Activision and Sledgehammer are putting a lot of time and effort into the upcoming Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare. They discuss some of the new ways that they're handling the game's animation system, facial recognition and performance capture techniques.
The video is kept quite short and to the point, only discussing the relevant technology and how it plays a part in what gamers can expect from the gameplay experience.
As showcased in the video, Kevin Spacey, award-winning actor and renown thespian, is marked with facial capture dots – the same sort of motion dots that were used during the making of Quantic Dreams' Beyond: Two Souls with Ellen Page – and the dots enable the developers to track certain facial movements specific to an actor's head. This means that when characters squint, or flinch or perform other small acting nuances, the head-tracking gear will track the marker positions on the face and record the data.
Unfortunately, unless the technology is as fluid or as dynamic as the MotionScan technology used for games like Team Bondi's L.A. Noire the game still gives off that wooden, almost puppeteer quality to the characters, as well as the whole “dead eye” look that a lot of motion performances end up giving off when making the transition from real life into the form of a 3D character.
On the flip-side, at least the character movements look good and the exoskeletons that the soldiers are wearing appear to be quite dynamic. According to the animation director at Sledgehammer Games, Christopher Stone, there's a completely separate skeleton tracking system for the exo-suits, which are supposed to give the look and feel of the characters in the game a more realistic quality.
The real question is how well will this technology work on the older consoles? With the Xbox 360 and PS3 edging close to the decade-old mark, it does make you wonder if any of the advanced features will make the cut but in toned down ways or if the features will be cut altogether?
Previously the trailers were made running in real-time on Xbox One hardware, so maybe we'll get to see how the game will look and run on the final renderer before the game releases and whether or not they'll make improvements since the original debut trailer?
In the meantime, the game is scheduled to release on November 4th later this year for the Xbox 360, PS3, Xbox One, PS4 and PC. The game is available for pre-order right now from the official website. So far the reaction from the gaming community has mostly been positive, but some gamers are still a little sour on the whole Call of Duty experience, but it's almost the complete opposite of the negative reactions Battlefield: Hardline has been receiving.