Beyond: Two Souls
Though a relatively obvious concept when trying to create a realistic 3D environment, it has to look like people interact within the environment and it is accustomed to a living life style. For example in beyond: Two Souls(B:TS), the relatively obvious I mentioned was the liveable area e.g. all the rooms you might need to tailor to a living and believable character, dining room, living room, bedroom, etc.
There are no crazy colours within the scenes because you are not trying to experiment and create new unique spaces, the colour are articulately chosen to look inviting and comforting to someone staying there. It looks warm and homey which is the feel you often go for when making living quarters.
Even when the surrounding area is quite empty which in this case it is, the interesting and intricate upper-class life style designs of the interior architecture hides that the person(s) habitating there might not have many interests and so it cancels out the need to add an expressive ambience without seeming secluded and ownerless; this will however still happen due to the fact the furniture will be pristine and untouched suggesting that it’s just ‘the environment’, characterless and meaninglessness conjured by perfection, there is no connotation to bring about the idea of people so no empathy stirs from the player, they have no attachment to their visual feed because they can’t form the connections to things that are familiar to them, the mise en scene starts to gradually lose its edge to become unfit of consideration, it becomes ‘the environment’. The design will be overlooked and the player won’t take their time to appreciate it turning a blind eye as they should to something that doesn’t catch their intrigued attention to someone else’s life if it’s unrealistic, the player should feel compelled to investigate and scrutinize what they see and begin building stories with their imagination as to whom this belonged to, what type of person, what they did; even the rooms tell stories, sub-stories and backstories, the lack of this results in the gamer to just move to the next room determined only to advance the story without looking at this other aspect of the game, the artificiality causes the scene to lose its desired effect on the audience its trying to stimulate.
Or maybe that’s just me and I might potentially overwhelm them with content leading them to think that it’s a lot of work to analyse and too time consuming to take everything in, which may lead to the same reaction as when the room was flawless, but rather than the empty, ungrateful feeling it is one of pity in its place because it was worth the look and it was neglected.
To counter act this the people at Quantic Dream for B:TS have cleverly eluded their naive audience’s perception by miss placing some of the objects within the scene, e.g. the pillows that aren’t perfectly parallel to each other, bed made in a hurry, sloppily left, blinds unequal lengths pulled down from each other and all the lights left on adds an air of natural sense to the atmosphere, elements we’ve noticed in our own day to day lives at some point.
The apartment has only a few, but just enough additional non-required pieces to it like the water bottle and fast food drinking cup with a straw poking out left on the counter among other bottles, an empty box of pizza, there is a coffee cup left out with a coffee machine beside it, rubbish left scattered on the table and floor, cases and controllers lying around etc. which adds dimension to the person who lives there, for example the mess suggests that they are easy going and disorganised, the controllers indicate that they have some level of social interactions with more than just themselves because there are two so they’re likely fun and a good company. The small amount of decorative pieces could suggest them being shy of nature, or maybe introverted which would explain the book shelf with many books on it; by placing these things in the rooms it constructs a pretty decent sense of verisimilitude because we recognise it as human behaviour so we believe in what we see, maintaining the illusion of life where there isn’t any.
Further factors which maintain this illusion is the ability to look outside the window and recognise that there’s an entire world beyond this place you’re in, it suddenly feel less isolated by this touch of something which is actually unattainable, but gives the impression of realism since it seems like there’s more than only you and the world is existing doing its own thing as it does.
The Last of Us
Others- Everybody’s Gone to Rapture, State of Decay (to be continued and refined)–