Star Andy Serkis and Ninja Theory creative director, Tameem Antoniades, answer questions from the PlayStation community about the duo's latest collaboration on PlayStation 3.
Andy, do you think the gap between working as a voice actor and a physical actor in videogames is closing in on the performances you have to give in the film industry as technology improves? (castaway666)
AS: I've never considered acting in any medium to be any different because the whole process is understanding a character and knowing how that character works and performs within a story. I think the greatest gap that has really narrowed is the realisation that story is a huge part of gaming and there is no technology to support performances in a very equal, real and engaging way.
What was it like working together again after collaborating on Heavenly Sword? (LordZargus)
AS: It was fantastic building on the reputation and all the things that we learned from Heavenly Sword. Tameem and I work together very successfully, and I even co-directed the performance capture sequences. I think it's fair to say we have fairly similar tastes in what we aspire to create in the game. So for me it was a joy to get involved again, and I'm hoping it's going to continue because I think there is something very vibrant and dynamic about working this way.
TA: For me it was kind of like having an old friend back. It was very comfortable and it went a lot smoother and quicker this time because we knew what we were doing - not that we didn't know before, it was the first time performance capture had been used in a videogame. It was a pleasure, actually; a lot of fun.
How involved were you in the creation of ENSLAVED, Andy? (Triciptinus)
AS: Well, it goes back beyond the actual principal photography shoot to story design, character and how those things came together. I was involved in all of that along with Alex Garland, the writer. The big challenge was how to sustain a story which is predominantly about two characters and their relationship. That had to be worked out over a long period of time.
When it came to the shoot we would talk through the scenes, we'd rehearse them, block them and then shoot them. Tameem would watch scenes, give back notes, then I would watch it with him again and often we'd arrive at a take that we agreed on and then move on. It worked really well.
TA: We would swap duties throughout, so when he was on set I would direct and when he was off set we would review stuff or he would direct if he wasn't in the scene. We worked together before so there wasn't any conflict or anything like that; we were all on the same page.
Andy, the three games you have worked on, excluding the movie tie-ins, have all been of the same genre - fantasy and role playing. Is this a coincidence? (RedHeadband)
AS: No, I think the greater allegorical stories really work well in videogames like that. These kinds of characters really work well because you actually get to see more about the human condition through those allegories and metaphors in fantasy and RPG games.
How many different ideas did you knock around before settling on what gamers see today? (Lucreto)
TA: You know, I often wonder how ideas form because there doesn't seem to be any set way. I'd read Journey to the West and in the back of mind I always thought it would make a cool game. We had just finished Heavenly Sword and our art director said he wanted to work on something sci-fi; so all these connections just came together and I think it just grew organically.
It was definitely the fact that we wanted to do a retelling of Journey to the West, but more specifically to focus on the dynamics of character between two people. You don't see that in games because usually the colour spectrum of emotions is quite primary. This is much more like a real relationship; you just don't see that in games. That was what we always wanted to do and not just in story, in gameplay too.
How do you find working on videogames in comparison to working on a movie? Is there much of a difference? (Rainbird01)
AS: No, there is no difference, you're telling a story and you're playing a character in that story. Obviously as part of a grander canvas we're concentrating on essentially the shoot, which is like a film shoot. That's where my expertise lies, but the other side of it - level design, game design - is separate. My remit is the dramatic side and helping to bring that alive as much as possible. In terms of acting, there really is no difference.