Project KARA Demo Shows Off the Uncanny Valley

Have we reached the Uncanny Valley yet, gentlemen? The place where robots or animation start to get creepy, because of the way they mimic life but happen to be just off? Who knows, but some of the results on the way there are interesting to watch.

Quantic Dream, creators of Heavy Rain, just debuted a new tech demo at GDC this week known as Project KARA, the story of a robot/AI that accidentally becomes self aware during production. Unlike their last project, KARA was created by use of full performance motion capture, rather than separate body/facial animation capture. The quality of the performance is rather impressive (even if the writing always isn’t) in this piece – and what’s more impressive is that all of this is being handled in real time through the PS3.

Cage has noted that this isn’t tied to a specific project at all, but rather a demonstration of where they’d like to go with their next project. What do you guys think of this short? Uncanny Valley territory? Impressive? Lame? Go!

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I write about samurai girls and space marines. Writer for Smooth Few Films. Rooster Teeth Freelancer. Author of Red vs. Blue, The Ultimate Fan Guide, out NOW!

8 thoughts on “Project KARA Demo Shows Off the Uncanny Valley”

  1. Impressive. Not that original in terms of the concept, but would make a GREAT game or movie (as always). I personally was excited when I thought it was a game. Im sad its not LOL. You could do some really cool stuff with this.

  2. If anyone can/could do it, it’s Quantic Dream. I actually felt something when she started to get disassembled. Kinda freaked me out.

  3. That was pretty awesome. I’m looking forward to QD’s next project and this just makes me even more excited. Sure Cage’s writing is not always great, but the story of Heavy Rain and Farenheit/Indigo Prophecy sucked me in. As long as the next one doesn’t have a stupid moment at the end where some AI comes in and basically says “Hello, I’m the Internet and I’m here to kill you…” a la Farenheit everything should be fine. Actually, in a setting like KARA’s that might make quite a bit more sense.

  4. Amazingly enough for this sort of thing, the uncanny valley issue barely registered for me. Might have something to do with the fact that the whole thing centers around the fact that she’s a construct, so I probably expected and compensated for some of that. All told, a pretty effective little vignette that instantly made me sorry it wasn’t part of a larger project. Definitely cements my feeling that Heavy Rain pretty much earned Cage and Quantic Dream free rein to do/say whatever the hell they want while retaining my trust.

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