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Mass Effect 3 DLC speculation
Mass Effect 3 has been out for some time now and it seems as though the fan backlash about the ending has finally died down a little. Bioware aren’t done with the game yet though and have promised several DLC instalments to keep our adventures with Shepard going on a little longer. Given the poor reactions to the ending, some great DLC could be the way to regain the trust and respect of fans. With that in mind, here are some speculative ideas about what we could expect.
Take back Omega from Cerberus
For a number of reasons, I think this is the most likely piece of DLC that we can expect to see. The most convincing evidence of this dates back to November 2011, when a full script of the game was leaked. This included several lines of dialogue between Aria T’Loak and Shepard which didn’t make the game’s final cut. They directly mention a plan to retake Omega and, most interestingly, the efforts to rebuild the station after it has been reclaimed. You can see the tantalising cut lines here.
The Mass Effect: Invasion comics also suggest that Aria’s eviction from Omega is an important event in the lore of the universe, and one whose story we are yet to see a conclusion to. Given that Aria considers herself to not only be the queen of Omega, but an embodiment of the station itself, there’s no way she’d just leave the Station in Cerberus’ hands.
The expansion could work in a similar way to Mass Effect 2’s Lair of the Shadow Broker, in the sense that Aria joins you as a guest squad member just like Liara did. An option to retake the station either by an all out attack with the Blue Suns, Eclipse and Blood Pack, or by stealth would provide some good replay value and also plays to the strengths of the different classes.
This DLC would be a great way for us to learn more about Aria’s past, and could explain why she had so much clout with the Asari councillor on the Citadel.
Properly introduce the Raloi:
In February 2011, a Cerberus Network update mentioned the first contact between an avian like species called the Raloi and the Asari. After this report however, nothing more has been said about it in any of the games, books or comics. Mass Effect 3 would be a great chance to introduce these birdmen properly.
What little we do know about the Raloi is that after hearing about the Reaper threat, they withdrew to their home world (Turvess) and went all Amish, destroying their satellites in an attempt to hide. The reapers aren’t stupid though, so it’s probable that they’d realise the Raloi are significantly well developed enough to be put on the menu. A DLC mission pack could therefore see Shepard travelling to Turvess in order to rescue them.
I’m going to assume that being birds, the Raloi homeworld is full of floating cities, giving this DLC a great chance to really add some variety to Mass Effect 3 by including airborne combat. You could take control of the shuttle or parachute into the combat zones for example. The first such combat drop could see Shepard getting split up from his/her squad during the jump, forcing you to go it alone for a bit and then make the choice of which squad member to rendezvous with first. The one you didn’t meet with could be caught by reapers and taken to a holding area where Harvesters and indoctrinated Raloi guard them. It’s up to you to save them before dealing with the Reaper invasion itself.
A Raloi you meet on their homeworld could also become one of your permanent squad mates, which would bolster the current and rather small team list. Bonus points to Bioware if Brian Blessed voices one of the Raloi!
Visit Dekuuna, the Elcor Homeworld:
When the Elcor ambassador asked me to go and extract some of his people from the Elcor Homeworld Dekuuna, I wet myself. This is going to be great I thought, a chance to land on their planet and see some roaming Elcor with cannons strapped to their backs battling mutated Elcor husks. But no, just a lame planet scan. Sad face. Instead of a measly scan, how about we land and break out the trusty Mako. Cruising across the rolling plains of Dekuuna fighting Elcor husks would be immense. That’s all I can really say about this one: Mako + Elcor husks = awesome.
Visit Kahje, the Hanar Homeworld:
While we’re on a roll with landing on homeworlds, why not make a quick stop on Kahje as well? I liked the short side quest on the Citadel where you had to expose the indoctrinated Hanar, but would have liked it even more if you could go to Kahje and take part in an even larger version of the mission.
Given the Hanar penchant for worshipping the Enkindlers, AKA the Protheans, AKA the Collectors, AKA Reaper slaves, there must be a large amount of Hanar who actually want to help the Reapers mulch the galaxy. Shepard must therefore travel to their home world and convince them with a conveniently timed blue or red flashing interrupt that they are wrong.
I think it would work best as a diplomatic style mission with little emphasis on combat, similar to Tali’s, Samara’s and Thane’s loyalty missions from Mass Effect 2. It would again add some great variation to the game, with stunning underwater environments and spectacular and extensive Prothean ruins. This quest could also demonstrate the real desperation of the galaxy, through some tough decisions. For example, in order to get the Hanar to help you, Shepard needs to show them the Reapers are bad. If you don’t persuade all of them that their Enkindlers are evil, then you won’t get the support of the whole planet, just a few who can see the truth. To convince everyone, you must therefore allow the reapers to attack the planet! Would you risk wiping them out just to increase your war assets?
You can also meet the actor who played Blasto. Sold!
Play as a resistance fighter on Earth
I’m putting my neck on the line here by actually proposing some Mass Effect DLC without Shepard! I know it sounds like blasphemy, but please here me out, it makes a lot of sense.
While Shepard was out uniting the galaxy, determined fighters on Earth were making sure there was a planet left to save. We could jump into the shoes, or combat boots, of one of these resistance soldiers and take the fight to the Reapers. It would be great to see more of Earth and to find out how Major Coates escaped from his sniper nest in Big Ben.
There is a suggestion that Bioware may already have this DLC in the works, but it is rather tenuous. The idea comes from this cut scene, where the camera spends a long time focussing on one nameless grunt from about 3.14 onwards. He looks troubled doesn’t he? Maybe because of all the action he’s seen fighting the Reapers on Earth. Did he lose his family or good friends in the guerrilla warfare? I Don’t know, maybe he just looks troubled because he’s about to go up against the biggest threat in the galaxy and has very low chances of coming out of it without severe living difficulties. It’s a very tenuous argument, but on the other hand it would be some fantastic DLC. It also has great potential as an online mode, where you and three friends work together in a story driven campaign.
If you’re not sold on Shepard free DLC, would it make you feel better if you could play it as Admiral Anderson? Yup, thought so!
New squad members:
If you killed off your squad in Mass Effect 2’s suicide mission then you may find your number of friends rather low in Mass Effect 3. I did a run through where only Zaeed and Morinth survived. After this murderous run through, I was left with only James, Edi and Liara to choose from in Mass Effect 3. I could have had Kaiden too, but told him to stay off my ship, lest his blandness rupture the hull and vent the whole crew into space. I didn’t have many options here, but even if I hadn’t been a douche bag in Mass Effect 2, the maximum number of squad mates in Mass Effect 3 is still only seven, and that’s if you pay out for Javik’s DLC. After Mass Effect 2’s giant roster of twelve I felt a bit short changed.
The numbers definitely need bolstering, maybe with the Raloi squaddie I mentioned earlier. Maybe Thane’s son could join you – on a side note I was a bit disappointed that Kolyat wasn’t mentioned by Commander Bailey in Mass Effect 3, who was supposed to be using him as a slave after his failed assassination attempt in the previous instalment.
If more squad choices are introduced, then I beg you Bioware, no more humans please. They are just too lacking in character compared with any other alien species. It would also be nice if the new squaddies come with bulky recruitment missions, not like the short Zaeed and Kasumi outings in Mass Effect 2. They were good, but in Kasumi's case, certainly not worth the 560 MSP price tag.
A Prothean resurgence:
This last one might be stretching it a bit, but what if more Protheans survived apart from Javik? There are several ways that this could happen without the story being ruined, such as Javik finding a way to remove the indoctrination from the Collectors.
Or, how about a deep space research station being discovered that still has working stasis pods because of some super mega awesome power supply? These researchers could be a mixed bag of species from the Prothean Empire – I still want to meet one of the Cthulhu like tentacle headed things that were the only known Protheans in the first Mass Effect. It could even be possible that these researchers have been periodically waking up over the years to speed up some species’ evolution to prepare them for the Reaper invasion. Did they send signals to the Asari beacon, letting it know when to give up some precious info?
Alternatively, Shepard’s Team could stumble across a Prothean lab which contains DNA samples of all the members of the Prothean Empire. With this gene bank, it would be possible to revive all of the different species through some kind of cloning or genetic engineering.
Regardless of how the Protheans are found, it could produce some interesting choices. Given the Prothean’s brutal style of them ruling and others obeying, can you really allow them to live? If you did would it just lead to another war after the Reapers have been torched? Will you be responsible for allowing the Human race and all the other species to be enslaved, or will you doom a race to extinction? Are you any better than a Reaper?
No matter what Bioware has in mind for DLC, I just hope that the new instalments are robust and not finishable in a couple of hours like the previous games’ add-ons. Spending 800 MSP for something that you can complete in one short sitting is terrible value. Some real variation would also be welcome. Of the few ‘feet on the ground’ side quests in Mass Effect 3, most tend to follow the same formula: land, kill wave of enemy, reach objective, kill newly spawned enemy wave, rinse, lather, repeat. Some unique content with deep storytelling would be great.
Please let me know what you think in the poll and the comments section.