Modders in the PC Mass Effect community are on a mission to restore cut content to the recently released Legendary Edition of BioWare’s trilogy. Using unearthed files, the community is looking to restore romances, quests, and planets.
As reported by Eurogamer, the community has already crated a mod for the first Mass Effect that allows same-sex romances between male Shepard and Kaiden, or female Shepard and Ashley. This mod does not add any cut-dialogue, though, and so is more of an additional feature rather than a restoration.
But as reported by TheGamer, recorded lines for these romances do exist, and the community is working to restore them. They are hidden among the files of Mass Effect Legendary Edition’s folders, as well as dialogue for same-sex romances in Mass Effect 2. These cover romances for Thane, Jack, Miranda, Jacob, and Tali, although the only available dialogue is for the first romance encounter with each character.
Mods for the original version of Mass Effect 2 were able to restore this content, to a degree, but was limited because adding audio was impossible. “For Legendary Edition’s version of the mods, we can be a lot more creative with how we implement new dialogue for these scenes since we can add new audio,” modder Ryan ‘Audemus’ Ainsworth told TheGamer. This is thanks to a new audio engine in Legendary Edition.
That new audio engine also means Ainsworth and the community is able to add other cut content. Once again talking to TheGamer, Ainsworth revealed that the community is looking to restore something known as “Global Quests” to the first Mass Effect. These are reportedly sprawling, galaxy-wide quests, and so far three have been discovered.
Much of the details are incomplete for these quests, – details for the second quest are not in Legendary Edition at all – but modders have discovered two minutes of audio that details a conflict between the jellyfish-like hanar and the Lystheni, a collective of salarians that live outside of Citadel space.
Due to this audio only being a small piece of the quest, it is not enough to perfectly restore the cut Global Quests, but is enough to act as the basis for story mods at a later date. “When you’re using cut content, it doesn’t necessarily create that ‘fanfiction’ feel that some mods have,” Ainsworth said. “Since the mod is built around what the original writers wrote, and even what the original actors recorded.”
Using discovered files as the basis for something new seems to be the approach the community is taking for their current restoration efforts. This applies to discovered audio files originally recorded for the planet Caleston, which was eventually downsized to become Therum, the world on which you find and recruit Liara T’Soni in Mass Effect. The files present in Legendary edition contain only French recordings, but translation has revealed that the planet was originally very different. “From what I’ve heard so far, it sounds like a very Firefly/The Mandalorian-themed planet, very wild west,” Ainsworth told TheGamer.
The modding community is working to restore this content, but due to the lack of visual assets, the chances of Caleston being added as a whole planet is relatively low. Instead, modders use elements like this audio to inform and inspire more realistic achievements. An example of this is the Spectre Expansion Mod, which adds text adventures rooted in Mass Effect lore to the Normandy’s Galaxy Map. The developer behind this mod, Tydeous, wants to use the audio about the hanar and Lystheni conflict to create a new text adventure.
For more from Mass Effect Legendary Edition, take a look at our review of the first game, and a run down of the changes from the original games that fans love.
Matt Purslow is IGN’s UK News and Entertainment Writer.