Mass Effect, the genre-hero of its time, has proven itself to be a timeless video game. Regardless, Mass Effect‘s developer, BioWare, has been hard at work updating the title for the current generation of hardware. A blog post by Bioware Community Manager Jay Ingram gave an update on the changes we should expect in Mass Effect Legendary Edition. This version of the game will still stay true to its roots but also provide fans much more immersive gameplay.

It was important to the team to develop the remastered version in keeping with the “soul” of the original trilogy. Jay writes:

“To us, there’s a sense of “soul” to these games, and we truly believe we’ve been able to strike a balance between making meaningful enhancements while retaining the same atmosphere and feel of the original releases.”

There are many changes made for Mass Effect Legendary Edition, but some changes are more important than others. Let's take a look at the biggest changes from the original in the remastered version.

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Mass Effect Legendary Edition has better textures and will have updated assets

The development team started with the textures used in the games. They scaled them up to 4K, making images look crisper than ever. They did this by increasing the limits on their game engines, allowing for higher resolutions, and upscaling all old textures through some clever programming with batch files.

For the first time in the series, we'll be able to enjoy all of Mass Effect‘s iconic story-focused role-playing with a much more visually appealing experience.

Unlike the textures, the later titles in the series provided the team with more recent versions of some assets. Recurring characters will now use the new models found in Mass Effect 3 as early as the first one. These were pulled, improved, and then ported across the series. What this gave the team was a more consistent, high-quality result. Of course, each of these was tweaked to fit the title they belong to. This was important to help the story develop in a more natural way. For example, uniforms showed a more militaristic look in the later games compared to the first one.

They also updated the environments of each map, guaranteeing players' immersion. Bioware adjusted to the new limits of modern hardware which allowed the environment artists to use more assets to fill up the map. Mass Effect Legendary Edition will have barren areas filled, jagged assets smoothened, shaders updated, and bugs fixed. With visual oddities and artifacts gone, players can now focus on the story of the game without distractions.

Re-worked animations, GUI images, and improved post-processing effects

The VFX team had a chance to show off as well, smoothing out animations and improving on the particle effects present throughout the games. These include the muzzle flashes on weapons and explosions present in the trilogy. This means that they'll be interacting with the environment more as well, lighting up Shepard every time he (or she) fires a gun.


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Bioware also reworked the graphical user interface (GUI). This had the team going back to their original concept art and working with both old and new ideas. They aim to give players an improved user interface for the game, eliminating clunky menus and heads-up displays (HUD). Hopefully, the purist fans won't mind this so much and end up liking the sleeker design.

Lastly, the post-processing effects like ambient occlusion, anti-aliasing, and depth of field (DOF) now apply to all three games. This improves the overall visual in Mass Effect Legendary Edition, melding everything together into an amazing visual experience. The unified graphics between all three games will make the entire saga feel like just one universal story. This results in a much more cinematic feel, further supporting the narrative of the title.

The TRUE Mass Effect ending (but no multiplayer)

Perhaps the most important change for fans who care about the series' story involves changes to Mass Effect 3. While many fans considered the ending for the trilogy to be a dud, Bioware sought to fix this in the remastered edition. As reported by Screen Rant, the ending for the third game will feature the Extended Cut as the default ending. This should satisfy angry fans, and make the trilogy's ending less bittersweet. Sadly, the multiplayer mode from the third game will be entirely cut out. Because of this, to achieve the best ending for the game, players will have to go through the journey from Mass Effect to Mass Effect 3 and maximize their Galaxy Readiness for the Reaper Invasion.

Mass Effect Legendary Edition comes to PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC on May 14, 2021. Fans of the original release as well as newcomers should have something great in store for them thanks to the attention to detail by the developing team. From the ground up, each piece of the game was identified, remastered, and integrated in a way that made sure that the feel of the game didn't change at all. That was the aim, to remove all the visual distractions and let the player focus on the game.