Mass Effect: Andromeda Video Reveals Animations That Are Worse Than Heavenly Sword
Mass Effect Andromeda
(Last Updated On: March 8, 2017)

I didn’t think it was possible but we’re this close to release and new videos popping up for Mass Effect: Andromeda have revealed characters animations that are even worse than the ones we’ve seen before.

For the first time we finally get to see how stiff and uncharacteristic Scott Ryder is in the game. While he may have been 3D scanned with better accuracy than his doughy sister Sara Ryder, he actually has worse animations than her when gesticulating and talking. The voice acting isn’t bad, but it’s jarring to hear lively voice acting attached to what looks like a mannequin trying to pantomime someone with cerebral palsy. Check it out in the video below, courtesy of IGN.

The first thing you’ll notice is at the 37 second mark.

Scott Ryder gleefully issues a “Thank you” to the cat people, known as the Angara. However, his thanks is accompanied by a blank-staring expression that even the most Botox-laden Hollywood superstar would find disturbing, and even more jarring is the equally stiff hand gesture he extends.

Now that may not seem bad, but usually when people say “thanks” they hold out their hand with their palm facing up. It’s a signal of welcome. Scott, however, lifts his cadaver-like arm where his limp wrist and dangling hand move up in a slumped position and just hangs there before robotically moving back down. It’s a strange looking segment in such a short clip, showing that even in small doses the animations in Mass Effect: Andromeda lack even the most basic movements for properly emphasized gesticulation.

There are even people in the comment section defending the poor animations, saying our technology just isn’t there yet, and we’ll need to wait five to seven years or so before it gets good enough to look real. David O’Donnell stated in one comment on the YouTube video…

“I’ve already accepted that the facial animations and lip syncing might not be all that good. They rarely are. We are still about 5 years off from that being commonplace. My primary concern is gameplay, innovation, fun, good characters and dialogue. I believe this game will be overall fantastic. Definitely not gonna let some trolls ruin it for me…..”


Let’s rewind back six years ago to L.A. Noire. Here’s a clip from GamingPortal.

I forgot how sharp the dialogue was in that game.

But wait… there’s more. Let’s go back even further.

In fact, let’s go back by a whole decade to 2007 and Ninja Theory’s Heavenly Sword. Keep in mind, this is before a lot of the middleware for phonetic lip-synching (like Annosoft) became standard fare and before a lot of those asset stores were made available for dynamic, procedural and blended animations. Check out the clip below courtesy of Red’s 3rd Dimension.

10 years old on a $20 million budget… and the animations run absolute circles around Mass Effect: Andromeda.

Everyone can hop back to the defense of the “tech” not being there, or the PS4 and Xbox One not being strong enough, or the budget not being high enough, but when a game made on a tight budget by a mid-tier development studio like Ninja Theory can run circles around a company like BioWare when it comes to animations – for a game that’s a decade old, mind you – something is seriously wrong.

Anyway, if the poor animation quality doesn’t bother you, and the racist tirades from the developers don’t bother you, and the fugly character designs don’t bother you, feel free to pick up a copy of Mass Effect: Andromeda on March 21st.

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Billy has been rustling Jimmies for years covering video games, technology and digital trends within the electronics entertainment space. The GJP cried and their tears became his milkshake. Need to get in touch? Try the Contact Page.

  • backlashza

    if i compare this to the recently released horizon zero dawn it’s pretty shocking that in 2017 they can put this out and after years of development. It really takes me out of that immersive experience. Im a fan of the franchise and expected a lot better.Hopefully story and gameplay is stellar.

  • Disqusted

    Those aliens look so awful. And Ryder’s face almost resembles a crash dummy.

  • TylorW

    It really does look like they used Source Film Maker for the cutscenes. But even then, they were crap at utilizing it.

    • Keystone

      Guarantee SFM animators are going to make their own custom beautified models for any animations they do.

      • Already happened… three years ago.

        • Keystone

          Good stuff. I just wonder how long it’ll take them to make a standardized Fem Ryder model that doesn’t look like it got beaten with an ugly stick by some Tumblr user.

          Not too long, I imagine.

          • The Frostbite could really screw things up, but I hope the modders can overpower the roadblocks, just like the Russian hackers who broke through Rockstar’s encryption for GTA V, and modding can be made possible for ME: Andromeda. All of the characters could stand to use some beautifying.

  • fnd

    I still need to finish LA Noire, and i always used the line “you are going to the gas chamber” to the murderer in the video lmao, how did LA Noire didn’t get any SJW backlash? Too bad Team Bondi got bankrupt.

    And this is something i don’t get in this generation, why are this games still getting beaten by 2007 Crysis?

    • Crysis was about pushing boundaries. These days they don’t care about stuff. The only game that comes close is Star Citizen… assuming it can get finished.

      • fnd

        If games could at least have Crysis standards with yesterday requeriments i would be totally ok with. Graphics nowadays are good enough for me, but the problem is that they push textures resolution without caring for attention to detail, kinda like modders lol.

        • I don’t know… modders seem to actually add more detail. I guess it depends on the mods you use?

          You’re sort of right about texture resolution, but the textures usually aren’t that great. Like comparing the modded version of GTA V to the vanilla version is night and day.

          I have to be honest… most graphics in most games just don’t impress me. Crysis wowed me back in the day, and Battlefield 3 did a good job of stepping up to the plate, but beyond that a lot of it feels like PS3 2.5 graphics. Maybe it’s just me and I’m too jaded and cynical.

  • The Fractured Filter

    Hell go back to the Legacy of Kain Soul Reaver 2, had great facial and general animations. This is just people making excuses for being lazy.

    • Nick

      I loved that game…

      • The Fractured Filter

        The Legacy of Kain franchise for me is still one the greats, best story, voice acting, music. Just wins all around, they took a lot of time and care getting things right for the time traveling vampires haha.

  • durka durka

    Honestly man, if you want good animations, then bioware will ask you for a gtx 1080 ti. Seriously wtf is up with requirements lately?

    Also that ign video is like ea made it like a commercial for the game.

  • V_for_Vodka

    Hell, you can go even further then 2007 for examples of excellent body and facial animation. All the way back to 2004 when this little thing called Half-Life 2 came out.
    Though the good facial animations part only applies to major characters like Alyx, Dr.Breen, Barney, etc. The generic citizens/resistance fighters had lower quality models which weren’t capable of more complex facial animations, but even those models were updated in Episode 1 (2006) and again in Episode 2 (2007).

  • SevTheBear
  • Zufield

    I didn’t know Ken the Penders designed the ayyys in this trainwreck.

  • Grey

    Thing that struck me was the combat animations. They look like they were just copied wholesale from ME3. Including the goofy looking problem where there seemed to be this disconnect between what was going on from their waists down and waists up.

    Torso, arms, head all perfectly stiff and still as they fire even as they strafed around. No natural flow of movement when they active powers, just the animation playing before they snap back to their regular stance.

    It looked kind of like a stop-motion action scene done with GI Joe action figures.

  • ptitty

    Seriously? This is awful. I’d expect this kind of animation quality from the first ME, nearly 10 years. Final Fantasy 13 had better syncing and dialogue than this crap. Low effort laziness, that’s what this is

  • Pratim Gupta

    Frostbite Engine is bad, its character model looks bad, animations sucks, gameplay becomes buggy etc… it was created for FPS games like Battlefield not Dragon Age or Mass Effect

    • Phasmatis75

      Doesn’t help when you flood your studio with diversity hires, who can barely code.

      • Pratim Gupta

        Manveer ‘i hate white people’ Heir, Lady who was raped in GTA online, etc.. what a lovely bunch of people.

      • Pratim Gupta

        i just noticed that the cause of ugly characters in DAI is the because they reuse Male Head morphs for Females, they use Varric’s head morph for Cass.

  • PoldaranOfZam

    I am an absolute Mass Effect fanboy…and even I’m not going to buy this one until it’s as cheap as Battleborn.

  • Keystone

    “We are still about 5 years off from [good facial animations] being commonplace.”

    Those shills aren’t even trying any more.

    • I know right? That was the stupidest comment I read within the last hour of writing that piece.

      Either they were born yesterday or have been living under a rock. There have been so many good games with proper lip synch before Mass Effect: Andromeda that it makes that guy come across as a bona fide idiot.

      • Reven

        Even dumber, MASS EFFECT had decent lip sync for the time, the first game, and good animations too. Nothing mindblowing but… way, WAY better than this.

        Skyrim has better lip sync, and that’s 100% dynamic stuff, so the fact Bioware, with a backer of EA can’t make a basic effort on animations… It’s embarrassing. So glad my game for the first half of the year is Zelda. That game has loads of heart in it.

        • Original Mass Effect looked really good for its time, you’re right about that. This is on a whole other level though… it’s like they hired in rookies who have never done animation in their life and said “Here, go… do stuff.”

          That, or the whole animation team are diversity hires who were brought in because of their oppression levels and not their skills.

          • LurkerJK

            That would explain most things about Bioware

            i heard a shill talking about how wonderful the game was when she was allowed to play it and then she said the game was bugged as fuck, it would get stuck during animations while talking requiring restarts, well, they are totally going to fix it by release right ?, ppl notice the demo/beta is bugged to hell and all is fixed by release, its what ALWAYS happens … *rolls eyes*

            i think we are up for a diversity fueled shitstorm next week

      • Disqusted

        I dunno, there are games with good facial animation and lip sync, but I think there are also still a lot of games who slack hard on it. Some games just have gums flapping, like the non-cutcene dialogue shots in Yakuza 6. Some games like Dark Souls/Bloodborne still don’t have the mouth move, even.

        It’s still not an excuse for an AAA company like Bioware who focuses so much on character drama. It should be a top priority to at least get character animations right.

        As someone who has fiddled around with facial animation, I know there are so many ways to do it, so many applications and tools and tricks and methods. A lot of them are automated, even. It’s hard to believe an AAA company couldn’t be bothered using any of those methods. Just strikes me as lazy as shit.

  • Laytonaster

    Far, far too many problems coming up to make this game worth it. The only thing that seemed remotely interesting, ironically enough, was the combat. At this point, they may as well just abandon the story altogether and try making a gameplay-focused game instead of a narrative-driven one. Fuck, that’d be an improvement!