A decade of mods helped devs zero in on improvements for Mass Effect Legendary Edition

A larger PC Gamer interview with the Mass Effect Legendary Edition team explores how BioWare looked to the modding community to discover where they should focus their efforts on the remaster.

"Aside from combing through forums and old reviews and everything like that, [mods were] an initial great data set for us to go, 'OK, this is what's important to people.'"

- Project lead Mac Walters explains how community-made mods influenced the development of Mass Effect Legendary Edition.

BioWare's freshly released Mass Effect Legendary Edition takes on the daunting task remastering all three games in the original Mass Effect saga in one fell swoop, bringing a trio of games released across the lifespan of the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 generation to modern machines.

Luckily for BioWare, a robust mod community for the game's PC versions gave developers an idea of what sort of improvements should be included in a modernized and remastered Mass Effect trilogy. Members of the team dive into how mods influenced development in a longer interview with PC Gamer.

Mac Walters, project lead on Mass Effect Legendary Edition, explains that looking at the sort of mods Mass Effect fans built over the years helped BioWare see both which aspects of the older games most often caught the attention of modders, and which mods were the most popluar with Mass Effect players on PC.

According to PC Gamer, mods like 'A Lot of Textures' even helped developers become more comfortable with using AI to improve textures created for the original games. 

"I'll admit, I was a bit of a naysayer about the AI up-res initially before we got in because there's that meme around, 'enhance, enhance'. It's like how I, as a young artist, might have tried to stretch a texture bigger than it's supposed to be, and over-sharpened it and got worse results, right, at the end?" recalls character and environment director Kevin Meek. "We looked at [mods that use AI upscaling], and we're like, 'Wow, they're getting these great results!'"

The full interview, found here, has much more behind the scenes info to share including looks at peculiar bugs fixed during the remaster process and discussion of what it was like for original BioWare devs to return to the game 14 years later.

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