Mass Effect Andromeda’s animation, with odd facial expressions and character movement, likely has a good explanation, according to a Naughty Dog animator that had previously worked on the first Mass Effect game in 2007.
The animator gave a detailed explanation for it on Twitter.
People were judging Mass Effect Andromeda’s animation from almost the moment that gameplay finally reached the wider gaming news world when it was revealed at The Game Awards in December of last year. In the weeks leading up to the game’s release, more and more glitches were seen and catalogued by gamers, and were ruthlessly mocked.
These included not only odd facial expressions, but weird walk cycles and one notable instance where your party member PeeBee held a gun backwards before shooting a robot.
The animator, Jonathon Cooper, gave a detailed explanation as to why the animation is what it is. Mainly, that BioWare attempted to do a different process for animation that ended up being more difficult than they thought.
Cooper brings up other games that rely on detailed motion capture for their games, such as The Last Of Us, Uncharted, and The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, all of which include detailed facial capture.
Mass Effect Andromeda’s animation rapidly became a “rallying cry” for the seedier elements of the BioWare “fanbase,” who began looking for people to blame for it and ending up going after a number of different employees, including women on the staff.
A former BioWare employee saying that the development of the game had been extremely disjointed due to conflicts of all sorts between BioWare’s studios in Montreal and Edmonton hasn’t helped the game’s image, and has contributed to a polarizing view of the game.
While BioWare has promised to start patching the game to help fix some of its biggest issues, only time will tell on how well they do the job of fixing them.