Motive's Dan Lowe has a complete, hour-long breakdown about what makes Naughty Dog's latest The Last of Us Part 2 gameplay animation stand out.
Naughty Dog's entire modern library, from Uncharted to The Last of Us, aren't just fun games - they're also impressive technological achievements. Sometimes that inspires poorly-worded critiques from competitors, but most of the time it gets other devs wondering how Naughty Dog pulled it off.
Enter Dan Lowe, a senior tech animator from Motive Studios. After expressing his own admiration for Naughty Dog's work on Twitter, Lowe decided to produce his own detailed anlaysis on the trailer from an animator's perspective.
And when I say detailed, I mean it. This thing is over an hour long.
"Whenever Naughty Dog puts out a gameplay trailer, a lot of the developers will ... go frame by frame, go through it with a fine tooth comb to try and sort of figure out how they did it, and this is especially the case with animators because Naughty Dog's one of the top studios of the business in animation," Lowe explains in the video. "And so I figured I would try and do this, and record it so people could see how exactly I might go about analyzing this sort of thing."
Lowe's video focuses on The Last of Us Part 2's gameplay segments, breaking down how the design decisions behind each character's movements. Ellie's running motion, her dodging animations, and even enemy patrol movements are discussed in detail. Lowe even spends a chunk of time admiring how Ellie puts on her backpack using technical language, implying this is something that could've been immersion-breaking in the wrong hands.
It is a long one, but worth checking out if you're curious about the creative decisions that go into Last of Us Part 2's natural-looking animations. It's also encouraging just to see game creators admiring and learning from each other's work!
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