Mass Effect 3 Extended Cut Ending Is ‘Part of the Canon’ in Legendary Edition
When Mass Effect: Legendary Edition launches in May, it will include all of the content from the original Mass Effect Trilogy and its DLC — including, BioWare confirmed, the Extended Cut’s additional fourth ending.
Speaking to IGN, project director Mac Walters said the decision stemmed from a desire to include as much of the DLC content as possible within the collection as if players had downloaded that content from the outset.
“For the people who had an extended cut, that became the experience for them, and so that will be the experience for everyone who is playing the Legendary Edition as well,” he said. “And ultimately…you finish a game and there are things you wish you had been able to do or things you want to add on, and to me that Extended Cut was that opportunity to add a little bit more love and a little bit more context around the ending. So to me that is part of the canon.”
Mass Effect 3’s endings were famously controversial upon release, with director Casey Hudson defending the game at the time. The subsequent Expanded Cut was released to add more context to those endings: ” It does not fundamentally change the endings,” read a 2012 press release, “but rather it expands on the meaning of the original endings, and reveals greater detail on the impact of player decisions.”
Walters also confirmed to IGN that Mass Effect: Legendary Edition would not only include content added to the original games later via DLC, but would also include a few small, brand new tweaks to gameplay — specifically to certain boss fights that were unnecessarily frustrating for players. As an example, Walters pointed to the fight against Asari Matriarch Benezia in Mass Effect 1.
“A lot of people were very frustrated due to a number of things: there’s the lack of cover in that fight so you’re constantly getting flanked; her ability to almost immobilize you almost right off the bat,” he said. “So tuning some of those. Not so much that the fight isn’t still a hard fight — it should be a hard fight — but just so that you couldn’t be knocked completely on your back right away.
“And also, just on the frustration side of it, adding in discrete autosaves at certain points as well. I believe in that one specifically you had to backtrack quite a ways if you lost that fight, and now if you lose it first time, you just start over with the fight; you don’t have to go through all the scenes. So things like that. And then it would vary depending on the boss fight what we would try to do, a lot of times it’s around just making sure the player has enough cover and then tuning things accordingly.”
Today, BioWare announced that Mass Effect: Legendary Edition will launch on May 14, 2021 for PS4, Xbox One, and PC, and while it is forward-compatible with next-gen consoles, the studio also confirmed today it does not currently have plans for a dedicated next-gen release or optimization patch.
Legendary Edition includes all single-player base and DLC content from the original Mass Effect trilogy, remastered with improvements such as better framerate and 4K Ultra HD optimization. It’s available for pre-order now using our pre-order guide, and you can read our first impressions of the collection here.
Rebekah Valentine is a news reporter with IGN. You can find her on Twitter @duckvalentine.