If you’re wondering just how complex the characters of the upcoming PS4 exclusive The Order: 1886 are, they’re definitely quite complex, as shared by Ready at Dawn’s Co-founder Andrea Pessino on Twitter:
Main characters run over 100K polys each, >250 joints just in the head, >130 blend shapes in face, etc…. CRAZY stuff! : )
To put it in perspective, Ryse: Son of Rome‘s Marius has 85,000 polygons (down from 150,000 after a round of optimization). Yet he wins in the number of blend shapes for the face, as he has 230. Marius also edges The Order: 1886‘s characters slightly in the number of joints in the face, sporting 260.
Looking at polygons alone, another prominent example on PC is Prophet in Crysis 3 with 60,000 polygons.
Of course, since development is still in progress, we’ll have to see if the polycount won’t be optimized before release. Normally a lot of the polygons part of a work-in-progress character model are spurious, with vertices placed inside the model itself or otherwise not visible. Those usually get removed as the game gets polished.
If you’re wondering what “blend shapes” are, they’re basically deformers used in 3D modeling and animation, that are used to give the visual illusion of a shape morphing into another in a natural, seamless way. In facial animation a single blend shape can be used to go from a neutral expression to a target expression, for instance a smile. Ultimately, the more blend shapes a face has, the more complex and varied its animations and expressions will be.
Below you can see a video (courtesy of 3DWorld) providing a visual example on what blend shapes entail.