Online Trolls Harass Female Animator Over 'Mass Effect: Andromeda' Flaws

Simon Alvarez

Mass Effect: Andromeda had a lot of hype leading up to its launch. Just like any other game that was highly-anticipated, however, flaws about its final iteration were spotted by gamers. In the case of BioWare's most recent AAA title, it was the facial animation of several characters in the game, many of which seemed odd and downright substandard. In the midst of all this controversy lies Allie Rose-Marie Leost, a female animator at EA, who has received the majority of the backlash over Mass Effect: Andromeda's flawed facial models.

Following a particularly aggressive post by gaming blogger Ethan Ralph at his website The Ralph Retort, many online trolls and disgruntled Mass Effect: Andromeda fans pounced on Leost, with many alleging that she was the primary reason behind the flawed facial models in the AAA game. Others, including Ralph himself, were more unforgiving, suggesting that Leost might have even called in sexual favors to earn her position at the developer's animation studios, according to a Kotaku report.

Over the last couple of days, Leost suffered from hundreds of abusive messages that could only be described as harassment. Some commenters on Twitter alone accused her of using her gender to get a job, while others were just downright lewd and predatory. Ralph, for his part, fueled the fire further, publishing follow-up posts that elaborated on Leost's alleged role in the development of Mass Effect: Andromeda and why the games' awkward facial renderings were primarily her fault.

"Recently, a former EA employee was misidentified as a lead member of the Mass Effect: Andromeda development team. These reports are false.

"We respect the opinions of our players and community and welcome feedback on our games. But attacking individuals, regardless of their involvement in the project, is never acceptable."

"We respect the opinions of our players and community and welcome feedback on our games. But attacking individuals, regardless of their involvement in the project, is never acceptable."

In a lot of ways, the abusive online treatment that Leost has received from online trolls and critics such as Ralph were caused by the fact that the animator was quite vocal about her involvement in the game, as well as her apparent inexperience as a professional animator. Despite this, however, the fact that Leost is pretty much shouldering the blame for the game's most prominent flaw is something that many netizens have perceived to be a bit too misogynistic and crass.

BioWare is no stranger to online witch hunts. Back in 2012, the developer was caught in the middle of the controversy surrounding Jennifer Hepler, who served as a writer for Dragon Age: Origins, Dragon Age II and Star Wars: The Old Republic. Interestingly, Hepler was attacked over comments on the same franchise, as she alleged that Mass Effect 3's developers opted to focus on story rather than gameplay.

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