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Mass Effect 3's Indoctrination fan theory is incorrect but the devs love it

Mass Effect
(Image credit: EA Games / BioWare)

One of Mass Effect 3's most popular fan theories has been labelled as 'incorrect' by BioWare, but that doesn't mean the devs don't like it.

The Indoctrination theory, in case you're wondering, is all about the ending of Mass Effect 3. It speculates that Commander Shepard has become fully brainwashed by the Reapers by the time they reach the end of the game and that they have been manipulated over the course of the trilogy.

According to the Indoctrination theory, the entire ending of Mass Effect 3 plays out in Shepard's head, and while there might be a lot of information put forward by the community which seemingly supports this, one of the writers on Mass Effect 3 has confirmed that the theory is, in fact, incorrect.

Chris Hepler, who worked on Mass Effect, talked about the Indoctrination theory with The Gamer, saying that "we weren't that smart" and that while it is a theory he personally likes, it's all fan speculation and not an intentional aspect of the game.

It turns out, then, that all the dots that players connected over the years which seemingly pointed to this, were completely coincidental and weren't put there on purpose by BioWare.

“The Indoctrination Theory is a really interesting theory, but it's entirely created by the fans,” Hepler told VGC. “While we made some of the ending a little trippy because Shepard is a breath away from dying, and it's entirely possible there's some subconscious power to the kid's words, we never had the sort of meetings you'd need to have to properly seed it through the game.

“We weren't that smart. By all means, make mods and write fanfic about it, and enjoy whatever floats your boat, because it's a cool way to interpret the game. But it wasn't our intention. We didn't write that".

More than anything, it must be nice to see that the theory has the BioWare seal of approval, it just wasn't intentional.

Why not replay this final entry in the trilogy for yourself when the Mass Effect Legendary Edition launches later this year.

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Jack Webb

I'm a freelance reporter for Gamesradar - games and films are my jam, so you'll mostly find me gushing about my undying love of Xenoblade Chronicles, Lord of the Rings, and how Persona 4 Golden changed my life.