Does the Future of Call of Duty Look Like This? Activision Unveils Next-Gen Character Rendering

During a recent presentation at this year’s Game Developers Conference, Activision technical director Jorge Jimenez took the stage to unveil and demonstrate the company’s “Next-Generation Character Rendering” technology which, while unlikely to be seen in a Call of Duty near you, is rather impressive nonetheless.

As you can see in the video demonstration and slides below, these photorealistic, digitally created characters display true to life facial expressions and emotions while running at 180 frames per seconds using a Geforce GTX 680.

“For us, the challenge goes beyond entertaining,” said Jimenez. “It’s more about creating a medium for better expressing emotions, and reaching the feelings of the players.”

See for yourself in the video presentation below.

As per the video’s description, “this animated character is being rendered in real-time on current video card hardware, using standard bone animation. The original high resolution data was acquired from Light Stage Facial Scanning and Performance Capture by USC Institute for Creative Technologies, then converted to a 70 bones rig, while preserving the high frequency detail in diffuse, normal and displacement composite maps. It is being rendered in a DirectX11 environment, using advanced techniques to faithfully represent the character’s skin and eyes.”

Though not yet actual gameplay, it’s interesting to see where Activision’s latest tech will take them and whether or not we’ll be seeing high-fidelity characters such as these in a game like Call of Duty any time soon. We can only hope.

In addition, check out the gallery below for some more scary real screens.

Thanks, MP1st reader Cillian Greene.

  • The scariest thing about this is that the eyes actually look… alive. Like there is a soul in there someone. Considering how they couldn’t even do that in Tron Legacy only a couple years ago… That’s pretty crazy.

    • It’s because they steal the souls of swearing 12-year-olds on Call of Duty and use them for facial rendering software.

      • Jamic

        Best reply evah.


      • Jason


        • you are my bitch

          Shut up pussy you don’t get to laugh

      • you forgot about me

        What about us 20 year olds who don’t rage? What happens to us!

    • Thatbeastlytaco

      It looks super realistic but that’s how it will look if that’s the only thing you focus on. It will still look really good though, and CoD could take the upgrade in fps to from 60 to 120 maybe.

      • Jason

        Depends on what engine they use, Plus I doubt they would go 120FPS since most people don’t have 240hz TV’s lol

        • Surely you mean 120hz TV’s

          • Jason

            No I meant 240hz… Hz to FPS is a 2/1 ratio, which means 60hz TV can only display 30FPS vs a 120HZ TV that can Display 60FPS.

            • Jason

              Oops this sounds confusing lol, Ok there are TV’s that are 60HZ that display up to 60FPS but is rare, If you play COD on most 60HZ TV’s and then Play on a 120HZ TV you will notice it will be Much smoother than the 60HZ. A TV’s “HZ” is it’s refresh rate but there are other specs to look for on a TV like the actual “Pixel Refresh Rate” or “Pixel response time” which Higher HZ TV’s and some 60HZ TV’s have a short PRR so you can enjoy a Full 60FPS but is rare. Most Video is Shot in 60FPS Interlaced which converts to 30FPS Progressive and Films are Recorded @ 24FPS.

            • DanDustEmOff

              Meh for gaming input lag is more important especially in an first person shooter then refresh rate

            • Ol1VI3R

              Dude 240 hz on TVs now days is only a chip inside the television that double or triple youre real hz that is 60hz if youre hook to a HDMI(1,2,3,4) or VGA etc. The only cable that gives you 120hz is D-DVI like on PC moniter. If you want to game with the 240hz or 480hz etc you will have mad input lag because of the process the chip makes to double the hz !!! You are definitely a console dude since you probly dont get a big deference of playing it on a console that give you 30fps on a 240hz LOL

      • Who cares about 60fps. As long as the game looks good. FPS don’t make the game.

        • Kevin Walters

          yeah it does, the difference between a lower fps and a higher fps is how smoothly the game runs.

          • The Army Ranger

            I could care less if a game has a high frame rate. All I care is if the frame rate is consistent, meaning it doesn’t just drop sporadically at the most random times.

        • DanDustEmOff

          I care u obviously know very little about gaming fps is key to making games play smoothly higher the better

      • 120 fps on console is unlikely to happen anytime soon.

        • DanDustEmOff

          Expect the next generation to easily be able to run at 120fps

      • Alex

        Why would you go to 120 fps if you don’t notice the difference in frames after around 80 fps. Or so I heard I could be wrong.

        • DanDustEmOff

          U may not be able to see the difference but u can feel it the game feels slicker and much smoother running at 120fps compared to 60fps even if your display is only 60htz

      • rayan koutchoukali

        60fps is fine for now. I think they should focus on other things like graphics and new features.

  • crazy

  • Bf4 ftw

    Meh. Idc about cod in the next gen. Bf4 on next gen will be sick!

    • WasabeJuice

      Next time please ignore any COD article, it really makes you haters pathetic.

      • Thatbeastlytaco

        There we go someone using that thing in their head! It seems like its a rare thing now.

      • lol is that why you were on a BF3 articles trolling??? l

        • Kevin Walters

          ahaha! nice comeback bro!

      • You makr it seem lile CoD noobs never troll other games.

        • The BF trolls greatly outnumber the CoD trolls on this site and many others. Let’s just agree that trolling is idiotic.

          • ^^ this

          • JustinD

            That’s because battlefielders have seen the light and try to pass on the greater game

          • CoD trolls are little more annoying but BF trolls like to beat a dead horse and act holier than thou.

      • It’s not trolling. While Bf4 looks ready to go,COD is saying….look we have our faces ready.

    • Typical BF fanboy trolling like a 12 years old kid.

    • I think there’s a battlefield page to comment about battlefield on somewhere on the site

  • Rosemeadshredder

    We’ll probably be seeing this kind of realism in cut scenes, but not actual gameplay. Damn it looks good though. Cut scenes for games that are driven by narrative are going to be amazing

    • BOSS jediZOHAN

      Get this man a cookie as he’s the only one that even thought about the practical uses of this tech!

    • Cut scenes driven by narrative are never amazing. I don’t care how pretty they are. I don’t know why video games feel like they have to follow in the footsteps of cinema when video games are IMO the superior form of entertainment (when it’s interactive and not forcing you to sit through non-interactive cutscenes).

  • hey

    It’s just a demo and besides they said MW4 or whatever they’re making next is only on the PS3/XBOX/PC so you will NOT see anything new until the next COD AFTER mw4, the nail in the coffin.

    • Can you please link me to that article.

      • hey

        Of what, MW4? The nail in the coffin in the cod franchise, oh actually that was black ops 2 lol.

        • Thatbeastlytaco

          He(assuming) was asking for a link. If leaked info is anything to go by than its ONLY next gen which goes with why activision was expecting sales to be down this. Cant just pull stuff out of no where and expect for people to believe BS.

          • Yeah i wish we could flag comments to make them invisible.

            • Alrighty Mao should we send him to a prison camp too? Just because you dont like what someone says doesnt mean you should be able to silence them

            • …Shhhh

            • So if i was at your mom’s funeral and there was a book where i could write what i thought about your mom and i wrote ” THAT FUCKING DUMB STUPID FUCKING WHORE I HOPE SHE GETS BURNT TO ASHES” you wouldn’t want to silence me so i don’t write something like that again or you would me speak my mind and be a dickhead.

            • Wow really, you are a piece of shit you are going to dig into my life and talk about my mom fuck you its only been 3 months you really think its ok to compare my moms death to a video game

            • you don’t understand what an example is do you.

    • Hey fag

      Do you really think it is cool to be a douche bag?

  • COD Hater here…but, come on, I used to love the game and I hope a new engine, new graphics, a new system, and the challenge from BF4 will push COD to new heights. Just cuz I love Battlefield, doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate COD. It’s a different game and I don’t think they have to abandon the Arena Sport Shooter concept while embracing new ideas.

    The graphics are impressive, but they stated they’re just tests of the graphics card capabilities. Not anything in game. Nonetheless, let’s see where COD goes next. I may not play anymore, but I have a lot of friends that do. They must be doing something right to be the #1 game in the genre.

    That being said, I’m also interested in Destiny and if Respawn ever turns out a new FPS IP.

    • Asmitty56

      Glad to hear they are doing different movements like peeking, rolling, and sliding. Sure realistic eyes are nice but you make your money and game with the details in the surroundings, bullet impacts on walls ect., explosions, and destruction. CoD fans are all about competition right? You don’t want some kid getting ahold of a very good gun and mopping the floor with you when you want to challenge your self using a gun more leveled to the playing field, or simply completing challenges. Then change the gun mechanics. Add more realistic recoil and bullet deviation, maybe some bullet drop off, maybe add more flinch for when bullets hit you or go wizzing past your head, snipers shouldn’t be so accurate when you are unloading on them, also decrease the insane hip fire accuracy. It would improve the game, add of a challenge, and separate the skilled players from the noobs

      • BANG BANG

        no bullet drop & more recoil that will ruin the game.

    • Everyone…….let’s take a moment to appreciate this mans comment. He does not play a game, yet he does not bash the game. He is interested to see what boundaries they can push in order to make the game better. This man……………is a gamer.

  • MrLadyfingers

    Yay!! Next generation lag <3 Maybe they'll run it at 120 fps just so they have something to brag about again.

  • Meat Popsicle 28

    So this is what Tom Sizemore has been up to!

  • would be more impressive if Beyond Two Souls was on PS4 and not PS3
    Beyond Two Souls is impressive for a current Gen Console.

    • Shame

      Yeah its sad that the PS3 was held back by the XBOX on multiplatform releases. I mean look at that screenshot. The CELL processor is capable of some amazing things with the right developers. That looks next gen and its on PS3.

      • Jason

        LOL NO and YES, The CELL processor in the PS3 is an 8 Core Microprocessor with a Clock Speed of 3,200,000,000 Instructions per second (3.2 GHZ) and is Actually More Powerful Than PS4’s 8 Core Jaguar 1.6 GHZ processor as well is the Xbox 360’s 6 Core 3.2 GHZ Xenon Processor. However the GPU is what is relevant for Graphics and NOT the CPU which is used for game loads, server joining , your OS, etc. pretty irrelevant when coming to games UNLESS the game it utilized to work the CPU more because of GPU lacking (In this case). They did a CPU test in the Xbox 360 running Gears of War (One of the Best games showcasing the Unreal Engine) and Found out it utilized LESS than 50% of the CPU’s Power, which is why I think Sony and Microsoft went Soft (lol) on the CPU’s and went HEAVY on the beastly GPU’s for next gen!

        • ?

          Although I do appreciate your tech knowledge there is a fact that shoots down all tech talk and power this and power that and its the games. While the Xbox 360 has its share of amazing looking games which I can only think of one exclusive and that is the Gears of war series. PS3 on the other hand has exclusives that blows 360 out of the water like God of War 3, Uncharted series, Killzone series, and others. Not to mention the upcoming Last of Us which looks phenomenal. And lots of others. I have both systems and the truth is that 360 did in fact hold the PS3 back as far as Multiplatform releases goes. Lets take BF3 for instance. Would it be better if it was developed only for PS3 and PC I would think so. Now it would not be able to do 64 players or 60FPS but I guarantee if 360 never existed they would have easily been able to do 32 players and have better graphics for it. I would not say this but the PS3 exclusives has graphics that rival most games on PC even. I love when PC lovers get on here and brag about all that amazing power they got when in the truth what is the use for that power if there is no games. BF3 was the only game that I even considered getting a PC that was capable of running it. So bottom line all this tech talk is useless if you do not have the games to back it up. Not to mention the right developers that can harness that power. And is far as the next gen Sony has the best first party developers around and it shows.

          • roland0811

            ^^LMFAO!! Ya, ok man.

          • Jason

            ? I was not hating on Sony at all and i agree that sony has better exclusives and support when it comes to developers. I was stating hardware facts between the two and NO graphically wise the ps3 has a highher clock speed on the GPU than the 360 only by 50hz (which still makes a difference) but BF3 got lens flare and AA options on PS3 that xbox didnt on the video options. but both 512mb DDR3 so like i said NO, the PS3 was not held back at all really since they have almost identical specs in Graphics proccesing power, PS3 is just a tiny bit better and not “held back” like you make it out to be, Thats truth and you cant ignore hardware.

            • Bob

              Then explain the massive difference from PS3 exclusives than Xboxs. If PS3 is slightly better than show me a game that has the detail of a God of war 3 or Uncharted. You cannot argue against games either. Imagine what Gears of War series would look like if it was a PS3 exclusive.

            • Jason

              Dude I said they do look better just not THAT much better yall are acting like 360 vs PC graphics! PS3 exclusives also run @ 30fps and 720p resolution, same as Xbox games (besides COD on both consoles) as far as “massive” difference, your joking right? I have already said that 1: CPU has nothing to do with Graphics Proccessing, 2: Xbox 360 and PS3 both have 512mb of DDR3 RAM on the GPU’s with PS3 being a little faster hence why it does have Better Graphics but only a noticable difference not “Massive”. So why the hell are yall arguing with me? google it, its that easy to find out the facts instead of talking out your ass and arguing about graphics when you have NO comprehension on how it works!

            • Clayton Johnson

              Isnt it also true that Cell helps out the Ps3 GPU in performing mostly GPU specific tasks?

            • Jason

              Yes, Thats the First comment I said…

            • Clayton Johnson

              Oh, sorry i overlooked that part lol, but in truth the Xbox does has a better GPU as it is more capable in doing GPU specific tasks alone that Sony has Cell microprocessors and the RSX GPU do in conjunction. That’s why developers have such issues with porting games with PS3 because its unnecessary. Xbox doesn’t work that way nor does PC which has much better results as far as graphics and resolution is concerned. But considering the PS4 won’t be as difficult and devs will actually want to do proper ports to the Ps4 as already the case with Blacklight Retribution. We may even see games like L4D come to the PS4

          • Clayton Johnson

            I say its Sony’s fault that the PS3 was “held back” by even going with Cell microprocessors in the first place. A technology only their own developers for the most part has the most knowledge in using, and then not sticking with it for the PS4 because they know it would be a bad move to keep cell since nobody wants to put in ext a work to utilize what the general consensus of developers feel is a difficult architecture. After having both consoles, I’ll proudly say that I do most of my gaming on my 360 which has far more optimized games for it as last I checked, PS3 version of Bf3 had the most issues of the two. Leaving only th PS3 to play Sony exclusive Games and PSN games.

    • Yep. The PS3 got the screw job this generation.

  • i though this was Nvidia tech ?!

  • HelghastUser

    Looks Great! Impressive video, Thanks for posting. I would’ve rather preferred to see the Old man though to see the wrinkles on his skin but this is great as well. Reminds me of ‘LA Noire’..

  • Good now the only thing everyone would judge about cod is the gameplay :3

  • Activision watch out you are getting into uncanny valley

    • *out of.

      Look at oblivion, that was when we entered the “uncanny” valley, look at BF4 or Crysis 3, we are well out of it

  • Jason

    Tech Demo or Not, This is Better than any of PS4’s Tech Demos (still impressive) from other Dev’s! Good Job Activision (something I never say, lol). But After seeing BF4 Video in 1080p, It has set the Bar for actual Game Play Graphics for next gen, Cevat Yerli of Crytek can talk all he want’s about Cryengine 3 being next gen, but Frostbite 3 is a whole nother level as well as these Facial Animations!

    • Quantic Dream’s PS4 Tech Demo is impressive!! there isn’t any true High Def videos or images to show the quality like in these videos/images but I’m sure we will see some more soon.. I hope!!

  • JustinD

    What are these steps forward? I thought we all liked copy paste

  • Kevin Walters

    just remember, its gonna look worse in real time. this is an isolated single subject, with nothing else going on in the background, so obvioulsy they’ll be able to put in more detail. However theyll have to downsize it a lot for their “beloved” 60 fps… -__-

  • Asmity56

    Would like to see better gun mechanics. Add more realistic recoil and bullet deviation, maybe some bullet drop off. Add some better flinch when bullets hit the player or near them. Better gun mechanic would feed the competitive nature of the game. Would also be another way for devs to balance guns.

  • lrishjake

    These are still images.. still. Not video. Other companies can do this with video, so when Activision can do THAT.. then lets talk about their future.

    • lrishjake

      wait, now I see the video too.. my bad.

  • Trey

    Whatever. This new engine is not worth jackshit if the game runs like crap during online multiplayer. Nothing about COD is groundbreaking until they optimize online connections, lag compensation and hit detection.

  • “COD is for little immature kids” *Trolls on a COD post* You people make no sense

  • Look at all the little 12 year old tough guys bashing a video game. Ohhh by the way i’ll see you at the midnight release.

    • xzidia

      have fun suffering battered wife syndrome by keep coming back to the piece of shit thats let you down over and over.

  • brian

    hopefully not

  • B_Boss

    Ryan S, what an incredible response and I absolutely love the term “arena sport shooter” as opposed to (what i love to call it) “arcade action FPS” and while I am a CoD player, like yourself, I hope they do NOT change that kind of FPS that it is. i think graphics will definitely be ashowstopper but for a moment, the gameplay and elements therin will matter more than anything.While I prefer BF over CoD, I am anxious for the future of CoD: Nextgen. Lets see where it leads, I’m game.