A commenter suggested that I write my own ending for ME3. They may have been tongue-in-cheek, but I'm bored, so here's my ending.
Continued below the jump.
I think that there are four things that we want to see from a good ME3 ending:
- Defeat the Reapers.
- Save the Galaxy
- Resolve the Illusive Man thread
- Either see what happens to our companions in the future, or give them good deaths.
My ending borrows heavily from the ending of ME1. Let's start with with the ending that is already in the game.
- Shepard gets to the top of the building and star-child does his spiel and offers Shepard the three choices.
- As Shepard starts to move towards a choice, the Illusive Man appears and tells Shepard to stop. He says that the star-child is actually the Reaper Harbinger attempting to indoctrinate Shepard. He tells Shepard that he can control the Reaper, but he needs Shepard to get to the Citadel and activate the Crucible so that they can control all the Reapers.
- If Shepard choose to go towards the Illusive Man, the star child reveals itself to be Harbinger. The Illusive Man takes control of Harbinger, and Shepard wakes up back on Earth, just before the beam. Her two companions are also alive, though wounded.
- Shepard goes through the beam to the Citadel.
- Cutscene where Harbinger takes off from the planet and starts attacking other Reapers, to the great surprise of Hackett and the fleet.
- On the Citadel, Shepard finds herself in the middle of a firefight between the Citadel defenders and the Husks, etc. Shepard and team have to fight their way through a stretch of monsters to the top of the Citadel. The difficulty of this depends on your Citadel defense force score. Higher score means less monsters, maybe more friendly forces, etc. At the same time, there's chatter from the fleet, and the fleet battle reflects the other war assets. I.e. the Rachni show up at some point if you saved them, etc.
- Shepard gets to the top and unlocks the doors to the Crucible Control room. The two teammates take defensive positions around the door to hold back the Reapers while Shepard goes inside.
- When Shepard enters the control room, the Illusive Man enters from another door. There's a control mechanism.
- Long conversation between Illusive Man and Shepard. Illusive Man reveals that he is not indocrinated, and that his control of the Reapers actually works. There are three outcomes of this conversation:
- Pure Renegade through conversation: Illusive Man convinces Shepard that control is the best option, the one that makes humans the strongest. Illusive Man reveals that he is terminally ill (previously hinted at in the Cerberus base), and asks Shepard to be his successor and help lead humanity in the next phase of the galaxy. The Illusive Man uses the control mechanism and takes control of all the Reapers. Go to Human Ascendancy Ending.
- Pure Paragon through conversation: Shepard convinces the Illusive Man that he is wrong, his plan will not work in the end, and the Reapers must be destroyed. The Illusive Man stands down. Shepard uses the control mechanism to destroy all the Reapers. Go to Councillor Shepard Ending.
- If those two paths are not taken, there is a boss fight between the Illusive Man/Harbinger and Shepard. If Shepard wins, cutscene with the Illusive Man dying, but getting off one last shot, mortally wounding Shepard. Shepard staggers to the control mechanism and can choose between controlling or destroying the Reapers.
- If control, Shepard merges with the Reapers and is healed/merged with the Reapers. The Reapers are under her control. Go to Military Council Ending.
- If destroy, Shepard destroys all the Reapers, but dies. Go to Death of Shepard Ending.
- One year later...
Human Ascendancy Ending
- Meeting of the government of the Human Ascendancy. The Illusive Man is the President, referred to as "Mr. President" so he doesn't have to be named.
- Shepard is Vice-President.
- The other races are present, but definitely much lower in the hierarchy.
Military Council Ending
- Meeting of the Council. The first two councillor are Human and Turian. The third councillor is Krogan if the genophage was cured, Solarian otherwise. Very militaristic.
- Shepard is the human councillor, but is merged with the Reapers.
- Order has been brought to the galaxy, through the Human, Turian, and Reaper fleets.
Death of Shepard Ending
- Shepard gets a big statue on the Citadel, next to the Krogan statue. Council holding a ceremony commemorating her victory.
- Human councilor is Anderson.
Councilor Shepard Ending
- Meeting of the council commemorating the end of the Reaper war. Shepard is the human councilor.
- If the genophage was cured, Krogan have been added to the council. Urdnot Batara is the Krogan councilor.
- If the quarians and geth made peace, a representative of the quarians and geth is on the council. Councillor can be Tali, the peaceful admiral, or Raan, depending on what happened.
- Montage of what happened to your companions (just give them all happy endings, Garrus is second-in-command of the Turians, etc.)
So that's my ME3 ending. Four distinct endings. Shepard lives in three, dies in one. Different outcomes for the galaxy, but the galaxy is saved (at least from the Reapers). Good outcomes for all your companions, mostly because giving some of them a good death would take a lot of time to do right.
It's not a particularly clever ending, or one that people will talk about, but I think it gets at what people wanted from the ME3 ending.