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Mass Effect: Legendary Edition Coming May 14 – First Details, Big Trailer & Comparative Screenshots



Mass Effect: Legendary Edition Coming May 14 - First Details, Big Trailer & Comparative Screenshots

On January 27, Electronic Arts held a private presentation of Mass Effect: Legendary Edition – a remaster of the cult trilogy for the outgoing and next-generation consoles, as well as for the PC. We attended the event and share the information that we were able to glean from it.

According to rumors, the trilogy was supposed to be released in March, but this is not the case – the release is scheduled for May 14.

4K Trailer

Track: Audiomachine – “Dauntless”

The main features of the remaster – in short

  • The re-release was created for PC (Steam and Origin), Xbox One, and PS4, but it is compatible with PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series.
  • The picture is the same on all platforms, however, judging by the presentation, the remaster uses dynamic resolution. Probably PS5 and Series X will hit 4K 60 FPS with HDR without any problems.
  • For the entire trilogy, one client and one universal character editor, in which new hairstyles, eye colors, and other elements have been added. The standard female version of Shepard from Mass Effect 3 is now available straight from the first game.
  • The re-release contains in general all the DLCs that ever came out to the Mass Effect trilogy – more than 40 pieces. Even promotional costumes that were given on pre-orders.
  • The multiplayer has been cut , and the plot has been rebalanced accordingly.
  • All CGI videos were rendered at a higher resolution, assets and effects were updated.
  • As for graphics, the developers have updated the character models and levels, redesigned lighting, improved textures, shaders, effects, dynamic shadows, and also added volumetric haze and a high-quality depth of field effect. In addition, in the games of the series, the number of points of application of ambient occlusion (shading model) and subsurface scattering (realistic skin with a translucent effect) were added.
  • The sound in the games of the trilogy did not change. The team limited themselves to fixing some assets, but no Dolby Atmos or Tempest Engine support appeared.
  • The download time was reduced several times. For example, an almost minute elevator ride turned into a 14-second ride. At the same time, the player can still listen to the dialogues with which the developers tried to brighten up the downloads before – this option was left.
  • The PC version was transferred to DirectX 11, added universal graphics settings for all three parts, as well as support for monitors with a 21: 9 ratio and gamepads.
  • The first Mass Effect underwent the deepest revision – the quality of the locations was brought up to the level of the other games of the trilogy, and at the same time a new character editor was built into the original. The developers fixed camera movement, made autosave points more frequent, improved aiming, added a separate button for melee combat, improved enemy AI and squad control, fixed boss battles, refreshed the interface, reduced the frequency and complexity of minigames, removed restrictions on tethered weapons to the class, removed the class-specific targeting penalties, rebalanced the experience required to reach level 60, corrected the cooldown time for healing.

Development approach

  • The project is led by Mark Walters, a BioWare veteran who has worked almost exclusively with Mass Effect since 2005.
  • Development for the Legendary Edition began back in 2019 , when a small team inside BioWare began to check what can be done with the noticeably outdated trilogy.
  • The production of the remaster was flexible in terms of timing. The more time the developers were given, the more elements they could improve. BioWare does not hide that the first part was the weak point from the very beginning – it had to be paid the most attention, while the second and third looked good after the basic improvements.
  • First of all, the developers decided not to change the engine to Unreal Engine 4. The budget moving to UE4 would be comparable to the release of a new game in the series, and the team was afraid that the spirit of the original would be lost.
  • The choice of Unreal Engine 3 imposed its own limitations: due to outdated tooling, BioWare immediately realized that they could not make a new animation . The only thing the team could fix was to remove the glitches that have already become famous. They should not be in the updated version.
  • To prevent the whole process from being a pointless and monotonous improvement of assets, BioWare allocated one senior designer for each of the levels of the game . The person in charge had to study the location provided to him and select the elements that most strongly influence the experience. For example, the developers did not like the fact that on Eden Prime the player sees the sun only at the very beginning, and then runs mostly in the shade, which makes the location look flat and inconspicuous. Therefore, the lighting on the planet was completely redone, thereby adding volume to the picture.
  • BioWare decided not to draw new textures unnecessarily, so they improved them with neural networks while removing memory restrictions and adding polygons to models. As a result, the texture sizes were increased up to 16 times to make the picture look good on a 4K display.
  • The developers note that many of the shortcomings of the first Mass Effect were corrected by the third party. That is why the team could take some elements from the trilogy finale and move them to the beginning with improvements. At the same time, the developers closely followed the chronology so that the character suddenly did not become younger or what object did not appear in the frame ahead of time.
  • When restoring the first Mass Effect, the developers often returned to the concept art of the game and tried to hold the picture up to the original vision. Even on Unreal Engine 3, modern consoles and PCs can greatly improve graphics – for example, add many new effects and lighting sources without losing even 60 FPS. Many locations in the remaster look exactly as BioWare’s artists originally intended.
  • During development, it was tempting to change the story as well, but BioWare decided not to touch the plot at all. The Extended Cut ending will remain canon for Mass Effect 3.

I enjoy playing games, and gaming is a passion of mine. Among my favorite games are Tears of the Kingdom, GTA, and Cyberpunk.

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