Those who played the Mass Effect trilogy when it was shiny and new may recall a few cutscenes with unusual camera angles. Sometimes it was the result of intentional butt framing—especially if Miranda was around—but there were also instances where the use of a single animation for Shepard’s dual body types caused issues, such as a moment where FemShep has a sit-down in a form-fitting black dress:
There will be less of that in the Mass Effect: Legendary Edition. Character environment director Kevin Meek told Metro that BioWare is taking steps to improve FemShep’s animations in the upcoming remaster, “so that she’s a bit more on par with male Shepard.” That includes things like “subtle face changes or some wrinkles or support or whatever, so she’s catching the light and the same kind of quality level,” and in places where animations can’t be changed, adjustments to the player’s perspective are being made.
“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,” Meek explained. “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.”
In the same interview, project director Mac Walters also acknowledged that some of Mass Effect’s cutscene direction perhaps focused less on the narrative and emotional content of a scene, and more on anatomy. BioWare is making a few changes to dial back the most flagrant instances of, well, this:
“Kevin actually called out some camera cuts that were just… why was that focusing on Miranda’s butt?” he said. “So in some cases we said, ‘Okay, we can make a change there.’ 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.”
BioWare is leaning into Shepard’s female side for the Legendary Edition in a way it never did with the original releases, which effectively treated the male character as the default in promo materials. The Legendary Edition reveal trailer puts FemShep front-and-center (a fact that did not go unnoticed by voice actor Jennifer Hale), and it will also establish the character’s fan-selected appearance as her look throughout the entire trilogy.
Mass Effect: Legendary Edition comes out on May 14 on Origin and Steam.