Andy Serkis, the actor who famously played Gollum in The Lord of the Rings films, reckons Richard Ridings' performance as Pigsy in Enslaved is up there with any in film or theatre.
Seasoned performance capture actor Serkis played Monkey in Ninja Theory's game, and researched the role by watching a man walk his dog on Hampstead Heath, he told The Guardian.
"We looked at the original novel, Journey into the West, and decided to take elements of that character but – excuse the pun – not be slavish about it," Serkis revealed.
"We decided to make him less of a mischievous and chaotic figure and more of a gruff hobo; a loner not used to communicating with others and quite selfish.
"I prepared for it by observing a man who walked his dog regularly on Hampstead Heath. He talked to his dog a lot but was really talking to himself. Physically, I didn't have to do too much – that's the beauty of PC. Monkey is a well-built guy who can take care of himself, with a lot of upper body strength. But at the same time as filming this, I was preparing for the role of Ian Dury and losing two stone in body weight!"
Enslaved, inspired by the ancient Chinese novel Journey to the West, picked up 8/10 in its Eurogamer review. The game's cut-scenes were based on performance capture with Serkis and other professional actors, while much of the story and script was crafted by Alex Garland, who wrote films 28 Days Later and The Beach.
Serkis admitted that playing a character in a videogame differs from film and stage acting "because your character can't lead the audience of players in one direction", but insisted that the quality of performance need not suffer.
"If you look at the performance of Richard Ridings as Pigsy in Enslaved, I would put that up against any other character performance in film or stage, and think it deserves accolades," he said.
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