In today's lifelike edition of Speak Up on Kotaku, commenter MarcianTobay says it's time to honor the motion capture actors, without whom our professionally-voiced video game characters would be nothing more than well-spoken robots.
Let's discuss Motion Capture. This will involve minor spoilers from a side-plot in Arkham City, so helmets on.
Watch this clip. Skip to 1:55 and watch the projection of The Riddler. I just got to this scene last night and I can't get it out of my head. Now, I love The Riddler more than any sane person should, so this entire clip was candy to me. One thing stood out, though; His movement.
Please watch the clip with the sound off. Skip ahead to that, and turn off your speakers. Even without the sound, you're still experiencing the Riddler. How he casually waves his cane around. The sarcastic way he dismisses the "unimportant" cops' lives. Even how he loses his gusto and flair whenever Batman calls him insane. There's no wasted gesture. There's no idle face in the corner looping the same non-synched lips for two minutes.
What fascinates me about this is how much we've advanced as an art form. Remember how we used to get still sketches of characters while beeps and boops signaled that they were talking? And now we have this. It's truly incredible. In fact, I dare say there is more acting in this brief clip than some star Hollywood beauties put on, but that's a different discussion.
My core question is: Why aren't we talking motion capture more? Why isn't the man or woman who played The Riddler getting acknowledgment? Yes, Mark Hamill VOICED The Joker, but who was the person that pantomimed that melodramatic gasp when Batman first says "Protocol Ten"? Who actually held the cigar and contemptuously sneered when Penguin first thought he killed Batman?
Yes, yes, everyone posts clips with confusion and surprise when we found out a man played Harley Quinn, but I advise things go further. Let's start recognizing the great motion capture artists. Let's have nominations for "Best Physical Actor" that go alongside "Best Voice Actor". Let's start getting them the respect they deserve.
Why is it that when Andy Serkis plays Gollum in Lord of the Rings, everyone talks about it for years to come, yet when video games have similar feats of immersion, people ignore it.
I'll start by asking YOU:
-What is your favorite physical performance in a video game?-