“Games are not films,” said Yannis Mallat, CEO of Ubisoft’s Montreal and Toronto studios. “Like films, they are about telling stories, but with a fundamental difference: interactivity. We must do our best to make sure our work is Hollywood calibre.”
The new 2,000-square-foot space in the city’s west end has padded walls lined with metal scaffolding that holds 80 cameras to help the videogame company better capture actors’ performances. The presentation included a demonstration of a scene from the studio’s upcoming Splinter Cell: Blacklist. The actors wore black skin-tight suits, with little balls called markers all over their bodies. As the camera rolled, a live feed showed how the actors are rendered in the videogame’s graphics, including backgrounds and character outfits.
According to the game’s director, David Footman, the large space will allow several actors to perform at the same time. Advances in the field now allow bodies, faces and sounds to be recorded at the same time.
“It should be par for the course, but it hasn’t been,” said Footman. “We’ve only been doing it for the last couple of years. It’s a total game changer in terms of capturing performance, which is why we call it performance capture, not motion capture.
“Everything we’ve learned in the last 10 years has gone into this stage,” he added. “It makes shooting easier than it ever has been before. What it’s starting to do is make the technology invisible and allow us to focus on the performance.”
Ubisoft Toronto has been in operation for just under two years. The company was lured to Ontario with $ 230 million in tax incentives and credits. Brad Duguid, minister of Economic Development and Innovation, was on hand for the opening.