Mass Effect players going through the trilogy again find a strange Missing Person poster for a very important Mass Effect 3 character.
With three games in the core Mass Effect trilogy, there are many Easter eggs and examples of continuity hidden throughout each game. A newly discovered, or at least new to many, reference found in Mass Effect 3 isn’t quite like the others, however. It’s a mixture of odd, depressing, absurd, and even quite a bit hilarious out of context. It’s a missing person poster found on a wall in Mass Effect 3 that appears to show the boy from the beginning (and ending) of the game.
Mass Effect fans will likely recall the foreboding sequence that opens up Mass Effect 3 vividly. That’s because it’s a prelude to disaster, a chapter in the game characterized as The Fall of Earth. The Reapers attacked humanity’s home planet in force and nothing could stop it. Shepard sees this small boy in a vent, who says, “You can’t help me,” before disappearing and ultimately being heavily implied to have been killed by the Reapers when his escape vehicle is destroyed by a laser.
That same boy is shown on this surprising missing person poster at some point in the game. At first thought, it makes some sense. The boy did go missing during the Reaper attack on Earth. In context, though, it’s much stranger than it first appears. For one, the poster lists the boy’s last known location as “Earth,” which is an incredibly unhelpful bit of information. Next, Shepard all but saw this boy die, so it’s rather silly to imply Shepard wouldn’t have at least let the authorities know about the boy’s demise.
What makes the poster that much more absurd is that this boy is also someone Shepard sees in his dream, a symbol of his failure to protect humanity from the Reapers. The boy is also the form the Reapers take, also called the Catalyst, in Mass Effect 3‘s ending when it asks Shepard to make their big massively important final decision. The idea that one boy’s missing person flier would appear before Shepard is ridiculous. It’d make more sense if Shepard was hallucinating it, or if the indoctrination theory was real.
One other much more likely possibility makes the situation much more funny than absurd. That being that BioWare didn’t make many if any human children for Mass Effect 3. As such, when an artist went to make some generic posters to put on a wall, the child’s face was all that was available. Perhaps the flier was never meant to be anything but background dressing.
Exactly how BioWare ended up adding a missing person poster for an odd but important character to Mass Effect 3 may never be explained. Regardless, it’s funny to consider, thought also depressing given the emotional punch the boy’s fate is meant to give the player and to Shepard in-universe.