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Gaming ■ ■ ■ ■ PBulletstorm eople Can Fly/Epic Games T e folks at Epic Games liked Polish developer People Can Fly so much after working with the studio on the PC version of Gears of War that Epic bought the studio. Next spring, their fi rst collaboration, Bulletstorm (published by Electronic Arts), will be released on the PC, Play- Station 3, and Xbox 360 platforms. T e game introduces a “symphony of blood,” allowing players to methodically torture enemies before showing them mercy. T e game’s protagonist, Grayson Hunt, is a drunken space pirate who was once an elite mer- cenary. Cliff Bleszinski, design director at Epic Games, says Hunt was modeled after rogue anti- heroes, such as Han Solo; players will journey with Hunt as he seeks revenge and, ultimately, redemption. “Hunt is a member of Dead Echo, an elite group of mercenaries trying to keep the peace for the confederation of the galaxy,” explains Bleszinski. “He discovers that some of his commanding offi cers have been using him and his team to do their ill will, so he makes a decision to save his crew, and they end up in the dead of space.” T e game’s action picks up years later with Hunt living a rogue pirate existence. After crashing his small ship into the Ulysses, the prized ship of the confederation, the game takes place on Sty- gia, a resort planet run amok by mutants and now overrun by confederation enemies, as well. “Modern consoles, along with high-end game engines like Unreal Engine 3, can manage in- sanely detailed game characters with ease,” says Andrzej Poznanski, lead artist at People Can Fly. “Are there still restrictions and limitations? Sure, they’ll always be there, but these days it’s not about limitations, it’s about not getting overwhelmed and carried away with almost limitless possibilities.” As Poznanski notes, good game characters need a tasteful balance of clean, simple shapes, complemented with meaningful details, which weren’t added just because there was empty space on a normal-map texture. He adds that it is important that even when players are squinting their eyes, they still clearly “get” the distinctive features of the model, including the character’s silhouette, props, and attitude. T e team at People Can Fly start the character creation process with a mood concept draw- ing, “because we need to get the vibe and feel of the character before we go further,” explains To create the characters for its noir title Heavy Rain, Quantic Dream enlisted real actors to bring its CG characters to life. The artists spent a great deal of time creating realistic facial animations for the cast. August/September 2010 19

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