Social Indoctrination


Why We Wish To Retake Mass Effect




Much has been made of the quality, or more accurately, the lack of it, of the Mass Effect trilogy's ending. Enough has been made of it, in fact, that it has drawn the attention of major news outlets, like the BBC (, and CBS (, and multiple Tech-Blog posts on Forbes.

This has caused a number of people to set up everything from a Twitter Hash tag 'forum' to a charity drive that, as of this writing, has raised seventy nine thousand dollars for the charity Child's Play.

In response, a number of people have taken to calling these “Retake Mass Effect” protestors “whiny” and “entitled”. That's what they say. What I hear is something different, “Submit.”

Our player character, Commander Shepard, has spent the first two games being told to submit. In the first, the attackers were Ambassador Udina and the Council, because the Reapers were not possibly real. We were imagining it. Saren and his robot allies were acting alone, in some mad plot to take over the citadel.

In the second game, the Reaper Harbinger repeatedly told us to submit. We were fighting against forces far too powerful to overcome, that “[Our] death is assured.” and that “[We] are no longer relevant.

Sounds familiar.

The explanation many of us have latched onto, the indoctrination theory (best described in the video found here:, has the ultimate effect of taking over her the mind of the victim, so they want what the Reapers want, they feel what the Reapers want them to feel.

Doesn't this sound familiar too? “Trust the greater power's artistic vision. It is their right to rule as they see fit.

Like Keith David said, “Listen to yourselves!” You – not Shepard – YOU are indoctrinated.

My personal favorite argument for the “Retake” movement is how out of character Shepard seems during the final ending sequence. She has been fighting against the Reapers for three full games and, at the end, she appears to give in to the false choice that the reapers present. Many of us have argued her proper, in character, response would be to tell the choice giver to go to hell.

We're not telling Bioware to go to hell. As a movement, we believe that's too renegade. Yes, it gets the point across, but it also alienates people. We have too much respect for their game design, the story telling to do that.

Despite the insults, despite the flames, we have remained civil and we have remained united. Like in the golden ending of the Quarrians vs Geth arc, especially right after the Rannoch Reaper states that organics and synthetics cannot live together as they are: We want to prove our critics wrong. We want to work with Bioware in creating this new, golden, ending.

In fact, quite a number of us have the belief that Bioware created this entire fight, this entire controversy, as a social experiment. But intentionally, or inadvertently, they themselves have created this movement.

We fight for the fallen. We fight for the future.

We fight for the truth.

We think Shepard would be proud.