In Part I of our exclusive interview with E Gaffney we discussed the process of motion capture and how Total Performance Capture was a game changer for Detroit Become Human. And now as promised we continue our interview with Mr. Gaffney discussing the message of Detroit Become Human, as well as acting in video games. Let’s get on with Part II of our interview:
Mammoth Gamers: There’s a trend amongst consumers where the question is ‘How do I get my money’s worth?’ Which translates to ‘How long is this game?’ It seems like this game will have a lot of replayability.
Gaffney: This is a game where even I’m like, “I have to buy a PS4 now just so I can play this game!” I honestly don’t think that anyone else in the market is doing the kind of things that Quantic Dream are doing with Detroit.
Mammoth Gamers: David Cage and Quantic Dream have come up a lot already. They’re definitely doing a lot of interesting things. Games like Heavy Rain have had mixed responses but one thing that’s always stuck out is the emphasis on player choice. Now David Cage is a director known for his creativity and his innovation. What was it like working with David Cage on this project?
Gaffney: One of the things about David that I really respect and enjoy is the freedom that he gives you as an actor. I think one of the reasons why the casting took as long as it did is, as a lot of great people have said, 90% of directing is casting. One of the things that great directors are so good at is putting people in the right roles and then letting them do what they do. So David will come in, and he’ll have his vision and he knows what he wants, but gives you, as an actor, the opportunity to surprise him and bring creativity to a role. So I was able to go in and deliver a line, and then ask to try it a different way. He had a way to find what is real, what is natural. So when you’re playing this game, there’s this whole other element of reality to it. The support that he gives you an actor to bring your character to life was great and Ben [co-director] as well. Ben is great because he gave you a supportive atmosphere, allowing you the freedom to take risks and invest in your character. So both Ben and David are great at fostering trust.
Gaffney: One of the things about this game compared to many other games is not only is it entertaining, but there’s that message. To be a part of a game that has something to say, especially now.
Mammoth Gamers: Two questions left. How important do you believe the message of Detroit Become Human is, especially in today’s political climate, with regards to messages of acceptance and tolerance?
Gaffney: One of the things about this game, that is different than a lot of other games, is not only is it entertaining but there’s an actual message. There’s a lot of people who enjoy the run around, drive around, shoot ‘em up kinda things which are fun.
Mammoth Gamers: Call of Duty and the like.
Gaffney: Yeah, but also to have a game that is exciting, a game that is entertaining but also has something to say. To be a part of a game like that, especially now, in the climate that we’re in in certain parts of the world and for me, being an actor from America and the tragedies that do happen, I think it’s going to be great because it raises valid issues and questions. Whether that is about technology and how we#re progressing, or whether that’s about the racial divide going on, whether that is about socio-economic inequalities, it discusses so many valid principles. One thing I hope it will also do is to raise that question for a younger generation and to get people involved in that.
Mammoth Gamers: Definitely.
Gaffney: Because I think there will be people who play this game, and conversations that will start about this game between 16 and 17 year olds who maybe aren’t watching the news. They know what’s going on in the world.
Mammoth Gamers: They’re on Twitter.
Gaffney: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, but they’re not watching the big networks and the questions that are brought up, the conversations that start up and the things we have to start asking ourselves. We also have this idea of reality imitating art and art imitating reality. So to be a part of a game that could create some really productive conversations, and to bring things to mind. Detroit Become Human was originally supposed to release before, and now it’s gonna be coming out in 2018. I couldn’t think of a better time for it to be released and I cannot wait to see how people respond.
Mammoth Gamers: Thank you for that. And the final question: Do you have any advice for actors, or prospective actors who want to enter the acting world, on how to get involved with video game acting? Because obviously you see these iconic roles, and people winning awards in the game industry now getting roles in the movie industry.
Gaffney: Certainly. I would say number 1 is work on your skills and honing your craft as a performer because good acting is good acting, whether it’s on stage doing theatre, whether it’s doing movies, whether it’s doing video games. Good acting is good acting. That’s why you see actors like Andy Serkis and what he’s doing with his movies.
Mammoth Gamers: And video games as well with Enslaved.
Gaffney: Yes, and video games as well. This is why you see other actors and actresses like Ellen Page, Benedict Cumberbatch. Whether it’s stage, screen, or games, good acting is good acting, regardless of the art form. So work on your skills and honing your craft because whichever medium you go into, you have that base from which to work. If you come onto a motion capture set, we can teach you how to do motion capture, and the same goes for the nuances of film and theatre. We can’t bring you on and teach you how to act. The important thing is your ability to become the character and to communicate that message. When, as an artist, you can do that, you can work in any genre. Motion capture is the combination of theatre and film because while you have 80 cameras on you from all angles, you also have to use a heightened imagination to create the world around you. So if you’re an aspiring actor, take some classes. People often see these projects and say ‘that’s really cool, I wanna do that’ and I ask them if they’re taking classes and they’re not. Well if you were a doctor you wouldn’t turn up on day one expecting to know how to perform surgery or go to someone’s house and rewire their house before learning how to be an electrician.
Detroit Become Human is set for release exclusively on the PlayStation 4 tomorrow, May 25th. For more on Detroit Become Human you’re already in the right place -Mammoth Gamers!