Alan Wake and the original Max Payne games, states that while the facial animation in L.A. Noire is astounding, they're developing an engine for it for their next, unannounced project that will blow it out of the water.
“LA Noire has set a bar for facial animation,” CEO Matthias Myllyrinne says of Rockstar’s forthcoming crime title. Raising one hand, then placing his other significantly higher, he adds: “But (Rockstar’s game) is here, we’re aiming to be here.”
The engine is one created by Root, a tech uses motion capture as a starting point for generating scans of actors which is accurate to ½ mm, including 64 facial poses from which Root claims every human expression can be derived.
Using the CGI model of the scanned actor, animators can then use sliders to adjust expressions based on the captured positions, allowing them to control and edit a realistic human face in real time rather than rely on individual performances for every cutscene and action - or keep reusing the same expression over and over. As a result, the facial animation is "strikingly nuanced" and "subtle".
If that level of detail weren't enough, there are more plans for Root to get even more fine - one additional component yet to be implemented is color mapping, a system which will simulate blood flow beneath the skin, adjusting the color of skin as brows are furrowed or lips pursed.
The company has a closed door model of the character Alan Wake using the Root tech, but is not ready to show it to the public yet.