The Escapist: Face Job
"Why make videogames when you can make art?" David Cage asks, as I visit him at Quantic Dream headquarters on Boulevard Davout in Paris.
His delivery is plain, without pomposity. He doesn't even look at me but seems lost in thoughts about his motivations, what drives him down this difficult path, looking for new ways to tell stories with emotional complexity in a medium where the safe bet is to make another shooter....
Facial animation has become a key feature in Sony's next-gen vision. At E3 2005, the pliable cheeks, breakable noses and rolling eyes in Fight Night Round 3 were highlights among scarce PS3 offerings. Last year "The Casting" raised eyebrows on and off screen, and since then Heavenly Sword has impressed us with cut scenes created at Peter Jackson's CGI company, Weta Digital.
And Sony is far from alone in chasing the facial animation dream. Valve keeps refining its muscular system in Episode Two, and BioWare's upcoming space opera Mass Effect relies heavily on sophisticated animation to make dialogue vibrant."Videogames today are about primitive emotions," Cage says. "We need to bring it to the next level, closer to theatre, literature and cinema - art forms that can convey any kind of emotion and tell any kind of story. Except, we don't only want to watch it, we want to be a part of it."