French developer Quantic Dream has told GamesIndustry.biz that it intends to secure some of the biggest names in Hollywood for its upcoming PlayStation 3 title, currently known as Heavy Rain.
With a new in-house motion capture studio, the Fahrenheit developer believes that it can successfully portray actor's emotions — not just physical movement — with actors now interested in the script and story behind the game rather than worrying about the technology.
"We had a meeting with Leonardo DiCaprio in 2004 and we tried to convince him to play in one of our future games — at the time we had Fahrenheit to show him," detailed Guillaume de Fondaumière, co-founder of Quantic Dream, in an exclusive interview published today.
"He liked it very much, but he politely explained to us that we still were not at the level that he'd expect the technology to be at in order to give us his time and be able to portray his performance. Today, it's very different. We're talking with class A actors. These Hollywood actors are asking us about the scenario and the stories as the technical aspects are taken care of.
"We've been able to demonstrate that we're capable of portraying the performance. They are asking, "what's the subject matter, what's the role?"" he said.
Quantic Dream unveiled a tech demo for Heavy Rain at E3 in 2006 — a screen test featuring one virtual actor called The Casting (pictured) — and the studio is confident it has now surpassed the impressive facial animation on display during that five minute demo.
"When we showed The Casting everyone agreed it was nice and it really showed that there was a potential for creating virtual actors, but we're still at this frontier where we don't totally suspend disbelief. We still have this uncanny valley to bridge," offered Fondaumière.
"But today, I can officially announce that there is no uncanny valley any more, not in real-time.
"With our next project we're going to demonstrate with hundreds of characters that we can have extremely realistic characters that not only move like real actors but express themselves through facial animations and speech like real actors, and are extremely accurate to the actors they are portraying," he added.
The full interview with Guillaume de Fondaumière, where he discusses working with Sony on a PlayStation 3 exclusive, can be read here.