Mass Effect director hopes Legendary Edition changes your feelings about the infamous ending

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CNET 15 May, 2021 - 11:00am 31 views

What time does Mass Effect Legendary Edition come out?

When is the Mass Effect: Legendary Edition release time? Mass Effect: Legendary Edition will be released at 12 a.m. Eastern on May 14, 2021. If you have the game pre-loaded and ready to go, this is the time you should be keeping in mind. Inverse'Mass Effect: Legendary Edition' release time, file size, and Xbox Game Pass status

The vanguard of our destruction -- the Reapers have returned in Mass Effect: Legendary Edition.

Mass Effect: Legendary Edition brought remastered versions of Commander Shepard's adventures to PS4, Xbox One and PC on Friday. It's the first time we've had the epic original trilogy and all its downloadable content in one big collection, in 4K Ultra HD at 60 fps. You can also play on PS5 and Xbox Series X and S via backward compatibility, which will cut down your time spent looking at loading screens.

BioWare's original trilogy came out in 2007, 2010 and 2012, bringing gamers into a sci-fi universe in which humanity has discovered the secrets of faster-than-light travel and has journeyed across the galaxy, allying itself with alien races along the way. 

You play as customizable hero Shepard and gather an excellent squad of now-iconic characters as they discover the horrifying threat of the Reapers, a machine race intent on purging the galaxy's sentient life. Your choices determine the fates of your allies, enemies and billions across the galaxy, carrying between games in the trilogy and creating a unique narrative for each player. The series sold millions of copies and each game was critically acclaimed, despite some controversy over the third game's ending.

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Given how long ago the trilogy came out, the team behind the Legendary Edition had to put in a gargantuan effort to bring the the pieces up to a standard that would satisfy the gamers of 2021 while remaining true to the classic experience. Their work included improved character models, high-resolution textures, new lighting, depth of field and other visual updates, along with some control tweaks.

We got our first look at the collection back in February, with a trailer that reminded fans how glorious this trilogy was and how much we missed Liara, Garrus and company since we last saw them in 2012. 

Ahead of Legendary Edition's release, I chatted over Zoom with project director Mac Walters and with character and environment director Kevin Meek about those emotional attachments, the changes they've made to the games, how they think Mass Effect 3's ending will go down in 2021 and the chances of its multiplayer mode making a return. Here's a transcript of the interview, edited for clarity.

The Mako was challenging to control in the original Mass Effect, but the developers improved the vehicle's handling in Legendary Edition.

Meek: They are old games, but they've still held up over the passage of time. Looking at the original release, we sometimes found there was a sense of friction in the controls or distracting moments in the art. We tried to smooth out -- sometimes literally -- a lot of what you're seeing and experiencing. You can experience that story as it was meant to be, and you really immerse yourself. That's what I want people to fall into when they first boot it up.

Walters: So ideally, people playing it say "Yeah, this is exactly how I remember it." Then we've successfully remastered their memory and nostalgia -- it's evoking the same feeling and experiences. It's only when they actually compare it to the original that they see how much work was done.

Now we've eliminated a lot of those class restrictions on weapons. You can choose Vanguard, which gives you a bunch of biotic powers and still use whatever weapons want. And then when you get to Mass Effect 2 and 3, those powers let you do all these really fun things like lifting people up and throwing them off buildings, and warping yourself across chasms to slam into enemies.

Walters: Another good one is the DLC, especially in 2 and 3, if you didn't play it before. We used that additional content to experiment with the level design and gameplay -- there's some really cool and fun stuff. If you finish Lair of the Shadow Broker (a piece of DLC from Mass Effect 2), you can re-spec all your characters, plus all these other cool bonuses that come with it. 

Meek: I think the sci-fi beats of the ending might hit people in a different way now than they might have nine years ago. Playing it as a whole trilogy and treating it as one giant arc, rather than three arcs, goes a long way to potentially changing people's experiences.

Drell assassin Thane Krios is looking moody in the new collection.

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You can now preload Mass Effect: Legendary Edition across all platforms, according to the official Twitter. If you've preordered the game you can simply locate the game's store page and begin downloading immediately. If your download hasn't started automatically, you can locate it in the store pages below to prompt the download to begin. EA also stated that on Xbox, the download will be relatively smaller than on other platforms, and you'll be able to download the sequels through the launcher.

With your download secured, you may be wondering exactly when you can start playing. On both PlayStation and Xbox, the answer appears to be exactly at midnight on May 14. PlayStation games usually unlock at midnight local time. The Microsoft Store lists the release for 12:00 on May 14, and it doesn't specify a time zone.

On Steam, the game may unlock at midnight just like PlayStation and Xbox, or it might unlock at 8 AM PT / 11 AM ET with the Steam Store update.

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Mass Effect: Legendary Edition takes up a relatively large chunk of storage space, though less than you might expect for a package of three massive space-faring RPGs. Its footprint is almost the same across PlayStation and Xbox, but much larger on PC. Keep in mind, however, that the console versions are expected to receive a day-one patch that's just over 10 GB.

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