With a remaster and a new game on the horizon, we take a look at what Mass Effect fans have to look forward to.
In November, BioWare finally lifted the lid on one of the worst-kept secrets in gaming: Mass Effect: Legendary Edition, a remaster of the original three Commander Shepard-led games in the Mass Effect franchise, is hitting PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One in early 2021 — also with shiny, next-gen upgrades for PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X. Then, a month later in December, BioWare took that hype and amped it up to infinity by unveiling a teaser trailer for the next installment in the groundbreaking sci-fi series.
If you’re a Mass Effect fan who is feeling a bit of emotional whiplash after going from years of near silence after the series was reportedly left “on ice” following Mass Effect Andromeda’s, ahem, icy reception to two major announcements in consecutive months, you’re not alone. Let’s take a deep dive into everything we’ve learned about the iconic sci-fi series’ future in the past couple of months and see just what’s coming in the Legendary Edition, where the new game is going from here, whether Andromeda has been completely abandoned… and whether Garrus is still calibrating the engine.
The first big piece of news was the announcement of the Mass Effect: Legendary Edition remaster of the original three games. Although the original versions of the games are still perfectly playable in their current state on PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, the remaster was a welcome announcement: fans are pleased to see their old favourite characters in all their HD glory, as well as the potential for BioWare to make certain adjustments.
The original game is notorious for being slightly outdated compared to the later entries of the series. Mass Effect 2 and 3 saw BioWare overhaul the first game’s gameplay, opting to scale back the old-school RPG elements that inhabited and upscale the stylised action and gunplay, making for pretty disjointed gameplay experience in an otherwise great series. The Legendary Edition remaster is the perfect opportunity for BioWare to streamline the gameplay of the series as a whole and commit to making the three games as balanced as possible. It’s also the perfect chance for the developer to give the players what they want — A MAKO THAT WORKS. The first game spends a sizable amount of time exploring planets in the Mako, a rover that can quite simply be impossible to handle sometimes.
Mass Effect2 and 3 probably don’t need any drastic alterations, but it sure would be nice if one teeny, tiny, miniscule detail could be rectified just a little bit: Tali’s face reveal. Tali’Zorah nar Rayya (or vas Normandy) is a fan-favourite character and part of the nomadic Quarian race, who are forced to wear protective suits due to their compromised immune systems. As such, their appearances under the suits are never revealed — unless you make the right choices in Mass Effect 3 and a photograph of Tali becomes visible in Commander Shepard’s quarters. The reveal is simply lacklustre, and our girl Tali deserves to have at least a good shot of her face included at some point in the game.
As we now know, the Legendary Edition remaster isn’t just to appease fans, but revitalise the series and prepare old fans and new ones alike for future installments. The recent trailer hints at the possibility of the upcoming Mass Effect game making one of the original trilogy endings official: it implies that the “Destroy” ending — where the collective species of the Milky Way survive the Reaper invasion at the cost of a lot of technology, including the Mass Relays that allow for interstellar travel and our synthetic Geth friends (RIP Legion and EDI) — might be the launching point for the future of the series. The teaser trailer for the newest Mass Effect game, released during the 2020 Game Awards in December, included hefty references to Commander Shepard and appeared to show destroyed Mass Relays, dead Reapers, and the return of iconic Asari scientist/biotic queen Liara T’Soni. All in all, it heavily alluded to the next game picking up after the events of Mass Effect 3.
BioWare has previously shied away from continuing a post-original series story, likely due to the third game’s various endings leaving the fictional universe in vastly different states — so much so that the premise of 2017’s Mass Effect: Andromeda involved an expedition to a whole other galaxy taking place prior to the events of Mass Effect 3 to dodge the fallout of the original series entirely. Speaking of Andromeda, although it was received quite poorly at launch and subjected to a, ahem, mass of memes about its bugs, glitches and poor animations, it did manage to quite clearly set the framework for future Mass Effect sequels that may never actually see the light of day if BioWare opts to continue the original series instead.
What are your thoughts on the recent Mass Effect announcements and reveals? What changes would you like to see in the Legendary Edition? Are you team #OriginalTrilogy or team #Justice4Andromeda?