Far Cry 3 was one of the few genuine surprises at this year's E3, with the Wii U, Halo HD and NGP renaming all spoiled in the months prior to their June unveiling. Ubisoft's shooter showed off a lush tropical paradise mired in bloodshed between warring factions, and a brief segment where the player is captured by a fiendish kingpin showcased the stunning tech they're employing in an effort to bridge the gap between good and great virtual performances.
"The industry has gotten really good at getting good performances," explains Jason Vandenberghe, Far Cry 3's narrative director, "almost no-one can get great ones". While we'd kindly remind Vandenberghe LA Noire is available at all good stores, his comments ring true in the grand scheme of things. "There are techniques in acting and performance that evoke great performances, and there are techniques in acting and performance that evoke good performances".
Ubisoft's new animation tech allows them to capture both the actor's expressions and body language simultaneously. "We were able to play it as a movie," Vandenberghe reveals. The proof, as they say, is most certainly in the pudding; while the writing wasn't quite as sharp, Vaas' performance is eerily realistic, his sneering, wild-eyes face backed up by subtle but no less impressive body-work. It's a performance amalgamation sorely missed in LA Noire, where the character's wonderfully realized expressions were almost catastrophically let down by robotic body language.
Vandenberghe admits "one or two of us" have bridged the so-called 'Uncanny Valley', but reaffirms it'll prove increasingly difficult to consistently wow audiences. "Now we have to figure out how to repeat that, and make sure that we’re consistent in doing it, so it’s a fun moment to be pushing that. Our goal is to be at the very front, to be way ahead of anyone else".
Vandenberghe also reminded us that it's not enough to have the technology; you must also learn and understand the discipline of bringing great performances from actors. "I think we have to be sophisticated and use these tools correctly," he explains. "Directing actors is also a technical discipline, and a creative discipline". [PC Gamer]