Some players disappointment with the animations in Mass Effect: Andromeda has escalated to online harassment of its team and the developer has had enough.
Earlier this year, Mass Effect critics and players voiced concerns regarding certain character animations within the game. According to fans, many of the characters have lifeless and stiff facial expressions, do not emote enough, and just appear to be all around unpolished. At that point, BioWare simply referred to the issue as a “facial performance bug” that they would later improve. However, now that a trial version of the game is available, fans are once again concerned about the animation quality of Mass Effect: Andromeda and have begun lashing out at the developer and its employees.
— Nibel (@Nibellion) March 16, 2017
LEMME PULL THIS UP RIGHT NOW
MASS EFFECT 2 (2010) vs. ANDROMEDA (2017) pic.twitter.com/n90C0t2lma
— Lone (@lonelytiefling) March 16, 2017
— Nathan Ranney (@RatCasket) March 16, 2017
BioWare Lead Designer, Ian Frazier, has stated that the game will likely not be receiving any updates in the immediate future. Frazier said on Twitter that the day one patch is already included in the Origin Access early trial. Frazier added that there will be more patches, but what those patches will entail is still under consideration. He also noted that BioWare is looking into improving the character creator, which has also received some criticism from fans. One of the areas being looked into is skin tone and the addition of more in future updates.
Amongst the criticism and controversy, BioWare is shooting back after witnessing the serious harassment aimed at a female EA employee, Allie Rose-Marie Leost. Leost was subjected to an aggressive online harassment campaign, including threats of death and rape, after being wrongfully blamed for the game’s poor animations.
— BioWare (@bioware) March 18, 2017
In a tweet published on Saturday, BioWare responded to feedback and player criticism and drew the line at harassment, expressing that “attacking individuals, regardless of their involvement in the project, is never acceptable.” According to the developer, the employee in question was allegedly misidentified as a lead member of the Andromeda development team.
The tweet comes as a rebuttal to this claim by Ethan Ralph of The Ralph Retort that alleges that an “inexperienced cosplayer” was the lead facial animator on the project.
“How did the facial animations end up so a–, though? Well, maybe it has something to do with the fact that an inexperienced cosplayer was chosen to be the “Lead Facial Animator” on this project. While so does have some background in art, there’s zilch on her résumé when it comes to, ya know, making video games.”
BioWare’s tweet counters that she ever was in a position of leadership, or that she is currently employed by the studio. It’s unclear what her status with BioWare is or was. However, a LinkedIn profile under the same name states the user is a facial animator for EA. Even if Leost was part of the team in charge of facial animations for Andromeda, a project of this size relies on more than one individual for success or failure.
There are over 1200 unique characters to interact with in the new game, which is almost double the number in Mass Effect 3. There are also more dialogue options than the last two Mass Effect games combined so the BioWare team has put a significant amount of work into Andromeda.
Mass Effect: Andromeda is due for its North American release tomorrow, March 21st, and will make its European debut Thursday, March 23rd. You can learn more about Andromeda and check out our first impressions right here on DVS.