Mass Effect: Andromeda improving animations, adding autopilot skip

The first post-launch patch for Mass Effect: Andromeda [official site] will arrive on Thursday, April 6th, BioWare have announced. Patch 1.05 will include an option to skip those autopilot sequences on the galaxy map, balance tweaks, and improvements to facial animations and lip-syncing. Andromeda’s faces are a small problem compared to its greater flaws, is Wot John Thinks says, but they are one of the more visible and meme-friendly issues. BioWare plan to follow up with more patches with changes including more character creator options and further improvements to Andromeda’s animations and appearances.

“We’ve introduced a number of balance changes to single player and multiplayer, and resolved some issues with saves not working properly,” BioWare say alongside announcing patch 1.05’s notes. “We’ve also improved lip-sync and facial acting during some conversations, and have implemented a much-requested change that allows players to skip the autopilot sequences in the galaxy map.”

BioWare general manager Aaryn Flynn offers a slightly deeper take on 1.05 in a post on patching plans. He talks about “Improving the appearance of eyes for humans and asari characters” and “Fixing Ryder’s movements when running in a zig zag pattern”, neither of which are explicitly mentioned in the official notes.

Beyond patch 1.05, Flynn explains that BioWare plan to release several more patches over the next two months. Items on their hitlist include:

  • More options and variety in the character creator
  • Improvements to hair and general appearance for characters
  • Ongoing improvements to cinematic scenes and animations
  • Improvements to male romance options for Scott Ryder
  • Adjustments to conversations with Hainly Abrams

If you’re wondering what’s going on with Hainly Abrams there, it’s probably BioWare trying to correct some mighty clumsy writing of a trans character.

Flynn says BioWare might add some more cosmetic items to the singleplayer too.

Assuming that BioWare won’t make huge changes to the game in patches, how does this look to y’all? It all sounds sensible.

50 Comments

  1. Zairen says:

    I am dying to find out what “Improvements to male romance options for Scott Ryder” means. I know Jaal needs more smooches.

    • James0 says:

      From what I understand, many people are annoyed that there are fewer male player/male NPC romance options than any other gender combination, and that they are significantly less detailed than the others. This has been the case in every title in the series so far (the first two didn’t have any male/male romances at all), but with DA:I having so many LGBT characters and EA trying to tout themselves as a progressive company in recent years, expectations were higher.

      Also there’s the fact that some of the aliens that you can inexplicably go out with once again have inexplicable gender preferences (“I’m not attracted to all of those strange monkey-like creatures, just the ones with those weird protusions on their chests”), and once again none of the “male” aliens are interested in male humans.

      The devs have hinted that they are doing something about this, but they haven’t said what.

  2. miguelyoung says:

    I’m really, really (really) curious about the behind the scenes shenanigans that led to this flawed launch and the subsequent dumpster fire that must have been the build of this patch (and subsequent ones).
    Won’t RPS tell us this tale of wonders and grinding teeth?

    • Suits says:

      It usually takes awhile before people that were directly involved with development to come out with their stories. Probably a long version of.. “end of financial year coming up, f- we’re out of time.. just throw it out there”

    • studenteternal says:

      Honestly, I am enjoying it. Yes it kinda squanders some of the potential of the setting, but so did all the other Mass Effect games, so at this point its a tradition. And yes some of the writing has the tact and subtlety and grace of a large rock dropped from a great height, but… so did the first three. Its more Mass Effect – tooling around in a decently interesting Sci-fi universe with your own spaceship.

      I have been quite happy to give it my evenings and will probably do so for the foreseeable future.

    • Shaftoe says:

      Agree w/ zaphod – game wasn’t as bad as john makes it out to be – in that its actually a pretty fun game, all things considered. Maybe i’m more immune to the writing than some, because i read the subtitles and skip past most of the voiceacting (Christ, game dialogue – any game – is SO slow, but i digress).

      Really there are two shining flaws (compared to the preceeding games) with the game that make it inferior, but not-unfun.

      1) The open world concept they employed largely sucks – it increases tedium, but doesn’t increase fun. The best part about the previous titles are due to the laser focus of the mission/stories. You fly to the planet, your shuttle takes you down to the mission. The mission is a honed level design thats fun to play, and has some good story material in it, and then you leave. In their effort to create an open world game, they added 90% unfun game content. The game is still really good in the parts that are the equivalent to the previous games’ compact level designs (for example, the companion missions are still largely good).

      2) They got rid of all the meaningful choices in the content. I have no idea why this was done. There are many choices in the game, and some of them feel like they should have weight and impact future decision paths or consequences, but none do. That is a serious flaw in the game that goes in the face of the previous titles.

      So, neither of those flaws are fixable, and they make the game subpar compare to the previous titles, but in the end, did i have fun playing the game? Yes. Was i still sucked into the mass-effect storyline (lets face it, none of the plots are really anything but C grade science fiction space operas) – yes. Did i get my fun $$ out of my purchase? yes. But make no mistake, the game shouldn’t win any awards. Thats my WIT 0.02 review.

      -Seyv

  3. lglethal says:

    Maybe its just my reading of this article (I dont have time to check the actual release notes, sorry) but all of these changes sound like cosmetic fixes. Make things look better.

    From John’s WIT, it sounds like that was the least of the problems with it…

    Pity, I was hoping a patch might make it, well good. Then I might have considered purchasing it. Oh well, I’ll wait until it gets down to €10 on sale in a year or so… I’ll still be waiting for an ME3 DLC sale in the meantime no doubt…

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      zaphod6502 says:

      The game isn’t as horrible as John Walker makes it out to be. It is still a solid 7-8/10 game with some excellent stories the further you progress into the game.

      • Hoot says:

        This game is precisely as horrible as John Walker makes it out to be.

        It’s still a depressingly below average 4/10 game with consistently bad writing throughout. Top that off with development by an untested “b-team” within Bioware and it all points to a massive wasted opportunity.

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          zaphod6502 says:

          In your opinion of course. Plenty of other people are enjoying the game even with its occasional flaws. Of course that view is in the minority here where the RPS Hate Train is running at full speed.

          • Booker says:

            Nope, there just aren’t as many liars or blind fans around.

          • genosse says:

            Did you play the game then? Or are you – blindly – following the reviews?

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            zaphod6502 says:

            Absolutely. 45 hours played so far.

          • hjarg says:

            Well, for example, the Drack loyalty mission was precious. I laughed. A lot.
            So was Liam’s- they change of environment was good. Just.. would have been nice with less Liam in it.

            But it’s not bad game. It’s just not as good as we hoped it would be. Or as good as it could have been.

      • Otterley says:

        In your opinion, of course.

  4. Furiant says:

    Good news. I’m eager to play what this game should have been on release. I get that it’s not ME:4, and that it has other flaws, but it should be a polished, stable version of what it is. Hope to be making this purchase soon.

  5. CAMN says:

    Hey EA/Bioware, tell me again why people should ever pre-order anything from you.

    With so many changes to the game being done after most of the people who pre-ordered it already finished it… horrible slap in the face for them.

    “You didn’t enjoy our game? Well, how about playing it all over again to see if you do like it now?”

    This kind of thing is exactly why I never play big RPG games unless they are REALLY done developing them. Hell, I’m just now considering playing Fallout 4, I’ll probably give it a year before I play this Mass Effect.

    • Ghostwise says:

      If folks still preorder after all the cool people, such as me, told them not to for years…

  6. Zenicetus says:

    So it’s the polishing-up pass that should have been done before release, got it. But the main problem with this game isn’t that it was rushed or they couldn’t do better animation. That’s just the surface layer. Underneath all that, it’s the juvenile dialog writing and indifferent delivery, the padded-out combat, the re-use of Milky Way aliens and not enough new ones in Andromeda, the gaping plot holes.

    The environments are nice and the Nomad is sometimes fun to drive. So there’s that, anyway. I’m trying to find reasons to keep playing, because I bought it out of curiosity and I want to finish it, dammit. Bioware will have to step up its game in a major way, if they want to sell DLC for this mess, or a sequel.

  7. Masky says:

    Kinda interested to see if one of my fellow students is right about facial animation related bugs being easy to fix, I don’t know much about animation but it was about changing few variables according to them .-. I guess they recognized animation mistakes from something else? *shrugs*

    Anyhoo, I’m kinda worried they won’t end up fixing those few quests I can’t complete. I’m obsessed with 100% completion so thats biggest thing I hate in rpgs… And about every western rpg has side quests that can’t be completed due to bugs even if its just one..

  8. Michael Fogg says:

    In the tinfoil-hat wearing portions of gaming web they suspect that Bioware Montreal deliberately made the default Femshep uglier to serve some sort of cultural-marxists agenda. In their boundless naivete they compare pics of the actress who lent her likeness for the game done in some promo session, with pro makeup, to the 3d model found in the game.

    • Zenicetus says:

      There are too many other human character faces in the game that are “off” in some sideways version of the Uncanny Valley, for that argument to hold water.

    • Booker says:

      The problem isn’t if she’s “ugly” or not, it’s how her face looks/moves/animates. In my game she grinned like someone on drugs, when she was told her father had died. And the voice acting doesn’t fit any of this either. It’s so bizarre.

      It’s so disturbing how EA now acts as if they needed additional feedback to discover the state their game is in. Everyone knew it the whole time. This is so embarrassing.

  9. Hoot says:

    The sad thing is that no amount of patching in the traditional sense of the word can fix the abysmal, juvenile script or the horrendous voice acting.

    Natalie Dormer tried her best, she really did, but I suppose a lot of the actors weren’t experienced enough to make a bad script sound good. Or they just read it and thought “fuck it, it’s a payday” and dialled their performances in with zero effort.

    • Von Uber says:

      You did play the first 3, yes? They are hardly paragons of either a quality script – “We fight or we die!” or great voice acting – “they said there would be a light!”.
      Serious rose tinted glasses going on.

      • Hoot says:

        I never said the original trilogy didn’t have it’s miss-steps, but nowhere NEAR the scale of Andromeda. In fact compared to Andromeda, the original trilogy should be winning the Hugo Award for sci-fi writing. Shepherd never ran over an alien and joyfully quipped “Speedbump!” like a fucking 5 year old mere HOURS after his father tragically died.

        In the nicest possible way, you need to get a grip. There’s a difference between HAMMY and OUTRIGHT GARBAGE. Mass Effect has always been a little hammy, but the original trilogy could never be accused of being badly written. The examples you point out are extreme isolated examples.

        The voice talent for the first 3 games was so much better as well. This could be to do with the fact that they had heavy hitters like Keith David, Martin Sheen, Carrie Anne Moss, etc, etc playing significant roles.

        I just replayed ME1 a week before ME:A released, full playthrough. It’s very much a product of it’s time but believe me my friend, the scripts just do not compare. No rose tinted glasses in sight.

        I think it’s an act of wilful denial for anyone to say that Andromeda’s script isn’t both juvenile and badly written.

        I’ll leave that there so those who haven’t seen it can experience the cringefest that is most of the games dialogue.

        • studenteternal says:

          Your glasses, they are a little rose tinted I think, ME2 specifically had some real garbage writing. Yes it had some very good bits too but its lows were god awful.

          • Zenicetus says:

            The difference is that bad writing in ME2 was at least bad writing aimed at an adult audience. What’s cringe-worthy about so much of the dialog in Andromeda isn’t just that it’s bad, it’s that it sounds like dialog written by teenagers as fanfiction. Or maybe just dialog written *for* teenagers? Like that video example above.

            Either way, give me failed writing that’s at least written for an adult audience.

        • Masky says:

          Hard to say anything about that since Kallo’s reaction and the awkwardness kinda makes it clear its supposed to be awkward and kinda cringy. Heard some people say it actually reminds them of their first time attempts at flirting.

          I mean, sure you could argue that they shouldn’t have, but thats kinda like every single argument about Sera in Inquisition: How do you define good/bad writing regarding character that is intentionally meant to be polarizing/annoying/frustrating?

          • Laurentius says:

            “How do you define good/bad writing regarding character that is intentionally meant to be polarizing/annoying/frustrating?”

            The same way I define Paul Verhoeven movies as crap. I don’t buy into Total Recall is “satire” of dumb sci-fi action movie because he never mad amovie that does not look like a satire. So to this ME:A scene, so I will only buy into “we make it intentionally cringeworthy” if that prove that can write and direct a scene of awkwardness of young poeple in their relationship building without being cringeworthy. It can be done, there are movies and books touching that subjct that won’t cause you facepalm.

        • Von Uber says:

          That clip is nowhere near representative of most of the games dialogue, its a bloody romance option where you are awkwardly trying to chat up Suvi.
          As for ‘getting a grip’ it’s more a case of I don’t hold the trilogy up as some bastion of excellent writing / flawless execution of a masterful script.
          ME2 for instance is just an 80’s action flick with some notable highlights like Mordin. ME1 has Shep asking whether Liara can reproduce with her own species – to say nothing of her fainting every 5 minutes – truly masterful.
          ME:A was never going to succeed in my opinion because it is being held up to an impossible standard which the trilogy never achieved itself.
          People moan about bad animations yet forget ME3 Femsheps gorilla running, or Liara and Shep doing an exorcist for Glyph.
          ME:A doesn’t rip up any trees, and it is arguably too safe, but it is not terrible – and whether something is juvenile is just personal taste. I find anchorman funny, the other half thinks its juvenile.

          • Masky says:

            Ye, Andromeda’s flaws exist in previous ME games as they are. Of course, you could make an argument that Andromeda should have fixed those flaws and be completely new experience, but then I wouldn’t be surprised if we instead had “It didn’t feel like Mass Effect” complaints.

            Anyhoo, I think it did improve on some things from Inquisition(for example, while both games have tons of minor quests to extend of too many of them, it surprisingly improves the flow a lot when you don’t need to return to quest giver to report quest mmo style) and previous games, focus seems to have been on party interacting with each other.

          • Hoot says:

            You seem to mistakenly think that people who found ME:A to be a pretty bad example of a triple A game are putting the original trilogy on a massive pedestal when that’s simply not the case. Yes, they had their flaws. This is acknowledged. Wholeheartedly. By everyone who has played the original trilogy.

            As a couple of posters above have quite rightly pointed out, the difference is that the original trilogy had more amazing moments than dodgy moments and more to the point, they felt like they were written by and for adults. Not by and for pre-teens / teenagers. And, dare I say, they were actually interesting.

            Also, to the guy above defending the awkward scene I linked to…come on, guy. “Oh my Gosh! RYDERRRRR” she says with a wicked head snap. Ryder is 22, by the way. A 22 year old, intrepid, multi-skilled, confident explorer come space soldier come jack of all trades. I’m fairly sure this isn’t the first time they flirted with someone. Just another example of the terrible, terrible writing.

  10. tslog says:

    Sounds like I’ll be waiting even longer to RENT it on my PS4 Pro.

    When they stop releasing major fixing their BS patches, I will then rent it, and then decide if I want to buy it at but a much discounted price. I buy all games I really like on console and on PC. That doesn’t happen often, but when I like a game. I’ll buy it twice

    I have Dishonered 2 as a rental right now. Glad I waited.

  11. Scelous says:

    As usual, I find the complaints about a Bioware game to be grossly over exaggerated, really more of a meme thing. Don’t get me wrong – I think Andromeda is the worst Bioware game I’ve ever played. I enjoyed Dragon Age 2 more than Andromeda (but I think DA:2 is underrated). I think I’m near the end of Andromeda and I’ve kind of lost interest in beating it, which is something that’s never happened with a Bioware game for me. I also think it has the weakest NPC companions in any Bioware game ever. I’d give it a 6/10.

    So obviously I understand why people wouldn’t want to play it, and why there are complaints. Yet other Triple-A games get away with the same faults. As mentioned by others, Horizon’s lip-syncing is sometimes god awful – no one cares (and I personally thought Horizon was garbage). Bethesda games in general have some pretty jacked up faces, yet there aren’t memes and internet riots over that.

    Bashing Bioware is kind of just the cool thing to do nowadays. I say that not because they don’t deserve complaints, but rather in comparison to other Triple-A games and game designers, they get a LOT more flak than they deserve, in my opinion.

    Still, I hope there next game will be better than Andromeda.

    • Masky says:

      Wait seriously? DA 2 is the worst Bioware game just because even main quests are on sidequest “identical cave” rooms ._.

      Besides, gotta strongly disagree with it having weakest NPC companions, Andromeda’s party is imo the best party out of any single bioware game. Also has best paced finale out of any Bioware game’s final mission, though disappointingly it continues trend of ME 3 of “there aren’t unique final boss enemy”.

      Anyhoo, yeah, Bioware does get a lot of hate these days, but Bethesda also gets tons of it(very deservedly). Bioware is kinda cooler to hate though due to EA and due to people loving to hate something they perceive as being successful/popular in the past. Like, check out how many film people want to find reasons to bash Spielburg with reason of having lost his touch or something. Anyhoo, my opinion is that Bioware was always overrated, ME 1-3 have major problems that a lot of people keep ignoring because of nostalgia >:(

      • Scelous says:

        Huh. You’re the first person I’ve seen that likes the Andromeda party. But that’s cool; I’m genuinely glad they appeal to someone.

        And yeah, DA 2 identical caves…. good god. And the enemy ninjas, dropping down from rooftops or popping up out of the ground.

        This is going on kind of a tangent, but I loved DA 2 because it broke away from the very stereotypical “save the world” objective you get in every RPG. Instead, it was more focused on the workings of a city and the politics and such, which I loved – more reminiscent to Suikoden 2 and its focus on City-States versus saving the entire world yet again. So that’s why I think DA2 is underrated – not because of the identical caves and ninja enemies, but because of the focus on more down-to-earth, street-level kind of stuff. Which, mind you, received complaints from people, because of course it did. People complained they wanted to be saving the world like in DA1… yet again.

        ME 1-3 having major problems: All I’ll say is that while I think ME1 was pretty bad (empty planets and identical buildings – sound familiar?), ME2 may be my most favorite game of all time. Or at least second favorite. I don’t know; it’s competing with Vampire: Bloodlines.

        Oh, and as an edited addendum: While the weird, almost superhero-esque combat in DA2 felt like a major change from DA1, and while I wasn’t sure if I liked it at first, it did grow on me and I definitely preferred the combat in DA2 compared to Inquisition.

        • studenteternal says:

          Really? Really? I really hated ME:2 I felt it squandered so much of the great set up form the (admittedly rough and occasionally boring ME1) So much so that I skipped ME:3 after the disappointment that was the second. In fact I would go so far as to say that ME:A is my favorite by a healthy margin.

          • Hoot says:

            If it is, then I have to say that you have pretty much invalidated your own opinion.

            How anyone can think the quality of the new game in terms of pretty much anything (except combat, the combat in the new one was decent) is better than any single thing the trilogy did is beyond me and I dare say beyond most people who’ve read at least one adult book in their lifetime.

            I’m sorry man, you’re entitled to your opinion and hey, I’m glad someone is enjoying the game given the time and money spent on it. I, however, will never be purchasing another Bioware game. Checked out after ME3 and so far (specially seeing as they fixed up ME3’s ending for free pretty decently) I’m glad I did so.

          • Stellar Duck says:

            Hoot, I would not be surprised if parts of Andromeda are better than the garbage that is ME2 and 3. Christ, I hope never to encounter those games again.

            That said, I have no desire whatsoever to play another Bioware game again.

        • Masky says:

          shrugs. Depends really on which forums and circles you visit. For example, both of forums I visit are much more positive about Andromeda than most of reviewers. And I’ve seen even youtube comments on smaller videos(so ones with about 10 comments) express similar opinions.

          I do like DA 2 on conceptual basis, but its rushed even more than ME 3 was. Incidentally, thats part of reason why I like Andromeda, because it does similar thing regarding the “smaller scale” thing. For example, nothing until final mission tells you “Hurry! You must hurry so that we can stop the big bad!” The game pretty much lets you explore on your own place without hurrying you go along and make you feel ridiculous for collecting herbs while demons are attacking(so basically it does a lot of things Inquisition tried to do better than Inquisition. I think Inquisition did better romance reactivity wise though)

  12. Deviija says:

    The male romances for Scott were abysmal in dimension and depth and have lack of intimacy compared to other LI options. None are squadmates, either, but more than that out of the two options, one is barely a fling (and ends abruptly with no real culmination or resolution). Apparently Gil and Reyes romance dialogues are like 1/4th the amount of someone like Cora’s (something like 8 and 6 minutes worth of LI dialogue vs. 24).

    The facial animations and effects never bothered me, nor the writing quality (some side characters are rather basic but same can be said for the vast majority of RPG game writing on some side characters/NPC quest-givers), but that skew when it comes to Scott’s male interests does bug me.

  13. Carlos Danger says:

    Good news about the skipping the auto pilot stuff as that has been getting pretty old. And have to admit that I have stopped scanning planets as it is pointless. But still it has been the best ME to play. The previous face starring ones got old so fast.

  14. Hoot says:

    The best and most accurate trailer for Mass Effect : Andromeda there is.

    So good.

  15. poliovaccine says:

    Sounds reasonable, yeah. Frankly, I feel bad for the people who are close to this project. They must have thought they had a bombshell on their hands, and it landed with a thud. It’s clear love and care went into this game – but not critical discretion. It’s clear from the game itself and from the excitable dialogue in prerelease interviews.

    I don’t envy these peoples’ jobs, but that’s hardly to say I don’t agree with the gripes. Some may seem trivial, but when it comes to smoothing out problems in a videogame/entertainment product, frankly, by relativity, nothing is frivolous.

  16. ilitarist says:

    I’ve played Dragon Age Inquisition in 2016, almost 2 years after release, I think.

    And it was a fine game. Not a revelation like Dragon Age Origins but still a fine game. Will replay it eventually, have replayed DAO and currently in DA2.

    Planning to do the same with MAE. You probably should too.

  17. h_ashman says:

    Whilst more character creator options are great, I hope they’d offer the chance to allow people to update their character/twin a bit mid-game as well to take advantage of the new options. I don’t tend to start again with RPGs, as I struggle to find the time to complete them once, so without a mid-playthrough tweak options, that benefit would be lost to me.

    Call it some magic space reconstructive surgery box in the nexus/tempest med bay or something, or even just have it as a one-off option when the patch drops. You can make it excruciatingly expensive to use & maybe given players a “fix yo’ face” token when it drops.

    I did my best with my character, but the derp is still strong with her, and tbh the lack of quality beard options for Scott was one of the main reasons I chose Sara.

    • statistx says:

      Tru dat…The Bioware characters tend to have an issue where they look good in the customisation program, but then fall apart when in different light or moving.
      Bethesda always adds some kind of option in Fallout, a simple plastic surgeon, but in an universe where they reconstruct Shepard and have several alien tech, they still haven’t figured out how to change someones looks.

  18. statistx says:

    The skipping autopilot option is a biiiig improvement, especially with the constant back and forth to hand in quests.
    I always thought they were some kind of loading screen for the game.

    Adding more customisation options is fine and dandy, but what good does me that if I play the game since release and Bioware is not known for adding a cosmetic surgeon anywhere in their sci fi setting??