Much as been said of Mass Effect: Andromeda’s animations. While we didn’t find them to be as horrid as some GIFs on the Internet would have you believe, Jonathan Cooper — an animator who worked on Mass Effect and Mass Effect 2 and is now at Uncharted developer Naughty Dog explained why they are the way they are via a flurry of tweets earlier today.
“That said, animating an RPG is a really, really big undertaking - completely different from a game like Uncharted so comparisons are unfair,” Cooper tweeted. Following up with every “encounter in Uncharted is unique & highly controlled because we create highly-authored 'wide' linear stories with bespoke animations.”
He goes on to state that games like Dragon Age: Inquisition and The Witcher 3 use cinematic tools that designers, not animators use to decide what animation sequence is rendered for specific scenes. For a game like Mass Effect: Andromeda, with the amount of content available, using this method could take too much time. To make this possible, dialogues are split up according to priority based on the likelihood of players seeing them and put through an algorithm. This could be the reason for some scenes looking better than others.
“The lowest quality scenes may not even be touched by hand. To cover this, an algorithm is used to generate a baseline quality sequence,” another tweet of his reads. The next one speculates that the quality of the algorithm may have been lowered.
The full thread on Twitter is well worth reading as it gives you an idea of what goes behind the production process in video games that is rarely made public.