Uncharted 4: A Thief's End, Drake has a face for film - Games Weekly

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Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Uncharted 4: A Thief's End, Drake has a face for film

Look at that mug. Not long ago, if you’d have claimed such a realistic human visage could be created in real-time on console, you’d have had the men in white coats after you. PS4 Nathan Drake is a towering technical achievement that money maker alone is capable of 850 animation poses. And now there’s  a suggestion Uncharted 4’s tech rivals movie CGI.

Speaking to CG Master Academy, U4’s lead character artist Frank Tzeng claims the fidelity of Nate’s character model is up there with the computer imagery of a big blockbuster. “Game quality is really close to film right now,” he said.


The assertion is that PS4 Nate could be dropped into a modern popcorn-peddler and he wouldn't look out of place.“This character can easily be a digital double in a film,” Tzeng continued. A bold claim, no doubt. But is the notion of the hero we see in Uncharted 4’s PSX demo being near movie CG-quality really that far fetched?

RENDERED POWERLESS
Yes and no. Let’s be honest: in-game Drake doesn't look as photorealistic as, say, the dinos in Jurassic World. The key difference is how Chris Pratt’s chums and the fortune hunter are made. PS4 is rendering Nate in real-time; a far more demanding process than  the offline method used to generate movie CGI, which itself is no cakewalk (a single frame of animation from the original Jurassic Park, which still holds up today, took over ten hours to render offline).

Indeed, offline rendering may explain why last year’s E3 trailer was ‘Pixar’ pretty. If Uncharted 4 uses this technique for its cutscenes, you may well see a film-calibre treasure-pilferer yet…

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