If you're anything like me, you were super amped for Mass Effect: Andromeda before it even had a name. The moment I finished Mass Effect 3, I was hungry for more. Whether that meant a direct sequel from the third installment in the series, an off-shoot, or maybe even a prequel! I didn't really care what I got, so long as it was in the Mass Effect universe that I loved so. When I found out Mass Effect: Andromeda was a thing, I clung to every piece of information I could possibly get my hands on. I've even got an Andromeda Initiative t-shirt to celebrate my love.
As the game came closer and closer to launch I got more and more excited. Behind-the-scenes featurettes were getting released, and the game looked fantastic. Then of course review copies of the game started going out, popular streamers started showing off footage, and the hype was finally being realized! But then in came the memes, so many memes. The animations in Mass Effect: Andromeda were getting a ton of flak, and rightly so. I mean have you seen some of those walking animations? The "Swiggity swooty, I'm coming for that booty" walk is decidedly my favorite of all the memes coming out of the interwebs right now. It matches up so well!
While all of the hilarity ensuing from the sometimes atrocious glitches in Mass Effect: Andromeda is pretty funny, it's also horrifying. Games of this caliber shouldn't be having these issues, especially this close to launch. We briefly touched on the fact that Mass Effect: Andromeda won't be getting a Day One patch to fix all these errors. That in and of itself is probably one of the craziest things to come out of this whole catastrophe. One can only hope that these animation glitches were not this obvious during production, because we'd hope that BioWare would have fixed the majority of them back then. This leaves us with the option that something might have gone wrong just before or during launch.
If this was the case, I can all but guarantee someone would have noticed it, everyone would have panicked, and a course of action would have been decided. In this case, it meant not including fixes in a Day One patch and keeping their fingers crossed that the animations didn't throw off too much of the fan base. Hopefully BioWare will include fixes for the errors in later patches of the game. It seems they probably will, since once before they mentioned working on bugs until the game is pried from their cold and lifeless hands. This is all pretty much general knowledge so far, but the point I'd like to get at is this: when is it okay to delay a game?
Mass Effect: Andromeda has been highly anticipated for a very long time. The developer behind it is very well known. There have been a ton of eyes on this project throughout the entire process. It was technically and publicly delayed at least once. And according to my research, BioWare and EA weren't afraid of pushing the date back even further if necessary. VG247 reported that EA's chief financial officer Blake Jorgensen said, “We're willing to make moves in launch dates if we feel that it's necessary to deliver the right player experience.” If this was the case, somebody managed to drop the ball on Mass Effect: Andromeda because it probably could have benefited from at least a slight delay in the end.
Funny enough, VG247 also said, “Mass Effect: Andromeda probably won't be one of those releases rushed to market in an unfinished state because the publisher wants some quick cash. Hooray!” I'm not saying that EA or BioWare are making a quick dash for cash. It's clear that they love their series just as much, if not more than, the fans. However, it does appear that they wanted to meet their deadline more than they wanted to put out a polished product.
Something bizarre happened along the way near the end of production to produce glitches like Ryder looking like she's about to take a crap while walking down a set of stairs. Someone needed to be the saving grace and cry, “This is not right. Stop the presses! Something is wrong here people!” We'll never know who this savior might have been, because the atrocity that is “my face is tired” woman will still be plastered across our screens thanks to a lack of Day One patch.
Let me just say this, delays suck. They suck for the consumer. We wait for seemingly forever in some cases (cough The Last Guardian cough) for games to be released and our patience runs thin after a while. Delays also suck for the developers. There's nothing worse than getting right to the end of a project of any kind and finding out that you've made a critical error and have to go back and fix it. Imagine spending years on a thesis paper, conducting dozens of interviews, and just before turning it in you find out one of your interviewees lied. Not mislead you, but straight up lied. You'll have to go back and completely take out their testimony and the arguments you made around it. This is the same concept with developers and games with trouble right at the very end. They see the light at the end of the tunnel, they prepare the champagne and the wrap party hors d'oeuvres. Then, at the very end they come to find that their animations are all screwy.
Mass Effect: Andromeda is just the most recent example of a video game that ran into trouble that then carried over to the consumer. It happens time and time again. As much as both sides of the table hates delays, they can sometimes be the lesser of two evils. Would you rather have a picture perfect game a little bit late, or a polished turd on time? I'd rather vote for the former, but it seems we sometimes get the latter.
How would you feel if Mass Effect: Andromeda had gotten delayed to spare us the crazy animation glitches we've been finding? Are you enjoying making fun of them too much to care? Let me know in the comments.