Heavy Rain: Move Edition

Heavy Rain: Move Edition News for PS3

On: PS3
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Heavy Rain screenshot
Heavy Rain screenshot

David Cage has unveiled a stunning new five-minute prototype video showcasing a brand new 3D engine, running on PlayStation 3, that makes use of full performance capture.

The five-minute film is called Kara. She's a female android brought to life on an assembly line, and as her body is put together piece by piece she's asked to speak in English, German and French and sing in Japanese. After expressing emotion she's marked as defective and being to be disassembled, but before being permanently shut down she begs for her life. Her beating blue robotic heart tells how nervous she is, and the man assembling Kara allows her to continue off the manufacturing line.

Shown at GDC 2012, the demo was a video captured directly off a PlayStation 3 running in real-time. "It's not CG, it's not pre-rendered, it's really the game," says Cage.

The video is "food for thought" says Cage, who says Kara is a short film about what it means to be human. Cage says he believes "there is a space for adult games" in the world, and that there is a new market outside of existing casual (like Angry Birds) and hardcore (like Call of Duty) spaces.

Kara was shot with a new engine developed by Quantic Dream, and Cage says the studio's objective with the new engine is to clone living actors, handle significant volumes of motion capture assets, and deliver high quality at the lowest cost.

Kara shows 50% of the features in the new PlayStation 3 engine. The film was shot a year ago with version 1 of the engine. Quantic Dream is now on version 3 of the unnamed engine.

The new engine features a "direct-to-engine" pipeline that allows the team to work with the motion capture data with minimal editing, and boasts retargeting, complex shaders, FX, dynamic wounds, and facial hair.

70 actresses read the script before Quantic Dream settled on the actress for Kara, and the studio expanded its motion capture studio to 65 cameras, as opposed to Heavy Rain's 28. The studio has a sound-proof stage and actors have 90 markers on the body and 90 markers on the face.

French developer Quantic Dream works with proprietary technology to create its own game engines. Cage originally unveiled the tech that would go on to make Heavy Rain in 2006, in a demo titled The Casting.

Unlike Kara's full performance capture, The Casting and Heavy Rain (VideoGamer.com's Game of the Year 2010, by the way) used split performance motion capturing, which Cage states has a "reasonable cost", and it's when audio and facial animations and body animations are not recorded at the same time. "It's still a bit artificial because you don't get the instant, you get two performances that you put together that you try to recreate artificially, but you don't get the original performance."

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User Comments

BC_Animus's Avatar

BC_Animus@ MJTH

In my opinion Cage and his team have already gone past the uncanny valley, by backing these characters up with amazingly emotional and human performances.
Posted 08:35 on 09 March 2012
thedanyrand's Avatar


Things like this make me wish companies would spend an extra year or however long to really max out their consoles instead of always having the push for the next one. You can always see a few titles at a consoles end that show how much is still left in it.
Posted 19:19 on 08 March 2012
MJTH's Avatar


Wow, that was pretty good, I'm currently writing a paper on current gen animation and and how close its getting to the uncanny valley and I felt that would a beautiful example
Posted 18:33 on 08 March 2012
munkee's Avatar


I was discussing this in work today. In my conversation I compared it to LA Noire. This tech demo makes LA Noire look fairly amateurish.
Posted 18:18 on 08 March 2012
EverTheOptimist's Avatar


so outside of their own games I don't think we'd ever see the engine again.

And this is why it doesn't excite me. I can appreciate the effort exerted to produce this engine and it's interesting, but for me it won't ever mean anything unless it's used to build a game that I can actually get my hands on.

It reminds me of how the automotive industry produces stunning concept cars and only a couple of small features from that wild machine trickle down to an end product.
Posted 17:15 on 08 March 2012
BC_Animus's Avatar

BC_Animus@ draytone

It's the tech behind it dray. Think of the Unreal or the Valve engines and what they did for physics in gaming - Cage's team has created this amazing engine which is doing similar things for computerising motion capture and animation. Having said that I doubt they'd be licensing their tech to everybody else, so outside of their own games I don't think we'd ever see the engine again.
Posted 14:41 on 08 March 2012
draytone's Avatar


Am I missing something? I just watched it and while it was undoubtedly impressive I couldn't see anything that mind blowingly different from what AAA titles are looking like nowadays...
Posted 12:54 on 08 March 2012
munkee's Avatar


In case anybody misses out on conversation.. Dudster has made a thread here:
Quantic dreams new project revealed.
The videos are embedded there too. :)

Sorry if this is seen as directing traffic away from Martins post. Let me know if I shouldn't.

On topic: I appreciate Heavy Rain and love what Quantic Dreams are doing. But, I have to say that I found Heavy Rain quite boring. It may be because I don't really enjoy those kinds of films either and with that simplistic input method it becomes quite reliant on story. Perhaps if the new game is more Sci-Fi, then I will enjoy it more.
Posted 08:46 on 08 March 2012
BC_Animus's Avatar


In my opinion Cage and his team have always been a step or two ahead of everyone, which to be honest kinda works against him. The market just isn't ready for him.

Anyways amazing video, just like the promo vid he did for Heavy Rain. Even if Quantic Dreams falls apart as a games studio I say him and his team could probably make it as a film/animation studio methinks. I would love to buy a DVD or blu-ray with a collection of his promo vids, music and behind the scene stuff actually.

Btw is it wrong for me to have a little crush on Kara?
Posted 08:39 on 08 March 2012
CharleSketch's Avatar


Wow. Every time I think I've seen the full capacity of the PS3's engine, something like this shows up. It's a nice emotional roller coaster as well.

Posted 01:31 on 08 March 2012
dudester's Avatar


If that's what they could do with it a year ago I would love to see where they are at now.
Posted 00:01 on 08 March 2012

Game Stats

Release Date: 08/10/2010
Developer: Quantic Dream
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Genre: Adventure
No. Players: One
Rating: BBFC 15
Site Rank: 14,151 22
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