Technology hasn't reached the point yet where video game characters can mimic our every move from the hardest high kick our flabby bodies can muster to the swift kick to the groin we'd all like Sonic to give to his slowpoke partner, Tails.
One fan of the gory survival horror epic "Dead Space, " however, got the unique opportunity not only to develop his own signature kill move for the sequel, but also to appear in the game as one of the bloody "Necromorphs."
Daniel Emmerson of Cornwall, England's signature move, the aptly named "Meat Cello," was hand-picked by the creators and developers of the game as part of a contest to develop a bloody good move for Issac Clark, the game's protagonist.
"We were looking for a paired move that felt natural, scary and was something we could technically achieve," said Steve Papoutsis, the game's executive producer. "'Meat Cello' fit the bill."
Emmerson said he leaped at the opportunity to be part of the development team, not just because of his love for the original game but also for his own aspirations to become a professional animator. He said he left a lot of crumpled papers on the floor around his drawing desk of drafts for character move designs before he decided on his winning entry, for the "Leaper," a Necromorph that crawls on his belly and leaps at his prey.
"I had quite a few initial designs, but I crossed a lot off the list after seeing other people's entries that were similar. Once I was set on a few moves, I actually made a 'Leaper' out of a jacket (stuffed with other jackets) and a scarf for the tail," Emmerson said. "I used this to act them out to see what felt natural in a panic situation (someone threw it at me) and to see which was the quickest way to dispose of the Leaper."
The team picked Daniel's entry out of the thousands submitted for the contest and met up with him at a press event in London to start developing the character and implementing his looks into the game. Papoutsis said Emmerson was heavily involved in developing his move and character and having the ideas of one of their most hardcore fans brought a new and interesting perspective to the process.
"We don't act on every piece of feedback we get, but if we hear the same thing over and over again then it's clear we should be addressing the issue," he said. "We make games for video game players, so getting feedback from them makes a lot of sense."
Emmerson not only posed for over 200 shots to develop the facial features and expressions for his character, but he even acted out some of its movements for the animators and coders. He hasn't seen his big break in the digital spotlight yet. He said he wants to see it when the game hits the store shelves next week, just like every other gamer who has been anxious for the opportunity to pick up a plasma cutter and aim the business end of it at a walking pile of bile and rotting flesh.
"So far I've deliberately tried not to see any game footage of myself," he said. "I wanted to make it a surprise for when I saw it for the first time in-game. I'm definitely looking forward to seeing myself being brutally murdered, though. How often does anyone get to say that?"