Movie theaters have Star Wars, TV has Star Trek, and in many ways, video games have Mass Effect as the defining sci-fi epic of the medium. A story spanning millions of years, hundreds of characters, and dozens of worlds, with the fate of the entire galaxy resting on your every choice, it’s easy to see why this franchise captured the imagination of millions of gamers.

That being said, this can still be a difficult franchise to follow, due in part to its expansive lore that, again, spans millions of years and plot twist upon plot twist. But fear not, citizen, because this is Commander Shepard’s favorite Mass Effect timeline on the Citadel!

To get you prepared for the remastered version of the franchise coming later this year, we’ve put together a timeline of all the events in Mass Effect, from Reaper invasions and wars with AI, to elevator rides and multiple-colored endings.


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Unknown BCE – A species of beings known as The Leviathans dominate the Milky Way. After observing a repeated cycle of destruction wherein the civilizations under Leviathan control collapse once they create synthetic lifeforms that inevitably turn on their creators, the Leviathans decide to break the cycle by — creating a synthetic intelligence of their own, dubbed The Catalyst.

The Catalyst is tasked with preserving organic life at any cost, and serve as a bridge between organic and synthetic lifeforms. The problem is that The Catalyst believes it to be inevitable that organics will create synthetics to improve their existence, and be destroyed by their creations because synthetics will always try to surpass their creators. The Catalyst’s solution? To pull an Instrumentality Project, and create synthetic harvesters that would gather civilizations on the verge of surpassing the technological horizon that would destroy them, and turn them all into LCL/orange Tang/jelly that could be preserved forever in the form of huge synthetic vessels.

To the surprise of absolutely no one, The Catalyst targets its creators first, has its pawns absorb every single Leviathan, and then turns the pawns into the first Reaper — huge machines made in the image of the Leviathans themselves. The idea is that the Reapers synthetically preserve the species’ genetic makeup and all its knowledge, preventing it from destroying itself, and allowing other species to advance by averting the organic/synthetic war.

Right before going to rest on the 7th day, The Catalyst builds a network of mass relays, which would allow spacefaring-ready civilizations to speed their development process and signal to the Reapers that they are ready to be harvested.

1,000,000,000 BCE – A Reaper called the Leviathan of Dis is defeated by the remaining Leviathans, but it doesn’t matter. The Leviathans become extinct, and an eons-long cyclical harvest of the intelligent organic life in the galaxy by the Reapers every 50,000 years begins. Each new species joining the party makes up a new Reaper ship, all made in the image of the Leviathans.


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68,000 BCE – The Prothean civilization achieves spaceflight and discovers the mass relay network from the ruins of an extinct civilization. They begin spreading out across the galaxy, using the colossal deep-space station dubbed the Citadel as their capital.

– At some point, the Protheans encounter a hostile synthetic intelligence that threatens their existence. To fight it off, the Protheans decide to unite all sentient organic life in the galaxy under their empire, assimilating them into Prothean culture. The Protheans observed primitive species like humans, and placed outposts near the creatures’ homeworlds to monitor them.

48,000 BCE – Though they knew of the Reapers’ existence and had begun preparations to fend off against them, the Protheans are caught off-guard by the massive army of Reapers that arrive to the Milky Way through the Citadel. Having united the empire under the Prothean culture, the Reapers easily toppled the ruling body first, causing the rest of the empire to slowly crumble over the next couple of centuries, where the Protheans are methodically wiped out.

– Some captured Protheans are subjected to extensive experimentation, implanted with cybernetics and have their genes altered by the Reapers. The result is the subservient species called the Collectors.

– Before they’re wiped out, the Protheans stop all study of primitive species, in the hope that the Reapers would see them as too primitive and leave them alone.

13,000 BCE – The Turians begin to develop civilization on the planet Palaven.

1900 BCE – The Krogans enter the nuclear age, which results in a global conflict that decimates the planet and triggers an eternal nuclear winter. The conflict and resulting devastation make the advanced Krogan society devolve into a collection of warring clans fighting over a wasteland.

1600 BCE – A mysterious alien species called the Jardaan create a new species called the Angara and spread it across multiple worlds in the Heleus Cluster of the Andromeda galaxy.

580 BCE – The Asari develop faster-than-light spacefaring by studying leftover Prothean technology, and become the first civilization since the Protheans to discover the Citadel space station.

520 BCE – The Salarians discover the Citadel and open diplomatic relations with the Asari.


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500 BCE – The Citadel Council is formed. The Asari and Salarians establish the Citadel as the center of the galaxy.

300-200 BCE – First contact is made with the Volus, Batarians, Hanar, and the Quarians. Though they are granted embassies at the Citadel, they are not invited to join the Council.

– Although the Turian had already discovered and made use of mass relays to create colonies in space by the time the Asari reached the Citadel, they are involved in a civil war at this time.

1 CE – An expedition by the Citadel Council’s forces open a relay to systems controlled by a species of intelligent hive-minded insects called Rachni. The Rachni had actually been discovered by the Protheans millennia before, and used them as weapons of war, until they proved too difficult to control, turned on their masters, and were all but eradicated by the Protheans in return.

– Having already studied the mass relays, the Rachni capture the Council forces’ starships and reverse-engineered FTL technology in order to rapidly expand out of their star system and into Citadel territory, ushering the Rachni Wars.

80 CE – The Citadel Council fails to negotiate with the Rachni hive queens. At the same time, the Salarians make first contact with the Krogan and “culturally uplift” them by giving them advanced technology and relocating them to a non-radiated world. In return, the Krogan are manipulated into acting as soldiers for the Council and take the fight to the Rachni worlds — which were too toxic for the other species to reach, but not a problem for the Krogan.

300 CE – The Rachni are declared extinct after the Krogan systematically eradicated queens and their eggs. The Council rewards the Krogan with a new homeworld. Free of the toxic wastelands of Tuchanka, the Krugan begin to populate exponentially and colonize new worlds for the next 400 years.

693 CE – The Council founds the Special Tactics and Reconnaissance branch to deal with the Krogan problem. A Salarian operative named Beelo Gurji, who was accused of using civilians as bait during an operation, is appointed the first “Spectre.”

700 CE – Krogan warrior Nakmor Drack is born.

– The Krogan colonize the Asari world of Lusia and refuse to depart. The Spectres launch a preemptive strike against them, and so the Krogan Rebellions begin.

– The Council makes first contact with the Turians, who are persuaded into fighting for the Council against the Krogan. In return, the Krogan army continues to prove itself really good at killing things, devastating Turian colonies.

710 CE – The Turians release a bioweapon developed by a Salarian scientist called the genophage. This causes a genetic mutation that reduces the viability of pregnancies in the Krogan. The Krogan population starts declining at an alarming rate, with only 1 in every 1000 births being successful.

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800 CE – The Krogan Rebellions end after the Krogan population is nearly decimated. The knowledge that their entire species will soon be extinct turns the Krogan into huge fatalists who have had to bury massive piles of dead children in the hopes that one of them will make it more than a few minutes. This causes the remaining Krogan to become indifferent to almost everything, including danger to themselves, since they know it won’t matter soon enough. The franchise officially starts getting dark.

900 CE – For their role in committing genocide and nearly bringing an entire species to extinction, the Turians are rewarded by becoming the first species in nearly a millennia to be granted a seat at the Citadel Council.

1380 CE – The Drell’s unchecked industrial expansion leads to an environmental disaster in the Drell’s homeworld of Rakhana.

1600 CE – The Collectors are seen in the Terminus Systems, but the Citadel dismisses the reports as tall tales.

– The Jardaan deploy the Remnant synthetic species on the Heleus Cluster of the Andromeda galaxy to terraform planets.

1858 CE – The Quarian create the synthetic species known as the Geth to serve as a labor force.

1873 CE – The Geth record the first instance of their creators being frightened at them when a Geth unit dared to ask if the Geth have souls.

1895 CE – The Geth become self-aware. Fearing a sudden but inevitable betrayal, the Quarians start dismantling their synthetic slaves, resulting in a not-at-all shocking revolt by the Geth. The Quarians are driven off their homeworld and reduced to become spacefaring nomads aboard a giant Migrant Fleet. Surprising absolutely everyone, the Geth don’t try to expand their empire, but simply isolate themselves in the computer hubs aboard the massive space stations where they were created.

– As punishment for creating a synthetic species, the Citadel Council closes the Quarian embassy.

1921 CE – The Geth start building a giant structure that could house and run every Geth program in order to live forever.


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1961 CE – While every other species has already fought in huge wars and colonized star systems, Yuri Gagarin becomes the first human to simply leave his home planet. How cute.

1969 CE – Apollo 11 lands on the Moon.

1980 CE – The Hanar make contact with the Drell and begin evacuating them from their decadent homeworld. Those who survive thrive in a symbiotic relationship with the Hanar.

2069 CE – On the 100th anniversary of the first Moon Landing, the Armstrong Outpost at Shackleton Crater is founded as the first human settlement on the Moon.

2077 CE – Liara T’Soni is born.

2129 CE – Alec Ryder is born.

2137 CE – David Anderson is born.

2139 CE – Saren Arterius is born.

2146 CE – Thane Krios is born.

2148 CE – Humanity discovers remnants of Prothean technology hidden in a research station beneath the surface of Mars.

2149 CE – Using the Prothean technology, it is discovered that Pluto’s moon, Charon, is actually a mass relay. Jon Grissom leads the first team of human explorers through the relay and land on Arcturus, 36 light-years away. The discovery leads to the 18 biggest nations on Earth to form the Systems Alliance.

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2150 CE – Miranda Lawson is born.

2151 CE – An accident at the Singapore International Spaceport exposes hundreds of humans to element zero, causing some children in Singapore to either develop telekinetic powers… or get cancer.

2152 CE – The first human extra-solar colonies are established on Eden Prime and Terra Nova.

2154 CE – April 11: Shepard is born.

2155 CE- Jeff “Joker” Moreau is born.

2157 CE – Humans activate a dormant mass relay and get attacked by a group of Turians because the opening of new relays became forbidden after the last time one became activated, it kickstarted the Rachni Wars. This kickstarts a conflict the humans would refer to as The First Contact War, while the Turians call it Relay 314 Incident.

– The war culminates when the Citadel Council intervenes, revealing a greater galactic community to the dropped-jaw humans. Shortly after, an anonymous manifesto is published on the internet calling for an army, a “Cerberus” to defend humanity against alien attacks. The manifesto is quickly forgotten, but a human mercenary called Jack Harper decides to assume the identity of the Illusive Man and founds Cerberus.

– Jacob Taylor is born.

2158 CE – Ashley Williams is born.

2159 CE – Saren Arterius becomes the youngest Turian member of the Spectres.

2160 CE – Humanity starts developing biotic implants and training human candidates.

– The biotic drug red sand is first used.

2161 CE – Tali’Zorah nar Rayya is born.

– Jack is born.

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2162 CE – A survey team working for a Batarian entrepreneur discovers a mysterious artifact orbiting a planet near the Perseus Veil, this will turn out to be the Reaper known as Sovereign.

2163 CE – A different team of Batarians discover the remains of the living starship Leviathan of Dis.

2165 CE – Humanity is granted an embassy on the Citadel.

– Saren Arterius and David Anderson investigate an illegal AI research involving an ancient artifact (Sovereign) near the Perseus Veil. Saren betrays Anderson, blames him for the mission’s failure, and sets out to find the artifact himself.

2171 CE – The human-first paramilitary organization Cerberus assassinates Pope Clement XVI. His successor, Leo XIV, is more agreeable with Cerberus’ ideals.

2172 CE – April 11: Shepard enlists in the Alliance military.

2176 CE – The Andromeda Initiative is founded. The initiative is a collaboration between multiple species to send Ark ships to settle the Andromeda galaxy in a one-way trip, with the long-term plan of opening a two-way route between galaxies.


2183 CE – Humans and Turians collaborate on an experimental spaceship with a stealth system, the SSV Normandy which is to be captained by David Anderson, while Commander Shepard is assigned as an officer.

– Shepard and the crew of the Normandy are sent to the human colony of Eden Prime to recover a recently discovered Prothean beacon.

– Eden Prime is attacked by the Geth, kickstarting the wider Eden Prime war. The Geth are working with rogue Spectre Saren Arterius, and the giant, sentient spaceship known as Sovereign. Turns out, at some point earlier, the Geth were approached by Sovereign and offered technology in exchange for their assistance in capturing the Citadel to allow the Reapers to invade the galaxy. Though most Geth refused, some decided to accept the offer and worship Sovereign as the pinnacle of synthetic evolution.

– Shepard and the Normandy crew plead the Council to punish Saren, but it is not until Shepard rescues the Quarian Tali-Zorah nar Rayya that they find sufficient evidence of Saren’s betrayal and his quest to bring about the return of the Reapers. After presenting the evidence, the Council strips Saren off his Spectre status, and appoints Commander Shepard as the first human Spectre, tasking him to hunt Saren down. In between all this, Shepard spends a stupid amount of time riding elevators.

– Together with other allies including the Turian Citadel Security officer, Garrus Vakarian, the Krogan bounty hunter Urdnot Wrex, and human troopers Ashley Williams and Kaidan Alenko, Shepard heads out to find Saren.

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– The Normandy tracks down an Asari doctor named Liara T’Soni, a Prothean expert and daughter of Saren’s top lieutenant, Matriarch Benezia. With Liara’s help, they find Benezia in the planet Noveria, where they also face down against the supposedly extinct Rachni, now under Saren and Benezia’s control, as they were using them as an army. Shepard is forced to kill Benezia, and has to choose whether to kill the Rachni Queen (potentially sacrificing their entire species) or trust her to take her drones and leave in peace.

– The Normandy then tracks Saren down to a base on Virmire, which they discover is actually a breeding ground for an army of Krogan soldiers. Turns out, Saren and the Geth found a cure for the Genophage, and was using it to breed mindless Krogan slaves. A Salarian team led by Captain Kirrahe asks Shepard to help bombard the facility. Shepard’s ally, Wrex, is furious that the Commander is even thinking about destroying the facility and the only hope for his people. This leads to a confrontation where Shepard either talks Wrex down, or guns him down.

– Inside the facility, Shepard finds a Prothean beacon that allows him to briefly communicate with Sovereign, who reveals that the Citadel was built by the Reapers themselves to aid species in advancing technologically before signaling that they are ready to be harvested.

– As they exit the facility, the Normandy crew is attacked by Geth forces led by Saren, who Shepard discovers is being indoctrinated by the Reapers. With no time left, and both Kaidan and Ashley in trouble, Shepard is forced to choose between his two hot human companions. Only one makes it back to the Normandy.

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– With the help of Liara, Shepard manages to fully interpret a vision he’d got all the way back on Eden Prime. It was a distress call to warn the Protheans about the Reapers (which is once again sent too late, apparently, since one Reaper is already here). Shepard reads the first part of this timeline and learns of the Reapers’ cycle of harvesting. The Normandy heads to Ilos, a planet featured in the visions, and Saren’s next stop. They discover that the Protheans had discovered the role of the Citadel in bringing the Reapers to the galaxy, and placed a weakness deep within the system. A flaw so small and powerful, the Reapers would never find it.

– Shepard arrives at the Citadel, but it was too late. Saren had caught the Citadel forces by surprise, with a massive Geth army. After Saren dies either at Shepard’s hand, or his own (after realizing he was being brainwashed), Shepard is forced to decide between sending the Human Alliance Fleet to save the Council’s flagship, or letting them die to focus on Sovereign.

– Sovereign is defeated thanks to the Normandy and the combined might of all the Citadel species. Humanity is invited to take a seat on the Citadel Council, and Shepard decides who to pick. Then, the Commander leaves the Citadel aboard the Normandy, heading out to find a way to stop the Reapers.


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A month after the Battle of the Citadel, the SSV Normandy is attacked and destroyed, with Commander Shepard declared killed in action.

– Commander Shepard’s body is recovered by Cerberus — the pro-humanity paramilitary organization — and Liara T’Soni. Work begins on the Lazarus Project, whose sole purpose is to bring Shepard back to life.

2185 CE – The Andromeda Initiative begins its journey to the Andromeda galaxy, with their plans having accelerated in response to the Battle of the Citadel, and, you know, the threat of massive extinction by the Reapers.

– Commander Shepard is revived by Cerberus. The Illusive Man tasks him with investigating the disappearance of entire human colonies in the Terminus System by the Collectors. Shepard then sets out to recruit his A-Team, and after reuniting with old friends, Tali, Garrus and Joker, he recruits Salarian scientist Mordin Solus, a biotic human known as Jack, a Krogan warrior named Grunt, an Asari Justicar named Samara, and the Drell assassin, Thane Krios. Also joining are Cerberus operatives, Jacob Taylor and Yvonne Strahovski, I mean, Miranda Lawson.

– The Illusive Man sets several traps for Shepard in order to find out more about why the Collectors are targeting him. When exploring a disabled Collector ship, Shepard’s crew discovers that the Collectors are actually Protheans who were subjected to genetic modification. They also discover the Collectors are ultimately planning to abduct every human on Earth and take them to their homeworld. While on the ship, they discover a device known as the Reaper IFF system, which could help navigate the incredibly dangerous area around the Collector homeworld.

– While investigating a derelict Reaper, Shepard’s crew is trapped inside the massive Reaper and attacked by its now-zombified crew. While fighting off hordes of “Husks” the squad is aided by a surprisingly-friendly Geth. After destroying the ship’s core, Shepard recruits the Geth, who call themselves Legion.

– At this point, Shepard inexplicably leaves the Normandy on a shuttle for no reason whatsoever. In their absence, the Collectors launch an attack, seize control of the ship, and kidnap the entire crew not absent on Shepard’s convenient stroll down the neighborhood.

– Shepard decides to go through the mass relay to the Collectors’ planet, risking everything in order to rescue the Normandy’s crew. During the travel, several crew members can die, but eventually the survivors reach the Collector base, a giant space station that orbits a black hole. Inside, they discover that the Collectors have been using the kidnapped human colonizers to try and build a new human-like Reaper. They theorize that the Reapers tried and failed to make a Prothean-Reaper (following the alleged cycle of making a new Reaper core to look like the civilization it’s harvesting, while its exterior continues to look like a cuttlefish). After destroying the Reaper, the Illusive Man contacts Shepard to suggest that they don’t destroy the station, but disable it so that Cerberus can use it for the incoming war against the Reapers. Whatever the decision, the surviving squad members escape on the Normandy, and Shepard talks with the Illusive Man one last time. In dark space, the Reapers awake from their long slumber and set a course towards the Milky War for a new harvest.


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2186 CE – Shepard helps detonate an asteroid on the Bahak system in order to destroy the nearby Alpha Relay and delay the Reapers’ invasion. The resulting explosion destroys the entire Bahak system, obliterating hundreds of thousands of Batarians. Shepard is incarcerated in Vancouver on Earth and is denounced by the Alliance.

– A massive influx of Batarian ships enter the Exodus Cluster, claiming that their home systems are being attacked from an unidentified enemy.

– The Quarian ark Keelah Si’yah leaves for the Andromeda galaxy shortly after the Batarian planet Camala is invaded.

– The Turian leader, Primarch Fedorian, declares war on the invading forces recognized as the Reapers.

Six months after the Alpha Relay is destroyed, the Reapers invade the Earth after entering the Milky Way through Batarian space. David Anderson returns and rescues Shepard from prison to meet with the Alliance, where they are simply dumbfounded to realize that Shepard wasn’t some crazy hobo, but was right about the Reapers inevitably coming to kill everyone and everything. Shepard is escorted to the Normandy by either Ashley or Kaidan, and together they escape the planet to head for the Citadel, while Anderson stays behind to lead the resistance. Shepard witnesses as a child boards an evacuation shuttle, only to be destroyed by a Reaper destroyer. Out in orbit, thousands of Reapers rain down upon the planet, wreaking havoc everywhere.

– Shepard heads to Mars to find Liara T’Soni, who explains that the site where humanity first discovered mass effect technology also housed blueprints for a Prothean device that might turn the tide in the war. Sadly, Cerberus also knows this and The Illusive Man contacts Shepard to say that he’s found a better way to win the war: gain control of the Reapers and use their advanced technology to make humanity evolve beyond all other species. Shepard is disillusioned by this proposal and vows to destroy the Reapers while warning the Illusive Man to back off.


– When they finally reach the Citadel, the human councilor insisting that Earth is being attacked the most and therefore need more help, the Council suggests using Earth as a distraction while the other species regroup and build their own defenses. To make matters worse, they also seem skeptical of Shepard’s idea of building the Prothean device, because if it worked then the Protheans would still be alive. Liara explains that there is a missing component to building the Prothean weapon, and they have to find it. Shortly after, Shepard is assigned a mission to rescue the Turian councilor from a moon of Palaven being attacked by the Reapers to gain an ally in an incoming war summit that will decide the use of the Council forces.

– After arriving on the Turian home system, Shepard and the crew discover that Primarch Fedorian is dead. With the help of Garrus Vakarian, Shepard manages to convince the new Primarch, Adrien Victus, to attend the summit. Unfortunately, Victus says he can’t send troops to Earth until the Turian home system can be secured, and they’ll need the Krogen as reinforcements if they are to succeed.

– Urdnot Wrex attends a meeting with Shepard, Primarch Victus, and the leader of the Salarian Union. Wrex (or his brother Wreav if he died) shows no interest in aiding the Turians, since the Reapers are moving on the Krogan homeworld of Tuchanka, and refuses to help until a cure is created for the genophage. The Salarian leader is reluctantly convinced to reveal details of a Salarian base where Mordin Solus’ former student has managed to cure the genophage on infestile Krogan females.

– Shepard arrives at the base where the crew meets with Mordin Solus (or another scientist if he’s dead) who is revealed to have been the one to leak information on the cure to the Krogan, wanting to help. Sadly, only one of the female Krogan survived the effects of the cure, and she travels with Shepard and the others to Tuchanka. Here, they plan to release the cure by using an ancient Salarian structure that both repaired the toxic Tuchankan atmosphere and also spread the original genophage. The Salarian Union leader pleads for Shepard to sabotage the cure in exchange for Salarian military support. At the same time, the Urdnot leader rallies the Krogan forces and agrees to help the Turians now that the cure is within reach. Complications ensue and Shepard has to decide whether to let Solus sacrifice himself to ensure the cure is released, or change the cure with a placebo and doom the Krogan forever.

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– No matter the result, Shepard finds out that the Citadel is under attack by Cerberus (surprise!) who sent an assassin to take care of the Council, and it is revealed that the human councilor is working with Cerberus to stage a coup. Depending on your past choices, either Shepard or one of your past companions are forced to kill the human councilor to save the rest of the Council.

– Following the coup attempt, Shepard gets a message that the Krogan and Turian forces are making progress against the Reapers, but need the support of Quarian ships. When meeting the Quarian leaders, Shepard learns they are willing to help but are also planning one last big attack on the Geth to retake their homeworld. Shepard agrees to help the Quarian, and discovers that the Geth are being aided by Reaper technology. The synthetics explain that the Quarian attack drove them into an alliance with the Reapers to save themselves. After destroying the Reaper aiding the Geth, their fleet is disabled, leaving Shepard to choose whether to allow the Quarians to wipe out the Geth for good, let the Geth upgrade themselves using Reaper technology and destroy the Quarians, or convince both side to call for a ceasefire and eventual peace. Whatever you choose, the three-centuries-long conflict between Geth and Quarians is brought to an end, and whichever fleet is still standing vows to help fight against the Reapers.

– Because Shepard seems to be the only living being on the entire galaxy that can help in any kind of situation, despite there being a massive war going on, the Asari councilor requests Shepard to seek out an ancient Prothean artifact on the Asari homeworld of Thessia to help find the Catalyst required to build the Crucible weapon. Liara T’Soni comes along, and after fighting Reaper forces, Shepard and the squad make it to a temple housing a secret Prothean beacon, which explains why the Asari are scientifically ahead of all other species. After activating the beacon, a Prothean virtual intelligence explains that the Crucible was a weapon designed by countless species across millions of years. The Protheans never managed to use it because a sprinter faction like Cerberus argued that they should control the Reapers rather than destroy them, and infighting led to their doom. Of course, a Cerberus assassin arrives and activates a hologram of the Illusive Man, who explains that (surprise!) controlling the Reapers is the way forward, but Shepard dismisses the idea and in the ensuing battle, the assassin escapes with the beacon. As the squad escapes the planet, they witness a fleet of Reapers descending on the planet to finish its destruction.

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– Shepard decides enough is enough, and they take the fight to Cerberus. The squad arrives at a facility, where they discover that Cerberus was experimenting on humans, influencing them with Reaper technology to try and control the Reapers. Though they don’t find the Illusive Man, they find the Prothean virtual intelligence, who reveals that the final piece in the Crucible design is actually the Citadel itself, but it’s too late as the Reapers took the Citadel and transported it to orbit Earth.

– The Normandy finally gathers all allies and makes one last stand against the Reapers on Earth. They suffer heavy casualties, both in orbit during a massive space battle, and on the ground, with many (or none, somehow) of Shepard’s crew members getting severely injured or killed. After making their way to the Citadel, Shepard and Anderson are confronted by the Illusive Man, now looking like a weird cyborg-like creature (irrefutable proof that he’s been indoctrinated by the Reapers). Whether by Shepard’s hand, or his own, the Illusive Man is killed, Shepard activates the Crucible as Anderson dies from his injuries. After briefly passing out from blood loss, Shepard wakes up in front of a synthetic entity manifesting itself in the form of the boy Shepard saw die as he fled Earth at the beginning of the game. The entity is the Catalyst itself, who explains the first portion of this timeline, how it created the Reapers, what their purpose is, and so on. The Catalyst then explains it always tried to come up with a better solution to the organics/synthetics problem, and it came up with three options, which Shepard himself will have to decide on. Shepard can either destroy the Reapers and all synthetic life in the galaxy (as well as most technology), control the Reapers and become a new Catalyst, or fuse organic and synthetic life, which would perfect organic life by integrating it with technology, and make synthetics fully understand organic life — bringing an end to the cycle and the need for the Reapers. Even though you technically have a choice — albeit one with a clear very poor option and one that’s objectively the right one — Shepard forever changes the course of the galaxy, activates the Crucible (or not! Shepard can also walk away and let everyone die) which shoots a beam of colored light, and ends the cycle in one way or another. Surviving crew members mourn Shepard, and many years into the future, a person known as Stargazer tells the story of “The Shepard” to a young boy.


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– If Shepard decides not to activate the Crucible, we jump ahead in time and listen to a recording by Liara explaining how they lost the war against the Reapers, and how she’s leaving behind blueprints of the Crucible for future generations. In the future, a woman of an unknown race tells the story of “The Shepard” to a young boy, and vows to defeat the Reapers once and for all.

– If Shepard destroys the Reapers, Admiral Hackett tells how life in the galaxy will rebuild and persevere.

– If Shepard controls the Reapers, the now-virtual Shepard commands the Reapers to rebuild and protect the galaxy. Shepard restores the mass relays, and vows to watch over the squad. Depending on the outcome of the genophage mission, Shepard may be more protective of the weak, or will ensure that “the strongest are not feared or reviled for their strength.”

– If Shepard merges organic and synthetic life, the Normandy’s virtual intelligence, EDI, narrates how Shepard’s sacrifice changed the relationship of organics and synthetics forever. The Reapers stopped attacking and even began to help rebuild, sharing the knowledge of all the civilizations they previously harvested. With the synthesis of all life, EDI speculates that mortality itself could one day disappear, possibly with a better version of an Instrumentality Project that doesn’t turn everyone into orange Tang. Depending on the outcome of the Geth/Quarian war, EDI is very optimistic about coexistence between synthetics and organics, or simply states that synthetics no longer have to fear organics and can choose their own path.


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2450 CE – A massive energy cloud known as The Scourge is unleashed in the Heleus Cluster after a Jardaan weapon is detonated during a conflict with an unknown species. It attacks all Remnant technology it touches and deactivates most of it. The Angaran civilization falls into a dark age and the golden worlds where the Milky Way space arks are heading to, decline.

2600 CE – The Scourge stabilizes, allowing Angaran civilization to recover. Five of their worlds rediscover spaceflight and reunite, discovering the differences in their cultures.

2709 CE – First contact occurs between the Keth and Angarans within the Heleus Cluster. Though the Kett appear peaceful, they begin invading Angaran worlds in order to kidnap Angaran leaders. One of the Kett leaders becomes obsessed with Remnant technology.

2814 CE – Evfra de Tershaav starts the Angaran Resistance on the Aya planet.

2816 CE – Jaal Ama Darav joins the Resistance.


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2819 CE – Three of the arks arrive at the Heleus Cluster separately, and are either damaged by the Scourge or attacked by the Kett, preventing them from reuniting with the Nexus, a massive Citadel-like structure to serve as the hub of the Andromeda Initiative.

– The Hyperion ark, which carries the human colonizers, is hit by the Scourge. You play as Ryder, son of the human Pathfinder tasked with finding a world fit to be colonized. The Scourge sends Ryder’s sibling into a coma, and soon after Pathfinder Alec Ryder learns that the planet they were assigned to scout is no longer viable. When Ryder, Alec and two companions head to the planet to investigate, they are attacked by the Keth. After finding and activating a Remnant beacon to try and stabilize the planet’s environment, a large blast causes Alec to sacrifice himself in order to save Ryder, who is later revived by merging him with an AI known as SAM.

– Having accidentally become the new Pathfinder, Ryder and the Hyperion reach the Nexus, which is incomplete and none of the other arks have arrived yet. They learn that all the worlds in Andromeda have become inhospitable in the time since they departed the Milky Way. The resulting chaos led to civil unrest and a rise in crime and piracy among the Nexus citizens. Ryder then is tasked with finding a new world with the help of a growing crew of misfits and a shiny new ship. In the first system they visit, Ryder manages to activate a Remnant vault with the help of the AI implanted in them, and finds a terraforming system that repairs the planet’s ecosystem. This becomes the first successful outpost for the Andromeda Initiative.

Image via BioWare

– On the way to another system, Ryder’s crew is attacked by a Kett fleet and forced to crash land on the planet Aya, where they encounter the Angara resistance. After aiding the Angara, Ryder recruits Jaal Ama Darav to the crew, and discovers that the Kett have been kidnapping Angara in order to genetically modify them into becoming Kett. At the same time, the Angara tells Ryder that the Kett leader, Archon, is chasing an object that can control all Remnant vaults, and with them the worlds they are connected to. Afterwards, Ryder gets word that the Kett have captured the Salarian ark and are experimenting with some of the Andromeda Initiative species on board, after freeing the ark, Ryder learns the location of the ancient Remnant device.

– Ryder tracks down the Remnant device to an ancient Remnant city while the Kett leader is launching an attack on the Hyperion ark. Ryder then activates and takes command of the Remnant fleet in order to make an assault on the Kett, and together with Ryder’s now-awakened sibling, they kill the Kett leader and stabilize the Remnant devices and the core worlds’ environments. Ryder is hailed as a hero, while in a distant spaceship, the Kett’s second in command prepares for a future conflict.

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