Mass Effect 3: So what happens next?

The ending of Mass Effect 2 was quite the climax. Tense. Dramatic. Good. And, depending on your choices, maybe just a little bit sad. But what next? Obviously we don't know. Nobody does. Apart from maybe some people at BioWare.

Of course the absence of any actual fact-based Mass Effect 3 facts leaves the shuttle doors wide open for us to throw out a few educated guesses and optimistic wishes about what we think/hope will be in the trilogy's final game. Let the guessing begin...

Note: Yes. There are Mass Effect spoilers in this article.

We'll get to see more of Earth
The Mass Effect codex gives a brief idea of what our home world is like in the 22nd Century, but the opportunity to take a trip to see what future Earth looks like would be awesome. BioWare knows it would be awesome, so we're anticipating a visit to the Sol System's most exciting planet.

Surviving squad members will be active from the start of the game
The vast majority of Mass Effect 2 was spent gathering troops and subsequently playing social worker by sorting out their personal problems. Doing that all over again would be undesirable madness. That said, we wouldn't be surprised to see Wrex, Liara and/or Ashley/Kaiden join Shepard's crew for the showdown with the Reapers.

It'll be possible to revive a dead squad member
Fallen comrades are conveniently stored on board the Normandy and Cerberus brought Shepard back from deadness at the start of Mass Effect 2, so what's stopping any dead squad members being similarly restored at the start of Mass Effect 3?

Admittedly, it took two years to rebuild Shepard and the Reaper threat seems pretty imminent... but we're desperately hoping someone invents an accelerated reanimation device between games. We don't want our Tali to be dead forever.

A cure will be found for the genophage. And Shepard will have the option to save or destroy it
It's been a strong thread throughout the Mass Effect story so far and it seems logical that BioWare will give closure to the genophage sub-plot in the final game. It depends purely on your own morality whether you think the krogan-culling biological weapon was a good or bad thing in the first place.

So if a cure is found, it's subsequent distribution or destruction would make for a pretty tough choice to call. Let the krogan continue along the path to extinction? Or risk the war-happy reptiles once again becoming an overwhelming force?

We'll get to see what a quarian face looks like
We've spent an unhealthy amount of our lives wondering what the bloody hell Jawas look like and, frankly, we don't want to go through it all again with the quarians. They have two eyes, lips and teeth. We know this. But we want to see a quarian face before Mass Effect 3 is done. If they die when stripped of their enviro-suit helmet... so be it. It's a sacrifice we're willing to make.

The Illusive Man will be... EVIL
Could go either way this one. But the steely robotic eyes, the constant smoking, heavy drinking and being an all-round secretive sort make us think that there's definitely something sinister about the Cerberus honcho. Mass Effect 2 really missed having a villain like Saren to go up against and Mr Illusive has all the makings of a proper evil bastard.

Whether it's the Illusive Man or not, we're sure Mass Effect 3 will have a main antagonist for Shepard to go up against. The Reapers may be the threat, but for all their galaxy-conquering bad-assery, a race of intelligent warships lack a little something in personality.

Joker will die
Undoubtedly some squad members will croak it based on a player's decisions, but we've got a gut feeling that Joker is going to meet his maker in the final act. Him and Shepard are pretty tight and - while he could be killed in his briefly playable ME2 segment - his survival has always seemed the most guaranteed of the whole Normandy crew. If BioWare's looking to spring a real unexpected death on us, then Joker has to be the prime candidate. So that's what we're expecting.

EDI will be given a body. Ideally a sexy robot one
As spherical, holographic artificial intelligences go, EDI was pretty hot. Probably something to do with her metallic yet sultry voice. We'd like her to play a more active role. All it would take is a quick upload into the frame of a sexy robot and Shepard would have a new squad member.

At the climax, Shepard will have to choose between saving the galaxy or selling humanity out to the Reapers
What better way to finish the trilogy than with the ultimate Paragon/Renegade choice-making humdinger? We know the Reapers are manipulative little monkeys and the Harbinger has a special, unexplained interest in Shepard (at points the Harbinger can be heard saying "Preserve Shepard's body if possible").

If the Reaper's made an attempt to recruit/indoctrinate Shepard (in the same way Sovereign took control of Saren) during the course of Mass Effect 3, then a 'save/destroy humanity' choice wouldn't be implausible. And it would literally be the best moral choice in a game ever.

And there we are. Some incredibly speculative and entirely made-up ideas of what we think will happen in Mass Effect 3. Are we way off track? Do you have your own ideas as to how ME3 will wrap things up. Let us know your thinkings in the comments.


  • BLOODmuffins - July 10, 2010 1:08 a.m.

    Prediction: The Illusive Man is a Reaper and/or The Shadow Broker. You can tell by his eyes that he is not entirely human and his interest in Reaper technology at the end of ME2 made me wonder...and he also makes numerous references to The Shadow Broker and talks about information as a weapon...maybe this is going too far but The Illusive Man definitely has some big secrets.
  • gilgamesh310 - May 21, 2010 10:26 p.m.

    A more exciting prospect than exploring Earth would be to explore other galaxies. I was suprised that you could only explore the Milky Way throughout both previous games. The end of ME 2 gives us a taste of what's outside it but hopefully the third installment will allow us to see more. As regards the Illusive Man he could end up being a saruman type villain that sells us out to the Reapers but that seems a little predictable.It should definately have one central villain to hold things together though. One of the flaws with the story in ME 2 IMO was that it concentrated too much on too many characters from your team but very little was known about the bad guys. Im not sure about the idea of bringing back dead characters. It just never seems right to do so regardless of how good the explanation for it is. I never liked Tali anyway, her voice was too annoying and she was too over talkative.
  • JC182 - May 13, 2010 2:55 p.m.

    i think that the last choice you could make is to save the entire galaxy or just humanity
  • TheEvilSideofEveryone - May 13, 2010 12:26 p.m.

    If you expect joker to die its not unexpected
  • themooninites - March 26, 2010 2:05 p.m.

    i hope they have alot more on legion and the geth in general...dem i liked
  • GLCoolJ - March 26, 2010 1:15 p.m.

    Well I certainly don't want Joker to die (he's the only non-squad-member on the Normandy I even remotely care about), but now that you guys mention it, I wouldn't be surprised at all if that's what they end up doing. Also, I completely expect the Illusive Man to betray Shepard at some point in ME3, but who knows? He could end up being a totally nice guy all along...
  • infestedandy - March 15, 2010 5:33 a.m.

    @morrodox You're probably right in that Chorbin was late to the party, but hey, who the hell knows what the Reapers can pull off. I'm sure that whatever we're thinking, Bioware will edge around and wow us.
  • jar-head - March 15, 2010 12:44 a.m.

    If you pay attention to the story arc in ME2, it begins with a plague infecting and killing All alien races besides the Humans. So in ME1 when you meet The Prothean A.I Virgil, he Only talks about One race, The protheans, so why not any other race? Because Some "Collector Form" reveresed engineered a virus to kill All the weaker species to preserve the strong, so for all w know The Reapeser squiad like body could be that of The Protheans Face, I.E The end of ME2 was a Giant Human Reaper. Secondly, Reapers were Not invincible when the conquered the Protheans, as in ME2 The Illusive Man indicates that "They have found the remains of another reaper, And the weapon that was used against it(probably a Reverese Engineered Mass Relay Weapon) ME3 can end in So Many ways, i cant wait which ending the dev's decide upon.
  • sexyman500 - March 14, 2010 1:40 a.m.

    oh, and i'd like to see elcor, hanar and maybe the volus (potential squad mate?) and that other dezzy race vorcah and the krell to play a bigger role in the next one. And once again with the creepy alien sex theme think of doin it with the hanar? like havin sex with a water bed
  • sexyman500 - March 14, 2010 1:34 a.m.

    hope fully you can get jiggy with a female krogan now that would be creepy, and you'll gain the trust of every species, rachni (for their survival) krogan (same reason) asari turian celarian (saving the council) geth (reprogram them? I forgot what you did) can't really think of any others I've practically copied everybody elses post above (except for the krogan part GIGEDY GIGEDY GOOOOOOOOO)
  • Alain - March 13, 2010 3:36 a.m.

    I have a theory on The Illusive Man he is infact evil or for that matter he does have evil intentions,the first is the fact that he wants humanity to be supreme in the galaxy and for those who think that he has done nothing wrong this is untrue he has done alout of things wrong if you read his back story (Mass Effect 2 Wiki Illusive Man) also the fact that he never really tells you the real story behind things he has alout to hide,2nd he has alout of money if he has the money to rebuild Sheperd then think of the money he can make to recruit his own army and for that matter what happened in the end where you had to pick between destroying the Collecter base or giving it to The Illusive Man,which shows what his intentions are if he had the tech of the Collectors and understand if you give it to him it is for HUMENS ALONE which proves he would use the tech to destroy everyother race in the galaxy even The Council for that matter besides if you give it to him on the last cutscene where he's sitting alone looking at the Collector Base on a hologram you can see the greed on his face the selfishness on his face and if you dont give it to him then what happens (from what i know of his background) he is a very controlling man and he always gets revenge to those that cross him so it could be that he may ally himself with The Reapers like Saren did for a greater goal in his own view,maybe making a deal with The Reapers giving over humanity (since what i mean by that its info since The Illusive Man kinda has a connection with The Shadow Broker since they both deal in info therefore giving over the weaknesses of humanity over to The Reapers in change of position for The Illusive Man and him alone.
  • Rattlehead - March 12, 2010 10:07 p.m.

    More purple alien butt
  • chobb14 - March 12, 2010 9:54 a.m.

    I think your probably spot on and we'll probably see either all or most of these predictions
  • Spybreak8 - March 12, 2010 8:46 a.m.

    @morrodox Dude why would I want to play as Joker, I mean he is a favorable character but he does have something like a very brittle bone disease. No way that would work out. I think it's going to be like the Lord of the Rings, one big f'n epic battle of Good vs Evil!
  • Samael - March 12, 2010 5:39 a.m.

    @infestedandy Yeah, like morrodox said, that's the plot from the first game. The 50,000 years signal was the reapers. The thing he says he thinks will happen is the reapers returning, which they are trying to do, but you slowed them down in the 1st game. Chorban is just a little late to the party. I also wouldn't count out the keepers from doing something else in #3, but Chorban's meesage is just a little in-joke. It's something you already or should already know, but he just found out about himself.
  • lovinmyps3 - March 12, 2010 5:38 a.m.

    You guys got Tali killed? You bastards!! =P
  • Rushbomb - March 11, 2010 9:14 p.m.

    @ phillipshaw: good luck with that
  • Rushbomb - March 11, 2010 9:08 p.m.

    im guessing that if you saved the rachni in the first one then theyll help in the last one. i saved them and i had an asari on illium say that they would aid me so im looking forward to that. yeah im thinking that the illusive man is evil, otherwise he wouldn't want you to save the collecter ship at the end. considering that its a renegade choice.
  • D0CCON - March 11, 2010 6:31 p.m.

    I was actually thinking about half of these things, earth, quarian faces, genophage, and The Illusive Man being evil (it was paragon to destroy that device at endgame and it made Illusive Man pissed when you destroyed it, why not)? The rest are interesting ideas too, but I'd rather not be able to bring dead characters back and I don't think Bioware will do it. Permanent death was one of the biggest things Bioware kept talking about. One miracle is enough.
  • morrodox - March 11, 2010 3:57 p.m.

    @infestedandy: I always thought Chorbin was cluelessly late with his message, considering Shepard had already discovered the Keepers' 50,000-year task -- the awakening of Soverign, who was left behind as a sentinel -- after talking to the Prothean VI at the end of ME1. @spideralex: You actually can go to the moon in ME1. The capital is Armstrong (loves it I does). But you can only visit a few remote outposts. Agree that visiting Earth and Moon cities would be great. I'm betting you'll be able to play AS Joker for the entire 3rd game, if Shepard died at the end of Mass Effect 2. Check YouTube, it can happen. Recruiting entire races for the epic final battle would make for a great set of plot-relevant missions: Krogans: If you cure the genophage -- which could depend on whether or not you had Mordin save the research in ME2 -- the Krogans will be loyal, otherwise you'll have to convince them to fight like the once did, and maybe go out in a blaze of glory to stop the Reapers. Quarians: Their strength and loyalty would depend on whether or not you help liberate their homeworld. I fear I may not get to because my Shep ticked off the admiral by concealing information to protect Tali's father. He sent me a message saying humanity would only get to watch from a distance. May also need to create a peace between the Quarians and Geth (Legion's faction, anyway). Humanity: It'll make a HUGE difference based on whether you picked Anderson or Udina for the council at the end of ME1. Similar loyalty missions for the Turians, Salarians, Asaro, Batarians. Would love to see more of the Elcor, Hanar and Volus too. We will learn the identity of the Shadow Broker, and it will be confirmed that s/he is the one who sold Shepard's location to the Collectors, causing Shep's death at the start of ME2. (It's strongly hinted at by Liara if you romanced her in ME1 and then choose Paragon conversation options with her in ME2.) And the Illusive Man will be revealed as... Gordon Freeman from the future! Oh no wait, wrong series...

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