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The situation is as follows:

  • Mass Effect 3 is downloaded through origin, located in C:\Program Files (x86)\Origin Games\Mass Effect 3
  • The save folder is located at E:\BioWare\Mass Effect 3\Save
  • Mass Effect 2 has the same setup (but should not matter)

I have an existing career already at that save location. Loading and saving for that career works. However when I try to create a new career, both from scratch and with importing, no new save is created, nor is the character folder created in the save folder.

I have tried setting Location in the GamerSettings.ini both to nothing (original value) and to E:\BioWare\Mass Effect 3\Save.

My Save folder has the right permissions, Mass Effect should be able to create a new folder there.

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Okay, so apparently this is simply once again the 'well known' issue where you can't (easily) have ME2/3 installed on a different partition than your Documents partition. As far as I could conclude after trial and error this issue only occurs when saving a career for the first time, it apparently can't create the appropriate directory. I'm actually astonished that BioWare never solved this, I remember this being an issue when ME2 came out first.

How I got around it:

  • Copy everything under the current Save directory to the install directory's Save folder (e.g. C:\Program Files (x86)\Origin Games\Mass Effect 3\BIOGame\Save). Do not forget the Local_Profile.sav file, or you won't get any bonuses for the 'replay'.
  • Launch the game with the -nohomedir option, this should work via Origin (right click > game properties...) or otherwise you should edit a desktop shortcut for ME3 to add that option.
  • Start the new career, an initial save game should be created immediately after you finish your character and when the opening credits begin.
  • Quit the game
  • Copy everything back from the game's folder to your wanted save game folder
  • Remove the -nohomedir option
  • Play as usual

The moving back isn't really necessary but I did it because I like to keep my save games on that location and not mixed in with the program files.

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