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Old 03-18-2012, 11:49 PM
Johnny Angel is offline
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Join Date: Aug 1999
Posts: 4,544
This page discusses some of the points in favor of the theory that what we see at the end is Shepard's struggling with indoctrination. Here's one point that I find persuasive:

SPOILER:
I hadn't noticed, but apparently the different 'choice' stations are color-coded, not just the resulting explosion. But the color coding is the reverse of what you would expect from the by-now ingrained blue-for-paragon and red-for-renegade scheme -- Illusive Man is shown going for blue, but Anderson is shown going for red.

Now that this has been pointed out to me, I just can't believe it's possibly a coincidence that the stations in which you chose are physically arranged like the choices on the dialogue wheel, only again the relation between 'red' and 'blue' is flipped. Those colors don't appear on the side of the wheel where the paragon choice is counter-clockwise of the renegade choice. Of course, neither does green. But otherwise it looks like a strange bit of meta-game symbolism.

And apparently only the 'red' choice has the possibility of resulting in the 'Shepard lives' cut scene. Whether or not it was well executed, I now doubt that Bioware didn't have something like this in mind.

But, given that Dragon Age II proved that Bioware was oblivious to how angry it would make players to have everything they cared about in the story made irrelevant, there's ample evidence that it's just sloppy, stupid writing even if the dialogue wheel was elevated into a visual symbol of a mental state struggling against indoctrination.