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Getaway Game Garners Sundance Spotlight

With the success of Sony Computer Entertainment Europes virtual acting work on the upcoming interactive THE GETAWAY: BLACK MONDAY, Sony Computer Entertainment America will present it at Sundance, reports HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. The goal is to highlight the game's cinematic aspects and Hollywood ties.

The sequel game, which ships Jan. 25, 2005, recreates 25 square miles of London's "Congestion Zone" and uses live actors for the game's central characters, utilizing them throughout the $20 million project's 18-month development schedule, which is rare for games.

"We used a casting director to pick actors for the roles," said Naresh Hirani, game director for GETAWAY: BLACK MONDAY. "In the first game, we just used models. This time, we were looking for performances."

To achieve emotional realism, the 23 actors involved spent a month rehearsing the scenes before motion capture. The six-week mo-cap shoot included more than 100 takes a day and ended with 15 hours of data captured.

Rather than using reflectors on the actors' faces to capture facial expressions, Sony teamed with Manchester Image Metrics on a proprietary new camera. Mounted six inches from the front of an actor's face, the camera captures facial performance without markers.

"With all the equipment we had on, it was challenging to focus on the scene and not the battery packs, facial cameras and tight suits," said actor David Legano (SNATCH, BATMAN BEGINS). "In a way, performing for this game was a lot like theater in the round. We had 18 cameras pointed at us to capture our movements from every direction."

"If you took the raw motion-capture data from BLACK MONDAY and put it through the same production pipeline using the same the art resources that Sony Pictures Imageworks use, you would get a product that looked the same as THE POLAR EXPRESS," Hirani said. "We're being influenced by films, but we're also bringing our own kind of language to the table in these games."

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