Star Citizen: Squadron 42 has an all-star cast, and at least one member was on board from day one, no questions asked.
Mark Hamill “didn’t even have to read the script” to sign on to Squadron 42
Star Wars star Mark Hamill signed on to play a role in Star Citizen’s story campaign, Squadron 42, without a second thought.
Speaking to PC World, Hamill said he liked Wing Commander and now Star Citizen creator Chris Roberts from the moment they met, which made it easy for him to resume their collaboration.
“I really didn’t understand what a leap forward the technology has taken over time, so I had no expectation,” he said.
“I thought this was a closed chapter in my life, and when [Roberts] called and said, I’d like you to do this, I didn’t even have to read the script. I accepted immediately because I trust him so deeply.”
Musing on the difference between Wing Commander and Squadron 42, Hamill said that the live-action video sequences in the former series were cutting edge at the time. The effect achieved by performance capture for modern games blows it out of the water.
“The technology now is the next generation of the facial rigs and the full 3D scans of the actors, and it allows so much more detail and nuance,” he said.
“This is integrating the characters into its own world, so there’s a cohesion to all the elements, and it’s extraordinary. You put these rigs on and they’ve got these cameras on your face. They’ve got so many different cameras around the studio.”
Elaborating on the set-up at Andry Serkis’s The Imaginarium Studios, Hamill said there up to three camera on each face and 50 focused on body performance.
“So you’re in this bare-bones studio with apple boxes for chairs and just the basic rudimentary wood structures to approximate the cockpits and so forth, and yet when you look on the screen, you see what they’re getting. It’s totally realized,” he said.
“So it’s almost beyond even doing some of the stuff that you do on green screen, where you look at the drawing and get an idea of what’s eventually to come down the road. It’s very exciting.
“I can’t tell you how exciting it is to always be at least close to cutting-edge technology. I’ve been so lucky in my career, not just in Star Wars, but with Wing Commander, and now with Squadron 42.”
The full interview is a fascinating look at how performance capture is moving beyond voice acting and opening new avenues for actors – as well as wonderful effects in-game.
Squadron 42’s star-studded cast also includes Gary Oldman and Gillian Anderson. Although it is the story component of Star Citizen, it is sold separately from the sandbox games for new purchasers. Those who got in early got both elements in one package at a discount.