The Last of Us II is Nothing Short of a ‘Technical Showcase’

August 31, 2020 3:29 pm

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.

The Last of Us II: Crafting a masterpiece


In a conversation with the PlayStation Blog, Keith Paciello revealed how he used Ellie as a character to draw sets of different emotions in the game.
Towards the beginning of the game, the player will be in control of Ellie as she walks through a room with some paintings in it. The facial expressions look subtle, genuine, and invoke the feeling of being in deep thought. Those who have played the entire game know that it’s difficult to get over these expressions since they portray emotions so intricately.
Paciello credited the formation of the Emotional Systematic Facial Animation System to the collaboration of different teams working together. This system allowed the team to pick an expression out of 20 different emotional states. In other words, this system allowed all characters on screen to have more depth.
It brings a depth to the characters that we’ve never seen before,” said Paciello.

Adding emotional beats to characters

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.

READ MORE- The Last of Us 2: ‘Fastest-Selling PS4 Exclusive to Date’

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.

Tags: Naughty Dog
Nakul Ahuja

Nakul Ahuja is an Esports author at EssentiallySports. He has spent 11 years doing theatre and is currently preparing for his Master's degree in Journalism. Along the way, he hopes to rake in money as Ninja does. Ironically, he is a rather clumsy gamer. When he isn't writing, he can be seen brewing a perfect cup of cappuccino for himself. A cup of coffee, anyone?

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