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Alan Wake

Platform(s): PC, Xbox 360
Genre: Action
Publisher: Microsoft
Developer: Remedy
Release Date: May 18, 2010 (US), May 14, 2010 (EU)

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'Alan Wake' (X360) Uses Facial Capture Technology For Cinematics

by Rainier on Feb. 25, 2010 @ 4:19 p.m. PST

Alan Wake, the game's protagonist, is a bestselling horror writer, who writes a novel about his darkest nightmares. In the game, those nightmares come true.

In this dynamic new title, players assume the role of Alan Wake, a best-selling suspense author suffering from writer’s block, who escapes to a small town only to experience the mysterious disappearance of his wife.

Set in the deceptively idyllic town of Bright Falls, Wash., “Alan Wake” immerses players in an intense and expansive cinematic world that enables players to explore the hyper-realistic and interactive environments. “Alan Wake” is mission-based with a deeply engaging and suspenseful storyline unveiling new twists and profound character revelations at every turn.

Players will unravel the riveting plot through multilayered character interactions, unique problem-solving and intense combat against terrifying enemies. In this nightmarish world, where fantasy and reality collide, Alan Wake must use a variety of weapons to survive, including his most powerful ally against the darkness — light itself.

Philip Weiss, managing partner for metricminds, talked about the project. “CaptiveMotion and metricminds came together at the end of a 5-year project to create facial animations for the cutscenes in Alan Wake. The challenge was to not only use a team of actors to create compelling performances for 21 characters but present the data in a fashion that Remedy could easily integrate it into their pipeline which already included full body motion capture from 6 months earlier.”

Work on this project commenced with a 5-day shoot in late November, shooting with talented actors in the Tempe-based CaptiveMotion studio. Over the course of 7 weeks, CaptiveMotion and metricminds generated 51 minutes of facial animation in 445 unique sequences. This animation, captured with CaptiveMotion’s proprietary Embody technology, tracked as many as 1,600 individual markers per actor. After capturing the actors, the performances were mapped to a total of 21 separate characters. Proprietary tools then allowed the team to seamlessly synch the facial performance to the pre-recorded voice over work as well as drive realistic tongue animations. Additional services that were provided include rigging, skinning, and geometry modification.

“Working with Remedy and metricminds on such a highly anticipated title was an exceptional opportunity for us,” said Adam Kraver, CEO of CaptiveMotion. “We’ve been big fans of the Max Payne franchise, and I have personally been looking forward to Alan Wake since it was first announced. But as an avid gamer, there is a big downside to working on a project like this, spoilers.”

Features :

  • Intense psychological thriller. “Alan Wake” delivers a deeply psychological and finely crafted plot that raises the bar for storytelling in video games. The riveting story of “Alan Wake” is propelled by a movie-like atmosphere, compelling situations, memorable characters and real-time pacing. Remedy has a record of creating and developing games with unique cinematic presentation and exceptionally high production values.
  • Light as a combat element. As Wake journeys deeper into the mystery of Bright Falls, the shadows close in around him. When darkness descends, light becomes his only ally as he fights his way to daybreak. . This poses a severe problem for Alan Wake since his enemies seemingly gain strength from the shadows, and before long, light itself becomes his greatest ally. Players must skillfully combine their use of light with more conventional weapons to stand a chance.
  • Realistic, interactive environment. Set in the town of Bright Falls, the hyper-detailed environments of the Pacific Northwest play an important role; even the change in daylight and weather will profoundly affect the characters and enemies in “Alan Wake.” The game’s advanced rendering engine provides amazingly realistic environments that bring this world to detailed life — from the lush forest of evergreen trees to the quaint small-town buildings and streets. The world of “Alan Wake” is alive and real.
  • Episodic narrative. The mission-based structure of “Alan Wake” creates an episodic narrative similar to a deeply structured dramatic television series, such as Twin Peak and X-Files. As the episodes progress, gameplay will evolve to introduce new elements and characters, escalating the level of threat and action in the game.

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