What Happened to Ryder’s Mom in Mass Effect: Andromeda
MASSIVE STORY SPOILERS AHEAD
The Ryder family doesn’t seem to have the best of luck when it comes to keeping their family together. At the start of Mass Effect: Andromeda you have to pick which of the Ryder siblings you want to play as. That’s the one that gets to witness the other sibling get stuck in a coma and watch as their father dies. Progress just a little further and you find out that something is wrong with the mom as well. However, you can tell that there’s something iffy about the whole situation with the Ryder matriarch.
After the death of Alec Ryder, your father and the original human Pathfinder, you’ll often hear the Ryder siblings express how it’s okay since he’s at least with the mother now. This is because, as far as we know at that point, that she’s dead. While back in the Milky Way she was a Biotics researcher studying the effects of Element Zero (which is referred to in the game as Eezo). It turns out that the element is very volatile and often causes terminal illnesses in those that work with it. Ellen, the mom, ended up developing a disease similar to cancer and she quickly fell weak, too weak to join the Andromeda Initiative.
After becoming the Pathfinder, you gain access to your father’s memories, though they’re locked. By playing through the Ryder Family Secrets quests (which covers a large portion of Mass Effect: Andromeda’s campaign), you are able to break the shackles on those memories. They cover his plans for the Initiative, his worries, his relationship with his children and wife, and even the circumstances surrounding her death.
It turns out that SAM, the AI that has become such a major component of the Andromeda Initiative, was originally developed to keep Ellen alive. With its ability to tap into its subjects’ various systems, it was planned to halt the progression of the disease and then work to fix it. Unfortunately, it needed more time to figure out how. So, Alec pulled an illegal move and had her placed into cryogenic stasis and placed on the Hyperion under the false name of Elizabeth Reily (only healthy people were allowed to make the trip for obvious reasons). The reason Alec broke protocol to make whichever sibling you chose the Pathfinder was so nobody else would gain access to these memories and that you would be able to continue his work to make your mom healthy. She’s not dead, just frozen and very, very sick.
It’s a beautiful revelation for the Ryder twins, and the news comes just after the second twin finally wakes from their coma (talk about perfect timing). What Ryder’s mom’s fate will be later on is something we’ll just have to wait and see.
For more on Mass Effect: Andromeda, be sure to check out our wiki.