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Re: Mass Effect: Andromeda

Flatfingers wrote:
masseffect7 wrote:But you can really see the effects of EA on BioWare. ... This really shows how important maintaining a culture is at a studio.
Origin Systems.





BioWare's holding company.

Oh yeah, I forget sometimes that these freaks killed Bullfrog and Westwood...
WebGL Spaceships and Trails
<Cuisinart8> apparently without the demon driving him around Silver has the intelligence of a botched lobotomy patient ~ Mar 04 2020
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Re: Mass Effect: Andromeda

For the dialog system:
Watching gameplay "vids", I dont see any effect of those 4 choices, other than a slight variation in the NPCs answer.
There are no conversation spanning effects longer than the immediate reply, and no change in mude.

In the old Paragon/Renegade system, there was at the worst case at least an impact on your "personality" scores, and in the best case a unique paragon/renegade action
that could be done when engaging in this personality.

In Andromeda, the Ryder does not change. Any answer can be taken, without having an impact.
They have chosen the very simplistic route, of basically having a classic linear conversation without branching, and just having some variations in the immediately following answer.
There are also few decisions how to proceed an action (like that science/military base choice) , and when you have them, they have not much noticeable impact.

Even back in Fallout1 you could see an NPCs mude change depending on the conversation choices.

What I would like in a game is the option, for example to annoy the crap out of some secondary NPC, until they attack me or do some stupid action, (potentially unlocking some quest)
Or support the opinion of some villain, and make them agree to cancel a standoff. (which requires more complex villains, and not papercut antagonists as in Andromeda)
You know, some longer arching personality choices, that have to be "earned" over time.

other ideas for having player personality have an impact:
-when using a casual answer repeatedly, people might regard you as a clown, and not competent enough to take an important mission.
-when using supportive/emotional answers, people might think you are too emotional to take a necessary pragmatic choice.
-when using "professional" or "logical answers, people might not be willing to talk about their emotional problems, and just say "you would not understand me"

..basically playing a role...

Another nice thing would be to have NPCs react to your combat style, if you have a significant style. (using the statistics of your favorite attack types)
"Oh, your that biotik freak"
"I cant stand snipers like you, they are cowards"
"Careful, that maniac likes to attack you straight on"
"Ryder likes to to take cover, and hide. like a roach..."

Quite simple to implement, but a high reward for players to see themself reflected in their role choice.

Re: Mass Effect: Andromeda

Talvieno wrote:The trouble with EA, I think, is that most people aren't piecing the puzzle together. "EA is where game studios go to die" doesn't seem to be a thought that crosses many minds... or else they wouldn't let EA buy them.
Actually, there was an interview with one of the former owner of a game company that got bought of EA to "die", and he kinda tells a different story. Sadly, it's only in German. but it was a really good article. ... klich.html
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Flatfingers wrote: 23.01.2017: "Show me the smoldering corpse of Perfectionist Josh"

Re: Mass Effect: Andromeda

The BioWare folks who made ME: Andromeda talk about the negative fan reaction (which I never felt myself) to the ending of ME3 as though they got the message: choices should matter.

And you could even say that they did understand this in a mechanical sense -- that's basically what the loyalty missions delivered for the end of ME2.

So why would they ignore this lesson by not making role choices, and personality choices in dialogues, matter more?

It may be that it already took them five years to build the gameplay around something like 30% more recorded dialogue lines than in ME3. Having to record even more lines, for every possible character-building choice, might have been prohibitive.

Or maybe this was just a "streamlining" (to use the polite term) from the relatively detailed RPG options of the original Mass Effect, just as the Dragon Age games were increasingly simplified. There's more chrome apparent; it just doesn't do anything. (Shades of BioShock: Infinite. And maybe the sequence from Morrowind to Oblivion to Skyrim as well.)

It's interesting to contrast this to the new don't-call-it-Ultima Underworld game, made by many of the same folks who created the amazing original game. Despite being built by a vastly smaller team than BioWare's, the new Underworld game sounds like it will be considerably more detailed than the original... which was already so feature-rich that it included an invented language that could be learned.

If not for CD Projekt Red, I might speculate that gamers who enjoy depth could just stop buying AAA games at this point.

Re: Mass Effect: Andromeda

Just my two cents, independent of all other opinions...

I pre-ordered ME:A -- and then refunded it, thankfully. What a waste. I would have tolerated the animations if the setting and writing wasn't hopelessly trite.

I'm more inclined to blame BioWare Montreal than EA in this matter. For better or worse EA did give BioWare about five years to finish this project. The existence of Dragon Age Inquisition clearly shows that a developer named BioWare can produce a fine Frostbite engine game, with very few technical issues, in three. DAI, of course, was the Edmonton team. The old guard.

I'm not one who automatically expects a vague notion of progress with every new iteration. But with Andromeda what we have is regression from the DAI standard, pure and simple. Any defense of the animation quality in ME:A is undermined by a reality in which these issues have already been solved in DAI.

As such, I'm more inclined to go with a simpler explanation. The ME:A development team simply isn't competent. The presence of the hack Mac Walters as that of "creative director" was already a warning sign, and an accurate one, as it turned out. Apparently, being ME fanboys and fangirls in a previous life (as many members of the Montreal team are) does not automatically equate to technical capability, design chops, or project management skills. I'm sure that they genuinely feel like ME:A is their baby. I'm sure they are -- were -- very excited to share it with the world. Unfortunately, their best just isn't good enough.

Re: Mass Effect: Andromeda

Talvieno wrote:So, if I understand right, you're essentially saying that what we have is a famade game that EA is marketing as the real deal? For a fanmade game, it's rather impressive... but not quite worth the $60 price tag, I would say.
Oh, I wasn't saying that. I don't have any preconceptions towards fanmade stuff. Great fanmade games exist, mostly in the form of mods. However, "fanfiction" does seem like an apt way of characterizing ME: A, especially its writing and characters. Poorly written fanfiction.

BioWare Montreal don't even seem to understand what makes Mass Effect great. One simple question: Like, who the frak doesn't bring Quarians to a transgalactic pilgrimage?

Now, what I'm essentially saying is actually harsher. I'm saying that BioWare Montreal is overall incompetent and that this is a structural thing that nothing outside a reorganization will fix. After all, for all the good corporate talk does, an organization is as good as its members. Give Mac Walters another chance and he'll come up with a Mass Effect just as banal and lacking in vision as this one. Whoever approved the UI doesn't know a thing about UI design. Whoever OK'd the facial animations has no sense of aesthetics whatsoever. And so on. I remind you, we're talking about five years.

Now, I don't want to discredit the grunts too much. I'm sure they have a bunch of crack programmers there -- as you say, it's an impressive effort, at least. But it's safe to say that, whatever designers and writers they have there -- they are no good. A repeat performance will only work to solidify this view.

Re: Mass Effect: Andromeda

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.

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