Member No.: 1,039
Joined: 12 September 2010
You know, I've complained quite a bit. About BioWare, about Dragon Age 2, heck, even about Mass Effect at times. We all know they're not perfect... especially not Dragon Age 2... but I figure a lot of the time that people wonder, "Gee, Toker sure complains a lot- why doesn't HE try making a game?" Sure, give me BioWare's assets and manpower and I can probably get something done.
But I don't have any of that. So instead of thinking about the theoretical, I'm going to create a thread FOR the theoretical- how would one change how Mass Effect's characters, story, world, or lore worked? Granted, this is a fangasm for some of you and others might not take this seriously at all, but I suppose it's more of a "Things BioWare could've done to make the franchise awesome" thread. So without further ado, I'll make my contributions:
1. BATARIAN SQUADMATE (AND BY EXTENSION, NOT MAKING BATARIANS A GENERIC THUG RACE)
PART 1: BEFORE ME3
We didn't really know all that much about the Batarians in Mass Effect up until... let's say up until Mass Effect 2, since we don't really see that much of them in Bringing Down the Sky to really understand them. Just that they have four eyes, they're usually on the business end of your gun, and you're supposed to hate them. It's a lazy method of creating a go-to thug race that you can cram into any situation if you're missing an adversary.
That is until Arrival. Since this abomination came out awhile ago, I'm assuming story spoilers are out the window: Shepard basically blows up (or lets blow up due to plot magic) a rather large portion of the Batarian people. Now I'm no professional writer, but this is an absolutely HUGE event in the Mass Effect story up to ME3. It starts Shepard off where he is- on Earth, testifying in his defense the events of Arrival. Now what I do not understand at all is the almost complete lack of Batarian involvement with this case- Shepard fuckin' killed a LOT of them! You think they'd be clamoring for his blood, but we don't even see a demand! I'm not going to assume that this won't happen during the course of ME3, but from what little we've heard of them and what we've seen, it looks like they'll barely rise above the level of thug race once more. Seems like a wasted opportunity to evolve what was a generic enemy race you're supposed to despise into a threat against not just Shepard, but humanity.
PART 2: WAIT, WHERE DID THEY GO?
At the same time, this would've been a great way to completely reverse what the player should see about Batarians if the developers made one addition: add a Batarian squadmate. And yes, it's not happening, especially at this point; they would've said something earlier otherwise, though I digress. It would certainly make sense that during Shepard's trial, the Batarian people send an envoy to represent them- among them a Batarian with a particular hatred toward Shepard for supposedly massacring his people. It'd only make sense that the people Shepard is accused of murdering send their own troupe of representatives to A) Report the progress of the trial and B)Ensure a fair trial. Once the attack on Earth begins, the Batarian stays with Shepard and demands to go with him, to at least make sure Shepard doesn't do anything against the Hegemony. You can either bring him with you or leave him on Earth. In which case, he'll either die in the Reaper attack or find some way off planet. In which case, there are a whole number of ways he can find his way back.
But again, at the same time, this could've been a huge event in the MEverse: an individual, a part of an intensely despised race, becomes a squadmate? It'd only make sense: we've yet to encounter an even remotely friendly Batarian throughout any ME canon and the finale to Shepard's trilogy would've been a perfect moment to reverse the usual viewpoint on Batarians. I digress again: this particular squadmate would be a unique take on the Soldier that focuses more on explosive knockback and enemy debuffs rather than raw power and damage resistance. Your main motivation for taking him with you would be to prove that humanity- and obviously, Shepard- isn't as bad as he's made out to be, your actions shaping his viewpoint on both you and humanity. He'll naturally cross swords with characters like the Virmire survivor and Vega, but that's partly what made Mass Effect 2 so good- that your ragtag team clashed with each other to the point where Shepard himself had to stand in. A shame we're not too likely to see any more of that, since the squad is basically Vega, your entire ME1 squad, and some "new"comers that are in the ME3 thread.
PART 3: THE ROLE OF THE SQUADMATE
So what would this Batarian squadmate do? Well, if you went a Paragon route, he would apologize to Shepard for judging him based on what he heard and not on what he's seen. He shifts from an individual full of hatred toward a man who supposedly- or even purposely- slaughtered a little over forty thousand or so Batarian citizens, to an understanding and compromising member of a race so unexplored that we're unlikely to see it opened up in a manner similar to the Quarians in Mass Effect 2. If you went Renegade, his opinion on Shepard and humanity is either more righteously justified or shifts juuuust a bit, as he begins to understand Shepard's "at all costs" attitude. It really depends on the actions you take throughout the game. He'll obviously still hold a grudge toward Shepard for what he did/may have done to his people, but he'll be a little more understanding of Shepard's methods. Oh, there'll be a neat little scene for either route, with the Batarian making a hilariously awkward yet truly sincere apology if you go Paragon and a... confrontation if you go Renegade. You'll naturally be hurting yourself in the long run if you refuse to take him at all, though.
Why you ask? Because if it comes to interacting the the Hegemony in order to draw upon support against the Reapers, they'll naturally be hesitant to lend a hand, regardless of the looming threat of the Reapers. This is the man who may have killed forty thousand of their people, after all! So after the mandatory "Recruit us, buddy" mission(s), they'll obviously go into negotiations and tell Shepard that despite his efforts to prove himself to be the mass murderer he might (not) be, he is still technically an enemy of the Hegemony. You know, because even if we're trying to redeem a race otherwise full of thugs, we still need some big bad guys to remind you of who you're dealing with. At this point, your interaction with the Batarian will come into play, with him passionately defending Shepard based on what he's seen... or respond with silence. Perhaps even a more damning testimony. At this point, the Hegemony sends Shepard away with a vague, "You shall hear from us... eventually." After that meeting, the Batarian would then justify his position on you, either staying on the Batarian homeworld so he no longer has to deal with Shepard's presence or staying on the Normandy to continue the fight with the Reapers.
This act will draw attention from squadmates and will even be broadcast across the galaxy: Shepard appeals to Batarians for help in the fight against the Reapers, followed by either an optimistic outlook if Batarian Squaddie spoke in your favor or a rather realist view if he didn't. As for squadmates, Vega will likely want to rip off the alien's head in the first place, either for speaking out against his own people or for speaking against Shepard. Wrex will likely be the same, with Garrus and Tali being a bit more understanding of the Batarian's actions either way. As such, his involvement with Shepard would be from the beginning... all the way up until the final battle. Depending on what resources you've gathered, the fate of the Batarian squadmate will vary. If you succeeded at persuading the Hegemony into lending their support, the Batarians will assist Earth against the Reapers, with the Batarian squadmate happily confirming he helped coordinate the fleet. If not, well, the battle goes on as normal, just without the help of the Hegemony. Perhaps at some points, the Batarian will sacrifice himself to save Shepard or even side with the Reapers in order to get back at the person who killed a whoooole bunch of his people. At any rate, his fate is either sealed or left open, regardless of Shepard's fate.
PART 4: BATARIAN CLOSURE
So you're probably wondering what the point of all this out-loud thinking was. Well, for one, it is a blatantly wasted opportunity by BioWare to include a Batarian squadmate. I'm sure I'm not the only one who was somewhat expecting one, since we got Mordin for a Salarian we probably wanted since ME1. Plus, it'd be a great way to make a race more memorable with the addition of a single character- it worked for the Yahg and Quarians (With The Shadow Broker and Tali) and it would've performed equally well with the Batarian squadmate. Secondly, it'd be a great way to bring closure to the ever present conflict between humanity and Batarians- two races almost constantly butting heads with either humanity emerging victorious, the two coming to terms with each other, or even the Batarians overpowering the humans and taking back what is "their's." It'd bring a seldom told conflict to an end in what is supposed to be Shepard's trilogy. And what better way to do that than to add a Batarian squadmate with a penchant for explosives and a huge role not only in the effort against the war, but for the Batarian's fate? It'd additionally be an excellent emphasis that your choices really DO matter in the end, which seemed to be sorely lacking in Mass Effect 2.
Proud Papa of Vectus, The Hood, and Natan Miesbres