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Why Mass Effect 3’s Original Ending Isn’t In Legendary Edition


Mass Effect: Legendary Edition only includes the Extended Cut ending of Mass Effect 3, not the original conclusion it had at launch. Here’s why.

Mass Effect Legendary Edition’s trilogy of remastered games packs together many new and returning features, like visual improvements, updated controls, almost every Mass Effect DLC release, and more. But one thing Mass Effect Legendary Edition won’t include is ME3‘s original ending – the infamous trilogy conclusion that caused controversy after the game’s launch.

Many players felt Mass Effect 3‘s original ending – and, thus, that of the entire trilogy – was too simple, presenting players with three choices at the game’s finale and failing to provide closure for its storylines and characters. In response, BioWare released the “Extended Cut” update several months after the launch, expanding Mass Effect 3’s ending by adding more cutscenes, epilogues for alien races and characters, more dialogue options, and more context in general.

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In Mass Effect Legendary Edition, fans will only be presented with the Extended Cut ending, with no option to view the original. Some fans had dared to hope Legendary Edition would go as far as updating the Extended Cut ending even further, but that also won’t be the case.

Why Mass Effect Legendary Edition Only Includes The Extended Cut

Mass Effect 3

As Mass Effect Legendary Edition project director Mac Walters told IGN in a February 2021 interview, the decision to only include the Extended Cut ending comes from the idea of approaching the series as if players had all of the trilogy’s DLC and updates from the outset.

For the people who had an extended cut, that became the experience for them, and so that will be the experience for everyone who is playing the Legendary Edition as well. [… T]o me that is part of the canon.

While no further changes have been made to the Extended Cut itself, there have been tweaks to the Galactic Readiness system, which determines the variation of the game’s extended endings a player gets. Multiplayer matches in Mass Effect 3 used to contribute to a player’s Galactic Readiness, but with multiplayer cut from Mass Effect Legendary Edition, the system has been rebalanced. Now, players who play through the first two games and carry over their save files to the third will have a much better chance of scoring a good endings, whereas players who start with just Mass Effect 3 will need to do the majority of its optional content to stand a chance against the Reapers.

Some may be disappointed the original ending isn’t viewable or that the Extended Cut wasn’t further extended, but these would perhaps be beyond the scope of what Mass Effect Legendary Edition is all about. BioWare has made clear the collection is intended to be the ultimate Mass Effect package, presenting the original trilogy in the best way possible but stopping short of creating brand-new content or dramatically changing the spirit of the original games’ final forms. Mass Effect 3’s Extended Cut ending is already its revised, improved ending. Those who want BioWare to continue expanding upon Mass Effect‘s universe can only wait for the potential release of the franchise’s next installment.

Next: Mass Effect Legendary Edition Lets You Use The Awful Old Mako Controls

Mass Effect Legendary Edition launches May 14 on Xbox One, PS4, and PC, also playable on Xbox Series X/S and PS5 via backwards compatibility.

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