BioWare Explains Mass Effect 3’s ‘Destroy’ Ending

Published 2 years ago by

BioWare Explains Destroy Ending Mass Effect 3

While the Extended Cut DLC has answered many (not all) of the questions gamers have been asking since concluding Mass Effect 3, there is one particular nagging issue that BioWare wants to put to rest. Rumors had been circulating for quite some time in regards to the games ‘Destroy’ ending, and now BioWare wants to set the record straight. But, in order to talk about it fully, a spoiler warning must be issued. So consider yourself warned.

In the ‘Destroy’ ending, which sees Commander Shepard choosing to eliminate the Reaper threat completely and not give in to the Stargazer’s wishes, there is a small scene tacked on to the ending that shows Commander Shepard’s seemingly lifeless body taking a breath. Now with the addition of the Extended Cut DLC for Mass Effect 3, that ending also features Commander Shepard’s love interest, whoever that may be, refusing to place his name amongst the list of those Normandy crew members who were lost across all three games.

Many curious gamers took these two scenes to mean that Shepard had in fact not died, but was alive amidst the Crucible wreckage. Some even took this additional scene as validation for the Indoctrination Theory, which states those final couple of scenes all took place within Shepard’s mind, and only the ‘Destroy’ option would allow him to live on.

But now, thanks to some comments from BioWare’s Tully Ackland on the game’s official forums, we know what really occurred: Shepard is alive.

  • You may notice that in the “Shepard lives” ending, the love interest hesitates to place Shepard’s name on the wall, and instead looks up as though deep in thought. This is meant to suggest that the love interest is not ready to believe Shepard is dead, and the final scene reveals they are correct. As the Normandy lifts off, there is hope that the love interest and Shepard will again be together.

Ackland also answers a couple other questions in regards to the game’s new endings, but we had already summed those up pretty nicely in our ‘Pros and Cons’ post regarding the new endings.

Gamers can finally end speculation that Shepard’s movement was his last breath, and can rest easy knowing the star-travelling war hero is alive. Unfortunately, the crew of the Normandy is stranded on a lush, forest-covered planet, and have no way of reaching him.

Additionally, if BioWare chose to use this as the canonical ending for Mass Effect 3, that would be the perfect jumping off point for more single player DLC. So far, aside from the Extended Cut, players have only seen the release of new content for the game’s multiplayer mode, but we expect more single player content is in the pipeline.

Though the debates over the Mass Effect 3 endings will continue for quite some time, at least we have yet another clarification regarding one of the questions left unanswered. Unfortunately, if it leads to more DLC and undermines the other endings to the game, that could upset even more fans.

Does it bring you any solace to know that Shepard did survive in the ‘Destroy’ ending? Will any DLC featuring Shepard undermine the ending players chose?

Source: BioWare Forums

TAGS: BioWare, Electronic Arts, Mass Effect, Mass Effect 3, PC, PS3, Xbox 360

  • anarchytemplar

    i got to thinkin as a writer i like to make the people i write stories for wonder what happened to their characters well maybe bioware has a trick up their sleeve and they’re not tellin us something like maybe Shep is alive but plays a lesser role in me4

    • Taven11

      ME4 is going to be after Commander Shepard’s death. Meaning, he died at old age. And who ever is going to be the protagonist is related to him.

  • Rijolin

    You guys did good…I’m happy that he’s alive. Good job.

    • Taven11

      They didn’t do a good job. If they did, then they wouldn’t have gotten sued in 2013.

  • GreyDracul

    Well. I would have created far better endings or at least endings that actually reflected on every choice a player made throughout the trilogy, but what’s done is done.
    I find it hard to understand how Sheppard lives on and EDI didn’t. I invested a lot of time and emotion in the trilogy and to see that the for EDI to live Sheppard has to die, was a hard blow.
    I’d really love if BioWare extended the story just a little bit more, a DLC that added a new option, something like “Freedom” were Sheppard, EDI, and the Geth lived survived the activation of the Crucible and created in a way the basis not only to give the well deserved clousure the fan deserve or if not clousure at least created the ground work, so Mass Effect 4 would somehow tie in, what the end of Mass Effect 3 left open.

    • Dave

      Well the best way I can see ME3 tie into ME4 would be to take a love interest from one of the three games (who ever you romanced most or your choice) and play as the romanced character and have the start of the game being her giving birth.(would only work for asari or human love interest unless you take the synthesis enidng in ME3 which changes everyone with many changes anything is possible) The story line can go off in so many directions it’s not even funny from there and many great stories are yet to be told.

  • Metalmario

    Well. While the endings were bad. At least I know choosing Sheppard over EDI or the Geth wasn’t completely in vain.
    Just wanted a more “Fairy’s Tale” ending. Not necessarily with the happy ever after, but at least with Shepard staying with his girlfriend, and only the Reaper destroyed.

  • Brandon Smith

    I did notice shepards breath in after he got pwned at the crucible. Im happy that hes alive but I always chose control ending I didnt want geth to die but seeing as how me4 is plannes for xbox one nothing from previous mass effects can affect ut as 369-1 different platforms storage nit lookinlinked

  • Steven Edward Hager

    I played all 3 mass effects several times.
    The story you told and gave us the power of choice which made it even more personal to the player. And to have the choices there at the end were weak . Players got pissed because you made a one of the best games ever. I don’t want to be rest easy that my commander is alive. I want to play it. Mass effect 4 better continue the story.

    • Taven11

      It won’t due to BioWare being a idiots. But it is thanks to EA for getting rid of Commander Shepard due to the trilogy had to die in EA’s eyes. I find them stupid.

  • ibaamq

    Thanks sooooo thanks if sheperd alive

  • Taven11

    I still call it false advertising due to them saying telling us there wouldn’t be a Red, Blue, or Green choice. But it was stupid of them. What they should have done was delay the game and make all the endings where Commander Shepard lives in EVERY SINGLE ONE! But no, info got leaked and EA told them to hurry up with the game and don’t care if the game has horrible endings. I’m glad that there is an ending where Shepard lives. At least BioWare got one thing right after their lawsuit in 2013.

  • Kal

    bioware i really liked shepard’s story but that think that I am going to say is the heart of my comment if you do the next Mass Effect game that will not talk about shepard ,sadness will rise on three quarter of your fans like me if someone listen a story about another one he always want the coming next but another new story , no , this is really important you must see this comment

  • Michelle

    The endings were supposed to incite discussion and tears. Having a perfect happy ending is not how ear works. Shepard died already, and was brought back to life. S/he was living in stolen time, anyway. The synthesis ending where Shepard sacrifices one life for all of the galaxy to live peacefully is amazing. There is always sacrifice, and that’s the point of the games. The first one Ashley or Maiden had to die.

  • Michelle

    The endings were supposed to incite discussion and tears. Having a perfect happy ending is not how ear works. Shepard died already, and was brought back to life. S/he was living in stolen time, anyway. The synthesis ending where Shepard sacrifices one life for all of the galaxy to live peacefully is amazing. There is always sacrifice, and that’s the point of the games. The first one Ashley or Kaiden had to die, and the second one had many decisions where something had to be given up to save another. Javelin mission is a good example of that. Motrin and Legion had to die to save the Krogan and the Geth. It was an emotional roller coaster, and with the epilogue and extra goodbye scene released the endings were amazing. I don’t understand how you can hate the endings. Yes, I’ve read many comments and articles, but the reasoning sounds weak and like just plain whining to me. I’m sorry you don’t like it, and you are all entitled to it, but SUING them? Pretty pathetic, really.

  • Lahkesis

    This is such a relief, Shepard went through too much to die twice. They deserve to live on and retire in peace with their love interest.

  • Patrick

    oh thank godness he is alive in the destrution and i now wish to have ME4 now. and in that i wish he find his crew and the alliances offer him Normandy SR-3…