Nolan North, the actor behind Nathan Drake in the Uncharted series and the voice of Desmond Miles in Assassin’s Creed, believes Ubisoft would be wise to adopt Naughty Dog’s motion capture technology for future Assassin’s Creed titles. Why? Because having two different actors playing the same character (one for facial animation and the other for body movement) creates a disconnect that gamers easily pick up on. North believes Naughty Dog’s tech removes this issue, as he expressed in an interview with CVG.
“I wish it wasn’t done separately,” North said while talking to CVG. “Don’t get me wrong, the mo-cap actors do a great job, but there will always be somewhat of a disconnect when it’s done this way. After my experiences on the Uncharted franchise, where the actors do both performance and voice, I can honestly say there is absolutely a difference.
“The cut-scenes are shot exactly like a film or television program. The actors interact more naturally and unique and subtle elements to the performances are captured. Don’t think for a minute that gamers don’t notice. They’re a savvy bunch.”
And North is absolutely correct. We do notice these things. The combined facial animation and body movements of the characters in the Uncharted titles represents the best animation this industry has to offer at this point in time. I doubt any would disagree with that, which definitely gives North’s words a sense of weight. Just look at something like L.A.Noire — incredible facial animation coupled with lackluster body movements makes for an odd package when looked at from afar.
As for the Assassin’s Creed franchise, Ubisoft has always been on the cusp of greatness with their animation. Movement around the open world is incredibly fluid and realistic, but when the action pulls in to focus on people talking, the illusion of realism is broken. So maybe it would be in Ubi’s best interest to combine the animation studios into one cohesive entity for future games. It definitely wouldn’t hurt, it just might cost Ubisoft a pretty penny to make it happen.