FATED is starting to look pretty good! We’ve really polished the art and the visual effects since the last time we shared screenshots. It’s about time you see what our game will look like when it’s ready. Here are 5 high definition screenshots.
They give but a glimpse of what you’ll experience as Ulfr the humble family man in FATED.
It’s hard to convey the wonders of a VR world in still frames but I think these shots are doing a great job.
What world are you eager to visit in Virtual Reality?
Instead of talking about the progress of the game today, I thought it would be interesting to share a little bit about my work and challenges as community manager for a VR game, a still-in-development VR game at that.
We’ve been working very hard in the last few weeks on our first real press outreach. We reached out to 30 members of the press interested in VR and revealed the title of the first episode of Fated, The Silent Oath.
Along with this news, we confirmed our release for Q1 2016 and our intention to launch on the Oculus Rift, the PlayStationVR and the HTC Vive.
And we topped all of this with this new sweet key art.
A few weeks ago, I promised to show you the end result of our animation pipeline. It kind of slipped my mind (sorry), but here it is! This short video includes the use of motion capture, “traditional” animation, facial tracking and a “look-at” system:
We are very happy with the result; it looks great in VR and the emotions really get through. The little girl featured in the clip is Lif, the daughter of the character you portrait in FATED. She has the feeling that you’re mad at her for something, but she doesn’t know what.
When I started working on this project, I had minimal experience with story-driven games. But I knew that music would be critical in order to create the emotional journey I wanted FATED to be. So I made sure we were working with one of the best Audio Directors out there: Patrick Balthrop. Patrick has more than a decade of experience creating award-winning sound for games like BioShock: Infinite; he also worked with us on Chariot, so I knew what I could expect to get from him: top-notch audio.
With Patrick on our team, I started looking for references that would help us define our musical signature. I’ve listened to over a hundred tracks and found inspiration in many of them, but I would say that the most important influence has been The Fountain’s soundtrack. I hadn’t even seen the movie the first time I listened to it, but with the music alone, I was able to feel every emotion the movie puts you through. I also really liked the fact that the soundtrack felt like one long musical piece. It rapidly became a benchmark for our musical track, and I think we’ve reached our objective.
I am very excited to share FATED’s musical theme with you today, and I really hope you’ll enjoy it as much as we do.
If you are interested in knowing more about the production of audio for VR, keep an eye on the blog, as we will shortly post an article that shares our learnings.
Last week, I was at Blindlight Studios in Los Angeles with our Audio Director, Patrick Balthrop, to record the voice-overs for FATED. We were amazed by the quality of both the studio staff and the actor cast. It was honestly one of my best experiences, professionally.
Blindlight works on most of the big AAA projects, from Activision Blizzard to Naughty Dog all the way to Disney Interactive Studios. It’s our first time working on such a voice-acting-heavy title, and that recording experience was almost unreal. The actors were top-notch, not only on the voice acting, but also on the emotions they were able to inject into their lines. By the end of a particularly gripping scene, one of the actresses was literally in tears …
So I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who was there for your amazing work. The game will be a hundred time better because of you!
Also, for anyone looking for great voice actors, here’s a full listing of our cast, each with one of the amazing projects on which they’ve worked (because there’s not enough space to list them all):
• David Lodge [ Destiny ]
• Cherani Leigh [ Borderlands 2 ]
• Andy Pessoa [ King’s Quest ]
• Lex Lang [ Mass Effect 2-3-4 ]
• Matthew Waterson [ World of Warcraft ]
• Laura Post [ League of Legends ]
• Michelle Sparks [ Sunset Overdrive ]
• Reagan Rundus
Reagan Rundus, the little actress who portraits our character Lif, is only 7 years old.
Here’s a sample of what we recorded in our two-day sessions with Blindlight:
During the recording session, we were also capturing the actor’s faces to track facial expressions using faceshift so we can use them in-game. We are hoping that with this technique we will get richer facial animations, and that more emotions will come through.
The next step will be to merge everything together: the body animations we recorded during the motion capture sessions, the facial animations recorded with faceshift, and the voice-overs.
This step is both exciting and nerve-wracking. I’m really looking forward to seeing our characters finally come to life, and I hope they’ll look awesome! It’s our first time using this animation pipeline, and failing here would mean a lot of more work for our animators. So, fingers crossed!
I’ll try and show you the final result, but until then if you have any questions, feel free to ask!
We were finally able to get our hands on the HTC Vive today! [Thanks Chet]
Since we have a lot more DK2, most of our development is done on Oculus, but in the next few weeks we will start working on our Project Morpheus and HTC Vive versions. We’ll definitely keep you posted on our progress and share what we will learn along the way.
In FATED we want players to be immersed in the world we created. We want them to feel connected to the characters they meet. To achieve this, we’re working with various animation techniques designed to make sure that our characters move and act in a realistic way.
As we stated earlier in the blog, we’re using motion capture for the character movements. When the character hops down from the chariot in the preview, we see how smoothly she moves even though it’s a pretty complicated movement. For facial expressions, we’re using Faceshift, a markerless motion capture software.
Finally, the hair and the other items are animated manually. We’re looking into other options to give the objects a more realistic feel by simulating the physics in Maya and baking it directly on the animated models.
All three techniques are then combined in Unreal Engine 4.
What do you think? I think it’s going to look amazing!
In the wake of this week’s Oculus Story Studio announcement of the animation project Henry, we wanted to share our own favorite VR short film, Butts. It’s more of a must Watch than a must play really. It’s not the only VR animation short out there but its execution is flawless and it’s sure to put a smile on your face.
We love how the creators describe it on their website: “Butts is an animated VR short about love, trust, and learning what it means to be truly free.” It’s an adaptation of an animated short that you can also watch on their website. It’s interesting to compare the VR experience to the original short and see how virtual reality affects the storytelling.
What do you think? Have you tried other VR animated films?
FATED is a first-person movie-length narrative-adventure game in virtual reality. This immersive game with stunning visuals showcases the best that VR has to offer, proposing a strong story-driven, narrative experience that focuses on emotion over gameplay.
This project is being developed by a dedicated team within Frima.
To follow its development, stay tuned to the blog and join our community on Facebook and Twitter.