Modders have managed to restore Mass Effect’s lost DLC pack, Pinnacle Station, and add it to the PC version of Mass Effect Legendary Edition.
Released on November 7 (N7 Day), the DLC was restored by the ME3Tweaks group, a team of modders that have worked on Mass Effect mods for years. Discussing the project in a blog post, modder Mgamerz noted that “This has been the most ambitious modding project I’ve taken on before, as it touched pretty much every aspect of design. We had to design multiple new custom classes, code a very complex porting pipeline, improve our tools to find assets easier, invent new debugging tools, and more.”
Screens – Mass Effect Legendary Edition
Pinnacle Station was originally released for the first Mass Effect game in 2009, and is a fairly simple combat simulator mode. Success in the simulator will unlock Shepard’s Apartment, a small home base. It was developed by Demiurge, who also ported Mass Effect to PC. The source code for Pinnacle Station has since been lost, hence why the PS3 and Legendary Edition versions of Mass Effect 1 do not include it. But the ME3Tweaks group have been able to use their tools to port the DLC from the original PC version of Mass Effect into the Legendary Edition.
In addition to simply getting the DLC running in Legendary Edition, the modding group has also put significant effort into making the DLC a better experience. Pinnacle Station originally had very little audio, with no music during combat, and so the modders have chosen tracks from the score that feel appropriate for each map. There has also been significant work put into difficulty scaling, as the original’s Volcano Hunt Insanity mode was overly punishing due to how quickly time would run out, and the Survival mode could be easily cheesed by simply not engaging enemies. Now, Volcano Hunt Insanity has been toned down by reducing the time decay awarded per kill, providing a little extra time to kill the required enemies before time runs out. Survival now forces enemies who haven’t been killed after 25 seconds to charge at you, which makes it a more interesting challenge.
A large variety of other fixes have been made, including reducing texture pop-in, fixed lighting, dialogue wheel glitches, and bugged character models. The team also discovered a large amount of cut content, which suggested that Pinnacle Station originally was meant to be a more story-heavy piece of DLC than it eventually became. While much of that content cannot be restored because it’s impossible to see the full script, the team has been able to restore some cut Turian bomber ships that were meant to fly across Ahern’s map. The team notes that there’s no audio feedback on these bombers, but they will try to improve this in future updates.
For more from Mass Effect Legendary Edition, check out our reviews of the first, second, and third games and how their remaster treatments fare, as well as the news that sales were “well above” expectations. If it’s the future of Mass Effect you’re interested in, then take a look at the poster that teases the future of the series.
Matt Purslow is IGN’s UK News and Entertainment Writer.