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How Overwatch communicates character from a first-person perspective

June 23, 2017 | By Chris Kerr

June 23, 2017 | By Chris Kerr
More: Console/PC, Design, Video

How do you communicate character and personality from a first-person view? That's the question tackled in the latest episode of the Extra Frames video series, which attempt to offer some insight into the world of video game animation. 

To serve up an answer, the video uses Overwatch as a prime example of first-person animation done right, contrasting it with other more mundane efforts to showcase how Blizzard's hero shooter packs its characters full of, well, character. 

"In terms of game animation, Overwatch is a master class in character appeal. This game is all about its characters. Every single member of this cast is unique and just loaded with personality. More than in almost any game I've ever seen. And almost all of that in-game personality is conveyed through animation," explains the video.

"There's very little dialog or plot in the game itself, so animation and character design do the bulk of the heavy lifting in defining who these people are. The way they carry themselves, their emotes, their play of the game glamor shots: it all paints a picture of who these people are."

In Overwatch though, we spend the majority of our time staring at our chosen character's hands and weapon. That in itself poses another puzzling question.  

"How have Blizzard animators managed to continue expressing personality using only these elements?," the video continues. "Ultimately the answer is they gave every single character their own completely unique set of first-person animations, and built in lots of contrast between how each character goes about things."

To learn more about the specifics of Overwatch's noteworthy first-person animation techniques, be sure to check out the full video. We've embedded it above, but you can also find it, along with other neat clips, over on the Extra Credits YouTube channel.

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