Mass Effect: Andromeda has a real problem with its facial animations. Yes, you can still play the game and get somewhat used to it, but they absolutely break the immersion for people like me, leading to gamers pretty much not getting invested or caring about NPCs. And, of course, the faces have led the game to become a laughing stock on the internet. So what went wrong? An ex-Mass Effect animator might have some answers.
Before Jonathan Cooper signed up to work at Naughty Dog, he helped BioWare animate Mass Effect and Mass Effect 2. Cooper is also known for helping bring a number of triple-A games to life, including the impressive Uncharted 4: A Thief's End, so it's fair to say he knows exactly what he's talking about.
Cooper recently gave some key insight on what might've gone wrong with Mass Effect: Andromeda's bizarre faces, highlighting just how complicated it is to animated a RPG with extensive dialog sequences. In fact, it's a mammoth undertaking with a million moving parts (quite literally). Cooper guesses that Mass Effect: Andromeda essentially lowered its facial animation quality to meet the game's deadline, and hints it should've been delayed to extend the dev cycle. "Andromeda seems to have lowered the quality of its base algorithm, resulting in the "my face is tired" meme featuring nothing but lip-sync. This, presumably, was because they planned to hit every line by hand. But a 5-year dev cycle shows they underestimated their task."