Acting in the video game medium is a funny ol’ thing. Performances are usually a collaboration between voice actors, motion capture actors and animators, so it is hard to pin point exactly where one starts and the other one ends. Names including Jennifer Hale, Nolan North, Mark Meer and Troy Baker have become synonymous with the medium, and even then, the majority of their voice work isn’t coupled with their own physical performance.
That trend is changing with developers like Eidos Montreal and Cloud Emporium Games making recent headlines for working with motion capture studios on Thief and Star Citizen respectively, and Ubisoft for building a state of the art mo-cap studio at their new Toronto location which they used for Splinter Cell Blacklist, building off what they learned from producing Far Cry 3 in Montreal prior. With, Assassin’s Creed 4 Ubisoft is continuing to place focus on more centralized performances.
In the video up top, Ubisoft provides a peek at the people who are going to be bringing those performances to the open world of Assassin’s Creed 4. The cast who will be plundering the seven seas include Matt Ryan, who is playing protagonist Edward Kenway, Mark Bonnar who is playing the infamous Blackbeard and Ralph Ineson who is playing the famous English pirate Charles Vane.
Character performance is an increasingly important part of modern video games, especially in a industry that is sinking millions of dollars into more ‘realistic’ graphics. There is some logic in the theory that the more life-like a game is trying to look, the better a performance is required. As David Cage will attest, innovations in graphical capabilities also mean that actors can now express their emotions and details of their performance more thoroughly.
The performances in Assassin’s Creed 4, although growly and macho, look to be the best the series has ever had. The next generation of gaming hardware allows extra details within an actor’s performance to shine and Ubisoft has much to live up to, having boasted an award-winning performance as of late with Micheal Mando’s portrayal of the villainous Vaas Montenegro in Far Cry 3.
With a real focus on both voice and physical performances from one source, Ubisoft is clearly trying create an actor friendly studio and craft strong, believable characters. We will have to see if they can sustain the quality on show in this video when Assassin’s Creed 4 finally hits.
Assassin’s Creed 4 releases October 29, 2013 on the PS3, Wii U and Xbox 360. It will also hit both the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One at launch.