Mammoth Gamers: Definitely. So was it mostly motion capture or was there a lot of time in the studio?
Gaffney: The 3D scan was just to have a template for the game. After that, there was time off for a while before being brought in to shoot. For Detroit, we used Total Performance Capture. Voice Capture records just the voice of the character, Motion Capture only records movement, but with Total Performance Capture you’re being used for the whole character: my expressions, my actions, my voice. So that is really cool because I got to do all three in this project.
Mammoth Gamers: So what can you tell me about your role in the game?
Gaffney: My main character is human. Because the writers were impressed with my range, they decided to write more for my character, as well as asking me to play other characters. I started out playing one character, but after seeing me act they brought me back to play both humans and androids in the game.
Mammoth Gamers: Do they all have the same 3D-scanned head?
Gaffney: Well, here’s the thing, a lot of them have my voice but different motion capture, whereas some will have my expressions but with a different voice. You can’t have 6 characters all looking the same. Some look like me, some are modified physically.
Mammoth Gamers: An important part of Detroit Become Human, as well as a lot of David Cage’s games, is the idea of branching paths storytelling; putting a lot of choice into the players’ hands. How did you find having to record every scenario multiple times? Obviously with a normal script, there’s just the same scene with the same outcome every time. Here you have to play for every scenario.
Gaffney: One of the things about Detroit that makes this game so mind-bending is the plethora of possibilities. Let’s say you play this game six times and there are six different things for one scene. The challenge that that presents for us as actors is we have to shoot all of those. It can be shooting one entire scene and you just change one line at the end, like three words.
Mammoth Gamers: So because of the Total Performance Capture, it’s the whole scene over and over again as opposed to removing and adding a line.
Gaffney: Exactly. And it varies from that because you shoot again with one line different, then two lines different, then three lines different and the last line cut off. It can go from doing that three times, to going to shoot a scene where you’re the happiest guy in the world before shooting a scene where it’s just utter chaos.
Mammoth Gamers: So the sheer variety at the end of your character’s arc could be anywhere on the spectrum from “I love you.” to “I’m going to kill you.”
Gaffney: And you have what I call these “elevator scenes” because you’re either at the very top or you’re in the basement. You could be on top of the world and in the next scene you’re literally beneath it. The challenge that it presents to you as an actor is bringing yourself to these emotional extremes within thirty seconds of each other. One of the coolest things for the player is this may be the closest you can get to real life, because the choices you make will actually affect the end of the game. In most games when you make a decision it’s go this way or this way and it leads back to the same place. Detroit is not like that. You go off on this fork and there are five more possibilities. The player is in control. Really little things can affect the entire ending of the game.
Be sure to tune in next week for Part II of our exclusive interview with E Gaffney as we explore the morality of Detroit Become Human as it relates to the plot and some of the crazy choices you will have to make. You won’t want to miss it so be sure to check back in next week. And of course, for more on Detroit Become Human, make sure you keep it locked right here to Mammoth Gamers!
Update: Part II of our exclusive interview with Mr. Gaffney can be found right here!