Mass Effect 2 & 3’s infamous Miranda butt shots are changing in the Mass Effect Legendary Edition. In an interview with Metro UK, Project Director Mac Walters talked about how the team felt they could recontextualize the portrayals of certain characters with simple fixes like changing camera angles. Yes, that means all of those conversations that focus on Miranda’s butt in her tight-fitting suit are going to be adjusted.
Mass Effect is still an M-rated game, and the team isn’t fundamentally changing anything as it pertains to the story or redoing character models. It will still have all of the romance and alien (and human) sex scenes you’d expect. But adjusting the focus of the camera angles was important during certain scenes to recontextualize the conversations and character development happening in these moments, rather than focus on ogling a character’s butt.
“I do think a lot of things have evolved since [the original games] but I don’t know if I would say we were ultra-concerned about it or anything like that, but there were considerations,” Walters said when Metro asked about accusations of the original games pandering to male audiences. “Kevin [Meek, character and environment director] 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.'”
The team is drawing a line though, and won’t be changing character models, citing this as a creative decision for the rerelease. “But ultimately, to change an entire character model or something like that wasn’t really… it was a decision that was made as part of many creative decisions and just showing it at the best possible fidelity that we could going forward is really the choice for all of the art that we had.”
Laura Kate Dale, who wrote a book on video game butts, has an excellent thread about why, although Miranda’s “perfect” butt is part of her storyline (due to her genetic engineering), changing the gratuitous nature in which the game completely focused on her butt in all conversations allows her character to develop better.
I just released a book about video game butts. Let’s discuss Miranda’s Butt being shown a little less prominently in Mass Effect Remastered.
Let’s start by talking about the narrative importance of Miranda’s butt, and why it’s good the game is not removing it entierly.
— Laura Kate Dale (@LaurakBuzz) February 5, 2021
There are come camera angles changing for Shepard too, in order to create more equality between the male and female Shepard models. “Specifically for female Shepherd, I think there was a lot of things that we could do across the trilogy to make that better, so that she’s a bit more on par with male Shepherd,” Walters said. “… 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.”
Mass Effect Legendary Edition is making a number of other small changes to the series to make it feel more at home in 2021. Graphics updates will make the first game feel more cohesive with the second two, and it’s also packing in nearly all of the DLC and the Extended Cut ending to make the entire experience feel complete right out of the box.