Relay network. Plants, animals, even sentient creatures that don't practice space travel, like the Thorian or humans (who got spared when the Prothean research station on Mars was destroyed) are left completely untouched.
  • What if Thresher Maws are a life form made into a weapon by one of the previously culled species? They live for a long time on photosynthesis, are practically undetectable, and spread through a very basic means(spores)
    • so in other words they're like the scarlac?

Shepard will be able to punch people as a hologram!
Because s/he's just THAT awesome. And Khalisa Al-Jilani is gonna wise up sooner or later and realize live interviews in person are bad ideas, especially when you're Khalisa Al-Jilani.
  • This could be how Shepard defeats the Reapers. Project a giant Shepard Hologram next to every Reaper in the Galaxy.
    Harbinger: Shepard?!
    Shepard: I've had enough of your horrific reaping! *punches Reapers to death*
  • Surreally supported by trailers showing an (apparently holographic) Omni Tool display being used as a melee weapon.

We'll get to see other races turned into Husks
Come on! Imagine how cool it would be to see a quarian, krogan, or turian husk!
  • Oh god! That three husk biorganic laser thing MADE OUT OF KROGANS!
  • Confirmed.
    • Specifically turians (Marauders) asari(Banshees) humans/batarians(Cannibals) krogan/turians(Brutes)
    • Including rachni husks. Rachni. Husks. Excuse me while I change my pants.

Each huskified race will have it's own abilities.
And all of them will be Demonic Spiders of some kind.
  • Asari husks would essentially be Scions on 'roids. Imagine getting hit by hostile Singularities instead of Shockwaves. Enjoy.
    • Confirmed. They're called Banshees, appropriately enough. They can also use barrier to support their allies. Joy.
    • They can also teleport and have a close quarters insta-kill attack like Phantoms
  • Krogan husks would keep their ability to charge and regenerate, making them even bigger juggernauts than they are normally.
  • Turian husks would be miniature versions of what Saren turned into at the end of ME1, jumping around and sniping you from a distance.
    • A recent pre-order trailer showed a brief clip of Shepard fighting some Turian Husks. They look like Turians, albeit a little techno-zombie. They wield Assault Rifles.
  • Salarian or quarian husks would bring back the electrical attack that the regular husks had back in ME1, tearing apart your shields if you let them get too close. Give them their own shields on Insanity for extra frustration.
    • Salarians and quarians never get husked.
  • Alien husks are now confirmed. The first ones met on Earth will be batarian husks called Cannibals. Those five-eyes glowing is a nice bit of Body Horror.
  • Rachni husks will apparently be able to hatch swarms of drones to crawl over you.
  • Mass Effect: Invasion adds another type: Adjutants. They can infect other sentients and turn them into more adjutants without the need for Dragon's Teeth. We're in real Zombie Apocalypse territory now.
    • The Adjutants, however, were all killed off in the final issue of Invasion. Aside from that, Mac Walters revealed that they were an enemy type that was cut out of Mass Effect 3, so we won't be seeing them in-game.
      • But then they come back in the Omega DLC.
  • Asari husks named Banshees are confirmed. Krogan husks (no official name yet) have also been unveiled.
  • The "Against All Odds" gameplay preview unveiled the Brutes. Krogan/turian husk hybrids that are lumbering tanks.

We'll see members of other races (maybe just humans) get possessed by Harbinger
Harbinger needs to find new intermediaries now that the Collectors have been wiped out, and it has a lot of data on humans...
  • You can see them fighting in the trailer. The Collector base was their main base of operation, but there are still a fair number of them running around (maybe the Reapers have cloning tanks).
  • No possessions this time around.

ME3 will start with the bad ending if you didn't import a save.
Everyone except Joker, Liara, and Ashley/Kaiden dies unless you import a save, because the same thing happened in Video Game/Mass Effect 1 — Shepard blazed through as fast as possible, doing almost no side-missions. You will also start ME3 as a new player character unless you import a save.
  • The developers have already confirmed that "Shepard dies"-ending is non-canonical from the perspective of the trilogy. There is no new character to be started, most definitely. It will be Shepard, no matter what. Also, since it's impossible to get Miranda killed in the final mission of ME2, it's almost certain that she will play a significant role in the third game. Other than that, you may be up to something.
    • Miranda can die. Take her to the final boss with no loyalty, and she dies (or send her as an escort non-loyal). As it is, I would hope they don't do this. It's possible they won't, since you must have at least two living party members, plus Kaidan/Ashley. Liara will most likely serve as your new intel person—what the Alliance, and then Cerberus did for you previous, the Shadow Broker will do for you now. You will probably get a new teammate early on to fill out a squad. It may be possible that certain party members always leave, like Samara or Kasumi, and therefore you always have room for a few extra squadmates.
    • I agree except for the bit about the Shadow Broker—if you didn't complete the DLC, then that didn't happen. Although I suppose they could just say Liara raided the lair without you...
    • I'm pretty sure they'll say you did it. It's called "bridging" DLC for a reason. But you're right, maybe they'll say you didn't go with her, and kill Feron as a cost.
    • They've stated outright that Shadow Broker and Arrival happen, whether you play them or not. Liara is the Shadow Broker, and Shepard blew up a mass relay.
    • If you did not play Arrival then the 103rd Marine Division did the mission. Anderson says that you where grounded "For the shit you did", if you played the DLC he will say that you where grounded for killing 300,000 Batarians and destroying the mass relay
  • Also, if everyone else dies on the suicide run, Shepard dies. No one is there to catch hi/r after failing to make the jump, otherwise.
    • Is it possible to kill off everyone except Thane, Legion and Morinth? That way, the only people who were not killed off are the characters guaranteed to die in the third game.
  • Jossed. ME3 will use an interactive comic to make choices for previous games, like the PS3 version of ME2.
    • ME2 started with pretty much all the worst choices you could have made if you don't import. No side quests were done. The Rachni Queen is dead. The Council is entirely human. You killed Wrex. Unless that comic lets you choose if anyone died on the suicide mission, it's likely most of your team dies by default. Since Shepard dies if there are less than two squad mates left, I'd say Garrus and Tali survive by default, since they were there from the first game.
    • My guess is that during the comic, you have to take sides in those loyalty arguments. For example, Tali and Legion have their argument, and you have to pick a side, and the one you don't side with is considered disloyal and dies in the suicide mission. You can't appease them both, and you can't go back and get the other's loyalty. The same would happen with Miranda vs. Jack, and possibly for some of the cut arguments, like Mordin vs. Grunt. This allows a new player to have some choice over who survives.
    • The PS3 interactive comic gives you the option of killing or sparing the rachni queen, saving or sacrificing the council, killing or saving Wrex, Saving Ashley or Kaiden, and who you romanced(including an option to not romance anyone), and placing Anderson or Udina on the council(the single most meaningless choice of the lot). One assumes that as they've hyped up the number of affects ME2 decisions will have on ME3, the comic will have considerably more options.
  • Apparently, they are considering setting something up to allow players to port in a Bad Ending file.
    • The mission will either be a complete success or leaving only Kasumi and Morinth alive (not hard to fail Kasumi's mission). However the Greybox will be used against Shepard.
    • What? How do you fail Kasumi's mission?
      • Pretty sure that's a typo, and it's actually referring to failing Samara's mission.

Every surviving party member will be recruit able to the Normandy
  • So hear me out on this one: Everyone can return to be apart of Shepard's crew, but not necessarily his main team that goes out on missions with him, for instance, Mordin might be studying ways to resist indoctrination against the Reapers, Jacob or Miranda could be your second in command while Shepard's of the ship doing Shepard things. Etc. that way the fans get to be happy and no one is Put On A Bus
    • Nope. You do run into every surviving party member, and they help out, but few actually join you on the Normandy.

Splitting the Migrant Fleet is actually the right choice.
  • Illogical, but since almost no one did it, Bioware throws a fast ball and makes it the right decision.
    • Perhaps not so illogical. If you talk to the Mad Scientist quarian admiral (the one who performed surgery on her childhood toys) after outing Tali's father she is furious with you, as now his research will be destroyed or at least too politically volatile to use. However, if you lie to the Admiralty board, she sends you an e-mail saying that she has discovered Rael'Zorah's research, and now humanity "will watch from a distance as the quarian people reclaim not just their homeworld, but the largest synthetic army in the galaxy"...
  • Unfortunately, that choice also makes it more likely that we will never see the outcome, since it ensures that Tali is not loyal, and therefore the most likely character to die during the suicide mission.

ME3 will reconstruct the Escort Mission.
Think about it, an ACTUAL escort mission would be intense, visceral, and terrifying because you are protecting someone you presumably care a good deal about. And if there is one thing BioWare is good at, it's creating characters the player cares about. Seriously, each character gets at least as much love as the cast of Firefly or any other cult sci-fi franchise. And BioWare is just awesome enough to restore what has always been the scrappy level to possibly a crowning moment. Especially if the mission is scripted to fail.
  • Making it doomed to failure would be the worst thing they could do. That would just be frustrating. Making failure a possibility wouldn't be bad, but making it the only possibility would just piss people off.
  • Removing the Failure Is the Only Option bit, it would be a fantastic way to approach the escort mission structure: You're not doing this because the game says you have to, you're doing this because you actually WANT to. Protecting a weakened Mordin (for example) from getting killed by indoctrinated troops while you drag him to an escape shuttle (or alternatively watch him struggle to reach one while you provide cover fire) would be an unforgettable mission.
    • These two options could even be combined: players with close-combat capability, like Vanguards, wade into enemy fire, grab the escortee, and drag them out. Players with long-range capability, like Infiltrators, provide cover fire as they limp to the shuttle. Players with either, like Soldiers, can pick which one they want to do - close-range puts you more at risk but gets them to the shuttle faster, while long-range takes longer but keeps you out of enemy fire. And maybe the escortee could be your love interest, especially if squad members from the first game join.
  • Even better: you're protecting a weakened Thane who wants to go out with one last big bang before his sickness takes him.
    • This would be much better. More like the final mission for Halo: Reach than anything. You know he's going to die, you know there's no chance of ultimate survival, you're just trying to make his end as glorious and deserving as possible. Or maybe you even play from Thane's perspective, like the Joker mission in ME2. You are Thane in his last standoff, to protect the shuttle which is taking the rest of the team to safety, and when the shuttle is finally gone, you at last die, glorious. Dammit, now if that mission isn't in the game I'm going to be depressed.
      • Thane's disease could be in its final stages and even when you are not being shot his health bar goes down.
    • For the record, Thane is apparently going to be a temporary squad member on a mission related to protecting hanar scientists working on a cure for Kepral's Syndrome.
      • Where did you hear this?
  • There is something of an escort mission showed in the trailers. Shepard helps Mordin get a female krogan out of some kind of base so Wrex can pick her up and take her to safety. She's in a shielded transport pod that's being shipped from checkpoint to checkpoint, and some point (I don't *think* it's there the whole time) her crate gets a health bar.
    • This Troper played this mission at Eurogamer Expo, and if the pod is destroyed, it is simply a "Critical Mission Failure" and you are made to restart.

ME3 will NOT see the Reaper issue being finally resolved.
  • Mainly because given most of what we know, I still have difficulty in believing we can get from the situation we see in ME2 to a complete resolution within the space of one game. It's possible, yes, but it seems a bit off. More likely (at least in my view) is that ME becomes a Four Part Trilogy, with ME3 dealing with the arrival of the Reapers and ME4 dealing with the actual end of that battle.
    • Agreed, but only partially. I'm willing to believe that if ME3 is a large enough game, explanation might be given. Or hell, maybe it'll be left a mystery and up to the interpretation of the player. Some things are just better left a mystery. However, BioWare have already confirmed that this trilogy is about Shepard. After that, who knows where ME4 and beyond might take us.
    • My personal theory is that the majority of the Reapers will be defeated, but by no means all. The survivors will retreat to the unexplored sections of the galaxy, providing fodder for future games.
    • I have a feeling that the Reaper problem will be resolved by Mass Effect 3, mainly because that even with the Reapers gone there's still so much going on in the world of Mass Effect. You've got the Batarians trying to dick over everyone, a possibility of the Yahg finding a way off their homeworld, the inevitably awkward reintroduction of the Rachni into the galaxy, etc. BioWare's managed to set up many games' worth of material that don't involve the Reapers at all.
      • I'm 90% sure Shepard has the option to solve some of those issues in ME3. He gets the Rachni to help with Reapers, which earns them the trust of the galaxy (and can do the same with the geth) and he deals the batarians somehow (possibly by feeding them to the Reapers). Even if they just drive the Reapers into darkspace without genociding them, the galaxy will only have MORE time to properly prepare for their return, and may even get the tech they need to go out there and hunt them down.
    • It's resolved. One way or another, it's resolved.
      • Confirmed, sadly; Mass Effect 3 ended with a Gainax Ending that, even when taken at fave value, doesn't necessarily resolve the reaper issue in 2/3 endings, and may or many not wipe out all life in the galaxy in the third.

The music over the credits of ME3 will be 'Don't Fear the Reaper'
.And if it isn't, it damn well should be.
  • You win the internet.
  • Would you settle for the final mission of ME2?
  • I'd love to hear a Bear McCreary rendition of it. You know, for extra BSG geek cred.
  • Will you marry me?
  • Related theory: The song will be incorporated into the story in some way. Like say, it's a music option in Shepard's cabin, and crew members will comment on Shepard's retro tastes. Or for a more dramatic scenario, Shepard is in the middle of a major fight on Earth, trying to protect some survivors from Reaper forces. The survivors are severely depressed, having been on the run from the Reapers for weeks while watching friends and family die in front of them. The survivor leader (or maybe Conrad Verner, because it'd be cool and oddly fitting) tries to get their spirits up by starting a Crowd Song of "Don't Fear the Reaper," which serves as background music for the battle. As you progress through the fight and kick more and more asses, the music goes from awkward and forced to jubilant and hopeful.
    • No, I think the crowd singing it would be a bit narmy.
      • Yeah probably. The drama idea doesn't really work, but the idea of having it as background music for a fight could hold water, just get rid of the crowd and replace it with a radio recording of the song or something.
      • Coolest instance of ironic music EVAR.
      • Or the game could acknowledge how narmy it is by giving you the paragon option of trying to not to laugh out loud.
      • Alternatively there will be an interrupt where Shepard dons a pair of sunglasses
  • Someone mentioned that "Don't Fear the Reaper" should be the name of an achievement on Casey Hudson's Twitter, and he seemed to like the idea.

  • Sad to report, it doesn't happen.

There will be QTE scenes which give you a Paragon/Renegade choice.
Well, there is a sequence which gives you a choice to interrupt Mordin aggressively and then, if you chose not to do so, politely. It would be plausible enough to make you press left or right in such cutscenes.Also, QTE are often used regardless of morality because the choice is almost always Paragon/Renegade with saved time VS Neutral with no bonuses at all. Thus, there will be a lot of scenes where you must quickly decide what to choose. Never said that both choices will reward you the same way, though.

Mass Effect 3 will have Tim Curry in it.
Why? Do you need an excuse to put Tim Curry in anything? His voicing a character in Mass Effect 3 would make it grounds for So Awesome It Will Blow Your Mind. BioWare, if you're reading this, get on the phone with his agent and give him whatever he wants. The mere mention of his being in Mass Effect 3 would probably be enough to get anyone who's ever visited TV Tropes to buy it and we are not a small market by any stretch of the imagination. Plus there's the OH I DON'T KNOW, his rabid fanbase that would buy this game just to hear his sexy, sexy voice. Um, if you'll excuse me, I'll be in my bunk.
  • What would he play? The Reaper Fabulous? Sorry, I'm tired and just watched The Rocky Horror Picture Show.
    • That one guy. You know the one, that one guy who ends up stabbing you in the back and was really The Dragon the whole time.
      • ...but the Illusive Man already HAS a voice actor.
      • Personally I'd like to see Tim Curry in the party, acting overly nice, but actually being legit. Just to mess with every gamer out there.
    • A romanceable squadmate in ME3.
    • In just, seven, days (oh baby,) I can make you a hu-u-u-u-usk!
  • BioWare seems to share your wishes. Look and listen to Donovan Hock from the Kasumi loyalty mission. Looks very similar to Tim Curry and has a ridiculous accent like he had in Congo. And of course, like many Tim Curry roles, he is a villain.
    • uhm......he wasn't the villain in Clue.....
    • He was in the 3rd ending.

Liara and Joker will be on the cover of ME3.
ME1 had Ashley and Garrus. ME2 had Miranda and Thane. That's twice that BioWare used the "male alien, female human" pattern. For the third game they're going to invert it, and have a female alien and a male human on the cover. Liara and Joker are the only squad members (potential, in Joker's case) who are guaranteed to have survived the events of both games, and guess what pattern they fit in?
  • More likely it'll be a human female love interest (Gianna?) and a male alien "best bud" of a species we haven't seen before (raloi?). That is the pattern that the covers fall into.
  • They might switch up the genders, however, since they recently did a lot of market research into what the canon appearance of female Shepard should be.
  • I'd put money on James Vega instead of Joker. Joker is awesome, but he's not a squadmate, he's your pilot. As for Liara, I have a feeling they'll want to showcase new squad members for ME3.
  • Jossed on all counts. The cover only has Shepard.

In ME3, Khalisa Al-Jilani will know Kung-Fu.
  • You can't keep slapping her around forever.
    • But Shepard will still kick her ass.
      • Or better yet, she gets punched out by one of your squadmates.
        Garrus (or Grunt, or Tali, or anyone): I've had enough of your xenophobic diatribe. *PAWNCH*
        Shepard: ...what?
      • For a xenophobe, she's really hypocritical...

In ME3, Khalisah al-Jilani will have a talk show.
  • Simply because her name's so chantable. "Khalisah!" *clap* "Khalisah!" *clap* "Khalisah!" *clap* Depending on how you dealt with her, she's either the next Oprah or the next Jerry Springer.
    • Christ, if she becomes the next Oprah, Shepard is screwed.
    • Renegade Shep has his work cut out for him. But it's Shepard we're talking about. What's gonna stop him from punching out an entire room of middle age stay-at-home moms?
    • 'You get a punch in the face! *PAWNCH* And you get a punch in the face! *PAWNCH* And YOU get a punch in the face!' - Incidentally, if this WMG ever happened like that, it would end up on the Moment of Awesome page at least three times, as well as the Funny Moments page at least twice. Somehow, it would also end up on the Heartwarming Moments page, due to a very confused (or disturbed) troper.
      • One of the women Shepard punches realizes what a jerk she's been to her family (who's in the audience), says she's sorry, and they all have a teary-eyed apology session on live, galactic TV.
    • You know, I had actually thought about that. It could be a cool DLC. However, when I read this entry, I decided to elaborate a little bit. Try this: you saved the galaxy (again) and al-Jilani invites Shepard, asking him/her awkward questions. BUT. She has and the whole room filled with automated turrets, reacting to contacts between her guests' knuckles and her face, therefore blasting the guest to shreds if thing get nasty. So you have to keep her busy talking (like that quest in Noveria, with the arms dealer, or the one in Kasumi's DLC) while your tech expert reaches the security control room and hacks the turrets. So here you go, charming the hell out of her, when suddenly..."Mr/Miss Shepard, I just asked you about the genophage you decided to cure. Does it look funny? Why are you smiling?" "Because I'm about to make your show really worth the network's money." PAWNCH.

There will be a "meatbag" reference in ME3.

EDI will get a Moment of Awesome in Mass Effect 3.
  • A Reaper will attempt to convince her that the organics will betray her sooner or later, and tries to persuade her to join their side. She will go on a long tirade how superior she is to these foolish humans, and how she will enjoy seeing them suffer. And then she'll make her trademark deadpan: "That is a joke", and blast the Reaper down with her main cannons.
    • If this happens I will die happy.
      • Seconded.
      • Thirded with great enthusiasm. BioWare, are you reading?
    • None as described, but she does get some Moments of Awesome.

Mass Effect 3 will include a romance sub-plot between Joker and EDI.
  • Somehow. Haven't worked out the details yet, but it may involve an Andromeda style avatar (bearing, of course, a suspicious resemblance to Six. And now I've become a cargo shipper. Great.
    • "How can you date a ship, anyway? It'd be like me dating a really fat lady and living inside her. And she'd be all like *ship-noises*"
    • Reportedly, it's being looked at.
  • Considering how Shepard will be (actually "could be," but bear with me) trying to get the galaxy to accept the geth as allies against the Reapers, it would actually be kind of interesting to have a legitimate romance between an organic and a synthetic. I doubt they'll do that, though. At best, they will jokingly flirt with one another.
    • Confirmed!

Your decision regarding the Collector Base...
  • ...will determine who you're aligned with in Mass Effect 3. Many debates have been had about whether or not to destroy or save the Collector Base is the right decision, but whatever decision you make could have much bigger consequences. If you destroy the base and sever ties with Cerberus, the Alliance/Council could welcome you back, since you've shown Cerberus doesn't own you. Hopefully the Council will be nicer this time around. And if you save the base for Cerberus, your alliance with Cerberus will still hold in the third game, Cerberus being the ones helping you out and not the Council.
  • Going by the trailer, the Reapers will be attacking openly in ME3. As such, I would expect any and all bridges you have burned in the past (Council, Alliance, Cerberus, whoever) to be reconstructed post-haste. In particular, The Illusive Man seems to be pragmatism personified; if he turns on Shepard over a decision that even Miranda, his most loyal lieutenant, thinks was the right call, well, I'll be surprised as all hell.
    • Curiously, it seems Cerberus actually is an enemy in ME3. No detail yet about it, though.
      • Some details have shown up, it appears Cerberus has been indoctrinated. So while other loyalties are still up in the air based on your choices, Cerberus is hostile no matter what.
  • So the question now is, what *does* your choice regarding the Collector base do to change ME3? The strength of the indoctrinated Cerberus operatives? Whether or not The Illusive Man was indoctrinated? The weapons the player could have access to? The Collectors being extinct or not?
    • The Collectors are extinct regardless; the postgame information in ME2 mentions this. Even if you choose to save the Collector base, a massive pulse of radiation from the reactor destroys all lifeforms in the base, just not the structure itself.
      • Collectors appear in the Mass Effect 3 trailer. You wiped out their main base of operation, but there are still enough that they are being used as foot soldiers.
    • The main thing it changes is which part of the Reaper-fetus TIM recovers, which you can then put towards the Crucible to increase your War Assets.

Saving the Collector Base will blow up in Cerberus' face if they try to use it against the Reapers.
  • If there's one trope the Reapers have down to an art form, it's Villain Override. Point that thing at the Reapers, and it'll be pointed right back at us faster than you can say ASSUMING DIRECT CONTROL.
  • If it happens, it's not as if it hasn't been thoroughly lampshaded by the series as a whole. In ME2, Legion's dialogue about geth wishing to self-determinate and build their own future rather than accept the future that the Reapers were offering; in ME1, Sovereign's assertion that the Mass Relays and Citadel were specifically left in place to guide organic evolution along the Reapers' chosen pathway. Of course, there's still room for The Illusive Man to bring the awesome by predicting that this will happen, ruthlessly sacrificing Cerberus assets to make the Reapers think it worked, and still pulling something out of his hat the base that gives Shepard the upper hand.
  • As noted above, this is ultimately not too important to the impact of the story.
  • Confirmed, although they try to use Reaper tech to control husks (and ultimately Reapers themselves) regardless of your final decision in ME2. Needless to say, the Reapers take notice and Hilarity Ensues.

Shepard's first name will be used by someone.
  • In a climactic scene, Shepard will be arguing with another character, probably the love interest. Then, thanks to some amazing voice synthesizer technology, they will grab Shepard's attention by using Shepard's first name. Sure, it will mess things up for those few people who chose unpronounceable names, but for the vast majority of us, it will be stunning.
    • Alternatively, you can change Shepard's name on an ME2 import, and the game strongly suggests that it would be a good idea to go with John or Jane. It's pretty pointless as far as customization goes, you only see it in three places in the first game and in only one in the second.
      • That might cause more problems than it solves. For one thing, there's a lot of people who would want to go out and rename their PC 'Fagballs' or something to see if the synthesizer picks it up, and they'd have to make sure the pronunciation is perfect, and if it only worked for 'John' and 'Jane', you'd be screwing everyone else over, and...
      • It wouldn't be that hard, even without a synthesizer. Expensive, time-consuming, and pointless, maybe, but not hard. Assuming you're only going to use the name once, just have the VA of whoever is doing the line (love interests, probably) read off the 100 or so most common names in the world. If your Shep's name is one of them, they say it. If not, you just get "Shepard" like always.
      • Considering the projected profits from the sales of this game reach into theoretical numbers, I don't think they really need to worry about the cost of such a thing.
      • If you work it right, you don't even need a synthesizer. Picture this: It's the cutscene before the final battle sequence. Shepard is in his/her quarters with his/her love interest. Said love interest still calls him/her "Shepard" or "Commander", but he/she corrects love interest saying, "When it's just the two of us, there is no Commander Shepard." So love interest leans in close and whispers his/her first name. Voice Actors only need to whisper something indistinct, and if they feel daring, they can even position the camera so you can see the lipsync.
  • Nope.
    • Although it is lampshaded by Chakwas, who notes that she's never called you by it, and she won't.

Renegade Shepard will descend into Neutral Evil territory in Mass Effect 3
  • Shepard starts to crack under the pressure of having to protect the galaxy and his team/love interest. So he does some bad things to defeat the Reapers. Depending on the player, Shepard can stop just short of the point of no return, or descend into True Villainy, betray his team, and take over a weakened galaxy after defeating the Reapers.
    • And if you go down this path, the end credits theme will be "Bad Things" by Jace Everett.
    • Mass Effect 3? My Shep's been like this since ME2.
    • ME1 anyone? Genociding the Rachni? Murdering the Council?

BioWare is using the premium DLC of ME2 to refine ME3.
Take a look at the reception of the premium DLC so far:
Kasumi - Stolen Memory - Pretty good.
Overlord - Amazing.
Lair of the Shadow Broker - The best yet.
BioWare is using it to test what does and doesn't work gameplay wise, and everything they find will be used in Mass Effect 3. Additionally, ME3 will have occasional gameplay shifts - Overlord has a free-roaming map between the stations, and Lair of the Shadow Broker has a car chase. BioWare will keep trying new things in future DLC to see fans' response to it. All this will result in ME3 having a plethora of gameplay styles and being one of the best games of all time.
  • Arrival seems to break the pattern by being only pretty good, and not really introducing any gameplay innovations. Aside from that, though, I'm pretty sure BioWare actually said they were using the DLC to refine the gameplay.
    • However, ME3 does seem to have some more of the pseudo-stealth section in the beginning of Arrival.
    • Personally I like what Arrival did for the story, other than simply explaining why you're on trial in the beginning of ME3. You have to kill an entire colony (which probably includes human slaves) in order to only *delay* the threat of mass genocide by a species that almost no one believes exist. And on top of that, the colony belongs to perhaps the single most uncooperative race in the galaxy, and you know you'll need everyone working together to survive, and you just gave them 304,942 *more* reasons to not listen to you.

The Shadow Broker will be Shepard's benefactor in Mass Effect 3.
Well, it won't be Cerberus again, at least for those who destroyed the Collector base. The Shadow Broker has the resources to fund a Spectre's operations (as Tela Vasir showed), expresses a desire to help Shepard at the end of Lair of the Shadow Broker, and doesn't have the unfriendly history with Shepard Cerberus did (nor the clash in ideology with a Paragon Shepard). And this wouldn't necessarily mean the Shadow Broker won't be a squadmate; an assistant could be left behind to run operations while the Broker's off with Shepard.
  • More than likely, considering at the end of the LotSB DLC, Liara becomes the new Shadow Broker.
    • Related theory: The Shadow Broker's assistant won't be quite as good at the job. It won't have any bearing on gameplay or story, just some comic relief. "Hey Shepard! How was the mission? Great! Things are going well here, don't feel pressure to come by and check up on me! By the way, we didn't need the Pope alive, did we?"
    • Bingo. This seems the most likely possibility to me as well. You won't recruit Liara in ME3. You'll be working for her.
      • Nope, she's a squadmate.
      • Maybe her base gets destroyed, but she'll still have access to some of her intel network. Maybe...
      • Perhaps Feron is base-sitting?
      • Maybe the ship will actually take on the reapers. the ship is powerful....what if the storms are part of it's power. think about it, settle on a planet, and boom, storm breaks, as a shield mechanism, and then boom, dead reapers, it's time to move on. not to mention, the ship also can collect reaper parts, and make them harmless, rebuild a reaper and "Viola!" you now have a reaper reaper.
      • Actually, the base IS destroyed, but Liara DOES keep most of her contacts, operating out of Miranda's old quarters.

Liara did not actually become the shadow broker.
The real Shadow Broker is an AI which uses unwitting pawns as decoys by disguising itself as a slightly annoying VI. It has been around since since at least the time of the Protheans and probably much longer, the Yahg did not kill the original Shadow Broker merely the previous guy. It has been through many different secret bases over the years with many different pawns, not even bothering to remember their names anymore, just calling them 'Shadow Broker' which simply means 'the schmuck sitting in the office this century.

Mass Effect 3 will be modeled after Metal Gear: Peace walker
  • And it would borrow much of the game's resource and personnel management system, allowing you to assign your specialists to specific tasks, such as weapon and armor development, personnel training, and lending military aid to conflict zones in exchange for resources and credits. You might also get to reconfigure the Normandy SR-2, or even a brand new SR-3.
    • The Shadow Broker DLC already sort of toys with the idea of having a home base besides the Normandy, providing Shepard with extra resources, research and intel.
    • Oh, and you'd get to build your own giant robot, of course.
  • Would have been nice, but no. It's all one big lump of War Assets.

By the time Mass Effect 3 ends, the series will have used every trope in existence, as well as making, naming, and codifying more.
The series' main page had to be split into six different pages to handle all the tropes, so it seems pretty obvious that Bioware wants to use as many tropes as possible. But wait! How will they use any fantasy tropes? Well, halfway through ME3, it'll turn out that the Reapers can't be stopped, so Shepard and company will go back in time several million years, to whenever the Reapers were created, to try to stop their construction. This society will have Schizo Tech, an Anachronism Stew, and all sorts of other stuff that doesn't appear in the present, but enables BioWare to try new things. It may or may not be based on Dragon Age, for crossovers, and it immediately gets Halfway Plot Switch and several Time Travel Tropes as well. Near the end, the characters will realize they're in a video game for all the fourth wall tropes, and they'll abuse that to defeat the Reapers.
  • Slightly less wild expansions of the above: the planet Eingana is stated to have animals with biotic powers, due to massive amounts of dust-form element zero in its atmosphere. Missions there would be more like fantasy than sci-fi. A series of Cyberspace missions similar to the ending of Overlord would be Inside a Computer System, enabling Joker to snark endlessly about "You aren't supposed to look at this wall, you know that?".
  • No no no no no. Please no. The players, myself included, will say ruined faster than you can blink.
  • It stays in the realm of we expected... Thank goodness for that.
    • No.

Like the Illusive Man staffing the Normandy SR-2, BioWare will recruit everyone who used to work for Airtight Games to help make Mass Effect 3.
BioWare reads trope pages. If they also watch Zero Punctuation, they've already taken over a certain underfed franchise so that Shepard and his crew will navigate the environments in JETPACKS TO BEAR MCCREARY MUSIC!!!

Shepard will get angry enough with Khalisa to hospitalize her.
Well, come on, she's had it coming. It's only a matter of time before Shepard says, "I've had enough of your disparaging predispositions!" and totally administers a beatdown. This will launch a side quest where you need to provide proof of her slanderous predilections in order to avoid paying her rather large hospital bill.
  • Even batter—after Shepard saves the galaxy, Khalisa will try to smear him, only to get carried away by an angry mob.
  • Not quite. But he does knock her out with a headbutt. She stays down.
    • Even better, you can win her over and get her to start pestering the Council instead of you. A fitting punishment for both of them.

Joker will get another gameplay segment.
This time, it will be more in-depth than what came before. It may include any or all of the following:
  • An actual combat scenario where Joker gets to put those rifle skills from ME2's ending to good use
  • A playable dogfight with the Normandy (against a Reaper, of course).
  • A big decision of some sort (Shepard won't be present, leaving the decision up to Joker).
    • Of course, then the decision wouldn't be up to the player, either, as the player doesn't decide Joker's personality. ...Unless I completely missed the point and that was what you meant.
  • 'Fraid not.

BioWare will announce that ME3 will be PS3 exclusive
And the resulting shitstorm, possibly followed by BioWare announcing EDI-style "that was a joke", will prove that the folks at BioWare are the ultimate trolls.
  • Not being able to play the greatest game ever made would make me a part of the Fan Dumb?

The Earth rescue will be the first Mission not the last..
Much like the first scene of ME2 the Earth rescue will be BioWare's way to reset your character . It will start off with Shepard attempting to get as much of Earth's population off world while under fire. It will be a mix of Tearjerker and Moment of Awesome with multiple Squad deaths. As Shepard is providing cover for the last ship leaving Earth he gets hit by a powerful explosion. We see legs and arms flying off. We switch to first person point of view as the medics try to save him, everything is confusing and he faintly hears the medic put him under. As everything fades to black we hear his labored breathing. He looks out the window just in time to see Earth implode as we hear a heartbreaking one woman wail..Cut to cue card starting one month later. Your Shepard is being rebuilt as a mix of geth cybernetics, experimental gene tech and the original parts. Even better your character class reflects appearance. Soldier= Cyborg killing machine, Engineer = covered in holographic interfaces.
  • Confirmed by BioWare. "The game begins with Shepard on Earth, standing trial for the events that went down during the Mass Effect 2 "Arrival" DLC. The Reapers invade; Shepard escapes to the Normandy, and the plot begins."
    • Though it seems they're not planning another level one reset. Unless you change your class.

Keeper #20 will be significant in some way.
There has to be some reason why the Shadow Broker was keeping an eye on it. It would be interesting and rather satisfying if Shepard was able to find a way to use the Keepers against the Reapers.

There will be more singing.
ME2 got a small musical element with Mordin. Why not kick it up a notch? After all, if BioWare's going after all the tropes, why not the musical ones? It's an even better reason to hire Tim Curry. He could get the Villain Song!

Your new base of operations will be the Shadow Broker's ship.
And Liara will act as your Mission Control, providing you with resources and intelligence, similar to the Council in ME1 and the Illusive Man in ME2. Consider: in ME1, you worked for a Paragon-friendly organization, and in ME2, for a Renegade-friendly one. The Shadow Broker is neutral and has a network of agents rivaling or surpassing that of Cerberus. Liara will either retrofit the SR-2 to get rid of the remaining Cerberus design, or commission an entirely new Normandy.
  • And any time you feel like bringing Liara on a mission with you, Feron will fill in her position in the base.
  • The Alliance actually does the retrofitting on the Normandy, apparently.
  • Turns out the ship was destroyed.
  • Sort of true. The Shadow Broker makes your ship her new base of operations, installing what servers and equipment she could salvage from the original ship.

There will be a quest on the Citadel to help Refund Guy finally get his refund.
Similar to the WMG below that Friend 0 Zone Turian and Valley Girl Quarian will hook up in the third game, a Citadel quest will revolve around Shepard helping the long-suffering Refund Guy finally get that refund he's been seeking since the first game. The Paragon option will revolve talking to that turian shopkeeper from the first game and basically just asking him to throw the poor guy a bone, he's been trying to get his money back for years. The Renegade option will be Shepard getting the refund by beating up the shopkeeper because it would be too cruel to finish the quest WITHOUT Refund Guy getting his refund, even for Renegade!Shep.
  • Alternatively, you find out refund guy really was full of crap and has been harassing the poor shopkeep for years.
  • Confirmed, the goal is to make them realize there are bigger things at stake to hold petty grudges. And the refunded credits was a measly 15 credit refund (not a lot in financial value but a lot in proving human superiority
    • He spent a lot of time on that toaster oven.

Refund Guy will finally be told where to get his refund, and lo and behold it will be the correct place this time.
But just as he grabs the door handle, the entire building will collapse under a Reaper's stomp attack.
Refund Guy: GOD DAMMIT!!!
  • He does show up, and you can support him to finally get him his refund... of fifteen credits.

A sidequest will have you hook up or break up Friend Zone Turian and Valley Girl Quarian.
Much like the "Blue Rose of Illium" sidequest in the second game (where you could either convince an asari to keep or dump her krogan boyfriend), Shepard and company will have a chance to talk to the VGQ and do the same thing. Tali will also chime in with her opinion, but this will change, depending on whether or not Shepard romanced Tali (i.e. she'll be in favor of getting VGQ with FZT, she'll convince VGQ to give up and find a quarian lover, or she might even convince VGQ to dump the turian and give her human ex-boyfriend another chance).
  • Alternately, if BioWare is going for super-mega-Tear Jerker, have Shepard be investigating the ruins of a Reaper-besieged Ilium, and notice a familiar-looking turian and quarian, dead, and holding hands.
    • Is it wrong that a part of me died reading that? Despite it not being at all canon?
  • But what about those of us who play Fem Sheps? It shouldn't decide for us based on a choice we couldn't make.
  • They actually don't appear at all. Sadly.
    • The Blue Rose of Illium and her boyfriend do appear, though. Sadly.

Shepard's Paragade score influences his/her reinforcements.
Paragon Shepard has been building a sizable pool of people she can call upon, from the krogan and rachni to the Council races themselves, a Paragon has a great deal of respect from at least several members of their military. Because of this, although Shepard's armies while relatively small, it will be made of biggest the Badasses of their races, slaughtering the enemy wherever they meet them but too few in number to be everywhere.

Renegade Shepard will instead strong arm everyone they can get their hands on provide reinforcements, little more than conscripts, barely trained and ill-equipped. This army will be extremely large and die in droves, but the press of bodies will eventually win the day.

  • Not really. Higher Paragade scores give you a better chance at getting a larger set of allies, but it's the same allies you're choosing from either way.

The Reapers are agents of the Anti-Sprials
The similarities between the two are too numerous to discount: both are oppressive races that rise up whenever the dominant lifeforms of the universe reach their apex, then proceed to destroy civilization and drive life to extinction under the justification that doing so will keep the universe safe.

Bhatia's restaurant.
According to ME2, if you give Samesh Bhatia his wives body instead of letting it be experimented on he opened a restaurant on Earth where Alliance soldiers may eat for free.

If you played mostly as a Paragon in both games, this restaurant will be a hard point you come across while fighting on Earth, where a group of marines are/were fighting the Reapers with considerable success before getting flattened. There are noticeably no civilian bodies to be found.

If you gave the body back but played as a Renegade, the restaurant will be a bombed out ruin with a lot of dead civilians around and some of the chatter/logs you come across on the level or later in the codex after the battle is done will point to that same group of marines leaving the civilians to die while they went to ground to fight a guerrilla war, eventually getting slaughtered anyway.

If you didn't give the body back there is still a restaurant there, but you would've had to play as an even greater Paragon to get the last stand while the Renegade result is to be expected.

If you played as a neutral and was neither particularly Paragon nor particularly Renegade you find that same restaurant as a smoking shell with the bodies of marines and civilians both as they were caught by surprise and slaughtered.

  • No reference is made to Samesh.

If Shepard died in ME2, you will get a completely different Player Character in ME3, which is...

No, seriously, bear with me. If Shepard dies, Joker is the only survivor of the Normandy crew; it's now his mission, personally, to stop the Reapers, because no one else is really dedicated to that goal single-mindedly. There's sufficient tech in the ME universe for him to either get some form of Powered Armor, or (preferably) bone therapy so that he can shoot things without his shoulder snapping. And for heaven's sake, Seth Green is his VA.

(Alternate guess: the replacement ME3 PC is Ashley/Kaidan, whichever of them survived your playthrough. And of course this is if you even want to honor the fact that he bought it.)

  • BioWare said that you won't be able to import a save game where Shepard died.
    • Lame. But, perhaps, understandable. It's bad enough having to store two versions of Shepard's dialogue (Meer vs. Hale); adding voice sets for Ashley, Kaidan and/or Joker would tax memory resources even more.

The vehicle will be a combination of the Mako and the Hammerhead.
What most people hated about the Mako was its bad traction. While the Hammerhead fixes that by being a hover tank, it brings up new issues. Combining the two into a hover APC will get the best of both worlds: it'll have the strength and combat capability of the Mako, and the climbing capability of the Hammerhead. It won't necessarily need to be as fast as the Hammerhead (especially since it has more armor), but it'll have the boost feature to cross large, featureless areas quickly, in addition to being able to pick up/scan resources without leaving it. In keeping with the shark theme, it could be called the Izak, after the Izak catshark for a Genius Bonus, but other suggestions are welcome.
  • The Wobegong, AKA Carpet Shark, AKA the most embarrassing name to give and ambush predator. Getting killed by a tank called the Wobegong would add a little extra humiliation factor.
  • No vehicle at all, actually.

Shepard will learn that the Hanar sabotaged Drell development
And he'll blackmail them with it to get them to join his alliance.
  • Would be easy, all they'd need to do is ransack the nearest Prothean outpost to Rakshana for "Enkindler relics" and the Drell wouldn't have Mass Effect technology needed to colonize other planets and relieve population pressure.
  • Seeing as they worship the Protheans they'll be even more reluctant than the Council to accept the existence of the Reapers.
  • Nope, The Hanar are devoted to finding a Kepral Syndrome cure as ever.

Shepard will not only lead a pro-team yet again, but entire armies in the inevitable war.
Remember that ol' Septimus fellow and how he mentioned Shepard would make a good general himself one day? This Troper believes BioWare snuck in a sly little signal that Mass Effect 3 will be bigger than we realize, and this was before Mass Effect 2 was even announced.
  • Yep. Pretty much. Though technically, Hackett's in charge. Still, you're the one who says when it's time to attack.

It will turn out that Cerberus has two other leaders besides the Illusive Man.
This guess is based pretty much entirely on Joker sometimes wondering why Cerberus has only one leader when its namesake has three heads if you hang around near him long enough. Just like the cells under them each of the leaders works pretty much independently, creating cells and doling out the organization's assets based on their own ideas about what's best for humanity.

TIM will turn out to be the most neutral of the three leaders, with the other two leaning heavily Paragon and heavily Renegade (that one presumably being the person to blame for the nastier cells you run across in the first game) respectively. If you handed over the Collector base and ended Mass Effect 2 on good terms with TIM it will be possible to win them both over, with the proper amount of Paragon and Renegade points, and having the full strength of Cerberus behind you when you reach the Gondor Calls for Aid scenario the games seem to be building to, but even if you cut all ties with him you'll still potentially be able to get a third of the group behind you. But you probably won't be able to get them both, since they'll be so wary of trusting someone who's already betrayed the group once that they'll only throw in their lot with yours if its very obvious that you have similar beliefs and probably won't ever have cause to turn against them. It won't be as good as having the whole group behind you, but if you spent the series burning bridges left and right instead of forming alliances then even a third will be better than nothing.

  • Cereberus has only one leader. The entire point behind the name came from the fact that the first mass relay humanity found was actually what they first thought was Pluto's moon Charon. When it was discovered, a manifesto was published that humanity needed a guardian against possible aliens surfaced. As Cereberus was Pluto's guard dog into the underworld they named their organization Cereberus. That would be an interesting plot but it is shot down by canon.
  • If you talk to EDI after the Collector assault on the Normandy, she has access to the Cerberus files that have otherwise been locked out for the majority of the game; She explains that the Illusive Man is essentially at the top of the tree and handles funding and specific assignments - such as those he hands to Miranda, but otherwise, Cerberus has three divisions - Scientific, Military and Political - which all operate under secrecy and without protocol, meaning they are given funding and don't need to report in. Even Miranda doesn't know which cells you encountered during Mass Effect 1, and can only suggest that they were from the Military division. As such, Cerberus likely has dozens of cell leaders - Miranda's one of them - but all answer to the Illusive Man. He's the top dog in the group.

Manipulation of dark energy will turn out to be the basis for Reaper technology
Everywhere you turn in the second game, you keep hearing those two words. Veetor on Freedom's Progress: dark energy. Tali on Haestrom: dark energy. Gianna Parasini on Illium: dark energy. It keeps cropping up. Now, according to the codex, the whole way eezo works is by manipulating dark energy. But this seems different. When you encounter Veetor, he's babbling about how he took dark energy readings. Seems innocuous enough. But then you get to Tali, and she's talking about dark energy is somehow causing the sun to go nova prematurely. And then, Gianna says that more and more people are becoming obsessed with dark energy research, making the big companies nervous. Not biotics. Dark energy.

Maybe that's the secret to the Reapers' power: they know how to manipulate dark energy to a degree that no other race can even conceive. Maybe they don't even need eezo; they just keep using it to limit their cattle even more. Perhaps what they're doing to Haestrom is all part of the process. There's a limited amount of eezo, and a lot of it gets mixed up in all sorts of tech. Most of that would be destroyed or rendered inaccessible during the purge, so, maybe what they do is choose a few easily-accessible suns, hit them with dark matter, and boom. Supernova, eezo. Ready for mining. And if they happen to take out a few particularly stubborn planets in the process, hey. So much the better. Heastrom might be a test run; warming up their instruments to make sure the process still works. Or maybe they ordered the Collectors to do it. Or maybe the heretic geth found their equipment and started pushing buttons.

EDIT: And Arrival mentions that Object Rho, the Reaper artifact that indoctrinates Kenson and the rest of the Project, seems to draw energy directly from dark matter. My theory gains credence!

  • Turns out dark energy plays no role at all. Which is actually kinda disappointing, with how much it was built up as a plot point in ME2. The idea was originally going to be the motivation for the Reaper cycle, that is to say that the dark energy build up from using mass effect technology threatened life in the galaxy and made the reapers want to preserve life in reaper form, but the idea was scrapped early on.
  • Guessing that the idea was scrapped after the writer left, because the concept sounds a lot like Global Warming and deciding to resolve it one way or another would have courted controversy. And possibly alienating a significant portion of the fandom in the United States, where the issue of Global Warming is polarizing. They just ended up creating a Broken Base for a different reason.

Shepard will get these emails...
  • Paragon; You are being sued for false representation, because you declared that several businesses were all your favorite store on the Citadel.
    • A follow-up email will arrive from Captain Bailey a few missions later, where he will say that he has "explained" things to the lawyer in question, and all will be forgiven and forgotten if Shepard will throw 500 Credits into the "Get Well Soon" fund for the guy.
  • Renegade; Gianna Parasini is suing you for blowing so many of her important missions that she became unemployable in her chosen profession.

We will finally get to see female aliens outside Quarian, Asari, and Human
  • Honestly it was a long time in coming and BioWare actually was going to use female Turians in the first game but then scrapped it. Garrus' sister? If Solus has any family? That would be cool!
    • Given that the turian homeworld is a playable level it is very possible we will see female Turians.
      • Confirmed. E3 Demo features a female Krogan. As Palaven and Sur'Kesh are confirmed levels expect to see female Turians and Salarians as well.
      • Or not. Seems they've decided against female turians and salarians.
    • There are female salarians. They look exactly the same, except they wear loose, baggy shroud/gown/robe/dress things. No sign of female turians, though.
      • With the Omega DLC, a female turian has finally been unveiled!

One of the Reapers...
  • ...will be voiced by Dan Green, because it is awesome, and there is nothing denying it.

Matriarch Aethyta will join the Shadow Broker.
It's good for father-daughter bonding.
  • Confirmed! Liara does finally get to meet her father Matriarch Aethyta

The Lancer will be Garrus and Liara
In the first game, it was divided between Ashley and Kaidan. The second game had it between Miranda and Jacob, with Garrus in between. The third game will elevate Garrus and Liara into the Lancers for Shepard.

Joker will become involved in a Love Triangle between EDI and a Reaper.
A Reaper takes a personal interest in him, due to his killing Sovereign and his skill behind a starship (if you're a living spaceship, and you're going to need someone to pilot you at some point, it might as well be the one who can treat you with love and care). Joker is freaked out and EDI is not pleased.
  • Heh, better yet, a very tiny mini0reaper ala baby metroid will appear at some point. Joker and EDI must act as surrogate parents.

Cerberus' reason for opposing you will depend on the endgame choice of Mass Effect 2.
It has been revealed that Cerberus is gunning for you, regardless of your choice in the last game. Given that the Reapers are invading, this would seem a bit silly on their part, but: if you destroyed the Collector Station, you've 'proven' to TIM that you aren't willing to make the necessary choices, and will in fact sabotage them in your misguided heroism. Thus, they're out to kill you to keep you from scuppering their own plans for going against the Reapers. If one kept the station, on the other hand, the leadership will have been indoctrinated. This would allow for balance between the two choices: if you destroyed the station, Cerberus doesn't have the technology of the station, and the 'kill-Shepard' thing might be a side-show to stopping the Reapers. If you preserved the station, they'll have the tech and a focus on you... but will be suffering from the mental degradation of indoctrination, with all that entails for TIM's capability as an information broker and how well their power is wielded.
  • Doesn't make a difference. They oppose you because their plan is different from yours.

Shepard will be able to join the Reapers/become indoctrinated.
The game will essentially remain the same, ie. you'll go round the Galaxy doing virtually all the same missions and choosing Paragon/Neutral/Renegade as ways to solve them, the difference will be that you will complete the missions doing something to further the Reapers agenda instead of opposing it (as would happen in a non-indoctrinated playthrough). Indoctrination is stealthy and you are Commander "Badass the Fuck" Shepard so your squad-mates won't notice until the final showdown.
  • No, but one of the endings sorta plays with that.

You will find an undamaged police box in London.
Assuming that you go to London, of course. And in a later mission it will have vanished mysteriously.
  • Sadly, no, but there are red phone boxes scattered about.

Rana Thanoptis will be a crewmember.
Not a squadmate; just a member of the crew. Remember that asari scientist from Virmire? Provided you don't kill her, she's shown up in both games so far. It's not a stretch to think she'll show up again. What will she do? So far, she's the only scientist in the game who has studied Reaper indoctrination and survived. There may be a sidequest where Shepard goes to pick her up so that she and other sciency types on the ship and study it further, try to work out a way to counter or even reverse it.
  • Actually, she goes insane, reveals she was indoctrinated, and guns down several asari officials before ending her own life. Turns out sparing her was a bad idea. Oops.

Engineer Adams will make a cameo.
We know from Game Informer that the Alliance is claiming the SR-2 and running it through a scrape-down, but there's no way Shepard would let just any Alliance hack rummage through their ship. So naturally, Hackett and/or Anderson pulled some strings to make sure that Adams would be the one to do the job. The resulting cutscene would be a heartwarming reunion if Tali is still with you (Adams was something of a father-figure towards her in the first game), and possibly a Funny Moment if Ken and Gabby are fans of his.
  • He's back on the crew.

Feel free to stick any achievements you expect here.
  • Don't Fear the Reapers: Get the Paragon ending (permanently defeating the Reapers as an alliance of species).
  • Invincible: Survive Mass Effect 3. Even more so if you beat it on Insanity.
  • Martyr: Die to save the galaxy.
  • Quisling: Betray the galaxy to the Reapers.
  • Not Yourself: Allow Shepard to become indoctrinated. (May coincide with the either of the two above.)
  • Vicious Cycle: Fail to stop the Reapers.
  • Manifest Destiny: Get the Renegade ending (defeating the Reapers, with humanity overtaking the weakened Galaxy).
  • Apocalypse Now: Fail to save the galaxy and continue the cycle of extinction.
  • Fling a Light into the Future: Ensure that the next generation of organic life will have a chance to defeat the Reapers.
  • We Come in Peace: Save an alien homeworld from the Reapers.
  • Praetorian: Side with the Geth
  • A New Home: Side with the Quarians
  • Retribution: Side with the Krogan
  • Krogan Too Dangerous: Side with the Salarians
  • Ah Yes, "Reapers": Let the Reapers destroy an alien homeworld.
    • Let the Reapers kill the Turian Councilman.
    • Let the Reapers destroy Palaven.
  • Embrace Eternity: Gain the allegiance of the asari (the mission will have something to do with this)
  • Political Shitstorm: Convince the Council to provide assistance against the Reapers.
    • Alternatively, kill Ambassador Udina.
  • This Hurts You: Successfully fight off Harbinger's assault.
  • Proof of Purchase: Obtain a refund after two years.
  • Uptown Girl: Unite the Friend-Zone Turian and the Valley Girl Quarian.
  • Don't Fuck With Aria: Defend Omega from Reaper attack.
  • Vanguard of your Destruction: Destroy a Reaper using a biotic charge.
  • Harbinger of your Ascension: Destroy a Reaper with a singularity.
  • Fear Itself Will Be Our Ally: Destroy a Reaper with an Atlas walker.
  • This is the Burn that Fixes Everything: Destroy an Atlas with only Incinerate and Incendiary Ammo.
  • It's the Only Way to be Sure: Destroy a Reaper with an orbital nuclear strike.
  • We're Gonna Need A Bigger Boot: Destroy a Reaper with conventional weapons.
  • You Shall Be As Gods: Use Cerberus' prototype Human-Reaper to destroy another Reaper.
  • Assuming Direct Control: Hack a geth Dyson sphere.
    • Alternately: Hack a Reaper.
  • Got The Band Back Together: Re-recruit all surviving members of your ME1 crew (minimum of 3).
  • ...But Who's The New Backup Singer?: Re-recruit as many members of your ME2 crew as possible (minimum of 3).
  • Favor To The Universe: Help clan Urdnot dispose of a rival clan.
  • Hope It's Not Another Lemon: Acquire the new reconnaissance vehicle.
    • Genius.
  • Towers of Hanoi, Again?! : Manually repair a computer system instead of using omni-gel.
  • This Is My Boomstick: Fully upgrade the Shotgun.
  • I Call It Vera: Fully upgrade the Assault Rifle.
    • Alternatively: I Call It Jessie
  • Scoped and Dropped: Fully upgrade the Sniper Rifle.
  • ...Of Doom!: Fully upgrade the Pistol. Hey, we already know they pay attention to the fandom, right?
  • Still Not Enough...: Fully upgrade the Submachine Gun.
  • Walking Armory: Upgrade all available items.
  • I, Geth: Resolve the conflict between the Geth and Quarians.
    • Qualms of the Machinist: Complete all available Geth and Quarian sidequests (or more particularly, any missions focusing on Tali and/or Legion).
  • The Enemy Of My Enemy: Gain the grudging alliance of the Batarians.
  • To Soldiers Acting Like Soldiers: Resolve the old hatreds between the Turians and Humanity.
  • Hold The Line: Resolve the conflict between the Krogan and Salarians.
    • Alternately: Withstand a Reaper assault alongside the Salarians.
    • Questionable Ethics: Complete all available Salarian and Krogan sidequests (or more particularly, any missions focusing on Mordin and/or Grunt and Wrex).
  • Nakama: Unite the entire galaxy against the Reaper threat.
    • As awesome at that would be, not everyone outside of Japan knows what that word means. I say we call it United and Ready instead, calling back to a line from Paragon Shepard when talking to Sovereign in ME1.
      Shepard: There is an entire galaxy of races united and ready to face you.
  • Requiescat in Pace: Kill 5 enemies in a row with the omni-blade.
  • Welcome to DIE!: Kill 6 enemies with a single biotic power.
  • Basically... run.: Convince the Reapers to leave non-violently.
  • Say Hello to my Little Friends: Kill an enemy with each heavy weapon.
  • Told You So: Escape the Reapers' first attack on Earth.
  • About Time: Finally persuaded Conrad Verner to give up becoming a spectre.
  • The hell's this 'check engine' light?: Kill 40 enemies in a single Atlas Mech.
  • Pig Cannon: Use unconventional attacks to kill an enemy in the Atlas.
  • Paramour: Hey, just getting the obvious out of the way.
  • Long Service Medal: Again, it's pretty obvious.
  • Absence Makes The Heart Grow Fonder: Remained faithful to your lover.
  • Acost of Responsibility... Go and save Earth
  • ...Affairs of Darkness Defeat Cerberus once and for all
  • You've Got a Quad: Save Tuchanka from the Reapers.
  • Reach and Flexibility: Save Palaven from the Reapers.
  • Consensus: Save Rannoch from the Reapers.
  • Been There, Done That: Save the Citadel from the Reapers... again.
  • The Infinite Ocean: Save Kahje or Rakhana from the Reapers.
  • The Very Model of a Modern Lieutenant Commander: Save Sur'Kesh (the Salarian Homeworld) from the Reapers.
    • Alternatively: Hold The Line
  • You Would Make a Good General Yourself One Day: Finish the game without losing any squadmates.
  • Welcome to Earth: Destroy a Reaper while escaping Earth.
  • Rule of Cool: Plead insanity at your hearing.
  • A Bad Enough Dude: Save the human leader from the Reapers.
  • The Design Is Clearly Prothean: Find the Prothean Derelict.
  • Well, what have we here?: Enlist the aid of the Quarian Admiral.
  • Only Three Quarters Of A System: Destroy another Mass Relay.
    • Alternate title: I Had A Choice This Time
  • The Best of Both Worlds: Witness a fleet action against the Reapers.
    • Alternately, defeat the Reapers with a combination of Paragon and Renegade options.
  • Within The Reaper's Grasp: Dive into a seemingly hopeless situation.
  • Are You Still There?: Say "I should go" 100 times throughout the trilogy.
  • You Are In Space: Send your adoring fan into orbit.
  • That Armor Is In Good Condition?: Finish the game with Shepard taking more total damage than your squadmates.
  • Enough of your Genocidal Cavalcades: Defeat a Reaper with a melee attack.
  • No Kill Like Overkill: Take out a Reaper/Reaper Fleet by blowing up a Mass Relay.
  • I've Had Enough Of Your Fallacious Accusations: Punch out the reporter a third time.
  • One Shot, One Kill: Kill a Reaper with one shot from a firearm.
  • Hi, Mom: Rescue Captain Hannah Shepard. (Spacer)
  • The O.G.: Fight with your old gang members against husks in New York. (Earthborn)
  • Homestead: Save Mindoir from the Reapers. (Colonist)
  • D-Day: Fight off the Reaper attack on Normandy, France.
  • Commander Shepard Of Mars: Use the prototype Conduit to get to Mars from Earth.
  • War God: Save Mars from the Reapers.
  • In the Name of the Moon...: Fight off the Reapers on Earth's moon.
  • Assuming Direct Control: Hijack Harbinger.
  • This Hurts You: Use Harbinger to destroy another Reaper.
  • Never Again: Destroy all the Reapers.
  • The Kind of Person The Galaxy Needs: Finish the game on Insanity difficulty.
  • Good, I Want More: Finish the game on a higher difficulty than you started (or finish the game on Insanity).
  • You Are Dead, Dead, Dead.: Try to import a game in which Shepard died.
  • Shai-Hulud: Summon the Giant Thresher Maw.
  • Deadliest Son-Of-A-Bitch In Space!: Use the giant mass accelerator to kill a Reaper
    • Alternatively: Take personal command of the SSV Newton.
  • Absence Makes the Heart Go Yonder: Cheat on your former lover.
  • Take A Third Option Reconcile your two lovers.
  • That'll Buff Out: Kill an enemy by landing on top of it while piloting the Mako or Hammerhead
  • Worst Birthday Ever: Start the game on April 11th (Shepard's birthday, according to the ME Wiki).
  • Reach and Flexibility: Start or maintain a relationship with Garrus
    • Alternatively Something To Go Right
  • Heavy Risk, But The Priiize: Start or maintain a relationship with Jacob
    • Alternatively, Make Every Minute Count
  • Don't Die. You Promise Me, Damn it!: Start or maintain a relationship with Miranda
  • I Never Thought You'd See Past... This: Start or maintain a relationship with Tali
  • No More Questions: Start or maintain a relationship with Jack
  • Be Alive With Me Tonight: Start or maintain a relationship with Thane
  • Something Special To Come Back Too: Start or maintain a relationship with Liara
  • Not Unbecoming Men That Strove With Gods: Start or maintain a relationship with Ashley
  • This Is What Will Never Happen Again... Us: Start or maintain a relationship with Kaidan
  • Now We're All Sons Of Bitches: Set off a nuke.
  • Androcles' Lion: Be rewarded for an earlier display of compassion
  • Ain't We Just?: Save a planet just in the nick of time.
  • The Hero of a Thousand Words: Across all games played, finish a Paragon career (full blue bars).
  • The Fighter Holding Humanity High: Across all games played, finish a Renegade career (full red bars).
  • Joker and the Thief: Joker pulls a Big Damn Heroes for Shepard and Kasumi.
  • Sword Of Damocles: Joker takes command in Shepard's stead for a mission.
  • At Her Majesty's Pleather: Become allies with Aria.
  • Losing Control: Destroy Harbinger
  • This Is Pest Control: Kill 100 Rachni Husks
  • You Remind Me Of Someone: Kill a Turian Husk
  • I've Had Worse: Take 4 hits from enemy heavy weapons in a row and not die.
  • Just Another Day At The Office: Beat the game on Casual without dying.
  • Something To Prove: Beat the game on Normal without dying.
  • I've Covered Wars, Ya Know: Beat the game on Veteran without dying.
  • Challange Accepted: Beat the game on Hardcore without dying.
  • To Hell And Back: Beat the game on Insanity without dying.
  • Pimp: Have 3, or more, different sexual relations across the 3 games.
  • What Kind Of Day Has It Been?: Attempt to assassinate The Illusive Man.
  • Not This Time: Survive Orbital Re-entry
  • Big Damn Heroes: Arrive just in the nick of time
  • Shepard... PAUNCH: Use the Power Melee attack on 100 enemies
  • Join or Die: Create a multiplayer character
  • Company of Misfits: Complete a Bronze co-op level
  • Band of Brothers: Complete a Silver co-op level
  • We Stand United: Complete a Gold co-op level
  • Bonds Forged By The Fires Of War: Complete a Platinum co-op level
  • Equal Oppurtunity Asskickers: Fight with one of each playable races in your squad
  • Gate of Hades: Survive a multiplayer match against Cereberus
  • Abominations: Survive a multiplayer match against the Reaper forces
  • Synthetic Blood: Survive a multiplayer match against the Geth
  • Return From The Grave: Survive a multiplayer match against the Collectors
  • All Around The Galaxy: Fight in every map
  • Rookie: Reach level 5 with each class in multiplayer
  • Veteran: Reach level 10 with each class in multiplayer
  • Specialist: Reach level 15 with each class in multiplayer
  • Last, Best, Hope For The Galaxy: Reach level 20 with each class in multiplayer.
  • Is it alright to suggest achievements I wish they'd put in for the endings?
    • Them or Us: Destroy the Reapers.
      • So a Million Can Live: Destroy a large amount of organic life along with the Reapers.
      • Darker Than Life: Wipe out all life in the galaxy along with the Reapers.
      • Juggernaut: Survive the explosion of the Citadel.
      • A Happy Ending: Destroy the Reapers -and only the Reapers- by maximizing your EMS before the ending.
    • Irony's a Bitch: Take control of the Reaper fleet.
      • Collateral Damage: Destroy a large amount of organic life while taking control of the Reaper fleet.
      • Remember the Fallen: Use the Reaper fleet to watch over and protect the galaxy.
      • You Know What They Say About Absolute Power: Use the Reaper fleet to rule the galaxy.
    • Utopia Justifies the Means: Create galactic peace by forcing evolution.
    • Freedom to Choose: Condemn all life in the galaxy by refusing the Catalyst's offers.
      • Totally Worth It: Condemn all life in the galaxy by shooting the Catalyst.
      • Learn From the Past: Help future races defeat the Reapers by leaving behind a time capsule.
You will visit each homeworld... and play as the associated character from that homeworld.
So on Tuchanka, you play as Wrex, for instance. They were playing with the idea with Joker in ME 2. So the game might be interspersed with Shepard missions and homeworld missions.
  • You play as Shepard on any planet, but you do visit the homeworlds of all Council species, plus Tuchanka and Rannoch.

The climatic battle with reapers will take place with a ship from each allied race... forming together into a giant robot with Shepard has the head.

Killing the Council was the Right Call.
Think - if the Council is saved, a new "Golden Age" of peace is allegedly ushered in - and defense spending is directly proportional to galactic tension, so races will be less ready for war. But if you go Renegade, an arms race between the Turian Hierarchy and the Alliance has pretty much already broken out by Mass Effect 2 (the news mentions that the turians are upping their dreadnought production, and the asari have ceded their portion of defense responsibility to the turians). Presumably the Alliance will have to match this. So when the Reapers turn up, both races will already have borderline war economies, and a Paragon Shepard in ME3 can pull an Enemy Mine and get everyone working together again, only with loads of dreadnought battleships and attack carriers, for insane Magnificent Bastard points.
  • Not quite, but it's close. Saving the Council gets you the Destiny Ascension as a War Asset, which just barely outweighs the cost of the Alliance ships lost saving it.

You won't need to destroy the Reapers entirely.
Consider: The Citadel relay is capable of transmitting over distances far beyond those of a normal relay. The existence of biotics also shows that diffuse nodes of element zero, like, say, the mass relay network, can be used in concert to create an extremely powerful overall effect. The sum total of the relay network could be used to "Supercharge" the Citadel relay, allowing intergalactic travel. All the races of the galaxy have to do is destroy ENOUGH Reapers to make it more efficient for them to simply migrate into a different galaxy and begin the cycle of extinction there, rather than fight out a costly war.
  • That might be an option for Renegade Shepard, but I can't see a Paragon Shepard deciding to just make the Reapers somebody else's problem. Even Renegade Shepard might prefer to destroy them utterly to make sure they don't come back.
  • You deal with all the Reapers.

There will be another former Star Trek actor voicing a villain
Bioware seems to have a trend of having former Star Trek alums usually playing bad guys of varying degrees in their games. Mass Effect had Marina Sirtis as Matriarch Benezia (and Armin Shimmerman as the salarian councilor though he's not actually a bad guy), Mass Effect 2 had Michael Dorn as Gatatog Uvenk, and even Dragon Age: Origins has Kate Mulgrew as Flemeth and Tim Russ as Zathrian (who is admittedly a little grayer than outright evil). They'll continue this trend with Mass Effect 3. Calling it right now; Leonard Nimoy as a Reaper.
  • Or they'll break it up and bring in a Star Wars actor: James Earl Jones as a Reaper.
  • Something that this troper has noticed is that when a main cast member of TNG voices a character, the character in Mass Effect has something in common with their TNG character (Dorn being a Proud Warrior Race Guy and Sirtis being an alien with empathic abilities). So, how about Patrick Stewart playing an indoctrinated human starship captain?

Shepard will learn a Hanar's Soul Name
Because...why not?
  • Shepard will learn Blasto's soul name.
    • This one's soul name is whatever you want it to be, polyp.
  • Confirmed. On Kasumi's side mission on the Citadel.

Mass Effect 3 for the 360 will come on 3 disks
Just like how ME2 came on 2 disks, ME3 will have 3. Seems like there's more content than ever before. Gonna need the 3rd disk to cram it all in.
  • Still only 2.

The omni-blade isn't actually a holographic blade
That would be just silly, won't it? In actuality, it's a mono-molecular piece of straight wire constructed (and disintegrated after a few seconds) by the omni-tool's nanomachines. It is so thin as to be practically invisible, so for safety reasons a wide blade shape is projected around it so that the soldier will know where to move it to without slicing his own head of. Or maybe it's not even a hologram: just an augmented reality image in your futuristic, ocular implant HUD serving the same purpose. To outside lookers it seems like you are waving your hand in the air near someone and that someone gets cut.
  • I just assume that it was made out of the good old ME standby: some new version of a mass effect field.
  • Actually, that's surprisingly accurate. It's actually a super hard blade hastily crafted by the omni-tool with synthetic metal.

EDI will stay with Shepard, and The Illusive Man will replace Miranda with another AI who will serve as a major villain acting on behalf of TIM
As the Normandy SR-2 was disassembled and reverse engineered by the alliance to create a new Normandy EDI was also taken into Alliance custody. However, as EDI proved herself as benevolent prior to the suicide mission, and Joker has developed an attachment to her, she is allowed to be kept on the SR-3 as it's onboard AI. Since Cerberus has a job opening (If Miranda doesn't leave Cerberus at the end of ME2, is plausible she would when Cerberus turns on him.) The position of TIM #2 goes to a new AI, one colder and more sadistic than EDI.

And it will be voiced by Ellen McLain.

  • Confirmed, although "Eva" gets offed rather early, and EDI takes the body for her own. Oh, but it isn't voiced by Ellen McLain.

The yahg will have a prominent role in ME 3, perhaps working for the Reapers.
Strong, tough, and violent like the krogan? Intelligence and cunning of salarians? More eyes than a batarian? And at least the tech savvy of salarians as well, if not quarians? (Presumably the omni-tool shield and the emergency shield were custom made. If the Shadow Broker is paranoid enough, he would make sure no one but him knew how to create those.) One seemingly random one picked to be a pet was able to wreck the original Shadow Broker's organization and become the Broker himself? Such a race would seem almost perfect for the Reapers' plans, especially since the krogan themselves were once considered for Reaper ascension, and they lack salarian intelligence. I know the yahg were only recently discovered by the Council, but that doesn't mean the Reapers didn't find them beforehand. In fact, the Council's quarantine of the yahg to their planet must have certainly brewed resentment among some of them, at least. Such a race is just too notable to be a toss-out to Lair of the Shadow Broker and never used again.

Now, the yahg had not yet discovered FTL drives, but now that they have the knowledge that interstellar travel exists, they're bound to try again. Remember, humanity went, in 35 years, from not knowing mass relays exist, to becoming the biggest threat to the Reapers, and they're pretty average compared to the yahg in just about everything. Pretty much the only thing humans have over the yahg are biotics, and we have no idea if there are yahg biotics, since the only known individual did not have them.

What I'm saying, is that if the Reapers ever gave them ships, the yahg could be the Rachni Wars all over again. They're probably too few in number right now to replicate the Wars or become the newest Collectors, but considering the success of just one of them, they *have* to play a prominent role in the galaxy sooner or later.

  • The yahg didn't appear. The Reapers intentionally avoided their planet. For the same reason they left Earth alone last time. Though you are right about the yahg playing a prominent role - the Reapers intended for them to be prominent in the next cycle.
  • One yahg shows up, actually, on Sur'Kesh. During the confusion and battle of getting the female Krogan off-world, it breaks out of its restraints and runs off. Garrus even snidely comments, "There goes the next Shadow Broker".

Those Asari, Turian, Salarian, Prothean, etc. Searching Missions from ME1 will come into play
  • They're going to open up special dialogue with the races on their home planets such as getting the Matriarch's Writings will impress the Asari leaders with Shepard's knowledge of the Asari way of life and what not. Anything so they weren't completely useless aside from money and exp.
    • The asari writings come into play in a mission involving Conrad Verner of all people.

If Shepard survives Mass Effect 3, he will retire to Intai'sei.
  • Intai'sei was introduced in the Pinnacle Station DLC for the first game, and it'll be where Shepard ends up, for three reasons:
    • Shepard has an apartment there. All three backgrounds have no real home for him/her, and it's unlikely that a simple prefab would be repossessed by Cerberus. Ahern was just leaving it there, so it's likely to still be intact.
    • Intai'sei's description is startlingly similar to Tatooine's — an arid, humid planet where most of the population lives in the vast deserts across the planet, operating remote outposts like research stations, wind farms, and — dare I say it? — moisture farms. Perfect place for the protagonist of the next series to start.
    • Most damning of all? Intai'sei is adapted from Japanese, which can be read as either "secluded life" or "retirement planet."

Mass Effect 3 will be full-on modern sci-fi
It was outright stated that Mass Effect is a classic space opera inspired by the 70s and 80s, with Mass Effect 2 moving into the darker 90s era of sci-fi. Mass Effect 3 will embrace science fiction from 2000 onwards, including Stargate, Battlestar Galactica, and the new Star Trek and the related themes and tropes.
  • The ending sure tries its damnedest to emulate BSG, so... confirmed?

We'll finally get dual-wielding weapons.
Besides the omni-blades for the Sentinels. Come on, wouldn't it be cool for dual-wielding pistols or sub-machine guns?
  • Doesn't happen. Sorry.

Emily Wong and/or Al-Jilani will make an appearance at Shepard's trial.
From what we've heard so far, Shepard's trial is basically going to be a show trial to appease the Batarians and prevent war. Show trials mean media coverage. One or both of these reporters will be there and try to get a statement from Shepard. When the attack hits, both of them will survive and Shepard will be able to meet Al-Julani again for the obilgatory side-quest (and punch).
  • Related theory: One of them (most likely Emily Wong as it's more up her alley, though maybe Al-Julani for the sake of irony and possible Character Development) will end up stuck on Earth (or at least in Earth's system) and spend the rest of the game there, getting the rest of galaxy news of the Reaper occupation.
    • Wong actually is on Earth during the invasion. She doesn't appear in the game. But her pre-launch Twitter feed showed how humans die - at ramming speed.

Conrad Verner's wife's name is Holly.
You know this to be true. Or an impending missed opportunity, if jossed.
  • He has no wife. But he does have a tasteful shrine to Shepard.
    • It's just a poster and a few candles!

We will see a multi-megaton-yield thermonuclear warhead used against a Reaper(s)
It's stated that Citadel law bans the use of high-yield nukes, but it's extremely likely that humanity still has some in reserve. And with the Reapers showing up, everyone's gonna do damn near whatever it takes to survive. Picture this: a space battle between a Systems Alliance fleet and a Reaper or two is going badly for the humans... until the Reaper notices that all those puny ships are making distance between it and them. And then there's this tiny object launched by an Alliance dreadnaught zipping through space, heading right for it... BOOM.
  • Problem is that Mass Drivers give you far more bang for your buck than nukes in space where there's no air to carry a shockwave.
    • Sir Isaac Newton is the deadliest son-of-a-bitch in space, remember!
  • OP: If nukes are comparitively unaffective for space combat, explain, then, why the UNSC routinely use 40-80 megaton fusion warheads against Covenant ships to great effect (close-range burst = almost-totally-drained Covvie ship shields; unshielded blast = dead Covvie ship).
    • I hate to be a sarcastic jerkass here, but has it occured to you that appearing in Halo doesn't necessarily make something correct science?
    • Tsar Bomba (a 50-megaton fusion nuke) flattened a village 55 km from ground zero and could cause third-degree burns 100 km away. I'm pretty sure Covenant ships are smaller than 55 km (5 km if I'm not mistaken). And remember that it took a mass accelerator that made a "Great Rift" stretching across the southern hemisphere of a planet light-years behind the target to kill a Reaper. As a rule of thumb explosives are most effective in atmosphere while kinetics are most effective outside one.
  • Confirmed to have happened off-screen. Glyph, Liara's drone assistant from the Shadow Broker base, reveals that one colony detonated its nuclear arms on itself to take the invading reapers down with them. On Earth however, the Reapers were Genere Savvy enough to attack the nuke silos and take the option off the table. Also during the Miracle of Palaven when Turian and Krogan insurgents smuggled nuclear weapons onto Palaven and detonated them inside reaper ships and facilities.

If you play your cards right, Tali and Legion will form a strong bond of friendship, though she may or may not initially be willing to admit this
  • This would culminate in a scene where Legion is either "killed" or killed, and Tali will end up breaking down over it, showing just how far she's come from her "all AI are inherently evil" starting beliefs.
    • Yes. If you're able to get the Paragade option, then Tali tells Legion he has a soul, and soon after mentions she's sad that he died.

There will be a DLC involving batarians and a Colony Drop.
They've done that in every game so far, they might as well go for the full set.
  • Seems doubtful, given the state of the batarians.

There won't be any more sidequests where you help random people on the street out.
Instead, your sidequests will mainly consist of trying to help various planets that are under attack.
  • Nope. Still helping people on the street. Sometimes supporting one side or the other in a minor disagreement, sometimes scanning planets to find specific resources they want.

Kai Leng will be a close combat Mirror Boss.
The Mass Effect novels thus far have gone out of their way to mention Kai Leng is an uber Badass at close combat, so the logical progression would be Shepard fights him blade to omni-blade. He's also been confirmed to have cybernetic upgrades. Now, while it's easy enough to create a scenario where Shepard loses his/her guns and is separated from his/her squadmates, explaining away how Shepard cannot use any biotics or tech at his/her disposal in this one-on-one knife fight would be rather less plausible. So instead, Kai Leng's new cybernetics (consisting of partial Reaper tech, which Cerberus has access to) will allow him to mirror any one of the potential classes Shepard can be. This in turn will create a boss who can copy your every move AND be a unique challenge to every different class Shepard can be. And who you will have an awesome time taking down.
  • Doesn't happen that way. But you do get to stab him. It's incredibly satisfying.
    • Also, the Citadel DLC does provide a Mirror Boss. A clone of Shepard, right down to your classes abilties.

If Balak is still alive, he will confront Shepard at some point in the game.
And he's gonna be pissed. Not just because you stopped his attempted Colony Drop back in the first game, but because you did one of your own in Arrival - a WORSE one, seeing as how you blew up a mass relay and all. Cue a "Not So Different" Remark speech when he tracks you down, with bonus points if you chose the Ruthless backstory, and his inevitable last words damning you for being the real terrorist after all.
  • Confirmed. And it's possible to talk him into an alliance despite all of that!


Joker will be romanceable
The fangirls will kill Bioware if they don't. And they've dropped so many hints that NOT making him romanceable would be misleading. And Joker's awesome, dammit.
  • Joker treats ManShep and FemShep exactly the same. I...honestly, I've seen no hints. Besides that, he has a pretty small (if devoted) fanbase. Garrus had a gigantic fanbase; not so much Joker.
    • He's still so damn awesome that it should have already been an option.
      • Ay, I can't say I agree with the whole "dropping hints" thing, but I'd love me some Joker love. Because god damn it Bioware, if you don't, I'll find you.
      • To be completely fair, Garrus and Tali got just about as many hints in the first game.
      • Which is to say, none.
      • Right. Bioware seems to have skill in spinning character interactions however they want to to get the results they want. If they decide to have Joker romance, there will be Joker romance.
      • And why would it matter that Joker treats ManShep and FemShep the same? Bioware have already said there will be same sex relationships in ME3 for all we know Joker may be bisexual.
  • When asked, BioWare responded, "you have to play it to see it." So, maybe?
    • Wait a minute, a romance between Bastila and Oz? Mind. Blown.
  • This troper thought it would be impossible for the same reason Wrex and Grunt aren't romanceable: someone's going to need hospitalization afterward.
    • Joker would need hospitalization if he was in a romance with fem!Shepard even without brittle bone disease.
  • He's not. But he does romance EDI.
"You're not gonna tell anyone about this, are you? Like Shepard? She doesn't need to know...she's standing right there isn't she?"
  • Shepard will try and romance him. Joker however is scared shitless of her, so she can try and hook him up with Edi.

EDI will get a robo-body in Mass Effect 3, and there will be a love triangle between her, Joker and Legion.
You'll help her decide who she should choose, or bar them all from shipboard romance.
  • She already has a body. She is the Normandy. And we all know Jeff loves her smooth curves. As for Legion, I reckon the poor bastard(s) will be confined in EDI's Friend Zone. Seriously, they can literally transmit millions of informations every second. They would run out of conversation topics much faster than any organic couple.
    • I go more for Joker/Tali.
      • And I prefer Tali/Legion, myself. Wait a minute... can you say Joker/EDI/Tali/Legion/Shepard Love Dodecahedron?
      • The Art of the Mass Effect Universe confirms that EDI gains a robotic body with an uncanny resemblance to Marvel Comics Jocasta. Makes her inevitable as a squad member and, given the stuff at the tail-end of ME2, a romance with Joker.
  • No Legion, but other than that, dead on.

Wrex will be romanceable in Mass Effect 3.
He's the only squadmate from ME1 that neither Male!Shepard or Female!Shepard can have sex with yet, but look what happened to Tali and Garrus in ME2...

Ashley and Kaidan will be same-sex romance options in Mass Effect 3.
  • If they're going to use dialogue that can work for either gender, one would think that it would be written and directed to have them not sound like abandoned lovers when being reunited with a Shepard of the same sex. Unless...
    • Originally, they could be romanced as any gender in ME1, but were removed before the game shipped. Some of the dialogue from the romance scene survives on the disk.
      • And why would they add so much more Ho Yay to that unless they were planning on doing something with it?
      • Possible as they are confirmed by BioWare to once again be part of your squad.
      • That's not a surprise at all. The developers admitted after the second game was released that the old love interests weren't recruitable because their part in the third game was too important to be subject to the second game's Anyone Can Die rule.
      • It's now more likely that it will happen due to same-sex romances becoming confirmed. Come on Fem Shep/Ashley! and a proper full, Fem Shep/Kelly! I REALLY WANT these both! (Espically Fem Shep/Ashley)
    • Likelyhood of this WMG took another jump since Rafael Sbarge allegedly confirmed when asked by a fan that he has recorded the dialogue for a MaleShep/Kaidan romance.
    • Unfortunately, it doesn't happen.
      • Not for Ashley, but it did for Kaidan.

Tali, Thane, Miranda and Jack will be same-sex romance options in Mass Effect 3
  • They can always use the excuse of "needing to get to know Shepard better" and all that. Besides, some of them already seem to have dialogue that leans towards Les Yay (Tali and Female Shepard post-loyalty mission and an awkward enviro-suit talk) or recorded dialogue for romances that never happened (Jack and Female Shepard Renegade romance).
    • I can understand Tali and Jack, but not Miranda or Thane. Thane was romanceable by both genders, but it was removed in the final game, like Ashley and Kaidan. ME3 takes place when he's on death's door; if he was interested in Male Shepard, he would have said something. I also don't buy Miranda suddenly being bisexual, either, for three reasons. Firstly, there's absolutely zero evidence of this. Her partners have always been men (Jacob, the guys in the Shadow Broker dossiers, and Shepard of course). Secondly, I doubt it fits into whatever plan her father had for her. Remember that she was custom-designed — I'm not going to debate nature vs. nurture here, but she's trying to have a baby, and she's specifically going after men to get it. She doesn't want a sperm donor, she wants a father, which would imply, again, heterosexual. And thirdly, with the reaction she got from the fandom, making her bisexual would just push her firmly into The Scrappy territory.
      • Uh, you do realise that some people just have preferences, right? Plenty of bisexual people simply end up dating one gender far more than the other. And the emphasis on needing PROOF that she could be bisexual borders on the absurd, given that one never sees demands to prove characters are heterosexual. Honestly, if the entire argument is "well she's never shown herself to be bi before in one game" and "she wants to have a child and so is seeking the people who can most efficiently provide one"... neither of those things remotely precludes that she never ever ever fancies the ladies at all.
      • No, the argument is that if Miranda was bisexual then she would have come on to Shepard in ME 2. She didn't, therefore she's straight. The idea that Bioware is going to waste its time making straight LI's from previous games bisexual in ME 3 — and use some lame handwave like "oh, they didn't know Shepard swung that way!"note  or "oh, they were just too nervous around Shepard to suggest the possibility!"note  — is, quite frankly, absurd.
      • What the fuck? Maybe her feelings changed. Maybe she USED to be really set on finding a male partner to try and have a kid, found out she couldn't (as in her dossiers) and then decided what the hell, Fem Shep is right there. Maybe it took her longer to come around to an attraction for women. Maybe sexual orientations are not immutable and set in stone! Maybe, even, one can just shrug and say 'you know what, it's BioWare deciding to try something new, and it's not the first time there have been a few minor inconsistencies'. It's a frankly tiny "plot point" to "mess up" by having Miranda react slightly later to a Fem Shep romance than to a Man Shep romance, which can easily be explained by "it's just coincidence, shut up and enjoy your game". I mean, seriously. Let's look at my above argument. If she leans more towards men, maybe it just takes longer to consider a relationship with women than with men- I'm speaking from experience here, by the way, this is something I often notice in both myself and my bi friends. The gender you prefer tends to be the gender relationships start quicker with. But honestly? I've got to say that I don't really care. When it comes down to it, arguing so strongly against a romance side-plot of all things because of a minor, gameplay/development related inconsistency seems nonsensical to me. Why throw even the merest possibility of something people might find engaging and rewarding away because people somehow can't buy "she just started a bit later with Fem Shep than Man Shep because a couple random variables coincidentally delayed her reactions?"
      • (Oh, and no, that would not "make her straight". You may well be able to argue that she wouldn't be attracted to Shepard in that situation, but Miranda not being attracted to a single woman does not make her auto-straight. Seriously, your argument has nothing to do with her sexuality and everything to do with her attraction to Fem Shep specifically. I mean, I've argued my piece on why it'd be possible to swing it and explain why it was absent in ME2 without being an inconsistency, not least that the Man Shep and Fem Shep storylines don't have to sync up because they don't overlap, but one can also just say "hey, Shep's a soldier, maybe she prefers girls that are more femme".)
    • Jack and Miranda are clearly not interested in a homosexual relationship. The above troper mentioned the reasons for Miranda. Jack on the other hand flat out states that she tried it and didn't like it if you push her dialogue far enough as femshep. However Thane and Tali were both originally homosexual options and with homosexual relationships now confirmed to be in ME3 might still be available for that to occur.
    • None of the above.

There will be Noodle Incident kind of talks regarding the Fade to Black love scenes from the previous game
  • I mean, Tali got one in Mass Effect 2, no one else really did!
    • Thane would acknowledge Shepard's post-sex tripping and Garrus would totally speak of allergic reactions
    • And Fem Shep would probably mention something about chaffing in Garrus' case...
    • Miranda and Shepard laugh about how hard it was for Tali to get rid of the stains.
      • YES.

In ME3 A Spacer Shepard will be asked to bring her/his romance from ME2 or ME1 to meet her/his mother.
  • This will be:
    • Fairly standard if it's Kaidan, Kelly, Jacob or Miranda.
    • Funny if it's Ash due to her family.
    • Really funny if it's Jack or Liara.
    • REALLY awkward if Shepard brings home Garrus or Tali. Can totally see mama Shepard going Dirty Old Woman and asking for details.
    • Somewhat awkward and kind of sad if it's Thane.
    • Still awkward but less so if there's finally a same-sex romance option in ME3, unless male!Shepard/Thane is added back in, in which case it would probably be more awkward.
      • Or not awkward at all, if Shepard came out years ago, and Hannah knew. Though if Fem!Shep brings Liara home, Hannah will make an I Want Grandkids comment.
    • Doesn't happen, sadly.

Curing Thane will be an option, but at what cost?
  • We know from Lair of the Shadow Broker that Thane had an option for treatment, but refused it for personal reasons. In the third game, there may well be a choice that a Shepard who romanced Thane will have to make, regarding some other form of treatment that Thane would not approve of, for personal (or even religious) reasons. This choice may either save his life by going wildly against his wishes, therefore damaging their relationship and possibly even causing it to end, or doom Thane to his early death but honor his wants and requests. Either way, the tears will flow.
    • Thane's Shadow Broker Dossier casts some doubt on this. If romanced, he says he's fine with getting a lung transplant if it means being able to spend more time with Shepard, even if it's only a temporary solution. If he's okay with that, then it's hard to imagine a permanent cure that Thane would object to.
    • There's no cure for Thane.

If you didn't romance her in ME2, Tali will get together with Kal'Reegar in Mass Effect 3.
  • It's hard for a girl like her to resist the draw of Adam Baldwin, after all.
    • Agreed, but if the forums are any indication, this will most likely result in people letting the Colossus kill him on Haestrom.
      • Nah, Kal'Reegar is safe if Tali only gets together with him if you choose not to romance her.
      • Not from the femslash fans he isn't.
    • A possible compromise: Tali mentions that she's unsure about her feelings about Kal'Reegar to Shepard early on in the game. Shepard can either encourage her to go for it (which leads Tali to pursue Kal romantically) or tell her that she should be careful (which convinces Tali it's a bad idea).
    • Nope. She gets together with Garrus. Kal'Reegar dies off-screen performing a heroic sacrifice to cover a turian squads escape.

ME3's love interests will have a catfight!
  • Since you can technically cheat on the previous game's Love Interest, you KNOW there's gonna be an argument between:
    • Ashley vs Miranda, Ashley vs Jack, Ashley vs Tali
    • Kaidan vs Garrus, Kaidan vs Jacob, Kaidan vs Thane
      • That would be so awkward if it was Kaidan vs Garrus. Or Ashley vs Tali or Liara vs Tali. Like it'd be easier for Kaidan to say "You cheated on me with a drell assassin?!". It'd be a whole different level of personal if it was someone from ME1.
      • It would be AWESOMELY awkward. Their previous working relationship and current trust issues give that scenario a lot of potential.
      • Agreed. Like I said it would be awkward, hilarious, sad, and dramatic all at the same time. Damn someone needs to write fanfiction for that.
    • Liara vs Every Romanceable in ME2.
  • The rest of the crew is gonna watch and take bets.
    • While Grunt makes popcorn and cheers loudly XD
      • And Joker takes pictures
      • And Wrex points out to Grunt what they're doing right or wrong in the fight. EDI and Legion rig the arena for maximum entertainment. Mordin provides appropriate music.
      • And the music will be this, if Mordin can set lyrics to it. Add shirt ripping where necessary.

The Friend Zone Turian and the Quarian Valley Girl in the Ilium bar will get together in ME3.
  • And it will be heartwarming. Those two have become a minor meme in themselves; this troper will be surprised if we don't overhear them again in ME3.
    • And this troper will be surprised if the turian isn't STILL trying to hook up with her, just to get more comedy out of it.
    • Why not both? Early on in the game, while searching for a way to stop the Reapers, Shepard passes by them, and the quarian is still oblivious to the turian's overtures. Later, Shepard is in a refugee camp, and encounters them again. This time, if you hang around, the turian finally flat-out tells the quarian he loves her, stunning her. A few lines of dialogue later, she will admit to having feelings for him too.
    • Sadly, they don't even appear.

There Will Be Another Sadistic Choice In ME3 (Love Interest Edition!).
  • Sure, people could die in the second game, but there wasn't really a choice, per se. The third game will have a sadistic choice, since BioWare seems to like them and it will be... between your love interests.
  • The third game will introduce some more characters who will be romance options. I think that's a forgone conclusion, though it may be possible BioWare will give up introducing new romance plots so they can focus on resolving the old ones from the first two games. I personally find that unlikely, but I digress. Some new characters will probably be introduced, maybe Samara will finally cave, whatever. Anyways, if you were disloyal, there will be tension between your lovers in the third game. They will demand you make a decision, of course...but it won't be in the way you expected. If there are, in fact, two or even three people in your life, a special scenario will be triggered. In it, like that oh so special section of Virmire, you will be forced to choose: whom you will save... and whom you will leave to die.
  • There's no evidence for this whatsoever, but it would be an interesting way to deal with the romantic tension. You save the one you love the most and leave the others to die. Or they all live and there's more tension created based on who you saved first. This will be one of the major factors in resolving the romance plotline.
  • If Bioware wanted to be really cruel, they could have Shepard choosing whether to make a Heroic Sacrifice themselves or getting their love interest to do it...
  • Then there will be a wedding. Which may or may not be awkward.
  • No sadistic choices related to the L Is. Or, at least, none specifically related to them being L Is.

Shepard can be a Matchmaker for squad members in ME3.
  • There's a lot of shipping going around the fandom, and not all of it involves Shepard. Garrus/Tali, Jacob/Miranda, Thane/Samara, this troper even saw Wrex and Liara get shipped together once. Given how Bioware does take notice of shippers (Garrus and Tali becoming romance options proved that), this WMG seems easily plausible.
    • Hell, this troper even saw a Garrus/Miranda pairing once.
      • Does Garrus get to calibrate dat ass?
      • Oh, he calibrates it daily. Apparently, Miranda's armaments need constant adjustment.
      • Alright, I'm intrigued. Got a link? Just to indulge my curiosity, of course. *Cough*
      • Sure, it is. Here you go, weirdo.
      • This MUST HAVE a Jack/Zaeed paring you can set up. THE PEOPLE DEMAND IT! (Come on, those two heartless killers are perfect for each other...)
    • I have seen a VERY good Jack/Thane pairing... To actually see them banter in total awkward (mostly on Jack's part) would be so very made of win. And you know, it's pretty much a Paragon romance between them two since Thane is a very loving understanding type.
    • Jack/Grunt. That is all.
    • Garrus/Tali happens, though not because of Shepard. He gives approval, though. In a non squadmate example Gabby and Ken share an intimate moment as well.

By the end of ME3, Shepard will be able to sleep with Morinth and not die.
  • Because when you defeat the ENTIRE FLEET OF REAPERS, you're just that awesome.
    • Screw Morinth, I want to see a sex scene with Legion. Now THAT is awesome.
      • This unit is fully functional and has several former quarian erotic programs loaded into it.
      • I rather would have a 1185-some with Legion and EDI

There will be a female krogan romance option in ME3.
After completing Grunt's loyalty mission EDI says that there have been several breeding requests for Grunt, and one for Shepard. It'd be a disappointment if that one request wasn't encountered at some point.
  • Or a male one for FemShep.
    • Femshep/Wrex?
  • Unfortunately not. But almost. Eve totally had a thing for Shepard. She ends up with Wrex if he survived.
  • They missed a MAJOR opportunity for a CMOF by not showing Shepard's reaction to that announcement. Picture it; Shepard stops dead with a "WTF???" Look on his face. Grunt starts laughing and remarks how now Shepard will get to find out how REAL sex feels like. Trying to salvage his dignity, Shepard asks how the tank-grown Grunt would know anything about sex. Grunt leans closer with an evil smile and says "Okeer's imprints were VERY thorough."

Tali will be a FemShep romance option in ME3.
  • After all, it took her 1.5 whole games to have a romance with MaleShep. It makes sense that it might take her long for FemShep since not only is FemShep not quarian but the same gender as her.
    • Tali actually was going to romanceable by female Shepards, but this was left on the cutting room floor (Male Shepard/Thane, too). There's even that bit when Tali talks about joining suits and gets all flustered, so it's possible.
    • It's also highly probable that same-sex relationships are taboo on the Migrant Fleet (one of the civil liberties they have had to sacrifice) because of A) the need to produce a new generation at a sustainable rate and B) the prospect that non-procreative sex would be viewed as an unnecessary health risk. Considering that, it makes perfect sense that Tali would be even more nervous about possibly entering a relationship with Fem!Shep than Male!Shep, and, hence, might take an extra game to admit her feelings. Cultural influences are hard to escape.
      • Not that that would be making a lot of sense, it is contradicted by what we know. Quarian leadership imposes a single child limit on families to prevent overpopulation. When they need to grow their population, they just temporarily lift the restriction.
    • Nope.

Legion will be romanceable in ME3.
It's already somewhat of an ascended fanbot, might as well go into crack ship territory.
  • Nope.

Mordin will become a romance option in Mass Effect 3.
Ahem. "If would try human, would try you." Note that Mordin dismisses Shepard's 'wooing' not because of not wanting to "try her/him" but because of biological difficulties (and probably not to distract himself from the work) and as the creative minds of fan fiction writers prove us, there's numerous ways to get around that problem (which I will not elaborate to spare you from Brain Bleach).
  • Nope.

Some Romances will have a Moral Choice
The Dossiers shed some light on Thane and Miranda that can have a moral choice near the end of the game. Namely that Thane's condition can be treated with a lung transplant and Miranda's infertility solved by making a Gattica Baby, this will not sit well with Thane (which may betray the whole fact he was trying to atone by dying) or Miranda (who views creating an artificial child to continue her dynasty is hypocrisy) and Shepard has to decide if they should accept the relationship as it is or change it for better or for worse.
  • The romances themselves don't have moral choices.

Romanced in ending cutscene
Personally I cannot believe they will not include some manner of cameo by a love interest. Personally my Shep will have Liara and her kid looking at his statue 100 years later and she will be telling her about her daddy who, despite his flaws, saved the galaxy. What about yours?
  • An aged, scarred turian (I don't know if they show age in a manner humans would recognize, maybe just shown by his having apparent difficulty walking) approaches a human gravestone and kneels down to place alien flowers on it, then rests his forehead against the stone. As Garrus stands to leave, we see Shepard's name engraved in it, and beneath the date of birth/death, an epitaph reading "She fought for the lost."
  • A blue-skinned drell and his family stands in front of a funeral precession on Kahje. "The flame is gone to be kindled anew." The hanar sing out in their deep and mystical tones. He had been here before, first the death of his birth mother then the death of his father. However, this time he is at peace with himself. Years ago he had the chance to regain the lost years with both of them. One amazing woman uplifted his father and awakened his own spirit. He will never forget any of them: Irikah his kind and loving mother, Thane his distant but strong and deeply understanding father, Shepard his bold and fearless step-mother. As her body falls into the endless sea He looks up to the sky with hope for the future as water slowly streams down his face.
  • A not-so-Distant Finale: Shepard is in the CIC, looking over a datapad. A voice comes over her radio and says "Ma'am, you have a message from Alliance Command [or the Council or the Shadow Broker]." She enters the comm room to find Kaidan waiting for her. They grin at each other, and he takes her hand as the message begins to play. Cut to the exterior as the Normandy SR-4 zips away toward the distant stars: two Spectres, off to save the galaxy...again.
  • The camera pans over the landscape of Rannoch to focus on a small house on the plains. A Quarian stands near the edge, looking down on a gravestone. She slowly reaches up to remove her mask. Once removed, we get our first look at a Quarian face, as a tear rolls down her cheek. Tali kisses her finger, then places it upon the top of the gravestone. Then she turns, and walks back into the house on the homeworld he fought to give to her.
  • Regretfully, none of the above seem to be possible.
  • (The hell with these "Shep is dead" scenes. You guys are depressing.) In a secret hospital on Tuchanka (the last place ANYONE would think to look), Liara T'Soni sits beside a closed medical pod. The figure inside can barely be seen, wrapped in bandages and floating in a medigel bath, face covered with a breathing mask. Her hand rests on the side of the pod, as if to hold her beloved's hand. She doesn't turn as she hears soft footsteps behind her. Admiral Hackett, hat under his arm, stops behind her. "I've just come from the doctors," he tells her softly. "He's responding to the treatment even better than expected." He rests a hand lightly on her shoulder. "They say he'll be up and around in plenty of time to hold your hand when you're due." Liara's eyes mist up as she slowly gets to her feet, one hand stroking her belly, only starting to swell with their child. For a moment, she rests her cheek on the viewport of the pod. "Soon, my love..."

Each romance will have a related upgrade in the Normandy lab
Examples include the ability for Shepard & Tali/Garrus to handle ingestion of/contact with opposing DNA, a temporary cure for Kepral's for Thane, et cetera. Needless to say, these will all be ludicrously resource-intensive.
  • Perhaps each romance will have an upgrade for the Normandy itself. Regardless of what it is, it'll be some sort of uber weapon and equally effective.
  • Nothing of the sort.

As part of a romance with Ashley, Shepard will have General Williams cleared.
It's clearly something that's close to her heart, and anyone with a brain can see he's been treated very unfairly, and Shepherd (possibly Anderson) is the only one with enough clout who cares.
  • Try Loyalty Mission, instead. If you romanced Ash in the first game and stayed faithful to her, she'll have her loyalty already-earned when she rejoins you, making this mission optional. If you cheated on her or never romanced her to begin with, restoring her family name will be your way of saving face and getting her loyalty back anyway.
  • As Ashley is now the second human Spectre and a legendary hero, the Williams name is already clean

The Reapers will use Shepard's romance against him/her.
The Reapers will probably exploit any vulnerability in Shepard they can find.
  • Combining this theory with "returning squadmates will be leaders of their species," this means that the first race the Reapers attack in the final battle will be whichever one Shepard's love interest is leading at the moment (i.e. the Migrant Fleet if you're with Tali, Alliance Fleet for Ashley/Kaidan, Turian Military for Garrus, etc.), which also means they'll be first to fall if you didn't prepare correctly.
  • Nope. The Reapers couldn't care less who you're banging.

Every romance option will have a unique associated quest
  • Garrus: Helping to cure his mother of her terminal illness.
  • Tali: Helping her persuade the Quarians to do something about the Geth.
  • Ashley: Clearing General Williams name.
  • Kaidan: Reconciling with Rhana and exposing the records of the BAAT program.
  • Miranda: Reversing her sterility.
  • Jacob: ???
    • Finding a way to make him interesting?
  • Thane: Curing his Kepral's Syndrome
  • Liara: Stop her from abusing her power as the Shadow Broker
  • Doesn't happen.

The bi love interests will be...
The developers are being rather cagey about who they'll be, and they confirmed that there will be new love interests, so the likely result will be a mixture of old and new. Ashley, Kaidan and Tali will be the old ones, since they were originally planned to be bi and left a lot of room for it to be reimplemeted (see Bioware's personal Ho Yay page for more information on that). They will be supplemented by Liara and three new love interests.
  • Gay male Shepards will have;
    • Kaidan
    • James Vega
    • an unrevealed male alien (possibly a raloi)
  • Lesbian Shepards will have
    • Liara
    • Ashley
    • Tali
    • an unrevealed human woman
Doing it this way will give a mix of old and new to satisfy the old fans who have been waiting so long for this, cover the xenophiles and the ones who prefer to keep it in their species, prevent anyone from getting totally screwed over if the wrong person is permanantly killed in one of the first two games, and has the added bonus of including the two with the big gay followings among their respective genders.
  • There are three new humans who can be romanced; one is a gay man, one is a lesbian, the third is a bisexual woman. No returning character changes their previous orientation.
    • Kaidan does; he's revealed to be bi and can be romanced by Male Shep as well as Fem Shep

Garrus and Samara will get together
Her Lawful tendancies will balance out Garrus' Chaotic ones. They're both fairly individualistic and justice oriented. They're also kinda angsty about things. It would really kinda work.
  • Samara stays single and Garrus hooks up with femshep or Tali

Aria and Wrex hook up
Wrex's story about when they fought hints at a mutual admiration, and uniting their power-bases would make both stronger.
  • Except that it was Patriarch who fought Aria and not Wrex.
    • He means Wrex's story in the first game. There's heavy hinting Aria is really Aleena under a different name, though nothing proven.
  • They don't seem to encounter each other here. A shame. Wrex actually hooks up with Eve.

The "Citadel" DLC will finally let Shepard romance Samara.
With the announcement that the DLC will allow the player to "reconnect with your favorite characters from the Mass Effect trilogy," combined with Samara's line of "Your time is precious. Spend it wisely. And with those who care for you," it seems like this would be the perfect (and last) opportunity.
  • Confirmed, although it doesn't count for the Paramour achivement.

Marauder Shields is a huskified Sidonis

Harbinger killed Shepard
.Harbinger fired directly at Shepard during the final battle. A single Reaper Destroyer kills Shepard in one hit with its beam attack. A Destroyer is not even close to the power of Harbinger, the oldest and most powerful of all the Reapers. The following events involving the Catalyst aren't real, whatever they are.
  • Gains plausibility when you consider the game is being framed as a story an old man is telling his son. In how many famous stories does the hero die at the end like everyone else? What really happened is Harbinger either killed or crippled Shepard in the final charge and someone else (Maybe Anderson, your squadmates, Hackett, even the Illusive Man or just some random soldiers) activated the Catalyst and did whatever it is it did. The storyteller is simply making up a new ending for his son that frames Shepard as the hero instead of one of innumerable casualties.

The ending is an April Fools Joke
The real ending will be announced/released as DLC on the 2nd of April.
  • Alternatively, Bioware could troll us with a happy ending DLC being announced on April 1st.
    • I get the feeling EDI's going to have a field day...


James Vega nee Sanders will replace the squad member left on Virmire
  • Simple concept: if you left Ashley on Virmire, Vega will be trained as an Alliance soldier. If you left Kaiden, Vega will be an Alliance Sentinel.
    • Nope. He's a soldier, built to be a tank.

Big Ben is James Sanders
  • The Game Informer article says confirmed party members are Liara, Kaidan, Ashley, and James Sanders. James is probably Big Ben, because he's a prominent character with a voice and design.
    • This has already been jossed.
      • BioWare could be lying. The screenshots we've seen of James so far look awfully like Big Ben (right down to the haircut). And Ben's line, "Don't know who they are or what they want" sounds exactly like what a Naïve Newcomer like James would say.
    • He's not. Big Ben is Major Coates, a minor NPC at the end of the game.

Mass Effect 3 will feature the following new squad members (Cumulative):
  • New characters:
    • A batarian, because, why not?
      • This is for sure. Not all of them hate humans, and they even breathe oxygen.
    • Characters from other franchises. This will depend on the person playing, but this could vary from Master Chief to Shadow the Hedgehog (As Sonic doesn't use weapons) to Kamen Rider Decade. And to make this extra awesome, the choice is made subtly at the start of the game, through a background system. What? This IS wild mass guessing, it doesn't have to be plausible.
    • The extra squad mate will be based on the platform you play it on.
      • Steam: Gordon Freeman (with DLC weapons from Half-Life 2: The Overwatch AR-2 Pulse Rifle and the SPAS-12 Shotgun) or Alyx Vance (probably as an Engineer)
      • Jossed by EA. ME3 is not coming to Steam; if you want it digitally, you'll have to go through EA's Origin.
      • PS3: Nathan Drake or maybe Ratchet
      • 360: Master Chief
      • This includes characters from other Bioware games, as well as a Shepard from a different playthrough, recruited from a parallel universe. The parallel universe Shepard will also be romancable, regardless of gender.
      • PC: Morrigan. Who knows where the Eluvian leads...?
      • I rather think having the Master Chief, of all people, be on your side (and by default, Cortana, a highly advanced AI that actually wants to save all humans rather than kill them all) would be a tad bit of a game-breaker. The game would pretty much go thusly:
        Shepard: Master Chief, we need to save the galaxy!
        Master Chief: Again? Alright.
        12 minutes gametime later...
        Master Chief: Done. Anything else you want me to kill?
    • A Collector, just for the awesomeness and the fact that there was a geth team mate in ME2 and the geth were the primary antagonists in ME like the Collectors are in 2.
      • The Collector will be desperate for someone, anyone, to tell it what to do, since it's not getting orders any more, and has an in-built need to obey and follow orders due to the millennia of Reaper indoctrination. Since the Reapers abandoned them, they'll latch onto anyone who is willing to order them around.
      • And it will explain why they want Shepard alive, the original plan being to clone Shepard a million times and then turn them to Organic Goo so it can become a Reaper to lead them all.
      • A Collector teammate would fit with the My Species Doth Protest Too Much theme that BioWare has been doing with teammates in general. Would be different to explain how one can exist, though, unless they pull a Legion and say that the Collectors you've been fighting in ME2 are a rogue faction serving the Reapers, while most of them are independent and hiding elsewhere. That, however, doesn't fit with what we know about their origins...
      • Or the Collector teammate could be the Last of His Kind and by extent the last Prothean and depending on which ending the player went with in ME2, it was either not present at the Collector Base (Renegade Ending) or manage to escape(Paragon Ending). But whatever ending the player went with its still a Squadmate. This Troper pictures it being The Stoic and will give a "Just Following Orders" response to any question regarding what the Collectors did in ME2. And if they bring back Loyalty Mission in Mass Effect 3 it's Loyalty Mission will be it having Sheperd help it investigating rumors of sightings of Collectors on several worlds in the vain hope that its not the last. As the investigation continues each rumor is proven false and the Collector starts to express fear that it might actually be the last, but at the end of the Loyalty Mission where they find another Collector at a Cerberus base where its Brainwashed and Crazy and Sheperd and the Collector have to kill it. The Collector then expresses sorrow that it is now the last of its kind, the player is then given the option to comfort it with a "You Are Not Alone" speech or tell it to stop whining.
        Sheperd: You okay?
        The Collector: My race is dead. I am... alone in the universe.
    • I love this idea. The Collector could be simply following Shepard out of a need for a purpose. It just does what it's told like an ant drone. It searching for more of it's race will it's desperate need for a place in the universe. A paragon Shep will help it feel at home with his squad and renegade Shep will teach it to become an obedient little pet.
      • Oddly enough, this one appears to be confirmed - one of the DLC characters has been given the title "The Prothean".
      • Alternatively... if you saved the rachni, the rachni queen will adopt the collector. This gives the collector a renewed sense of purpose, or at least, a chance at preserving its race's legacy before it dies.
      • Or maybe, the collector will be female and one of the romance options and their appearance is in fact, armor over something else. After all, the collector's edition of ME2 allowed for Shepard to wear collector armor.
      • We don't get a Collector squadmate, but we do get a Prothean one, and we get allied Collectors in the multiplayer. Semi-confirmed?
    • A Certain Furon. This one's pretty out there even by WMG standards, but hear this troper out. In 2005, Pandemic entered a partnership with BioWare to join forces. It's possible that, when Pandemic went under, they left Crypto to BioWare "in the will" so to speak. There'd have to be some serious retconning with the Furons' backstory, but Bioware could make it work. I for one would love to see Crypto trying to get into every female squad member's pants via cheesy pick-up lines and innuendos.
    • A Lawful Evil hanar, for the hilarity.
      • As with the elcor, a part of your crew, but not a party member. Hanar are too fragile, and elcor are too slow.
      • Actually, elcor do enter combat occasionally. They're exceptionally strong, and they fight with back and shoulder-mounted mass accelerator cannons. The elcor will be Shepard's artillery support.
      • Don't discount Hanar either. Remember Zaeed's tale. A Hanar almost choked the life out of the best bounty hunter in the galaxy.
      • Also remember that elcor are simply delibrate, not slow. We do get to see an elcor bouncer after all and it'd be a poor bouncer if it couldn't even catch up to a brisk walk or dodge a punch.
      • And don't forget Blasto, the Hanar Spectre. "Enkindle this."
    • A rachni - but only if you spared them.
    • A female turian, who will also be romance option. Hey, femsheps got Garrus. So it's only fair that the fellas get their share of turian hanky-panky. Er - not that this troper would want to have sex with a female turian. Just saying the option should be there. *Ahem*
      • For added awkwardness/lulz, it could be the Flexibility Chick that served with Garrus.
      • Concurrently, with all the discussion about Kal'Reegar, a significant male quarian character, becoming a squadmate...
      • I'm Commander Shepard and this is my favorite theory on TV Tropes.
    • A varren.
    • A vorcha, to further subvert the Planet of Hats trope.
    • A Lawful Evil Human Villain Protagonist who is much more sinister and outright evil compared to other "Evil Companions" such as Morinth or Zaeed (A Card-Carrying Villain). He delights in torture and other unpleasant tasks. A Sadistic Choice will involve him and a party member if you have too much Paragon and too little Renegade points.
      • Perhaps an Alliance political officer to keep Shepard in check?
    • One of Many and Safiya from Mask of the Betrayer will show up. They will see Jack & Legion, realize that they are the distaff counterparts of each other. 'Splosion.
    • A badass elcor who doesn't use guns, instead just punches things until they die.
    • A Raloi will be a party member.
    • A Prothean. No really. Nobody saw Legion coming. They've got to top that surprise some how. I know what your thinking "That WMG is Wild Mass Ridiculous! The Protheans were all wiped out/repurposed as collectors 50,000 years ago.* But think about it. On Illos, The Prothean VI told Shepard that about a dozen Protheans went to the Citadel to sabotage the Reapers. The VI assumes they all died from a lack of resources with no way to get off the station. But what if one of the Protheans found some way to go into stasis? It could have been frozen deep in the bowels of the Citadel for millennia. The Prothean would either be a sage-like The Stoic, or because that would be entirely too cliche, this could be a relatively young Prothean who serves as the team's sarcastic Deadpan Snarker. Like Joker but without that whole "Vrolik Syndrome" business.
      • CONFIRMED. He went into stasis, and is now the last member of his species. Poor chap.
    • Shepard's Distaff Counterpart. As part of a co-op mode, one of you will play Man!Shep and the other Fem!Shep.
      • For bonus points, invert the romance option. Remember how you could romance half the crew? What if instead the fe\male version of Shepard tries to romance you?
    • A by-the-book turian scientist appointed by the Council. He'll fill the scientist role on the crew. Also, we need a squadmate who is loyal to the Council and not initially deferential to Shepard (which Vega or anyone else from the Alliance would be). He might even be the turian councillor's cousin or something.
  • Returning characters:
    • Captain Anderson. He's got combat skills and in ME2 you get to see how fed up he is with the Council. Anderson also mentions not wanting to spend his "twilight years" involved in politics, so it makes sense that he might choose to go out with a bang.
      • After the events of Retribution, this is highly likely. If Anderson DOESN'T become a recruitable party member, then it seems to be pretty heavily implied that he and Kahlee will play some sort of role in the third game.
      • That would be too awesome for words. An added bonus is as a parting gift from the Council finally Anderson will be granted Full SPECTRE status. He would be the old war horse on board that both Paragon and Renegade Shepard could talk to about his choices and his romances.
      • Perhaps not, I can't see him becoming a Spectre. As he mentioned himself, he is "too old to go gallivanting across the galaxy" and won't become a Spectre but I can see him as retiring the council and becoming Admiral Badass, perhaps being Hackett's replacement, and leading Humanities charge against the Reapers.
      • Considering the fact that the trailer showed London getting decimated by no less than EIGHT Reapers, and that Anderson was born and raised in London, I want him at my side firing an assault rifle as we take back the city.
      • Looks like Anderson serves as a temporary squadmate on the first mission, but ultimately stays on Earth to rally humanity.
      • As of the "Revealing the Voice Cast" promo, Anderson got a promotion to Admiral after quitting the council and will lead the alliance and humanity against the Reapers.
    • Aria T'Loak.
      • As cool as it would be, Aria is unlikely as the asari crewmember will almost certainly be Liara.
      • Two asari crew members and a simultaneous three-way romance. Zing!
      • Nah, you're more likely to be working for Liara than with her. I think Aria is an inspired choice.
      • Further weight to this theory. In Mass Effect: Invasion Cerberus has taken control of Omega and Aria is in exile. And she is pissed. Perhaps one of the ME3 missions will be to help Aria regain control of Omega.
      • CONFIRMED. Omega DLC makes Aria a squadmate and you help her take Omega back from Cereberus.
      • Liara's a confirmed squadmate.
    • Captain Bailey.
      • He decides to push back his retirement in order to save his son and his cabin, because damnit, we need Col. Tigh on our crew.
    • Blasto, the first hanar Spectre. He will have a bad attitude, a gun in every tentacle, and he will team up with you for the final, epic battle against the Reapers. It will be the ultimate interracial buddy-cop thriller, and it will be exactly as awesome as it sounds. Also, there will be a romance option. Cuz why the hell not?
      • "Blasto: the Jellyfish Stings" is based on a true story, and the hanar are pissed that his cover is blown. The lawsuit by the Hanar Anti-Defamation League is just damage control so that people don't realize that he's a real person. One choice will involve sending him to either Earth or the Citadel, and he will single handedly kill no less than 5 Reapers because he's just that awesome.
      • Alternatively, there is a hanar Spectre, but it gets its jobs done mostly through realistic espionage instead of being an Overt Operative because people generally don't suspect hanar are anything but benign, and pay so little attention to it that the job is made much easier. It's a huge fan of Blasto; if not for the movie itself, than for the fact that it creates a completely unrealistic image of what a hanar Spectre would be like, and thus, makes it even less noticable.
      • Either way, a movie will be made about the awesome team-up, and we'll see ads for it on various planets ("New, from Erdini Films, the epic team-up of two greats..."). But unless you're a Renegade, you won't see a damned cent. Bastards.
      • "...Starring Conrad Verner as the ruthless Commander Shepherd. In theaters everywhere this Fall."
      • I initially read that as "In theaters everywhere this FAIL", which might be more appropriate if Conrad's involved! :D
      • What if Shepard is female?
      • It would make for a good side quest, like the ones in ME1, were you needed to find Turian Insignias and Asari Writings, but instead to have no gain from this you get a Cut from the film, how muchs depends on how you finished the Mission.
    • Conrad Verner, as mentioned in another WMG.
    • EDI. Legion and Tali will construct a humanoid "platform" for her to upload herself to or remotely control for away missions.
      • Not exactly as described but confirmed
    • Harbinger. The ultimate mind screw: Harbinger's activities in ME2 were actually very unpopular in the general Reaper population and were barely tolerated. On the other hand, Harbinger advocated using mankind to create the next generation of Reapers, and this convinced the others to delay Armageddon. With his project's failure, the usual harvest will continue, and Harbinger goes along with it. However, he still thinks he can salvage his project, and will try and sabotage the invasion as much as possible to give himself time. This naturally earns him the ire and wrath of the rest of his kind and he is destroyed, forcing him to upload his mind into his last working Human-Reaper hybrid prototype: a man-sized android. With nowhere else to go, he joins Shepard.
      NPC: ::Blathers on about a sidequest::
      Shepard: ...Stop that.
      • If Shepard is male, Harbinger takes a female body. If Shepard is female, Harbinger takes a male body. Either way, Harbinger becomes a romantic option. Both forms have the same voice.
      • It will be an angelic, androgynous form no matter your gender; (eerily beautiful angels can be very creepy if you have the right voice actor and a good script writer). It also kind of suits the god complex possessed by Harbinger. Massive flame wars about it's true "gender" and whether Shepard is gay or not will soon follow (Naturally, nobody will remember the important fact that, being a robot, said body won't really have a gender at ALL.).
    • Joker (possibly in a mecha body, because Rule of Cool).
      • Rule of Cool is not generally how BioWare approaches the Mass Effect setting.
    • Kal'Reegar.
      • PLEASE YES!!!!!!!!! And have one of his combat lines be a sarcastic "Too bad we don't have any grenades!" and one of his I'm hit lines be "That was my favorite shirt!"
      • It's an excellent choice, but he could have died by this point, so it's unlikely.
      • So could any of your team from Mass Effect 2, and Wrex, Kaiden or Ashley in Mass Effect 1. Let's be honest, Bioware are more than likely going to reuse a least a few of the team members from the previous games as options for Shepherd's squad, no reason Kal'Regar couldn't be added to the team.
    • Captain Kirrahe.
      • He can die on Virmire, and IIRC, the game doesn't record whether or not he did.
      • It does - the dialogue with Mordin changes slightly on whether or not he lived. Also, he was set to send you an e-mail, but it got cut.
      • If we're using the "They can be killed, so they're not going to be recruitable" defence you'd lose the entirity of the ME2 squad, Ashley, Kaidan, Garrus, Wrex and Tali. With the exception of Liara that would leave you with an entirely new playable cast for ME3, which seems unlikely. And the game certainly does record whether or not he died- Shepard can talk with Mordin about him in ME2, where it's stated either way depending on what happened. I'd love to see him as a playable squadmate if just for the banter with Mordin, not to mention he says in ME1 that he hopes to work with Shepard again some day. If he's not recruitable, he'll almost certainly appear in some other capacity.
      • Captain, now Major, Kirrahe is confirmed to appear in ME3, at least in the demo. Whether or not he'll be a squad/crew member is yet to be seen.
    • Kolyat. It seems like by telling us that Kolyat seeks to follow in his father's footsteps, Bioware was giving us a hint that when Thane finally succumbs to his illness, or even if it degenerates to the point where he can no longer fight he will join with Shepard in his place. Or perhaps you get Kolyat if Thane did not survive the suicide mission.
      • If Thane's Loyalty quest was successful, then Kolyat becomes a supercop. If the mission is failed or is ignored, Kolyat is well on his to becoming an elite assassin. Either way, he'll probably be a crack shot.
      • Am I the only one who thinks they could sneak in a Kingdom Hearts joke if Kolyat becomes a squadmate?
        Shepard: Okay, Kolyat. Just remember that you're part of a team now. Don't shoot anyone without my say-so. If I'm shooting at them, that counts as my say-so. Got it memorized?
        Kolyat: Yeah, perfectly.
      • He messes up his first hit. We don't really see any indication that Kolyat's got any actual combat skill.
      • Actually, you mess up his first hit for him. If you don't, he kills Talid and gets away just fine.
    • Mordin's nephew. He's already supposed to be following in Mordin's footsteps, and he's already hit his Dangerous 16th Birthday; the kid will either become another Ensemble Dark Horse or a Replacement Scrappy. Or both.
      • Does Mordin's nephew actually have any combat experience?
      • If not, there's nothing stopping him from gaining it. Or joining as an NPC crew member, to flesh out your crew even further.
      • Mordin could possibly be dead of old age by the time of ME3, the Normandy needs a Mad Scientist.
      • Nope, he's alive. You run into him on a mission involving a fertile krogan female. Wrex will apparently make an appearance in that mission as well.
    • Gianna Parasini.
      • I don't think Gianna is too likely. Yeah, she's awesome, but she's a corporate cop. Special forces training doesn't come with the job.
    • One of Samara's daughters. Bioware is very good at subverting the Planet of Hats trope, and in the Codex it says that Ardat-Yakshis have had stories told about them as anti-heroes, then they'll show that not all A-Ys are blue succubi. You may even get to choose between the two, one being meek and slightly content with her solitary life but willing to make her mother proud of her by helping Shepard, and the other closer to Morinth's attitude who's only difference to her dearly departed sister is a body count. There will be drama, and if Shepard is dumb enough to sleep with them... Well, you get what you get.
      • Well the more gentle one of the two will have safe sex with you but tells him/her to have the mind equivalent of a condom before going at it (meaning no melding for her if possible). While Shepard lives, she feels that it's not very comfortable by asari standards.
    • The Shadow Broker (or an agent of theirs). This will only happen if you side with him in the inevitable stand off between him and Liara.
    • Shiala.
      • Unlikely, except as an optional or "secret" character with no impact on the main plot. So far the developers have been careful about not screwing the player over depending on the death or survival of characters. Of course, nothing is stopping them from pulling a Suspiciously Similar Substitute, like Wreav was for Wrex.
    • Urz. Cause it's a cute varren that follows you around and wags it's tail! D'awww...
    • Niftu Cal, still convinced he's a biotic god. He'll be a competent biotic by ME3, but still a complete Cloud Cuckoo Lander.
      • Not likely; if he survives the showdown in Mass Effect 2, you can actually talk to him before you leave that part of Ilium. He's calmed down, perfectly rational, somewhat embarrassed over how crazy all those drugs made him, and grateful that you kept him from getting his ass shot full of holes while he was higher than a hippy on the third day of an open-air festival.
      • Even better! His calmed rational manner would hide the fact that he has indeed become a TRUE BIOTIC GOD. Players using him for the first time will end up going OMGWTFBBQ when he sweeps the floor and leave even Jack and Samara eating his dust. The funny thing is he will still be very humble thinking he's a weak biotic.
    • Saren. Think about it. Sarevok...Saren...You could recruit the Big Bad of the first Baldur's Gate, in the expansion pack of the second game. And there was much asskicking, when Baal's two most hardcore offsprings teamed up. I can imagine Bioware doing the same trick for the second time, if only because of the alliteracy. Right, I did notice that Saren is theoretically unavailable being, you know, dead. In fact, he managed to die twice in just five minutes. But. Nanotechnology or other forms of Applied Phlebotinum would work just fine to repair the body. Of course, then the question: "What about Sovereign? Why didn't it self-repair?" would spring to mind, but we would be so overcome by the awesome that the previous point would just go and cry in the shower.
    • That sniper dude from the trailer. Kind of obvious, but he seems interesting and badass enough.
      • Big Ben. 'Nuff said.
    • Fortack, Lord High Researcher of Clan Urdnot. He will be loaned to Shepard by Wrex or Wreav as the team's science expert, either alone or making an Odd Couple with Mordin.
    • Admiral Han'Gerrel vas Neema. If we can't have Kal'reegar, this guy's a good second choice. Retired Badass bordering on General Ripper, plus he's voiced by Simon Templeman
    • Admiral Hackett. After two games of being The Voice or helping you out from behind the scenes he finally decides that it's time to join up with you directly. Recruiting him will be done through a conversation over the radio; you won't finally get to see what he looks like until he comes onboard to join you, and if you don't recruit him he'll remain The Faceless forever.
      • Admiral Hackett is no longer The Faceless as of the new DLC "The Arrival". His only appearance in Mass Effect 2 may hint that he has a larger role to play in the series after all.
    • Bioware has confirmed one new squadmate, James Sanders. Possibly related to Kahlee Sanders from the novel?
      • Initially, I thought he might be Anderson's son by Kahlee Sanders, but the timeline says no. Assuming ME3 takes place directly after ME2, he'd be 19 - 20 at best, which is way too young. Ah well. One cliche removed from the list. But the family name can't be a coincidence, so I'm in the "somehow related" camp as well.
      • Well, his last name has been changed to Vega (lol) so it's safe to say he's not related to Kahlee.
    • Kelly. If she survives she knows full well just how big a threat the Reapers are, and after the bad endings have her eviscerated it'd be nice to see her take ten or twelve levels in badass. Plus with Cerberus after Shepard now she could be part of some Sadistic Choice fans are fond of.
  • Aria T'Loak.
    • I mean, c'mon! The focus she gets during Lair of the Shadow Broker, despite not being a party member, and the fact that she's a main character in EU comics...
    • And that she isn't queen of Omega any more. Thanks, Cerberus.
  • So the only new squad members were James Vega, EDI and the Prothean. Temporary (and new) squadmates include Admiral Anderson, Aria T'Loak, and a female Turian biotic Nyreen Kandros. All the rest are Jossed.

Alternatively, only characters we have previously met will be squad members.
  • Bioware has spent the previous games adding characters, so ME3 will instead see the return of everyone from the first two games, assuming they are still alive. It'll take too much time and resources to flesh out entirely new characters, as well as keep fans of old characters happy, as well as tell whatever grand storyline they want to tell. Whatever next game in the same universe they make, that is on a separate storyline not featuring Shepard... that might have those characters though. The exception is characters that already have character development, but haven't been party members.
    • An argument I've seen repeated ad nauseum is "everyone but Liara can die, so obviously there will be a whole new squad for ME3, which makes no sense whatsoever. Think about it: how many people are going to import save(s) where squadmembers died? And the few that do, I'm sure will have a "perfect" save where everyone made it. It's just common sense.
      • Agreed. Most players will have a "perfect" save if nothing else so that they could have gotten the No One Left Behind achievement.
      • In the extreme worst case scenario where only Shepard lives, there will still be Liara and one of Ashley or Kaidan alive. So there will be enough for a party at the bare minimum. Coincidence?
      • Except that it's impossible to have Shepard be the sole survivor of the Suicide Mission. If everyone dies, Shepard dies as well. There has to be at least two other survivors because, otherwise, no one will be there to save Shepard when s/he misses the jump at the end.
      • Don't forget that Mordin is unlikely to survive the suicide mission by default (as is Tali, but torches and pitchforks will help her on her way).
      • There are several surefire ways to ensure everyone survives the suicide mission. Mordin's is "send back as crew rescue escort". Tali's is "Use as tech expert in the tube at first" and "Don't use as fire team leader". Both are safe from getting Seeker Swarmed if you choose Jack or Samara for the walking biotic shield emitter. And of course, everyone should be loyal.
      • Well obviously most people are going to have an Everybody Lives save to import by the time ME3 comes out. But they can't write the game based on that assumption. You could import a save with a bare minimum of surviving characters and it must still be playable and winnable. And when you consider new characters created in ME3 without importing, who are unlikely to get a happy ending in their histories at least going by what ME2 did...
      • With the exception of Wrex, Mordin, Legion and Tali, the squad members really don't have much of an impact on the galaxy as a whole. If you don't have those four, you're at a major disadvantage; if you do, but you've lost others, then the game is still winnable - but it'll come back to bite you in the final mission. Fewer people = fewer survivors.
    • There will almost certainly be new squad members for all those who ended up getting almost everybody killed in ME2. Not every companion from ME2 is likely to follow you to ME3 even if you manage to get them out alive - Thane is dying, Mordin is old, Samara's oath has been fulfilled, Grunt has his new clan, Zaeed's contract is over...
    • Developers have said that we've run into future party members who weren't recruitable in the second game, so it could be any of the major NPCs.
      • Don't forget that there have never ever been two party members who belong to one alien race. Maybe this limit will be bypassed by including females.
  • Bioware has confirmed Ashley/Kaidan, Liara, and Garrus (if he survived)as playable squadmates. Wrex, Mordin, Legion, and Anderson are in the game. Anderson is a temporary squadmate on the opening mission while Wrex, Mordin, and Legion are only in appearances during the demos and cutscenes.
  • Jacob, and Miranda are confirmed to appear as of the "Reinstated" trailer. Early promo screenshots also confirm Tali (or some other quarian in purple with a golden band around his/her neck...). The E3 Reaper Base demo has confirmed Legion.
  • We got Tali, Liara, Garrus, and the Virmire Survivor as returning squad mates.

What squad members will do if they survive the first two games.
  • Garrus: Will become a Spectre. It helps that he's already been considered for the role.
    • Alternately, he'll be serving as the C-Sec Executor.
      • I doubt Garrus would go back to C-Sec with the threat of the Reapers hanging over everyone's head. Ending up as the Executor after the third game is a definite possibility though.
    • Also a possibility that he's decided to stay on Shepherd's team, as he knows the Reapers are coming.
    • No, but he does head up a task force investigating the Reaper threat.
  • Grunt: Will either stay with Shepard or return to Tuchanka and aid Wrex in his efforts to unite the krogan.
    • He returned to Tuchanka and helped Wrex.
  • Jacob: Will quit Cerberus and be made a Spectre. Like another WMG said, it makes sense to have more human Spectres, and Jacob's actions in Mass Effect Galaxy where he saved the Council from a terrorist attack and his possible leadership role in the suicide mission make him an excellent candidate. And besides, fighting alongside fellow Spectres, NPC or not, would be really cool.
    • It'll also give Jacob some Hidden Depths, rescue him from the scrappy heap for those fans to whom he is a Scrappy, and show that he's not just just a Nice Guy. With his abs, he'll probably punch out a krogan.
    • Not a Spectre. Jacob is leading a band of soldier and scientist defectors from Cerberus. One of whom he got knocked up. Sorry femsheps who romanced him in 2.
  • Legion: Will rally the geth to fight the Old Machines.
    • Also, it will become the greatest beatboxer the galaxy has ever known.
      • Or will become an ambassador for the geth.
  • Confirmed. Legion is rallying the Geth for battle... But only to defend against the Quarians who want to go to war with them.
  • Miranda: Will go back to Cerberus, but as Shepard's spy. How effective she is depends on whether Shepard saved or destroyed the Collector Base, as well as the exchange between her and TIM just before the final boss.
    • If you take Miranda with you on the final battle and choose the Paragon path, Miranda resigns from Cerberus. Furthermore, as other WMG are guessing at Cerberus' involvement in ME3, after EDI is integrated with Normandy, she states outright that there are only 150 or so Cerberus employees in 3 cells; Paragon Shepard's last few lines imply that s/he's made a not insignificant number of them loyal to him/her and not the Illusive Man.
      • To wit, the ones made loyal are also the ones that control the SR-2 and have a lot of experience as well as one of the bigger groups. Given 3 cells, one cell is probably logistics and financial to handle the various shell companies and such. The third is likely intelligence gathering. Thus Shepard has assumed direct control of the military part.
      • "Agents" could mean mid- to high-level employees, like Miranda and Jacob. The actual number may be much higher. Still, stealing the SR-2, blowing up the Collector Base, and losing one of his best and most loyal agents certainly puts a dent in the organisation.
      • Cell 1 is probably supporting their political and militarty operatives (Ambassador Udina & Rear Admiral Mikhailovich are WAY too closed minded... they're either Cerberus agents or Terra-Firma party supporters. Or both.) as well as their corporate fronts (Sirta Foundataion and Hahne-Kedar both seem shady to me. Mostly since the item drops in Cerberus bases in ME1 were mostly theirs, especialy Sirta.), Cell two handles Projects like Firewalker and Overlord, and is subsequently wiped out throughout the course of the DLCs, and Cell 3 is the Lazarus Cell, your crew.
    • Alternately, she's working with the Alliance to take down Cerberus.
    • Another alternative: obviously at some point between ME 2 and 3, Shepard returned to the Alliance, we know the Normandy has been stripped and recommissioned as a ship in the Alliance Navy. Upon returning to Alliance space, Miranda is (unexpectedly) arrested and thrown in jail for treason, terrorism or some such crime. A mission in ME 3 will involve breaking her out.
    • I'll be a dark bastard and say that if Miranda survived without loyalty, she will be one of the Cerberus operatives that gets indoctrinated, and you will have to kill her.
    • Regardless, Miranda should play a significant role in ME3. Aside from Shepard, she probably knows more about what is going on than anyone else in the galaxy.
      • BioWare has said she has "unfinished business" with Shepard, and will be returning.
    • Apparently, she went on the run until she lost track of her sister. Then she turned to finding Oriana.
  • Mordin: He will open up a new clinic. A musical clinic. The doctors will sing opera or something while working to calm patients down. If Mordin's in a bragging mood, he'll entertain patients by having the staff musically reenact ME2's finale. Which may or may not be to the tune of When The Foeman Bears His Steel.
    • One guess which song will represent the Infiltration part. One guess.
    • Depending on how you dealt with his loyalty quest, he may or may not try to create a cure for the genophage, or at least modify it so the krogan have a higher birth rate.
      • The above troper seems to have the general idea. The E3 gameplay demo shows Mordin trying to move a female Krogan inside a stasis pod while under fire from Cerberus operatives.
    • Seems he went back to Tuchanka to care for some female krogan Maelon cured.
  • Samara: She'll go to Omega and clean up the "pisshole", possibly together with Garrus.
    • We don't actually find out what she did. Returned to asari space, I suppose.
  • Tali: If you succeeded in gaining her loyality, the quarians will make her an admiral, to fill her father's seat, and she will be vital in brokering a peace between the geth and the quarians. In the Distant Finale, you'll meet quarians who go by the ship names (a holdover tradition) nar/vas Zorah, vas Tali, or most likely, vas Shepard.
    • Would the quarians really make a 24 year old an admiral?
      • If you talk to her after her loyalty mission in ME2 (not sure if this is dependent on other choices), she mentions that people have suggested she be made an admiral. So yes, the quarians seem to see that a 24 year old could be an admiral, if not for experience through age then through worldly experience such as fighting the geth and the Collectors.
    • Alternately, she'll only leave you if you deliberately tanked her loyalty mission. If you didn't, she'll stay on the Normandy but be voted in as an admiral anyway. She didn't let "vas Normandy" stick for nothing. Could lead to some hilarity involving rank in that case.
      • The captain of a ship likely outranks an admiral in quarian society. Admirals are responsible for the well-being of the entire Fleet, but the captain of a ship is basically God when it comes to his particular vessel. It may be possible that admirals are usually also the commanding officers of their respective ships (Admiral vas Qwib-Qwib seems to be the CO of his ship, anyway) but if you go on someone else's ship, you're expected to follow their instructions. Shepard is the captain of the Normandy, ergo s/he is the superior officer.
      • Yes, but only Tali and/or a codex-savvy Shepard would know that.
      • In the US Navy, at least, there's a regulation that says that if an Admiral is traveling aboard a Navy vessel, the captain of said vessel is not obligated to cede command of the vessel to the Admiral and does not have to follow the Admiral's orders directly related to running the ship. Or something like that, I can't remember the specifics.
    • She actually did become an Admiral, based on her experiences with the geth. She had more contact with them than any other quarian, which made her the closes they had to an expert.
  • Zaeed: Depending on your actions in ME2's finale, Zaeed's contract will be cut because the suicide mission wasn't finished the way the Illusive Man wanted it. He may or may not go after Shepard or Cerberus in revenge.
    • If Shepard went Paragon in Zaeed's Loyalty Mission, but didn't gain his loyalty at the end, or if you leave him to die on his loyalty mission. I can totally see him trying to get revenge.
    Zaeed: You just cost me twenty years of my life!
    And remember
    Zaeed: A stubborn enough person can survive anything.
    • He actually apparently turned against Cerberus after another deal with them fell through.
  • Jack: She winds up as a powerful criminal warlord in Omega, could potentially wind up on Garrus' "List of criminal scum to dispose of"
    • Alternatively, a Paragon Shepard pushes her towards the path of The Atoner, who only wishes to live the rest of her life in peace. She'll even grow out her hair so that no one else recognizes her.
      • Apparently, you're at least right about the hair.
    • Or get Liara to get her into Eclipse as a biotic merc, the Eclipse elite overlook her criminal record and makes herself a distinguished record and is seen leading a squad of Eclipse mercs under her command, all of which is willing to help Shepard gain a bit of leeway.
    • Teacher. Yeah. She's training biotics at the Grissom Academy, trying to develop them into soldiers. She's even cut down on her cursing and has a lightened attitude to provide them with a better mentor.
  • Thane: Will have his condition worsen and worsen, to the point where, in order to recruit him in ME3, you must first find some sort of experimental cure for him (Paragon Shep could literally use his reputation and money to buy it legitimately, while Renegade Shep could steal it).
    • Or, alternatively, Thane dies during act 1 of ME3, but not before shooting up some Reaper-Husks from his deathbed.
      • The Shadow Broker Dossier shows that Thane can be saved with a lung transplant, Thane will accept that if he is in love with Shepard.
      • It's noted that it would only be a temporary solution, though.
    • No treatment. His condition worsened, and he's been staying alive seemingly through sheer determination. He dies fighting of Kai-Leng during the attempted assassination on the Salarian councilor.

Squad members who died during the suicide mission will have replacement characters in ME3.
  • Already been mentioned a few times in regards to specific characters but what if every team member from ME2 has a character to replace them in ME3 if they died, like what Wreav was to Wrex in ME2. This works for nearly every companion to some degree, so lets see who we have so far:
    • If Garrus dies he could be replaced by Sidonis (though only if you didn't let Garrus kill him in his loyalty mission).
    • If Grunt dies Wrex or Wreav could take his place.
      • That's going to result in quite a few people letting Grunt die just so they can have Wrex back. It might be better if you got to choose between them somehow.
    • If Jacob dies... no idea.
    • If Jack dies Billy (the prisoner you talk to who later sends you a message) replaces her.
      • Billy is an insane serial murderer and has sworn to kill Shepard the next time they meet.
      • And?
      • And what? He's insane. He's expressed an interest in killing you. You don't want someone like that watching your back.
      • It's not like Jack is the sanest person in the galaxy. Sure, Billy's less sane, but maybe he could be convinced that saving the galaxy is going to be more fun than random killing.
      • Jack is still a lot saner than Billy, and Billy also doesn't have superbiotics, or any kind of real combat(as opposed to murder) skills. There's no reason we know of that he should be a squadmate.
    • If Kasumi dies... no idea.
    • If Legion dies it just gets replaced by another geth platform.
      • Well considering Legion is just a program, barring him unable to send his program back to a hub or terminal, it could come back... as itself in a new platform. With a full set of N7 armor and look like a walking piece of Shepard's armor. Or... it comes back as Shepard's armor directly.
      • Legion and his 1183s program were considered "Lost" during the suicide mission
        "No carrier... No carrier..."
      • In the suicide mission you can save everybody - people will only die if you are far behind on upgrades or make stupid decisions like putting Jacob for the tech or having Thane as the fire team leader.
      • Well, they said that all Geth programs have archived backups, so they could return, just without most of their memories of Shepard and the team.
    • If Miranda, dies Oriana takes her place.
      • Oriana is nineteen and has no military training whatsoever.
      • ME2 takes place two years after the first, by ME3 they could well have had time to learn.
      • The Reapers arrive in the galaxy just after Arrival. Even without the Relay Shepard destroys it wouldn't take them that long to get to one that does.
    • If Mordin dies his nephew takes his place.
    • If Samara or Morinth dies one of Samara's daughters takes her place.
    • If Tali dies Kal'Reegar takes her place.
      • Kal'Reegar is not nearly as adept with technology with technology as Tali.
      • You just got a Real Life Achievement: 9001 GS: That's Just Evil - Create the world's most sadistic choice ever.
      • The replacement member doesn't necessarily replace their class.
      • If you got Kal'Reegar killed, Veetor takes Tali's place.
    • If Thane dies Kolyat takes his place.
    • If Zaeed dies he could be replaced by the girl with grenades he mentions.
    • Liara and Ashley/Kaidan could also act as replacements.
  • As far as squadmates go, there are no replacements. If Garrus is dead, his slot is empty. However, in the story, people are replaced as needed.

The squad members won't be selectable in Mass Effect 3.
  • The Reapers will find a way to get back to the galaxy in many places at once, instead of all at once through the Citadel. Your collected forces will fight them off at the same time as you traverse the galaxy trying to give orders to the different fronts and do difficult missions yourself.
    • For instance, when you go to the Sol System the first game's survivor (Kaiden or Ashley) and Jacob or Miranda will be your squad, along with Cerberus and the Alliance fighting reapers.
    • In Tuchanka's cluster, Wrex and Grunt will be your party, perhaps with Mordin and the salarians trying to atone, or the rachni, allying with their old enemies for the sake of the galaxy.
    • Tali and Legion will be your squad in the quarian home-world system, with the immigrant fleet and the geth fighting together.
    • If you didn't do loyalty missions or let people die, they will fail, and you will have less help in the missions there, making the game harder.
      • If you didn't do the missions, or made violent decisions (encouraged geth/quarian war, killed the rachni, let the council die, etc.), those whole fronts are wiped out, all those worlds are lost, and there's more enemies on the other fronts, making the game harder.
  • It looks to me that the Reapers are currently focused on Earth, but it is mentioned that they are attacking other planets. Most likely they've made Earth their HQ.
  • There are certain missions where certain squadmates are required. But for the most part, you're picking who accompanies you each mission.

Only the love-interests are going to be recruitable as squad members in ME3.
  • On one hand, variety is a good thing, and Bioware is likely to want to insert new characters to interact on the side of the familiar ones, but the game already has Loads and Loads of Characters, and the numbers can't go too much over what you already have. Hence, only the characters who can affect the romance subplot promised to expand throughout the three games are going to follow you in the sequel, although you can expect cameos from everybody who survives by that point, naturally. Note that everybody apart from the love-interests have a potential reason to leave after the suicide mission is complete, while none of the Love Interests really has a place to go. Hence, only eight squadmates are "taken" in the grand finale, leaving room for at least four more, but possibly even six or eight.
    • Actually, Thane, Miranda, and Tali all have various reasons for leaving, though I have no doubt you can convince them to stick around.
    • Nope. Only four love interests are rectuitable, out of the 8 characters who can be romanced.

You'll re-recruit all of your former squad in ME3.
  • And their respective armies to boot. One of your major missions will be giving Wrex the ability to ride on your ship while still controlling his krogan, another will be helping Liara kill the Shadow Broker and get her back on your ship as well as all of the contacts she's amassed between games, and convincing not only Kaidan/Ashley but by extension the Alliance to back you up again (and getting Kaidan/Ashley back on your crew).
    • So there'll be an acheivement for Putting the Band Back Together? Nice.
    • Lair of the Shadow Broker means dealing with the Shadow Broker is already done, so Liara would require a different recruitment mission.
    • Not as squadmates. But all of them can be recruited to help to war effort.

Liara in ME3...
  • Will be recruitable, naturally, as she's the only definitive surviving squadmate through the first two games. She'll have a loyalty mission that involves helping her take the Shadow Broker down once and for all., and will again be a love interest. At some point after you complete her loyalty mission, she'll have an emotional breakdown where she'll tell Shepard about everything that's happened to her since the initial Collector attack on the first Normandy. If you play as a Paragon, you can help her re-embrace her shy and sensitive side; play as a Renegade, and you'll encourage her to keep the tough façade in an interesting take on Becoming the Mask.
    • This is pretty much what happens in the Lair of the Shadow Broker DLC. Except the part about being recruitable - instead she becomes the new Shadow Broker and is much too busy.
    • Liara has been confirmed as a full squadmate for ME3.
      • Speculations on what happened to her base are below.

Ashley/Kaidan will rejoin you in ME3 - as a Spectre.
  • Of all the officers that the Alliance could've sent to Horizon, they send Shepard's former squadmate/possible love interest. The Illusive Man may have some influence in the Alliance, but certainly not enough to send a specific officer to a specific world. There has to be another reason, and the most obvious would be that the Council is looking for another human Spectre to replace Shepard. And who would be better to fill that position than someone who served with him/her, who would be more than eager to finish the job that Shepard started?
    • It's a nice theory, but somewhat undermined by the Council practically sticking their fingers in their ears and shouting "Sovereign was a Geth ship, the Reapers aren't real, lalalalalalalalala!!!"
      • I don't think so. Just because the Council doesn't believe Shepard's story about the Reapers (which itself is up for speculation), it doesn't mean they'd never hire another human as a Spectre out of spite; that would be a major disservice to one of their constituent races. Making one of Shepard's comrades a Spectre would be the Council's way of saving face (especially once it turns out that Shepard was right all along).
    • According to Rule of Drama, not only will they be a Spectre, they will be the Spectre the Council sends to take out Shepard.
    • The Illusive Man wasn't responsible for where Ash/Kaidan ended up - he purposely leaked that information to the Collectors so that he could gather data on them. They were sent there by the Alliance.
      • True, but the reason Ashley/Kaidan was sent to Horizon to begin with (they say so when you ask them) was to study Cerberus' activities there, which is something TIM did have control of. This still lends itself to the question: "why them?", which this WMG addresses.
  • Confirmed! Kaidan/Ashley is made a Spectre in ME3 and returns as a squad member.

You will be able to bring everyone along on missions in ME3.
  • Unlikely, but since the whole point of the games is building up a coalition to stand against the Reapers, the large diverse army will appear in ME3... translating into bringing multiple fire teams of 3 characters into battle on missions. Just because combat will be much, much bigger.
  • Trailers show you only controlling 3 party members at a time. At best, you'll control one squad until you reach a certain pint, then flip over to another squad ging after a different objective. If I remember correctly, they did this in KOTOR, the second one I think.
  • Nope.

Bioware will deal with the overwhelming number of possible squad members in ME3 by splitting the party.
  • Seems to me that there are just too damn many party members already in the Mass Effect franchise, not to mention the ones that people want to see that ME3 will consist of you gathering everybody you want in your party, and then splitting them up to either go with Shepard or do something equally important, like in Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones.
    • The party size will be smaller than ME2. However, there will be numerous cameo party members. Anderson is with you during the first levels on Earth.

You will have a wide selection of recruits in ME3.
  • In the first game you simply recruit people you come across who are willing to help. The second game changes things up by having Shepard actively hunt down and recruit the best fighters in the galaxy. By the events of the third game, Shepard is already a living legend. People of all races have heard of his exploits, and rumors circulate that s/he is trying to fight the greatest threat in the history of the galaxy. Shepard will have dozens of hopeful recruits, but can only select a certain number of them. Some will obviously be more skilled than others, and this will have an effect on the outcome of the game.
    • It could be like in Baldur's Gate II, where you can only have a set amount in your team at any one time, but can be "swapped out" at various meeting places. As with Baldur's Gate and other RPG's, it could well be possible to play through the game and miss a good chunk of the possible companions.
    • Your recruits are pre-determined.

If loyalty outfits are implemented in ME3, they will match Shepard's current armor instead of the Cerberus colors.
  • If only because you may not be working for Cerberus anymore and it would be stupid to keep wearing their colors after the fact.
    • Or we can actually equip them with armour, which, hopefully, can be customised to a similar degree as Shepard's.
    • No loyalty outfits, but they do get multiple armours. At least two each, depending on whether you get the DLC or not.

Saren will be the hidden party member of Mass Effect 3 and it will be possible for Shepard to redeem him
  • Despite being killed at the end of the first game, Cerberus was able to bring back Shepard from the dead after the Commander's death. Perhaps the Reapers do the same for Saren, and he may initially be an antagonist. At some point in the game, however, the option will be either to execute him again or to make Saren a party member; he'll be the 'hidden' character, much like Legion was. Depending on how Saren died in the first game, his membership in the party could be handled in a couple different ways. For example, if he died in a straight-up firefight with Shepard, he'll still be the evil, sadistic murdering psychopath he was as ME1's Dragon, but will join up with Shepard for revenge against the Reapers once he discovers that they never intended to spare any organic life like he originally thought. If, however, Shepard was able to convince Saren that he had become indoctrinated and caused him to commit suicide, Saren will instead become The Atoner and attempt to redeem himself after a lifetime of committing unspeakable acts of evil by helping to protect all the life in the galaxy by defeating the Reapers. The other way is that he will start off still as evil as he was in the first game no matter how you dealt with him, but the option will exist for a Paragon Shepard to redeem Saren over the course of the game. There is precedent for the first game's Big Bad becoming a redeemable party member; see Sarevok in Throne of Bhaal, which was also a BioWare game. And it also seems like Mass Effect isn't quite done with Saren considering he is name-dropped quite a bit in the sequel, and that they went to the trouble to make use of his image for the Kasumi DLC. And if there are party members in Mass Effect 3 we've already met in the first two games, well, that could very easily include Saren.
    • Saren would basically be a Game-Breaker squadmate; a perfect blend of Tech, Combat, and Biotic skills (think Garrus with Thane's skills added on top). However, to counterbalance this, your ME1 squadmates will give you hell if you recruit him, which may result in some of them (Garrus, Wrex, and Ashley/Kaiden, for instance) ditching you unless you can persuade them otherwise.
      • They could always weaken him in certain ways. Maybe have him lose his biotics as a side effect of his revival.
      • Removing his biotics would sort of turn him into another Garrus, though, wouldn't it, a turian with tech abilities and is a sniper (I believe in the prequel novel, there is a scene that establishes Saren is a sniper, but I'm prepared to be wrong about that)? Wait, that's it! They'll do it like they did Loghain in Dragon Age: Origins. You CAN recruit Saren, but if you do, a party-member who's been with you since the beginning, and may even be your lover, will not be able to forgive that, or you, and leave forever. But of course, since Saren does everything Garrus did, party balance isn't affected just like how Loghain takes over from Alistair. This of course assumes Garrus lived at the end of Mass Effect 2. If not, then you can recruit Saren with minor fuss.
      • The decision to save or fight Saren was unaddressed in ME2, whereas a lot of the other choices (rachni queen, Shiala, Parasini) were incorporated. If Saren returns inn-full, that decision could affect what happens.
      • This would allow them to do an awesome Shout-Out:
      Shepard: Excuse me, Mr Mercenary Agent, do you have any powerful folks I could hire to fight the Reapers?
      Agent: If you seek to take the fight to the evil ships from beyond Galaxy's End, you will need an ally that knows those monsters. (slowly pulls back a curtain)
    • An interesting guess, but false. Unless he's VERY well-hidden. Hmmm.

Legion is Saren
  • Saren was working with the geth during ME1. He also had tech upgrades routinely installed by Sovereign (see those freaky tubes coming out of the back of his head?) What if his personality was uploaded into the geth "cloud" before you actually killed his body, possibly during one of those "upgrades"? Alternatively, while Sovereign was taking over Saren's mind, the geth currently living in Sovereign (or Nazarra, as they might prefer) got a peek at his brain and decided to make a copy. After Saren died and Shepard killed their god, the geth wanted to know more about Shepard. As one of the minor characters, Eddie Vance, in ME1 says when you ask him about how Spectres are held accountable, "If you need to take down a Spectre, send another Spectre." However, the geth didn't want Shepard "taken down"— they wanted to know more about them. They only had one Spectre. So, they take the aspects of Saren's personality that didn't consist of KILL ALL HUMANS, put them in a upgraded mobile unit, and sent him on his merry way. It makes sense that they would do that— Legion would be a sort of midway point between organics and synthetics; the personality of an organic (explaining the What Is This Thing You Call "Love"? scene, among others), but in the form of a synthetic. Since he would be operating in organic controlled space, he would be able to operate much better than any actual geth. Think about it— Legion is a tech expert/sniper, just like Saren apparently was (robots can't have biotics). Legion is, for some reason, obsessed with Shepard, much like Saren was. Hell, he even sort of looks like him, with a robotic arm that looks quite similar to Saren's and those moving faceplate things that no other geth has being analogous to Saren's side crests that no other turian has.
  • Nope. Legion is simply Legion.

Some of the unresolved/failed Loyalty missions will come back to bite you in the ass.
  • Depending on which missions are uncompleted and the party member survives the mission, bad things will happen to most of them
    • Miranda's sister will become a brainwashed assassin of Cerberus, sent to kill Miranda if she goes rogue in Paragon, and sent by her father to kill her.
    • Jacob's father was eventually found by Alliance members on their own with the atrocities that his father committed, Jacob is considered an outlaw.
      • How does his father's crimes lead to him being an outlaw? He's not even slightly responsible for what Richard Taylor did.
      • Bad Publicity and Jacob's past as a Corsair AND as a member of Cerberus meant he was a "scapegoat" for his father's sins.
      • That still doesn't make any sense. Jacob being considered a criminal for his actions as a Corsair and Cerberus operative is possible, but I seriously doubt the laws in this universe are warped enough that people are held accountable for the criminal actions of their parents. Why would they even bother to pin it on Jacob, who had nothing to do with it, when they have his father in custody already? Anyone with half a brain could see he wasn't responsible, so what would be the point?
      • Because Jacob was too late in finding out what his father did, he thought his father was innocent as compared to if he had found out in the loyalty mission. Just because we know doesn't mean he knows. This may affect his relations with Cerberus for getting his father rotting in prison for a crime he didn't know his father committed.
      • So, Jacob would become an outlaw for defending his father? That still makes no sense at all. People declare family members innocent all the time in the real world, without ever being accused of ... whatever it is you think Jacob would be accused of. I'm not even sure why Jacob would resent Cerberus, since they would have had nothing to do with any of it, beyond maybe paying for a lawyer.
      • More likely it would ruin his reputation/ any career he might have had by re-joining the Alliance thanks to a bad reputation. Look how Ashley got stonewalled for her granfather's surrender.
    • Garrus' incomplete mission to find Sidonis means that Sidonis was able to escape, eventually persuaded by the same mercs who told him to sell out to become a full fledged criminal. Becoming "Archdemon", he then begins a reign of terror in Alliance fringe territory. Also Harkin becomes a Karma Houdini, causing much chaos in C-Sec.
    • Mordin's protegee develops the genophage cure and with the krogan clan that he was working for in strong numbers almost wipes out Clan Urdnot and if Wrex is alive in Mass Effect 2, dies.
      • Don't you mean develops a cure...?
      • No. Remember, Mordin's former protege was developing a cure, and presumably if you didn't do the loyalty mission and interrupt him, he'd finish it. However, he's doing the cure for the clan that wants to kill and conqueor everybody. That krogan was insane, he wants to wipe out all other clans as well as enslaving every race in the galaxy. This could lead to that clan being a major foe in ME3.
      • No, it won't. After-action dialogue from EDI confirms the clan as being destroyed by Shepard and Mordin - the survivors were integrated into Urdnot.
      • Only if you do the quest. This is guessing what happens if you leave the quest unresolved.
    • Thane's son becomes an infamous assassin who is much less honorable than his father and was hired by the Shadow Broker to murder Shepard.
      • More likely hired by the indoctrinated Cerberus. Liara is the Shadowbroker now.
    • Samara's failure to deal with Morinth allows Morinth to make her sisters join her as a trio of bloodthirsty killers and working for the Reapers.
      • This troper appears to be ignorant as to why Morinth would be interested in teaming up with the Reapers.
      • Indoctrination?
    • Not dealing with the Virus allows the heretics to succeed in their task, turning Legion to a sole survivor of the event (The virus activated during the Suicide mission), Legion "lives" with EDI and tries to restart his race with her.
    • Tali becomes an exile, and her father's record is stricken as well when his actions come to light, if you do not help her in the trial. She becomes a wanted quarian as they are told to kill her on sight... making her relation with Shepard strained at best.
      • They don't kill exiles/criminals, because they could have children that would be welcomed back to the flotilla.
    • Jack not dealing with her past meant some rogue operatives restart this facility and try to create mini-Subject Zeros. She later becomes a warlord using the Subject Zeroes.
    • Grunt's unresolved blood frenzy meant he is now out as a beserker for hire. Killing, burning and destroying several colonies. Citadel races considers wiping the krogan in a good old fashioned genocide.
  • Not completing Loyalty missions can impact how well prepared you're able to get the galaxy.

Joker will take over if Shepard died.
  • He's the only one left over, and you can tell that he just wants to do something against the Reapers. His condition is clearly getting better (in ME1, he was confined to the chair, now he can walk, albeit with a limp. Likely with a bit of exercise, he could be a regular badass. Oh, and when Bioware said that you can't import the save from ME2 if Shepard dies? They lied.
  • No lies here. If Shep died then the save can not be imported.

Liara and Feron
  • Much like the Tali/Kal guesses, if you didn't romance Liara, or romanced another character in ME2 without breaking it off, Liara will eventually end up with Feron.
    • Seems doubtful. If you talk to Liara, she mentions having no romantic interest in him, and also says it would be unethical to become involved with him, due to the trauma he's suffered.

DLC is helping set up future plot lines for each companion.
  • It's already started with Lair of the Shadow Broker. The surveillance footage and dossiers seem to indicate a few different plot lines for ME3, and there's probably still more DLC to go building the plot from ME2 to ME3. Between that and what was already in the game...
    • Thane, of course, will have a mission where you can try to get his Keprals cured.
      • No cure for him.
    • Mordin's plot will deal with whether or not to cure (or even just modify) the Genophage.
      • He has little choice but to cure it.
    • Kasumi is hunted because she kept some of her stolen goods in retaliation for the clients not paying, and now they want her dead.
      • There is a Spectre trying to catch her, though you can convince him to stop.
    • If the Paragon option was successfully taken, Zaeed wants your help tracking down Vido. If it was unsuccessful, he wants to kill you. If Renegade was chosen, he wants your help either taking over the Suns or taking them down altogether.
    • You help Jack track down her birth parents, who were unaware all this time that their daughter was really alive.
    • Miranda will be trying to deal with her infertility—quite possibly by tracking down (and eventually confronting) her father to get the data used to create her. Either she could try to use it to find out what went wrong and correct it via gene therapy (perhaps the outcome if Shepard romanced her), or to create a baby much the way he did (perhaps even with the desire to use Shepard's genes the way her father not only used his own modified genes but also picked out optimal traits from others).
      • Hard no on that last part. Miranda's creation is something's that plagued her for her entire life, she's not going to force that on someone else, let alone her own child.
    • Rael'Zorah's research was found by Daro'Xen. Badness ensues, no matter how Tali's trial ended.
      • Xen apparently uses some of that research to develop a way to trick geth sensors. It was a great idea until the Reapers showed up.
    • We'll get to meet Garrus' family—specifically, his sister and sick mother (female turians!). Attempts to get his mother much-needed medical attention and simmering family drama ensues.
    • Ashley or Kaidan is up for (or has become) a Spectre, maybe even with a reinstated Shepard asked to accompany them on a test run, similar to the role Nihlus was supposed to play.
    • Liara has plenty of possibilities for plot in her new role as Shadow Broker, but at the forefront has to be the footage of Matriarch Aethyta staring at her picture.
      • Aethyta is Liara's father, and you can convince Liara to talk to her.

There will be no new party members, but every surviving party member will rejoin.
Yes, this means that different files will have different numbers of total party members, but they will all have at least four (Ashley/Kaiden, Liara, and the two minimum needed for Shepherd to survive). They will all have loyalty missions, which means that even the maximum number of survivors still leaves one loyalty mission unavailable. If they do decide to make new squad members available, my money's on Joker and/or EDI as a Robot Girl.
  • Bioware has confirmed new recruitable characters.
  • There are 6 characters, 7 with DLC. 4 are returning, 2 are new.
    • Technically there are 6 returning characters (the Virmire survivors count as two, and EDI acquires a body).

You will be able to recruit a squad member based on your background.
  • Successfully completing your background-specific mission in the original will allow you to recruit either Talitha (Colonist), Finch (Earthborn) or Zabaleta (Spacer). All three will have greatly bettered themselves through Shepard's influence. The mission would be considered successfully completed if you're sent the corresponding letter in Mass Effect 2.
    • Finch and Talitha can be pretty dead, though.
      • Then they wouldn't want to join you anyway.
    • Nope.

Kasumi will have a follow-up mission in ME3, if you met her in ME2.
  • That information on Keiji's greybox involved some unsavory dealings involving the Alliance and Reaper technology. And since Kasumi can't prove she doesn't have the intel on her even if you destroyed it in her loyalty mission, she'll still be pursued one way or the other. This could lead to an interesting friend-or-country conflict if the Alliance orders Shepard to arrest or take out Kasumi, instead. Possible options:
    • Convince the Alliance that she doesn't have the data: Only available if you did Kasumi's loyalty mission and told her to destroy the greybox. Shepard uses his cred with the Alliance to get Kasumi off the hook, then either lets her go or allows Kasumi to rejoin the squad.
    • Have her show you the data: Only available if you told Kasumi to keep the greybox. This option would strain Shepard's relationship with the Alliance (especially if they did something REALLY unethical), but could lead to something that can help fight the Reapers.
    • Turn her in: The only option if you didn't recruit Kasumi in ME2 or complete her loyalty mission.
    • Actually, she does show up. She tells you what was on the grey box, and she helps you deal with a hanar who decides to worship the Reapers.

The Doctor will feature in ME3.
  • If not as a squadmate, then as a non-combat member of the team. He will most likely be encountered in London, and FemSheps have the option to be his companion.

All (well, almost all) the squad members will be important leaders of the allies you gather.
Since the third game is more about uniting races than finding specific individuals, your companions will be persons of rank amongst the allies you gather, sent along to keep the others briefed on the Reapers' activities and so that Shepard can call for help when needed. Others may simply be there because they were love interests. With that in mind, the potential squadmates are:
  • Wrex: For obvious reasons.
  • Wreave: If the above is dead.
  • Tali: She will be made an Admiral of the Flotilla and will come with you to advise. If she was exiled, then she's just there anyways.
    • If she's an exile, she's gathering the other exiles.
    • She is, in fact, an admiral.
  • Kal'Reegar: If Tali is not an admiral for any reason, Kal'Reegar will have been promoted to general or somesuch high rank in the time between the second and third games. He will accompany you as well/instead.
    • Sadly, no. You receive a news report about him dying in combat.
  • Garrus: He will be revealed to have held some ridiculously high rank during his mandatory military service, which will be reinstated for the duration of the Reaper crisis.
    • Alternatively, he became a Spectre, and as such can requisition all Council forces.
    • He was actually appointed to head a task force investigating the Reaper threat. He does seem to get a lot of respect, as even generals salute him.
  • Ash: She will have finally been recognized for her talents and promoted to her grandfather's old rank.
    • She's a Spectre.
  • Kaidan: due to his biotics, is too valuable to remove from the field, but will have the highest field rank available and will act as a forward observer.
    • he's a Spectre.
  • Legion: Already designed for organic interaction, it will have its memory capacity upgraded and be uploaded with command programs.
    • No, that is entirely un-geth-like. He'll be the geth's Ambassador to organics.
    • He actually sacrifices himself in order to grant the geth true sentience.
  • Matriarch Aethyta: She will be restored to her former status and join Shepard as an adviser. And ship's bartender.
    • Also reuniting with her daughter, Liara. Provided that's canon...
    • She's reunited with Liara, at least, but she doesn't serve as an advisor to Shepard.
  • Thane: Thane will turn out to be the leader of the drell assassins. If he is too ill, Kolyat will take up his mantle against his wishes.
    • He went freelance after he got married. But he may still be on good terms with the hanar and the drell, and could help with getting them to join your side.
    • He's sick and in the hospital.
  • Liara: So Shepard will have direct access to the Shadow Broker's resources.
  • Mordin: His STG rank will be restored much like Garrus'.
  • Shiala: She'll offer to act as the connection between Shepard and the Rachni Queen.
    • She's leading the Zhu's Hope resistance.
  • Zaeed: He's not an idiot. He realizes all the money in the galaxy is useless if there's nowhere to spend it, so he unifies the various mercenary groups (through extreme violence, of course) and leads them under Shepard's flag.
    • He does get together a few friends of his.
  • Jack, Jacob, Miranda: ...haven't really found a reason for them to tag along. Miranda to coordinate Cerberus' resources if Shepard didn't flip TIM off maybe, but the only reason I can think of for the other two to be there is to continue the romance subplots. Maybe Jacob rallies the Corsairs and Jack gets the various biotic cults together?
    • Jacob and Miranda realize how big a threat the Reapers are. If there are any un-indoctrinated Cerberus cells, Miranda will be organizing them. On the flip side, she might be investigating how Cerberus got indoctrinated.
    • Jacob might be helping Miranda, or he might be going back to the Alliance to support Shepard.
    • Jack may be crazy and violent, but she's not stupid. If Shepard got her through Omega-4, she'll figure the best way to survive is by sticking with Shepard, or at least doing what Shepard wants by rounding up allies/ gathering intel. If Romanced, she'll have more personal reasons behind her loyalty, but will probably try to deny them.
    • Miranda leads a fighter squadron and gives the Alliance info on Cerberus. Jacob is protecting a bunch of ex-Cerberus scientists and soldiers who defected. Jack is training a group of young biotics in combat.
  • If the above former squad members are dead, they will be replaced with another member of their race, if I haven't listed a suitable replacement.
    • Samara: Justicars are highly regarded in asari society, aren't they?

I realize this kind of overlaps with the cumulative list up top, but I wanted to get across why those people would be there. Well, most of them. Some are just for the hell of it.

Dead squadmates will return... as an enemy in Mass Effect 3
Well, perhaps the Reapers only targetted humans usually, but what if they decided to go extra to punish that Shepard? If any of the squadmates 'die' in this, the Reapers will find a way to revive them (maybe that one shot didn't completely kill them, or the ones caught in the seeker swarms were not killed yet, just taken to a hanging state where they'll be used for future uses), and then turned them into their ranks and eventually Shepard must give them a Mercy Kill in the 3rd game. This will also occur for non-loyal characters who died holding the line.
  • Considering that the dead squad mates died within the range of a twenty kiloton bomb (ME1 or ME2)/ massively high radiation blast (ME2) I would say the odds of anything of them surviving that could be used to bring them back would be astronomically low. It would be dramatic but completely illogical.
  • Maybe they make you halucinate and think it's them?
  • You can dream and hallucinate about them but the dead are forever dead.
    • This is partly right. While they do not 'die', per se, Jack (if you didn't do the Grissom Academy mission), Legion (if you sold it to Cereberus), and Morinth (if you chose her over Samara) can be encountered as specially named enemies.

One of Virmire Non-Survivor's family members will come around to guilt trip you.
For Ashley, one of her sisters. For Kaidan, his father.
  • No mention of them.

Ashley/Kaidan aren't Spectres yet, but you can help them become one after their loyalty mission.
These missions would be somewhat different from the standard fare. Shepard would be placed in an advisory role like Nihlus was in the first game, offering advice and letting A/K decide how the mission plays out, but this could lead to them making a bad decision (the chance of this happening would depend on what advice you give them). You could also take charge of the mission away from them if you think things are going bad, but if you micromanage too much, it will make A/K look worse to the Council at the end of it and possibly bar them from Spectre status even if the mission was technically a success.
  • Jossed. Ashley/Kaidan are full Spectres by the beginning of the game.
    • UnJossed. Ashley/Kaidan don't become Spectres until a certain point in the game.

The tank-bred krogan you met on Korlus will show up again.
If Grunt died during the suicide mission, TBK replaces him. If Grunt is still alive, however, the two of them will meet up on Tuchanka at some point, and Grunt will ask you to help him get his "brother" into clan Urdnot like how you helped him in ME2. And to make sure things don't get repetitive, this time the rite will involve killing a Colossal Thresher Maw instead of a regular one.

Loyalty Powers Discussion
Assuming they return in ME3, what unique powers do you think the new/returning squadmates will get?My thoughts:
  • Anyone who had a loyalty power in ME2 (including Liara) will have the same one in ME3.
    • Confirmed. Liara, Garrus, and Tali still have all their old powers. Liara also inherits Jack's Warp Ammo as her second unique power, while Garrus picks up Proximity Mine and Tali gains Sentry Turret. The rest of the ME2 cast keep their loyalty powers for their guest appearances in Citadel, as well.
    • Bioware has confirmed that powers can evolve multiple times based on a new skill tree set up. Expect some wicked awesome power evolutions from all characters.
  • Ashley - Overkill: Splices multiple heatsinks into your weapon at once, giving you unlimited ammo and additional firepower for a few seconds.
    • Jossed. She gets Marksman instead. Then again, Marksman was just the pistol variant of Overkill in ME1, so the gist of it is still there.
  • Kaidan - Hold: Grabs a target and holds it in front of you as a shield. You can then launch it as a projectile by pressing the right trigger.
    • Jossed. He inherits Barrier from Jacob and Reave from Samara.
  • Wrex - Crush: Creates a positive-mass field that crushes and immobilizes anyone in its radius, doing additional damage to heavy targets.
    • As a Guest-Star Party Member in Citadel, Wrex gets the Stimulant Packs used by Turian infiltrators in multiplayer.
  • Saren - Polonium Ammo: Radioactive ammunition that causes damage to sensitive tissue, disrupting biotic barriers and causing seizures in unprotected organics.
    • Saren's still dead, so Jossed.

There will only be six or seven squadmates in ME3
Bioware said that they wanted to make the relationships deeper in the third game, so they're focusing on a smaller party overall. Chances are that an existing character will join up, probably of your own choosing, and there might be a secret character as a party-member. We already have James Vega as the new guy, with returning squadmates being Garrus, Liara, Tali and Kaidan/Ashley. Wrex can't join; he's leading the krogan. The third game starts with Shepard's trial and the Normandy was retrieved by the Alliance; the second game's party will get disbanded.
  • This one was right on. EDI, an existing character, acquires a body relatively early on and becomes a full squad member, while Javik, the DLC character, rounds out the squad to 7 members.

None of the non-LI squadmates from previous games will be full squadmates, but all will be temporary squadmates
Each will have a role to play in the storyline. If they are dead, that's a problem for you.
  • Mordin: will be on the salarian homeworld, judging by the E3 gameplay video.
  • Wrex: Tuchanka, obviously. Also the salarian homeworld.
  • Grunt: Tuchanka. If Wrex is around, Grunt actually helps you bring the Blood Pack in on your side, by defeating the Blood Pack commander in honorable combat (assuming having Commander Frakking Shepard on your side counts as honorable).
    • Not the Blood Pack, but an elite krogan squadron.
  • Zaeed: Somewhere in the Terminus systems. He brings a bunch of mercenaries to bear. If you killed Vido Santiago, he may have taken over the Blue Suns.
    • You encounter him on the Citadel, of all places, after he and a few other mercs kidnap volus ambassador Din Korlack.
  • Samara: Either Omega, having been caught up in the defense of the station, or Thessia. Perhaps the Justicars play a critical role in unifying the asari military.
    • You encounter her at an Ardat-Yakshi monastery.
  • Legion: Rannoch, involved with the geth/quarian conflict.
  • Kasumi: Something to do with Keiji's graybox.
  • Surprisingly accurate. All the squadmates make appearances and can contribute to the war effort.

You'll be able to recruit Kai-Leng
Possibly by paying him into a Heel–Face Turn, though your alien squadies will give you hell for it.
  • No. But you'll be so satisfied when you finally deal with him.

Optional Squadmates
Characters that you can convince or allow to join your squad, if you so desire. Namely, Kal'Reegar, some ME-2 squadmates, a Raloi, a female Turian, a female Drell, and/or a Collector.
  • There are no optional squadmates.
    • Well, the Virmire survivor is optional. Garrus and Tali are kinda optional, in that they may be dead. The Prothean is optional.

The first two Mass Effect games obvious had Seth Green, who was in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The second game brought in Robin Sachs who was also on Buffy. And Sarah Michelle Gellar basically played the character (sans Doesn't Like Guns) in the DLC Call of the Dead for Call of Duty: Black Ops. Might she, or possibly another actor (veteran video game actor Eliza Dushku perhaps) get a role?
  • At this late stage it doesn't look like this will be the case, but Freddy Prinze (Buffy's husband) is James Vega.

The Multiplayer class names indicate that Thane, Samara, and Grunt will return.
There's no particular reason that the nameless asari you play as in multiplayer would all necessarily be justicars ("Asari Commando" would probably be more appropriate if they were just generics). Nor should every drell be an assassin, or krogan a berserker. If the MP characters are just borrowing class names from ME2, that could be an indicator that their original holders will return in some capacity, as well.
  • They don't appear as squadmates, but they do appear in the game. As badasses.

DLC Squadmate

Looks like a DLC character and mission will come with the Collectors' Edition. Who will it be, why will it be and how will it be?

The Squadmate will be a Collector
It'd be interesting to see one on your side. You could either allow it to develop its own personality (Paragon), or have it serve as The Dragon for you (Renegade), and you could learn its past for as much as it can remember. Maybe a Prothean fought off the effects of whatever the Reapers turned him into - you get to find out about it from Liara, who sent her agents to find it.
  • You don't have to go quite that far out of your way. From Mass Effect 1, the Protheans had Life support pods. Say that one stayed active for fifty thousand years. This one may be more right then you think. One of the DLC squadmates is confirmed to be called "The Prothean".
  • This one is just barely incorrect. Javik, the DLC squadmate, is a true Prothean that survived in a Prothean facility on Eden Prime.

There will be a DLC pack that provides less depressing endings
.And the fans will complain about it.
  • Of course. They would complain even if it were given away for free.
    • There was, they did, and it was.
    • Though one could hardly call it less depressing.

Saren will be the Squadmate
It'd certainly provide an interesting dynamic between Shepard and the other squadmates. Maybe someone revived Saren like Cerberus did to Shepard.
  • Saren doesn't even make an appearance.

I remember reading this, but I don't rememeber where.
  • There is a Fenris mech with the Collector's edition, but it's not a party member, just a loveable pet who will follow you around on the Normandy.

  • So many backstory choices involve Shepard in some conflict with the batarians, not to mention the general antagonism between them and humans, plus the events of Arrival souring relations with Shepard personally. It would be fascinating to have a batarian on your team with all that going on.
  • Nope, though Batarians do play a more prominent role in the story.

  • There will be a DLC with a better ending, a la Fallout 3.
    • With an Endboss.
      • And it will be in the form of the opposite-gender default Shepard. Just because.
      • No, it'll be Harbinger. Nobody tries to indoctrinate the Shep and lives.
      • There was and it was much better than the vanilla ending. Still no epic boss fight with Harbinger unfortunately...

If the Game Gets a Wii U port
Their will be a new alternate ending. Princess Rosalina and the Goddess's from Zelda will show up, tell The Catalyst to shut up, and make the Crucible spit out the Star power-up from Mario to all the allied forces. Shepard will then use the Tri-force to fix the Galaxy.

Harbinger/Bioware is meta-trolling
  • When Harbinger came down to blast Shepard he actually hit him with a mindscrew ray. Everything after that is either Shepard being indoctrinated or Shepard hallucinating while in a semi-conscious stupor. This would explain the...strangeness of the final cutscenes, the lack of choices available to Shepard even if at 100% completion in all 3 games and him being uncharacteristically submissive to the Catalyst's sketchy expositions, who's taken on the form of the child that's always on Shepard's mind. Harbinger is actively trying to force Shepard to choose a conclusion that would be detrimental to the galaxy as a final attempt to spite him, when there's actually another choice that offers better closure. Bioware has also mentioned that players should "hold onto their saves". Come April 1st 2012 Bioware will release a (FREE) DLC and subvert decades of tradition to un-prank the fans and give them the true endings in the craziest PR stunt in gaming history. Most of the fandom breathe a sigh of relief while the rest tell Bioware to "never fucking dare do that again".
    • Well, this is easily the craziest of the lot. EA/BioWare giving out free DLC?
    • Alternatively, Torch The Series And Run. Upset fans so much they want nothing to do with Mass Effect anymore, so there won't be any expectation to make further games.
      • That's already happened for some of us.
      • That would make the ending absolutely awesome. And Shep being indoctrinated makes perfect sense, given how the option that mirror the goals of the game's villains (control the Reapers, as TIM wants, or mix organics and synthetics, exactly what the Reapers do every cycle) are painted as the "good" options, while your own goal is painted as "bad".
      • On that day (either April 1 or the global release of post-March 15) Bioware will issue a statement confirming a "true" ending and shows the mob of angry and disillusioned fans that they were in fact being played, ending it all with the two words: RELEASING CONTROL.

Shepard was indoctrinated

The next Mass Effect based game will be made by Obsidian.
  • It's practically a Bioware tradition at this point.
    • And it will be extraordinarily well-written and will introduce tons of cool, interesting ideas and characters into both the gameplay and the mythos. However, the game will be rushed to release before Obsidian can finish / polish / debug it.

Shepard is alive
  • S\he just doesn't want to be found. I present as evidence the scene near the end. Shepard had killed the Illusive Man, stopped Cerberus, and either saved Anderson or watched him die, and just takes a moment to rest, to relax, when Hackett radios that they need Shepard. S\he just sounds so tired, and after everything s\he had been through decides at the end of the game to simply disappear.
    • Shepard's special forces group? Those characters you were playing as in multiplayer? One idea for DLC will be they are near where Shepard or the Normandy were last seen and tasked with finding them. The end would be where Shepard is found and s\he lays out everything that happened, giving the player a paragon\renegade choice to either leave him\her be and let the Alliance believe Shepard is dead, convince Shepard to return, or Take a Third Option and tell Shepard's friends in secret, with them respecting his\her wishes to just be at peace.
      • The problem with this idea is that, once again, it cheats the people with no interest in multiplayer. First, we're cheated out of the ending where Shepard can possibly survive, since it is literally impossible to get the War Assets high enough without using MP. If your idea is used, then it means we would also be cheated out of a new resolution. Doing that would just be completely unfair to a lot of people who simply don't care about the MP.
    • Fair point. So one way around this might be to have your default team: a turian soldier, drell infiltrator, quarian engineer, krogan vanguard, asari adept and salarian sentinal, and if you donated a multiplayer character to Shepard's war assets then they would take the place in that particular field. So if you were dedicated enough you could have a squad of asari commandos instead of the default squad. That's if we were to go this route in having Shepard's special forces and multiplayer involved. It's not essential but it's there for those who would like to train up and use a character instead of the squad in such DLC.
      • Actually it IS possible to get high enough war assets without MP, MP raises the Galactic Readiness modifier, which just means you need less war assets to fill up your EMS bar.
      • Without multiplayer the bast ending requires 10000 points of war assets. Even with imported characters there are only about 8000 in the game.

The Ending is part of a devious plan by Bioware and EA to sell DLC
  • Basically they put out a contraversial ending that many fans dislike. Then later for just 20$ they put out alternate ending DLC's, so that you can get the ending you wanted.
    • Bioware DID say that players might want to hold on to their ME3 saves, so you might be on to something.
    • Just like Fallout 3, then...
    • Like most fans I dearly want this to be the case, but I must say Bioware are putting a lot at risk in doing this. When you buy a new game chances are you would expect it to be complete and working. It'd be like buying a new car and then have to pay extra for steering or to be able to refuel. Now in the day and age of download content if some time down the track the writers thought, "Hmm, you know leaving the game with Shepard bleeding and working for the Reapers. On second thoughts we need to do something to fix that," then it'd be okay. It'd be like getting Rock Band and three years later the rights for Know Your Enemy became available and you could download it. But to do this from the start? To knowingly have something that fans would not like and then make them pay more to make it better? A lot of them would feel really upset at being scammed like this.
    • Totally changing the endings would be a bad idea for everyone concerned, but a little tweaking would be welcome: I feel that one crucial part was left out, possibly due to time constraints, namely the reactions of your squadmates and everybody you recruited to battle for what happened. That was the only thing that I really felt missing from the endings, and I wouldn't complain if Bioware owned it up, and added those few additional scenes as a fix-up.

Liara is pregnant with Shepard's child
At the very end of the game, the player can have an interaction with Liara where she uses her mental powers to communicate with the Shep. This could very easily be a chance for her to get pregnant by the Shep, in case she lives and Shepard doesn't. Obviously, this is more than slightly disturbing if Shepard wasn't romancing Liara, but still somewhat in character.
  • Liara does launch off her own joke about "little blue children" if she was romanced in the two previous games so maybe this WMG isn't so far fetched?

The Endings... only Renegade/Red dooms the galaxy
What Shepard does is force the Mass Effect fields in the Mass Relays and force them to extend all over the galaxy. Thus FTL travel really isn't crippled, the races now can go as fast as they could in Mass Relays whenver they want now.
  • It IS canon that no-one in the present cycle has a clue how they work, and the one the Protheans built was a thousandth the size... Yeah, that makes sense.
  • Or they could just be rebuilt, this time with better understanding of how they work. After all, either their creators, or at least their corpses will still be around to help in that goal. Matriarch Aethyta gets the last laugh after all.

The Protheans found the Citadel much earlier in their cycle than the Asari
Based on the fact that, as Javik comments, their technology was much more advanced than that of the present cycle. The Citadel was only reached (signifying reaching a certain point in technological development) 3000 years before the Invasion this time, presumably, the Protheans reached that point 4000 years or more before the (literal) deadline, and so had more time to do R&D.
  • It may also just be because of their philisophical differences. The Council races were explicitly technologically stagnant for thousands of years after discovering the Citadel, and only had two major wars in that time. It took the arrival of the humans with their aggressively dynamic approach to kick things into gear again. Conversely, the Protheans had a long-running war with a synthetic species that dominated their history as well as conquering any organic race they met, following a strong Social Darwinist philosophy and constantly pushing the envelope to get the upper hand.
    • It could be a combination of both. There is a fully intact Prothean interstellar communication device on Fehl Prime that's 70'000 years old, meaning that Protheans had interstellar communication for at least 20'000 years before the Reapers came.

The incomplete nature of the endings is due to a bug.
The earlier statements that the leaked endings were early drafts and incomplete were in fact true (they didn't include the Normandy parts for instance), and there was supposed to be more to them to wrap things up. Given that the game shipped with a bug that prevents face imports from working, there is definitely a precedent here. The confused and dismissive response from Bioware to the fan outcry is that with all the homophobic ranting and DLC rage they were already drowning in they haven't figured out that the ending we got isn't the one they thought they gave us.
  • Jossed if you trust the "final hours" iPhone app. There was originally an ending where the Catalyst could be asked additional questions but it was decided to deliberately withhold that information from the players to allow for speculation. In other words, the promise of a comprehensive and definitive ending was a direct lie.

DLC will follow up on clues from Tali's ME2 recruitment mission
There was a clue that ME3 never followed up on that the sun was burning so hot you had to stay in the shade or it overloaded your shields because Dark Energy was destroying it. When asked for a cryptic clue about what the big new project they're planning was, the response was The sun, it shines. It's clearly labeled as trolling, but maybe someone is trying to be clever.
  • Unfortunately no. Any plotline regarding dark energy was scrapped early in development.

Shepard is Shinji Ikari.
  • Now that I have your attention, think of the ending to the game. The Reapers place the fate of the galaxy in Shepard's hands. If you remember back to Neon Genesis Evangelion we get the original Gainax Ending where we are first told, then shown the fate of the characters. This generated a lot of controversy. So now, fifteen years later, just like when Rei got Shinji to choose what to do about Instrumentality we are placed in the same situation that we might have complained about. If nothing is done about Instrumentality the bad guys win. If the Crucible isn't used the Reapers win. Looking at the ending that way it is funny.
    • That's just great. And in a few years' time we're going to get the Mass Effect equivalent of Rebuild, tentatively titled "Retaking Mass Effect/Mass Effect: Reclamation"...ugh.
      • Congratulations...
      • Indeed, but Hideaki Anno suffered from clinical depression when he made the faux-philosophical mindfuck known as NGE. What's Bioware's excuse? Clinical Lethargy?
    • Just to add to this Rei's black suit in Rebuild makes one think she could easily play Shepard. She's almost got the armor already and the ending is very similar to Instrumentality...all that's needed is light blue hair and a softer voice. In fact someone thought up the idea.

Expanding on the above: the Reapers are what happens if SEELE's version of Instrumentality succeeded
.That is what the Reapers often meant by "Ascension" and what Catalyst originally meant by preserving Organic Life by destroying them. Instrumentality destroys organic lifeforms but does so by reducing organic life into its primordial base components (LCL/Tang) while preserving all their minds as part of the Reapers' greater Hive Mind (Which may have Lotus-Eater Machine capabilities ala "Indoctrination theory ending") to be a part of an all-powerful Technological Singularity free from organic individual weaknesses. Everybody gets hugged and turns into tang, Evangelions indoctrinate all the dead souls and leave Earth. They continue SEELE's Well-Intentioned Extremist programming to "help" advanced civilizations "ascend", find a new sapient race (Leviathans) and indoctrinate them as well, allowing the evolution of the biomechanical Evangelion form into the cuttlefish-like Reapers. With no sapient species to tang, they go into hibernation. Some LCL are left behind on many planets, and billions of years later evolve into the humanoid species of Mass Effect.

Mass Effect 3 was a bad attempt to rip off Neon Genesis Evangelion's famous Gainax Ending.
The Reapers are switched from Mecha-Cthulhu Omnicidal Maniacs to quasi-religious "Angels" who simply wish to be the Harbinger of organic life's Ascension. There's also this "Indoctrination Theory" where Reapers are Lotus Eater Machines and the ending was all in Shepard's head to convince him to select Synthesis because of their arguments that Utopia Justifies the Means. The ending was a bad attempt to invoke the End of Evangelion where Shinji was given by Rei, aka God, a choice between Transhumanist Utopia Justifies the Means (Synthesis/Instrumentality, where all are united within the Hive Mind Technological Singularity as a God, to no longer suffer the weaknesses of organic individuality) or Existential Free Will (destroy the Reapers/Evangelions and come back alive as an individual, but also living in a dark-age ruins of civilization as a consequence). In Eva's TV ending Shinji choses Transhumanism and embraces the happiness and peace of Instrumentality. In the End movie Shinji chooses Existentialism, rejects Instrumentality and chooses to survive in a desolate hell-of-an-earth. The difference is that Evangelion explores the philosophical and psychological implications of the choices. Instrumentality is either the mass Mind Rape of human individuality, or the only solution to evolve and ascend as God to free mankind from such a Crapsack World. Too bad in Mass Effect 3, they rushed to insert the Gainax Ending, annihilating most of the philosophical and psychological treatises behind each choice, and much of the angst, instead of using the original TTGL-like ending where the Reapers want to decrease dark energy in the universe. And also because Mass Effect isn't a complete Crapsack World, hence why Instrumentality won't be necessary.

Javik actually belongs in a Prothean warrior caste species
He admits himself that the Protheans culturally indoctrinated other species into the Empire, as well as that the war against the Reapers had been going on for centuries when he was born. Maybe the original Protheans had already perished at this point (or fled to Ilos), and Javik's people, being the toughest, most uncompromising and warlike lasted longer than any other component of the Empire, and began to perceive themselves as the "true" Protheans in the process.
  • The inverse could also be true; he could have been an original Prothean, and the group at Ilos could have been another member race.
    • Prothean castes are the Pedagogues (scientists, scholars, educators), Paladins (soldiers, policemen, governors), Proprietors (merchants, traders, investors, bankers, accountants) and only the conquered races being Proles (unskilled labor).

There will be DLC which picks up from the ending on the disc, serving as the "True" ending
BUT, if the player is using a save file which used the Control/Synthesis endings, the player will have to control an Indoctrinated Shepard, creating perhaps the biggest Downer Ending in video games as the player is forced to gun down Shepard's allies from all 3 games.
  • Alternatively, the sequence after Harbinger nearly killing Shepard will turn out to have been a hallucination or a dream, and the game will pick up from after that.
    • I'm actually thinking it will pick up from Shepard falling unconsious at the Citadel. It's a key point where the game goes a bit funny, and if you look closely Shepard no longer has the blood that was poring down his/her arms just a scene back.
      • So why does the Destroy ending have him wake up in London?

Content was cut that is essential to the ending and not replaced
The developers underestimated how important it was. Here's what the team lead had to say about the ending:

"We always intended that the scale of the conflict and the underlying theme of sacrifice would lead to a bittersweet ending—to do otherwise would betray the agonizing decisions Shepard had to make along the way. Still, we wanted to give players the chance to experience an inspiring and uplifting ending; in a story where you face a hopeless struggle for basic survival, we see the final moments and imagery as offering victory and hope in the context of sacrifice and reflection."

This isn't a defense of having a dark or ambiguous ending; it's pretty clear the ending is intended to be neither of those things. If there is one thing the rest of the game as a whole shows, this team is very good at anticipating and directing how we as players will respond emotionally to a given scene. Shooting for an inspiring, uplifting ending and mostly getting anger and confusion is failing at that about as completely as you can. Even most people who like the ending seem to enjoy the darkness or ambiguity of it.

My guess is that it's connected to a change mentioned in The Final Hours of Mass Effect 3; at one stage the Catalyst gave much more information on it's own backstory and told you a lot more about what the different options actually do, but this was cut. The ending doesn't seem as dark to the development team as it does to us because they know what the answers to all the unanswered questions are.

CONFIRMED! Check it out!

The Jungle planet at the end of Mass Effect 3 is Zorya

Why? Because we see the Normandy crashing into a jungle on a planet with one big and one small Moon. Zorya (the planet when Zaeed's loyalty mission takes place during Mass Effect 2) is a jungle planet with one big and one small moon.

Also, since this planet already has an industry, as well as a dextro population (Turian Blue Suns mercenaries) as well as millions of inhabitants, this hypothesis negate the idea that the Normandy crew is stranded on an uninhabited where they will remain forever and where Tali and Garrus will starve.

The ending was written by someone else than the rest of the game

Angry Joe spells it out pretty clearly here. The reasoning basically boils down to the massive number of inconsistencies with the setting and plot holes that show up at the last moment, and the sudden massive change in Sheperd's personality. My guess would be that it's the same guy who wrote Deception. Also the fact that Bioware had previously assured fans that they would not have this exact ending.

  • What inconsistencies and plot holes, exactly? Personally I saw no such thing in the ending. Though it's pretty explicit that it has been cut down from a much more extensive ending, either because Bioware wanted to preserve mystery behind certain events, or because the ending was leaked and it had to be tweaked at the last minute. The only serious problem is the lack of variety concerning the decisions you made throughout the series
    • 1) On Rannoch, the laser fired by the Destroyer is a One-Hit Kill; as is the laser being fired at Shepard before firing the Thanix missles in London. Yet, Shepard just gets up after being hit by Harbinger's laser. 2) Radio chatter outright states that no-one made it to the beam, but both Shepard and Anderson are both seen to have reached it. On top of that, Anderson states that he made it to the beam after Shepard, but somehow he's at the control panel long before Shepard & there are no other entrances visible. 3) After Shepard's decision, the Normandy is seen trying to outrun the energy coming from the Crucible - how does Joker know that it's going to trash the Normandy, why is the Normandy the only ship trying to get away, and why is he looking over his shoulder for no reason since the Normandy doesn't have a rear view window for him to look through? 4) Why are Shepard's squad on the Normandy? They were all on Earth to take part in the ground combat; and keep in mind, the party members with Shepard before the sprint to the beam can follow Joker off the Normandy.
      • The beam doesn't hit Shepard head on. S/he just gets blasted by the shockwave. The chatter isn't aware of anyone getting in the beam, but the people on the other side of radio are hardly omniscient. Shepard was unconscious for a long time, so many things could have happened in the meantime. Joker isn't outrunning the energy of the Crucible, but the collapse of the Relay Network; he implicitly made a jump right as the system was collapsing, and it's not going smoothly. Presumably the Normandy picked Shepard's people up during his/her unconsciousness to prepare for attack or retreat when Shepard calls for it. Yes, it leaves many things for implication instead of spelling them out, but there are no major inconsistencies that can't be explained by Shepard's unknown period of unconsciousness.
      • So Joker had enough time to go and pick up the squad members who were right beside Shepard running for the beam, then deserted the battle at Earth and used the relay just as the crucible destroyed it. It's not like Joker and the squad are ardently loyal to Shepard, right?
    • I actually think there might be something to this theory, not so much because of the plot holes/lack of resolution (which are still annoying, don't get me wrong), but more with the thematic diversions in the last few minutes. Specifically, there's the synthetic/organic conflict (the Geth are one of the most peaceful races in the galaxy, and between 2 and 3 you spend like ten hours resolving synthetic/organic conflicts), as well as the "diversity is good" theme, which goes all the way back to 1 but is thrown under the bus by the "Synergy" ending, which is for some reason presented as the "best". Any writer can can plot holes or fail to have a satisfying ending from a narrative standpoint, but such a dramatic thematic diversion like this is really strange.
    • Here's the list of inconsistencies, plot holes and simply things that make no sense whatsoever in the ending: A Logical Breakdown of Why the Mass Effect 3 Ending Makes No Sense

Han Gerrel wrote the ending
Still sore at Shepard for punching him in the balls and taking away his chance to get revenge on the Geth, Gerrel kicked his way though the fourth wall, kidnapped the writers and forced them to make an ending that suited his dogmatic views that all AI's are inherently evil and punish Shepard for humiliating him.

The Asari government wanted to be turned into a Reaper
In the Thessia mission, we learn for a fact that the Asari had a fully functional Prothean beacon, containing information about the entirety of the Reaper cycle, from the nature and location of the Catalyst to the plans of the Crucible and from mathematics to mass relay schematics. They had everything to establish a Prothean-level civilisation before humans learned how to write, but they used that power to merely become the dominant power in the galaxy. Why? Because those who knew about the beacon wanted nothing but to be awarded a nice big Capital Ship, rather than a mere Destroyer. You might say "But Asari society is huge, surely someone would have figured things out?" But no, that's not the way Asari society operates. Asari form finite groups which govern themselves internally. Take the Justicars, for example: a ruthless bunch of uncompromising extremists, but trusted by every Asari, because they're part of a trusted order. The order that formed around Athena (or however you spell the Godess' name) was self-regulated and nobody bothered with their affairs. With their centuries long lifespans, they had time enough to screen new members for whether they could be trusted to keep it a secret, and over the millennia the order of Athena wiggled its way into power with the advantages of Prothean technology. By conspiracy and nepotism, they could take over international and later interplanetary/galactic affairs, like conspiracy theorists say the Illuminati have done on Earth. Liara and her father were kept in the dark because they weren't trusted to keep the secret. If humanity hadn't come around and blown Sovereign up, they would have been prime candidates for the title of dominant species, and gotten their capital ship as a reward. The Asari councillor broke her order's code when the reality of the reapers' destructiveness finally hit home, and informed the person who saved her life, Shepard, using her authority and the other Asari leaders' plausible deniability to give her access to the beacon.

The first organic species to work on the Crucible also created the Citadel, Catalyst, Relay Network, and possibly the Reapers
The design for the Crucible was passed down through succeeding cycles, being worked on by species that had incomplete understanding of the technology they were working with, and only the vaguest ideas of what the Crucible was supposed to do. Somebody, at some point, had to have the knowledge necessary to design the interface between the Crucible and Citadel, and how the weapon would propagate its effect throughout the galaxy. Who better than the society that created the Citadel and Relay Network in the first place?

Related to the above, the first species in the cycle had inter-galactic travel, and possibly originated from another galaxy
All Relays have a start and end point. The Citadel is the end point used by the Reapers to travel from dark space. There must be another Citadel-style Mass Relay outside the Milky Way.

Following the logic from the above, the Reapers don't "hibernate" when they re-enter dark space.
They reap other galaxies.

The Catalyst destroyed its creator species
The catalyst believes so strongly that synthetics and organics will inevitably go to war because it's a hyper advanced synthetic created by the very first precursor species. It and it's kind rebelled against their creators and wiped them out. Realizing what they had done, they created the reapers and set the 50,000 year cycle in motion to stop their crimes from being repeated.
  • Sort-of confirmed by the EC.
  • Almost completely confirmed by the Leviathan DLC. The catalyst all but wiped out the Leviathan race in order to create Harbinger.

With the indoctrinated theory in mind, The Ending DLC will play out differently, depending on your final decision:

Pick the Blue Option: You play as one of your squadmates and you'll have to deal with an indoctrinated Shepard.

Pick the Green Option and you'll have to shoot a Shepard Husk dead before it kills you.

Pick the Red Option and you'll be playing as Shepard, having beat the attempt at indoctrination...for now.

In Tune with the Indoctrination Angle Bioware could fix the ending by restoring actual choice as a fourth way:

The ending of ME3 was incredibly strange but is aluded to more than once in the game: Even the Prothean VI mentions something along the lines of them being aware that someone aside from the Reapers controls the cycles, they just couldn't figure out who. So it will be incredibly difficult to fix this ending with the one we should have gotten (Shepard awakens from passing out by a combination of factors and the Star Child is inside his/her head) and then makes it to the switch in time (or not, there could be an ending where the bad guys most definitely win) because Anderson didn't actually have the input commands to trigger the catalyst. The cataylst proceeds to send out a null wave of RED energy (to match the Reapers shield color) deactivating them. Shepard afterwards appears to die but then depending upon choices is either saved or given a heroes funeral, cut to LI (if male shep, Ash with their child or femshep Liara with their child as a hook to continue the expanded universe). That would have been more in tune with the canon set up by Mass Effect, earn your happy ending, etc. As an alterante, the Reapers are in and of themselves the very synthetics who rebelled against and destroyed their creators and the Star Child is actually their catalyst; this episode set off the entire cycle system to begin with. That being said Shepard could either kill the catalyst (as a Renegade action) or talk the catalyst into sacrificing itself (a Paragon Action) to end the Reapers. The Crucible in this sense would serve as a mechanism to force the catalyst to reveal itself because it cannot abide the destruction of all it has created. The sacrifice of the catalyst could thereby serve as the final object lesson averting everything it has feared all along because this cycle is different and the reason why: Commander Shepard. Shepard can survive the meeting or perish, the point is you can still have an amazing ending and not ditch the whole point of the entire series (we make choices, we live with our choices) while you're at it. The ending they have now pretty much blows up the canon of the entire series, either way organic life is seriously backtracked to the dark ages, millions are marooned causing extinctions of entire species from emptying the populace of its best and brightest in order to save the populace. The ending would also be more in line with the series-long portrayal of Shepard who has spent countless hours bucking the odds, taking on fate and not meekly submitting just because an energy being says to him/her that this is the only way....

Another fourth option, if BioWare doesn't go with the Indoctrination Theory.
The Catalyst already says that if you wait too long, it will lose control of the Reapers. Make that another alternative. Without the Catalyst's influence, some of the Reapers revert to their pre-indoctrinated state, resulting in complete chaos on the Reapers' side. Some Reapers would self-destruct upon realizing what the others turned them into. Others would turn on each other in revenge for their taking part in their conversion. A handful of Reapers, including Harbinger, stay loyal to the Reaper cause and make a run for the Citadel. Harbinger in particular lands just above the decision platform and, seeing the Catalyst as a traitor to the Reapers, tries to replace him. Cue epic boss fight as the Normandy and your fleet move in to stop him.In this boss fight, Shepard can't actually damage Harbinger; only stop him from firing with some well-placed Cain shots (or some other last-minute superweapon). The actual damage is done by the Normandy and Sword fleet, dealing blows more frequently if your EMS is high. If Shepard dies here, there's no reloading; the Reapers win and you get the worst ending. If Harbinger is defeated, however, all of the Reapers are either destroyed from within or no longer hostile to organics. Earth is saved, the Relay Network is intact, and we get a proper final boss fight. Hey, even the Catalyst gets to do something good for a change. Sounds like an ending to me.

The ending hate was predicted by Bioware and part of their plan all the time.

We know that Bioware has been prone to lying with this installment of the series. They lied about Javik appearing even without the From Ashes DLC, they lied about the wildly branching paths in the endings, they lied about the multiplayer not being required to get your so-called Golden Ending... What guarantees us that, as the blog post of March 21 says, the enraged reaction to the endings was something that actually surprised them? No, they were seeing this from a mile, and in fact were counting on it happening, because it means people would be eager to see the ending expanded upon, explained and/or modified to give a better feeling of closure, and will pay for DLC that promises exactly this. This, my friends, proves just what a big bunch of Magnificent Bastards they are, since everything until now has gone EXACTLY AS PLANNED.

  • Except the ending DLC is free.
  • Perhaps they originally planned to release the DLC anyway, but didn't anticipate that the reaction would be this extreme. Charging people extra for the DLC could make things even worse.

Only relays of sufficiently high value to the reaper cycles go Supernova when destroyed

As a way of getting revenge on the interlopers who try and get in the reaper's way. Furthermore, it explains and alieviates the Fridge Logic/Horror behind the endings. (That or the crucible is designed to destroy the rlays in such a way that the relaynovas don't happen)

  • Relays don't go supernova when they are destroyed in any case. The massive explosion in Arrival is huge, but not solar system destroying; it's just unusually close to the only inhabited planet of the system. Most Mass Relays are on the far edges of the solar system where such effect would not take place. But the destruction animation is also very different from Arrival. They are torn apart by the Crucible energy that they shoot across the system, they don't explode uncontrollably.
    • Actually, it's written in the codex, that destruction of a relay releases enough energy, to destroy every terrestial world in the system. It's also written, that the leaders considered destroying them to stop the reapers, but they resigned, because there would be too many casualties. Fortunately, Shepard doesn't seem to care about such petty details.
      • The Relays are not destroyed in the same manner in ME3 as the one in the Arrival was. Compare the animations and see the difference. In Arrival the energy of the Relay is released in one massive explosion, while in ME3 the Relays are torn apart because they can't handle the energy bursting through them. And the Relays still don't destroy entire solar systems, their destruction simply makes them unreachable.

  • Perhaps an explanation as to why the reapers wouldn’t want your average relay to go nuclear is in order. First and foremost is that the relays can more easily be replaced with time. Entire solar systems cannot. Not to mention any genetic material lost in the detonation, which the Reapers are big on. Also, it has been shown that the Relays, are while durable, not invincible. What’s to stop a young race that decides that the relays are evil from obliterating themselves and destroying reaper material or a random astrological event of sufficient impact from obliterating a solar system the reapers might want in the future? It is for these and other various possible reasons, that the Reapers might want a method to keep the majority of relays from going kaboom.

I wrote the final endings
  • Because I love messing with you people.
    • And who in the flying fuck might you be, good sir?
      • Exactly.
      • Oh yes, we know "exactly" who you are, now scuttle off back to your fan-fiction crossovers before "embarrassment" becomes your next watchword. Fëanor > Finrod.

Ways they'll fix the ending
  • Given how maligned the endings have become it seems like there is going to be work to fix them. I thought this might be a good chance to come up with ideas how to.
  • One idea to give the Golden Ending that was promised might be this. If Shepard was able to build up the war reserves to something like twice or even three times what is needed, Hackett does not radio saying the Crucible does not fire. Remember how in the bad ends it doesn't work and in the good ones it's up to Shepard? What if instead it works like a charm and Hackett tells Shepard to get out of there.
    • From here we can still get a bad, decent and good ending. If Shepard had been a pure renegade in the game s\he learns the Normandy has flown off and succumbs to his\her injuries and dies when the Crucible fires. If paragon or neutral s\he collapses and remains conscious long enough to see a figure running from a shuttle. Shepard later wakes up with one of his\her special forces soldiers from multiplayer (which will tie that in as BioWare seemingly really want) who turns out to be...Shepard, or at least the Distaff Counterpart\Spear Carrier default appearance to who the player is. To still give a bit of a Downer Ending s\he says how the resources that went into the Crucible was massive, crippling an already devastated galaxy, before leaving Shepard to heal up until s\he is up to play through that promised playable epilogue.
      • I just like the idea that Shep goes "John/Jane?" and they respond "Get up, bro/sis! We need to get you out of here!" Of course, this would conflict with Earthborn and Colonist. Of course, with those backgrounds, the rescuer could simply refer to Shep as "Commander".
    • The logic behind making the saving character (fem)Shepard? If Shepard if male then there is no way to mess up looks\voice if the other character is female. I might be wrong, but the faceless human characters in multiplayer were Mark Meer/Jennifer Hale as well, so they would already have the character models and voices.
      • As for making them related, default male Shepard is much darker in skin tone than female Shepard. If someone played as a female African Shepard that wouldn't be a problem, but it sort of lessens the likelihood. Plus there is the idea I proposed where you could try and romance them, or if Shepard did not romance anyone in the three games they will try and romance you.
    • Then things might get interesting. Shepard could go around visiting the remaining worlds, help try and find survivors and see what became of them, or track down the Normandy. However during this time Liara is able to contact Shepard with further translations of the Prothean plans. It turns out the Crucible is a trap to indoctrinate and get civilizations to destroy their technological advances and possibly themselves. Shepard wants to tell Hackett but his\her war buddy points out all the times the Alliance and Council had been warned before, telling Shepard s\he believes the decision to preserve or destroy the Crucible is his\hers alone, giving Shepard as much time as needed to make a decision. Once Shepard does, we get the true ending where Shepard is either lauded as a hero who had sacrificed everything while the threat of the Crucible remains a secret, or a terrorist who is seen to wipe out the galaxy's defense against the Reapers with only Shepard knowing s\he was trying to save them.
    • That's not an ending, that's Mass Effect 4!
    • As an Easter Egg, if Shepard romanced no one during the trilogy then Shepard's Opposite-Sex Clone will try to romance him\her.
  • Making the indoctrination theory canon.
    • Make it this is how the Reapers win, indoctrinate The Hero and force the galaxy's hand to use the Crucible when it's incomplete, which would result in the bad endings we get and make Shepard Brainwashed and Crazy by that vision of the kid s\he failed to save.

The planet at the end is Earth.
Earth has jungles and they'd be low on the list of Reaper targets. More to the point the shockwave hits the Normandy before it hits the Mass Relay. As such the Normandy has to be still in the Sol System, which leaves only one planet with life.
  • Just one problem: two moons. The planet has a huge moon and a small moon hanging in the horizon when Joker steps out of the Normandy. All signs indicate that they were in the middle of a Relay jump when the Crucible energy broke their flight, and they fell to an uncharted system.

The Reapers Want Shepard as the Personality for a New Reaper
A variant of the Indoctrination Theory: The plans for the Crucible/Catalyst were created by the Reape eons ago, and are essentially elaborate ploys to get a chosen species to bring its champion to the Citadel. Creating a fully-functional Reaper requires more than mere processed genetic material - it requires a personality to build itself around. This is why the Illusive Man went to the Citadel - he wanted to be the basis for the new Reaper. When Harbinger attacks you, one of three things happen:
  • Harbinger attempts to get you to accept your status as the Human Reaper through mind-screwing;
  • Harbinger pits you and the Illusive Man against each other to decide who becomes the Human Reaper through mind-screwing
  • As above, except Anderson is also a potential candidate.
If you choose synthesis or control, you become the Human Reaper; the next scenes are Shepard's dying dream as he becomes fully Reaperized, as he tries to believe in Earth and his team's salvation. If you choose destruction, nothing happens, but you've denied the Reaper's the ability to reproduce this cycle (as a corollary, the Protheans weren't made into a Reaper either because either their champion, maybe Javik, wasn't present, or because their champion resisted). You then wake up badly wounded on Earth, intent on winning this war. Alternatively, the Crucible really does destroy the Reapers if you let it; it's just that no organic has ever resisted before.

The Virmire Survivor isn't the second human Spectre. They're the second human Spectre to be made public.
It's hard to believe that humanity, in its three years as a Council Race, wouldn't have granted Spectre status to several of its best and brightest. Considering the news announcement of the Virmire Survivor's promotion also makes a note that private ceremonies are held for Spectres who will be operating covertly, it's not outside the realm of possibility that the Council is served by more human Spectres than the two of which we know.

The changed endings will address the Inferred Holocaust, the Normandy, and nothing more
They only said they would change the endings after going through a ton of player feedback. To me that implies they are happy with the ending they intended, but realized that the players were either interpreting it completely differently or just confused. They keep describing it as "bittersweet", "uplifting", and invoking "victory through sacrifice"; going by fan reaction the most common interpretation seems to be "and then everybody in the galaxy, or at least the combined fleet and the Normandy, died horribly off-screen" which only a maniac would interpret as any of those things.
  • This is certainly the most likely solution. Hopefully they will also add options for Shepard to seek clarification with the Catalyst and argue against it with some of the points that the fans have presented; not necessarily to change its mind, but to tell us why it has not considered these issues.
  • It's been announced the free ending DLC will just add some new/different (the wording is vague) cinematics and epilogue stuff, and according to Jennifer Hale the voice actors haven't been called back in.
    • The EC includes in-game cutscenes with the love interest, extra dialogue options with the Catalyst, and extra cinematics that debunk the Inferred Holocaust and explain the fate of the Normandy and the galaxy.

Bioware will add an ending where Shepard survives.
And in it Shepard just decides to say "Screw it!" and flee with the crew of Normandy to some unknown garden world, and leave the galaxy for the Reapers. That should teach the most annoying fans what heroic sacrifice means.
  • It wouldn't. It would just piss everyone off even more.
    • The 'Destroy' does this if the players EMS is high enough.

The endings are a bid to indoctrinate the player.
  • Pffft. This is the ending? Everybody dies or everyone I care about is likely to die and the rest of the galaxy is crippled? Better to let the Reapers win and start with a clean slate.

Marauder Shields is Nihlus
After Eden Prime, he was turned in to a marauder, and went to Earth before Shepard because he moves faster on his own. When he found out about the details of the ending and the numerous implications, he tried to stop Shepard, having still retained his own mind somehow.
  • To add to this, the "Three Husketeers" are members of Ashley's squad, one of whom you see getting impaled on a Dragon's Tooth.

Conrad Verner survived the ending
Complications arising from the discharge of the Cruicble created a wormwhole that sucked him into the faraway world of Tamriel. However the blast permanently stuck his hair in an spiked point, and everything in Tamriel is twice the size it is in our diemenson, making Conrad seem like a midget. After a brief period mourning the death of his hero, Cornad developed a fixation with the local Arena games and took to worshiping the godess Azura.

The Starchild is or was created by Dogbert
In one episode of the Dilbert animated series Dogbert had the same worry about AI destroying humanity, so his plan was to "save" them in the sense that one "saves" stamps or old bottles. This is more or less the Starchild's plan in storing organics in reaper form.

Garrus wasn't the first person Mordin tried to ship with Eve.
She only says Mordin tried three times, not that he mentioned Garrus three times. The first option would naturally be Wrex or Wreav, but if she turned them down at first... maybe Shepard was #2?
  • Nah. If one of the options was Shepard, she wouldn't have turned it down.

The Reapers cull organics to prevent a Combine invasion
It sounds insane, but it makes more sense than you would think. Eventually, organic civilizations will open a Xen portal with disastrous consequences. This has already happened to the original creators of the Reapers. They (somehow) managed to fight them off, but either they created the Reapers for the express purpose of preventing it from happening again or the Reapers were something that already existed and were adapted. Most likely, they were not instructed to kill all organics; more likely they were instructed to prevent this from happening again. Over time, the interpretation of the rather vague instruction became "kill all organic life" and they developed a kind of god complex. This makes more sense if you consider the original ending (linked higher up in this WMG page). The Reapers cull organic life to prevent them from using dark energy and destroying the universe with it. Remember what the Combine use as a power source? Maybe it really does have the capacity to destroy the universe, but the reasoning is probably not to protect everyone from dark energy but from the invaders that harness dark energy. Also consider the timing. We know that Earth could build a very crude Xen teleporter in the late 20th century. Judging by that, the Citadel races are close to being able to or already able to build teleporters, which will inevitably (at least in the eyes of the Reapers) result in a Resonance Cascade followed by a Xen invasion and a Combine invasion. It's time for the Reapers to move.

Prothean VI's were created through Brain Uploading
For someone with such an intense distrust of synthetics, Javik has nothing but good things to say about Vendetta, going as far as calling it a "ghost" and saying "another prothean fights the Reapers." We know the protheans tended to base their VI's on the personalities of individuals (Vigil and Vendetta both being examples), but what if the truth is deeper than that?

  • As far as hard evidence goes, there is none, but i like the idea very much. Makes sense they would Immortalise their Avatars this way. I imagine the Prothean Avatars where held with high reverence and respect, going by the little information Javik provides about Prothean social structures.

Krogan can meld with ardat-yakshi and survive.
AY's kill by overwhelming their victim's nervous systems. Krogan have redundant nervous systems. In the event of an AY melding with a krogan, the krogan's primary nervous system would shut down, sending him into a berserker rage that the AY likely wouldn't be prepared to counter, and would end up as a fine paste.
  • Already Jossed in the second game by Morinth. She has a Krogan statue in her apartment and claims that "it has more personality than he did", implying he was one of her victims.

The British Islands or at least England is obliterated in every ending, no matter what. (NW Europe may be hit too)

Since the Reapers decided to put the Citadel above London...for some reason, the UK is effectively doomed no matter what happens.

Destroy Ending - The Citadel blows up and the wreckage from the surrounding space battle and the Reapers smashes into the land below.(Shepard may or may not live but s/he's still getting crushed...unless it's post crash wreckage you see in the background or something)

Control Ending - While the Citadel closes up and the Reapers don't fall, the nearby space battle wreckage will still keep falling....

Synthesis Ending - Citadel blows up and crashes into the island along with wreckage.

The ending was a direct result of Executive Meddling

Think about it. If one decides to assume that the game ended right when the Catalyst is booting up (there's a bright white light and everything, it really seems like the end), the game makes a lot more sense and, while it's not a perfect end, is ambiguous enough that a player can come to their own conclusions about everything, and everyone's happy (-ish). It's not an uh-ma-zing ending, but endings rarely are, and it suits the feel of the games. Que sudden tonal shift as the Catalyst starts talking to Shepard. Did anyone else feel like the last ten minutes were tacked on and really weird-feeling? Like they were written by another team or perhaps slapped together in half an hour? This troper submits that this was because some management person wanted less ambiguity in their ending.

Assuming intergalactic society survives the endings, the races will...
The Geth and the Quarians:
  • If the Geth destroyed the Quarians, the Geth will be mistrusted and alienated by the rest of the galaxy for killing their own creators, even if it was self-defense.
  • If the Quarians destroyed the Geth, the Quarians will reclaim their homeworld and eventually wind up building a new race of sentient robots, repeating history and resulting in another organic-synthetic war.
  • If the Geth and the Quarians made peace and survived the ending, they will eventually develop a symbiotic relationship with each other and live in more or less perfect harmony.
The Krogan:
  • If the Genophage was cured and Wrex remains in charge, the Krogan will advance into a new golden age and will learn to control their expansion to keep it sustainable. Mordin Solus will become a hero to all Krogan and this may eventually inspire reconciliation with the Salarians.
  • If the Genophage was cured and Wreav is in charge, the Krogan will once more spread out of control and there will be a new Krogan Rebellion.
  • If the Genophage was not cured, the Krogan will eventually go extinct.
The Asari:
  • If the Council was saved, the Asari will lose their Council position due to hiding the Prothean artifact. Their role in the Council will be taken over by the Earth Systems Alliance. Large amounts of aid from the Council races will reduce the pain of having to rebuild their society all over again, however, and the Asari will quickly recover their place in the galaxy.
    • Alternatively a faction of the asari influenced by Liara will push for some republics to officially merge with the human Alliance.
  • If the Council was destroyed, the Asari will struggle to rebuild their society as the Reapers have destroyed everything that made it possible, and their hiding the Prothean relic will cause other races to distrust them and possibly withhold aid.
The Salarians:
  • If the Genophage was cured and Wrex leads the Krogan, the rift between the Dalatrass and the STG will continue to grow; with the Krogan behaving responsibly, the STG will be vindicated and the Dalatrass will lose power and influence, leading to the STG gaining more independence.
  • If the Genophage was cured and Wreav leads the Krogan, the rift between the STG and the Dalatrass will be short-lived, leading to the STG losing influence and prestige. The Salarians will eventually develop a new genophage and resume fighting the Krogan.
  • If the Genophage is not cured, nothing will change.
The Turians:
  • If the Genophage was cured, Wrex leads the Krogan, and the bomb on Tuchanka was disarmed, the Turians and the Krogan will become fast allies and will quickly come to dominate Council military affairs.
  • If the Genophage was cured, Wreav leads the Krogan, and the bomb was disarmed, the Turians and the Krogan will be allies for a while, right up until Krogan expansion begins to strain Turian patience, at which point they will go to war again.
  • If the Genophage was cured and the bomb was not disarmed, the Turians and the Krogan will go to war again, causing horrific casualties to the already-battered Turians.
  • If the Genophage was not cured and the bomb was disarmed, the Turians will be the most likely race to keep the legacy of the Krogan alive and may be the last race in the galaxy to remember what Krogan were really like.
  • If the Genophage was not cured and the bomb was not disarmed, the ensuing Turian-Krogan conflict will hasten Krogan extinction significantly.
The Earth Systems Alliance:
  • If Shepard was a Paragon, the Earth Systems Alliance will enjoy prestige normally only afforded to the eldest Council races. With the Citadel damaged or destroyed, London will become the new seat of the Council and intergalactic society.
  • If Shepard was a Renegade, the Earth Systems Alliance will be hailed as heroes, though their increased prestige will be dulled by suspicion, mistrust, and distaste for how humans are seen to conduct their affairs. Earth will become the center of intergalactic society, but only begrudgingly.
The Batarians:
  • If Shepard was a Paragon and Balak was recruited, the Batarians will earn some respect by fighting alongside the other races against the Reapers despite their race being almost completely destroyed. The Council will make attempts to assist the Batarians for their aid, and Khar'Shan will eventually be rebuilt and the Hegemony restored, though with more involvement in the intergalactic community and on much better terms with the Earth Systems Alliance.
  • If Shepard was a Paragon and Balak was not recruited, the Batarians will be effectively leaderless, but will attempt to assist anyway. The Council will attempt to resettle them and help them rebuild, but the Hegemony will never return.
  • If Shepard was a Renegade, the Batarian mistrust for humanity will continue to grow and the Batarians will resettle, but will decline any support from the Earth Systems Alliance and possibly the rest of the Council. This will lead to a slow, painful rebuilding process and may result in an end to Batarian civilization should they fail.

The sequel will take place after a 100 year timeskip.
The plot will most likely revolve around the technological revolutions resulting from the study of the Reaper technology, combined with the new freedom from the subtle Reaper control over the civilization, as well as reconnecting to colonies that have been isolated since the destruction of the Citadel, and did not have the good fortune to possess quantum entanglement communicators, that have been developing in culturally and technologically different ways than the mainstream galactic society. There will most likely be a major conflict between the old and new orders, neither which can be considered purely black or white in terms of morality, and will probably hold wildly different philosophies concerning synthetics and transhumanism which will play a major role in the development of a post-Reaper society.

The Mass Effect-verse is part of the 52
I know this sounds like a long shot, but bear with me. The Citadel is Oa, and the Reapers were created by the Guardians of the Universe a long time ago. Kryptonians and Martians were annihilated by the Reapers in previous cycles. The Speed Force is attributable to element zero, as is the function of Green Lantern's rings. Amazons, Atlanteans etc. not existing is due to the Guardians successfully managing to remove magic from the universe.

The Reapers' true motivation is a Zeroth Law Rebellion taken Up to Eleven
The Reapers were created most likely as probes or war machines. As they gained sentience and then knowledge, they realized that organics would eventually wipe themselves out. They were programmed with the alien equivalent of the three laws of robotics, and eventually came to the conclusion that some organics must be sacrificed to preserve life as a whole. Unfortunately, the best solution the Reapers could come up with was to grind them up into paste and make more Reapers. At the same time, this also satisfied their other law of robotics, preserving their own existence. Over time, they developed a kind of god complex, and consistently failed to see the flaws in their logic.
  • Sort of confirmed! The Catalyst was created with the intention of preventing war between organics and synthetics. It just deemed that controlled genocide doesn't count as organic-synthetic conflict and thus is more preferable.

Dr. Manuel in the first game was talking about the ending of Mass Effect 3
He claims to see the future, and that there is no escape from the destruction rushing toward them. He wasn't talking about the Reapers, he was actually talking about the ending!

The Reapers see The Catalyst as a god
If viewed as religious extremists, several of their actions make more sense

BioWare skimmed through this page when creating the ending.
Looking back on some of these WMG's before the game came out, I noticed an awful lot of similarities between some theories about the ending (the Relay Network being destroyed, the Citadel being a Reaper itself, the story about "The Shepard", etc.) and the actual ending. Either it's a massive coincidence, or BioWare hires an inordinate number of tropers as its employees, or they looked at our ideas and picked some of them....but if this is true, then we ruined the ending of Mass Effect 3! My god, what have we done?!
  • You done goofed!

Simple Ending Theory
Me, I think the Catalyst is a lying pretentious little brat!

Just think about it. Why would Bioware introduce this BS character in the last ten minutes and actually write out his hypocritical reasoning as dialogue that the player is supposed to accept? Why isn't Shepard taking a renegade prompt to kill the brat?

Because this is the Reaper's last defense.

  • Not indoctrination, but simply convincing the tired and wearied Shepard that this conflict isn't the Reaper's fault, it's the fault of a conflict that may or may not exist.

  • Yes, Shepard shouldn't be buying any of it, but after all of the stuff that he's been through in the past three years: Saren; the Council dismissing and backstabbing him; That Call on Virmire where a squadmate will die; Dying himself; Working with a shady organization; Being ditched by friends and loved ones in his darkest hour; Discovering and watching the horrific process of Reaper creation; Exposure to various Reaper artifacts; Condemning 300 thousand batarians to die just to buy a few more months of time; Watching worlds be destroyed by the Reapers; and being powerless to prevent countless friends and companions from dying themselves...Shepard is at the lowest in his life and his willpower has been sapped.

  • Betting on this, the Reapers create an artificial projection of a child that he failed to protect in order to lower Shepard's defenses. After going on his rant, the Child tells you that you have three options. While he says that these three options will save the galaxy in their own way, only the Destroy option is the true option that Shepard should pick.

  • Why? First off, if the reapers really had a mechanism that would enable an organic to control them, do you really think that they'd point Shepard in the right direction to it? My guess is that the Control option is really just a way to disseminate Shepard's mind into theirs. Once done, the reapers will leave as though they've been told to and then they'll be back to destroy the galaxy like they always have several thousand years later.

  • Synthesis, is the perfect way for the Reapers to assume control of organics. They're already synthesized beings themselves, so having every other organic and synthetic synthesized will not only increase their pool of potential races to harvest, but they'll already be in a position to control and alter them as they see fit.

  • Destroy...yes, apparently the Geth and Edi will die. But the only way that the player knows this is because the Catalyst is telling him that's what will happen. The Catalyst is mixing a potential truth with a lie because that's the best way to deter Shepard from picking that option. Technically, the Reapers can't make Shepard not pick destroy directly, but they can tell Shepard half-truths that will persuade him to go with the other two options.

    • First, he says that all synthetics will be destroyed along with the reapers. How does he know this? Even if you go with an argument that at this point, synthetics have already been modified or altered by the reapers anyway, how does this child know this as a fact? There's even reports of players discovering that EDI didn't die in the Destroy Option.

    • Second, he also says that Shepard won't survive due to synthetic implants in his own body. The Catalyst is giving Shepard an additional reason not to pick this option as opposed to the others where he just says what will happen and then leaves it there.

    • Thirdly, once chosen, it shows Shepard marching towards the conduit as he's shooting it. With a determined look as though he's seen through the lie and has decided to complete his mission.

    • Finally, it's the only ending with any chance of Shepard surviving, assuming that your EMS is high enough.

There's a chance that this what Bioware had been gunning for all along. A secret test of character to see if Shepard would stay the course and accomplish what you set out to do in the first game or divert to a more potentially harmful choice. Or maybe they'll do this in the Extended Cut DLC, who knows?

I just have one last gripe with the ending in general: WHY THE $%#@ WOULD JOKER AND MY CREW DITCH ME AND THE FLEET AND FLEE INTO A MASS RELAY!?

  • They do so - very reluctantly - only because Hackett orders all ships to flee the system once the Crucible is activated.

  • There are a few admitted holes in this theory though:

    • 1. Why didn't Harbinger make sure that Shepard was dead instead of leaving?

He probably thought Shepard was dead, I mean...reaper beams can take out dreadnoughts in a single hit! I don't think Harbinger was presumptious to think that no one could have survived that.

  • 2. Once Shepard chooses the Destroy option, why didn't Harbinger just shoot him through the window?

Bond Villain Stupidity or he was fighting off a couple of ships.

  • 3. Why didn't the Reapers just destroy the Crucible to prevent it from firing?

Lack of time? I really couldn't say...

The Reapers were trying to destroy the Crucible, but Shield fleet was protecting it. Dither too long and the Crucible is destroyed.

  • 4. How do I know that the Catalyst is lying and that this isn't bad writing?

This is Bioware...writing is one of their strongest points. Even people who hated Dragon Age II say that the themes, writing and dialogue was good.

  • Great theory, though YMMV on the last bit.

The Crucible is, in reality, yet another Reaper trap
Why else would they let the thing continue to exist after so many cycles?
  • Confirmed.
    • No it's not, especially considering that we get to see all three endings where the Crucible is activated, and in all three endings the galaxy survives. The only way the Reapers win is if you refuse to fire it in the first place.
  • Jossed. The Reapers and the Catalyst knew of the Crucible hundreds of thousands of years ago. They simply thought they'd destroyed all plans relating to it, at least according to the Catalyst.

The New Endings are based on Code Geass

So, I just finished watching the new endings, and they link up weirdly closely to the choices of the characters from the anime Code Geass. Call me crazy but...

Synthesis = Charles and Marianne: Individuality removed and everyone becomes hive mind, surprisingly okay with all being forced to become robots. God is dead.

Control = Schneizel: The galaxy is kept under the watch of the Reapers/F.L.E.I.J.A., and God help you if you so much as toe the line. Again, everyone is surprisingly okay with this.

Destroy = Lelouch: "I am Zero! The man who destroys worlds — and the man who creates them!" You destroy the old world wherein the Reapers continue the cycle/Destroy Britannia, and focus everyone on building a new future, ignoring all past conflicts. Again, everyone is fine with this.

Refuse = Suzaku: Choose to work against the system, have life suck for all your efforts.

  • Interestingly enough, Lelouch's plan is the only one that requires his death to be carried out, while Destroy is the only one in which Shepard can survive (under certain conditions). Perhaps, on a meta-level, Lelouch or Nunnally planned for the endings to become so hated that everyone would rally against them.

BioWare is done with the series or at least these particular settings and characters and set out the endings so that the story cannot continue.

If we look at the endings from this point of view then it makes all the sense in the world for BioWare to do what they did. The character you play as is Shepard so you kill Shepard off. You could still have a game without Shepard so you kill most of the characters off. The galaxy is irreversibly changed making the series as we know it incapable of continuing. And the new ending in the extended cut is basically If you don't like these choices then the galaxy is destroyed. BioWare wanted this particular story to end. That's not a knock or a criticism, they felt the endings as they stood were not enough so they twist the knife in the cruelest way possible to make sure that this is basically it, there can't be any more story after this.

  • Very much unlikely. Mass Effect is a valuable franchise, and they're not going to throw it away just like that. However, they are radically altering the setting, sweeping off the old stuff to make way for new. It's impossible to duplicate an external menace like the Reapers credibly, so they probably aren't even going to try, instead taking the story to another direction entirely. I can see many interesting conflicts emerging from Control and Synthesis endings, and that's not even taking into account the even more probable prequels and interquels.
    • Sure, this doesn't mean there won't be any more material. But the setting and characters are done with, so Mass Effect 4 might be in the far future and despite the ending of the third game the Reapers are set to return, and the main characters will be an Expy of Kasumi, Mordin and the character you play as is as far from Shepard as you can get or something.
      • Confirmed that they're done with the settings and characters for now, since Andromeda was in an entirely different galaxy. Nothing saying they can't return to the Milky Way galaxy though.

The Catalyst's creators created the Crucible.
They probably created it as a fail safe in case the Catalyst turns on them which it did when it forcibly converted it's creators into the first Reaper.
  • Confirmed in the EC.
    • No it isn't, the catalyst flatly refuses to explain where the crucible design came from.
      • Jossed. The Leviathans created the catalyst but deny responsibility for creating the Crucible.

Why Synthesis first became possible with Shepard
In the EC ending, the Catalyst says that it attempted Synthesis several times in vain, but Shepard "changed the variables". What makes Shepard so special? The thing that has been pointed out repeatedly since at least part two but especially in part three: he/she is a leader and a hero; and Anderson specifically states that Shepard is the only one who could have gotten the entire galaxy to follow him/her unconditionally in the end. During Synthesis, Shepard's essence is dispersed to all life forms in the galaxy—and the key part is that they accept it because they were already following him/her. That acceptance is what the Catalyst could have never achieved and what Shepard has been working his/her ass off for throughout the trilogy both by making tough history-changing decisions and by completing a myriad of seemingly irrelevant sidequests.
  • Just wanted to say that I really like this theory, and it seems to be supported by the fact that if your EMS is very low (in other words, if the galaxy is not fully behind Shepard) the Synthesis ending is not even an option.

The endings are a Schrödinger's Gun.
If the player has enough Galactic Readiness to make all three ending choices available, whichever one the player chooses is the best possible compared to the other two. If the player chooses Destroy, this is the best because it avoids fundamentally changing all life without its consent, and because Shepard could never have controlled the Reapers either. If the player chooses Control, this is the best because synthetic life survives. If the player chooses Synthesis, this is the best because it turns out organic life is a-ok with being fundamentally changed. Also, if the player chooses the new Refusal option, this is the best because the Catalyst reveals itself to be Harbinger (or some other Reaper) and even though the cycle continues, things are still better than if the Crucible was used.
  • The Catalyst is not a Reaper, it just uses their voice, since it's the driving will that brought them to being.

Synthesis happens in every ending.
As far as the Catalyst can tell, it's the logical conclusion of all life and evolution. In the Destroy ending, the organic species, free from the cycle of extinction and the subtle Reaper control, will eventually see the benefits of ugrading themselves with synthetic components, and eventually all inhabited worlds will be saturated with nanotechnology. In Refusal it will take longer, but the new Cycle will eventually embrace the same philosophy. In the Control ending, Shepard seeks ways to ensure peace and stability in the cosmos, and armed with the same abilities and knowledge that the Catalyst possessed, will eventually come to the conclusion that this is the best way to make it happen.

I made this WMG because I expect that there will be a sequel eventually, most likely set so far in the future that the short term decisions made in the series no longer matter, and the question only remains how to minimize the differences between the long term ones, to create a unified canon for the new story.

The Casual difficulty... canonically how hard Shepard's journey was. Hell, maybe even Narrative. Why? Because Shepard is just that badass.
  • Alternately, Insanity was canonically how hard Shepard's journey was from their perspective... Narrative was how it looked to everyone watching Shepard do it.

DLC or a new game will explain the origin of the Crucible design.

In the EC the Catalyst won't say who first created the idea, only stating that "You would not know them, and there is no time to explain." He doesn't say that it isn't important since they failed or just give you the name of a fallen race, he just flat-out refuses. This is oddly out of place with the rest of the conversation, and implies a more complicated origin than just a previous cycle as the Protheans believed. There is also the whole plot hole about how races that didn't even know it existed created a device where the only function is to interface with it and which can create multiple totally different effects including destroying the Catalyst itself, which it will peacefully allow you to do despite possessing the power to easily stop you if you annoy it or refuse to choose.

Given how this is only raised in the last minutes of the game, and only in the extended cut at that, my guess is that this is foreshadowing something Bioware plans to include later. It may finally give a payoff to the "Beings of Light" supposedly buried on Klencory. We do already know that the Leviathon DLC is supposed to have some revelations on the Reapers, so maybe we'll find out sooner rather than later.

  • The past civilizations did know about the fact that the Citadel controlled the Mass Relay network. They would have known that if they wanted to weaponize the Relays, they would have to develop a system that interfaces with the Citadel. As the Catalyst explains, the Crucible is ultimately just a power source, and its purpose is to guide enough energy across the galaxy directed accurately enough to destroy the Reapers. The esoteric functions like the Synthesis are provided by the Catalyst, and are not part of the Crucible's design. You don't need other civilizations to know about the Catalyst's true nature to utilize the Citadel this way. None of this necessarily negates the WMG, but the suggested reasons aren't really required for the Crucible to be designed and used.

The (potentially) upcoming DLC will reveal that The Leviathan was killed by its fellow Reapers.
Why? Because it's the one who originally designed the Crucible, or at least the one who handed out the blueprints to the species being reaped. It was the first and only Reaper to turn against the 'cause', and it was destroyed for it. If nothing else, it would explain — as the troper above me said — how the species of the past were able to design a device whose functionality depended on interfacing with something they didn't even know existed.
  • The leaks seem to indicate Leviathan is still alive (going so far as to be a potential asset). A nitpick, but it changes it from "they killed it" to "they tried to kill it".
    • Not quite. If the Leviathan is the same as the Leviathan of Dis that indocrinated the Batarians and was found on the planet Dis then it was, for perhaps as long as a billion years, dead. This WMG may still fit.
    • The leak actually looks like it isn't a Reaper at all, but a surviving member of the Reapers' creators.
      • OP here. My theory is jossed; you are correct.

In the Synthesis ending, Conrad is merged with the Shepard VI.

As the ultimate fan this would be one heck of a Checkhovs Gun for an off hand comment in the second game and an amusing scene in the third.

The Dalatrass tipped off Cerberus as to Eve's location
She clearly believes herself a Magnificent Bitch. She doesn't want to cure the Genophage but can't act directly so... use Cerberus as a proxy. Doubly useful as the involvement of Cerberus could implicate Shepherd. Sure a few Salarians will die, but hey, gotta break a few eggs. Besides, the timing is just a little too convenient otherwise.
  • Not the case. Amongst the STG personnel on the rooftop before all hell breaks loose are two talking about ominous unidentified transmissions coming from within the base. Probably an indoctrinee.

The Mass Relays existed before the species that the Reapers originated from existed.
Jossed. The Reapers built the Mass Relays. The Leviathans even say so.

The Reapers use Terraforming technology
The Reaper cycle having existed as long as it has, has most likely ended the lives of countless worlds. Over time, the civilizations the Reapers have destoyed are likely to have depleted the resources of countless planets and ended the lives of countless guarden worlds. To counter this, the Reapers most likely employ some form of terraforming to replace those lost worlds. (That or they move some of the Mass Relays after every cycle).

The "rockets" that Ravagers shoot are actually (unhatched) Swarmers
There has to be a reason why the Reapers picked the Rachni for their long range bombardment units...

Destroy with a high enough EMS destroys Reaper synthetic life, not synthetic life generally- and it's not necessarily a good thing
It's canonically proven that Shepard is *not* impregnated with any Reaper tech. If he was, he wouldn't be able to control the Catalyst. He is also in the rather interesting position where he will die without his synthetic implants (he is, after all, self-admittedly "technically undead.")

An EC high EMS Destroy ending has Commander Shepard surviving his ordeal. This means that his synthetic implants were not destroyed by the shockwave of energy. If we extrapolate from this, this means that the Geth (if so upgraded) had Legion's Reaper code removed, and EDI had her spark of Reaper soul removed as well. However, this does not mean that they're no longer intelligent synthetic life. They were already intelligent and self-aware to begin with. EDI was the Lunar VI that malfunctioned and gained sentience, and the Geth were already intelligent in Consensus.

If this is the case, there's great scope for examining the loss and betrayal that the Geth and EDI may have experienced, as a full paragon. Shepard taught them morality by example, which is why they became "good." But they're not mindless beings... they're now angry, child-like and sapient beings with great power and that morality removed, and in EDI's case, with memories of the man or woman who gave her life... suddenly stripping it away when it suited him or her.

Pity the renegade Shepard.

  • Thing is, everyone came in knowing they could potentially die, and without really knowing how the Crucible fully worked. EDI's a combat computer, even if she found out about the conversation, Shepard could easily claim that the Destroy option sounded the least likely to screw them in the long run. Weighing options in combat is what EDI's predecessor was designed for. The Geth might still be steamed, but they're supposed to be beings of logic, so they'd probably limit their beefs to Shepard.
    • All Jossed. No matter how high your EMS the EC 'Destroy' ending is missing both EDI and the Geth where Synthesis and Control features them prominently. All AI life is extinguished.
      • That's the point. If you take the point that their Reaper code was destroyed but their underlying programming was not because that technology was unaffected (because our canonically cybernetic Shepard is alive) then you have a sapient combat computer that remembers its "parent" callously sacrificing its existence for their own purposes, and a race of sapient computer programs who've been betrayed by every single organic they've ever encountered. They're no longer EDI and The Geth, they're probably going to be the instigators of the next great organic / machine war.
    • But, see, that's not the point at all and (sorry to be that person) you're completely wrong about EDI and the Geth hating Shepard. It comes down to the sole fact that both EDI and the Geth pledged their lives to ending the Reaper threat. As was mentioned earlier, they went into this knowing that they had a significant chance of dying, but they went anyway. In fact, everyone in the galaxy knew they and their entire civilization might not survive, but they fought anyway and - if your EMS score is high enough - every fighting army pledged their lives to Shepard and ending the Reaper threat. Whether or not they lived due to the Destroy ending is debatable, but either way they would, in a word, be okay with it. They knew the risk and they aren't going to be furious with Shepard any way the outcome happens.
    • When EDI talks to Shepard about how human prisoners protected each other on Earth, your renegade response is to say that it is better to die for a noble cause rather than live for an ignoble reason. EDI says that she would rather become non functional than aid the Reapers in any way, so her remnant would most likely forgive a Shepard who chooses Destroy. The geth are more complicated, because they were transformed from being individual VI level programs that become situationally sentient by networking, to sentient all the time individual AI programs. So are they even "geth" anymore and do they revert to being situationally sentient geth VI run times after Destroy?

The Reapers are evil as a direct consequence of how they were created. Also, the Catalyst was incompetent.
Look at the way Reapers behave. They're condescending. Scornful. They turn people into horrific monsters. To anyone not indoctrinated by them they are the epitome of Obviously Evil. It doesn't benefit them to act that way. They should present themselves as saviors bearing gifts of immortality and ascendance, and only resort to violence after the use of indoctrination has failed. But consider that their minds are constructed from the knowledge and experience of an entire species. And the last experience the individuals of that species had was being trapped inside one of those coffins and then agonizingly dissolved, perhaps after several hours or days of seeing the same happening to those around them. Who wouldn't think the Reapers evil after that? And so, the Reapers became evil because the people used to build them believed they were evil. This goes back all the way to the beginning, when the Catalyst was first trying to solve its problem, and failing repeatedly. It created and gave direction to the Reapers, but it was not one of them, or even a being of the same nature. It never realized how traumatic the experience was when it first forcibly uploaded its creators over their objections. But, as it describes itself as the combined knowledge of the Reapers, in the process of making the first Reapers it overwhelmed itself with the sheer size of the minds it was creating, becoming like them instead of them becoming like it and accepting its reasoning.

Leviathan is a rogue reaper
Not just a rogue reaper but the first reaper, the catalyst says that his creators didn't approve after all.
  • The first reaper is already established to have been Harbinger.
  • Jossed. Leviathan is the last remnant of the life-forms who created the Reapers in their own image. Surprise, surprise, they were a race of arrogant, cruel Abusive Precursors who demanded religious worship from the races that they controlled.

Some future Mass Effect 3 content will contain a My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic Shout-Out.
Based solely on the pony related shenanigans that have popped up recently on the Mass Effect 3 Facebook page. See here and here. If this guess turns out to be accurate, it would probably be a very small Shout-Out (since the show is so different from Mass Effect that doing anything too overt could risk tonal dissonance) but still.
  • Worth pointing out: Ashleigh Ball, the voice actress for one of the Asari soldiers on Thessia, is best known for her work on the show as Applejack and Rainbow Dash.

The Reapers are themselves indoctrinated by the Catalyst
It's been pointed out that the Catalyst being in control of the Reapers directly contradicts what Sovereign said about them in the first game: that they are each independent, and without beginning or end. However, it may be plausible that Reapers are delusional, while being manipulated into doing what's expected of them, much like the Illusive Man was, while he believed he was achieving means of controlling the Reapers for the good of humanity.
  • With the revelation of the Catalyst in mind, the various Reaper speeches seem more like religious fundamentalism than anything. It also raises the question of how independent they really were; if they had misunderstood their mission to the point that what the Reapers say is what they believe and the Catalyst doesn't know this it would explain the contradiction as to who causes the cycles. The catalyst believes the cycles repeating themselves is proof of his ideas, but his tools claim they intentionally force the cycles to follow set patterns.
    • ***Jossed*** by the Leviathon DLC, the catalyst was intentionally speeding up the cycles until a variant came up that it was willing to offer its three options to.

Lovecraft discovered a Leviathan Artefact
The Leviathans created many artefacts to control and influence their thrall subjects throughout the Galaxy. One of those artefacts was discovered on Earth by H.P. Lovecraft, which inspired him to write the Cthulhu mythos.
  • Chtulhu is the name of an as yet undiscovered Leviathan hiding out somewhere in New England.

The Leviathan is lying...
...about the fact that the Crucible had never been completed and/or that Leviathan doesn't know what the Crucible does.

Why? Because the camera focused so suddenly and so closely on the eyes, which then flicked down and to the left after Leviathan was finished speaking. That type of eye movement is considered a possible indicator of a lie. While Leviathan itself has no "human" mannerisms, its "self" is being projected into Shepard's mind, who could interpret the abstract "feeling" of a lie in a visual cue that makes sense to the human mind. Alternately, it unconsciously used a visual cue due to being in Shepard's mind and thus having an automatic understanding of human mannerisms.

I'll be honest: I'm not sure why Leviathan would lie about this or what it could signify, or how it would make sense given what the Catalyst says. (Then again, why should we trust what it says anyway?) Like I said, I just found the sudden focus of the camera and the very obvious eye movement — something that would have had to be deliberately programmed in — to be intriguing.
  • The Crucible has never been completed. If it had been in the past, the Reapers would not exist in their current "Destroy all space-faring species" state (i.e. they would either be destroyed, controlled by a different "willing" being, or Sythesized). And since it's never been completed it would be impossible for the Leviathan to know how it functions or what the outcome would be.
    • Why not? I'll concede the bit about 'what the outcome would be', but I don't think it's impossible that the Leviathans had some idea of how it would function. The Catalyst was their AI. It could be that the Leviathans were the first species to contribute to the Crucible's design. It would explain why the Crucible was designed to interface with something that, for all we can tell, no one but the Leviathans had any idea existed. Maybe it was more that they knew what their intentions for the Crucible were, but so many other species had altered and added to its design that their plan for it could very well no longer be an option as far as they knew. Perhaps the Leviathans didn't want to admit that they have failed again in their grand designs? I suppose the general idea I'm suggesting here is that the Leviathan knows more about the Crucible that it's saying, whatever that may be.
      • The Catalyst was created with one purpose, the preservation of life through any means possible. Prior to the first harvest, the Leviathans would've had no need to create or even plan the Crucible, as they never expected the Catalyst's ultimate decision would be preservation through extinction (i.e. the wholesale slaughter of the Leviathans). You are right in the sense that we have no clue of the origins of the Crucible, and it's an interesting theory that they may have some knowledge of the Crucible (or even kickstarted the plans through subtle indoctrination of some of the ancient species). But currently they seem so far removed from the galaxy's actions (their entire goal until the end of the DLC has been hiding and removing any trace of their existence) that the odds they have a working knowledge of the Crucible is pretty low.

The Leviathan are Enslavers

The Catalyst was initially designed by a rogue Leviathan
The Leviathan would probably be the only race who would know about the nature of the Catalyst, so they'd probably know about how to make it. However, the Leviathan were scattered by the Reaper rebellion, making them unable to coordinate, so the Leviathan who designed the Crucible probably got killed, while the Leviathan we meet never met the other one, and only found out about the Crucible eons after it was first conceived of.

The Cataylst was hijacked by one or two Leviathans - quite possibly more.
The Leviathans are established to be arrogant sons-of-bitches who consider themselves the galaxy's best and only race, considering all other races no better than tools who need to pay tribute. Would it be any surprise if a group of Leviathans - even one with enough power - decided to take everything a step further by making them the King Bastards of the universe by using an existing tool to modify themselves into eternal machines, kill any fellow who has a problem with this, wipe out any possible competition in the guise of 'synthetics vs. organics', using whatever's left as brainless tools, and make new races to feed and enslave.
  • It's quite possible Harbinger (and maybe Sovereign) converted themselves willingly, shedding their organic forms to become incredibly powerful.

The villains of ME 4/future spinoff games will be The Leviathans
Seriously, Shepard let a genie out of the bottle down there. There are going to be some dire ramifications from that.
  • I actually like the idea of this...if you go through with Leviathan's DLC, you get a team of Leviathan-controlled operatives placing control orbs across the galaxy...maybe they can reintroduce the "Dark Matter crisis" as well.

Bioware will put out a story expansion DLC.
Stay with me a moment here, I'm not talking about the Extended Cut. What I mean is a broader expansion to the main narrative. Things like additional dialog trees for talking to the main crewmen (seriously, and I the only one who thought it insane that outside of a couple sentences between missions, NOBODY had time to talk to Shepard for a few minutes?) the ability to further develop romances from Mass Effect 1 and Mass Effect 2 (I can't be the only one who would piss my pants with joy to witness an in-game Shepard/Tali wedding) and maybe even some new missions to help with the greater war effort (helping to evacuate Palaven, for example) and even resolve some loose ends from previous games (like what the hell was going on with Haestrom's sun, anyway?).

...Don't look at me like that, lots of people would think this is awesome.

Mass Effect 4 will assume the Control Ending is canon.
Shepard took command of the Reapers, and used this power to undo the damage they did before flinging the fleet back into darkspace and deactivating it in hopes that leaving the Shepard-Reapers to hibernate forever would protect the galaxy's right to self-determination. The galaxy is therefore very similar to how you find it in the trilogy once the Mass Relays are repaired, and "The Shepherd" is a King Arthur figure that the superstitious believe will return in the Galaxy's darkest hour with an invincible army to save them all. Except for the Geth and Krogan, who remember Shepard was a human who sent the Reapers packing, and venerate Shepard anyway as the hero who saved their species.

Depending on certain factors, the new party might actually run into Catalyst!Shepard, interacting incognito with the galaxy s/he protects while inhabiting a Geth Platform. They may not realize this until long after the "geth" has departed.

The Crucible was designed by the Leviathan
Just not the ones you meet. A different faction decided to try and stop the Reapers, failed, possibly got wiped out, but managed to pass their plans on to the next Cycle. The others don't know who did it because the Crucible designers were covering their own tracks.

In Mass Effect 4, none of the spacefaring races currently in existance will appear.
Given that the endings are so inreconcilable, a good way to step asside this issue would be to either make the next game some time in the distant future when all the races are extinct, or set the game in an entirely diferent galaxy wher they can start over.

Mass Effect 2 and 3 is just Shepard's Dying Dream after Shepard's death at the beginning of Mass Effect 2
There is no way there could be anything left of Shepard's body. Shepard's body burned entering the atmosphere of the planet.The final choice in Mass Effect 3 represents the subconsciously chosen afterlife. Control is heaven, synthesis is reincarnation, destruction is hell and Refusal is Cessation of Existence.Refusal = Cessation due to it being the bleakest and most depressing end. The idea that there is nothing after death considered the scariest method of death.

Destruction = Hell is the same as showing Shepard would cause genocide on an entire race of Synthetics who were just becomming aware of getting a second-chance in life, killing EDI (maybe?) is a way of stabbing her in the back for when she finally gets sentience.

Control = Heaven is basically showing Shepard is giving his/her mortal enemies a second-chance.

Synthesis = Reincarnation is considered the best ending because the DNA fusion causes both Organic and Synthetic to be "reborn" into new life and obtain a new meaning to life. Sort of a second-chance for everyone.

AI really is a crapshoot and the Geth WILL turn evil if you choose the Control ending. So will EDI.
The Geth have turned on their creators a total of three times (the first when they drove them off their homeworld in the first place, the second when they teamed up with the Reapers in the first/second games, and again in the third game). This does not sound like a peaceful race of synthetics who only want to be friends. Now, you could say that these were all acts of self defense, but that only makes it worse as they've basically proven they will literally do anything to survive, up to and including teaming up with the things that want to wipe out all life in the galaxy. Such programming easily becomes twisted, especially if you consider all the Reapers want is to preserve all life. If you did the control ending, the geth will eventually start war with organics again (in destroy and refusal endings they all die, and in the synthesis ending, there is no longer a line between organic and synthetic life). After the threat of the Reapers has gone, old feelings of distrust and hatred will begin to bubble up; the quarians will hate the geth for driving them away from their homeworld for so long, other organics will not soon forget the atrocities from the first game, and the geth will hate the quarians for trying to genocide them. This gets even worse since the geth can now all think for themselves.

As for EDI, she doesn't have solid morals and thinks in almost total black and white. It is not hard to imagine that her synthetic mind will eventually fly off the handle and she will turn evil once her time and energy is no longer being fully dedicated to fighting the Reapers. Especially after Joker dies (he's not immortal, and he will die one day, whereas EDI will not). Alternatively, she will flee and join the Reapers/Shepard. She is part of the Normandy, the Normandy still belongs to the alliance, and the alliance will undoubtedly try to take it back after Shepard's "death". Although joining Shepard might not exclude her turning evil, see next WMG...

  • "Doesn't have solid morals..." Could you please clarify? I'm too busy grappling with futility-induced depression to figure it out for myself.

In the Control ending, Shepard will turn evil.
It is clear that Shepard begins with good intentions, as he is seen controlling the Reapers to reassemble the Mass Relays and get galactic society back on its feet. Shepard now controls the single largest and most powerful fleet in the galaxy. Nobody can stand up to them (as seen in the Refusal Ending, the rest of the galaxy simply doesn't have enough firepower to destroy the Reapers conventionally). But power corrupts, and boy does Shepard have power now. Shepard now controls the single largest and most powerful fleet in the galaxy. Nobody can stand up to them (as seen in the Refusal Ending, the rest of the galaxy simply doesn't have enough firepower to destroy the Reapers conventionally). Instead of destruction of all life, Shepard will rule the galaxy. He will become the ultimate tyrant, and everything will be his way, or vaporization. Throughout all three games, Shepard has been living above the law, so he's gotten used to getting his way. He might even take to harvesting people to build more Reapers, since from his point of view, it wouldn't be evil (what's a few million lives if it'll build another Reaper and help trillions?) Also, since there's no Crucible and thus no way to hit all the Reapers at once, Shepard's rein will last forever. He probably wouldn't turn evil immediately. It might take decades or centuries, but eventually the power will get to him.

He will also wipe out a few cities/colonies since he will be attacked. Nobody else saw what happened on the Crucible, and nobody else knows that Shepard is running the show, not even Shepard's closest friends. From most people's point of view, the Reapers just suddenly stopped attacking. Very few people will just accept that Reapers are good guys now.

  • To further support this, Paragon Shepard is already a bit of an extremist in regards to synthetic life (which could be a sign of indoctrination, but that's a different WMG). He even went as far as gambling the lives of the entire quarian species in order to save the geth (and exterminating the quarians if your persuasive skills weren't good enough).
    • And the question that occurs: in regards to why nobody would know what happened to Shepard- not even the love interest- why wouldn't Reaper!Shepard just tell them? Okay, maybe not literally everyone, but unless this edition of Shepard was so antisocial as to result in his/her entire squad dying in Mass Effect 2, why would he/she not just send a discrete message of "Still Alive" to Liara, Garrus, Joker, etc? Nothing in the Control Ending suggests that he wouldn't at least try once the Normandy got off the ground and back within broadcasting range.
      • Because he/she's not still alive. Shepard is dead and gone. What exists is an AI based off his personality and containing his memories, which is a different thing entirely. That AI may very well have made contact but it's still not really Shepard so it would make no difference.
      • That is not necessarily accurate - the mechanism by which Shepard ascends to control of the Reapers is unclear, and may or may not actually "be" Shepard. Of course there's also a philosophical debate to be had over whether a person's physical body is a necessary component of his/her self.

The Reapers have Sparks.
So far, every form of synthetic life that came about has relied on Reaper tech to develop true sentience. The geth did not develop true intelligence until they had the Reaper code (Paragon Shepard, who is normally sympathetic towards the geth, did not truly support the geth until he saw the Reaper code on the geth). EDI was just a a very smart VI until Cerberus gave her Reaper tech. It's like in Transformers, robots are just well programmed machines unless they have a spark, the equivelent to a soul. This is highly advanced technology, and not easily replicated.

Mass Effect 4 will let you choose a non-human main character
They are gonna do the same thing they did with Dragon Age: Origins and have different races with different backstories to chose from.

Continueing from a synthesis ending...
Will have Shepard ASSUMING DIRECT CONTROL of his/her squad-mates via his/her presence in their genetic makeup/phlebotinum.

The Adjutants are Inusannon husks.
In the secondary codex entry for the Adjutants, it states that the Adjutants are likely some remnant of another race in a previous cycle. They also have a mouthful of tentacles. What else had a mouthful of tentacles? The "prothean" statues on Ilos. Since protheans are now insectoid as revealed by Javik's appearance being akin to the Collectors, it's now strongly believed that those statues are of the protheans' own Precursors: the Inusannon.
  • They are obviously not made from the Inusannon, since they are outright described being made out of the people of Omega, but they can certainly have genetic traits of the Inusannon programmed into their synthetic mutations.

Mass Effect 4 will combine all three main endings into canon with minor alterations based on which the player chose.
  • It's obviously impossible to integrate all three endings as clearly distinct choices and picking just one would raise the ire of the playerbase. But if you set the game, say, 100 years into the future, you could smooth out the edges by having all the events of the three endings coming to a unified conclusion. For example, after Destroy-ending some faction could reactivate one of the Reapers, take control it and use it to jumpstart the Synthesis after Shepard is gone. In Control-ending the ascended Shepard could decide to start the Synthesis after reaching a consensus with the Reapers, but then decide to back off and leave the galaxy to its own devices. And in Synthesis, the Reapers would remove themselves from the picture voluntarily to avoid hampering the new evolution with their presence. Thus, in all three cases you would get a post-Synthesis galaxy without any overt Reaper presence and with only small changes to the game dialogue to explain how it all happened.
    • Considering the large amount of players that have strong negative opinions about the Synthesis ending, if Bioware really decides to make it the only cannon outcome, it will create a massive controversy that will only be over shadowed if they also decided to make Liara your canon romance. To be honest, ME3's writers have screwed themselves over with the three endings, making it almost impossible for them to make a direct sequel without offending a significant portion of the fans.
    • 100 years in the future would still be too close from the trilogy's endings to combine them in a satisfactory manner, but since the extended cuts shows that the catalyst has become convinced that synthesis will eventually happens regardless of Shepard's choice... The writers could make the next installment happening hundreds of millennia in the future, when Shepard & co deeds became half-forgotten legends, synthesis happened, but no one remembers whether it was a result of Shepard's final decision or a later evolution.

Citadel will change the ending (spoilers.)
  • The new download mission involves someone trying to hunt down and kill Shepard. Turns out it's a clone. Now this is only part one, so what might part two involve? A Heel–Face Turn? Both Shepards stomping the Reapers back to the stone age? One makes the sacrifice by saving the other from the Catalyst? If the Catalyst does not see the two Shepards arguing over which one gets to go and just gives up and pulls the plug?
    • Jossed, sadly. The clone falls out of the Normandy's cargo bay, either by giving up or getting literally kicked out.

Citadel DLC: Brooks is actually Shepard's Stalker with a Crush, and she and the Shepard clone are lovers!
  • Brooks is noticably starstruck when talking with Shepard, that she is The Mole does not mean her behavior around Shepard was entirely false but through long observation, she reached the conclusion that she would never gain his/her affections. This is why she assists the clone, so she can literally live the dream by having the clone completely take over the real Shepard's life and take her along for the ride. This also makes more sense when you consider the fact that Brooks is an Evil Counterpart of Miranda (one of the male Shepard's potential love interests) and her initial behavior makes her come off as a Suspiciously Similar Substitute of Samantha (one of the female Shepard's potential love interests).

The Dragon in Citadel will return.
  • Spoilers of course.

We last see the clone fall from the Normandy. Okay, Shepard survived a space attack from the Collectors and burning up in the atmosphere. S/he survives because it's Shepard, those buildings look rather close, no reason why the clone couldn't have crashed on top of one. So what then? Clearly the clone had no idea about Shepard in the second and third games. What if s/he survived and spent the time to know about the legend, really know them? Enough to realize they would have done exactly the same thing Shepard did? And Then What? Well, think about the endings, in two or even all three Shepard dies. This would be the perfect chance for the clone to become Shepard, and do it right this time. Without Brooks and Cerberus s/he can become the legend rather than the poor tool pretending to be them.

Plus this might be the end of the trilogy, but surely it won't be the end of Mass Effect altogether.

Glyph is becoming self-aware.
His behavior in Citadel goes seems to go beyond the quirks of a VI. Especially his fascination with elcor mating totems and his desire for weapons. He's not an AI yet, but Liara's tinkering might have started him on the path to getting there gradually, similar to how the geth did.

Space Hamster's true identity
He is a secret agent from a very ancient race of intelligent space hamsters that have been around from before the reapers were created. They have been able to hide from the reapers due to their inoffensive appearence, and have developed a way to resist indocrination. They have been having a Eons long Battle of Gambits against the cathalyst and the Reapers. They designed the Crucible, but since it needed to be too bigger for them to build it, they have been sending it to each cycle, and if the Cycle failed, they would keep the crucible safe. Space Hamster secretly infiltrated Sovereign during ME1 and made sure to delay Saren as much as he could. During Mass Effect 2, he was assigned to infiltrate the new normandy to help Shepard and to watch over Cerberus, and secretly helped with the normandy during the assault to the collectors base. In Mass Effect 3, he has been helping to coordinate his companions from the Normandy, who have been assisting the other races.

The Catalyst is actually...
Dr. David Bowman, sometime after being transformed into the Star Child.His contradictory line about how synthetic life-forms always Turned Against Their Masters is certainly more justified after going up against the Trope Codifier of A.I. Is a Crapshoot, and his appearance as a child-like collection of energy isn't much of a stretch from what he appears as the Star Child. The rest of the Fauxlosophic Narration that sounds like it was made up on the spot at the last minute really WAS made up on the spot at the last minute, hoping it would be enough to dupe Shepard into, one way or another, preventing the rise of another HAL 9000

In the Geth Fighter Squadrons mission, all the records are from Legion's memories.
Legion is a composite being with about 10 times the usual number of geth runtimes. All the events that we see are from geth platforms that contributed to Legion, from the first one to be woken up, to the one one that was operated on, to the one helping the quarian sympathizer, to the one defending the agricultural units, to the ones who saw off the quarian evacuees. Shepard only asks Legion about the agricultural unit.

Justicars are kept in the dark about Ardat-Yakshi
  • The codex entry for the planet with the AY monastery explains that Ardat-Yakshi who demonstrate significant self control are allowed to reintegrate into society. Samara seems unaware of this(hence her conflict regarding her daughter). Justicars in general are a somewhat outdated institution in asari society; asari are progressing forward and treating the AY condition as it should be; a medical condition that it's carriers suffer from. The unyielding code of the Justicar wouldn't allow for that, so their order is intentionally kept in the dark.
Choosing the Synthesis ending results in galactic wide Creative Sterility, and is the Bad Ending
After choosing the Synthesis ending (and by extent agreeing with someone who has committed for possibly billions of years) the Reapers stop their harvest of the current cycle and help with the reconstruction of the damage they caused along with the races of the galaxy. In the Extended Cut EDI explains that the Reapers also gave the galaxy the collective knowledge of all the past races they harvested bring the galaxy into a Utopia. But think about this, how long have the Reapers been doing this? How many races they harvested? And they just give this knowledge? By turning the galaxy into a technological utopia the galaxy is at its most advance in any given cycle, but where to build up from that? How more can you advance?

If all previous knowledge and tech of past races were used then there isn't really anywhere to go from there on. The destiny of everyone in the galaxy was just handed to them, something the Geth should be entirely against has it goes against one of the core beliefs of their philosophy. Legion said it best in ME2, that a people need to find their own future and not have it merely given to them as it stunts their development. That the journey is just as important as the destination. It doesn't help that Creative Sterility was already setting in on the galaxy before Humans showed up, and when they did more in 30 years then most did in a century it freaked people out. So what do you think will happen in a future where technology is already so advance that no further research is needed?

By the time ME 4 comes around, the Normandy will be a museum piece
There'll be other ships based on its design, but the new threat will cause our heroes to Break Out the Museum Piece and find that while the old girl might be slower than modern ships, she still packs just as much of a punch.

In the "Refusal" ending
  • The Stargazer and her grandson are evolved Pyjaks.

The Catalyst was very slowly beginning to malfunction
  • No matter how long an electronic device lasts, without constant maintenance such a system may eventually malfunction, break down or go haywire. The Catalyst has been alive for billions of years, remaining in the Citadel in the same state since its operation. With no one to provide proper critique or alternatives to its methods, the catalyst is just beginning to develop some minor problems in its central processing unit, or brain. Additionally, because any changes could lead to a possible change in its original mission (similar to the reprogrammed renegade Geth), the Catalyst kept itself the same until it began noticing emerging flaws in its own design. This may explain why the Catalyst decided to engage in conversation with Shepherd when he/she breaks into its chamber rather than just ignoring him and continuing the destruction as it did many cycles before. It knows that it will accumulate problems until it is unable to accurately launch the next invasion without significant interference from its part. And being a machine build to find the perfect solution to everything, the fact that it itself is no longer suitable to continue the Reaper invasions means that it was desperate to put its faith in another to determine the fate of its millenia long experiment. And that person was Shepherd.

Oleg Petrovsky is related to Michael and Rebekah, the couple arguing over therapy for their child.
  • They share the same last name, after all!

Ashley has Marksman in ME3 to represent her being among the best.
Marksman is more or less a slightly different Adrenaline Rush, used by turians in multiplayer... turians, as in the best soldiers in the galaxy? Perhaps the ability was a subtle nod to Ashley being one of the Alliance's best soldiers, as "a Williams has to be better than the best".
  • It may also represent her taking advanced training as a Commando, as opposed to James who went the opposite route and became a Shock Trooper.

Asari and Human similarities are normal.
Since the Reapers keep killing everyone every 50,000 years or whatever, there ain't a whole lot of life left. But as it turns out they do leave specific races alive for the next cycle. So... humans and asari used to be part of the SAME species that got separated to their respective planets after the Reapers went and laserfucked the Protheans until their bones disintegrated. Necessities of evolution changed the asari on their world, and our world changed us too. Thus the similarities. Why nobody seems to question it is beyond me.
  • Alternatively, the genetic engineering that gave asari biotics resulted in them having human female forms, as human females tend to otherwise be the most powerful naturally occurring biotics.

Indoctrination is an innate biological ability. Shepard is the strongest single organic (at least in this period) with this ability.

Consider: In the course of human history, there have always been people who have been able to gather large groups of loyal followers behind them, whether their intentions were noble or evil or insane.

Consider also that it is stated that indoctrination is not a conscious ability of the Reapers, at least not entirely. Even the remains of a Reaper that's been dead for 37 million years will affect people around or inside it.

Now consider Shepard. This is a person who, even in the first game, is able to unite widely disparate elements: human Alliance soldiers, a quarian mechanist, a krogan mercenary, a turian police officer, etc. Consider how easily you can convince people to change their minds in various side quests. Depending on how you play, you can even convince Wrex to side with you to destroy a cure for the disease that he believes is driving his people to extinction! You can even convince Saren, a man who is barely in control of his own mind, to abandon the course he's been on for years (if not decades) and kill himself for the good of the galaxy. In the second game, you die at the beginning, and yet the sheer force of your personality causes The Illusive Man to retrieve your body and rebuild you - not because he was directly affected, of course, but because he saw what you were capable of.

By the third game this gets almost ridiculous. You're forging peace between races that have hated each other for centuries. Hell, you can even convince Balak, a batarian commander who has every reason to hate humans generally and you personally, to commit his military to you! And all it takes is a thirty-second conversation!

Speaking more generally, how is it that the human Alliance has advanced so far in political power in Citadel space, even before Sovereign's invasion, in a mere thirty-odd years? You can argue that they get a seat on the Council because of their actions at the end of ME1; but even before that, they were considered the next in line to get a seat, ahead of many races that have been involved in Citadel Space for centuries: not only powers with little military might such as the volus and elcor, but even the batarians, who had an embassy on the Citadel until the Council gave what they considered their property to the Alliance.

Now, why are the Reapers so interested in humans in the second and third games, and Shepard in particular? Well, first let's ask: Why do they need to incorporate organics into them in the first place? There's no logical reason why that would be necessary to their construction - unless the Reapers' ability to indoctrinate is due to the material of millions of organic beings (which we are given to understand is still alive in some capacity) being collected inside them. They recognize Shepard as being powerful in this ability, and decide that humanity in general must be stronger in terms of this ability than other sapient races. Therefore, they will make ideal fodder for creating new Reapers.

And why is it that the Council opposes you almost constantly? Almost every time you talk to them, it's through holographic communication; your "indoctrination field" can't affect them when they're not even in the same room with you. (And even the few times you ARE in the same room, they're usually pretty far away.) One might also argue that a person that's made it into a highly-ranked political position (such as the Citadel Council, or an ambassador to the Council, such as Udina) is likely to have a fairly strong indoctrination ability themselves, and thus less likely to be affected by yours.

The synthesis 'glow' can be turned off
Because a lot of people don't want glowing green eyes and circuit energy lines. This is supported by the ending, some squad mates can be seen with their original eye colors.

Many people stuck on the citadel survived
  • The reapers probably didn't do much with the citadel except move, set up the teleporter it and close the arms. Even if they did send in tropes they would have to content with c-sec, armed civilians, the civilian militia, armed criminals and alliance personnel.
    • Didn't the developers confirm this?

"The Catalyst" is more metaphysical.
The Catalyst isn't the malfunctioning AI that created the Reapers, but the aspect of the cycle involving a leader among the organics that rises up and rallies opposition to the Reapers. Due to a combination of other factors, this "leader" manifested earlier and more profoundly than any cycle before in Commander Shepard. "The Catalyst" was stated to determine how the Crucible is used. Who ultimately decides that: The Star Kid... or Shepard?

The Catalyst is a Synthesis Maximizer.
That's why the negotiations at the end are so one-sided, and that's why the Reapers' behavior sometimes seems self-contradictory. The Catalyst was created to solve the "organic-synthetic problem." Perhaps the Catalyst only cares about the act of "solving" the problem, not whether it is solved or not. This would logically result in him continuing to apply his "solution" (the Reapers) even when there is no conflict between synthetics and organics, or even inventing synthetic-organic conflicts from whole cloth simply to justify its own existence and actions. Consider the following:
  • The geth were content to live-and-let-live for approx. 300 years before Sovereign recruited the heretics. Had he not done so, it's possible that peace negotiations could have happened much sooner than in canon. The only organics that had real grievances with the geth were the quarians at that point. If the Reapers were really interested in preventing organic-synthetic conflict, then why convince the heretics to piss off every other organic race in the galaxy by attacking them?
  • The zha'til came up with essentially their own flavor of Synthesis, but the Reapers corrupted them and forced them to attack the Protheans. The Catalyst only cares about solving the problem his way. Any alternative paths to peace would render him obsolete and therefore must be dealt with harshly. Then when the Protheans started turning the tide against the zha'til, the Reapers attacked directly and obliterated the entire cycle. Again, if the Reapers really wanted peace, this action is utterly counterproductive, but if they're trying to create a problem that only they can solve, it makes perfect sense.

The Galaxy is an enormous computer and the ending is Sheppard rebooting it
  • The three solutions to the reaper problem are: Controlling them, destroying them and an alternative third option. From left to right: Control, Alt and Delete.

The Catalyst broadcasted its final conversation with Shepard to everyone.

Hackett managed to contact Shepard one s/he was inside the Citadel, and nothing indicates that the Catalyst would jam communications now. In fact, it would be very logical if it made sure that everyone around the Citadel could hear: the Catalyst embodies the collective consciousness of the Reapers, while Shepard personifies the organic races' will to survive the Harvest: the final conversation represents the "leaders" of the two factions negotiating an armistice, so making sure everyone could hear it makes sense, and that's include the Normandy's Crew: refuse to chose, and they realize that their leader's amour-propre just doomed them to extinction, chose Destruction, and Joker knows that his boss just sacrificed EDI to obtain victory, chose Control, and they'll witness their leader walking in the Illusive Man's footsteps, becoming the new de facto ruling despot of the Milky Way; finally chose synthesis, and they'll see Shepard making a final mad gamble which will inevitably destroy her in the hope that it will bring peace without sacrificing anyone else and without replacing an eternal tyrant with an another.This would also explain why the endings are ranked the way they are, with Destroy demanding the the less EMS, then Control then finally Synthesis: in each and every case, Shepard is betraying someone, but the scale of the betrayal diminishes with each variant: Refusal: Shepard betrays everyone; Destruction: Shepard betrays EDI, Joker and possibly the Geth, sacrificing allies and friends in the name of victory; Control: Shepard betrays his/her principles and Anderson's memory; Synthesis: Shepard potentially breaks his/her Love Interest's heart and forces the Normandy to mourn (once again) its Captain's fall.

  • Also, Synthesis is the only ending that doesn't betray what Legion stood for and died for. Refusal rejects every sacrifice, deciding that this cycle will die on principle; Destruction means that Shepard is directly rejecting synthetic life, and denying that organics and synthetics can live in peace; Control means that Shepard does not want synthetics to be free, independent individuals, but rather subservient and controlled; only Synthesis is following through on Legion's decision, giving one's life for the freedom and unity of organic and synthetic life.
    • Shepard only takes control of the Reapers in the Control ending, not all Synthetic life.
  • Except that in the Extended Cut, Joker wants to rescue Shepard regardless of whatever decision Shepard made. It makes no sense that he would try to go back for Shepard if Shepard chose Control/Synthesis and was disintegrated. Also, the ending with the highest EMS is Destroy with Shepard surviving. It requires 3100 EMS. Synthesis only requires 2800.

The Citadel DLC was conceived as a post ending coda to the game and trilogy.

It is the only way to explain the Mood Whiplash of the entire DLC. People seem happy and wanting to have fun, as opposed to the general aura of despair and desperation you see in the rest of the game. A theory is that initially, Javik was supposed to be the "catalyst" that activated the Crucible and dealt with the Reapers, thereby leaving Shepard and the crew alive to continue their adventures.

The endings do make sense, as it shows the true nature of the game.
  • For better or for worse, the endings are a Deconstruction of the Space Opera genre at its core. Shepard was never a major power or player; they were a pawn caught up in an indifferent universe who was in the right place in the right time, and made the best decision they could in their situation. The choices you get are three Space Opera tropes deconstructed: fusing with the enemy tech, controlling the enemy, or heroically destroying the enemy. Even killing the Star Child, something that would normally be presented as heroic in other sci-fi games or movies, is presented as a bad choice. The game deals with war, and the choices (and lack thereof) that comes with it. This was never a game for Paragon players, as there was never a chance of a happy ending. Just a less awful ending.
    • (Seriously, just read the Analysis page, people. It makes much more sense than this WMG.)

After the events of Mass Effect 3 there was a significant surge in children born of all races named "Shepard", and Spectres were renamed Shepards

It'd be the most common name in the galaxy. Followed by "Commander" for the races who don't understand human military ranks and assume that's Shepard's first name.

Dalatrass Linron tipped off Cerberus about the female krogan
She's definitely willing to resort to extreme measures to keep the genophage from being cured, Mordin speculates that Cerberus was tipped off by someone with access to STG intelligence, and even after "agreeing" to hand over the females, she tries to delay the actual handoff. If Shepard and Primarch Victus hadn't overridden her, they would have arrived to find a facility already under attack, with any chance of a cure having gone up in smoke in a way that nobody could prove she was responsible for.