All Similarities to Real People Coincidental

Vladimir P.: Targeting me won’t get their money back. I knew the opposition wouldn’t go down without a fight, but this is different. They crossed the line.
Vladislav S.: You crossed the line first, sir. You squeezed them, you hammered them to the point of desperation. And in their desperation, they turned to a man they didn’t fully understand.
Vladimir P.: Opposition leaders aren’t complicated, Aslambek. Just have to figure out what he’s after.
Vladislav S.: With respect, sir, perhaps this is a man that you don’t fully understand, either. A long time ago, I was in Burma. My friends and I were working for the local government. They were trying to buy the loyalty of tribal leaders by bribing them with precious stones. But their caravans were being raided in a forest north of Rangoon by a bandit. So, we went looking for the stones. But in three months, we never met anybody who traded with him. One day, I saw a child playing with a ruby the size of a tangerine. The bandit had been throwing them away.
Vladimir P.: So why steal them?
Vladislav S.: Well, because he thought it was good sport. Because some men aren’t looking for anything logical, like money. They can’t be bought, bullied, reasoned, or negotiated with. Some men just want to watch the world burn.

I’ll get back to ranting about games soon, I promise.

That asari mind control thing

I don’t know how this keeps popping up, and the only way I can explain it is with the ease with which humans fall for conspiracy theories, arguments that purport to “explain everything”, no matter how flimsy the evidence is and no matter how strong the counterevidence is.

But let’s examine the gory details.

“Theres a conversation on Ilium between a Salarian, Turian and Human where all 3 say that Asari look more like their own species than any other. Its also hinted at that Asari use their psuedo telepathy to alter how other species see them.

In conclusion: Asari are pleasure GELFs.”

~ A user on the ME3 forum

It’s a one-shot joke based on comments by three drunken guys ogling an asari stripper in a bar, who were likely not serious themselves. It’s amazing how many people make theories based on that one mention of supposed mind control.

To hopefully sink this theory, let’s look at the evidence for the null hypothesis: that asari actually look, within the fictional universe, the way they look in the game.

  • First of all, postulating such an extraordinary claim — that a species doesn’t really look the way we see it — by itself requires extraordinary evidence, so the burden of proof lies on the proponents of this hypothesis.
  • What would be the purpose of such an ability in the first place? If the idea is to appear to each species as an attractive potential mate, they fail at that even for humans (the image we see). Never mind that blue skin and head tendrils are decidedly not attractive traits to many humans — why do they always appear female-shaped? Wouldn’t it make more sense if they looked male-shaped to women?
  • Apparently this postulated ability also works on cameras, holographic projectors, monitors and printers everywhere, because drawings, still images, and video footage of asari look like we would expect them to look.
  • The ability would have to extend to their clothing, which would need to be made in the dimentions of their real appearance rather than the projected human-like appearance. There is no evidence of this. Furthermore, Liara in ME1 wears human armor, while the other three alien squadmates each use armor custom-made for their species.
  • If this ability really existed, it would have been studied and catalogued centuries ago. Instead, everyone except our bachelor party trio is completely silent about it — including Dr. Chakwas, who has been tending to Liara and said by her to have good understanding of asari physiology.
  • The ability to alter other beings’ perception without consent would not be tolerated by other species, and a countermeasure would be developed.

That about covers it. Based on this evidence, we should assume that their appearance in the games is their real appearance. Why, then, they look so human-like? I don’t know. Maybe the developers know; maybe they don’t. Normally I would say “widespread humanoids are a genre convention”, but seeing how BioWare doesn’t like using tropes verbatim without at least giving them some justification that makes sense in context…