Mass Effect Andromeda’s animations lead to awful harassment
Mass Effect Andromeda’s animation have become somewhat of an internet joke. The clunky character models have allowed a plethora of GIFs to invade forums and boards across the internet. From reaction shots to just awkward interactions and scenes, many have had a good laugh. Yet there are those who have decided to elevate this to a disgusting level.
Since the spreading of Mass Effect: Andromeda’s animation gaffs started, a group of loathsome internet users have decided to target a member of developer Bioware’s team. Allie Rose-Marie Leost was the focus of this despicable assault due to her being part of the Motion Capture lap for EA in Vancouver.
Many decided she must be the reason for the bad animation and have unleashed a tirade of harassment towards her due to her position. Kotaku reports that what started all this was a blog post at Ralph Report (a Gamer-gate affiliated website) which reported that Leost was the lead on Andromeda’s facial animation team, along with some other disgusting baseless accusations including how she received the job through sexual acts.
If the latter accusation did not give it away, the entire story that started these online assaults is based on false information (as they usually are). Turns out Leost was not the lead animator on Mass Effect: Andromeda. Bioware confirmed as such in a tweet below as well as calling out the attacks.
— BioWare (@bioware) March 18, 2017
This is not a new phenomenon in numerous manners. Harassment of female members of the gaming community is still a significant problem, yet this seems to be a repeat of a similar incident years ago. When Dragon Age II released in 2011, there was a strikingly similar attack on a female staffer linked to Bioware, albeit after the launch of the game. Jennifer Hepler who was a writer on numerous projects in Bioware including both Dragon Age: Origins and Dragon Age II, faced a tirade of abuse online in 2012. Six years prior, Hepler had made comments regarding the importance of story over gameplay. What followed was what can only be called a display of sickening attacks online just because she dared to have an opinion.
This is just another reminder of the current climate that exists in the Video Game community. There is nothing wrong with critiquing a game or a specific element, hell even making fun of it can be okay. Mass Effect: Andromeda’s animations do look clunky and it is worth calling it out. This however, does not translate to disgusting harassment of a member of the development team. Regardless of Leosts’ position, this harassment is appalling and deplorable. This is not even touching on the fact that to blame a single person for a games flaws in a game this massive is as ignorant as it gets, especially with the difficulty of animation.
This is unfortunately another sexist and awful show that will happen again, as it has happened before. These days it goes beyond simply stating an opinion. It has now moved to just being a woman in the Video Game industry makes you ripe for harassment and ridicule, regardless of what your position might be within it.
Mass Effect: Andromeda is out this Friday on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC. Clunky animation aside, many are hoping to a return to form from the prolific franchise that defined last generation. Reviews have hit this morning and it has been all over the place. It is a shame that a launch week has to be marred by users going out of their way to be scumbags but it is always important to acknowledge this is a continuing issue so we as a community can put a stop to it.