Naughty Dog Games Benefit from Having Actors Interact with Developers

The secret is to make voice and motion actors feel a part of the team

Naughty Dog, the studio behind successful franchises like Uncharted or the upcoming The Last of Us, has credited the popularity of its titles, in terms of both gameplay and story, to the fact that actors get to interact with the actual developers.

The Uncharted series impressed through its great blend of cinematic sequences and top-notch gameplay that made players feel like they were going through a blockbuster Hollywood movie.

According to Evan Wells, the studio's co-president, Naughty Dog has developed special techniques that make sure the acting and motion capture sessions translate well into the actual game.

"Through Uncharted and The Last of Us we've developed these techniques with our actors and with our performance capture, and with our artists and animators to render these characters in a believable manner, and for the actors to come through in a way we can emote digitally."

"And then the way that the game designers, take that content and wrap it into gameplay that's interwoven - it's not these two separate ideas where there are two hands on top of each other," he told Eurogamer.

What's more, Naughty Dog's creation process also allows the actors, like Nolan North who plays Uncharted's Nathan Drake, to interact with the developers and see how they're also a part of the team that, eventually, brings the game to life.

"Some game developers pay lip service and say they're going to take story seriously, or hire a famous actor, but they aren't taking the steps necessary to really integrate it, or even giving the actors the opportunity to have their performance come through," Wells added.

"We work with actors very closely, and they become part of the team. We work with them over 12 to 18 months, and they really get to know the characters and get to know the story, and they help to shape it and shift it."

Naughty Dog's philosophy will also be apparent with the upcoming The Last of Us game, which is set to appear in June exclusively for the PlayStation 3.

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