Mass Effect Legendary Edition releases May 14th - here's a first glimpse at what it looks like
Mass Effect Legendary Edition will release on 14th May 2021, EA and BioWare has announced. The reveal is accompanied by new assets including screenshots and a new trailer, revealing some of the enhancements found in the 4K remaster.
The Legendary Edition release includes remastered, upgraded versions of the full Mass Effect trilogy - 2007's Mass Effect, 2010's Mass Effect 2, and 2012's Mass Effect 3. All three titles are complete with all DLC content and bonuses - though for Mass Effect 3, the remaster only includes the single-player content - the multiplayer is not included in this package.
The remastered trilogy is releasing for PC (Origin, Steam), PlayStation 4, and Xbox One, with enhanced performance forward compatibility on Xbox Series X/S and PlayStation 5. Xbox One X, PS4 Pro and above will run at a full 60 frames per second, while all platforms will have a 4K, HDR presentation. The PC version is powered by DirectX 11 and will feature support for 21:9 ultra-wide displays.
The entire trilogy has received a bevvy of visual upgrades, with BioWare taking an interesting approach to the remastering process. First, textures and other assets from the original Mass Effect were put through AI-powered image upscalers and other automatic tools. Then, individual artists would take specific levels and replay them repeatedly, using that process to identify any areas where the upscale hadn't done a good job or where things didn't quite look right. At that point, the team would go in and manually adjust these assets - resulting in a more polished final look. Textures in the final Legendary Edition release are between 4 and 16 times larger than in the original games, depending on the texture.
Character models have of course been upgraded across the board, while new shaders, upgraded lighting, and other new visual effects serve to give the games an upgraded look. Under the hood they remain similar, however - featuring the same animation, the same gameplay but for minor tweaks, and an unedited story apart from the fact that all previous DLC is now inserted into the narrative events of each game more naturally.
For those who enjoy character customization, that's now unified across the series - meaning the same options in every game and the ability to carry one distinct Shepard right the way through the trilogy, without the jarring adjustments that would happen between games thanks to changing elements behind-the-scenes.
PC players will be able to enjoy an ultrawide presentation, as previously mentioned, but they'll also experience proper native controller support and better keybinding options.
The elephant in the room with this remaster was always the first game in the series - and the original Mass Effect has been changed more than its successors, but it absolutely remains the same game as it was back in 2007. What BioWare has tried to do here is bring the game more in line with its successors without messing with the systems that make it distinct and beloved, even in its jankiness.
We've got a full article detailing how the original Mass Effect has changed in the Legendary Edition, but the short version is this: controls have been improved, the UI has been upgraded, elevator loading is now almost four times faster and even has a skip option, AI has been improved, boss battles have been tweaked, and weapons rebalanced. Most interesting of the ME1 changes is that iconic levels themselves have been enhanced with added detail and density. The level design is unchanged, but you might notice differences in ambient effects, backgrounds or skyboxes. These changes will inevitably polarize fans, but the result is meant to be an ME1 that more closely resembles its hugely successful offspring.
One person is all that stands between humanity and the greatest threat it’s ever faced. Relive the legend of Commander Shepard in 4K Ultra HD with HDR compatibility in the Mass Effect ™ Legendary Edition , featuring single-player base content and 40+ DLC story, weapons and armor packs from Mass Effect , Mass Effect 2 , and Mass Effect 3 . The remastered trilogy will be available in Spring 2021 for Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC, with forward compatibility on Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5.
As Commander Shepard, rise to become the galaxy’s most elite soldier and lead an epic war to stop an ancient and ruthless enemy: the Reapers. Heart-pounding cinematic action intersects with gripping interactive storytelling in a heroic battle against the unknown where you will decide how the story unfolds. You will assemble a crew of intriguing characters, learning their own unique stories as they traverse the galaxy in the state-of-the-art ship, SSV Normandy. The fate of the galaxy lies in your hands.
- Enhanced Mass Effect Experience: All of the beloved moments in the Mass Effect trilogy can be experienced in gorgeous 4K Ultra HD with HDR. Revamped visuals including remastered character models, tens of thousands of upressed textures, shaders and VFX, updated lighting and improved dynamic shadows, volumetrics and depth-of-field add a new level of immersion to the iconic trilogy. Pre-rendered cinematics have also been enhanced to make every story moment feel even more impactful. The new generation of consoles provides players with improved performance and faster loading times while the PC experience has modernized and unified settings in addition to support for 21:9 widescreen, controllers and DirectX 11.
- Modernized Mass Effect 1: The original Mass Effect features comprehensive world-building enhancements with added detail as you explore locations like Eden Prime, Ilos and Feros. Mass Effect features updated interfaces and UI as well as a variety of quality of life improvements. Combat and exploration have been modernized through improved aiming, squad controls and behavior, Mako handling and cameras.
- Expanded Character Customization Options: Character customization features unified creation options that persists across all three titles and is complete with an improved and expanded selection of hair, makeup and skin tone options. The iconic Female Shepard default appearance from Mass Effect 3 is now available as the default female Shepard appearance in character creation in all three games, further adding to the unified experience across the trilogy.