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Call of Duty: Ghosts dev discusses challenges of motion capture work with dogs

Samit Sarkar (he/him) is Polygon’s deputy managing editor. He has more than 15 years of experience covering video games, movies, television, and technology.

One of the stars of Call of Duty: Ghosts is the player character's canine companion, and Zach Volker of developer Infinity Ward told Eurogamer that one of the studio's biggest challenges was figuring out how to motion-capture dogs for the game.

The Call of Duty Dog, Colin, stole the show during Ghosts' unveiling at the Xbox One reveal event this week, and was quickly immortalized on the web with a (non-official) Twitter account, a GIF featuring some of Infinity Ward's detailed work on him and some fan-made ideas for doggie DLC.

"We'd never mo-capped a dog before! Working with two-legged characters is hard enough. The session was crazy," said Volker, lead animator on Ghosts.

Infinity Ward initially tried the typical mo-cap outfit, a spandex suit with markers glued onto it, but the developers were limited to 20-minute sessions because the dogs were overheating. Eventually, they came up with reflective markers that they could stick directly on the dogs' fur in areas that wouldn't annoy them. The process, said Volker, was "challenging, but very rewarding."

You can check out a behind-the-scenes video about Ghosts' development, including some clips of Colin in action, below. Call of Duty: Ghosts launches Nov. 5 on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and Windows PC, with Xbox One and PlayStation 4 versions on the way as well. Check out our interview with executive producer Mark Rubin for more details on Ghosts.

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