With the recent animation update for Mass Effect: Andromeda, facial and eye animations have been vastly improved. However, a new video has emerged from Bioware senior cinematic animator Tal Peleg showing what Mass Effect: Andromeda could have looked like.
The video below shows early character animations for Mass Effect: Andromeda. The animations themselves look really great, even without added textures to breathe life into the scene. So what happened between this and the final product?
As we've reported before, Most of Mass Effect: Andromeda's facial animation was outsourced. With such a large scale project, facial animation was less prioritized than things like story, voice work, and gameplay. This would be fine if the resulting product resembled anything close to the video above.
Thankfully, the recent updated dubbed the "eye patch" has fixed a number of issues with the dead-eye look of some characters, though it's still just a coat of paint.
A bit of a caveat: The animation showed above is likely scripted, which makes it look higher quality. Because of customizability and multiple dialogue paths, it's not easy to create straight-forward facial animations. This leads to the engine accounting for decisions of the player and making sure the conversation carries accordingly.
Could this have been fixed by delaying the game and applying some quality control over the scenes? Being at the end of EA's fiscal year, it's likely that they wanted to get the game out before its end, which if true is sad that profit trumped quality in this case.
Either way, BioWare is working to update the game beyond the "eye patch" which is a lot more than some developers would do, and that's at least reassuring that they care about the experience of the player.