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The Last of Us 2 lead animator reveals real horses were mo-capped at Sony

(Image credit: Naughty Dog)

The Last of Us 2's lead animator Jeremy Yates has posted a video that shows how  Naughty Dog mo-capped real horses at Sony for the game. 

In the video posted on Twitter, you can see a real horse being ridden by an actor in motion capture gear as the horse majestically leaps over an obstacle and gallops through the studio's stage. Yates also explains that a layer of plywood and a large supply of rubber mats were used on the floor for safety during the shoot. I can't even begin to imagine how difficult it is to animate a horse's movements, and it's really neat to see how Naughty Dog captured footage of real horses in motion for the game. 

Yates said in a reply that The Last of Us 2 animator Michael Mach "created a spectacular video documentary years ago" when they shot footage of the horses, and expressed a hope that it would one day "make it out in the wild at some point." If this video is anything to go by, it would be great to see more. 

In the world of video game development, we've seen many examples of dogs being put in motion capture garb in order to create realistic movements and noises of animals. In fact, Yates has previously posted about some other "four-legged cast members", including a line up of Very Good Dogs by the names of Winnie, Kippy, Moxie, and Stetson. Some of the pups even played roles of other animals, with one video demonstrating how a dog was used to mimic a deer galloping

Outside of the Last of Us 2, we've also seen how 343 industries used adorable pug voice actors for Halo Infinite, complete with plenty of snuffling noises. These little behind-the-scenes snippets offer some truly fascinating insight into the processes of motion capturing animals to bring the world of the Last of Us 2 to life, and I, for one, personally always enjoy watching animal actors in action. 

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After trying to get into the industry for a number of years, I eventually landed my dream job as a full-time staff writer at GamesRadar+. You'll see all sorts of articles from me here including news, reviews, previews, and features.