Back to the beginning: Bringing Mass Effect to PS3
I’m Ryan Warden, the External Producer for Mass Effect Trilogy. I’ve been with BioWare for almost nine years now – lately I’ve been working to help bring you Mass Effect Trilogy for PlayStation 3, and today I’m honoured to be able to write a post for PlayStation Blog!
We began work on Mass Effect Trilogy in earnest last April, shortly after Mass Effect 3 had shipped. The trilogy was complete, but there was a slight complication — there were people who had missed out on one (or more) titles in the series. Clearly this included PS3 owners, who had never had the chance to play the original Mass Effect. Mass Effect Trilogy was a great opportunity to rectify that!
We partnered with Edge of Reality, an external team with whom we’ve worked on many previous projects. Edge of Reality has a deep understanding of how PS3 works, under the hood, so we thought the project would be a perfect fit. We had a huge head start because of the work we had done with Mass Effect 2 and Mass Effect 3 for PS3, but we still wanted to maintain the look and feel – the classic experience – of the original Mass Effect.
“We got some huge gains in performance.”
We tinkered with the audio engine, and with the way that memory was allocated to various chunks of the game. We brought over some lighting and visual effects improvements from Mass Effect 2 and 3, and combined them with the original Mass Effect systems. In essence, we invited the Wu Tang Clan to a rap battle… and it paid off.
We got some huge gains in performance – especially with regard to texture popping, which has been dramatically improved – yet we were still able to maintain the classic look and feel of the introduction to the Mass Effect universe.
At the end of my first playthrough during development, I saw a scene that had once been so familiar – the Normandy jumps to FTL, the screen fades to black, and That Song kicks in. I had sat through this scene countless times during the development of Mass Effect. Every single time, the delay-soaked guitar of Faunts’ “M4 Part II” put a grin on my face, just like the first time I saw it.
I’m lucky that I got to relive the eight years of my life that I’ve spent working on the Mass Effect series. And now PS3 owners can experience the full trilogy for the first time.
You can finally create your Shepard at the beginning of Mass Effect, and bring that same character through the rest of the series. You can stand on the moon, drive the Mako across an asteroid, chase a rogue Spectre to the edges of the galaxy, and deliver right hooks to your heart’s content. Then you can pop the Mass Effect 2 disc in the tray.
I’m really proud of the work that the team has done to bring Mass Effect Trilogy to the PS3, and I can’t wait for you to play through the whole series. I hope you enjoy it!