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Uncharted 2 animation technique 'isn't the best way' - Enslaved boss

Update: Ninja Theory co-founder talks about Enslaved team efficiency

Naughty Dog's motion capture techniques during Uncharted 2 were a bit long-winded, according to Ninja Theory co-founder Tameem Antoniades.

Speaking during a BAFTA presentation last night focusing on the Enslaved development processes, Antoniades said:

"[In comparison,] in Uncharted 2 [Naughty Dog] captured voice in a booth, then did motion capture to the voices."

"After that, they hand-animated the faces to match that. So you have three different people working on a single performance, which I don't think is the right way to do it if you want to create a believable character."

He added: "I'm actually amazed at how good their scenes are, considering they've done it that way. I don't think that it's true to the performance of an actor."

Antoniades was then asked if he felt the animation in Uncharted 2 is a bit overdone during gameplay. He concurred:


"Yeah. I mean, generally they can be overdone, and that's why you've got to try and nail it in style tests."

"Basically, we use motion capture for the performance drama and hand animation for movement in game," he explained.

"It seems to work well. But that happens in movies as well - it's fine that the animation is overdone in places."

Naughty Dog creative director Amy Henning illuminated Naughty Dog's mo-cap techniques back in August, however, and the details seem to contradict Antoniades' account.

She said that the reason Uncharted's drama was locked in so tight is because the studio motion-captured the whole scene rather than have actors reading from scripts.

Update: Tameem Antioniades has since responded to Spong directly with clarification:

"It was an honest misunderstanding as we had just been talking about U2 but I was responding more generally to the issue of over-animating in games in general," he said.

"I am a huge fan of Naughty dog in all aspects of development. I see them as the setting the gold standard in action adventure game in all areas including animation.

"However, I am a firm believer in performance capture (capturing face, body and voice simultaneously for multiple actors). It is a technique we pioneered in games with Heavenly Sword working alongside Weta Digital and gives, in my opinion, the most honest representation of human drama."