A few days ago, Bioware employees confirmed that the remaster of the original Mass Effect trilogy, known as Mass Effect: Legendary Edition, will have some adjustments to its camera angles. Most notably, the infamous “butt shots” involving the character Miranda have been changed. In the original Mass Effect 2, the camera would zoom in on her rear end, even during scenes when she asks the player to save her sister from a band of armed killers or monologuing about how her father tortured her when she was younger. According to BioWare, the creators of Mass Effect, Knights of the Old Republic, and Dragon Age, a few of these shots are going to be removed from the game.
“[Director of environments and characters] Kevin Meek actually called out some camera cuts that were just… why was that focusing on Miranda’s butt?” Mac Walters [Project Director of Legendary Edition] said. “So in some cases we said, ‘Okay, we can make a change there.’” Walters indicated that there weren’t changes to specific character models, but instead updates to where cameras were angled.”
Meek said he changed tweaked male Shepherd’s sitting animations where he needlessly spreads his legs; animations that were shared with the female version of Shepherd.
“If you were wearing a skirt, it would be a bit unflattering,” Meek said. “So we can’t necessarily change that animation, but you can raise that camera up slightly to reduce the problem.”
Over the years, these scenes spawned several memes about Miranda’s character and the franchise in general. In spite of this, the changes have sparked an intense debate regarding artistic integrity and censorship, to the point where topics discussing this matter have been banned on the official Mass Effect reddit. Currently, there is no word as to how many of these shots have been changed, or if these are the only changes they’re making to the games. Former Bioware developer Devon Smith had this to say about the controversy on Twitter:
“I worked on some of these games. The shots being changed were dumb as f*** at the time. They didn’t pull off the “femme fatale” motif, the conversation didn’t fit, and it turned dramatic moments into outright comedy. This isn’t censorship. Mac wrote the damn thing. The Mass Effect Cinematics team is master class — their work inspired me as I was getting my foothold in the industry, and their individual contributions to games continue to build and subtly bridge storytelling mediums. This is just…a skidmark. Time to do the laundry.”
The Mass Effect: Legendary Edition is set to release in May 2021. The game will contain all three of the original Mass Effect games, including almost all of the DLC that was released in those games, save for the Pinnacle Station DLC, as BioWare stated the source code for that expansion is damaged beyond repair. Mass Effect was originally released in 2007, and is about Commander Shepherd trying to save the Milky Way Galaxy from the Reapers, a group of ancient machines bent on the destruction of organic life. Since its release, it’s become one of the most iconic sci-fi gaming franchises, earning numerous awards and selling millions of copies, being praised for its great gameplay and story.
Bioware has not released any more statements regarding when we can expect more news about the next Mass Effect game that was revealed at the Game Awards. Currently, all that is known about the title succeeding Legendary Edition is that it features fan-favorite character Liara, and that it will serve as a sequel to both the original trilogy and the controversial Mass Effect: Andromeda.