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My Big Fat "Mass Effect: Andromeda" Theory

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Lee has an embarrassingly deep love of all things "Mass Effect." Her favorite is the original first game.

"Mass Effect: Andromeda" cover art.

"Mass Effect: Andromeda" cover art.

I recently completed another playthrough of Mass Effect: Andromeda and found myself thinking how much it sucks that we're basically not getting an Andromeda 2. There were so many plotlines left unfinished in anticipation of a sequel or DLC that just never happened.

And being the story-lover that I am, I basically started making up my own theories as to what is going on in Andromeda to satisfy my thirst for a sequel. Maybe my theories will help other fans move on as well, because . . . a sequel ain't comin', folks.

Yes, I know the developers said the "Next Mass Effect" was going to be a sequel to both Andromeda and the original trilogy, but all evidence in the trailer points to the next game being a sequel to the OT, with only a few callbacks to Andromeda.

Andromeda has clearly been discarded. Game developers lie to fans all the time to protect their coins and avoid fan backlash. It's okay if you believed them. I was a naïve gamer once, too.

Welcome to my big fat Mass Effect: Andromeda theory.

The Kett Caused the Scourge

An image of the Scourge.

An image of the Scourge.

At the end of the game, we learn that the kett already know where Meridian is and that they've been there for some time, studying the place. We also learn that the spread of the Scourge originated in Meridian and that the fleeing Jardaan recorded it as an outside attack.

It makes perfect sense: the Jardaan created life and the kett can't reproduce. Why wouldn't they wipe out the Jardaan and then try to take their tech? They could use it to make never-ending kett templates and their reproduction problems would be over . . . At least, they could have done that if the Archon weren't so stupid as to not have realized it.

There was probably some higher up who wanted Meridian to make templates and exalting the cluster was just a temporary solution. That the Archon wanted to use Meridian to destroy all worlds was absurd. No wonder the Primus hated him.

The Archon.

The Archon.

Thanks to Peebee, we can also speculate that some of the Jardaan survived the attack. Peebee is this game's writer's pet, and as a result, she is often used as a mouthpiece aka a voice for the writers.

In her first conversation with Ryder on the Tempest, Peebee is used to explain that Andromeda is supposed to be a departure from the original Mass Effect trilogy with her "been there, done that" comments. And much later in the game, she speculates about what would happen if the Jardaan came back and found them in their galaxy.

Since Peebee is the writer's mouthpiece, I always felt her conversation about the Jardaan was the writer's way of hinting that a sequel could involve the return of the Jardaan, and thus, we are supposed to believe that some of the Jardaan escaped the kett and survived.

This would also explain why the kett only showed up eighty years before the events of the game: they left to chase the Jardaan and returned to study the tech in hopes of saving their people, only to find the angara ripe for exaltation.

The fact that the Archon and Ryder both want the Remtech to save their own people could have been an interesting dichotomy. Just one of many ways the writing failed in this otherwise fun game.

The Jardaan Were AI

My Ryder finds the ancient AI.

My Ryder finds the ancient AI.

It's my belief that the kett didn't just fire the Scourge to steal the Jardaan's life-giving technology, but also because the Jardaan were AI, and the kett are shown to hate AI throughout the game, namely in a quest on Voeld, where they attack and try to kill an ancient AI beneath the frozen city.

But how did I come to the conclusion that the Jardaan are AI? Look at the way Remtech works. It requires an organic and synthetic merging, which is why Ryder and SAM can use it, and also why Ryder can't use it without SAM.

Jaal examines an angara template.

Jaal examines an angara template.

The angara are cat-jellyfish people with an electromagnetic ability. They can basically emit an electromagnetic pulse that damages electronics and weapons. The ability is reminiscent of jellyfish stings but seems to have had the purpose of allowing them to use Remnant technology.

And indeed, we learn on Havarl that some of the angara can use Remtech, but only after years of practice and study. I believe they were designed to merge with AI, and not having AI symbiosis is the reason they can't properly operate Remtech.

In other words, the Jardaan were AI who designed organic beings with the purpose of possessing them, likely in order to experience life as a living, biological creature while still maintaining the advantages of being an AI.

Or What If The Angara Setoff The Scourge?

My Ryder looks at the Remnant city under Eos.

My Ryder looks at the Remnant city under Eos.

If the aforementioned theory is true, it makes for very sinister implications. For all we know, the angara could have been created to be slaves to their AI masters, used like living spacesuits to experience love, sex, and life (much in the same way SAM uses Ryder to experience love, sex, and life).

Interestingly enough, Jaal makes a comparison between his people and the quarians in the game itself. While standing in the cultural center, he tells Ryder that he sympathizes with the quarians because they fought so hard for their home against hostile AI, the same way he must fight against the kett. Ryder answers (automatically without player input) that it was a different circumstance because the geth were actually created by the quarians, while the angara weren't to blame for the kett.

But what if Jaal is on to something? What if the Jardaan/angara are a reverse-geth/quarian war? What if the angara setoff the Scourge to free themselves of the Jardaan and have (perhaps deliberately) forgotten the truth of their origins in their histories?

The Benefactor is the Shadow Broker

My screenshot of Shepard and Liara in "Mass Effect 2," Lair of the Shadow Broker.

My screenshot of Shepard and Liara in "Mass Effect 2," Lair of the Shadow Broker.

Back in Mass Effect 2, Liara explains to Shepard that the Shadow Broker knew the Reapers were coming and spent a lot of time searching for a way to survive. Since the Andromeda Initiative departed between Mass Effect 2 and Mass Effect 3, it's my belief that Liara is the Mysterious Benefactor who set up the whole thing, using Jien Garson as her representative.

The Next Mass Effect Trailer

There is a small amount of evidence for this in the "Next Mass Effect" trailer, a teaser which features an older Liara walking through snow-covered Reapers. Fans have already noted the person in Initiative armor in the background.

For me, Liara appearing with the Initiative in a future installment is just further evidence that she is the Mysterious Benefactor. Likely because of the trailer, and because of the events in Lair of the Shadow Broker, this is a common theory among fans.

But before the trailer was even released, this was something I always believed based on a few factors.

Shepard and Liara discuss the former Shadow Broker.

Shepard and Liara discuss the former Shadow Broker.

  • Shepard reads a farewell speech to the Andromeda Initiative in a BioWare trailer, implying that she knew about the Initiative and endorsed it.
  • We learn during the Ryder Family Secrets quest that the Benefactor and Alec Ryder created the Initiative to save people from the Reapers but kept it quiet for fear of a panic. Now Ryder is the only person who knows.
  • We also know that Liara had a friendly relationship with Alec Ryder through the audio logs she sends him. Alec even asks her to join the Initiative at one point and she laughs, insisting on staying in the Milky Way (she laughs because she's the Mysterious Benefactor and he doesn't realize it).

Tann Killed Jien Garson

Jarun Tann.

Jarun Tann.

Either Tann killed Garson or he covered it up.

The main reason I suspect Tann is involved in the murder is the fact that he straight-up lies to you about how Jien died. Ryder discovers that Jien Garson was murdered while hiding in an apartment from her murderer, but Tann will tell you that she died in her cryo pod when the Scourge hit. And on top of that, Ryder never really confronts him about any of it, which could mean that Ryder suspects him and doesn't have the power or evidence to expose him, so she backs down.

Another image of Jarun Tann.

Another image of Jarun Tann.

Aside from his gross krogan racism, Tann isn't as terrible as characters in the game say. I mean, he doesn't really do much that warrants the level of hostility he's shown by basically everyone (especially the exiles, who made their own bed with the mutiny). Most of the characters hate him simply because he's salarian and they feel threatened by and/or jealous of him being in power (Kesh is threatened; Addison is jealous).

Tann isn't a likeable person, but he isn't the Hitler the other characters make him out to be. We never actually see evidence that he does anything bad. Even the krogan becoming exiles was Spender's doing. And Spender keeps pushing for Tann to fire Kesh, but Tann ignores him because he knows it would make the situation worse.

Tann has his prejudices, but he's also pragmatic enough to kiss ass. He keeps Kesh on the station to keep the krogan mollified, and the second he sees that Ryder can be useful, he makes an effort to kiss her butt as well. He's smart enough to know that behaving like Spender and Addison (aka treating people like dirt) is no way to survive and make things happen.

But what if the game was setting us up to discover that Tann was actually a murderer and all the hatred of him was justified? We have also seen that Tann loves having power, as is evidenced by his refusal to give up his role at the end of the game when discussing a council. Could he have had Jien Garson killed so that he could take over?

Ellen Would Have Been Cured By Remtech

Ellen Ryder.

Ellen Ryder.

As I mention up higher, the Jardaan's "remnant" technology was lifegiving. And during the Ryder Family Secrets quest, we discover that Ryder's mother, Ellen Ryder, isn't actually dead but frozen in a cryo pod and awaiting the day she can be cured of her illness.

It only follows that Ryder would have eventually found some way to use Meridian to save her mother. It might have even been a small DLC that focused on the Ryder family, not unlike Dragon Age 2's Legacy.

Andromeda Fans Were Burned

The planets are revived in the ending cut scenes.

The planets are revived in the ending cut scenes.

Could you imagine if we had gotten to see all of this playout in a new trilogy?

Imagine getting to save Ellen in a DLC, becoming closer to your twin, further developing your romance, discovering the angara were responsible for the Scourge, seeing what the Jardaan looked like, or seeing the planets slowly evolve to produce beautiful plant life and new creatures, krogan babies, the arrival of the fifth ark . . .

This game had so much potential and all of it was thrown in the trash without a backward glance. I think most fans have learned to be weary of buying anything from EA in the future.

What's the point investing yourself in a story whose producers don't care enough to finish it?

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