Mass Effect 1: How to Save Kaiden & Ashley

mass effect save kaiden and ashley

We’re getting pretty close to the launch of Mass Effect Legendary Edition, which means that series newcomers will have the chance to experience this sci-fi soap opera with improved visuals and gameplay, especially in the first entry. Of all the missions you embark on in the trilogy, none are quite as memorable as the Virmire mission, where you could potentially lose multiple squadmates if you’re not careful. Here’s how to save Kaiden and Ashley in Mass Effect 1.

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Saving Kaiden and Ashley in Mass Effect 1

We’ll get straight to the point: you can only save one of them. It was revealed that there was apparently a third possible option planned to let the player save both Kaiden and Ashley in Mass Effect 1, but BioWare cut that out of the game, forcing players to choose between the two of them.

Who Goes With Kirrahe?

Near the start of the Virmire mission, you’ll be asked to choose between Kaiden and Ashley to accompany Captain Kirrahe to help take command of his squad. Whoever you choose here will go with Kirrahe, while you accompany the other squadmate to the bomb site to start arming the bomb.

This decision doesn’t really impact the story much aside from who you’ll actually accompany to the bomb site. You’ll still have another decision to make later on that decides the fate of both characters, so don’t sweat this one too much. For story purposes, it seemed to make more sense to have Kaiden accompany Kirrahe as he’s supposed to have more experience leading troops, whereas Ashley is a bit more hot-headed in general and would be less suited for a leadership position than Kaiden.

Either way, make your choice and the story will continue.

Bomb Site and the AA Tower

After reaching the bomb site, the squadmate with you will start arming it and Shepard will get a call from the other squadmate saying that the Geth have them pinned down at the AA Tower. At this point, Shepard is encouraged to head to the AA Tower while the squadmate at the bomb site says they just need a few more minutes to arm the bomb and they’ll catch up with you soon.

You’ll have another opportunity to reform your party here before moving on. Before reaching the AA Tower, however, the squadmate at the bomb site radios Shepard to say that the Geth have them surrounded and there’s no way to make it out alive. They’re resolved to make sure the bomb goes off no matter what, and you should continue on to rescue the AA Tower squad mate.

Both characters will appeal to Shepard and ask you to save the other. At this point, the game will prompt you to save Kaiden and Ashley, and you have to make your choice. Choosing one means that the other will die, and will no longer be part of your Mass Effect journey.

Consequences – Who Should You Pick

There are no real consequences to choosing one character over the other, aside from the obvious of one of them dying permanently, and it really all comes down to who you like better. It’s worth noting that Kaiden specializes in biotics while Ashley is just a regular soldier for the most part, and having another biotics specialist aside from Liara on your team can be very useful.

The surviving character will go on to appear in Mass Effect 2 and 3, and become a proper squadmate yet again in the latter. Kaiden is more prone to questioning Shepard’s decisions, which can make it difficult for players to build up a bond with him, while Ashley is a little easier to get along with. Both characters can be romanced in Mass Effect 3..

That’s all you need to know about how to save Kaiden and Ashley in Mass Effect 1. Be sure to search for Twinfinite for more tips and information on the game, or check out our wiki.

About the author

Zhiqing Wan

Zhiqing is the Reviews Editor for Twinfinite, and a History graduate from Singapore. She's been in the games media industry for nine years, trawling through showfloors, conferences, and spending a ridiculous amount of time making in-depth spreadsheets for min-max-y RPGs. When she's not singing the praises of Amazon's Kindle as the greatest technological invention of the past two decades, you can probably find her in a FromSoft rabbit hole.