Mass Effect 3 and the Trouble with Branching Narrative

Obviously, spoilers abound.  This was written with the assumption that anyone reading this has played through the entire Mass Effect series.  Ready?  You sure?  Then let’s get to it.

This is my Shepard.

She is dark skinned and has a shaved head.   She was born in an overcrowded city on Earth.  Some time after joining the military, she found herself the sole survivor of a mission on Akuze.  The rest of her team was eaten by thresher maws.

In the first Mass Effect game, she didn’t shoot Wrex on Vmire.  She saved the Rachni queen, and later sacrificed the Destiny Ascension during a space battle with a entity called Sovereign.  She saved the galaxy.

In the second game, she recruited a squad and went on a suicide mission to a collector base.  Despite the odds, everybody lived.  She saved the galaxy.

In the third game, Shepard cured the krogan genophage.  She brokered peace between the quarians and the geth.  She killed a reaper with a space laser.  Not everybody lived, but most of them did.  She is trying to save the galaxy.

My Shepard is not your Shepard. Continue reading