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'Why was that focusing on Miranda's butt?' & other dev tales from remastering Mass Effect

BioWare discusses changes in the upcoming Mass Effect Legendary Edition, including that deal with how the in-game camera frames certain chats.

"You need to keep what I think is the heart of what the franchise was, what people remember it to be, which is the choices that you made, the characters that you meet, the encounters you’ve had with them."

- BioWare's Mac Walters shares why Mass Effect 3's ending remains unaltered, and why some other changes were made to the trilogy along the way.

 

More goes into remastering a game than just graphical improvements, as a recent piece from Metro can attest. The upcoming Mass Effect Legendary Edition splashes a fresh coat of paint on BioWare's decade old Mass Effect trilogy, while also making some minor alterations along the way to address things either overlooked in the past or worth reevaluating in the current age.

A handful of those changes deal with how the in-game camera frames certain chats, including one for an infamous scene featuring a serious conversation with character Miranda that bizarrely aims the camera right at her butt.

In that interview with Metro, project director Mac Walters responds to a question on if changing certain character models ever came up during the development of Mass Effect Legendary Edition. Walters notes that, while characters themselves remain largely unchanged, there were some considerations made along the way with how certain characters are potrayed.

"Kevin actually called out some camera cuts that were just… why was that focusing on Miranda’s butt? So in some cases we said, ‘Okay, we can make a change there’," explains Walters.

"But ultimately, to change an entire character model or something like that wasn’t really… it was a decision that was made as part of many creative decisions and just showing it at the best possible fidelity that we could going forward is really the choice for all of the art that we had."

In other cases, Walters says his team worked to navigate certain oversights like how someone playing Mass Effect as its female PC would adopt stances clearly setup with the male PC in mind. Those fixes, he tells Metro, required some crafty altertions to fix as the team didn't have the resources or ability to simply alter the original animations.

"Specifically around the animations, we couldn’t really change a lot of those, but there were times where you could change the camera to not focus on one of those animations," says Walters. "So a male Shepherd animation would have him sitting with his legs quite wide open with a low camera where, if you were wearing a skirt, it would be a bit unflattering. So we can’t necessarily change that animation, but you can raise that camera up slightly to reduce the problem."

The rest of the interview offers insight into some of the other differences between Mass Effect Legendary Edition and the original games, including sizable gameplay tweaks made to the first game in the series and the studio's decision to leave Mass Effect 3's then-controversial ending untouched.

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