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A lot of unused lines, game mechanics and plotlines were left out of the Mass Effect series.

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    Mass Effect 1 
  • In general, elements that appeared in later games could be found in unfinished/beta formats in earlier installments. The Cerberus logo and squadmate portraits appeared in the image files for ME1 (despite never appearing anywhere until the sequel), and ME2 has a text description for a robot dog (called Sparky) that could be purchased and roam the Normandy - a concept that wasn't realized until ME3.
  • Four weapon manufacturers (Batarian State Arms, Cerberus Skunkworks, Hahne-Kedar Shadow Works and Jormangund Technology) were cut prior to the game's release, but all of their weapons and armor can be summoned through console commands in-game. The Spectre Master Gear manufacturer was originally intended to have a full line of weapons and armor at every tier but was cut down to only having Tier VII and Tier X guns.
  • There is a piece of cut dialogue that states that both Ashley and Kaidan could be rescued during the Virmire mission, with both commenting on a "stunt" Shepard pulled to rescue both of them. The concept was removed from the game because Bioware thought it would make writing future plots more difficult, as no one would bother to save only one person instead of both.
  • Most (but not all) of Shepards lines were recorded by both Mark Meer and Jennifer Hale, and can appear in-game by using console commands to change the gender flag mid-game. According to the deveolpers, this was due to all lines not being gender-flagged in the script, as well as a safety measure for whenever they were not sure if a line was meant to be gender neutral or not. Notably, this allows the player to engage in same-gender romances with Ashley and Kaidan of sorts, which modders have utilized to create properly voiced and animated romances. Other notable voiced lines that came out of this includes Broshep being harassed by Harkin, telling Liara he is only interested in men, as well as telling her they are "both women".
  • One dangling line of dialog suggests the game nearly included upgrades for the Mako. If you return to Noveria after completing the mission there and speak to Turian mechanic Lilihierax, he'll ask what brings you there, and you have the option to reply "Repairs." Shepard will say a line about fixing up the Mako, Lilihierax will reply as though he's about to open a merchant window, and then the conversation abruptly ends.
  • There are a large assortment of unused animations, "poses" and sounds related to the SSV Normandy, which suggested that there was not only more functionality for the ship, but that the Normandy could land on a planet and deploy the Mako from the hangar bay in real-time.
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    Mass Effect 2 
  • It was possible to go for any of the recruitment missions at any time after you received the Normandy SR2 (including Legion, who only shows up in the final game on the mission just before the endgame begins). This was changed when the game was split onto two discs for the Xbox 360. If the later companions are added through mods or save editors they have unique content in the first half. The concept is partially restored in the ME2Recalibrated mod for the PC version, which allows the player to recruit Thane or Samara immediately after completing Freedom's Progress (the second mission of the game), as opposed to waiting to recruit them until after the Collector Cruiser mission.
  • The decision to make all weapons solely clip-based came late in development, as an unlimited-ammo option (like the first game) was programmed in, and can be reactivated by modifying the game's Coalesced file. Early video previews showed more involved gun mechanics; guns had ejectable thermal clips as a "need More Dakka right this second" option. Specialized ammunition was shown to be a consumable resource instead of a passive ability and as such could be turned on or off at will.
  • The Lair of the Shadow Broker DLC has several cut dialogue sequences that assume a female Shepard romanced Jack, Miranda or Tali. These suggest that the FemShep romances were planned, but scrapped very late in production. It was later confirmed that for Tali it was scrapped due to her voice actress refusing to record the scenes on religious grounds.
  • Content removed from Samara's dossier suggests she was an accidental Ancient Astronaut in Elizabethan England who embraced eternity with William Shakespeare.
  • Harbinger has unused taunts and a longer ending speech that would have played as Shepard and his/her team flee the Collector base, where he comments that many more Reapers will be coming soon. It is believed that Shepard's dialogue in the worst possible ending (where he/she falls from the Normandy) references this deleted footage.
  • There are text logs for several e-mails never used in the game still on-disc, including one from Captain Kirrahe if he survived, the Illusive Man congratulating you on finding the IFF, and an unused mission regarding the retrieval of probes left on a planet.
  • At one point, Mordin would have had the option to create a biotic field (for the "Long Walk" portion of the suicide mission). Several voice files were recorded with Mordin telling the team he can create a biotic field, and his reactions during that section of the mission. It was also discovered that there was an option to upgrade any squadmate's abilities to become the Tech/Fire Team Leader/Biotic Specialist as they have success lines.
  • In an earlier version, it was possible to complete Tali's loyalty mission without ever seeing the body of her father, Rael'Zorah, and have others comment on the fact that he couldn't be found.
  • Deleted voice files indicate that there would have been a confrontation scene between Mordin and Grunt. This was removed to focus on confrontations between possible love interests (Tali, Miranda and Jack) and vital squadmates for the loyalty mission since it is very easy to be without them.
  • The DLC characters (Kasumi and Zaeed) had changed personal missions in development (as evidenced by text files found on the disc). Kasumi's mission originally involved going after a company called Nava Corporation that was going to unleash a series of bio-viruses into the Alliance, while Zaeed's involved going after a fellow bounty hunter who's "gone corporate", then faking his own death to evade other enemy bounty hunters.
  • Due to a Event Flag bug in the previous title that leads both mutually exclusive Charm and Intimidate flags to be checked, and a failsafe feature in the import code, the Conrad Verner sidequest on Ilium would always be treated as if Shepard used the renegade dialogue options in the previous game, effectively making the paragon opening this. It even gets referenced in Mass Effect 3 when Conrad apologizes for saying you pointed a gun in his face if you really didn't.
  • A turian groundskeeper on the Citadel had several voiced lines that don't appear in the game.
  • There was an unused armor set made for female Shepards, which didn't appear proper in the game itself. It was later restored for use in Mass Effect 3.
  • An unused set of dialogue for Grunt's loyalty mission suggests an alternate event or outcome in which Grunt actually considered taking up Uvenk's offer near the end, and Shepard could order Grunt not to. Unfortunately, Grunt would have taken offense to that later on, telling Shepard that it was "going too far." A set of responses from both Shepard and Grunt exist concerning Paragon, Renegade, Charm and Intimidate options Shepard could use to placate Grunt.

    Mass Effect 3 
There are many files on-disc that contain deleted or removed material from the game:
  • The opening cinematic was originally longer and had more dialogue from Hackett and other Alliance personnel explaining what was happening, which was only seen in a leaked XBox demo that came out several months before the game's launch. The longer cinematic was later restored through a mod.
  • There are a handful of unused War Assets that were never used proper in the game itself (including one labeled "General Shermann", which was apparently intended to be awarded if the player completed a tie-in game on Facebook, and two War Assets that would have been awarded if the player finished the original version of the Omega plotline, before it became DLC). These War Assets (and the Collector Assault Rifle, a former multiplayer-only weapon that was configured for single-player but never included proper) were later added via the Expanded Galaxy Mod.
  • A different post-mission briefing was originally intended after Shepard leaves Earth at the beginning of the game. As s/he walks into the Normandy's cargo bay, EDI and Joker speak briefly to Shepard before James confronts them about staying on Earth and fighting. This alternate scene is integrated in the ME3Recalibrated mod.
  • A conversation between Ashley and Shepard onboard the Normandy exists as text in the game files, where she asks if Shepard remembers what being dead was like and if there's an afterlife.
  • Ken and Gabby were originally meant to be recruited not through a Spectre terminal, but in an actual conversation/dialogue scene in the Purgatory Bar. The scene got far enough long that the lines and animations were recorded for it, but the camera work was never finished. This was later reintegrated via a standalone mod, and later, the ME3Recalibrated mod.
  • Likewise, Zaeed was originally intended to have a full conversation with Shepard at the Citadel Refugee Area, explaining the history of the Blue Suns, what he did in between games and his involvement in the war. It also never had its camera work completed, but was restored through mods.
  • Tali and the Virmire Survivor have dialogue files for every N7 mission in the game, but most of this cannot be accessed in normal gameplay. However, there is also a subversion - it was originally thought that they had additional dialogue during the Tuchanka missions (which both are not present for), but this can actually be accessed by holding off on rescuing the downed turians until after the whole team is back together.
  • Ashley has a lot of unused / bugged dialogue, including multiple lines related to her romance arc and love scene near the end of the game, which put her much closer to her ME1 characterization.
  • The amount of unused content in the final mission (Priority: Earth) is numerous in nature, and suggests that the game was rushed to fit a deadline. A mod, Priority Earth Overhaul Mod, restores much of this content via dialogue and cutscene restorations:
    • The War Room planning segment had several unused lines from Anderson and Hackett, while the "Fleets Arrive" cutscene had several unused lines that were intended to be spoken by a nameless fighter pilot participating in the battle. Additionally, an unused Paragon version of Joker's goodbye to Shepard was intended to be used in the final game, but due to an incorrectly-formatted conditional string, it went unused for years. The Priority Earth Overhaul Mod restores this dialogue.
    • During the shuttle ride into London with the Hammer forces, the conversation with Joker was intended to be longer, with an additional Paragon or Renegade choice through dialogue.
    • Much of the London Hub was either bugged or never implemented, with a chunk of content missing in action, including additional dialogue with James, an unused introduction scene with Garrus briefing a Turian platoon, appearances from both the Quarians and Geth if peace was achieved (along with additional dialogue) and other restored ambient lines.
    • Several characters have additional dialogue/scenes that were likely never completed, including Grunt (who has a rallying cry about Earth and Tuchanka), Jack (who tells her students she's proud of them before they go into battle), Jacob (who says "This is my planet, assholes!") and Zaeed (who yells, "Burn, you son of a bitch!" while facing a Reaper enemy.) In later versions of the mod, this dialogue is restored, as Zaeed, Jacob and Grunt (along with Kirrahe, whose voice actor recorded battle dialogue) were implemented as temporary squadmates during the "No Man's Land" / "Hold the Line" sequences.
    • The original version of the Conduit Run, where Shepard's teammates are injured and (depending on the player's EMS) either hobble away from the battlefield or are vaporized by Harbinger's beam. The concept was restored, albeit in a different fashion, in the Extended Cut DLC, while the actual scene was restored in later versions of the mod.
    • Additional Joker dialogue during the push towards the Conduit. Joker gets several lines, including "I'm late to the party, but the girls are coming home with me!" and "That was for Cortez!"
    • Shepard and Anderson were meant to have a longer conversation after using the beam to transport onto the Citadel, where they speculate on the Reapers' purpose for the corpses piled up in the corridors they've been transported to. Additional dialogue unused in the final encounter with the Illusive Man had Anderson ordering Shepard to shoot him because TIM's influence is too strong, TIM saying multiple variations on the line "That's won't work", and clips of him roaring like a monster (presumably a remnant of an unused plan to feature him as the final boss of the game).
    • Accessing files within the WiiU port of the game allows enterprising explorers to find an unused version of a final boss arena within the Citadel, which presumably would have been where the indoctrinated Illusive Man would be fought.
    • An extended version of Anderson's final speech with Shepard, where Anderson talks about possibly raising a family after the battle for Earth. The scene was apparently removed by the development team for dragging too long, even though most people seem to agree that the scene would have worked much better with the additional dialogue. It was later restored through a standalone mod.
    • The original concept for the "Guardian's Garden", the area where Shepard would have spoken with the Catalyst. Unused textures and audio files on-disc show variations with ghostly trees populating the edges of the area, along with a set of soundfiles that appear to be ambient in nature, aking to a forest.
  • Due to coding problems with the Lair of the Shadow Broker DLC screwing up imports, several lines Liara says if you romanced her in Lair of the Shadow Broker never play, and can only be accessed through modding saves to fix these erroneous flags.
  • Similar to the Mass Effect 2 example, there is cut audio in several instances during the Rannoch arc suggesting Tali was intended to be a romance option for Female Shepard at some point in development. Most notably the flirting during the Geth Dreadnought mission, but it crops up again during the trip into the geth consensus. This audio is fully accessible in game with the use of a hacked save file.
  • A wide selection of additional heavy weapons that were removed from the game can be modded in for player use by editing the Coalesced.ini file. These include the Particle Beam (which appears to function like the Particle Rifle from the From Ashes DLC), the Avalanche (fires blasts of cold energy), the Grenade Launcher, the Hydra (fires cluster missiles) and the Arc Projector. It has been suggested that Bioware removed heavy weapons from the game because they broke the plot - but being used in one minor Hold the Line sequence on Earth means that game balance was the more likely answer, especially considering that multiplayer characters get access to Cobra rockets that make the Cain look like a firecracker launcher in terms of damage (though not explosion effects). In addition, several weapons and armours (including the PC-exclusive M-90 Indra sniper rifle, the Collector's Edition N7 weapons, two unused N7 armors and the Warfare/Reckoning/Battlefield armors) are all on-disc, but most had their access methods removed so they could function as pre-order bonuses, and were later distributed via the DLC missions.
  • The Citadel DLC:
    • Additional datapads chronicling various "slice-of-life" encounters in Zakera Ward (found during the Citadel Wards: Ambush mission) were written but not used in the final product.
    • The clone Shepard originally had dialogue criticizing Wrex if he was picked to be one of the squadmates during the Citadel Archive raid. This is normally impossible to see in-game, as the scene will force-switch Wrex with one of the other eight squadmates instead. Modding the scene shows the original "insult" dialogue as was intended.
    • Samara was originally intended to have an unused gown she would sport during the post-mission hangout scene with Shepard. It only exists on-disc as a model, and was never used in the finished product.
    • The DLC had an unused power and intel asset. The power, Stimulant Pack (primarily used by Krogans like Urdnot Wrex), was intended to be awarded at the end of the mission and would increase the player's shield bonus/melee damage for a certain duration of time. It was later re-activated via mods. The second, "Khan's Network Exposed", gave the player one of four specific bonuses (including an increase of maximum grenades, which isn't done anywhere else in the base game or the DLC) and gives information on how Elijah Khan's contacts and resources are being used by the Alliance.

    Mass Effect: Andromeda 
  • Prior to patch 1.08, there were various unused dialogue files for a Scott/Jaal romance, suggesting that Jaal was intended to be a bisexual romance option at one point during development instead of only being available for a female Ryder. In response to criticism for lack of same-sex male romance content, this was ultimately restored in patch 1.08, allowing Jaal to become the love interest for male and female Ryder alike.
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