The Last of Part II is a big video game title coming out in 2020. Naughty Dog is raising the bar with this game as its one of the biggest titles they will be releasing to date. As a result, there needs to be plenty of high-level detail included throughout the game, from the visuals of the in-game world to the story players will be undergoing. However, one more element that the Naughty Dog team incorporated into this game is the animation process. This new process will make animations look seamless and fluid thanks to motion matching.
Motion Matching is a process Naughty Dog is dubbing their creation. It’s technical but thanks to co-director of the game, Anthony Newman, we get a better explanation of what this entails. Speaking with GameSpot, Anthony Newman stated that the process before was rather linear when it came to direct a motion pathway. Essentially, the computer would get a set of commands on how to portray a movement or character. Now with motion matching, the computer would have endless motion possibilities that it could pick through.
“It’s this technology for characters moving through a space like running, walking, jumping, and that kind of thing. In all our previous games there’s been this distinct state machine where we say, ‘Play a run animation. Then play a turn left animation. Then play a turn right animation.’ The way motion matching works is it takes this massive bucket of animation, just hundreds and hundreds of animations, and chops them into little tiny bits. When you define the path that a player or an enemy wants to take, rather than saying, ‘Play this and then play that and then play that,’ the system actually looks at the bucket of animations, finds the ones that matches the path that you’re already taking, and blends them together frame-by-frame.”
It’s a very interesting process and one that can be seen in action already thanks to the gameplay demo footage that was released so far online. We’re likely going to skip all those odd movements that jerk the character around when going through the game. Luckily, we now know when we’ll get a chance to try the game out for ourselves. The Last of Us Part II is set to launch on February 21, 2020, exclusively for the PlayStation 4.