Lifelike Characters The Key to Next-Gen, Says Epic Games

Apr 20, 2011 by  

Lifelike Characters Key to Next Gen Experience

Emotional investment in a video game character isn’t something that’s new to gamers. It’s been seen before in games like Ico, Shadow of the Colossus, and even Half-Life 2 (who didn’t like Alyx?). Epic Games’ CEO Tim Sweeney made it clear that creating more lifelike characters and increasing emotional investment between a character and a player will be key to creating a truly next-gen experience.

Tied into this statement is the power of Unreal Engine 3 and its ability to generate exquisite and stunning character models and locales. Sweeney talked to Game Informer regarding the capabilities of the engine and what it can bring to the table in terms of creating a more emotionally connected gaming experience.

Gears of War 3 will also be taking a more emotional road during the close-out of the trilogy. With humanity’s back to the wall, what kind of provocation can be drummed up from these characters whom gamers have stuck with for so long? From the first trailer to even the box art, Gears 3 will be evoking some kind of emotion from the player.

Sweeney wants to go steps further though. Here’s what he had to say:

“I’m most excited about the ability [of Unreal Engine 3] for more realistic characters and movie-quality environments to enhance the player’s emotional attachment to the game world.”

“Game developers have much further to go in delivering truly dramatic interpersonal experiences.”

There are some games releasing this year that will be doing what they can to follow Sweeney’s desire. Games like Mass Effect 3 where the player literally has to save the earth or L.A. Noire where MotionScan technology enables NPC faces to emote realistically. However, these are two games that are taking a separate approach to invoking an emotional response to gamers.

It would truly be a wonder to see the kind of game that will be able to combine incredible graphics and convey a truly mature story. Until then, Heavy Rain did a pretty decent job of it.

Epic Games’ latest, Gears of War 3 will be releasing September 20, 2011 exclusively for Xbox 360.

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Follow Trung Bui on Twitter @TrungleFever

Source: CVG

5 Comments

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  1. Couldn’t agree more, no matter how exquisite graphics get, video games will only be taken seriously when processing power is put into forming realistic and relatable characters and environments. Blood physics are great, but if developers want to be storytellers, then people have to come first.

    • Couldn’t disagree more. Video games are taken seriously right now, and storytelling is in no way dependent on processing power. I’m really tired of the notion that video games can only achieve art by mimicking movies. (I’m also really tired of that notion’s main side effects: quick time events and very long cut-scenes.) Emotional connections come first from writing and then from voice-acting and animation. The realism of the characters doesn’t even make the list, as Walt Disney could’ve told you in the 1920s.

  2. Video games mean nothing if the artwork being expressed isn’t real. Case closed

  3. If anyone’s still interested in getting a Gears Of War 3 beta key, I found some being handed out on a blog.

    I don’t know if any of the keys are left, but you can try here:

    http://freegearsofwar3beta.blogspot.com

  4. more and more disappointed in this game everyday…gears has gone completely downhill with each installment…why are you trying so hard to make the game noob friendly? If you can’t use a gnasher learn…why do you have the option of having a sawed off shotgun with a 360 degree range…so dumb…stick to the formula that worked…

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