One of the most impressive things at E3 2018 was the gameplay trailer for The Last of Us Part II, and that’s mostly thanks to its detailed gameplay animation (not to mention the best-looking video game kiss we’ve ever seen). In fact, the animation is so good that it’s even catching the attention of other really good animators in a significant way.
One of those animators is Motive senior animator Dan Lowe, who recently released an hour-plus-long analysis video of The Last of Us Part II trrailer’s gameplay portion. Lowe’s video is part admiration for developer Naughty Dog’s achievements and another part an education on how much time and effort goes into animating video game characters.
As Lowe explains in the video, this Last of Us demo is “probably the best example I’ve ever seen of this kind of holy grail goal for gameplay animation teams, which is to try and make the motion in your game seem completely seamless, as though it’s one long piece of motion.” The difficulty in achieving this goal is that animation teams must keep their systems dynamic enough so that the animation makes sense for the gameplay, which often results in teams using blends that seem less natural to connect different moments of animation.
What makes the most recent The Last of Us Part II trailer so impressive is how thoroughly Naughty Dog has seemingly animated and blended each animated state and just how adaptable the animations are to the gameplay situations on an almost frame-by-frame basis.
Here are some of the highlights that Lowe points out:
- The enemies’ pathing all seems to be varied in speed, giving it a more natural feel, and enemies are animated in a way that makes them seem very aware of the environment around them.
- Enemy reaction animations aren’t stationary like in most games, but characters will actually jump around if there is room for them to jump around, hinting at a deep well of animations depending on where characters are standing and what’s around them.
- Ellie dodging into a car during the parking garage fight is definitely systemically made, not a staged, pre-rendered moment. All of the animations seem to have an insane amount of coverage, depending on where characters are standing and what they’re doing.
- The part where Ellie is running and picks up the bottle to throw at an enemy is definitely systemic, as the bottle can be seen slightly magnetizing to Ellie’s hand if you slow the action down.
If you’re at all interested in the art of making games, do yourself a favor and check out Lowe’s highly detailed breakdown below, and marvel in all the hard work and time it took Naughty Dog to make such a masterful demo:
The Last of Us Part II is currently in development for the PlayStation 4.
Source: VG 24/7