Uncharted animator explains wacky Mass Effect: Andromeda facial expressions

Previously worked for BioWare

Although everyone has enjoyed dunking on the incredibly odd (and sometimes unsettling) Mass Effect: Andromeda animations, at least one developer has chosen to give his opinion on why they ended up the way they did, sans shade. That individual is none other than Jonathan Cooper, a former BioWare animator that worked on the first two Mass Effect games, and is currently at Naughty Dog.

Cooper posits that since it’s an RPG, comparisons to tight scripted action games like Uncharted are unfair (which is absolutely true, though I don’t know who would compare them in the first place). Breaking it down further he explains in laymen’s terms how the game’s animations “may not even be touched by hand,” stating that an algorithm is responsible for some of the goofs. An algorithm, Cooper intimates, is lower in quality with Andromeda, as it more often than not displays the “my face is tired” animation that only focuses on lip syncing — he also explains that using facial mocap, like Horizon Zero Dawn, helps, or a higher quality algorithm like CD Projekt Red used with Witcher 3.

Jokes aside, the entire thread is fascinating. Cooper manages to reasonably explain the recent question of “why it looks worse than the original trilogy” with poise and experience. What we don’t know is how BioWare dropped the ball so hard in this particular area, and why EA didn’t allow them more time to clean it up.

Jonathan Cooper [Twitter]

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Chris Carter
EIC, Reviews Director - Chris has been enjoying Destructoid avidly since 2008. He finally decided to take the next step in January of 2009 blogging on the site. Now, he's staff!
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