In the Mass Effect series, the player makes several choices that affect further events. Some characters will die or survive based on your choices, and your actions have an impact on the ending.

Are any of those choices considered canon? Are some of these choices referenced in the franchise novels and/or comics?

As an example of what I mean, in Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, another game developed by BioWare, the light side ending is the canonical "choice."

Is there any indication somewhere about what the "official version" of the story is?

  • Great question!
    – Spot
    Commented Jun 20, 2012 at 18:41

2 Answers 2


Udina is the canon (see #9) choice for Councilor; you can see this as he is the human Councilor in Mass Effect 3 even if you chose Anderson in Mass Effect 1. That entry states:

in the novel Mass Effect: Retribution, Anderson is out doing Alliance Military work, and Udina is mentioned by name as "Councillor Udina." He's also mentioned as Councillor in the online comic Mass Effect: Inquisition.

Shepard surviving the ending of ME2 is also clearly canon, as you cannot import such a save into ME3. :-P

Other than that I'm not sure how you would determine what's "canon" absent an official statement from Bioware (I've not read the novels or comics, so there are likely more hints there), as your choices are by and large respected in the succeeding games.


There are a few 'preferences' in the game, though BioWare does do a good job in the route the same, by changing some lines, faces, or possibilities. This is the same way that BioWare did it for KOTOR and KOTOR2.

  • Garrus Vakarian can not be selected to join the crew of the SSV Normandy SR-1. While I haven't done this gameplay myself, it is an option. You will, however, pick up Archangel in Mass Effect 2 as normal. Some lines change if Garrus wasn't selected throughout the other two games.

  • For those who had the Playstation 3 and started off with Mass Effect 2 before the Trilogy Edition came out, the Virmire Survivor was always of the opposite gender of Commander Shepard. IE, MShep had Ashley, while FShep had Kaiden. This is embedded into the game, unless you paid for the DLC: Genesis, in which you could select who got left behind on Saren's base.

  • It seems that Donnel Udina will be, no matter who you select, the Human Councillor. Your choice in Mass Effect only affects Mass Effect 2. In ME 3, you get Udina regardless.

  • You will have two seperate Love Interests in regards of Mass Effect and Mass Effect 2. Ashley Williams and Kaiden Alenko will not be available for ME 2. If you get the DLC: Lair of the Shadow Broker, Liara is available, but only if you romanced her in the first game. This will not give you the 'Paramore' Achievement if you choose Liara over the others.

  • Despite your choices, certain things will happen. There will be Rachni in ME3 no matter your decision in the first game. There will be a Quarian to help save Rannoch, even if Tali is an Admiral, exiled, or Xen has to join up because she's dead. The Krogans will ask for the Genophage (but it is ever so elusive). And, strangely enough, the decision you make about the Collector Base doesn't really matter in the end, just like your choice about the Counsel in the first game.


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