While casting and recording for Kinect Sports Rivals throughout 2013, we got the chance to work with some highly talented, extremely versatile and occasionally hilarious acting talent. And it wasn’t confined to the voiceover booth: for KSR‘s team and training cutscenes we decided that full performance capture was the only way to go.
So we hauled our actors down to Shepperton Studios, stuck them in bodysuits and headcams, and let the magic happen. Then we got them to answer a few quick questions so that we could introduce you to the fine people behind the characters (in the English-language version, at least).
Up first: your new daddy, Coach. Or more accurately, Mr. William Hope. Yes, he was also in Aliens. Yes, we were ridiculously excited. Legend.
Rare: Can you give us some background on yourself?
William Hope: Have been a professional actor in all media for 35 years and am best known as Lieutenant Gorman in James Cameron’s Aliens. Done over 30 feature films, over 50 TV productions, recorded hundreds of plays in radio drama, documentary and commercial v/o, over 65 audio books, many video game characters and contribute many regular characters to the global kids’ cartoon series Thomas and Friends. Regularly heard on BBC Radio 3, 4, 7 & World Service.
Rare: How did you get into videogame acting?
WH: A friend was directing a big techno political thriller and cast me as the leading bad guy contracted for 70 hours perf capture. I completed around 15 hours and the production was then cancelled by the new publishers. It may still be resurrected.
Rare: Was this your first experience of performance capture? If so, how was it? If not, are you worried that you’re starting to like the suit?
WH: All any actor really wants to do is get a crack at good writing, expand and deepen your skills and pay the bills!
Working in a suit is fine and gives the opportunity to explore new territory. The ultimate goal is to perform superb work like Andy Serkis’s Gollum!
Rare: Where are gamers and non-gamers most likely to have seen (or heard) your work before?
WH: Movies like Aliens, Dark Shadows, Sherlock Holmes, Captain America: The First Avenger, xXx, Dark Floors, The Detonator. TV like Spooks, Episodes.
Also voiced many characters in video games like Aliens: Colonial Marines, Driver: San Francisco, Constantine, Aliens vs Predator and many more.
Last week saw Kinect Sports Rivals get a little continental with a trip to Paris Games Week. Attendees had the chance to trial Kinect Sports Rivals Preseason, which goes live alongside the Xbox One launch later in November. Producers and EG Expo veterans Mike and Adam were once again our men on the scene, and once again Mike brought us back some lovely words…
At the very end of October, the Kinect Sports Rivals promotional bandwagon rolled into Paris with Rare’s very own Ant and Dec (supposedly I’m Ant) sent over to entertain the crowds and give away five more opportunities to become a Champion at launch.
We arrived on Tuesday. With VIPs and press getting early access to the pre-Paris Games Week party, we set up two kits with the just-announced Preseason build ready for an evening of games and responsible drinking. The constant queue kept us busy until midnight.
Wednesday at 9am, the doors to Paris Games Week literally swung open. With a total of four kits to keep the masses entertained, we needed help. In stepped the boundless enthusiasm of our Xbox demo crew who handled all the non-English speaking gamers, which turned out to be the vast majority of attendees.
We’re a hive of games dev worker bees here at Rare at the moment, buzzing madly around Kinect Sports Rivals. But that doesn’t mean we couldn’t afford a little bit of time to unleash our creative sides and celebrate Halloween!
Last week we saw some of the most creatively carved pumpkins ever seen and some impressive fancy dress to boot. The scariest part of the Rare Halloween celebrations? The art team skulking around wearing identical masks. Sinister!
We hope that you all had a suitably spooky Halloween, and that you’re not suffering too much of a sugar hangover from a weekend of Halloween sweets and (for the Brits) Bonfire Night toffee apples. Click the images below to see them in full!
The first instalment of Rare’s historical sports retrospective a few months ago took us from Slalom through to WWF Wrestlemania, eventually coming to rest in the high-tech space year 1989. We pick up the thread here with another brace of realistic sports, unrealistic sports and things roughly resembling sports all vying for attention in Rare’s athletic past. This time with anecdotes! Go!
6. World Games (1989)
After Summer and Winter Games but before narrowing their focus on California Games, Epyx went broad for World Games which allowed the inclusion of sumo wrestling, caber tossing, skiing, log rolling, um, cliff diving and… barrel jumping. Ever professional, Rare simply nodded and cracked out another solid NES conversion (if a bit belated, World Games having arrived on C64 in 1986).
Box blurb: “Get ready – get set – get psyched! The World Games are here!”
Review quote: “While whimsical in tone, it retains the same style and head-to-head quality of its wildly popular predecessors.” – The Video Game Critic
7. Arch Rivals (1990)
A port of Midway’s 1989 arcade game and the second of two NES basketball titles from Rare. Its pun-tastic tagline seeded the possibility that the two-on-two basketball action would be liberally sprinkled with elements of comedy violence. Yes. Yes it was. Just as well it didn’t also have Dunky Dino from Kinect Sports: Season Two Basketball or the carnage would have been monumental.
Box blurb: “Arch Rivals isn’t just basketball… it’s a basketbrawl!”
Review quote: “A fun fast-paced contest that’s easy to play and get into, as well as fun to watch. Plus it’s just fun to knock your opponents around with out having to put up with fouls.” – NES Times
Bonus anecdote: “Punch (head of testing) Huw’s player on screen and he took it almost like being punched in real life. Game done by Dave and Bob Thomas, Welsh third-party devs who also did the hilariously censored NES conversion of Narc.” – Gregg Mayles, designer (tester at the time)