Game series like Just Cause are a bit like Hollywood action movies. In order to be completely absorbed by their flash and pizzazz and glitz and glamour, we suspend our trust in common sense just a little, just enough, to allow ourselves to take it all in. Getting a sneak peak behind the illusory velvet rope can take away some of this majesty, but also offers the chance to see how a game comes together. The latest Just Cause 3 [official site] developer diary focuses on story and does just that. Grab the popcorn and let’s take a look.
There’s quite a bit on missions and story structure in there but what most interested me was why Avalanche decided to go for full performance capture over regular motion capture. Game director Roland Lesterlin explained:
“At first we were going to just do regular motion capture and do our VO [voice over] in it, but to try and improve the quality a little bit, we ended up using full performance capture; so we capture the facial animation, with the actors in full suits, including their voice. What this does is you get a little of the gesticulation that we all do and it ties with how their emoting within their voice.
“The second piece to it is that we can actually have a cameraman, and what’s funny is he’s not really holding a camera, he’s actually holding a little flat screen with dots on it and when he looks through the flat screen he sees the game world, so you’re actually able to capture the world. This really helped quite a lot in bringing life to our short cinematics.”
Again, discovering how things work ain’t for everyone. I still remember how devastated I was when I learned Central Perk was actually a film set and not an actual real life coffee house. Sometimes ignorance actually is bliss. When it’s something as far fetched as Just Cause, though, understanding how it comes together seems like, ahem, a just cause.
Just Cause 3 is due December 1st.