My friend and fellow ex-Naughty Dog Keith Paciello (@keith_paciello) talks through the creation and implementation of the systemic facial animation used throughout gameplay of The Last of Us: Part II, comprising some 15,000 individual poses to be combined with idle animations.
Read the article here, and you can view his reel on the facial animation system below, though expect SPOILERS.
Also, check out this WIP facial rig (unused during production) by Naughty Dog lead technical director Wasim Khan (@wasim_cg).
And see this old video shown at the 2016 Playstation Experience panel. It illustrates the method of recording character Ellie actor Ashley Johnson’s facial range of motion and playing back on Johnson’s “Digital Double”, before transposing it to an early Ellie face that shares identical topology.