‘Mass Effect 3’ developers discuss original ending

Shepard was originally going to speak to the Queen of the Reapers

It’s no secret that Mass Effect 3 had a pretty divisive finale, but it could have been different as BioWare developers reveal its original ending.

Discussing their original plans for the Mass Effect trilogy, former BioWare animation director Dave Wilkinson told People Make Games (via IGN) what would have happened to Shepard – he was going to plug himself into the Citadel.

“At that point, Shepard was so augmented with like electronic bits and all the rest of this shit,” said Wilkinson. “I actually had him just plug himself into the Citadel, and then within a virtual world he has a conversation with what was described as a god of the Reapers. I think it was a Queen? And he had this conversation with the Queen, and the Queen basically said, ‘the way the Reapers keep going, this isn’t sustainable, blah blah blah blah blah blah, we have to evolve, but we’re incapable of evolution because of the limitations of our AI’ and stuff like that.”


The idea was that the Reaper Queen had been locked away by the Reapers, who disagreed with her more progressive ideology.

“She was their queen, but she proposed things the Reapers didn’t like so they basically just locked her away inside the Citadel and just never ever listened to her again,” he explained. “So, then the conversation was really like her going, ‘This is the chance to evolve everything, we can move everything forward’.”

Here, Shepard would have faced a critical choice – much like the endings we eventually got in Mass Effect 3.

Renegade Option:

“The Renegade option was like Shepard just goes, ‘Go fuck yourself,’ and he rips himself out of the thing and he starts blowing up the fucking room in the Citadel where the stuff is kept, which then causes the Citadel to detonate, because it was in the middle of doing something and he fucked it all up,” said Wilkinson. “And then the whole Citadel basically blows up and wipes out the Earth, but in the process, he’s now destroyed the Reapers and he’s given organics a chance.”

Paragon Option:


“The Paragon option was like, ‘I’m so awesome, that I can take control of these Reapers and I’ll use them for the right reason.’ So, then Shepard turns into kinda like the big King Reaper,” Wilkinson continued. “You still said, ‘fuck you’ to the Queen, but you did it because you became the reaper and you could lead the reapers to be a power for good or whatever the fuck that meant.”

Synthesis Option (available to anyone):

“The ending everybody could get was Synthesis, where the queen was like, ‘we’re going to use space magic and we’re going to combine the best parts of you and the best parts of me and we’re going to send it out through the universe and it’s going to change everything’,” said Wilkinson. “Everybody’s going to get affected by this, everybody’s going to change.”

“There was an ending where there was a mom and a daughter, and I had them sitting on a hill, and I shot in with us drifting through stars and the stars get blurry,” he added. “Then we would be drifting, and we’d follow them and we’d hear this woman explaining to her daughter how we came to this place, and we reach them and they’re like Asaris but they’re Asaris who are a little bit different, and she’s just telling the story about how Shepard made everything better and saved everybody from the Reapers.”

Meanwhile, Stellaris has finally added the Dolphinoid race in an upcoming DLC.