Why BioWare revealed the “doomsday ending” for Mass Effect 2

If you think the title of this post has somehow spoiled the story of Mass Effect 2 for you, know that BioWare was first to spill the beans. During their presentation of the sci-fi sequel at this year’s E3, they revealed one of the game’s possible, and possibly most controversial, endings. And they didn’t just tell, they showed.

BioWare’s Mass Effect 2 demo ended with (SPOILER) a savage surprise attack on the Normandy, reducing the ship to scrap and sending Shepard hurtling into the void of space, his damaged suit bleeding oxygen. (END SPOILER) Though Commander Shepard can survive, depending on your careful navigation through the game’s complex web of choices, it will be a challenge. Considering his permanent retirement from the series is such a shocking and, should the game makers be believed, probable outcome, why sabotage the surprise?

“It’s complicated and not all is as it might seem at first glance,” BioWare co-founder Ray Muzyka explained in an interview with G4‘s Patrick Klepek. “Mass Effect 2, like other BioWare titles such as Dragon Age: Origins, is full of awesome twists and turns, so even discussing the premise of the story is tricky. We have to remain fairly cryptic about what we’ve shown and what it meant. The reason we showed what we did at E3 was to illustrate the concept of the game while leaving as much as possible ‘unspoiled.'”

“Ultimately it comes down to the fact that the core idea of the story in Mass Effect 2 is the fact that you know from the start how dangerous the mission is at the end, and that much of the story is about how you prepare for it,” said Muzyka. “To be serious about the suicide mission concept, we’ve implemented the possibility that Shepard and team could die in the end – thus elevating the importance of powerful choices and emotionally engaging consequences.”

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