This paper was previously unpublished, except partially on a personal blog and the TV Tropes wiki.


This paper analyzes the narrative design in the endgame sequence of the 2010 action role-playing video game Mass Effect 2. Its final levels, collectively titled as "the Suicide Mission", are modeled as a puzzle with multiple solutions, whose availability depends on the number and type of resources the player had previously obtained throughout the main game. The paper examines how the designers incorporate narrative flavor into their puzzle design while translating ludic developments into a cohesive narrative experience that feels compellingly interactive despite its technical linearity. Finally, it suggests a set of recommendations for using the design patterns pioneered by Mass Effect 2 to improve future interactive narratives.