Top 5 Games from Current Generation with Best Facial Technology

This generation is about to end soon. Next month, we will finally get our hands on the long awaited next generation of consoles. With the release of Beyond: Two Souls next week, we have taken a look back through this generation and compiled a list of Top 5 games with best facial technology and animation.

Graphics and facial technology have both came a long way from the previous generation. Games like Beyond: Two Souls are stunningly realistic and we have got Ryse as Xbox One launch title, which has a main character model with about 85k polygons – the highest in any game for now.

Before we start our list, we should explain that we are not really focusing on the overall graphics here but the facial technology in use for that game. So even if the graphics appear sub-par for that game, the facial technology of the game alone will get it mentioned here. Anyways, without futher-ado, let’s start.

5. Heavy Rain

David Cage’s first entry on PlayStation 3 was Heavy Rain. This game was touted as the pioneer of facial technology when it was originally revealed at E3. While it was rumored that Heavy Rain faced a downgrade from the E3 reveal up to the final version – nevertheless – it was nothing short of being impressive at that time and still holds pretty well for today’s standard.

4. L.A Noire

L.A Noire was the first game that used a new type of motion capture technology. Tons of cameras were used from various angles to capture the face of each of the character. Since we were a detective in L.A Noire, we had to prosecute different witnesses and hence it was important to use such a facial technology for this game, which would let us judge – if the character was lying or not – from their face.

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3. Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception

Naughty Dog is the pioneer of animation and technology on consoles so it is not surprising to see their game getting mentioned here. Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception animation and facial technology was nothing short of revolutionary. Naughty Dog knows how to create animation and mixes it perfectly with facial technology that makes us wonder whether we are playing a game or watching a movie. Admittedly, the cutscenes of the game are all pre-rendered but even the in-game character models are nothing short of being outstanding.

2. The Last of Us

We had a hard time choosing Uncharted 3 or The Last of Us and at the end of the day, we decided to choose both here. Naughty Dog’s next work after Uncharted 3 was The Last of Us. While The Last of Us might have not set new benchmarks in term of graphics, its animation and facial technology was a huge step up from Uncharted 3. The character models of Joel and Ellie were a work of art. Their interaction to the surrounding environment only added further to the realism.

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1. Beyond: Two Souls

Yep, we won’t be lying if we say Beyond: Two Souls is the most impressive game on current generation systems with its beautiful use of facial technology and animation to provide a cinematic experience. David Cage is known for his emphasis on emotions and hence we can see that his game always has impressive facial technology. The recently released demo of Beyond: Two Souls really shows us how beautiful and realistic the characters looked. It was like we were seeing the two main character Ellen Page and William Dafoe brought to life in the game. If you still don’t believe, you can try out the demo that is now available to the public starting today.


What do you think of this list? Let us know in the comment below.

Stay tuned to GearNuke for the latest news and info.

Khurram Imtiaz

Editor-in-Chief at GearNuke. I am a hardcore Final Fantasy fan and lover of JRPGs. When I am not posting news, I can be seen sharing my thoughts over at Twitter.

You can follow me on Twitter and Google+

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  • Richard Terry Clark

    Both Uncharted and TLOU facial animation was all hand keyed. There’s no “technology” behind it. I know because I worked on both games.

    • You worked on these games. That’s great to hear. Can you tell us more about the animation process? If you don’t mind, of course.

      • Richard Terry Clark

        Well, I don’t know how much of this I should be sharing but as an animator we’re given a lot of video reference of the actors performing their scenes. So we tend to get takes from every angle. The best takes for facial animation are the closeups ofcourse and we would use those specifically to match to the actor’s performances as best we could. Our team got into the habit of importing in the reference and placing it close to the cg character. That way as we keyed in the poses, we would take a look at our progress and see how close we could get to the actors expressions, lip syncs, etc. I personally made it a habit to look at it frame by frame so that it would match as close as possible. It was important to get every nuance right and I think ND was happy with our results.

        • Thanks a lot for sharing these details. It goes on to show a lot of work and effort was gone into these animations and it was all well worth it in the end. The end product was near perfect and i am sure ND were pretty damn happy with it.

          I am a big fan of the animation in Uncharted and The Last of Us so it is an honor to hear this from someone who worked on these games as an animator. Thanks for explaining in detail, it sure helps shed a whole new light on how you guys animate these games. Kudos on the hard work. Hoping to see you return in any future Naughty Dog project 🙂

          • Richard Terry Clark

            Thank you for your kind words Khurram. Much appreciated!

  • Sohail R

    Right choices but i guess MGS 5 should have been included too….

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