Ever notice how improvements in realism haven’t necessary made human characters in video games look more natural?
In some ways, they may look even less natural. The reason they give us the creeps is because they are sitting squarely in the “uncanny valley”—a reference point for a level of realism which makes something look somewhat human, but not entirely human.
That sense of “offness” is often more unsettling than looking at something which doesn’t look convincingly human at all.
Now however, there is reason to be optimistic that we may soon emerge from the uncanny valley altogether. Epic Games’ Kim Liberi has stated that what’s been holding developers back this whole time isn’t their own limitations so much as it is that of current generation hardware.
Liberi believes that the next gen PlayStation and Xbox consoles will be fully capable of rendering truly human, natural-looking faces which won’t give gamers the creeps, adding, “That technique will become ubiquitous over time. It’s got to be about telling an awesome story where people will want to watch that face get involved and do interesting things.”
It’s all very exciting stuff! Be sure to keep up with our ongoing PS5 and next gen Xbox updates!