Mass Effect: Legendary Edition is a little over a month away. When Mass Effect: Andromeda disappointed the fan base, BioWare took a step back and went quiet on all things Mass Effect for a while. All of this changed last November, when BioWare announced it’s working on the next Mass Effect title, as well as a remaster of the original trilogy. Seeing as how the official release date is nearing upon us (that being May 14, 2021), here’s a comprehensive list of things you can expect from the remastered trilogy. So that’s number one, obviously, the game is coming out on the 14th of May. Mass Effect: Legendary Edition is coming 14th of May this year people! So stoked!
Mass Effect in a Single Package
Now that the release date is out of the way, Mass Effect: Legendary Edition will be a full package deal. You can expect access to all of the three original games as well as all of the DLC that came with them over the years. Well, almost. BioWare had issues with “corrupted data” while working on some DLC content from the first Mass Effect game, so the first game will be missing its one and only DLC as reported by Eurogamer. Pinnacle Station, will unfortunately not be available in the Legendary Edition. Apart from Pinnacle Station, you can expect to find the rest of the content to be exactly where you thought it would be. Yes, that includes everyone’s favorite Citadel DLC from the final game.
This one is a bit obvious. It’s a remaster, it needs to look better. But apart from the 4K HDR 60 FPS improvement, Legendary Edition involves some UI overhaul, improved character models, a more detailed environment and an overall better presentation. This ranges from particle effects to shadows and so on. The differences pointed out can be best seen on the game’s website. But you can have a glance at them below as well. Eden Prime has never looked so good!
Fewer Platform Versions
Unfortunately, as explained by BioWare in this IGN article, they decided not to port the game for current-gen consoles. You’ll be enjoying the aforementioned new stunning visuals only on last-gen. PlayStation 4 and Xbox One are the places to be. PC too.
While you will be able to play them on next-gen consoles as well, there won’t be a PlayStation 5 or an Xbox Series X version per se.
A “Change in Direction”
Character environment director Kevin Meek pointed out that the games may have had a few “unnecessary” shots. Project director Mark Walters acknowledged this saying in a Metro article:
Kevin actually called out some camera cuts that were just… why was that focusing on Miranda’s butt? So in some cases we said, ‘Okay, we can make a change there.’ But ultimately, to change an entire character model or something like that wasn’t really… It was a decision that was made as part of many creative decisions and just showing it at the best possible fidelity that we could going forward is really the choice for all of the art that we had.”
So expect some changes when it comes to directing Mass Effect, which brings us to our next category on this list.
More Female Shephard in Mass Effect!
Kevin Meek and the rest of the team are working on improving female Shephard in order to make her presentation “a bit more on par” with her male counterpart. As Meek pointed out to Metro:
But specifically for female Shepherd, I think there was a lot of things that we could do across the trilogy to make that better, so that she’s a bit more on par with male Shepherd. Whether it be just some subtle face shape changes or some wrinkles or support or whatever, so she’s catching the light and the same kind of quality level.”
So all of the fans of female Commander Shephard rejoice! Fem Shep will also have a recognizable look across all three Mass Effect games, with the default (but still customizable as ever and even more so now) face that was developed in later games. Even the voice actor for Female Shepherd, Jennifer Hale, was stunned by this.
Mass Effect 3’s Extended Cut Ending is Now Canon
There was a lot of controversy surrounding the third game’s ending back in 2012. So BioWare quickly responded with an Extended Cut version, changing the ending to appeal to fans a bit more. A lot of debate had been held around which ending is more preferable and should be considered “adequate”, let’s say. Well, BioWare answered the question for us. The Extended Cut one is. Mind you, this ending doesn’t fundamentally change the conclusion to Shephard’s story, so as much expands upon it. It gives us more detail, maybe plays with the context a bit. It’s been well established over the years. It practically canonized itself.
Some Minor Gameplay Changes
Expect to see a few gameplay tweaks here and there. A couple of Boss fights might work differently. Things in the environment might be multiplied or decreased. The cover layout might be changed in some places. Loading times hidden behind elevator rides will be faster. But the majority of gunplay remains the same. Even though BioWare unified the UI across all three games, guns still shoot the same way they did in each one. The explanation behind this creative decision comes down to “keeping the magic of each game alive.”
So there you have it. Mass Effect came a long way since it first showed up back in 2007. And Commander Shephard has been dearly missed for some good 14 years now. The Mass Effect trilogy is still the Mass Effect trilogy though, even if it got a paint job and lived through some minor changes over the years. Much like the first Star Wars trilogy before it.