Studioâ??s creative director perplexed by lone acting

Naughty Dog: Game acting methods miss the drama

Naughty Dog creative director Amy Hennig insists that the best way to capture drama on stage is to mo-cap the scene, not the person.

Traditional mo-cap and acting for games production involves individual actors reading off scripts – a process which can lose the chemistry and improvisation that are, some say, at the very core of acting.

“Any actor will tell you that acting is reacting,” Hennig said, “so it’s ironic that in most game productions, the actors are performing alone in the recording studio without any real context, and without the other actors to play off of.

"Unlike most other game developers, we have the actors performing together on the mocap stage, so it’s really much more like a theatrical or on-camera performance in that way; it’s sort of like going back to the actors’ roots and doing ‘black box theater’.

In an exclusive extract from a newly-published book on developing Uncharted 2, Hennig says that the studio casted for actors “as though we were casting for film or TV —including in-person auditions, and callbacks where we have the principal characters read with Nolan North, our lead”.

She added: “We’re telling a character-driven story, capturing the emotional authenticity of the actors’ performance is key,” she explained.

Develop Online has published a behind-the-scenes exploration into the various processes Naughty Dog underwent to make their defining title stand out. Click here to read more.

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