Earlier in the month Electronic Arts (EA) filed a patent with USPTO for something called a “universal facial expression translation and character rendering system”. The patent details the video game studio cum publisher’s aim at producing more technologically advanced and sophisticated facial animations and expressions for 3D models in-game.
The patent filing is an indication that the company is looking to explore and delve into the development of more complex facial animations, in an effort to push for further realism in all of its future game titles. It’s not a surprising move by EA, considering the studio has previously invested heavily in other technologies like lighting effects and hair rendering. The latter as evidenced in FIFA 21 and Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order.
The patent also speaks of how facial shapes would be paired with something called a “facial shape identifier” that indicates a type of adjustment of facial characteristics” that could store said facial shapes within a database. And then proceed to link them to a specific character. Judging from this description, this sound nearly identical to the JALI, the facial recognition technology used by CD Projekt Red in its most recent title, Cyberpunk 2077.
As to when we’ll begin seeing this new “facial expression translation” technology is anybody’s guess, but suffice to say, it’s highly likely the feature will be more enjoyable on next-gen consoles such as the PS5 and Xbox Series X and Series S. While PC gamers may not have to do anything more than, say, upgrade their graphics card if and when necessary.