The Mass Effect: Legendary Edition does not officially include the original Pinnacle Station DLC, but a team of modders at ME3Tweaks have restored the lost add-on after BioWare admitted they no longer had access to the source code from developer Demiurge Studios.
In the lead up to the Mass Effect trilogy’s remastered release, BioWare explained its difficult decision to cut the Pinnacle Station DLC from the new collection. Director Mac Walters told Game Informer the only backups they had contained corrupted data and that it would “take another full six months” to remake the experience. Of course, the development group behind the mod didn’t have access to those files, but they recreated the training facility with the help of the Legendary Explorer modding toolkit, and it sounds like that may have streamlined their experience.
It’s no shot at BioWare, either. In the Nexus Mods description, the team says it was “easier in some regards” to port Pinnacle Station over and mod it since they could use their modding tools. It doesn’t sound like Walters’ estimate on time was that far off, with the project taking modder Mgamerz and their team “months of work to complete.” They detailed the experience to PC Gamer, explaining how the whole thing was more than just a port and painting a picture of how massive an undertaking actually fixing the DLC became.
The story of Pinnacle Station’s unofficial release is thousands of words long over on ME3Tweaks, and that’s the abbreviated version. Mgamerz breaks down the biggest bits the team couldn’t bring over, and how cobbled-together versions of what you can play now in the modded Legendary Edition came to life. It’s an incredible read, whether you’re interested in modding your game or not. Ultimately, one of the biggest takeaways from the ordeal is a lesson in just how poorly the industry at-large preserves its work and how hard it is to recover those pieces lost in time.
The mod is out just in time for N7 Day, but there’s still work to be done on the project. Right now, the developers suggest you have a higher-end GPU due to lighting challenges. They’re working on fixes, but the problems posed by Mass Effect’s cursed DLC aren’t over. If you’re curious about how it looks, Mgamerz shared footage of their remastered work.
The only way to revisit the Pinnacle Station DLC in any official capacity is through the Xbox 360 version of Mass Effect or the original PC release. Even as someone who played the first three games countless times—and counts it amongst their favorite series—I’d never played the doomed encounter. Instead, I watched someone else play after the rumblings around it earlier this year, and it does look like a stinker. While I had more context around why it wouldn’t really be missed, there was still a bummed part of me the source code situation even happened. Seeing it live on somehow is pretty neat.