The Katonian Press: Neversoft Reveals Revolutionary New Motion Capture Technology

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Neversoft Reveals Revolutionary New Motion Capture Technology

guitar heroWoodland Hills, CA – Video game developer Neversoft, heir to the Guitar Hero franchise, recently invited journalists to learn about the latest technology being used to develop the popular music game series.  Journos were given a sneak peak at just what goes into pumping out title after successful title. Parts of the tour were focused on the technical aspect of bringing a game to light, such as the User Interface Lab where their lead GUI developer, a colorblind intern whose impressive credentials include two semesters of Criminal Justice at the local junior college, appeared to be testing his designs with an Atari Pong paddle.  Other portions were devoted to the design stages, such as the never-before-revealed selection process that determines what appears and doesn’t appear in a Guitar Hero title.  One couldn’t help but be impressed watching that room full of chimps alternate between tossing poo and CDs across their pen toward a basket marked “Next Guitar Hero Game”.

Nothing compared, however, to the final stop on the tour: a visit to Neversoft’s secret motion capture facility.  Partially for secrecy, but mostly for theatrics, a select group of journalists was blindfolded and driven on a circuitous route through town until finally arriving at their destination.  We were lead into a facility that smelled vaguely of old pizza and change.  A few moments passed when the still silence was broken by a collection of whirring noises growing ever louder, like a great machine coming to life.  With no small amount of theatrical flair, a voice announced, “Behold, the future of motion capture technology!” and our blindfolds were suddenly removed.  An array of lights and sounds assaulted us and when our eyes had finally adjusted we were astonished at what we saw.


Before us, bedecked with dozens of motion-capture “ping pong balls”, were the likes of Jasper T. Jowls, Helen Henny, Mr. Munch, and Pasqually–the Pizza Time Players–and front and center was the one-and-only mozzarella-loving mascot: Chuck-E-Cheese himself.

“Your eyes do not deceive you,” said the Neversoft rep.  “The future is here today.  The future is animatronics.”

After a short stage show detailing the importance of consuming massive amounts of pizza and soda on our birthday, the Neversoft representatives explained the technology and the reasons behind adopting it.

“We’ve struggled for a long time with how to present a truly authentic experience to gamers,” said a rep.  “Computer animation by hand is too difficult and time-consuming, and traditional motion-capture techniques deliver a result that is too real.  Gamers don’t want real.  They aren’t interested in seeing a realistic representation of actual rock stars.  Have you seen [competitor Harmonix’s] Beatles: Rock Band?  What a piece of shit.  Just take one quick glance at any of their characters and you can actually distinguish which Beatle they are.  Where are the stilted movements?  Where are the awkward instrument animations?  No one wants their rhythm game to look like it could have come from one of their favorite band’s videos or live performances.  Gamers today are sophisticated: they want to imagine themselves as a general approximation of a stereotyped character generally approximating the real-life activity that they are themselves simulating on superficially similar controllers approximating real-world instruments.”

“We decided to go back to the drawing board,” said another rep, “and really think about how we could bring our games to life.  When we sat down and really thought hard about what truly captured Rock and Roll, we all came to the same conclusion: Chuck-E-Cheese’s Pizza Time Band.  It had been there in front of us all along, wrapped in a memory from our childhood.”

A programmer and animator from Neversoft explained that once they had realized how they were going to revolutionize motion capture in video games, the rest was as easy as sticking some reflective markers on a bunch of twenty-five year old felt and rubber animatronic puppets.  At the moment, Pasqually, the Italian-offending stereotype robot came to life and joked that “It’s-a no wonder I don’t-a put da meat-a-balls-a on-a da pizza!  Dey just-a roll-a right off-a!”

“The fruits of our exciting technological leap can already be seen in some of our new titles,” noted a Neversoft rep., showing a few clips from the upcoming Guitar Hero: Van Halen.  “Do you see the pained grin that never seems to leave virtual Eddie Van Halen’s face?  You can’t do that with a real motion capture actor–there’s no way they can contort their face for that long.  And just look into Wolfgang’s soulless eyes.  You can only get that shallow, lifeless look by studying the cold stare of a robotic mannequin.”

The art team admits that, in addition to animations, they took a lot of their cues from the puppets.  “You see how shiny our virtual characters are? Looks like they’re made of rubber, doesn’t it?  No one’s that shiny in real life, not even David Lee Roth, not even in his heyday.”

“We’ve revolutionized the way characters are rendered,” concluded the Neversoft rep. “And it’s all thanks to this guy.  Right, Chuck-E-Cheese?”  The animatronic rodent whirred to life, his head shaking from side to side, his plastic eyelids flapping, and his mouth clacking open and closed as a chip inside him blurted out, “Did somebody say cheeeeese?”  The crew from Neversoft laughed long and hard at this, well after the assembled journalists had ceased chuckling.

The tour ended with a birthday song by the Pizza Time Band and a press-release, the surprise announcement that Neversoft’s next title would be the Muppet-themed Guitar Hero: Electric Mayhem.

kato
witfits [at] gmail [dot] com
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12 Responses to The Katonian Press: Neversoft Reveals Revolutionary New Motion Capture Technology

  1. James says:

    The bit about how gamers don’t want realism is so funny!

    I’m hoping that this is a joke and their will be no “Guitar Hero: Electric Mayhem”

  2. Sailor Harry says:

    No, but I can’t wait for Lego Rock Band……

    • HellCat says:

      same

  3. This almost sounds like it could be true.

  4. HellCat says:

    This is great Kato.

    I have to say i hate motion sensor. I want to just sit in my chair with a controller and play instead of flailing my arms around. Its a shame that every console is getting it. I may just go back to the PC

  5. bs angel says:

    Gamers today are sophisticated: they want to imagine themselves as a general approximation of a stereotyped character generally approximating the real-life activity that they are themselves simulating on superficially similar controllers approximating real-world instruments.

    AMEN!

  6. DethPwn says:

    Interesting tidbit:

    Chuck E. Cheese was founded by Nolan Bushnell, who was the founder of Atari, whose most talented and disgruntled gamemakers left to make… ACTIVISION!!!

    AND WE’RE BACK!!!

    • pittofdoom says:

      I sense a conspiracy…

      • DethPwn says:

        You know too much…

        The Atarinumti are on they’re way.

    • WhiteRose says:

      holy shit…

      it really is a small world…

    • L337MA573R says:

      Wait…*type click *type* Holy shit, he’s right!
      Yeah, it’s definitely a conspiracy. But it’s not US who know too much, it’s…
      KATO! NOOOOO!!!

  7. xLAS3RP01NT3Rx says:

    I’m scared mommy.

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