In what could easily pass as a scene from a Philip K. Dick adaptation, Kara is a postulation of where the line between mankind and machine blurs in a technologically advanced world imagined countless times in sci-fi fiction and film.
But during the seven minutes that depict the eponymous robot being assembled, only to face termination for believing she’s real, viewers aren’t witnessing standard CG or animation techniques--they’re getting a glimpse of the future of full-performance capturing. French video game developer Quantic Dream released the demo for Kara not as a trailer for a possible game, but as a PlayStation 3-run prototype to showcase how far the technology behind it has advanced.
While motion capture has been used in the video game industry for years, full-performance capture got techies and gamers buzzing in 2006 with Quantic Dream’s demo The Casting, an intense spot featuring a young actress reading for a part. David Cage, founder and CEO of Quantic Dream, was heralded as a pioneer for bringing next-gen visuals to the forefront of gaming by capturing full-body and facial motions (3-D tears included) in real-time. Fast forward to Kara and it’s evident Cage’s team has made considerable progress generating smoother movements, livelier expressions, and more realistic graphics--all with no pre-rendering or additional effects. The cinematic quality video games have achieved over the years is undeniably remarkable, and the developers at Quantic Dream appear to be pushing innovation toward a more seamless fusion of the art of storytelling and the art of animation.
Those who become enthralled by Kara should know that The Casting was eventually made into PlayStation’s 2010 best-seller Heavy Rain--so, although Cage says Kara isn’t from QR’s next game, it’s realistic to hope the company has something new in the works.