[VIDEO] The Problem of Choice - a logical approach to EC ending interpretation (IT related)

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[VIDEO] The Problem of Choice - a logical approach to EC ending interpretation (IT related)

Post by Jarrod_L on Wed Jan 09, 2013 3:01 pm

I thought I'd post this here, since it's essentially IT but approached from a different angle.

Warning, the video below contains spoilers for the Leviathan DLC (released relatively recently, so some here may not wish to spoil themselves).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6_RGX1ujGUU

What is this video?

It is a presentation of my take at interpretation of the controversial ending of Mass Effect 3, including all DLC content released to date (namely, the Extended Cut and Leviathan).

Why would you want to waste 50 minutes of your life to watch it and how is it different from other interpretations?
1. I did my best to make it fun to watch, adding music and a little humor where appropriate.
2. I use a logical approach.
3. Whenever possible, I try to back up my logic with actual game footage.
4. I don't consider the ending *bad* and this is not a rant video.
5. Judging by the like/dislike ratio on the original pre-EC video, a lot of people enjoyed my view on things.

This is a revision of my previous video on the subject:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tkatnxvzvZU

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Re: [VIDEO] The Problem of Choice - a logical approach to EC ending interpretation (IT related)

Post by clennon8 on Wed Jan 09, 2013 4:03 pm

Great video! I'd seen it before. It was worth watching again.
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Re: [VIDEO] The Problem of Choice - a logical approach to EC ending interpretation (IT related)

Post by smokingotter on Wed Jan 09, 2013 4:04 pm

His other video "There is only one choice" is a must watch.
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Re: [VIDEO] The Problem of Choice - a logical approach to EC ending interpretation (IT related)

Post by clennon8 on Wed Jan 09, 2013 4:08 pm

I've seen that one too. A must watch for sure.
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Re: [VIDEO] The Problem of Choice - a logical approach to EC ending interpretation (IT related)

Post by DoomsdayDevice on Wed Jan 09, 2013 4:09 pm

I loved the "There is only one choice" video, as it was exactly how I felt about the ending after first playing it.

What made me realize it was indoctrination is how TIM had advocated control, and Saren synthesis.

I'll check this out! Cool

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Re: [VIDEO] The Problem of Choice - a logical approach to EC ending interpretation (IT related)

Post by Andromidius on Thu Jan 10, 2013 12:19 am

I'll repeat what I said in the main thread:

Why, if Synthesis is the ideal solution to the 'The Intelligence's problem', is there choice given? Why are we given a bad solution that solves nothing, an acceptable compromise, and the ideal solution? That's completely against the reasoning of a logical machine! If there's only one choice, only one choice is given!

I call bullshit on any idea that 'Synthesis cannot be forced' - it clearly can be, even if Shepard agrees to it. It is forced upon the entire Galaxy, all species and all organic life, and potentially all future life as well. It is also forced upon all synthetic life! The only way the idea of it not being forced is if it only effects one person - Shepard. Rewriting his/her DNA and combining the organic and synthetic into a perfect union. i.e. Turning Shepard into a Reaper.

Offering Control is offering the illusion of control and power. That is what TIM had. If Shepard takes this, Shepard is surrendering to the will of the Reapers and becoming their slave - by thinking they are in control.

Destroy is offered as the same choice the Reapers have always offered - surrender yourselves to them, or be annihilated. Picking this option is an act of defiance. The Reapers have threatened to kill Shepard many times, and have seemingly tried to many times as well. They've always failed. Their threats are nothing.

So the only reason the choices could make sense is if they were a con, a trap, a way to trick Shepard into doing what they want - either submitting to becoming a Reaper, or compromising and merely becoming their slave - and to talk Shepard out of continuing the struggle against them.
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Re: [VIDEO] The Problem of Choice - a logical approach to EC ending interpretation (IT related)

Post by BleedingUranium on Thu Jan 10, 2013 1:44 am

I can't watch it right now, but I definitely plan on it. "There Is Only One Choice" is in my opinion the best IT-related video ever, tied with Avoycods's video, however you spell his name.
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Re: [VIDEO] The Problem of Choice - a logical approach to EC ending interpretation (IT related)

Post by Natabre on Thu Jan 10, 2013 2:09 am

The video definitely strengthens my belief that Destroy is the only logical choice. I did not want the video to end, though! Crying or Very sad
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Re: [VIDEO] The Problem of Choice - a logical approach to EC ending interpretation (IT related)

Post by skillz1986 on Fri Jan 11, 2013 3:51 pm

Thanks Jarrod. One of the best vids out there. Simple yet very coherent and effective.

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Re: [VIDEO] The Problem of Choice - a logical approach to EC ending interpretation (IT related)

Post by Jarrod_L on Sun Jan 13, 2013 9:49 am

Andromidius wrote:I call bullshit on any idea that 'Synthesis cannot be forced' - it clearly can be, even if Shepard agrees to it. It is forced upon the entire Galaxy, all species and all organic life, and potentially all future life as well. It is also forced upon all synthetic life! The only way the idea of it not being forced is if it only effects one person - Shepard. Rewriting his/her DNA and combining the organic and synthetic into a perfect union. i.e. Turning Shepard into a Reaper.
Andromidius wrote:
Offering Control is offering the illusion of control and power. That is what TIM had. If Shepard takes this, Shepard is surrendering to the will of the Reapers and becoming their slave - by thinking they are in control.

Very good points. I have a slightly different view on Control - from the Intelligence's perspective of machine logic, it's not an "illusion". Shepard is indeed going to "replace" it. The trick is that by the time he gets to his new "duties" of controlling the Reapers, there will be nothing left of "Shepard" - and the Intelligence honestly warns him about it. He's going to die, and lose EVERYTHING makes him, well, a human that he is. The machine AI version of him that is created upon choosing Control is going to be then imprinted with Intelligence's own Reaper code. Have you ever overwritten a file with the same name in Windows and thus lost all data in that file? This is what's going to happen to Shepard.

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Re: [VIDEO] The Problem of Choice - a logical approach to EC ending interpretation (IT related)

Post by DoomsdayDevice on Thu Jan 17, 2013 1:36 pm

Great video. I absolutely recommend this to everyone.

I like how it simply focuses on the choices, rather than going the beaten path of analyzing the events of the ending.

10/10.

I will try and get these videos added to the IT info topic. (I've been saying for months that the 'There's only One Choice' video should be added)


Last edited by DoomsdayDevice on Thu Jan 17, 2013 2:04 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: [VIDEO] The Problem of Choice - a logical approach to EC ending interpretation (IT related)

Post by Andromidius on Thu Jan 17, 2013 1:49 pm

Jarrod_L wrote:
Andromidius wrote:I call bullshit on any idea that 'Synthesis cannot be forced' - it clearly can be, even if Shepard agrees to it. It is forced upon the entire Galaxy, all species and all organic life, and potentially all future life as well. It is also forced upon all synthetic life! The only way the idea of it not being forced is if it only effects one person - Shepard. Rewriting his/her DNA and combining the organic and synthetic into a perfect union. i.e. Turning Shepard into a Reaper.
Andromidius wrote:
Offering Control is offering the illusion of control and power. That is what TIM had. If Shepard takes this, Shepard is surrendering to the will of the Reapers and becoming their slave - by thinking they are in control.

Very good points. I have a slightly different view on Control - from the Intelligence's perspective of machine logic, it's not an "illusion". Shepard is indeed going to "replace" it. The trick is that by the time he gets to his new "duties" of controlling the Reapers, there will be nothing left of "Shepard" - and the Intelligence honestly warns him about it. He's going to die, and lose EVERYTHING makes him, well, a human that he is. The machine AI version of him that is created upon choosing Control is going to be then imprinted with Intelligence's own Reaper code. Have you ever overwritten a file with the same name in Windows and thus lost all data in that file? This is what's going to happen to Shepard.

I agree that would definately be the case in a literal interpretation of those events. If anything, the Reaper Shep might be worse then the original Reaper Commander - since it knows second hand how bad organics can be, and knows all the current Cycle's strengths and weaknesses. It would likely just continue its current objective, only with renewed vigor!

By getting Shepard's memories, they've done what they did to the Protheans - just from a different angle. "The Reapers knew everything about us." With Shepard leading them, they would be able to crush this Cycle with contemptous ease.

Also, let's think about when someone 'replaces' another in a different setting. The Elder Scrolls: Oblivion. The player can replace the Mad Daedric Sheogorath. Literally becomes Sheogorath, and allows the previous Sheogorath to become something else. No apperent changes to personality or purpose, just a new host.

Chilling.
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Re: [VIDEO] The Problem of Choice - a logical approach to EC ending interpretation (IT related)

Post by Jarrod_L on Sat Jan 19, 2013 6:55 am

Andromidius wrote:

I agree that would definately be the case in a literal interpretation of those events.

It does not have to be literal in the sense that the Crucible is really fired and Shep replaces every copy of Reaper intelligence out there.

Think of it this way:
- "Your corporeal body will be dissolved" --> Indoctrinated Shepard loses control of his body, thus it might as well be gone from current Shep's point of view.
- "You will die, you will lose everything" --> Everything that is current Shep will be gone
- "You will no longer be organic, your connection with your kind will be lost" --> Instead, Shep's mind will be taken over by AI machine intelligence
- "You'll control and direct us as you see fit." --> In reality, the only "Reaper" that will be controlled by the new machine intelligence is the one implanted in Shep's mind. But, from the Intelligence's perspective, that doesn't matter - because every Reaper is running the same code and making the same decisions! He/it might as well have control over the whole fleet, it wouldn't change a damn thing.

Control thus boils down to the following from the Catalyst's point of view:
"Think you can do a better job, huh? Very well, here's your own Reaper to do as you please with, and here's the program I've been following. Good luck."
Which I think is kind of hilarious... :) but also appropriate if you remember what you're talking to - a machine intelligence that seriously thinks that Reapers are a good logical solution to the problem of preserving life.

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Re: [VIDEO] The Problem of Choice - a logical approach to EC ending interpretation (IT related)

Post by BleedingUranium on Sat Jan 19, 2013 7:44 am

I finally watched it (a couple days ago), and wow, it was even better than the original, very well done!

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Re: [VIDEO] The Problem of Choice - a logical approach to EC ending interpretation (IT related)

Post by DSharrah on Thu Jan 24, 2013 8:29 pm

excellent vid

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Re: [VIDEO] The Problem of Choice - a logical approach to EC ending interpretation (IT related)

Post by Jarrod_L on Sat Feb 02, 2013 6:53 pm

Something that may or may not have been noticed by the indoctrination theorists already (I haven't been keeping track of the IT forums).

Extended Cut, Lowest EMS Destroy ending:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HIiHLyyIjuo

At 34:49, the surviving soldier retrieves [Shepard's] N7 helmet from London rubble.

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Re: [VIDEO] The Problem of Choice - a logical approach to EC ending interpretation (IT related)

Post by Andromidius on Sat Feb 02, 2013 8:55 pm

Wow. Nice.

I don't think anyone even bothered to check out the low EMS Destroy for clues. Not to mention that soldier pulled it out of wreckage and rubble, in what looks like London. And that scene only happens in low EMS Destroy?

And that's definately Shep's default helmet. The same one we see in the flashbacks in the Arrival fail cinematic?
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Re: [VIDEO] The Problem of Choice - a logical approach to EC ending interpretation (IT related)

Post by Eryri on Sat Feb 02, 2013 9:07 pm

Andromidius wrote:Wow. Nice.

I don't think anyone even bothered to check out the low EMS Destroy for clues. Not to mention that soldier pulled it out of wreckage and rubble, in what looks like London. And that scene only happens in low EMS Destroy?

And that's definately Shep's default helmet. The same one we see in the flashbacks in the Arrival fail cinematic?

I'm not sure it's exactly Shepard's helmet, though it is the same basic model. This one seems to have an Alliance logo on the forehead.
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Re: [VIDEO] The Problem of Choice - a logical approach to EC ending interpretation (IT related)

Post by Jarrod_L on Sun Feb 03, 2013 7:32 am

The same helmet is shown in EVERY ending (except Refuse) at some point lying in rubble very similar to the one in Shepard's breath scene.

With small fires burning in rubble nearby, even in Control - which supposedly leaves the Citadel intact and unharmed... ;)

And every time, in every ending, someone at this moment is talking about "remembering those who sacrificed themselves" to achieve this victory.

If this isn't Shep's helmet, then why show it at all and why would Bioware go to such lengths to put in every ending?


Last edited by Jarrod_L on Sun Feb 03, 2013 9:51 am; edited 1 time in total

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Re: [VIDEO] The Problem of Choice - a logical approach to EC ending interpretation (IT related)

Post by Eryri on Sun Feb 03, 2013 9:49 am

Jarrod_L wrote:The same helmet is shown in EVERY ending (except Refuse) at some point lying in rubble very similar to the one in Shepard's breath scene.

With small fires burning in rubble nearby, even in Control - which supposedly leaves the Citadel intact and unharmed... ;)

And every time, in every ending, someone at this moment is talking about "remembering those who sacrificed themselves" to achieve this victory.

If this isn't Shep's helmet, then why show it at all and why would Bioware go to such lengths to put in every ending?

It could well be meant to represent Shep's helmet. I'm just saying that there seems to be a couple of differences, the arch of the Alliance logo on the forehead, and I think it also lacks the N7 logo. I would agree that it makes little sense if it's just some random soldier's helmet.

By the way, that link you gave might have been hacked or something. It made some sex chat thing pop up on my screen.
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Re: [VIDEO] The Problem of Choice - a logical approach to EC ending interpretation (IT related)

Post by Jarrod_L on Sun Feb 03, 2013 9:53 am

Eryri wrote:
By the way, that link you gave might have been hacked or something. It made some sex chat thing pop up on my screen.

My bad, forgot that ImageVenue is now forcing those pop-ups, should have used a different host. I edited the link out, thanks for the heads-up.

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Re: [VIDEO] The Problem of Choice - a logical approach to EC ending interpretation (IT related)

Post by Eryri on Sun Feb 03, 2013 10:04 am

Jarrod_L wrote:

My bad, forgot that ImageVenue is now forcing those pop-ups, should have used a different host. I edited the link out, thanks for the heads-up.

No worries mate, not your fault. I wish these sites wouldn't pull these kinds of sleazy moves. They obscured your picture with something about wind energy. When I clicked on the top right to close it, up popped the chat thing. I should probably get some kind of pop up blocker.

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Re: [VIDEO] The Problem of Choice - a logical approach to EC ending interpretation (IT related)

Post by DoomsdayDevice on Sun Feb 03, 2013 4:13 pm

Nice find!

But Shepard's helmet doesn't have an Alliance logo on it! scratch

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Re: [VIDEO] The Problem of Choice - a logical approach to EC ending interpretation (IT related)

Post by Jarrod_L on Sun Feb 03, 2013 5:44 pm

DoomsdayDevice wrote:Nice find!

But Shepard's helmet doesn't have an Alliance logo on it! scratch

Maybe he has multiple helmets, then...

Or he has a secret hobby - erasing / repainting the logo on his helmet while we're away from the screen getting that cup of coffee. :)

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Re: [VIDEO] The Problem of Choice - a logical approach to EC ending interpretation (IT related)

Post by Jarrod_L on Tue Feb 12, 2013 3:26 pm

Something I realized when trying to "get into the mindset of the machine" when making this video, but didn't put it in - because I didn't like it.

We all (well, most of us here at any rate) assume that choosing Destroy only results in Shepard fighting off indoctrination and possibly waking up in London rubble - the Crucible is not really activated. Because the final scene is merely an indoctrination attempt by the Reapers and the phrase "I am the Catalyst" is merely misdirection and wordplay. It is a "Catalyst" of a sorts - a "catalyst for peace", but not the Crucible-component-Catalyst Shepard has been looking for.

But what if it actually *is* the real Catalyst? What if the Reapers modified the Crucible blueprints at some point in time to lead whoever was trying to build and activate it to this final moment and require the Intelligence's "approval" to fire the weapon? There are certain signs in the game that point to this possibility.

In that case, if you follow the "machine logic" pattern I've established in the video, it's possible that the Catalyst actually activates the Crucible when Shepard chooses Destroy - and the final cutscenes after Destroy are real and happen exactly as shown. Why would the Reapers destroy themselves? Because they've been acting under "belief" that they're doing the right thing. They're serving the noble purpose of "preserving" organic life, even if organics are not "ready" to be saved. If Shepard does not choose Control or Synthesis - its "alternative" current solutions - in the final moments, it indeed confirms to the Catalyst that its solution "won't work anymore". It thus "self-destructs" to let the organics figure out a new solution on their own, rather than continue fighting and allow more Reapers - the result of previous cycles hard work, the preserved vessels of organic species from those cycles - to be destroyed by the "misguided" organics. The Crucible Destroy beam then wipes away all copies of Reaper code controlling the Reapers, but leaves the Reaper shells intact - along with their precious "preserved" contents.

I'm afraid this might be what Bioware really intended - the ending cutscenes are to be taken literally in Destroy, and IT as it currently stands is only partially right. Why don't I like this "side-theory" and actually prefer the popular IT version of events? A few reasons, the most important one being - it brings back one of the greatest problems I originally had with the ending.

If, after investing tons of time and emotional effort, we finally manage to defeat the Reapers, it should NOT be because they LET us win. They should NOT be allowed to condescendingly self-destruct as an act of charity, even if it is a direct result of our efforts and our decision. Such "victory" is hardly satisfying, and leaves a bitter aftertaste in my mouth. It's not the "victory" worthy to be the crowning moment of the whole Mass Effect series, not by a longshot.

Instead, if we finally manage to defeat the Reapers, it should be because we BEAT them. Despite all odds and despite all their best efforts to stop us, despite everything they are throwing at us - we defeat them. After everything we've been through in ME series, I feel we as players deserve the satisfaction of personally punching the button that destroys the Reapers and watching them burn, in spite of their resistance.

With literal interpetation of Destroy, it feels like I am denied that satisfaction in ME3 and am left with a "victory" that feels condescending, hollow and bitter. If, on the other hand, upon choosing Destroy Shepard merely fights off indoctrination, and the Reapers are still fully devoted to their current solution, then I still have a chance to enjoy the kind of victory I've been hoping for - in Mass Effect 4.

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