Glixel has published a pretty good piece on the making of Mass Effect: Andromeda
It's almost entirely positive, featuring many "we're science geeks and we worked really hard on the world of this game for you" stories and quotes. Even so, the stories are interesting.
One thing in particular grabbed my attention, though, and that was the comment that the two-state Paragon/Renegade system had been changed to a four-state system that's more of a psychological model.
Oh, really? (dig, dig, dig)
Well, hello! I can't find anyone else talking about this, but the four dialogue modes in ME:A look to me to have been inspired directly by the four original Bartle types... which I consider to be game-context expressions of general temperament
Here's one description I've seen of the four ME:A modes:
- Casual: For the Ryder who likes to hang loose, crack jokes and deal out the occasional sarcastic quip. Can endear you to some characters, but more reserved individuals will bristle at your flippancy.
- Professional: Strictly business. For the professional-minded Ryder, it's hip to be square.
- Logical: Assess the situation dispassionately, using the facts as your disposal. You might end up hurting some people's feelings along the way, though.
- Emotional: This option usually indicates a sympathetic, understanding, kind answer from Ryder, but it can also be used to play an impulsive or hot-headed character, depending on the situation.
These are almost instantly identifiable as the four fundamental, neurochemically-guided personality styles that show up IMO as the four Bartle types:
Casual: the Artisan/Killer (Manipulator) style, which seeks strong sensations through risk-taking and the adept tactical manipulation of people and objects.
Professional: the Guardian/Achiever style, which believes the Right Thing is to win by playing hard but within proper logistical rules and processes.
Logical: the Rational/Explorer style, which emphasizes discovery, strategic planning, and thoughtful creativity, but sometimes isn't so good at dealing with people.
Emotional: the visionary Idealist/Socializer style, which emphasizes diplomatic caring for people (including fictional characters) but doesn't always consider unintended outcomes.
I've sort-of pinged Richard Bartle to ask whether he consulted with EA/BioWare on this part of ME:A. It's possible I'm seeing a connection that doesn't exist.
In the meantime, other thoughts on this are welcome.
Edit: there's also an excellent round-table discussion
with several (non-BioWare) pro animators on what goes into a massive animation job like ME:A, and what might have led to the facial animation, "crabwalking," and other visual glitches.