Designing a Better Face for Mass Effect's Tali

Illustration for article titled Designing a Better Face for emMass Effects/em Tali

There comes a point in Mass Effect 3 where, your actions permitting, you get to see what Tali looks like under her mask. To say it's a crushing disappointment is to take the piss.

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Rather than stew in her own rage and/or send hostile emails to BioWare employees, Finnish artist K4ll0 decided to set things right and do the job properly. "How she looks here is based on my views of Quarian biology, geography of Rannoch, codex/dialogue, and earlier Quarian concepts", she writes, which basically means "her face looks like everything else Quarian in the game looks".

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I like it!

Tali'Zorah [DeviantArt]

Illustration for article titled Designing a Better Face for emMass Effects/em Tali

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DISCUSSION

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It's funny how this all works.

I don't think most people really have a problem with how Tali'Zorah actually looks in the picture that ended up in the actual game. They have a problem with it being a photoshop of an existing picture. Had BioWare kept that photoshopped picture to themselves and done an actual 3D model of Tali's face based on what she looks like in that picture, and then showed THAT to us instead... I think most Tali fans would have been perfectly fine with it.

But since it's a photoshop and people can tell which picture it's based on... they refuse to accept it as a picture of Tali'Zorah.

The picture in the game is as official as it's ever gonna get. And there really isn't even anything wrong with it (except for the way they handled the 3-fingered hand in the 'shop). I mean... they even gave the lady in the picture a nose job to make it look more like the schnoz that we've seen through Tali's mask. And sure enough, I recognize that schnoz.

There's nothing wrong with the face that we see in the game.

The problem is that we know there's somebody else's face underneath it... Which is sort of a weird thing to get upset about seeing as how many of the other Mass Effect characters' looks are directly derived from their voice actors or other real-life people... I digress.

Okay.

So maybe... the picture isn't as bad as people's reactions to it were.

But still. Why would BioWare go with a hasty photoshop like this instead of - say - a picture of Tali's face modeled in 3D? Or a digital painting?

And I think the question sort of answers itself.

They didn't have the time. I mean, it's a picture they used in one scene. A scene that 50% of the players will never even personally see in their game 'cause they've been taking such good care of Tali in their earlier games. It's understandable that you don't want to waste the time and work that goes into 3D modeling or digital painting on a picture that has such a tiny role in the game. But the fact that it's a HASTY photoshop says, "We REALLY didn't have the time..."

And now that this rant of mine is over.

No, I don't think the picture featured in this article looks like Tali at all.

It is an impressive piece of work for sure. And a beautiful design.

But I don't recognize it as Tali.