Almost every remaster brings fear that a game will be drastically modified from the original. Some small changes to Mass Effect: Legendary Edition have a minority of fans worried about censorship. The developers behind Legendary Edition shared that some cutscenes have been tweaked, and that has fans wondering if more of Mass Effect will be censored.
Will there be censorship in Mass Effect: Legendary Edition?
Before examining whether Mass Effect: Legendary Edition is censored, we have to define the term.
Merriam-Webster states something is censored if it is:
“suppressed, altered, or deleted as objectionable”
According to an interview with Metro, the devs are altering some scenes. The direct quotes are:
“…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. 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.”
“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.'”
So far, those are the only two aspects of the games which have been changed. So, we’ll take a look and see if either meets the definition of censorship.
Female Shepard camera changes:
Part of what the team wanted to do with the Legendary Edition was to bring female Shepard in Mass Effect and Mass Effect 2 in line with her portrayal in Mass Effect 3. Both versions of Shepard use the same animations, so in some scenes when she sits, female Shepard has an obviously masculine posture. The devs slightly moved the camera up in some of these scenes to make the animation reuse a bit less obvious.
It doesn’t seem like these changes meet the definition of censorship. The team didn’t state they found the content objectionable. Instead, because they couldn’t change a lot of the animation without major reworks, lifting the camera up disguised the fact that female Shepard was manspreading.
Miranda cutscene camera changes:
So far, we only know of one specific instance in which the camera has changed in a cutscene with Miranda. During the conversation in which she’s revealing her tumultuous relationship with her father, the camera switches to an angle that shows a close-up low shot of Miranda’s butt. Given the grave and emotional tone of the conversation, the scene became a meme over the years.
The developers behind Mass Effect: Legendary Edition stated that they didn’t find the camera angle fit in with the particular scene. Though the team will modify the angle with this scene in the remastered, it doesn’t strike us as censorship. The devs didn’t indicate that they found the angle itself offensive, distasteful, or objectionable. Instead, it was the context it was shown in that caused the change. We can assume the other scenes emphasizing Miranda’s – and other characters’ – bottoms and bust remain intact. The devs also didn’t mention any modification to the game’s romance scenes, so they are also likely unchanged.
Given that this scene was criticized as far back as the original release of Mass Effect 2, it’s no surprise that the devs took the opportunity to change it. It is out of place thematically.
For now, we can say from what we know of the Mass Effect: Legendary Edition that it’s not censoring material from the original games. The changes seem to for technical and narrative purposes, not because the devs found anything objectionable (unlike what we saw with Devil May Cry 5). However, we won’t be able to make a final verdict on this until the collection releases on May 14, 2021.