New Alien Race; the Kett, Previewed for Mass Effect: Andromeda

Published: November 15, 2016 12:44 PM /



With the big debut trailer of Mass Effect: Andromeda coming last week on N7 day, new information has been trickling in from other sources steadily since then.

One particular source has been given exclusive access to Andromeda, and that is Gameinformer. One particular video focuses on a new race of aliens in Mass Effect: Andromeda, the indigenous Kett.

An exclusive video from Gameinformer showcases the design process of the Kett by BioWare art director Joel MacMillian. MacMillian was tight-lipped on the full details of the Kett as a race but instead went into the design process of the species. First talking about their basic design elements of what they wanted to use (in the case of the Kett, a sort of bone-like carapace structure for their bodies), and attempting to create something very "alien" to the player. MacMillian jokes about how clothing, for example, can be seen as a vanity thing for enlightened aliens, and it may not be a part of their culture. Although they did decide to have the Kett sport clothing in the end, it is this thought processes that gave them a very organic-armored look.

One key aspect MacMillian slips into his discussion is how the faces of the Kett were designed to be foreboding, but never ugly. The goal was to let players empathize with the Kett, as there is side-story content that will possibly depict the Kett in a different light in Mass Effect: Andromeda, despite being positioned as antagonists. Focusing on the face and eyes is key, according to MacMillian, and early passes at the design had a very unusual face structure, and emphasis on their bone-like armor to give them an organic, "militaristic" look.

The final results did change, however. The design process has the concept artists at BioWare create grunt silhouettes, designed to show how good the Kett designs look in a simple line. The artists would then take the best-looking and most functional design and finalize the details of the alien, which in turn also influences the final facial and body features for a 3-D rendering. Some features changed at this stage included washing out the eyes to make it look more alien, and adding more visible pieces of the boney-structure to the Kett's face and body. The final results are, according to MacMillian, a functional alien design that fits the narrative of the game.

The final design and face structure of the Kett for Mass Effect: Andromeda, courtesy of Gameinformer.
The final design and face structure of the Kett for Mass Effect: Andromeda, courtesy of Gameinformer.

The Kett were first mentioned earlier this year (as Khet) during the BioWare survey leak, where they were positioned as being "seemingly antagonistic" to the player, which matches the description given by MacMillian in the design process video. The N7 Day reveal trailer also showed off the Kett in several different scenes, including the tail end of the trailer where a Kett with a large, circular crown across their head confronted the player characters in what looks like some sort of interrogation scene.

While it is clear that BioWare is making the Kett be an antagonist race for Mass Effect: Andromeda, there are some hints of the Kett having a more nuanced role in the game, although nothing is confirmed at this time.

Quick Take

Personally, I like the design of the Kett overall. Their faces, in particular, their mouths, are perhaps a bit too humanoid, but the bone-like armor and the milky-white eyes give it an other-worldly presence to them that fits the sort of alien race we would see in a Mass Effect game. Some have argued that we need more unusual alien designs for a game like Mass Effect: Andromeda, and while the Kett sort of play it safe in terms of what we would expect as a bipedal humanoid creature, the details missing about their culture and backstory will perhaps make them more alien than we imagine.

 What do you think of the Kett design though? Do you want to see more aliens out of Mass Effect: Andromeda? Leave your comments below.

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| Staff Writer

A longtime player of games, creator of worlds, and teacher of minds. Robert has worked many positions over the years, from college professor to education… More about Robert

More Info About This Game
Learn more about Mass Effect: Andromeda
Electronic Arts
PC, Xbox One, PlayStation 4
Release Date
March 21, 2017 (Calendar)
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