The Motion Capture Process - How Will Infinite Warfare Stack Up

Call of Duty has seen a rapid progression in graphics thanks to motion capture.

Video games have progressed quite far in the last 10-25 years and the Call of Duty franchise is no exception. Even looking back as little as 3 years ago to Black Ops 2, the level of hardware and capture technology that the development teams have utilized has advanced leaps and bounds since then. Infinite Warfare looks to provide even more stellar gameplay footage as the franchise continues to adapt to the ever-changing landscapes within the video game industry.

To properly understand just how in-depth and immersive the graphics will look once Infinite Warfare release this November, it’s best to take a look back at previous uses of motion capture in Call of Duty.

Call of Duty: Black Ops 2

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Black Ops 2 was the final game sold exclusively for the Xbox 360 and PS3. Along with Ghosts, the development of Black Ops 3 offered up several obstacles in terms of graphical standards. The system hardware of the Xbox 360 and PS3 were very limiting for many games, not just Call of Duty. With only so much memory available and so much computing power, graphical standards had to be slightly reduced in order to function properly on the available hardware.

As a ceiling of processes approached with various DLC content being added, and though it was a good looking game for the time, the need for progression soon arose. While Black Ops 2 is as far back as we’ll go, the former Call of Duty games were relatively on par with the graphical standards of Black Ops and Black Ops 2, which demonstrates just how much better the franchise will look once Infinite Warfare is released.

Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare

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Advanced Warfare was a transitional period for Call of Duty on consoles as it didn’t focus exclusively on last-gen consoles and instead focused more on the Xbox One and PS4. Though the game was available on last-gen consoles, Advanced Warfare catered more to those who owned the newest generation of consoles. To make up for the gap in development, fans saw an interesting piece of graphical work done with the mo-capping process in Advanced Warfare’s campaign.

Advanced Warfare offered pre-rendered cinematics which is something that, unlike other titles, had the footage captured directly from motion capture sessions and edited into the game as characters and surrounding environments as a pure, lossless file. No quality was lost in the cutscenes because the game was simply playing a video file, it was rendering out processing and gameplay as it happened, thereby queueing up a video file to play.

The ability for hyper-realistic footage in cutscenes was made available via Advanced Warfare’s campaign and set the game apart from other games on the market at that time. As we’ll discuss, Infinite Warfare utilizes some of the same properties that Sledgehammer used with Advanced Warfare.

Call of Duty: Black Ops 3

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Black Ops 3 was an intriguing year, with no real console conversions going on the game primarily catered to that of current generation players while still being available to those on last gen. The game offered quite a bit in terms of content and a clear ceiling has definitely been hit for those still using last-gen consoles. While not having pre-rendered cinematics like Advanced Warfare did, Black Ops 3 rendered footage and cutscenes out real-time while also harnessing the full power of current generation consoles.

This allowed the graphics to be more true to the realistic approach, and ensured the console didn’t stress too much rendering the footage while players were gaming. This proved to be a step up for real-time graphics and processing power. Black Ops 3 proved to be the one of most graphically powerful games thus far based upon computing power and the ability to render out real time, which is something Infinite Warfare may need to battle with when offering improved graphical capabilities.

Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare

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While we’ve only seen glimpses of Infinite Warfare’s campaign, the mo-capping process is something we’ve had the opportunity to analyze and have noted that it seems to work in a similar fashion to Advanced Warfare. Infinity Ward has seemingly taken the same route as Sledgehammer by making the cinematics pre-rendered footage instead of computing and processing full levels real time. However, the gameplay follows the likes of Black Ops 3 in utilizing the current generation consoles to the fullest of their abilities, thus allowing for more pristine quality in gameplay and visuals.

Based on the footage we’ve seen, Infinite Warfare looks very clean and high definition, certainly an attribute to the format of how it was captured. With little still known about Infinite Warfare outside the gameplay and trailers we’ve seen, it is reassuring to know that we’ll be able to play another year of Call of Duty at a high definition standard, with Call of Duty’s gameplay reliably improving with each subsequent title.

For more on Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare, learn how Terminal is making a return in Infinite Warfare as a pre-order bonus, read more about the weapon manufacturers in Infinite Warfare, and take a look at the official Infinite Warfare Zombies logo that was recently revealed.

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