Bioware’s latest entry into the acclaimed Mass Effect franchise has become a punchline on the internet. Countless gifs, video compilations, and complaint threads were created in response to its… odd looking character models and animations. Going further, I would argue that the response to the animations and models have overshadowed the game itself, with people unable to get over how “off” they look. It’s understandable, we’re suppose to be in the next generation of gaming, but this game looks noticeably worse than any of its predecessors. How could this happen? I’d imagine many Bioware fans like myself (who has loved them since Knights of the Old Republic) feel baffled as to how they could fail so many who had faith in them. A gaming company whose work was once synonymous with great RPGs has fallen into the pit of being a cautionary tale for the perils of entering the AAA gaming market. The contrarian hipster in me wants to pin the blame for this mess entirely on just that, a big corporation like EA forcing a once pure company to churn out mediocre content for a quick buck, and eventually corrupting them in the process. The problem of course, is that issues like this tend to be far more nuanced.
Continue reading “Mass Effect Andromeda, the Uncanny Valley, and the Looming Threat of Memes”
“Permission to dock?”
Bioware games have always been ambitious. They always try to hit every entertainment base imaginable, from gameplay to story, from mindless action to dramatic moments, from mystery to romance… Even as far back as in their breakout success, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, romance has always been an element in their games. One small element, but an element nonetheless. Then a shift happened upon the arrival of their previous gen hits Mass Effect and Dragon Age: Origins. Bioware, being the Canadian and open-minded company they are, decided to really expand their romantic options in their games going forward. As a result, we’ve seen a rise of extremely divergent love interest options in videogames that we haven’t really seen in the past, and thanks the optional sex scenes, Bioware has created a veritable powder keg of controversy. The focus on sex and relationships in Bioware games has swelled to the point where it earns actual coverage from major news outlets. We are in the 21st century and people are still being scandalized by the idea of nudity, human-alien relationships, and homosexuality in our videogames. Excuse me as a seriously contemplate whether or not I want to laugh or cry.
Continue reading “Are Bioware Games Being Viewed as Dating Sims?”