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Quantic Dream after Hollywood talent

Quantic Dream after Hollywood talent

Quantic Dream is now claiming to have overcome the uncanny valley by improving it's own technology.

French Developer Quantic Dream are a company we've had our eyes on for some time. The team, led by David Cage and responsible for last years stunning and genre-fusing adventure Fahrenheit, has been quietly working away with some stunning new technology which seems to approach the uncanny valley - the point where digital actors are so realistic that their appearance is disturbing to audiences.

Quantic's new game is titled Heavy Rain and looks to be a PlayStation 3 exclusive at the moment though information is quite sparse. So far only a single technology demo has been released; a single movie scene created in the new engine and which uses advanced physics drivers to simulate hair and cloth materials.

"We had a meeting with Leonardo DiCaprio in 2004 and we tried to convince him to play in one of our future games – at the time we had Fahrenheit to show him," detailed Guillaume de Fondaumière, co-founder of Quantic Dream, in an interview with GI.biz today.

"He liked it very much, but he politely explained to us that we still were not at the level that he'd expect the technology to be at in order to give us his time and be able to portray his performance. Today, it's very different. We're talking with class A actors. These Hollywood actors are asking us about the scenario and the stories as the technical aspects are taken care of.

"We've been able to demonstrate that we're capable of portraying the performance. They are asking, "what's the subject matter, what's the role?"
" he said.

We had a chat with David Cage ourselves a while ago and he lets us in on some of the details of Heavy Rain and the how his team is working to create new, emergent stories for the PS3.

"I can officially announce that there is no uncanny valley any more, not in real-time...with our next project we're going to demonstrate with hundreds of characters that we can have extremely realistic characters that not only move like real actors but express themselves through facial animations and speech like real actors, and are extremely accurate to the actors they are portraying," he added.

Do real actors have a place in the virtual environment, or should characters should be created from scratch wherever possible? Let us know what you think in the forums.

6 Comments

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yakyb 18th December 2007, 12:06 Quote
id love the new CSI game to be based on this tech it would be immense can it render in real time tho if so could we see FPS looking this good?
CardJoe 18th December 2007, 12:15 Quote
Having spoken to both David Cage and Surf Girl about it - i don't think it'll work in FPS. The game design plays around the idea of multiple small locations with high detail rather than single larger levels. Basically, current hardware using this tech means you can choose between 1 medium level with not much detail, or lots of little levels with fantastic amount of detail.

David has worked this into the game design too because it's an adventure game. Instead of a level comprising an entire open-ended city or district, a level is more like just one house or one room - but that house or room has a tremendous (and I mean, tremendous) amount of detail in it. EVERYTHING can be interacted with.
Bladestorm 18th December 2007, 12:59 Quote
I loved fahrenheit, even though I gave up on it after half an hour of the tutorial for a week before going back and actually "getting" the controls heh.

Loved the story-telling and the bulk of the gameplay, though could have down without that one scene that gave me terrible hand cramps because I was hammering the keys in time for what must have been a couple of hours, just trying to get past one 90 second scene of it. (avoiding being sucked out of the apartment!)

If they stick to PS3 I won't be able to do more than wish them luck on the next one though
Elz 19th December 2007, 11:48 Quote
That movie is beautiful, there are so many achievements in there, but the lip synching seems really, really bad. I think some particular parts of her face are actually more static and less emotive than something you'd see in the Source engine, but maybe it is just the lip-synching throwing me off. I mean she doesn't even purse her lips - in fact the shape doesn't seem to change much at all regardless of what sound she's making, plus they aren't always moving in time.

Tell me, tell me they're going to improve that. I've never seen lip synching completely right in a game, but i've seen it better than that. The character in that may be as expressive as she likes, but at the moment it seems like it's someone else speaking, not her. With everything else that's wonderful in that tech, it would be a shame to let it down with this.
CardJoe 19th December 2007, 11:59 Quote
That video is now about two years old - rest assured they've improved on that.
Elz 19th December 2007, 15:40 Quote
two years old? Wow, I think that actually makes it more impressive :) Now I just have to hope I don't have to buy a PS3 to play it (although let's face it, this game might tempt me to do so).
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