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The Secret Behind Baldur's Gate 3's Hyper-Realistic NPCs? 248 Motion-Captured Actors

By Xueyang
Aug. 30, 2023 updated 08:56

Baldur's Gate 3Baldur's Gate 3

When you're roaming the sprawling world of Baldur's Gate 3, it's hard not to notice the uncanny quality of character animations. Take Lae'zel, for example, and her distinct head movements as she passionately talks about the ghaik. The secret sauce? A massive undertaking in motion capture that involved a staggering 248 actors, according to the game's performance director, Aliona Baranova.

In a recent Twitter/X thread, Baranova revealed that every single NPC in the game, not just the key companions, donned motion capture suits. These suits captured the actors' physical nuances, gestures, and movements, which were then synced with their audio performances. Certain cinematic sequences or unavailable actors were exceptions, but by and large, what you see in-game closely mirrors the actors' physical portrayals.

Notably, the intricate gestures you witness from characters like Shadowheart or Lae'zel aren't just digital conjurings but are actually based on the actors' own physical choices. "The iconic head wiggles [Jennifer English] did as Shadowheart were Jen's actual head wiggles," Baranova explained.

Baranova's role also involves ensuring a seamless blend between vocal and physical performances. "Choices actors were making vocally had to match what they were doing physically," she said.

The level of detail isn't confined to the main characters, extending even to minor NPCs. This approach eradicates the quality gap often seen between primary and side content in games. Baldur's Gate 3's level of authenticity doesn't come from a magic wand; it's the result of relentless work by a team of consummate professionals. And that, folks, is no trick but a masterful stroke in game development.

Source: PC Gamer