Alan Wake mo-cap expert: Heavy Rain is “visually uneven”

Tuesday, 30th March 2010 08:51 GMT By Patrick Garratt


Heavy Rain’s animation could have been slicker, the founder of the company responsible for Alan Wake’s facial motion capture has told VG247.

Mark Carson, head of mo-cap specialist CaptiveMotion, said the Quantic Dream PS3 exclusive was technically incredible but flawed.

“It’s beautiful and brilliant but visually uneven at points, which unfortunately is the nature of the industry because of the scope, budgets and time-frames required,” he said, speaking in an interview published today.

“I would have loved to have worked with them on that project. I think we could have help with that. In the end it’s a very different product from Alan Wake and I think everyone will agree once it comes out.”

Carson conceded he didn’t actually own a PS3, but had “pored over the reviews and extended play video from the various sites.”

Heavy Rain is considered to be a new benchmark for actor-based interactive storytelling, and released to great success for Sony earlier this year; it even experienced stocking issues in the UK.

CaptiveMotion was responsible for the facial animation in Remedy’s Alan Wake, which releases in May as a 360 exclusive. Wake is a story-based action horror.

Read our full chat with Mark here.



  1. DGOJG

    Yeah nice one judge a game on trailers *rolls eyes* Heavy Rain is fantastically made game and theres nothing wrong with motion capture which I’m sure will be much better looking in comparsion to Alan Wake.

    #1 5 years ago
  2. yacaman

    Dude you havent played it and your saying things about it.
    Its not perfect. Im sure Alan Wait even more, isn’t either

    #2 5 years ago
  3. Aimless

    Funnily enough I was reading the latest Edge preview of Alan Wake last night and one of the screenshot captions reads: “Its mo-cap, both facial and bodily, looks stiff, too — but the game makes up for it elsewhere in its art direction and lighting effects[.]”

    I’m not bashing on the guy’s abilities — like most people, I haven’t played Alan Wake — just highlighting that there’ll always be someone to criticise.

    #3 5 years ago
  4. itsucks

    Too bad Alan Wake isn’t the one that has in it’s descrition name “True Actor Drama” and it fails flat in its ass.

    #4 5 years ago
  5. Gskyace

    Why not he just to take a movie?
    Just a movie edition of ALAN WAKE will absolutely be suck.

    #5 5 years ago
  6. mojo

    a guy working on hardcore videogames who doesnt even own the two major platforms?
    Suprised about something like this existing..

    #6 5 years ago
  7. OrphanageExplosion

    Facial animation and cut-scenes are excellent in Heavy Rain. But outside of that, it just does look like a kind of next gen Alone in the Dark, with pretty choppy animation as you walk and run about. To be honest, from what I’ve seen of Wake, it seems to have the same issues in animation during gameplay.

    #7 5 years ago
  8. Razor

    Doesn’t have a PS3? Yeah, I trust his expert opinion then.

    #8 5 years ago
  9. Bulk Slash

    I think the worst looking mo-cap in Heavy Rain was when characters went down stairs. All the characters seemed to be looking slightly upwards towards the ceiling, while casually glancing left and right as if taking a stroll.

    Maybe I’m just un-coordinated but I like to keep an eye on the steps I’m stepping on rather than staring off into space! :)

    #9 5 years ago
  10. Dralen

    OMG!! What a douche! Even if he was right, at least they’ve actually brought their game out. How long has Alan Wake been in development now? Fooking ages! Alot of game developers could get there game perfect if they had a game in production as long as Remedy have.

    #10 5 years ago
  11. mescalineeyes

    Heavy Rain’s mo-cap pales in comparison to something like Uncharted 2.
    And then we haven’t even touched on the voice acting.

    given the fact that Heavy Rain is a story driven interactive drama, it falls short in almost every category that would be important to make a genre like that work.

    #11 5 years ago
  12. Dannybuoy

    And Alan Wank is wake

    #12 5 years ago
  13. JimFear666

    what a fucking douchebag, the guy judge by what he saw on trailer et review… Wow, that set the bar.

    #13 5 years ago
  14. Eregol

    Heavy Rain has several issues graphically.
    From the localised screen tearing (I’ve noticed tearing on the characters and not the background and at other times on the background and not the characters), the uncanny valley facial features, the dead eyes, the rather square and boring locales (The police station being the main offender), and some quite horrific jarring animation.

    Final Fantasy XIII and GoW3 are much better looking games in my opinion.
    Funny how this guy didn’t name drop them, or Uncharted 2 for that matter.

    #14 5 years ago
  15. revolting

    Man in “I dared to criticise a platform’s exclusive golden child and got lynched for it” shock!

    I was massively impressed with Heavy Rain, way more than I expected to be, and I agree with the guy. For the most part, the motion capture in Heavy Rain is fantastic, especially for the facial animation. It’s great stuff… but it isn’t consistant. There are definately areas of wooden deadness, which stand out all the more when they do happen in Heavy Rain because of the high standard of the rest of it. Jaden in particular seemed to suffer from moments of extreme deadpannery and awkward mouth movements, while Madison on the other hand was pretty much top notch all the way through. (which is perhaps ironic, as she’s the only character who wasn’t voiced and acted by the same person.)

    And, yeah, totally with Bulk Slash on the stair animation during normal walking around unscripted sequences… it did seem a bit off. It seemed almost like only the legs were animated with stair ascending/descending animation, while the upper torso and arms and heads just carried on as normal. Which is pretty much the norm for most games, but when the motion capture is so intricate and detailed as it is in Heavy Rain, that kind of stuff really sticks out.

    Overall I found Heavy Rain to be kind of hampered by it’s own high standards… excellently done, superbly executed and presented, but because of that, the less polished parts stick out all the more. Thoroughly engrossing and enjoyable, though, definately a must play for any serious gamer.

    #15 5 years ago

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