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Re: Mass Effect: Andromeda

masseffect7 wrote:If this -> ... animations is true I think that explains quite a bit. Also, just to speak to the idea that this is a fan-made game, while I do think it is important that a developer loves what they are working on, I think it is not good for a developer to be a fanboy or a fangirl of what they are working on. Fanboys/girls are often blinded to objective traits that make a game great, instead they become attached to certain emotions and feelings that a game creates in them. In this case, I think you can definitely see an attachment to the feeling of discovery. In the attempt to evoke the associated emotion, they tried to create vast worlds in a new galaxy, but this made them miss on what attracted most fans to the series, which I believe was good characters, good writing, and the feeling that decisions you make matter.

"politically correct corporate culture to sensitivity to characters, particular female ones, unrealistic or too attractive"
-Bioware employee 5:20 mark in video

So pretty much at least in part what I figured.
My Signature

Re: Mass Effect: Andromeda

Any comment on the 1.05 patch?
The eyes look much better, I see.

For future patches they promise improvements on the general look of the characters. Considering that the bodies were okay from the start I would cautiously assume that this is aimed at the faces, but they just do not want to say it.

Anyway, what about the other bugs addressed in 1.05? Youtube is not showing much about it.

Re: Mass Effect: Andromeda

I'm watching a friend play through it (I have no desire to play through it again at this point, which is saying a lot since I played previous ME titles at least 7 times through each) and I see some difference as far as improving the eyes and some lip sync issues, but still some of the facial expressions are so out of place and awkward that they completely ruin scenes. I can't tell whether to take characters seriously because the facial expression often does not correlate with what they're saying and the emotion I think they are trying to convey. This is a game that's going to need a lot of work just on the graphic and technical side, but even if those things were perfect I don't believe that it could overcome the amateurish writing that shows up all too often throughout the game. This is a game that needs major changes to be done. Rewrite the dialogue, bring in new voice actors, and use facial capture technology. A game with this kind of budget should not have this many problems. It's amazing that it was released when it was, but I'm not sure that more time would have helped. Bioware isn't the developer it once was. Many of the key people who were involved in creating their best games are no longer around. I don't think Bioware is up to the job of making AAA entries anymore.

Re: Mass Effect: Andromeda

Scytale wrote:I do still think that a fundamentally positive outlook on exploration rather than trying to shoehorn a THIS IS WHY COLONIALISM IS BAD message in there would be greatly refreshing.
If BioWare didn't lurch into that territory themselves with Andromeda -- I haven't risked playing it yet -- Gamasutra's in-house "Western civilization is 100% evil and I'm offended" PhD, Katherine Cross, has now gone there.

She's actually a competent writer. I've found a few of her pieces thought-provoking. But she's very consistent in following the politically correct list of things to be Seen As Against, and Andromeda's "colonialism" proves to be an irresistible opportunity for her to take a few more whacks at Western Civ and the U.S. in particular.

Neither is perfect. But neither is as horrible as Cross persistently, gratingly asserts. It's the cherry-picking of history to score one-sided political points that tiresomely contributes nothing of any value either to real-world studies or games criticism. I'd rather play a bad game than read irrelevant criticism of it.

I'm probably more likely to buy and play Andromeda now.

Re: Mass Effect: Andromeda

That's very kind of you.

In the meantime, Kotaku has published an article on how Mass Effect: Andromeda really happened from Jason Schreier.

Schreier has previously written a book on the development of Dragon Age: Inquisition featuring sourced interviews with BioWare employees. For this Andromeda story, none of the BioWare developers who spoke to him would do so on the record.

But if you find them credible, it's a remarkable story of how a complex game idea, in the hands of a big but distributed development studio with a favored but poorly-suited game engine, did virtually all its actual game development in just eighteen months.

There's more, including disagreements among BioWare locations and the original (pre-No Man's Sky) concept for 100 procedurally-generated planets. It's a fascinating read.

Re: Mass Effect: Andromeda

Flatfingers wrote:
Fri Jun 09, 2017 3:31 pm
That's very kind of you.

In the meantime, Kotaku has published an article on how Mass Effect: Andromeda really happened from Jason Schreier.
Thanks for posting this Flat, the article was very enlightening. I'd like to provide some commentary on where they went wrong with the story development based on this article.
Spoiler:      SHOW
I think they went wrong pretty much right away in their belief that Mass Effect 1 was about exploration. Mass Effect 1 was not about exploration, but instead it was about discovery and decision-making. Discovery means finding something new and going somewhere no one else has been before, or at the very least finding something that has been lost a long time. Andromeda's planets are all settled, and after you get through the first vault, they all pretty much feel the same. Exploration is a personal experience, you haven't been there before, but other people have recently or currently are there, discovery is more transcendent. It's easy to think that the two words mean the same thing, but there is a difference, and the failure to understand this is what makes Mass Effect: Andromeda lacking. While exploration can be interesting, we all have a greater desire to discover. Mass Effect 1 takes you to places like Ilos where no one has set foot in millennia, whereas Andromeda takes you to places that are currently settled by humans or have been very recently. Misidentifying what the core theme of the game should be led them to selecting the wrong technology to base the game around (procedural generation) which was perilous for the game's development.

Another point in which they screwed up right away is in the assertion that they were giving fans what they want because Andromeda is a sequel, and fans gave feedback that they wanted a sequel (for the record, I wanted a sequel as well). The problem is that Andromeda isn't really a sequel because it does pretty much nothing to follow up what happened in the original trilogy. Instead, Mass Effect: Andromeda is what my good friend Mr. Plinkett at redlettermedia calls a "soft reboot" (he goes into depth on the soft reboot issue in his recent Star Wars and Star Trek reviews). They didn't want the pressure of having to carry on the franchise in the Milky Way and crafting a story of the galaxy in the aftermath of the Reaper War, so they created a clean slate by moving the franchise to a new galaxy where they wouldn't have to worry about previous events as much. Personally, I would much prefer a prequel to a soft-reboot like Andromeda.

Since we're on this forum, we all probably have at least some belief that procedural generation can help create a fun game, however, I think most of us would agree that it doesn't work in every context. I think Mass Effect is not the kind of game that it works well for. Any time you are going to be giving your environment close scrutiny and where there is an expectation that environments be very different from each other, procedural generation seems to not be a great solution. So, if you're going to be flying around space, procedural generation works, but if you're going to be walking around planets, probably not. Sticking with procedural generation so long seems to be one of the nails in the coffin for Andromeda as it prevented development of the environments that ended up in the game and it held back story development.

Lastly, it seems that failure to have strong leadership from the start was a major issue. From this article, it seems clear that this game was getting pulled in many different directions and had little direction until Mac Walters came on board. Personally, I think that Mac Walters isn't a great director, but I don't think anyone could have salvaged what he was given with the amount of time he was given (why wasn't this game further delayed?). Giving this game to such a inexperienced team was a massive mistake. Mass Effect fans can be absolutely ruthless with criticism (I hate this about us, I think the ME3 ending thing was overblown, but much of the ME:A criticism is legitimate, even if it isn't said in the best fashion) so this game should not be handed to people who can't handle the pressure. If the goal was to create a game that was the successor to Mass Effect 1, why didn't they bring back many of the same people who made the original game so beloved? I would have done whatever it took to keep Casey Hudson on as director and bring Drew Karpyshyn back in as writer, it would have been worth it in the end to provide more direction to development.

Re: Mass Effect: Andromeda

masseffect7, I can't find anything significant to disagree with in your comments about Andromeda.

A couple of of quick thoughts:
Spoiler:      SHOW
1. I think the distinction you draw between exploration and discovery is rather fine. That said, I get your point, and it's an interesting argument to make.

I personally never thought the original ME was about exploration (or discovery). It contained some behaviors related to exploration, in particular the Mako sequences, which I never hated as some people did. I enjoyed just playing tourist, finding a neat vantage point and just kicking back to look up at the remarkably diverse views the developers created for each planet. It actually irritated me that BioWare only listened to the critics of this, and in ME2 replaced the Mako sequences with the "planet-scanning" thing that, I kid you not, literally put me to sleep multiple times. At least when you were tooling around in the Mako, and not fighting planet-based Geth, you were doing something not entirely unlike exploration.

But ME being about exploration? No, I don't agree with that; ME was simply a BioWare game: combat and better-drawn-than-in-most-games personal relationships, set in different locations, supporting a linear story. ME was a good game IMO in large part because it played to BioWare's strengths in making exactly that kind of game.

2. And that is exactly why the original concept to procedurally generate worlds in Andromeda was flawed from the start. BioWare created a valuable niche for itself in being better than most developers at making CRPGs in which the personalities of the characters matter. BioWare games, while they include fighting, are game about people.

But procedural (or, more accurately in this sense, random) generation of worlds isn't about people. Any division of BioWare could have worked for five years on creating procedural generation technology for creating believable characters interacting to produce plausible stories, and it still wouldn't have approached the level of quality that you get from good writers like Karpyshyn. That's not what procedural/random generation is good at; it's a mechanical process that is (today) radically divergent from the BioWare strength of hand-crafting good stories through interesting characters in diverse places.

(And before anyone jumps on me to say that LT will have detailed procedural generation, or that Josh could create BioWare-level tech for telling good stories if he wanted, I point out that none of that existed when Mass Effect: Andromeda was in the concept stage.)

It's pretty easy to go after people with 20/20 hindsight, and hit them with second-guessing and "you obviously should have" complaints. In this case, though, I think there's some fairness in suggesting that maybe part of BioWare got excited about a neat new technology and didn't realize that it wasn't the sort of thing that leveraged what their whole company is known for delivering.

What remains to be seen is what lessons they take from this experience.

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