Mass Effect 3 Face Import Broken, BioWare Knows (UPDATED)

UPDATE: BioWare has officially acknowledged the problem via Twitter:

Suggestions for resolving the issue can be found on EA’s official site. Alas, their solutions are as convoluted as the ad hoc ones we previously reported on, and thus we suggest you continue to consider all options.


Gamers on BioWare forums have complained about a problem we can now report is true: Faces created using the Mass Effect (1) character creation system are not successfully importing to Mass Effect 3. Players who select the file to be imported receive confirmation that the import was successful, but they end up with a very disgusting “cycle presets” face where their carefully constructed face should be. This problem has been reported for Xbox 360 and PC users; obviously, Playstation 3 users wouldn’t have this issue.

Gamefront writer Phil Hornshaw, currently playing both the Xbox 360 and PC versions of Mass Effect 3, has experienced the problem with both. I am playing on Xbox 360 and can corroborate. We suspect it’s the result of a glitch related to the ability to alter your imported face, new for the series. Fortunately, there are several work arounds to resolve the problem, and we’re hear to spread the word.

* The most rewarding, in terms of total game experience, would be to import your Mass Effect 2 save file from your Xbox 360 to the PC version of Mass Effect 3. We can offer you our guarantee that this method works, and won’t require you to import your ME2 file to the PC version of ME3 first. See our comprehensive step-by-step guide for more information, and good Reaper hunting.

* The BioWare Forums have also provided some work arounds. First, user InfiniteCuts has a convoluted but ultimately successful work around for Xbox 360 users. Essentially, you’ll import your Mass Effect 1/2 face to PC, get the code for that face, and enter it on the Xbox 360 version. See his post for the full solution.

* BioWare Forum Member Janus Prospero has a solution similar to InfiniteCuts’. It isn’t quite as successful, but it can work in a pinch. You can see it here.

* A Mass Effect live Journal has a solution using Gibbed’s Save Editor. It’s rather complicated and probably not for freshmen, but it works. Click here to review it in detail.

BioWare is, presumably, aware of the problem. We’ll let you know if they issue an official response, and in the meantime, we’ll keep an eye out for any other novel solutions. If you’ve experience the problem and figured out your own work around, let us know.

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15 Comments on Mass Effect 3 Face Import Broken, BioWare Knows (UPDATED)


On March 5, 2012 at 11:09 pm

Dear Lord isn’t there a solution for people who are ing laymen and don’t have the patience for codes, formatting, blah blah. Guess I’ll just wait and see if they’ll fix it before I play.


On March 6, 2012 at 9:30 am

The work arounds seem very convoluted for those on the console. This is really sad news and I hope this is patched soon. How this managed to escape Biowares attention during testing is beyond me…


On March 6, 2012 at 10:15 am

I’ve been waiting for this game ever since the teaser trailer. I’ve had several playthrough’s in mass effect 1 and 2 in order to get the perfect character for mass effect 3. Now I can’t import the face I created in mass effect 1? I’m heartbroken. I feel like letting everyone know to boycott until this is fixed.


On March 6, 2012 at 3:09 pm

I feel ripped off for my preorder now. I went in, plugged in the game… and now this.

HOW THE HELL can you market a game entirely on its trilogy-spanning custom characters, and then blow it completely on the final entry in the series?!

Great job, Bioware.


On March 6, 2012 at 6:05 pm

“by: Darkhawk

On March 6, 2012 at 3:09 pm

I feel ripped off for my preorder now. I went in, plugged in the game… and now this.

HOW THE HELL can you market a game entirely on its trilogy-spanning custom characters, and then blow it completely on the final entry in the series?!

Great job, Bioware.”

i totally agree

Cameron Ribeiro

On March 7, 2012 at 6:08 pm

The sad part is… This problem has been known for 8 days already…
The game has been out for a day now and no fix?


On March 8, 2012 at 3:51 am

I tried re-creating my Shepard with the new face editor and because
he was not perfect it felt like I was playing the game with some cheap doppleganger. I tried with a totally new Shepard and it felt like I
replaced the main actor of a movie, mid movie. Part of the beauty of this
game is the character development and immersion… I need my Shepard

Murasaki Sensei

On March 8, 2012 at 9:02 am

This issue has EA’s finger’s all over it. This was NO ACCIDENT people.
Why do I say that? It’s about money. And the multiplayer is going to drive revenue.
1. EA Charges for online connectivity even if you’re buying the game used.
No pay, no getting online features.
2. In the multiplayer, to get better items, you can either use in game credits or MICROSOFT POINTS!
They know people have an emotional attachment to their created Shepards. There is NO WAY they would bollix that up except on purpose.
They also know that people would wait and perhaps play the multiplayer while they wait for the “patch”. And get hooked on the multiplayer experience because to be fair, it IS a lot of fun. But that’s the catch.

They want you to spend Microsoft Points on stuff in the multiplayer.



On March 8, 2012 at 9:58 pm

Dont give them your money until you think they deserve it…. I did not…
and so far i was right…. ****ing bioware… and ea are idiots… and not at all impressive… with what they pulled…. lots of people will not be buying their junk for a while….. thats +1 for the pirate club… epic fail for bioware on day one…. and now its day 9…. nothing…. no patch….
and preistly? ****ing head….. noone bothered to test the game before it shipped out…. is it cause everyone in bioware that worked on the game are not fans…. they just work their 8 hours, go home drink beer and watch foot ball, like… “Oh, i dont care about the game i just want my paycheck… mass effect 3? i was working on that?…. wow, thought i was working on shortening bank acct date numbers for the transition to 2000 and filling out tps reports…” and other office space kind of crap…. it sickens me…. biowear is wearing me out and they are getting sloppy…. what happened to beta testers you less ****ing s? there arent any…. cause the best part of them dropped out of their mamas s and onto the floor……. ****ing bioware…. better off making under_ware…. at least you cant go wrong there….


On March 9, 2012 at 8:27 am

How can this game go through an through development and testing without one person ever trying to import a character from the first game?

I can’t get my head around it. What’s going on Bioware? How is it possible that no one pointed this out to you before the game was released?


On March 9, 2012 at 1:20 pm

It’s like Bioware is a world-class chef who expended enormous time and effort to make a meal that is the pinnacle of fine dining. It looks great (heh), it smells great and it tastes wonderful. The only problem is that the chef failed to notice that his fly was open and that his dangly bit was waving around and touching everything he prepared!


On March 10, 2012 at 3:24 am

After the huge let-downs of Dragon Age 2 and SWTOR, now this… I was once a fan of everything Bioware released, but it seems that they’ve lost their touch. The face import fix is necessary not only for continuity, but also because the new creator makes every face look like crap.


On March 10, 2012 at 5:25 pm

It was a little weird that this happened… I would expect better playtesting. In any case, I am happy to report that it was a pretty simple matter to make a very very close approximation of my original Shepherd face, and I have been enjoying the game very much. Bioware clearly built this game under the assumption that this might be the very first Mass Effect game you play, to the point of dumbing it down just tiny bit. However all the old Mass Effect magic is still here, and this face bug was only a minor hiccup. I’m sure a fix will be forthcoming rather soon, as well.


On March 10, 2012 at 10:21 pm

i may b suious regarding this problem with so much evidence towards it not being an accident, but i wont stand for people insulting bioware to make themselves feel better. i have heard thousands of stories through movies, tv shows, books, and video games of all different genres and i can say without a doubt mass effect is the best by far. they haven’t done nearly enough to change my mind about that. they have not ruined the game, and even if they are trying to make money from doing something like this on purpose, i can say without wavering that it was not entirely if at all up to them and it wouldn’t matter if it were because i would still give them every cent i could and as much time as they needed. god knows they deserve it every other gaming company has done far worse then this. every single damn one


On March 12, 2012 at 5:45 pm

:( I wish I had known the issue before I purchased the game. I would not have purchased the product without being able to play the Shepard who defined the game for me. The current feature set cannot recreate my Shepard unfortunately. I will not be playing until it’s patched, but like others have said they already have my money. The only thing I can do is not purchase other games.