According to a recent developer post over at Remedy’s official forums, spotted by Galaxy Next Door, it appears Remedy Games will be remed…er, addressing Alan Wake's noticeable facial animation issues in upcoming downloadable episodes for the game.
In the post, MarkusRMD explains:
"We have a few different methods of doing facial animation - in-game using FaceFX and motion capture used in cinematics. While I think it'll always be possible to get 'fugly' single frames out of any game we definitely learned a lot doing Alan Wake, and will try to improve the way we do things to get best possible looking facials. In fact, we're using some of the improvements in the DLC production already."
MarkusRMD continued, saying, “It's not alone a matter of the method how or where the facial capture is done, it's about the run-time animation techniques available, skeleton setup and so on. It's a complex problem trying to dodge the Uncanny Valley.”
This is actually welcomed news, because while Alan Wake definitely packs a pulse pounding punch, thanks to the spectacular lighting effects and sound design, the lip synching and facial animations leave a lot to be desired. This doesn’t stop it from being a truly terrifying experience (just ask Patrick Klepek), but when a game puts such a big emphasis on story and character, it’s detrimental to the game’s emotional impact when characters have stiff and/or awkward facial animations.
In Alan Wake’s case, I was so in love with the overall feel, tone and design of the game for the poor lip synching to really take me out of the experience, but it’s impossible to miss. It's hardly what I'm looking forward to the most, but I'm definitely interested to see how the facial animation issues are handled in the DLC. I've reached out to Remedy to find out more, so I'll let you know if I hear anything.
Source: Galaxy Next Door