Garrus Mass Effect SketchI love Mass Effect. I was waiting on Andromeda with tremendous enthusiasm. But I haven’t yet purchased the game. I have been hearing a lot of YouTube chatter about the poor quality of the animations, bad voice acting and dull scripting. Scripting and story telling were the two things that drew me into Mass Effect and without these, it’s just another shooter.

Some folks are saying that one of the reasons for the awful animations was that someone at the top of BioWare decided for political reasons to make all the human characters “realistic” with the end result that they are unappealing at best and ugly at worst.

I am not really convinced that “political correctness” played all that big a role in the problems with Andromeda’s animation. I’m an enthusiastic supporter of diversity … but that could be far better supported by simply adding some secondary characters who are outside the norms. It’s fantasy. As PC as I am I want the main character, male or female, to be hot and sexy. The point of a game like this is to be more than you can be in life, in every way. Nobody at the top tier of a gaming company is ignorant of these facts, nor of the fact that sex appeal sells. This is a business, not a political campaign. If this IS PC run amok, whoever is responsible for it seriously lacks a grasp on reality.

The thing is, nobody knows that better than BioWare. Mass Effect has done great work along these lines in the past. Joker’s disability, volus and elcor, gay characters. I have often brough up Fem Shep as an example of how gaming companies can create realistic and sexy female leads. These characters have all made a huge impact on advancing the cause of social justice, without inflaming the often hot-headed fan-boy gamer base all that much.

I think that the problem now is that this takes imagination, and a small investment in human-based talent. It seems there is a vacuum of these qualities right now at EA and BioWare. It’s about allocation of dollars. Certain executives only see value in technological solutions. They will spend ten times the amount on some new rendering platform than they would have spend in getting artists to touch things up, and writers to create a compelling story line for such a character. I’ve worked for a large company where we were always fighting against this mindset. Spending money on tech = good. Spending on salaries – bad. Even when you could ultimately save money by a factor of ten, long and short term! This mindset is also betrayed by the poor quality of the voice acting talent this time around. Either way, I’m not buying this one until the patches come out, and maybe not until it considerably drops in price as well. Unless anyone out there wants to offload a used copy on the cheap (laugh).

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