Mass Effect Andromeda launched with mixed reception from both critics and players alike. Aside from the weak story, the game had a plethora of issues that Mass Effect series has been put on ICE. Now, a new report has emerged which reveals the troubled development of Mass Effect Andromeda and what were the factors behind the messy game launch.
The report comes from Kotaku, which details a lengthy behind-the-scenes report about how the game languished in development over the course of five years and also reveals that most of the Mass Effect Andromeda was developed in a year and a half.
The report details that Bioware handed over the lead for the Mass Effect franchise to its Montreal branch in 2012 despite Edmonton branch being the lead for the initial trilogy of Mass Effect games. The team had a lot of ideas for Andromeda like procedurally generated planets, high-quality facial animations and taking full advantage of the Frostbite Engine.
However, Frostbite engine proved to be a root cause of many problems for the studio. Due to the change in the game engine, the studio had to develop original features from scratch for Andromeda like its RPG mechanics and more and the engine was not handling it well as it is not designed for RPGs. According to a designer:
Whenever you’re trying to do something that fits the engine—vehicles, for example—Frostbite handles that extremely well. But when you’re building something that the engine is not made for, this is where it becomes difficult.
The situation became even worse after the departure of Casey Hudson in 2014, who was the producer on the original trilogy, along with a bulk of other key members. With key members gone there were a lot of revisions and it was not until the end of 2015 that Mass Effect Andromeda came out of pre-production.
The constant change in the underlying tech also created problems for facial animation system which we all know how it all went. The report goes further in-depth on just how these complications reflect the complicated nature of Mass Effect Andromeda development.