The Mass Effect series has been notable in it’s amazing storytelling and it’s branching RPG style of gameplay, as well as it’s (originally) mediocre homogenised ending for the third title. Drew Karpshyn, a former Bioware developer and lead writer for Mass Effect 1 and 2, has affirmed that he had the ending for the trilogy already planned out before he left the series in 2010.
Karpyshyn states the final chapter would have focused on the spread of Dark Energy, something that was teased in the second title but never mentioned ever again. He says the plot thread was not entirely fleshed out but involved the character, Tali and her recruitment mission in Mass Effect 2. “Dark Energy was something that only organics could access because of various techno-science magic reasons we hadn’t decided on yet.”
He thought of writing about the effects of Dark Energy on the space-time continuum and the possibility of the enemies, the Reapers, slowly “wiping out organic life because organics [kept] evolving.” Eventually, organics would evolve into using biotics and dark energy which created an entropic effect that would bring about the end of the entire universe. Another plot thread even included the Reapers finding out a way to stop this from happening and using biotics for themselves. This includes an intergalactic war over the use of dark energy, as Karpyshyn explains, “the asari were close but they weren’t quite right, the Protheans were close as well. Again it’s very vague and not fleshed out, it was something we considered but we ended up going in a different direction.”
While some fans were incredibly disappointed with Mass Effect 3’s ending, Karpyshyn said that some fans may have been equally disappointed with his effort. He also states that he finds it amusing how fans would end up hearing a couple of things they liked about his possible endings and how they “add in all the details they specifically want.” Karpyshyn compares it to vapourware and how in theory it sounds like the greatest concept ever until it comes out.
Other ideas from the series that were dropped included the series hero Shepard turning out to be an alien or a cybernetic hybrid. Karpyshyn noted that it would not have worked and even contrasted that with the ending of another Bioware title, Knights of the Old Republic. In the end, he was glad it was removed early on in development and had no regrets about writing for the series.