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Mass Effect: Andromeda Patch 1.04

BioWare rolled out a patch for both the early access 10-hour trial version and retail release of Mass Effect: Andromeda. The game dropped on Tuesday, March 21st for Xbox One, PS4 and PC, and BioWare explained what patch 1.04 actually does for the game.

Gamespot did a quick summary of the patch that launched for the PC version of the game, explaining that for the retail version of Mass Effect: Andromeda they've fixed a major issue where gamers couldn't land on the Ark after flying around in the Tempest. They've also fixed an issue where the game would freeze and go to a black screen when utilities like Corsair Utility Engine was running.

On the multiplayer side of things they fixed some issues involving character audio cutting out while another player's audio would start playing, and they also fixed an issue where the game would crash when using a human male soldier and pressing the 'F' key.

What's most interesting, however, is that the newest patch for Mass Effect: Andromeda has a lot of fixes for the 10-hour trial version of the game on PC. They note that they've fixed the overall performance, collision detection, and audio issues, but the most striking thing is that they note that they've fixed up and improved the cinematics, conversations, and other character interactions.

Now they don't specifically mention "animations" but there were various issues pointed out by gamers during the cinematics in the 10-hour trial where characters would disappear during the conversations, or they would glitch and go into the t-pose, or they would perform other oddities during the dialogue scenes. It's possible this is what was addressed, given the wording.

They specifically avoided using the word "animation" in the patch notes over on the official BioWare website, which likely means that they might address that can of worms separately.

However, as pointed out by GameSpot, gamers had been asking BioWare's staff about possible patches and updates for the character facial animations in Mass Effect: Andromeda post-release.

In some Twitter exchanges over the days leading up to release and on the day of release, some BioWare staff have been saying that they will investigate the possibility of fixing the facial animations for the characters in the game.

The thing to keep in mind is that "fixing" facial animations in a game as large scale as Mass Effect: Andromeda is neither easy nor cheap. BioWare would have to bring back a number of technical staff from various departments, including the riggers, the animators, the art director, the modelers (in case there are any issues with the meshes during the re-rigging process), the animation clean-up crew, the quality assurance staff, the testers, and depending on the severity of some of the issues, the motion capture artists and/or engineers.

As mentioned, fixing cinematic and dialogue animations in a post-launch environment for a game like Mass Effect: Andromeda is neither cheap or nor easy, and can extend anywhere between several weeks worth of work up to several months. This isn't just a matter of modifying the blending code for the animation sequences for something simple like running or jumping, but rather going through and tweaking and fixing mouth, eye, jaw, orbital and cheek movements for each of the characters with problems, and that's no easy task.

We'll see if BioWare decides to undertake the mammoth quest to redo some of the animations in Mass Effect: Andromeda with forthcoming patches. They would likely test things out on PC first and then launch the patches on console since they'll have to go through certification and console manufacturer testing first, so don't expect those changes to come around too soon.

Mass Effect: Andromeda is available right now for PC, PS4 and Xbox One.

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