It’s official, the Mass Effect remaster is on its way (Yay!), but it’s been delayed until 2021 (Boo!). The remaster of the popular science fiction shooter is officially known as the Mass Effect: Legendary Edition, but I’m sure it will remain Mass Effect Remastered in our hearts. Legendary Edition will include the original trilogy as well as all DLC. However, it will not include the Mass Effect 3 Multiplayer, which is undoubtedly a disappointment to many fans.
The original plan was to release the game later this month. Bioware and Electronic Arts had apparently hoped to beat the rush of next-gen titles coming out this winter. As you might expect, Covid-19 played a significant role in delaying the game’s release. Bioware would hardly be the only developer facing setbacks due to the pandemic. Major releases like Halo: Infinite, The Last of Us 2, and Cyberpunk 2077 were all postponed thanks to the ongoing crisis.
However, that isn’t the only reason for the delay. According to Venture Beat reporter Jeff Grub, who initially uncovered the game’s existence, the Bioware team is not satisfied with the quality of the remaster. Mass Effect 1 has evidently proven a struggle to update and is lagging behind the other game in terms of visuals and gameplay. This would naturally give new players a bad first impression of the series and disappoint returning fans hoping for a more up to date product.
The exact nature of the problem is unclear, but we can make some educated guesses. Mass Effect has always suffered from a bit of “early installment weirdness.” The first game was much more of an RPG than the later games. Every random crate contained a new item, and there were a larger number of stats and abilities for the player to keep track of. The original Mass Effect also featured the much-maligned Mako vehicle segments, which were absent from later games.
Most notable was their attitude toward environments. The later game had mostly linear zones that still gave the player enough room to maneuver. The original Mass Effect, however, favored claustrophobic, RPG-style dungeons and made a habit of recycling environments. All dungeons of the same type had the same basic layout, with only minor changes like the cover placement. The AI was also much more aggressive, swarming the player with almost no regard for self-preservation.
While the awkwardness of Mass Effect’s combat may hold some nostalgic charm, it’s easy to see why that wouldn’t fly in 2020. I just hope they fix the Mako. And I said fix, not remove. It may be a bouncy castle on wheels, but I’d definitely miss it if it was gone.
Expect Mass Effect: Legendary Edition to release sometime in the first quarter of 2021.