Escapist Podcast: 036: Mass Effect 3 & Tali Stock Photos

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What? Bioware fans getting all in a tiff over incredibly small issues? What is this world coming to?!

Look, I can pretty much guarantee you nobody is more creepily attached to Tali as a character in this thread more then I, and frankly, the picture isn't what I was expecting but I don't have a problem with it. It was obviously an afterthought, they reused the picture frame and animation from ME2, and the picture itself is pretty low-res. I'm sure Bioware was poised to leave her faceless throughout the entire series, but the fans demanded it, so the fans got it.

Also (this is a spoiler by the way), you only get the picture if you romance Tali AND allow her people to return to Rannoch where they can take their masks off with minimal risk, the picture was obviously taken there as a memento.

Just seriously people, how come every single aspect of this game sends you into a blind rage, I don't envy Bioware for having to deal with their fanbase.

As a person who romanced Tali and wished it had been possible to do so from the first game, I think it would have been really cool if we had given a general picture of what the quarian look like without their suits and never let you look at what Tali specifically looks like.

As for whether I'd think the Tali picture is good, stock-photoness aside, I think it's alright. Other than confusing things about the sunset and how this picture was taken in the first place, she does look alien enough to be an alien. At least from the outside, she looks a bit more human than other races, but not much moreso than the asari. Although, the guy who mentioned that he imagined the quarian people to have short hair had a really good point.

....wait, hold it. Tali's blue in the picture? I didn't notice that. [looks up picture] Oh lord, why is she only blue around the edges?!?

As for the "changing the difficulty when you're having trouble" thing... I admit I did that once in Mass Effect 3, as detailed in the spoiler below. Also Mass Effect 2, I did turn the difficulty down once because I was playing it at 6 in the morning after playing it for nearly 10 hours, and I was TIRED. Freaking Praetorian.

Gigatoast:
What? Bioware fans getting all in a tiff over incredibly small issues? What is this world coming to?!

Look, I can pretty much guarantee you nobody is more creepily attached to Tali as a character in this thread more then I, and frankly, the picture isn't what I was expecting but I don't have a problem with it. It was obviously an afterthought, they reused the picture frame and animation from ME2, and the picture itself is pretty low-res. I'm sure Bioware was poised to leave her faceless throughout the entire series, but the fans demanded it, so the fans got it.

Also (this is a spoiler by the way), you only get the picture if you romance Tali AND allow her people to return to Rannoch where they can take their masks off with minimal risk, the picture was obviously taken there as a memento.

Just seriously people, how come every single aspect of this game sends you into a blind rage, I don't envy Bioware for having to deal with their fanbase.

Thank you for being a bastion of reason on this thread amid all the other crazed Talimancers. I romanced Tali, I care about her character and thought it was the best presented romance in Mass Effect, but I really couldn't imagine working myself into a frenzy over this.

I thought that BioWare handled the issue of mask/no mask pretty tastefully. I'm sure that they was fully aware that there were plenty of fans who wanted the mask to stay on. And that's why they didn't work her face into any of the romance scenes that both sides wanted to see in the game. They put her picture off to the side; it was there if you wanted to see it, BUT YOU DIDN'T HAVE TO SEE IT!

And, really, it's not a bad picture, either. I was happily satisfied with it. I think it does justice to the character. And, really, one of the main complaints I've heard is that she doesn't look "alien enough". People love talking about romancing Liara for that "true blue alien love", but aesthetically she no different from a human AT ALL except that she's blue and has head tentacles instead of hair. I'd say that Tali is even further from a human than Liara, or at least on the same level of alienness. SPOILER! Tali has different extremities and luminous eyes, along with those folds of skin that look like gills down her neck and upper chest. END SPOILER

Meh, it's just incredibly disappointing, to be honest.

Making her look too human-like isn't too much of an issue (though it really is completely unimaginative), it's the fact that the picture doesn't even blend in with the environment that it could be captured in. It's completely unrealistic in the Mass Effect universe and coupled with how lazily edited it was, that's the problem.

What matters is that this was a highly anticipated event from thousands of Mass Effect fans, and no time nor effort went into the resulting product. That's the problem. It gives off the impression that BioWare really don't give a crap for their fans, or even their own creations, and that main characters like Tali really don't mean much to them other than plot-fillers and money-makers.

That's why it's disappointing.

I also don't see how this does justice to the character or the Quarian race as a whole. Every major race in Mass Effect are of a humanoid structure, but none of them actually look like humans, they just resemble them in shape and form. Every race has very clear definitions... except Quarians, apparently, who look so much like humans that you may as well call them a human.

Whilst that's wholly possible (especially since none of us actually know what any real alien looks like, if they exist), it just doesn't go down too well with me. It reeks too much of an "easy way out" and it simply doesn't fit. We've got a plethora of variety when it comes to the other races, but Quarians are the uncreative lot? Blegh.

Even this would've been marginally better, if still somewhat unoriginal to my tastes (would love to know who created this piece though, it's bloody well-done):

http://fc07.deviantart.net/fs70/f/2010/098/1/3/Tali_by_FruitLoop360.jpg

Personally, I don't care that it was a stock photo. Not knowing it was stock(at the time), I think it was a perfectly acceptable image.

Psychotic:
Meh, it's just incredibly disappointing, to be honest.
....
Even this would've been marginally better, if still somewhat unoriginal to my tastes (would love to know who created this piece though, it's bloody well-done):

http://fc07.deviantart.net/fs70/f/2010/098/1/3/Tali_by_FruitLoop360.jpg

See the fact that some random fan took the time to render up a lovely in game styled art piece over a generic (and god awful photoshop, it looks worse than the original due to being a 10th the resolution.) is sad. It wouldn't have taken almost any time to properly make a picture if they didn't want to do an animation for it, and it would have taken even less to let it be a mystery like in ME2, but instead they half ass-ed it so hard that the backlash is this bad.

Also to every idiot saying this is such a small piece of the game, no its not shes a squad mate for all 3 games (a privilege only shared by Garrus and Tali), and is a romantic interest as well, she's definitely one of the most flushed out characters so skimping so badly on this is really inexcusable, if they wanted to take a creative stand and say "no, you can't see" like in ME2 fine, but this is just bad, no way around it.

Hey everyone, I really wanted to listen to the podcast in its entirety, but I couldn't for fear of spoilers or hints about ME3 being revealed. But what I did hear was funny, ya'll are really hitting your stride in my opinion.

Btw, I found something so awesomely awesome that I just had to share it with you guys and get your response on it. I won't tell you what it is, but I'll tell you this, talk to the VI and ask her about the promotion. It's more of an easter egg, in my opinion, but badassfully awesome in its presentation. :)

Take care all and keep up the good work.

The Tali's face thing isn't a reason to hate on Bioware, it's mostly just hilarious. I can't think of a more effective way to troll Talimancers than to say: "oh, your space waifu's face? We slapped it together in 30 minutes of photoshop. We got space explosions to recolor."

The "using a stock photo" part of Tali's face reveal doesn't bother me at all. The direction they decided to take it was also satisfying enough, though I wish it was a little bit less like just a painted normal person. I think the choice of picture and photoshop job was pretty terrible though. Especially for her hands, which look like/are literally cropped off ring and pinky fingers. Of course there's also the pretty obvious issues of who took the picture (less weird), how'd she get her entire suit off and not get super sick (more weird).

superbowlbound:
snip

Well, in-game there was no hype over what Tali's face looked like, it was mostly just Talifans that went ape-shit over her meekish and non-threatening personality. I did all of her loyalty missions and shit, never once cared about how her face looked like.

Also, I remember that Bioware also used stock-photos for Neverwinter Night's character portraits, so who really cares?

Hyper-space:

superbowlbound:
snip

Well, in-game there was no hype over what Tali's face looked like, it was mostly just Talifans that went ape-shit over her meekish and non-threatening personality. I did all of her loyalty missions and shit, never once cared about how her face looked like.

Also, I remember that Bioware also used stock-photos for Neverwinter Night's character portraits, so who really cares?

Fans of the series and characters? I didn't romance her or care too much about her. In fact, I really didn't like the Quarians. But regardless it was incredibly lazy of them, and citing Neverwinter Nights, a game made 10 years ago, as support for your argument is pretty weak.

superbowlbound:
You have got to be kidding me? A reveal that people have been waiting 6 years for is done by 10 minutes in photoshop (seriously, for a person mildly skilled that's all it takes) is okay? Especially because the Quarians are described differently. It's such a pathetic lazy cop-out, for a AAA game with a multi-million dollar budget? I would understand if its XBLA or a small studio, but this is something that is incredibly hyped and anticipated! I honestly can't believe you are defending this! Wouldn't it have been better to not ever show their faces? No one would have complained then. Or how about they use one of the ridiculous amount of concept faces they created? But no, that takes time to render faces, so instead we will focus on making every character you make eye contact with a romance option. I am not sure how much EA is paying you guys, but can you stop white knighting for Bioware and EA, they are just money grabbing companies that unfortunately no longer care about their fans.

tali's stock photo opens up too many plot holes and why not use a stock photo of the voice actress, why not edit out the extra knuckles on the hand, why not just do some artwork

didnt like the end and it seemed to make the entire series pointless

edit: if i forgot this was a cheap photoshop of a stock photo, why does she have extra knuckles, why is the image quality so poor, all the plot holes

Eric the Orange:
To point out a small thing that it seems no one else cares about...

I'd prefer MMOs to be less specialized because I hate forced multiplayer. And having role specific classes pretty much requires that you will have to group to play the game. Because a person who is completely a healer will not be able to do anything by themselves.

That being said, I don't play MMOs. Because I hate forced grouping. So I guess my opinion on the matter holds no weight.

Totally off-topic, but Guild Wars 2 has no dedicated healers, tanks, or damage dealers. Every class can perform every role. Also, you never need to group up unless you want to do dungeons or world bosses, and you can get dungeon-equivalent gear just from buying or crafting it.

Correct me if I'm wrong, and I may every well be, because I haven't played mass effect... but isn't Tali apart of that species that dies when their mask gets removed?

And if this is true... how is she not dying when the mask is removed?

AAA title with an extended development period.
They are totally allowed to cut corners. It's okay.
And the guy who found out about the cutting of said corners is obviously a troll.
Bioware are glorious developers.

Blockbuster scheduled for summer release.
Using public domain sound effects? Are you kidding me?
The director must've been lazy.
Absolutely unforgivable. Urgh.

I have to ask now - what do you do in the office if not play games? Doing your job requires some gameplaying, so why not do it at work? At least partially. Do you spend all time at work writing articles or making videos? In fact it would be interesting to find out more about the things you actually do as a game journalist. How long does it take to compile a video review of a game, for example?

Draconalis:
Correct me if I'm wrong, and I may every well be, because I haven't played mass effect... but isn't Tali apart of that species that dies when their mask gets removed?

And if this is true... how is she not dying when the mask is removed?

Lots and lots of plot armour, my friend.

Long time listener, 8th time complainer. I usually download the podcat from iTunes so I can listen to it at work the following Monday. The past couple of times the podcat starts somewhere in the middle after downloading. I don't always notice right away because of how you guys do you sound check just talking about whatever (which I love). But I was more complaining about the technical problem of it not starting at the beginning and wondering if there is something wrong on my end, your end, or is it Apple?

Has anyone else had this problem, if not most likely it is my end and I will just have to make sure I have it at the beginning when I start listening.

Draconalis:
Correct me if I'm wrong, and I may every well be, because I haven't played mass effect... but isn't Tali apart of that species that dies when their mask gets removed?

And if this is true... how is she not dying when the mask is removed?

It's rather spoilery story...

purifico:
I have to ask now - what do you do in the office if not play games? Doing your job requires some gameplaying, so why not do it at work? At least partially. Do you spend all time at work writing articles or making videos? In fact it would be interesting to find out more about the things you actually do as a game journalist. How long does it take to compile a video review of a game, for example?

Draconalis:
Correct me if I'm wrong, and I may every well be, because I haven't played mass effect... but isn't Tali apart of that species that dies when their mask gets removed?

And if this is true... how is she not dying when the mask is removed?

Lots and lots of plot armour, my friend.

Short, not very helpful answer: We run a magazine.

Longer, hopefully more helpful answer: We have a small staff for the amount of content we produce, which is why we can't spare time during the day to play games. Just using myself as an example, I commission and edit all of the feature articles that appear on the site (which was previously one person's entire job), manage the news team, write scripts, articles, and reviews, produce two video series, edit columns, record the podcast, sit in on managerial meetings, and interact with you guys. I'm probably leaving some stuff out, too.

As for how long it takes to do a video review, not counting the actual playing of the game (which can be anywhere from 6-30 hours, depending), it takes about an hour to capture the footage, perhaps as much as an hour to write and record the voice over, then writing the review can take anywhere from a half hour to four hours, assuming you don't have any interruptions. (And there are always interruptions.) Again, that's all just speaking for me personally. Sometimes reviews come in an instant, other times it's really tough to verbalize what I want to say. After the review is written, it goes through two rounds of peer review, at which time any necessary tweaks are made. (If we haven't explained something adequately, for example, or if the reader feels like the words don't match the given score.)

So the person who discovered the fact that Tali was a stock photo was "a troll or something"

Just because he noticed something.

Keep classy Escapist

bdcjacko:
Long time listener, 8th time complainer. I usually download the podcat from iTunes so I can listen to it at work the following Monday. The past couple of times the podcat starts somewhere in the middle after downloading. I don't always notice right away because of how you guys do you sound check just talking about whatever (which I love). But I was more complaining about the technical problem of it not starting at the beginning and wondering if there is something wrong on my end, your end, or is it Apple?

Has anyone else had this problem, if not most likely it is my end and I will just have to make sure I have it at the beginning when I start listening.

Hmmm. Well I downloaded the latest episode from iTunes and didn't notice any problems. So not sure what's up with that.

Slycne:

bdcjacko:
Long time listener, 8th time complainer. I usually download the podcat from iTunes so I can listen to it at work the following Monday. The past couple of times the podcat starts somewhere in the middle after downloading. I don't always notice right away because of how you guys do you sound check just talking about whatever (which I love). But I was more complaining about the technical problem of it not starting at the beginning and wondering if there is something wrong on my end, your end, or is it Apple?

Has anyone else had this problem, if not most likely it is my end and I will just have to make sure I have it at the beginning when I start listening.

Hmmm. Well I downloaded the latest episode from iTunes and didn't notice any problems. So not sure what's up with that.

Could very well be me

Susan Arendt:

It's rather spoilery story...

Draconalis:
Correct me if I'm wrong, and I may every well be, because I haven't played mass effect... but isn't Tali apart of that species that dies when their mask gets removed?

And if this is true... how is she not dying when the mask is removed?

The lore isn't instant death per say. The quarians are supposed to have really weak immune systems from growing up on a planet with relatively few pathogens. So taking off their masks or having their suits rupture is dangerous, but in general enough antibiotics and other medicines will keep them from dying.

Draconalis:

Susan Arendt:

It's rather spoilery story...

Good podcast.

Look forward to next week when you talk about the game's ending a bit. At least I assume you will, seeing as it's got everyone in a furor. Personally the ending didn't really bug me as much as the fact that I needed to play multiplayer to unlock "the best one".

As to the Tali picture. I wish I had never seen it. But I can sympathize the bind they were in.

Though I find it odd that you guys mention limited resources as an excuse, yet when there were concerns that the multiplayer would strain such resources and worsen the one player, most of you said its Bioware, and they won't run out of resources.

And after playing it, the one player certainly feels shorter, and the dialogue is less robust.
Still a good game though.

I digress, I look forward to your next podcast.

Dead_Lee:
So the person who discovered the fact that Tali was a stock photo was "a troll or something"

Just because he noticed something.

Keep classy Escapist

You misunderstood. He said "trawling," and just mispronounced it (which is a pet peeve of mine when people do it, but I digress). He's saying that someone would have to be a frequent browser of stock photography sites to have recognized the image - my guess is that the person in question is a graphic artist of some sort. Our artists are on stock photo sites constantly, and come across the same images a lot, because we tend to need the same type of photos a lot.

I'm not even sure how one would "troll" a stock photo site.

Ramith:
Good podcast.

Look forward to next week when you talk about the game's ending a bit. At least I assume you will, seeing as it's got everyone in a furor. Personally the ending didn't really bug me as much as the fact that I needed to play multiplayer to unlock "the best one".

As to the Tali picture. I wish I had never seen it. But I can sympathize the bind they were in.

Though I find it odd that you guys mention limited resources as an excuse, yet when there were concerns that the multiplayer would strain such resources and worsen the one player, most of you said its Bioware, and they won't run out of resources.

And after playing it, the one player certainly feels shorter, and the dialogue is less robust.
Still a good game though.

I digress, I look forward to your next podcast.

"Resources" doesn't only mean money. It means time and manpower as well. Even the most well-funded company can run out of both.

Slycne:

The lore isn't instant death per say. The quarians are supposed to have really weak immune systems from growing up on a planet with relatively few pathogens. So taking off their masks or having their suits rupture is dangerous, but in general enough antibiotics and other medicines will keep them from dying.

Ah! See, now it makes sense to me. I thought their suits were an 'environment' thing akin to "Attack from Mars" and not "We are a race of bubble kids."

I see now, said the blind man.

That being said... I can think of half a dozen ways of artificially increasing someone's immune system... And how can there be a planet without germs? I now dislike this race because it makes no sense.

That being said, the picture seems more feasible now. It's an old picture of her on her home world where the suit isn't necessary.

For the record... do these Quarians never let outsiders on their homeworld... cause one guy steps on that planet... and it's contaminated forever...

The sense! It does not make!

Susan Arendt:
snip

I understand now as per above. Thank you though.

Great podcat. Really loved this episode and most episodes as well. But around the one hour mark for a few minutes there was all sorts of weird I guess syncing issues. Things kept getting repeated or the conversation jump a word forward. It seemed to correct itself pretty quickly. I am downloading off of iTunes btw.

But really do love the show.

Susan Arendt:

Ramith:
Good podcast.

Look forward to next week when you talk about the game's ending a bit. At least I assume you will, seeing as it's got everyone in a furor. Personally the ending didn't really bug me as much as the fact that I needed to play multiplayer to unlock "the best one".

As to the Tali picture. I wish I had never seen it. But I can sympathize the bind they were in.

Though I find it odd that you guys mention limited resources as an excuse, yet when there were concerns that the multiplayer would strain such resources and worsen the one player, most of you said its Bioware, and they won't run out of resources.

And after playing it, the one player certainly feels shorter, and the dialogue is less robust.
Still a good game though.

I digress, I look forward to your next podcast.

"Resources" doesn't only mean money. It means time and manpower as well. Even the most well-funded company can run out of both.

Well aware.

Hence why I was worried when they announced adding multiplayer.

But some of you dismissed such worries because it was a large company like Bioware. But I think we can agree that adding multiplayer will most likely hurt the single player, due to finite resources.

Time, money and manpower were diverted to create multiplayer, and who knows how the game would have changed if it hadnt been diverted.

*Heck for one thing the ending movies may have had a bit more variety.

I LOVE Raptor! I only had the shareware demo, so I played the first world over and over. You can buy it off of GOG if you weren't aware. :)

I really wish they had had the guts to not unmask Tali at all--I really liked her character and didn't want or need to see under her mask, especially after dozens of hours of gameplay and never seeing her face. Oh well--I'll probably be less bothered by little things like that when I actually get to playing the game.

Thanks for the fun podcast, as usual. Can someone please explain the Justin hate, though? I suppose it's just friendly ribbing(?), but the comment a few of you made about "What a surprise, Justin's being contrarian" made me sad--sure, he does often disagree with the rest of the usual podcast group, but he's also usually correct.

It's funny, unmasking Tali was nothing more than fan service and all it did was piss people off. Didn't even know about it, was never close to Tali in the series. Always thought her being a romance option was shoe horned in. Ever since 1 almost everything about Tali has been fan service.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0QLz0CqtMVc

More on why Bioware doesn't deserve this kind of defense from their fanbase, in my opinion.

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