David Cage, Founder and CEO of Quantic Dream, has openly challenged the way Team Bondi and Rockstar are using motion capture to build the personality of the upcoming detective title, L.A. Noire. Cage and Quantic Dream, of course, were behind the PlayStation 3 exclusive interactive drama, Heavy Rain.
Before we getting deep into what Cage actually had to say about Team Bondi’s efforts, know that both L.A. Noire and Heavy Rain draw similarities when placed next to one another. While Rockstar and Team Bondi’s effort may present more of a free-roaming capable product, both games place heavy emphasis on character performance and the way gamers read those motions. Heavy Rain, as it was being released, was touted with producing incredibly realistic in-game animation that made each performance seem real and convincing.
In fact, odds are that you first saw the motion behind Heavy Rain when you saw this trailer…
Rockstar and Team Bondi have been hyping L.A. Noire with the same sort of performance based production quality. They’ve released trailers dedicated the the subject matter of creating realistic, convincing interrogations and character emotions. So, setting the two games side by side and spotting the similarities in design and delivery is easy.
David Cage from Quantic Dream has challenged the way Team Bondi and Rockstar are capturing the footage for their in-game character motion. Cage feels that the team is heading towards a dead end, and he thinks that Quantic Dream is already on to tech that’s better and more promising. Here’s what he had to say.
I think [Motion Scan is] an interesting solution to a problem for now. But it’s also an interesting dead end…That’s exactly what I feel. Their technique is incredibly expensive and they will never be able to shoot body and face at the same time….
We see a huge difference between shooting the face and body separately and shooting everything at the same time. Suddenly you’ve got a real sense of acting that is consistent. You can’t imagine how related what you say with your face is to what your body does…[MotionScan] will never be able to do that.
I think L.A Noire looks good – honestly, it does – but I don’t think they’ll go much further than where they are.
While Cage is correct in stating that a lot of emotion and language is read by seeing the body move as a whole rather an separately from the face, it’s hard to take his word that his tech is so much stronger than what Team Bondi and Rockstar are working with now. Looking at Heavy Rain, a game that employed the full capture technology, and looking at L.A. Noire, I know that one of the remarkable differences between the two projects is the overall stiffness portrayed in Heavy Rain.
Is Cage starting up an argument he can’t win? Will the next effort from Quantic Dream be as stunningly real as he seems to promise? Stay tuned.