COD: Black Ops straddles the uncanny valley

COD: Black Ops straddles the uncanny valley, claims Activision CEO
COD: Black Ops straddles the uncanny valley, claims Activision CEO

Activision CEO Bobby Kotick has praised the forthcoming Call of Duty: Black Ops for being a "watershed" moment for in-game facial animation technology as well as the "best game we've ever made."

Speaking at the America Merrill Lynch Media, Comms and Entertainment conference, Kotick said that the games' characters look like those "you'd see in a pre-rendered film"

Crossover with linear media

The Activision CEO added: "The best video game that Activision has ever made will be out in November which is Call Of Duty: Black Ops."

Kotick adds that the publisher now feels that they have reached the place where audiences are "so broad, and the crossover between interactive and linear media would be so great, that you actually see famous actors delivering lines and dialogue" in ways that "actually make a difference" to the game experience.

"The facial animation, the mouth movement, the eye contact is so real, it looks like you'd see in a pre-rendered film," Kotick boasts of Black Ops. "The ability to tell stories and create characters is unlike anything you've ever had in video games.

"This has been the Holy Grail in a lot of respects for video games - the ability to have characters on the screen that you can have an emotional connection with. The medium for the last 25 years has been very visceral, interactive, immersive medium - but it was very hard to have characters to actually have empathy towards or an emotional connection with... or that might make you laugh or make you cry; be some catalyst for an emotional reaction.

"Call Of Duty: Black Ops is the first game where we've been able to perfect the facial animation, mouth movement technology so that the lines that re being delivered are believable. the facial animation looks like a real person."

Major tinseltown actors including Gary Oldman and Ed Harris are set to feature in COD: Black Ops, due for release worldwide on 360, PS3 and PC on November 9.


Adam Hartley