Mass Effect Andromeda's Animations: Mass Effect 2 Lead Animator Explains What Possibly Happened

As Mass Effect Andromeda gets heavily criticized for the quality of its animation, a former BioWare Lead explains what might have happened.

With the release of Mass Effect Andromeda, the attention of social media laser focused on the spotty quality of the game’s animation, especially for facial expressions and dialogue.

Today, Mass Effect 2 Lead Animator Jonathan Cooper, who currently works at Naughty Dog, and helped deliver the beautiful animations of Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End, took to Twitter to explain what might have happened.

Basically, according to Cooper, animating an RPG is a large undertaking, requiring a higher volume of work compared to linear games. This is due to player choice heavily factoring into the volume of animation sequences that need to be produced. As a consequence, dialogue that isn’t very important or likely to happen has its animation sequences generated by an algorithm.

Presumably, the Mass Effect Andromeda team used a lower quality base algorithm with the intention of touching-every scene by hand, but they didn’t manage to do so due to time constraints.

That said, as a positive long-term effect is that the audience is becoming more discerning, and AAA developers might not be able to afford to skimp on animation quality anymore.

It’ll certainly be interesting to see of the reception to Mass Effect Andromeda will lead to an increase in quality for future games. That said, the game is certainly quite enjoyable. If you want to know why, you can check out my full review.

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Giuseppe Nelva

Hailing from sunny (not as much as people think) Italy and long standing gamer since the age of Mattel Intellivision and Sinclair ZX Spectrum. Definitely a multi-platform gamer, he still holds the old dear PC nearest to his heart, while not disregarding any console on the market. RPGs (of any nationality) and MMORPGs are his daily bread, but he enjoys almost every other genre, prominently racing simulators, action and sandbox games. He is also one of the few surviving fans of the flight simulator genre on Earth.

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