Has anyone played ME3 after doing a playthrough of ME2 without doing any loyalty missions, or getting the whole team killed? Or is that even possible? I remember hearing characters - including Shepard - could die in the final mission and not be available in ME3. Was that true?
The minimum that you can keep alive in ME2 are two squadmates. If you finish the suicide mission with one or none alive then Shepard will fail to reach the Normandy when jumping from the base to the airlock. It results in Shepard falling into open space and a game over.
The way it works is each squad member is assigned a number value from 1-4, 4 being the strongest. Characters like Grunt, Zaeed, & Garrus are 4's because their tougher, while ones like Tali, Mordin, & Kasumi are considered 1's because they aren't big and bulky, nor do they wear heavy armor.
Each character starts out at their assigned 1, 2, 3, or 4 value based on strength, but each value will be docked one point if loyalty was never achieved. So in other words, if I do Garrus' loyalty mission he is a 4, if I skip Grunt he goes from a 4 to a 3, and if skip Mordin he goes from a 1 to a 0 (a 0 means no chance of survival while a 4 just about guarantees survival).
Upgrades to the Normandy also effect survival rates becuase some squad memebers will be killed when the ship is attacked before even reaching the collector base. Also, if you don't choose the right specialists people will die (meaning don't make Grunt your tech expert or Jack you fire team leader unless you want people to be killed).
This chart should help anyone trying to save everyone, kill everyone, or only save certain people:
Okay - so if your crew wipes, what does that do to ME3? If Jacob and Thane are dead at the end of ME2, how does that affect ME3? What about Tali and Garrus since they jump in with you?