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Mass Effect Shows How Aliens Influenced Human Evolution


Prothean technology on Mars in Mass Effect reignites theories about alien intervention in Human history, but Shepard has a vision that proves it.

The Mass Effect series tells a story that affects more than just the Human race, but they are frequently the focal point since the player character is Human. Commander Shepard is on a long quest to stop the enigmatic Reapers from annihilating all organic life in the galaxy, and makes many discoveries along the way. In Mass Effect 1, though their primary objective is to thwart Saren and Sovereign’s partnership, Shepard frequently takes on extra assignments, which can lead to unexpected information.

Mass Effect‘s codex notes that when the Prothean ruins buried near Mars’ southern pole are uncovered, leading to the Human development of FTL travel, the discovery reignites theories pertaining to aliens influencing the course of evolution on Earth. Why else would an ancient alien race build an outpost on Earth’s nearest neighbor if not to study the primitive species there? Later in the game, on Ilos, Shepard learns directly from a VI that the Protheans and their empire ruled over the galaxy, and the scientists on Ilos attempted to save future civilizations by proactively stopping the next harvest.

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Related: Mass Effect: Why You Can’t Land On Every Planet

Well before the mission to Ilos in Mass Effect, however, Shepard goes on a minor assignment to retrieve a crashed recon probe from the planet Eletania, only to find the data module has been stolen by a primitive race of primates. Also on Eletania – provided Shepard has received a Prothean trinket from the Asari consort on the Citadel – Shepard encounters a Prothean artifact which provides them with a vision from the point of view of a primitive Human. The vision involves some ancient Human encountering a probe-like object, which flies through the air and defies comprehension. The player is to assume that this vision, like the one from the Eden Prime beacon, is some sort of Prothean record, cataloguing their involvement in Human development.

Extraterrestrial Intervention Is Common In Mass Effect

Mass Effect Krogan Genophage (1)

The timing of this vision, coming to Shepard on a planet where they are disrupting primitive wildlife to look for a piece of space-age technology, is most likely not a coincidence. Shepard has just had a vision of an incomprehensible alien object visiting early Humans, and now they are driving a massive, six wheeled vehicle that was dropped out of an FTL-capable space craft up to primate colonies. The crew from the Normandy hops out of the Mako clad in advanced space suits, and searches through the primate villages for a data module beyond the creatures’ understanding.

Mass Effect also gives more explicit examples on the dangers of interfering with primitive lifeforms. The Krogan were uplifted by the Salarians in order to achieve victory in the Rachni Wars, but the violent Krogan were not ready to join the interstellar community, and the Krogan rebellion in Mass Effect had to be crushed. So, an ill-advised genetic disease was bioengineered to keep their population in check.

The Krogans were ultimately brought into the space age too quickly, not having time to develop as a species, a conclusion foreshadowed by their near self-destruction after they discovered nuclear weapons. Mass Effect depicts a universe filled with intelligent life, but their interactions and attempts at fast-tracking evolution aren’t always successful.

Next: Mass Effect: The Krogan Genophage, Explained

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