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Game Theory: PROVING Mass Effect's Indoctrination Theory! | Mass Effect 3

Game Theory: PROVING Mass Effect's Indoctrination Theory! | Mass Effect 3
What if we just work out a discount? Absolutely, just speak into my console here. I'm commander Shepard, and this is my favourite show on the internet. Oh Commander Shepard, I bet you say that to all the creators. *

Game

Theory

Intro* Hello internet! Welcome to

Game

Theory

, the kindling for internet flame wars! I am your lightning rod of hate Internet. Let it flow through me! And I am sure today will be no different because we're tackling one of the most infamous, controversial
game theory proving mass effect s indoctrination theory mass effect 3
theories from all of gaming. With

Mass

Effect

Andromeda just dropping into our systems and promptly dropping out after you're scared away by faces that exist in only the uncanniest of valleys, for as low of a point as this may be for the series, it can't compare with the true lowest moment: the end of the original trilogy. Because if you thought running around Citadel 2.0 like you have to poop is as low as this series has gotten, just try the crushing blow that comes with a series
building up the importance of your choices across three epic

game

s only to receive an ending with NO final boss and all those carefully crafted choices amounting to a "different colored beam" flying across the sky. It's like a disappointing "The More You Know" PSA. And now, five years later with all the dust settled, the series moving on and all the angry

game

r rage focused on the new installment, I figured now was the perfect time to look back and give

Indoctrination

Theory

the proper

game

theorist treatment, coming to a final and definitive conclusion now that all the revised endings and DLC for the original trilogy are out. Now for all the hoopla around rolling in "astral hay" with sexy blue aliens, the

Mass

Effect

trilogy is, at its core, all about Commander Shepard's quest to stop an invasion of galaxy destroying creatures called Reapers, ancient constructs designed to purge civilizations when they've become too advanced. ME1 is an
interplanetary hunt for Saren, a good guy gone rogue, brainwashed by the Reapers. The final boss battle against him plays out as a thrilling standoff or a tricky negotiation, as he fades in and out of control over his own mind.

Mass

Effect

2 is a race for ownership over Reaper technology; a race against a mysterious figure known as "The Illusive Man", who's looking to control the Reaper tech and make humans the species to rule all others in outer space. That

game

ends with an epic
boss battle inside a derelict Reaper, and you having to decide whether the Illusive Man gets a hold of any of the remaining tech from them. And

Mass

Effect

3 is when the Reapers finally get to Earth and oh boy, we get REKT! But through countless sacrifices, the galaxy comes together to activate "The Catalyst", the one weapon that may be able to stop the Reapers. The

game

ends, not with a traditional boss fight like the first two, but rather with a really long confusing talk with a
hologram. A hologram that's a little kid. After speaking with this kid long enough to get you on some watch lists as well as a surprise party with Chris Hanson, he informs you that you have three choices to ending the

game

: You can destroy the Reapers, along with every other synthetic intelligence in the galaxy, you can control the Reapers by turning them into your own personal army/police force or you can Synthesize, turning everything in the galaxy into a synthetic/organic hybrid, because
yeah, apparently that's a thing that's not only possible, but can be achieved simply by shining a bunch of green lights on people. "Oh look at their pretty green, glowing, futuristic eyes. The future is so cool." Man, if every time a green light was shone on someone you fused with a machine, night clubs would have people walking around with like, blenders fused to their foreheads. Anyway, make your choice, cue the respective colored light and WOW ENDING, MUCH SATISFIED. When

Mass

Effect

3 first launched, this ending felt like a slap in the face. It felt wrong to a lot of people. I mean, what, we trekked from one end of the galaxy to the other across three

game

s, fought off armies of robots, zombies, robot zombies, dismantled crime syndicates, head-butted Krogan, and shot a Reaper in the FACE, only to have the

game

end with a conversation with a holographic kid and three color-coded choices?!? And it didn't just feel wrong because of the brevity either. There was
just something...off about the whole thing. What the Starchild was saying made no logical sense. The order of events started to get all hazy. Characters started to appear in places that logically didn't work and the whole thing was presented like someone lost in a fog. Both from an audio and visual perspective, but also animation started to become weird and unnatural. And remember, this was FIVE YEARS AGO, back when the

game

s had good animation, well... good-ish. Fans felt a
"disturbance in the force" that told them that there was more to this than initially appeared. There had to be. There HAD to be, so a veritable army of Youtubers, Redditers, and Bioware forum members joined forces to pick apart the

game

, the series, and the endings, frame by frame. And they arrived at one SPECTACULAR conclusion: the ending was a LIE! It was happening in Shepard's head! The final test of the

game

wasn't a traditional boss battle, but rather a "Battle of
Wills" - Shepards mind fightingagainst the Reapers'

indoctrination

. And that's where I begin. So, what is

indoctrination

? Take it away,

Mass

Effect

Codex. "Reaper

indoctrination

is an insidious means of corrupting Organic Minds, reprogramming the brain through physical and psychological conditioning using electromagnetic fields, infrasonic and ultrasonic noise, and other subliminal methods. The Reapers resulting control over the limbic system leaves the victim highly
game theory proving mass effect s indoctrination theory mass effect 3
susceptible to its suggestions. Organics undergoing

indoctrination

may complain of headaches and buzzing or ringing in their ears. As time passes, they have feelings of being watched, and hallucinations of ghostly presences. Ultimately, the Reaper gains the ability to use the victim's body to amplify it signals, manifesting as "Alien Voices" in the mind.

Indoctrination

can create perfect Deep Cover agents. A Reaper's suggestions can manipulate victims into betraying friends,
trusting enemies, or viewing the Reaper itself with superstitious awe. Should a Reaper subvert a well-placed political or military leader, the resulting chaos can bring down nations. Long-term physical

effect

s of the manipulation are unsustainable; higher mental functioning decays, ultimately leaving the victim a gibbering animal. Rapid

indoctrination

is possible, but causes this decay in days or weeks. Slow patient

indoctrination

allows the thrall to last for months or years." So to
summarize, it's brainwashing that results from infrasonic sound, with symptoms that include hearing buzzing sounds and seeing ghostly hallucinations. Other indoctrinated organisms can amplify the signal and THE most

effect

ive way to do it is slowly and steadily via long term repeated exposure. And it's worth noting that

indoctrination

can happen not only by coming into contact with Reapers themselves, but with any Reaper technology AT ALL, and that includes quote-unquote "dead"
Reapers. We very clearly see this happen in

Mass

Effect

2. One of the side mission specifically has us hearing about a team of scientists who were studying defunct Reaper tech and then went crazy. They started seeing things and ultimately killed each other. We even witnessed the changes that happen as two major characters become indoctrinated over these

game

s! Remember Saren from

Mass

Effect

1? Canonically, he was indoctrinated to serve the Reapers and he believed that, through cooperation with
them, he could prove that organics were useful. "Once I understood this, I joined Sovereign, though I was aware of the... dangers." The Illusive Man, by contrast, was also indoctrinated, but he believed that he could use Reaper technology to control them. But in reality, they ended up being the ones controlling him. "He could never have taken control because we already controlled him." So very clearly,

indoctrination

is something thoroughly fleshed out throughout all three

game

s in the series. This isn't some random side codex entry that someone thought would be fun to add in at the end. This is an omnipresent motif throughout all three installments and we first-hand witness the

effect

s as we see it infect other main characters. Ultimately,

indoctrination

is THE most terrifying power the Reapers have, even more frightening than their ability to melt entire cities in mere moments, because even the act of fighting the physical threat of these aliens puts you in
harm's way of the PYSCHOLOGICAL threat that they pose. And, knowing this, you can already see the HUGE problem Commander Shepard and his team are facing. Throughout the

Mass

Effect

trilogy, Shepherd has had personal conversations with THREE separate Reapers. He's come into contact and handled several dozen Reaper artifacts, was in close proximity to Saren's ship Sovereign, an active Reaper and heck, even ended

Mass

Effect

2 inside a dead Reaper that was proven to have indoctrinated
people who had visited it in the past! The writing is on the wall! By the time

Mass

Effect

3 rolls around, Shepard should already be looong indoctrinated. But that's not all, because

Mass

Effect

3 is a weird

game

, full of weird creative decision that don't make a whole lot of sense or, at least, don't until you consider Shepard's possible

indoctrination

. Case in point: this kid. ME3's tutorial ends with the Reapers first attack on Earth. Shepard finds this kid, this random,
nameless kid playing and then finds him later hiding in an air shaft once the Reaper attack starts. Since he has no name, let's instead call him "Hoodie". Hoodie McBiscuits. Shepard turns away and little Hoodie McBiscuits does his best Batman impression by disappearing when Shepard turns. Minutes later Hoodie McBiscuits reappears, but this time loading into a rescue vehicle. But GOSH DARNIT, wouldn't you know it the vehicle gets destroyed by a Reaper blast - right in
Shepard's line of vision. "OH NO! SO SAD! MUCH TRAGIC." RIP Hoodie, you will be remembered. Now, for the rest of the

game

, Shepard is haunted by nightmares featuring greasy black shadows where he's forced to chase Hoodie as he runs away. Remember though that this is a guy who sent his own crew members to their deaths. But OH NO it's this random boy that keeps him awake at night. And not only that "McBiscuits" is such an important symbol to the

game

that the
Catalyst, the weapon built to finish off the Reapers, speaks to Shepard by taking its form. And at no point, NO POINT, in any of this does Shepard ever question the Catalyst about its choice of shape. They never stop for a second to go "Uh hey, how could you look exactly like this little boy that's been haunting my dreams for weeks? Also, why do you become a Lord of Cinder when I catch you?" But for as random as these dreams appear, it proves that SOMETHING is in his head. The AI
game theory proving mass effect s indoctrination theory mass effect 3
behind Starchild, whether it's a force for good or evil, is CLEARLY able to access Shepard's brain, because it knows that this shape of a "hoodie wearin' hoodlum" is important to him. But before we dive full-on into Starchild's final scene, because Lord knows there's a whole lot there's a whole lot to unpack there, let's take a step back and reexamine this hoodie wearin' son of a biscuit from his first appearance because our favorite neighborhood scamp
Hoodie... Well he's never existed in the first place. He's a construct implanted into Shepard's mind by the Reapers. The evidence is subtle at first, but UNDENIABLE once you start looking for it. One, nobody, nobody at all, in the entire

game

, sees or acknowledges this child. He's playing alone in the beginning while Shepard watches, he's alone in the air duct while Shepherd talks to him; getting on the rescue ship, these soldiers help everyone else into the shuttle and look
at how they don't help that kid. Either these soldiers have never heard of women and children first or they're not helping because there's nobody actually there to help. Consider this: during the air duct scene, your mentor Admiral Anderson calls the Shepard and when you look back, POOF, the kid has disappeared. Mysterious how the kid pulled a David Blaine and escaped so quickly from a confined space but even MORE interesting is, at that instant, a Reaper nearby lets out a loud
screech. Why does that matter? It's something that Reapers do in the book

Mass

Effect

: Retribution, when they fail to indoctrinate another character by the name of Paul Grayson. It would seem as though Shepard was falling under the thrall of the Reapers, but was temporarily snapped out of it by Anderson, causing the kid to disappear and the Reaper to emit that sound. Now before we dig into more specifics around that sound first I need to address the random dreams that come after this
moment. Like I said from this moment on Shepard constantly has these nightmares featuring smoky black shadows. Well wouldn't you know it: but having dreams with shadows is another byproduct of the Reaper

indoctrination

process. Rewinding all the way back to

Mass

Effect

1, a critical mission that ripples through the entire rest of the series involves Shepard deciding whether or not to kill the Rachni Queen, mother of a species of creepy insect aliens. When interrogating her about the violent
actions of her species' past, the Queen mentions a strange, sour tone coming from deep space. A tone that caused everyone to obey. A sour tone that prompted them to have dark dreams featuring quote: Now, back in

Mass

Effect

3 when we speak to the Rachni Queen again, she once again speaks about that sour note, only now it's more powerful and she says who it's coming from: A race of machines. Later in the dialogue, it's officially confirmed. This race of machines making these
sour notes are the Reapers. So putting together the pieces, the Reapers are trying to indoctrinate the Rachni with their infrasound. Those "sour notes", notes that, as we learn in ME1, cause dreams with oily black shadows. Shadows just like the ones that are appearing in Shepard's nightmares. Sure, it COULD just be a HUGE coincidence that the first time Shepard sees the child, the day all these dreams are triggered, dreams that reflect the style of dreams other indoctrinated
species have had, just so happens to be the very first day that the Reapers show up. Yeah, it could be, but it's NOT. And science proves why. Isn't it weird that Reapers make noises? Kind of seems superfluous for a group of robots that probably communicate using ones and zeroes with each other. Information in this way can move at the speed of light or faster. Talking though? Sound? That travels way slower. Approximately .00015% of the speed of light. So why would robots choose to
communicate this way? Simple: they're not communicating with each other. They're communicating with us. Specifically, with our brains via infrasound. Just like the codex says. Infrasounds are some of the most terrifying things on our planet. If you need an example as to why I did an entire episode on infrasounds in my Mortal Kombat episode; looking at how infrasound can kill you. Long story short though, for today's episode, they're sound waves that run under 20 Hertz. Which is
definitely outside the normal range of hearing for humans, and sounds at those wavelengths, if at high enough volumes, have been shown in study after study to negatively impact humans: from giving them simple headaches, to full-blown anxiety attacks, to even seeing ghosts. And if you look at the spectral analysis of Reaper sounds the truth becomes bone-chilling. You see all these bright colors down there? That's the low frequency range, that means that most of the energy produced by Reaper
vocalizations are in the 30 Hertz and less range. Seriously, I ran their sounds through a spectral analysis and this is what showed up: infrasound, and lots of it. Reapers are literally writing code into people's brains using sound and causing them to see things. Things like, oh I don't know, a small child getting blasted as he tries to escape the planet. Or, better yet, an astral projection of the same kid: the Starchild. But obviously the question is how does that prove the
Reapers' arrival on earth is what prompts Shepards

indoctrination

? Well, soundwaves follow the inverse square law and as a result they get exponentially less powerful as you get further away from their source. That's why folks need to be physically close to Reaper tech in order to feel its

effect

s. And so, when they're super close, just like your next-door neighbor's dog barking nonstop all night, the sound is super powerful and the

effect

s are at their peak. That's why the
Reapers - now on Earth - can precisely control exactly what Shepard is seeing whenever they want. They've closed that distance, that's why Shepard's

indoctrination

is so strong throughout

Mass

Effect

3.

Indoctrination

is an ASSAULT on the will of organics. And creating an innocent victim that just so happened to be in Shepard's sight the very day they show up to harvest humanity? That's no mistake. That's an intentional attack on Shepard to weaken him, to soften him up.
And, you know what, It doesn't even stop there AT ALL. Because now it's time to tackle the ending. Up to this point we've only looked at evidence seeded throughout other parts of the series, but where it all comes crashing down is in the final hour of the

game

, where Shepard gets hit with sky beams, has heart-to-heart talks with Potter Puppet pal versions of key figures in his life, and ultimately gets bored to death by our good buddy Hoodie McBiscuits. Only now he's a hologram.
Like Tupac. But for now the editors are giving me a really dirty look to wrap things up, since doing any video over 15 minutes puts A LOT of stress on them. So, hold tight my theorists, more

Mass

Effect

is on the way. But first, I have a question for yah, does your face look and feel like this after after shaving? Well now it can look, and feel, like this! Thats right, you too can have the strong, masculine, chin and smooth clean shave of Commander Shepard with the help of Dollar Shave Club, for
only - get this - ONE dollar. All you have to do is go to dollarshaveclub.com/MatPat. M-A-T-P-A-T And place your order. BOOM! Get top quality razors delivered straight to your door or Citadel housing pod every month. My name is Matthew Patrick and Dollar Shave Club is my favourite store for razors on the internet. But MatPat, what do I get for that dollar? Well great question girly-voiced-high-pitched viewer, let me tell you: you get any razor of your choice, so here's the pro tip on what
you're gonna do to maximize this offer. Go to the site and order The Executive. It is heavy-duty and it is legitimately the nicest razor I have ever gotten. Plus for that dollar, it also comes with four refills. You're not gonna find bargains like that on the Citadel, so don't get indoctrinated in to the old way of getting razors. Welcome to the future of shaving, go to dollarshaveclub.com/matpat and try it out for only a buck. Also lemme just give you an update here on the schedule
since I'm travelling for VidCon. I think there's going to be a Splatoon

theory

in the week before I finish part 2 of this one, so don't get mad at me if it doesn't appear next week. But hey, the Splatoon

theory

is really awesome, I'm really excited about it, it answers one of the biggest questions from that

game

so it'll be one to watch. It'll be a good one to hold you over until part 2 of this one. I just wanna be upfront and honest with you guys since I know
two-parters can sometimes be frustrating. Please don't hate I'm just trying to do my best to get these done while I'm out of the country for VidCon, and Splatoon was easier to put together than

Mass

Effect

2. So, anyway, if you don't want to miss part 2 of this

Mass

Effect

theory

, it's as easy as punching that Subscribe button. Punch it like Shepard punching a reporter on the Citadel. Oooh, that is satisfying. And, in the meantime, remember: it's all just a

theory

. A

Game

Theory

. Thanks for watching.