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Mass Effect: Legendary Edition devs originally wanted to bring the trilogy to Unreal 4

Mass Effect: Legendary Edition is not a remake - but it could have been

While the game industry has apparently stopped distinguishing between remakes and remasters (seriously, it’s not that difficult a linguistic distinction), Mass Effect: Legendary Edition is definitely a remaster. These are the original games with visual touch-ups and modest gameplay improvements – no more, and no less. But BioWare initially considered a much more fundamental remake of the trilogy.

“One of the things we did early on, was talk to the people at Epic,” project director Mac Walters says at a preview event. “We said ‘what would this look like if we brought it into Unreal 4?’ It very quickly became clear that that level of jump would really change fundamentally what the trilogy was, how it felt, and how it played.”

One major example of the difficulty of an Unreal 4 port is the Kismet scripting language, Walters says. “It’s a visual scripting language in Unreal 3. There’s no real copy/paste for that to go into Unreal 4, which means every moment, every scene, everything would’ve had to have essentially been redone from scratch. We knew at that point we would really sort of start to take away the essence and the spirit of what the trilogy was.”

Mass Effect remains one of the most beloved names in the pantheon of RPG games, and while a remaster is nice enough – especially given the state of those original PC ports – I can’t help but wonder what Sheperd and crew would’ve looked like in Unreal 4. But hey, maybe Mass Effect 5 will get us there, anyway.

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The Mass Effect: Legendary Edition release date is set for May 14, 2021. You can follow that link for details on everything we know so far.