Newbie Mass Effect game Andromeda [official site] has proved to be the most controversial since, well, the last Mass Effect game. The fuss this time is not to do with convenient space magic endings and dangling plot threads, but instead a tri-gripe of its feeling somewhat routine, a shower of bugs and a feeling that its facial animations are a little bit Christmas panto.
Devs Bioware have been relatively quiet during the storm, but are now offering the first details on how they plan to get their new era for Mass Effect back on track.The key things to know are a) they’ve announced that they do plan to do something about at least some of the above, rather than just hoping that existent fondness for Mass Effect will be enough to keep Andromeda selling and b) they’ll be telling us exactly what those plans are in five days’ time.
“Working around the clock to gather information and plan out solutions to improve and build on Mass Effect: Andromeda” is the key phrase. Though it offers reassurance about how seriously they’re taking this, I can only hope it does not mean that EA has forced a team of devs back into crunch because a bunch of noisy internet people became facial animation experts overnight.
My guess would be that the announcement will entail a patch primarily focused on bugs and animation, and given a fancy title to imply a relaunch of sorts. Perhaps they’ll even do something like a ‘director’s cut’, as was the case for the first couple of Witcher games.
I’d be surprised if, whatever it was, it involved rethinking story, characterisation and side-quests at this stage – both because of the scale of the task and because it would represent a deeper admission of failure that does not come easily to big studios and publishers. I suspect we’ll have to wait for DLC for something substantial on the story/characters front.
But maybe there’ll be a few meatier changes. Recasting Foster ‘my face is tired‘ Addison would be a smart move, for instance. While discussing this post, John also said various things with exclamation marks at the end regarding the excessive incidental chatter from AI character SAM.
We’ll find out what’s what next Tuesday, April 4, in any case. Here’s the full Bioware statement. Not too late to send ’em feedback, if you have something constructive and non-sweary to say that you think might help.