The 6 biggest unanswered questions about Mass Effect: Andromeda's ending (SPOILER alert!)
Mass Effect: Andromeda received some mixed reviews, but it's topping sales charts around the world and shows no sign of slowing down.
Andromeda might not be the best game in the Mass Effect series, but it still weaves together some truly great moments, complete with great characters, a mysterious plot, and spectacular alien vistas.
As my time with Mass Effect: Andromeda drew to a close, I found myself crazed by some of the game's unanswered mysteries. Mass Effect: Andromeda has a relatively satisfying conclusion, but it's safe to say it leaves proceedings wide open for a sequel, or at least some DLC.
Here are five of the biggest unanswered questions from Mass Effect: Andromeda ... and their worrying implications.
WARNING: This post contains spoilers. Lots of them.
Trying to explain Mass Effect: Andromeda's ending
Much of Mass Effect: Andromeda is spent attempting to hunt down "golden worlds," which are essentially viable for human life for the explorers and colonists of the Andromeda Initiative. The Andromeda Initiative was set up by Jien Garson and the player's father, Alec Ryder, and it offered hundreds of thousands of Milky Way aliens — including humans, salarian, turian, asari, and quarian — the opportunity to traverse dark space and settle anew in Andromeda.
Upon arriving in the targeted Heleus Cluster, you discover that many of the planetary candidates are either dead or dying. A huge, system-spanning field of dark energy known as the Scourge penetrates the stars, warping the natural ecosystems therein. Each planet comes with its own set of hazards, and it's up to Ryder and his crew to reverse the atmospheric disasters.
You do this by hunting down Remnant vaults, which are (conveniently) a network of ancient terraforming platforms built by a hyper-advanced, unknown alien race. The vaults transform dead worlds into lush, verdant paradises, albeit over time.
Along the way, you encounter the kett race of aliens, which is an invasive species from elsewhere in Andromeda. The kett's local leader, the Archon, is obsessed with Remnant technology and sees it as a weapon.
The kett are discovered to reproduce by "exalting" a species. They use technology to strip out another race's desirable genes while injecting a genome of their own design. You discover that the kett is responsible for subjugating thousands upon thousands of angara, who are the local, generally-peaceful humanoid species in Heleus.
Ryder and his team race to Meridian, which is discovered to be the central control node for all the Remnant vaults in the area. After defeating the Archon, Ryder activates Meridian, and the stellar cluster begins healing more rapidly. All's well, right? Maybe not.
If you do the SAM Node memory unlocking quest chain, you discover that it wasn't the collision with the Scourge that killed the Initiative's founder, Jien Garson. She was, in fact, murdered, for reasons unknown. You also discover that the Andromeda Initiative wasn't set up simply to give thousands of people a chance at finding fortune and glory exploring a new galaxy. Instead, The Andromeda Initiative was designed specifically to help the Milky Way races escape the Reapers, who practically destroy the galaxy in Mass Effect 3.
What's more, you discover that the Andromeda Initiative was bankrolled by an anonymous "benefactor," who Jien Garson and Alec Ryder both became increasingly suspicious of. Alec notes that, while it was great that the benefactor helped them escape the Reapers, something is seriously off, considering the benefactor remains in the shadows, refusing to reveal their identity.
The Andromeda crew decide to put these mysteries to one side, as they had a galaxy to build. But it's clear that these questions will form the basis of future DLC — or even entirely new games.
There are dozens of unanswered questions in Mass Effect: Andromeda, but here are the most pertinent and perplexing.
1. What happened to the quarian ark?
At the start of Mass Effect: Andromeda, you discover that the human, salarian, turian, and asari arks were only part of a first wave of colonization vessels into Andromeda. The quarian ark (conveniently containing hanar, elcor, volus, and drell passengers) ran into technical problems, due to the vessel's strange combination of inhabitants.
At the end of the game, you discover a distress call from the quarian ark, except it's not signaling for help, it's telling the Andromeda Initiative to stay away, warning them about some potentially new threat.
Could the Reapers have followed the quarians to Andromeda? Did something malevolent hitch a ride across dark space? Or did the quarians run into an all-new threat, slated for a reveal in a subsequent DLC or sequel? For now, we can only speculate.
2. Jardaan vs. Scourge
At the end of Mass Effect: Andromeda, we gain some insights into the Remnant, otherwise known as the Jardaan. It seems the Jardaan were responsible for the creation of the angara, and the monolithic terraforming network that dominates much of the game's plot.
Not only that, but the Jardaan created a large spherical biosphere to serve as the central control hub, known in-game as Meridian.
As you traverse Meridian, it becomes apparent that the system-destroying dark energy field known as the Scourge was a weapon unleashed specifically to hunt down the Jardaan and their technology.
Still, there are so many unanswered questions. Who were the Jardaan? Who unleashed the Scourge, and why? Were the Jardaan a machine race, as hinted at by their constructs? Could the Reapers somehow be involved here, again? Were the Jardaan simply conducting vain scientific experiments, on a planetary scale? We may never know.
3. Who murdered Jien Garson, and why?
If you do the SAM Node memory unlocking quest chain, you discover some paranoia-inducing facts about Alec Ryder (your character's father), and the founder of the Andromeda Initiative, Jien Garson.
Before the Hyperion human ark arrived in Andromeda, the Initiative sent ahead thousands of construction workers to build the Nexus space station, to set it up as the seat of Andromeda's galactic government. However, the presence of the Scourge caused chaos when the Nexus emerged from faster-than-light travel, leading to the deaths of hundreds.
Along with various other senior members of staff, Andromeda Initiative founder Jien Garson was found dead in her apartment. It was presumed that the Scourge collision was to blame, and the case was closed and buried.
Information gained from unlocking SAM's memory core, combined with a bit of Omni-tool detective work, reveals that Jien Garson was, in fact, murdered. A log in her apartment reveals that she knew her killer was coming but not the reason why.
It seems that the Andromeda Initiative's mysterious benefactor was behind the killing. But was it simply to hide all knowledge of the Reapers? Or did she know something else? And who was the killer? Presumably, he's still at large, doing the benefactors work, but to what end? There's certainly more going on here.
4. Who is the 'Benefactor?'
Perhaps the most perplexing mystery of the lot, who is the benefactor? Neither Jien or Alec knew the benefactor in person, but, they were more than happy to take his or her cash.
While the Andromeda Initiative had no prior knowledge of the Reapers or the events of Mass Effect 1, 2, or 3, it's revealed that the benefactor bankrolled the colonists, adding hundreds of thousands of additional personnel while also moving timetables forward in the process. Clearly, the benefactor knew that the Reapers were coming and that they were coming soon.
If the benefactor's motivations were ultimately altruistic, why did they feel the need to have Jien Garson murdered? And why conceal their identity? Who, in all of Mass Effect lore, could have enough cash to single-handedly fund something like the Andromeda Initiative? The Yahgian Shadow Broker? Perhaps the Illusive Man? Something doesn't add up here, and Alec Ryder agrees.
5. The kett
The kett serve as Andromeda's main antagonists, and while their involvement seems generally circumstantial, there are several unanswered questions about their true nature.
We know that the Archon was, effectively, acting against the whims of the kett empire, which sounds as though it is far larger than the encounters in Heleus would have us realize. We know that the kett arrived in the cluster several decades ago, and sought to, almost immediately, subjugate the angara, and decipher the Remnant technology. The Archon's arrogance leads to his downfall, but not before he reveals that he is the product of "thousands" of exalted species from across Andromeda.
The kett bear some striking resemblance to the Reapers, in the sense that they harvest genetic material from other organisms in order to reproduce. Kett "exaltation" gives them a near-endless army of assimilated angaran soldiers. Towards the end of the game, we saw how the kett had already begun the process of "exalting" a Krogan, granting it aspects of the kett exoskeleton and voracity.
Exaltation is nearly identical to the assimilation technology deployed by the Reapers, which saw various races transformed into hideous cybernetic mutants, giving the Reapers a huge army of throwaway foot soldiers.
The similarities could either be the product of BioWare running out of ideas, or perhaps there's a bigger conspiracy at play here. It seems pretty obvious that the kett would be extremely interested in how the Reapers achieve their goals.
6. Could the Reapers be involved?
The Reapers are known to have the capability to traverse dark space, and the closest galaxy to our own, is indeed, Andromeda. It could be that the Jardaan Remnant came into direct conflict with the Reapers, as both appear to be as ancient and technologically advanced as each other. Where the Reapers seek to control life by destroying it, the Jardaan appear to seed and create it, as shown by their genetic prowess and terraforming capabilities. They seem like two sides of the same coin.
As noted above, the kett race parallels the Reapers in a way that seems too close to be coincidental. They both subjugate entire species, and they both harvest genetic material in order to reproduce. The Reaper husks are essentially identical to exalted kett subordinates.
While there's very little evidence to support these ideas, the game calls back to the Reapers in a very strong way towards the end, signifying at least some form of overlap. It could be nothing, but it could also be everything.
Additional unanswered questions
These are my conspiracy theories for Mass Effect: Andromeda's ending. It remains to be seen whether EA and BioWare will issue some DLC for the game, or whether they simply plan to do a sequel in the future. Andromeda has no season pass, but neither did Dragon Age: Inquisition, which saw piles of high-quality DLC post-launch.
There are several other lesser questions that Andromeda doesn't answer, too. What happened to Reyes? (If you side against him, that is.) How will the Primus react with the Archon dead? And, man, what is the deal with that worm on Elaaden?
Mass Effect: Andromeda isn't perfect, but I'm already eager as all hell to find out what comes next for the franchise.
What are your biggest unanswered questions? Are there questions above that were answered that I somehow missed? Hit the comments!
- More: Mass Effect: Andromeda review
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Jez Corden a Managing Editor at Windows Central, focusing primarily on all things Xbox and gaming. Jez is known for breaking exclusive news and analysis as relates to the Microsoft ecosystem while being powered by caffeine. Follow on Twitter @JezCorden and listen to his Xbox Two podcast, all about, you guessed it, Xbox!
The Andromeda Initiative was not designed specifically to escape the Reapers, It just rushed it along. Jien Garson was running out of money (She was supposedly one of the richest humans), so the Benefactor came along.
I was really hoping that the Remnant were Prothean, as the P.A.W. Rifle was practically exactly the same as the Particle Rifle I enjoyed from ME3. (If you look at the design of the ME3 Particle Rifle in ME3, its design and cyan-blue light is very reminiscent of Remnant Structures), as well as the fact that Protheans interacted via touch in a Electro sensitive manor, such as the consoles or even the Angara. Jardaan could be their true names (Prothean may be a Human word, similarities with Prometheus), or even a species that escaped the reapers before the Protheans (And the Protheans designed their Particle Rifles after their discoveries of Past Technologies). I have to say I really enjoyed this game, just finished it after clocking in 93 hours, including reading every single bloody Codex Article.
Also the Remnant City looks a bit like an Arc, maybe it travelled across Clusters or even Galaxies (maybe not even Milky Way).
Hopefully DLC and ME:A2 will reveal these secrets :D
- The benefactor is obviously the Illusive man leader of Cerberus. The motives are exactly the same and only him had the power and resources to make the initiative a real thing. Anyone else would be a big inconsistency.
- Why are you talking about the reaper coming back? did you forget the 3 choices of ME3? : Destruction, control, symbiosis. Any of these ending make clearly a reaper come back impossible.
- Staying in the Reaper, someone said the remnant and reaper might be the 2 side of the same coin.. not at all ! Leviathan DLC in ME3 clearly explain the Reapers origins: They were made by the Leviathans and Leviathans are clearly not Jardaan. end of the story.