Were there any aspects that you felt you had to change the timings to make it look good?
No. There were plenty of times we had to figure out how to make it look good, but the number one design pillar for this project was to maintain the integrity of the gameplay experience. Timing is essential to being able to do that and we did not deviate from that. So like I said within a couple fractions of a second there may be something there, but the intention wasn’t ‘I’m going to flub this a little bit.’ It was ‘we’re going to make this look good for sure, but we need to maintain that gameplay.’
Regarding the single player gameplay, how hard was it to recreate some of the epic moments?
We have a really good relationship with Infinity Ward so we worked with them throughout. Challenging? Yeah it was challenging, because we all have perceptions of what we think it looked like and if you go back it looks pretty good even today. We knew that we needed to enhance the visuals and we did that with adding contrast and tone, making sure the hues and separations felt more natural in the space and for ‘Shock and Awe’ that’s actually a great level to talk about. Some of the additions we made to it to make it stand out, but not change the narrative in any way, was that you remember when the helicopter is flying out and the co-pilot gets sucked out at the end and he falls out. That is really a cool moment, and we asked ourselves what can we do to add a little more emotion to the scene? What we did is we created a lot of these first person animations.
In our ‘Shock and Awe’ you’ll actually see the first person hand come up and try to block the light that’s blaring into your eyes and the God-rays kinda come through your hand, and you’ll also see that in that moment before that guy gets sucked out you’re actually reaching to grab him because you can see him going and when he goes we’re not trying to change the narrative and create something that wasn’t really there, but we wanted to emphasize that that was supposed to be an emotional moment. IW intended for it to be an emotional moment so lets emphasize it a little bit, let’s do something more here. That’s one example of how we took the already cinematic game and made it even more natural and more emotional. Hopefully this roller coaster is going to feel familiar to gamers who have experienced it before, but feel modern and belong in the space today to people that may not have been exposed to it before.
You mentioned you expanded on the scenes. How was the process of taking the MoCap that was already done from the original game and bringing it into this game? Did you have to redo any of it or could you basically just drop it in, add new textures and it work?
It was far more complicated than that. So the methods of which MoCap is captured have changed significantly in the last nine years, almost as much as game engines have changed. We are very fortunate at Raven to have a Mocap studio on site as well as facial capture and a lot of other technologies that help us punch this. I won’t say that we weren’t able to use any of the animation data, because i believe that we used a lot of it and then added detail and more natural movement to scenes, but we did a lot of new MoCap. Some scenes we just couldn’t get the data to line up right and the timing felt off, and it wasn’t because we changed the timing it’s because the systems had fundamentally changed and we needed to make sure that that still felt right. So our animation team and our MoCap team have done a ton of work and we’re very proud of that work. So yeah I would say it wasn’t an easy thing to just take it and ‘copy and paste’ it and you’re good. There was definitely a lot of time put into that.
What were some of the improvements made to the audio settings?
So we were very cautious about making significant changes to the core audio files, but unfortunately all of the audio done in the original were single channel wav files. So yeah think of how awesome it sounds. They were freakin’ masters over there to pull that out, but when you play that back today and you’re in a closed soundproof room and you’re listening to it you’re like ‘what the hell is this?’ Because it feels distorted, there’s no depth to it, no personality, no reverb, it lacked a lot. So we wanted to maintain that so we started with what was already there, as the single channel, and we built up from there.
We added reverb, we added depth to it, we added positional, we added a lot of ambient sound effects, and we added the ability that if you tossed a grenade near a sheet of metal the sound is going to ricochet off of it with that metal and if it’s wood it’s completely different. We also have a lot for the explosions of the grenades. For example yeah its got a great punch and boom and it’ll pop up, but listen because the rocks fall, and whatever the rocks hit that tings and you’ll hear the different tings around. So depending on where you’re at you’ll get that sound. So yeah there was a lot of great stuff used to emphasize what was already there, and a lot of great stuff was added for more personality and character. but yeah we started with what was there.
Oh, no way, the music is awesome. Our audio director and I were just talking about this before the trip and I said ‘What did we do to the music? I just want to be clear because people are going to ask about it?’ He was like ‘are you kidding me? I wouldn’t touch the f’ing music with a 10 foot pole.’ So I was like ‘Okay, I wanted to be clear.’ So no remixing, it’s possible that we’ve done some cleanup. I know that for the VO we felt that that was very iconic, but for the radio VO it was very hard to hear some of it. So we took out some of the static so it was clearer, but I know that was another area where we were like ‘it’s pretty good. Lets not mess with that.’