Post Extended Cut

Since the release of the Extended Cut some of the information that was on here needs to be revised. However i never did get around to this, however once the Legendary Edition is out I will likely rewrite the entire analysis. Not sure yet if that will mean simply editing what currently exists or more likely posting new analysis that pulls still relevant info from what was previously posted.

The old Introduction and analysis can always be seen here.

So the Extended Cut did not confirm or deny the "Indoctrination Theory". However the changes it presented do make a big difference to the theory. For a start there are a few areas in which it disproves certain aspects of the theory by filling in plot holes. It also adds a few new pieces of evidence along the way.

There are those that now claim the Indoctrination Theory has been proven false. This seems to based on two reasons, the first being that it now seems unlikely that everything after Harbingers beam is an hallucination (something I never really accepted). The second being simply that the Extended Cut did not confirm the Indoctrination Theory, since a core belief of many was that it would be used for the reveal.

Both strong arguments in my opinion. However don't count out the Indoctrination Theory yet. First off allow me to go back to a few comments I made in the original introduction. I said at the time that the Indoctrination Theory "probably only partially explains Bioware's intent; but I am also convinced the literal interpretation could not possibly be 100% true either."

This is still my position. I always argued that the Indoctrination Theory should not be taken as a "complete theory that has to be taken as a whole. Because I simply do not believe that is the case. It is quite likely in my opinion that some parts of the so-called theory contain truth while others do not."

So the fact that some parts of it seem to be discredited by the Extended Cut should not lead to rejecting the whole theory. Especially when Bioware made no effort to disprove other stronger pieces of evidence, added some other clues and the fact that some plot elements are still better explained by the Indoctrination Theory.

Also it is a stated fact that Bioware always intended the ending to be open to interpretation. We know they wanted "lot's of speculation" and they certainly got it. It is because of this intent I believe they not only refuse to come out and tell us if the Indoctrination Theory is true or false, it is why Mike Gamble said Bioware "don't want to be prescriptive for how people interpret the ending".

To confirm this beyond any doubt, Tully Ackland Community Coordinator at Bioware said this on the Bioware Social Network in response to a discussion in which some users were saying IT was dead and to let it go -

There are elements of Mass Effect 3 that are meant to have non-literal interpretations. The hope is that these things provide thought-provoking discussion about the themes of the story and the motivations of characters. As such, we would prefer not to comment on players’ interpretations of these elements, since it would ruin the enjoyment of such discussion by suggesting there is a single, concrete way of viewing them.
I strongly believe Bioware intend elements of Indoctrination to be evident in the ending, and for people to interpret it in a multitude of ways.

And it is because of this, and my love for Mass Effect that I maintain this blog.


  1. This post was made on "July 32rd", WTF? blogspot is failing.

  2. LOL, nope that was my bad. Fixed. Thanks

  3. Hey, take a look at my take on the ending. Some items you and others have put together and a couple I haven't seen anywhere else.

  4. Also took a look at some of the names that I thought were intersting. Let me know what you think:

  5. Interesting stuff. Thanks for sharing. I'll try and find somewhere to fit it in.

  6. A new approach to indoctrination that you may like:

  7. You never rewrote your blog to incorporate the Extended Cut despite your stated intentions. That's okay, of course, but I recently completed my first playthrough with all DLCs installed so I never got to witness the original ending. To me, it feels Indoctrination Theory makes a lot of sense, even with the EC installed.

    Could you point out what specific changes debunk IT? The only thing I can think of, out of the blue, is resolved plot holes, like the scene that shows your squad getting picked up by the Normandy. But plot holes were never central evidence to IT, only circumstantial, to corroborate the illogical nature of the ending.

    And there's the fourth choice: not choosing. It doesn't elegantly fit with IT, true, but if you believe that both IT and "face value theory" are simultaneously valid and intended by Bioware, as I do, it doesn't change that much. The EC was released to please the people who chose to take the ending at face value, anyway.

  8. Besides, your squad gets picked up before Harbinger's hit, so it doesn't matter for IT anyway.

    Indoctrination succeeds not until strong-willed Shepard is at his/her weakest, suffering immense physical trauma and being in close proximity to the most powerful Reaper. I never understood why IT opponents didn't get the difference between "indoctrination" and "attempts at indoctrination", anyway.

    But let's leave it at that, for now. ;)

  9. I know. I really do intend to rewrite the blog for the EC.

    And I agree that the EC does not disprove or even undermine IT. However the fact they went to lengths to explain plot holes that didn't need explaining for IT, it does give some ammunition to the detractors. And it does require a reevaluation of some of the original parts of the theory.

    I also think that the Leviathan DLC considerably adds weight to the IT.

    All of which is why I want to rewrite. And eventually when I have time, I promise I will.

  10. Good to hear.

    I'm especially interested in the Leviathan stuff. Not because I suffer from confirmation bias ;) but because a great deal of Leviathan's story went, well, past me. Half the time I couldn't even make out what the creature was saying. Also, too busy enjoying the 1st-person perspective.

    Currently writing down my own thoughts on ME3 and IT. If it ends up interesting, I'll send you the link.

  11. Just finished the Mass Effect series and I love the trilogy (minus the endings). It was quite the ride!

    I also really enjoy reading up on this indoctrination theory. I know it's been quite some time since an update was given, but I really look forward to your updates in relation to the EC!

    1. Thanks. I will try and get around to it soon.

  12. I'd love to see a specific list of things that are in the EC that do support IT. I'd almost forgotten how passionate I was about this whole thing until I stumbled upon your blog!