Cyberpunk 2077 has officially gone gold, cementing its November 19 release date in a few weeks just after the launch of the Xbox Series X, Series S, and PlayStation 5. Cyberpunk 2077 will ship with support for 10 different language voice-overs, but in a technical presentation the developer has revealed that all of them will have animated lip-sync too.
Animating for just one language track is a lot of work, but doing it for 10 sounds like a mammoth effort. In order to streamline the processes as much as possible, CD Projekt Red worked with Jali Research Inc to develop a model that can realistically automate the process. The technology allows an audio track and tagged animation data to be fed into the model, which in turn produces facial animations that accurately accentuate the right parts of speech with corresponding facial movements. Given the massive amount of dialogue included in the game, this should save animators a substantial amount of time.
The entire breakdown is a fascinating 20-minute watch, but this snippet (shared by Twitter user Shinobi602) captures just how impressive the system is when bouncing between incredibly different dialects.
Lip-sync is sometimes crucial to immersion when playing in alternative languages, which can be jarring to many players that don’t default to English. In Sucker Punch’s Ghost of Tsushima earlier this year the lip-syncing was animated according to the English voice-over, which made the more fitting Japanese acting feel out of place if you decided to switch over. This was especially true when playing in the black-and-white Kurosawa Mode, which was, as the name suggests, meant to emulate the look and feel of an Akira Kurosawa movie.
It remains to be seen how well this system holds up over the entirety of Cyberpunk 2077, which is looking to be a massive role-playing adventure. Cyberpunk 2077 will launch on Xbox One, PS4, and PC, while also supporting backwards-compatible play on Xbox Series X/S and PlayStation 5. Optimized next-gen patches are planned for 2021. CD Projekt Red’s previous game, The Witcher 3, is also coming to next-gen.
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