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New Mass Effect: Andromeda Rumors

So I’m sure that by now, even people who aren’t fans of Mass Efffect are aware of the latest game’s facial animation issues, and many fans of the series have been asking “How could a massive AAA game with millions of dollars and years of development time shit the bed so hard on such an important part of the game?”

Well, it may not have been the fault of the development team, and the blame can instead be laid at the feet of Upper Management at BioWare.

Liam Robertson AKA Game History Guy over on YouTube made this video on the subject. This is all stuff that should be taken with a grain of salt, and may not be entirely true, but it is all certainly plausible. For anyoen who is unable or doesn’t have the time to watch the entire video, here are the key points.

According to his source at BioWare, the reason the animations are so bad is due to the use of CyberScan technology, which can scan a person into the game and create a high-quality model of the person, however, the technology is not to the point where it alone can create a model all on its own, and the 3-D model it creates then needs to be sent to an animator, but it is a fantastic tool for creating a base to work on.

After the Cyberscan Process was complete, instead of letting the game’s development team work on it, the human character models were instead outsourced to various development studios associated with EA, no one is quite sure which ones, but it seems that EA Bucharest in Romania did a lot of the work. But the real kicker are the reasons behind this decision.

While business costs are certainly lower in Romania due to a much lower labor cost, that was apparently NOT the reason that this decision was made. The main reason was because Upper Management at BioWare did not consider the facial animations to be enough of a priority for the main dev team to spend time on, in spite of the Development Team insisting otherwise, and instead sent these animations out to various studios, and had the Main team work on Hard Surface Assets like Enviornments and ships, as well as a few robotic characters and some of the aliens.

Also cited as a reason was a “Corporate Culture of Political Correctness” and a fear that the in-house team would make the characters (not just the female characters, but all characters) “too attractive” and alienate some audiences.

If this turns out to be true, then this has got to be a new level of corporate incompetence, deciding that Facial animations and character modeling is unimportant in a heavily story and character-driven game where you will spend a significant amount of time staring directly at those faces and  models and animations has got to be some kind of record for “Worst Decision Ever Made Concerning a Video Game.” This would be like if Blizzard decided to outsource the shooting mechanics in Overwatch to some other studio.

It goes without saying that this all needs to be taken with a grain of salt, but if this is true, then What the Actual Fuck is wrong with BioWare’s upper management.