September 16, 2021

Xbox One X

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Why does smashing a monster in the face in Monster Hunter World feel so good?

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Do you know what makes Monster Hunter: World’s beasts so convincing? Motion capture. That’s right, some of World’s creature animations began life as a person in a moleskin suit flailing around the studio, rolling on the floor, flapping their arms like wings, and scurrying about on all-fours. Yes, we humans were the monsters all along. Boom! Plot twist.

Capcom used motion capture to achieve a very specific goal: creating a baseline for animations that require a creature’s weight to be thrown around its center of balance, an extremely difficult effect to do by hand. Of course, this doesn’t work when you want to imitate what happens when someone pelts a dinosaur in the face with an eight-foot sword (Disclaimer: no mocap actors were harmed during the making of Monster Hunter: World).

“As an action game, monster feedback animations are really important,” art director Kaname Fujioka explains. “You have to account for which part of the monster the player attacks, from what angle, how much damage they’ve imparted, and figure out how to make the animation work as part of the feedback you give the player while making it satisfying.”

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