The Last of Us II was the most anticipated game of this summer. Amidst all the controversy regarding the portrayal of violence in the game, Naughty Dog managed to create a visual masterpiece. It sold over four million copies in its release weekend and became the fastest-selling PS4 exclusive beating Marvel’s Spider-Man.
Naughty Dog animator Keith Paciello, who has spent over eight years with the studio revealed what went into making the characters look so realistic and like they were bursting with emotions.
Paciello didn’t want the characters in The Last of Us II to look flat or toneless. To combat this problem, he used Ellie’s face is a model on which he sculpted various other emotions and tones. The expressions are based on seven universally applicable emotions: joy, sadness, fear, anger, surprise, disgust, and contempt.
Liaising with the writing team, he worked out a way of triggering relevant emotions at specific lines. This leads the character into a state of photo-realism as the transition between different emotions seems effortless. The devs immediately felt a stronger emotional connection with the characters. The gameplay with the help of precise emotions now seems more real.
The Last of Us II has raised the bar by awarding audiences with a cinematic experience from start to finish. It has given the community a preview of what to expect as consoles grow more capable than ever.