Dive into the world of motion capture with this new dev diary for The Dark Pictures Anthology: Little Hope
Little Hope is a branching cinematic horror game where you can play alone or with friends and where the choices you make will determine the fate of your characters and how the story unfolds.
To reinforce players’ immersion in this horror adventure, motion capture is crucial in bringing a cinematic look and feel whilst adding depth to the story.
Take an exclusive look inside Pinewood Studios, where some of the motion capture for Little Hope was shot.
Get into this fascinating technological process in which movements from actors are digitally recorded with the highest accuracy to create the most immersive in-game horror experience. Learn how choosing the right actors is crucial and how they have to use all their training and imagination to convey authentic emotions without detailed sets.
In this first part of the dev diary the cast explain how Little Hope’s motion capture acting differs from conventional acting.
I’m Jessica Jeffries. I’m a Casting Director and First A.D. for motion capture. In video games, everything’s kept so top secret.
I was given limited information in regard to the game itself and the characters that I was needing to cast.
What’s interesting is, I come at it from a very specific character description whereas the Director and Producers, etc., they all have a voice in their head from the voice actors that have already done the character performance.
So once I take that character description, I then look to finding the best actors possible for the job.
... and ... action!
With casting, especially for this particular game, we needed actors that are very good at taking direction good at thinking on their feet, good at accepting things that aren't the norm.
For example, suddenly switching time periods, and then embodying a completely different character whether that's human or anything else.
We also needed actors that were physically aware. So when we need the more challenging physical aspects for the characters we need people that are switched on and could use their imagination because they've got no sets, no environments here.
I'm not waiting around to see if I get killed. This is suicide!
With motion capture, what's really interesting is that you don't always get a lot of information to begin with. So, a lot of it, you learn on-set and in the moment.
We have three characters each and each of those from different time periods. So it's just really important to be focused and really alive and in the moment and you kind of take what you can with what the producers and directors tell you about the characters. And then you just got to jump in and give it all you've got.
Usually you would follow the storyline and know where you're coming from, where you're going to.
But in this, if they were to give you a script, it would be 2,000 pages long because it branches so much depending on what the player does and in which direction they take you.
It's too complex to try and think out, thought by thought. So you just point and shoot, basically.
... and ... action!
We read the script, so we have a general idea of what we've got. And then they play the previs, which is on the big screen at the back.
You get a sense of the environment and then they mark out things on the stage as well. So you've got to maneuver yourself through these obstacles that aren't really there.
Each day is completely different: you walk in, and it's sort of "And now today, you're running from monster-in-the-woods, and ... go!"
So you just have to run away from monster-in-the-woods and just be at the mercy of the direction and just trust that they know exactly the data that they've got. So that they can make the performance from the base that you give them.
It's quite different to traditional acting because it's more about being spontaneous in the moment.
So it's familiarizing yourself with the relationship between the characters and the backstory and where they've just come from into the scene.
And then when they feed you the lines, just improving the scene, what feels most real to the moment then and there.
There are definitely similarities between my 1970s character and my modern-day character.
Tanya was definitely a little bit of a stroppy teenager vibe to her. And that is brought into my main Taylor character because we do want to channel some of that character into the main one.
And it's making sure that we pick the bits out that we want to keep. Then also give Taylor a strength as well. So she's not just running around being stroppy and moody all the time.
It's that idea that she has a strong character behind her and yes, she needs a bit of encouragement but ensuring that she's got that strength and that courage behind it, just to get her through these horrendous ordeals.
I've treated it as though each character is the same. And that I trust that the direction will lead them to be different people because I just play what I play. And then, when they're in that environment, they will respond accordingly to that environment.
And I want to try and keep like a thread between the characters so that there's like a through-line there. So if I focus on that, then it'll be apparent when they're in all the different timelines which one they're in and what they're doing and stuff like that.
It's about physicality. It's the thing that I keep saying through my head is like, when I'm running, like John, it's like 'fat boy running'.
So I'm just kind of starting to hunch myself over a bit and a bit heavier on my feet.
Because I'm playing mostly John, that's the big thing that I've got to keep in my mind is that he's a big, heavy guy and much older, lot less mobile than I am.
There was a bit we shot when I was running a lot and I was halfway through and I thought "My god, I'm just running like me!" You know?
And I had to sort of, like, stop, start again and find a certain particular run for John.
The Dark Pictures Anthology: Little Hope will launch on October 30th for PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC Digital.