Why Ninja Theory mo-capped actors in reverse for Hellblade

Why Ninja Theory mo-capped actors in reverse for Hellblade
Matthew Jarvis

By Matthew Jarvis

April 21st 2016 at 11:59AM

Star Wars stunt performer Chloe Bruce tried to recreate the moves of virtual hero Senua – rather than the other way around

Ninja Theory has taken a rather unique approach to animating upcoming action title Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice.

Motion-capture usually involves actors performing actions, which are then mapped onto virtual skeletons to create the movement of in-game characters.

However, this time around, the former DmC: Devil May Cry team decided to have Chloe Bruce, who doubled up for Daisy Ridley in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, recreate the existing animations of lead hero Senua, which were originally performed by voice actor Melina Juergens, in order to add new actions and movements.

Meanwhile, performer Cali Nelle, who has recorded stunts for movies including Kingsman: The Secret Service, played the role of virtual enemies. (Basically, Bruce would hit him with a big neon stick.)

“Using the game for reference, we wanted to see if Chloe could manage the timings and flow of Senua, rather than doing it the other way around – which is how it’s normally done,” explained Ninja Theory chief creative Taneem Antoniades.

“We tested a couple of combat strings out to see how quick the work flow was and also what quality we could achieve in the time, and to make general tweaks to the general timing and poses,” added senior animator Chris Goodall, one of just two devs working on the characters’ movement.

“We managed to create two playable combos in pretty much a day. This would’ve usually taken a lot longer traditionally.

“The great thing about that was I could then focus on the things that we can’t motion capture, such as some of the more outlandish moves in the game.”

You can watch the full dev diary below. Thanks, PCGamesN.