Politics. Politics never changes.
Except in 2016, when everything went a little…up in the air. A cocktail of corruption, conspiracy and a looming Cold War conducted via Twitter. But despite a real world geo-political climate that’s best described as ‘a bit messy’, video games have been showing us the dangers of power-mad and ineffectual leadership for decades.
There’s always something a little antagonist about politicians in video games. They apparently live to block your heroic quest, either through general diplomatic dicklessness or dictatorial madness – with the notable exception of Saints Row IV, in which you’re the President and you’ll do as you damn well please, thank-you very much. So pretty much exactly like real life, then.
But if you thought real-world politics was bad, wait ‘til you get a load of these guys…
Headed up by an Asari, a Salarian and a Turian, Mass Effect’s Citadel Council is a rainbow collective of pretty much every species in the galaxy, and founded on utopian ideals of co-operation (and a liberal dose of secret police force in the form of highly skilled Spectre agents). Just about the only species this bureaucratic nightmare won’t co-operate with is those pesky, up-start humans.
Because when the council is warned by you Commander Shepard that there exists a threat that will wipe out the entire galaxy, they do what every politician does: Have a bit of a think and ultimately do nothing.
In fairness, you’d probably do the same. After all, this apocalyptic information comes from lunatic soldier with a penchant for bad dancing who’s had a ‘vision’ that ‘prophesises’ the ‘end of the world’. But we all know the real reason they did bugger all to save innocent – and not-so-innocent – lives: The primary threat is one of their own, a former Spectre agent controlled by universe-destroying Reapers. That’s a PR disaster in the making; just wait ‘til the papers get hold of that headline.
The Council’s inaction, beyond sending Shepard you out to do the dirty work, proves catastrophic and they’re completely unprepared for the ensuing attack that wipes out the entire council, and countless lives. Probably not going to be re-elected after that.