How Capcom used motion recording to bring Resident Evil Village’s scariest monsters to life


When it came to capturing movement Resident Evil Village, The Capcom team had a big challenge – literally. The distinctive character of the horror game was the nine-foot, six-inch-tall Lady Dimitrescu. He’s about three feet taller than actor Maggie Robertson, who took care of capturing both the character’s voice and the performance. For CEO Masato Miyazaki, this created a problem. He could have equipped Robertson with some sort of prosthesis or prop to make him bigger, but that would have limited his ability to move and act in a natural way.

So the team did something more dramatic. “We had to figure out how to adjust the environment to take account of altitude differences,” he says Limit. It meant building two different series; one in a normal-sized man, the other is designed for the rising body of the Dimitrescun.

Meanwhile Resident Evil best known for its dead zombies, the franchise has expanded steadily to other monsters. With Village it included not only Dimitrescu and his vampire cohort, but even more remote creatures such as werewolves, living dolls, and a particularly creepy baby. This meant coming up with imaginative ways to use motion capture to give these monsters a real feel.

The approach varied depending on the creature. Some movements dealt entirely with animators, while others used a hybrid approach; The actors performed a motion capture that was animated or altered by the animators. “For monsters, we typically require an actor with a greater physical ability who is able to move in ways that an ordinary person would have difficulty implementing,” Miyazaki says. “We were able to hire a great stutterer who did a lot of work for us in the past by animating the Licker enemy [from Resident Evil 2]. His performance offers photorealistic movements as an ongoing guide. The animators then brush the movements to correct and exaggerate the monster’s skeleton. “(The team was also able to negotiate Monster hunter series, which has similarly used human actors for inhumane roles.)

Miyazaki says Lady Dimitrescu was the most challenging animation because of her sheer size. In addition to building two different versions of the series, the team had to set markings so the Actors knew where everyone’s eye line should be. His model also required a lot of post-production. “We take great care to ensure that the character devices are able to absorb the capture data of all the movement as smoothly as possible,” Miyazaki explains. “Whether it’s Lady Dimitrescu or some other anomalous creature like Angie or Moreau, there would be differences between the actress and the character, and we created the ferries with these differences in mind. The miscalculations are done along the way, of course, but we wanted to make sure these changes the animators started with them. “

Resident Evil Village

But while Dimitrescu was the most challenging, Miyazaki says it was another character with the most unique demands: Salvatore Moreau, a kind of human / fish creature with a bent backbone. “We had a very serious discussion about whether it would be more creepy if the actor performed with a bent body, or whether the actor should act naturally and then handle the animation afterwards to make sure his posture doesn’t affect his performance,” he says. (A few other behind-the-scenes stuff: a baby character, Rose, was set in motion with an adult woman working on a newborn farm, and a creepy scene where the protagonist Ethan attaches her severed arm, which we could record on and off during the recording, “Miyazaki says.)

These challenges were exacerbated by the fact that the pandemic affected the development of the game, making performance more difficult. “We asked if we could get things done on time,” Miyazaki says of the impact of the pandemic. “We hadn’t filmed the last part of the game and not the end itself, so you can imagine how scary the situation was.” While they were still able to describe, there were restrictions such as social distance, restrictions on the number of people placed, and staff who guided operators remotely while they were quarantined at home. Those on the team even communicate via radios to limit face-to-face interaction. To circumvent at least some of the challenges, the team was forced to create a new space of its own to capture the movement.

“We had to find a way to handle things remotely,” Miyazaki says. “We knew this would inevitably cause communication problems, so we ended up building a dedicated filming environment. This environment allowed for real-time exchange of videos and information taken in the studio so we could communicate our thoughts and direction effectively, even literally around the world. I’m really grateful to the Los Angeles studio technical director. who was able to change the configuration of the studio – cameras and communication equipment – to meet this. “

The director says that despite all the horrific monsters his team was able to create, he was proud of just that – responding to the challenges of the pandemic. “We could have easily thrown up our hands and found it impossible to complete, but the actors, internal staff and external staff came together to do things for the event,” he says. “I really felt a sense of responsibility and love Resident Evil concession. It was an experience that really moved me. “

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