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Where BioWare artist Ben Lo pushed the visual limits of Mass Effect: Andromeda

by: Randy -
More On: Mass Effect: Andromeda

Ben Lo is a concept artist at BioWare. He draws real good. And even in Mass Effect: Andromeda's most banal locations—e.g., the Medbay and Atrium aboard the Human Ark—Ben Lo is great at making something meet the eye, everywhere you look on the page. He never gets lazy, not even at the edges of the page.

On a few of these, I even like his vision more than the final product. Like the reveal of the Nexus, which, in Ben Lo's work, looks more like a surfboard teetering on a gas cloud in a foamy space ocean. Or the early vista for Habitat 7 ("Uh, the rocks are floating") which looks far more bleak in concept than it turned out. It just makes much more sense for Habitat 7 to be stark. I mean, sure, lightning bad, but the place didn't look hopeless enough, considering how far the Human Ark had traveled. And check out how lush the vegetation is on the purple and maroon planet of Havarl. I understand that game have in-engine limitations, but man, it seems like the Havarl in Andromeda only scratches the surface.

And I always find it mildly humorous when I see alien architecture that pretty much looks like the aliens. I understand that there's a desire in sci-fi to be able to look at a building and say, "Oh yeah, that definitely looks like the Kett built it," or, "That's for sure an Angara building"—all because the physical features of the aliens align with the physical features of their architecture. But what if humans built like that? We'd have curvy building sacks with fleshy colors and textures everywhere and that would be everyone's worst nightmare. If aliens visited Earth but hadn't seen a human yet, by video game logic, it would be understandable if they thought we were all a bunch of blocky robots made of steel and glass, perhaps sporting some broccoli-like vegetation for hair.

Ignore me. Check out the rest of Ben Lo's portfolio on his Blogspot. He was also a concept artist on BioShock Infinite, too, giving that city in the clouds such an iconic look that, pretty much, no artist would be able to copy it today without being called out for it.