It’s kind of amazing when it is pondered. Mass Effect debuted in 2007, almost a full decade ago. And although the experience is so foreign to some who are only recently experiencing the introduction to the beloved franchise, it still holds its own with graphics that are substantial and a narrative design so robust as to intrigue and render tense to this day. That Wrex standoff, right?
But it’s remarkable how much detail and emphasis Bioware truly put within the Mass Effect franchise. A lot of heat was given to the latter half of Mass Effect, particularly to the ending of Mass Effect 3. Many accused this ending of being forced and arbitrary – a storyline that is pressured and not given the flexibility that the free-form “do it yourself” story had offered – decisions made at the end of the series. While these final moments of the series remain hotly contested within the fandom, the both the ending itself and the story for Mass Effect that Bioware had contemplated from the beginning is testament to its resolution.
Specific to this detail is the Reddit post by swiftwings88 highlighting a small detail brought back to light during their playthrough of Mass Effect 1. While much of the game is focused on the evil, cold, robotic and seemingly eldritch abominations known as the Reapers, both the terror and immensity of these beings was shown long before their physical introduction the series.
Long before Sovereign made his speech to Shepherd, players were allowed to discover the planet of Klendagon. For those players who traveled to the moon of Presrop in Mass Effect 1, they would have been greeted with the lovely image of Klendagon floating in the lunar sky. There, whilst gazing at the glory of the planetary body, it would be almost impossible to miss the tremendous mark etched into the face of the planet. The planet’s description is a tell-all of the source of this enormous mark.
Spoiler warnings moving forward. But it turns out that this terrifyingly huge valley on the planet’s surface that is literally visible from space is the mark of a battle with a Reaper. More specifically, a foreign race from ancient history that once combated a singular Reaper entity. As the entry shows, things are mysterious; they are, however, illuminated on the Mass Effect wikia which states,
“It is revealed by the Illusive Man that an Alliance Survey Team discovered that the Great Rift Valley was caused by a strike from a mass accelerator round. The original target of that round was the Derelict Reaper, which was hit and disabled 37 million years ago. No trace remains of the race that fired the round. However, he also indicates that both the weapon and the target have been located, mentioning in passing that the weapon was defunct..” For those not in the know, that means whatever ancient race fought this evil beast, it failed, but not without leaving a literal mark on the planet it defended.
If you want to go deeper down the rabbit hole, players will learn that Klendagon’s unnatural geography with the massive rift in its landscape is visible in Dragon Age: Origin‘s moon. Maker have mercy! Dig even deeper, and players will learn that the rift in Klendagon’s moon is actually a mirrored image of Mars and the Great Rift Valley – aka the Valles Marineris – which is, y’know, a thing that actually exists. Does this mean… does this mean that Reapers were actually on Mars, and they actually exist?!
Nobody is going that far. But to be fair, we’ve only explored a minimal expanse of the Martian landscape, so anything is up for speculation.