So I was thinking about big budget games today, and how nowadays we hire actors to play roles in videogames. Actors will come in and put on “MoCap” suits and wear helmut cams (to capture the actors facial expressions) to act out entire scenes, in addition to voice work. The Last of Us used this heavily to great effect. You can see it in AAA shooters even like Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, they hired Kevin Spacey, he is uncannily realistic looking in the game. I wonder if he himself is a gamer, in House of Cards he is occasionally seen playing videogames. House of Cards is also one of the first hit Netflix shows, Spacey got in to this kind of television early. I suspect he is tech savvy.
In the past technology, obviously, was the barrier to this kind of work. The focus was instead placed on gameplay and writing.
Final Fantasy is one of the oldest series I can think of that tried to make their games more movie like. Final Fantasy 7 was probably the first game to really capture the feeling of a movie. It incorporated a mix of in game and prerendered cutscenes. This became the norm for all Final Fantasy games that came after.
Another watershed game is Halflife 2. Valve, the creators of the game, are one of the first to really try and capture human emotion in a game. They had hired a psychologist and did extensive studies and facial anatomy and expressions. This was a game made back in 2004, and it holds up remarkably well even now, 10 years later. One little thing I thought was interesting, was that every character was voiced by an actor, all except one. Gordon Freeman, the hero of the story. You play Gorden and Valve decided not to voice him because they didn’t want to ruin the immersion of the game. The game is played in the first person perspective, you essentially become Freeman. So he would need to have your voice, obviously they couldn’t do that, so instead they just silenced him.
Halflife 2 was the first real attempt at making you FEEL something in a game. If not for Halflife 2 I wonder if we would have seen games like Bioshock Infinite and The Last of Us.