Former Mass Effect Animator Shares Insight on Andromeda's Potato Faces

Mar 30, 2017, 01:42
Former Mass Effect Animator Shares Insight on Andromeda's Potato Faces

Over the past few months, BioWare's latest sci-fi RPG Mass Effect: Andromeda has drawn widespread criticism for its visuals ranging from dead eyes and odd character movement to weird dialogues and lip sync issues. In most cases Remnant Vaults will be tied into the main quest on the planet, but if you don't notice them as your first task upon landing, make sure to complete it before exploring because of the environmental gates they remove from the map.

What do you think of the new Mass Effect: Andromeda?

Meanwhile, "Andromeda's" lead designer, Ian Frazier, said on his Twitter account that the improvements touch on the game's "many cinematics, conversations, and other character interactions", but he clarified that it doesn't extend to the facial animations.

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On that point, he said that "RPGs offer a magnitude more volume of content and importantly, player/story choice. It's simply a quantity vs quality tradeoff". Taking this into account, it's understandable why Mass Effect 3 beat Mass Effect: Andromeda.

Scenes deemed to be more important or most likely to be encountered by players are usually prioritised to receive greater attention from animators, says Cooper. "Like DJs with samples and tracks". The facial animations appear exceptionally bad and the entire experience is buggy and falls a bit flat. Likewise, Cora's raising of her shoulders is a far cry from the sometimes robotic animation found throughout the game.

Flame in the Flood creator Gwen Fry suggested that the problem with Andromeda animations may not be to do with artistry, but bugs in the automated animation system.

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However, with Andromeda, the "algorithm" being used seems to have a lower overall standard of quality, leading to some awkward moments with lots of lazy eye, lack of emotion or body language that does not fit the scene. Those aspects of the game will only be experienced by a minority of players, so receive much less of a personal touch.

"Folks have been asking so here are my thoughts on Mass Effect Andromeda's animation", Cooper wrote in a series of tweets. Cooper speculates that the Andromeda team originally meant to hit every conversation by hand and tweak it to perfection but underestimated just how huge an undertaking that would be.

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