Mass Effect Alternate Ending: The Marauder Shields Story
by Kevin Rigdon (@pralix1138)
**Contains spoilers for those who haven’t finished Mass Effect 3**
In the office of Fox Mulder, there was a poster featuring a grainy picture of what appears to be an alien spacecraft. The prominent legend underneath reads simply, I WANT TO BELIEVE. Well, good readers, nerds, and players of Mass Effect, I want to believe. I want to believe that there is something…more. I want to believe there is more to Shep’s story, more to Garrus, Tali, Joker, Miranda, and the whole lot of them. I want to believe that there is one more story to tell. I want to believe that “Hope Lives.” And I am not alone.
Mass Effect 3 was the first game I ever pre-ordered. It was the closest thing to an obsession as I have had since the original Star Wars trilogy…well, that and Chuck. I had hopes and dreams for that game. I wanted to continue the story with my comrades from the previous game. We’d already survived one suicide mission and destroyed the Collector Base. Now, it was time to push our righteous fury right down the gullet of the galactic, mechanical squids known as Reapers. Then came the teasers and demo with the Reaper invasion of Earth, and that haunting music. Shortly thereafter, the game was released, and I finally got to see the culmination of the story I had helped to tell. Then, it ended.
This is not another tiresome ending bash of Mass Effect. Those have been done, responded to, argued over ad nauseum. No, this isn’t about the ending exactly, but what the ending(s) of the Mass Effect series has spawned. This is about Marauder Shields. I’ll readily admit I did not like the ending originally. The Extended Cut improved it somewhat, but I’m still less than thrilled over it. It’s not because I misunderstand the ending or what Bioware was going for. I disliked it because I wanted something more. Again, I’m not the only one. Some, however, have taken this desire for something more, and are creating an alternative ending to the series based on what was originally an angry internet meme featuring a Marauder (a Turian that has been transformed by the Reapers).
In the initial, angry outcry over the ending, several memes popped up featuring Marauder Shields:
Originally appearing on 4Chan, in the meme background, Marauder Shields was quickly heralded as the actual final boss of the game. People sarcastically speculated that he was put in the game to stop us from getting to the actual ending. Whether you like the ending of Mass Effect or not, you have to admit it’s pretty funny. But funny can only get you so far when you’ve spent hours within a universe and can’t see how the ending of the story makes sense from within that universe. Funny helps us cope, but it can’t help us make sense of something, nor can it help produce an ending that we deem more appropriate to the story we’ve spent so many hours enjoying. Enter Koobismo’s Marauder Shields webcomic series.
Koobismo’s Workshop is the creator of the Marauder Shields webcomic. It started out, in episodes 1 through 5, as simple parody, and not a very sophisticated parody, at that. Beginning in episode 6, however, things change and the series grows from mere parody of the Mass Effect ending to an alternative timeline and ending. But this isn’t simply a few hastily drawn sketches with subpar writing. Koobismo is able to duplicate the style and feel of Mass Effect almost seamlessly The artwork is topnotch and looks like the ME universe. The writing feels like ME, and the way the story is progressing certainly has the hallmarks of the Bioware creation right down to a few plot twists as to the true identity of Marauder Shields. Hint: fans of the first game will know who he is.
Koobismo has also added audio book sound files for the series with some really good voiceovers. It has transcended parody, transcended the title of “fanfiction,” and has become an honest-to-goodness storytelling experience. The series is currently on episode 41, 42 will be released soon. There are 80 episodes scheduled which should culminate in an alternative ending that many will find preferable to the official one.
Again, whether you like/love or dislike/hate the official ending to Mass Effect, I would suggest giving Marauder Shields a look. But remember to begin with episode 6. The first 5 episodes are funny in a low-brow kind of way, but the actual storytelling begins there, in episode 6.
Here are some links to help you get started:
Have you guys been reading up on Marauder Shields and the alternative ending? What are your thoughts?