Mass-effect – Who is “the Benefactor”


I have finished collecting Ryder's missing memories which details important side plot information relating to how the Andromeda Initiative came about, and I was wondering who "the Benefactor" is?

From what I know of the previous games this is starting to feel like there is some kind of Cerberus influence. Is this something that is explained in game in one of the many task missions I have neglected to complete?

Best Answer

It was the intention of the game producers to not reveal the identity of the benefactor in this game:

GAMBLE’S ANSWER: “The mysterious benefactor is intentionally left unresolved, as it has deeper ties to the metastory of the MEA saga. By the time you find the killer, they’re long gone…”

The rest of this answer will contain many spoilers, so be warned.

We do get plenty of clues though, but nothing conclusive:

  1. We know that the voice is female. Yes its likely it was altered, but it didn't sound synthetic enough imo to change the sex of the speaker.
  2. The benefactor knew about the reapers long before everyone else (years before). In the last conversation between Alec and the benefactor, Alec questioned the benefactor on this point and they admitted to it.
  3. The benefactor (or one of their agents) is most likely in the Andromeda galaxy. The murder of Jien shows that.
  4. The benefactor had access to an incredible amount of money. Funding the entire initiative is not cheap.
  5. The benefactor didn't care about advanced AI. Developing that advanced AI goes against the wishes of every major council race in the milky way.

There has been much speculation online to the identity (mostly pulled from reddit threads) ordered from more likely to least likely:

  1. The Illusive Man - He meets almost every criteria, the only thing that I'm having trouble with is the fact that the initiative also brought along the other races, and if it were TIM he would have figured out a way to potentially sabotage all the arks since he was so human centrist. There's also an interesting anecdote, TIM's original name was Jack Harper...
  2. Shadow Broker - He also had the funding but not the motive. And during the time of the initiative launch, Liara hasn't taken over the job yet (or was just about to) so it couldn't have been her.
  3. Some previously unknown entity. This is my guess.
  4. Reapers - now we're just delving into wild mass guessing
  5. Geth - ditto