GDC is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Use the GDC 2021 Session Viewer to browse and sort the ever-growing list of sessions by day, time, pass type, topic, and format. All registered attendees will be able to build their personal schedule directly within the event platform, once live early July 2021. All times are listed in Pacific Time.

Emotional Systemic Facial of 'Last of Us Part II'

Keith Paciello  (Former Emotional Systemic Facial Animator, Naughty Dog)

Christian Wohlwend  (Game Designer, Naughty Dog)

Date: Thursday, July 22

Time: 1:20pm - 2:20pm

Pass Type: All Access Pass, Core Pass

Topic: Design

Format: Session

Vault Recording: Video

Audience Level: N/A: I prefer to present live on-site but I am open to delivering a virtual presentation

As graphic fidelity in video games has rapidly accelerated, one aspect of development has overwhelmingly remained stagnant; in-game character emotions. In this talk, Naughty Dog explores how they addressed this industry wide limitation in The Last of Us Part II. Represented by team members from character rigging, animation, dialogue, and design; this talk comprehensively covers how character emotion was brought into gameplay ranging from nuanced narrative moments to adrenaline charged melee combat. Learn about the challenges, implementation, and innovation that occurred to develop the systemic emotion system that brought over 65 characters speaking 13 languages with up to 20 individual emotions to life.


Attendees will walk away with an in-depth look at and understanding of the Emotional Systemic Facial System. From conception through development, viewers will be familiar with the tech, design, and implementation from various departments at Naughty Dog that allowed all in-game characters to have wide ranges of emotion game wide.

Intended Audience

Character TD's, Animators, Audio, Designers, Programmers. Talk is comprehensive and does not require any prerequisite knowledge, though a familiarity with AAA game development pipelines may help.