Mass Effect fans have been in the desert for a while now. You see, Moses angered God and now the fanbase is cursed to walk the internet wasteland for many years, sustained solely by memes and our hatred of EA. Well this week we got water from a rock, by which I mean a rumor that's giving people hope. Supposedly, EA is working on a remaster of the Mass Effect Trilogy. If it's true, this would be the first, well, anything Mass Effect related that we've gotten since the series was put on ice after Mass Effect: Andromeda bombed. I wrote about it here. Despite the contentious ending, the original trilogy is still held up as a high-water mark for what video games can be in terms of storytelling.
So, let's suppose this rumor is true, why would Mass Effect be getting a remaster, and why now? I see a few possibilities.
1. Good will. EA is a company that is not well liked, that is the most diplomatic way I can put it. Bringing back a beloved series would make a lot of gamers happy, and it might (very slightly) improve attitudes towards EA.
2. They're working on something. I think this is most likely. A lot of the time when we see a game getting remastered, it's testing the waters to judge interest in the IP. This could easily be EA seeing if there's still interest in Mass Effect after Andromeda derailed the franchise.
3. Both of the above.
So, Mass Effect getting a remaster makes a lot of sense, especially with a new console generation right around the corner, this could help people forget Andromeda and recharge interest in a next-gen Mass Effect game. Of course, this is all speculation as no Mass Effect remaster has been announced. Assuming it is true, I find myself feeling ambivalent about it. Maybe it's because I'm older and more Zen than when I played the original trilogy. Or maybe it's because I don't trust EA. Honestly, I'm not even certain I trust BioWare at this point after Andromeda and Anthem.
Furthermore, it's going to depend on what kind of remaster this is going to be. Is it just getting a graphical upgrade and better lighting? Essentially, just a new coat of paint. Or are they going to tweak things here or there that could work better/need fixing? If it's the latter, I'll be much more interested. And simply speaking as a fan? That would absolutely be the way to go.
If it's a remaster with some fixes, here's what needs to be addressed in each game.
Mass Effect: The combat in the original game is notoriously clunky, which in all fairness, was par for the course at the time. But that was back in 2007, thirteen years ago. If I tried playing the original today, I'd probably find it unplayable. If nothing else, make it easy to get in cover.
Mass Effect 2: Leave as is. There is nothing here that needs to be touched, just make it look prettier.
Mass Effect 3: You knew this was coming, the ending. If you REALLY want to earn back gamer's goodwill, address this. Yes, the expanded endings were better, but this is a chance to actually fix it properly. I'm not saying add a final boss, but I would get rid of the Starchild, because that's what derailed not just the ending, but the lore. The Starchild completely changes the nature of the Reapers, and thus undermines the plot and themes of the previous games. It's the same mistake the Matrix sequels made.
The biggest reason I think the ending should be changed, or at least expanded and adjusted isn't even my own fanboyism (although that is a factor). The ending of Mass Effect 3 really painted the series into a corner in terms of what comes after; I think that's why Andromeda was set 600 years later in a different galaxy. Here's the thing, in order to do this, there don't even need to be new cinematics or anything. BioWare could easily do the classic RPG Where are they Now? Cards that say what happened after the game is finished. Plus, it would give them an opportunity to sprinkle in some hints or connections to the next game.
So, what do you all think? Are you excited for a possible Mass Effect remaster? Let me know. Keela Salai.