TopSpin 2K25 Key Art

A Look into the Signature Gameplay Animations for TopSpin 2K25

Summary

  • Learn from the developers of TopSpin about the process of capturing the new signature animations for TopSpin 2K25, the latest installment in the beloved franchise.
  • See how these animations were implemented, amongst other new features and improvements, within the TopSpin 2K25 Gameplay Showcase.
  • TopSpin 2K25 is available for pre-order today on the Xbox Store and will launch April 26, 2024, for Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S.

As mentioned in our Gameplay Showcase Centre Court Report, TopSpin 2K25 picks up where Top Spin 4 left off in terms of gameplay and animation quality. One of the first things you’ll notice when you see or play TopSpin 2K25 is that we’ve added a lot of new signature-style animations for the players’ serves, forehands, backhands and return idles. In this Xbox Wire article, we’ll share an insight into the types of signature animations that are featured in TopSpin 2K25, before showcasing how we at Hangar 13 created these animations: from analyzing players to Motion Capture, all the way through to animation.

When playing TopSpin 2K25, tennis fans will certainly notice the attention to detail on some of their favorite players’ animations. For example, you’ll be able to recognize Roger Federer’s stylish backhand, Serena William’s devastating serve, or Iga Swiatek’s powerful forehand animation, just to name a few. In addition to these animations that aim at recreating the unique style of specific pros, we also captured a variety of animations that can be shared by multiple pros with similar swinging motions. Players can also use their 2K Account to add signature-styles to their MyPlayers to make them customizable, not only visually, but also in the way they move and hit the ball.

Some signature styles will be available immediately at launch, so you can begin working on your playstyle right away. We will also be adding new signature-style animations with each new Season. Players can use virtual currency to get some of their favorite signature-styles from the Pro Shop and additional styles will be available to unlock via the Premium Centre Court Pass (available for additional purchase). By the end of Season 6, TopSpin 2K25 will have over 2x the amount of signature styles featured in TopSpin 4.

Now, we’re excited to share with you a sneak peek into the processes involved in adding these new signature styles in the game. The first step is to look at the players we have in our roster and to identify which ones have a truly unique or recognizable style for either their serve, forehand, backhand, or return idle, and to capture video references of each. Then, we create what we call a “shot list” for motion capture, which is a list of individual animations we want to capture with our athlete/actor/actress. For example, each forehand or backhand style consists of a total of nine individual animations that can play based on the height of the ball or the direction and speed of the player before hitting the ball.

Once the shot list is finalized, we’re ready to move on to the mocap stage and start capturing all these new animations. On the day of the shoot, we get Hangar 13’s mocap crew, animators, and designers together, our team of semi-pro tennis players suited up in that pretty cool-looking mocap suit to serve as our actors and actresses, and we’re ready to go. We show our actor/actress the motion we would like to capture and watch the video references with them to identify all the key poses and elements that make this motion unique. When the actor/actress is ready, they start practicing the motion to get a better feel for it, and then we record it, replay it on the monitor on the mocap stage, and compare it with the video reference. We repeat that until we’re happy with the result and it looks close enough to the reference.

With both Roger Federer and Serena Williams, we were able to spend time with them on the motion capture stage and record their actual serves, forehands, backhands, and return idles, so the final result in the game is even closer to their real style.

After the data is captured and processed by the technicians of the mocap stage it goes to the animators who apply the data to a male or female character. At this stage the animation still looks very rough, so the animators clean up all the posing, making sure that it doesn’t look broken, but also that it looks as close as possible to the style of the pro player! The animators also make sure that it adheres to the specifications, like making sure that the racket hits the ball at the expected height, or that it’s oriented properly during the swinging motion based on the type of swing. The data from the mocap includes the motion of the racket, but it does not include any motion on the fingers, so the animators spend quite a bit of time making sure the hands and fingers are properly gripping the racket.

Once the animation has had a first pass, it’s exported and checked in the engine on the pro player it was created for and that’s when we truly see everyone’s efforts come to life for the first time! The animation gets implemented and reviewed by designers in-game, after which there’s often a round of feedback and the animations are polished even further.

Truly a lot of care and attention to detail went into the animations, from start to finish. We’re eager for you to see the level of authenticity and realism present in TopSpin 2K25 — Rally On!

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TopSpin 2K25 Cross-Gen Edition – Pre Order

2K

1
$69.99
The Cross-Gen Edition includes TopSpin 2K25 for Xbox Series X|S and Xbox One. Pre-order* TopSpin 2K25 Cross-Gen Edition and receive the Under the Lights Pack, featuring Serena Williams and Roger Federer Alternate Outfits, Wilson Nightfall Bundle, and Night-Time Majors. The Under the Lights Pack is included with the Deluxe and Grand Slam® Editions. WIN THE CAREER GRAND SLAM® Travel the world as an up-and-coming pro, go toe-to-toe with the biggest names in tennis, and take Centre Court at Wimbledon, Roland-Garros, the US Open, and the Australian Open as you strive to become a Grand Slam® Champion in MyCAREER. COMPETE AT ICONIC VENUES Visit some of the most vibrant courts on the tennis circuit in TopSpin 2K25. From the four Grand Slam® tournaments to larger-than-life international arenas like Indian Wells, La Caja Mágica, Pala Alpitour, Foro Italico, and more. TENNIS LEGENDS & RISING STARS Play as tennis legends Roger Federer and Serena Williams, or serve up smashing highlights as Carlos Alcaraz, Iga Swiatek, Frances Tiafoe, Andre Agassi, and others. Choose from over 24 playable pros and unleash their explosive power and clever finesse against other players locally or online. DOMINATE THE COURT ONLINE Test your MyPLAYER's mettle and showcase your tennis prowess on the World Tour or step into the 2K Tour as a playable pro challenging players around the world with cross-play support. TRAIN WITH JOHN MCENROE From power serves to gorgeous drop-shots, learn how to play like a legend with John McEnroe at the TopSpin Academy. Master advanced controls as you progress through a series of skill-sharpening drills and challenges to gain an edge on every surface. PERSONALIZE YOUR MyPLAYER Create a MyPLAYER tailored to your play style and define your look on the court! With a wide range of customization options, you can fine-tune your attributes and earn new Coaches, Fittings, and gear from adidas, HEAD, Lacoste, New Balance, Nike, Wilson, and more. *Pre-order bonus offer available through April 25, 2024. Internet connection and a 2K Account required to redeem bonus content. Terms apply. Under the Lights Pack is included with the Deluxe Edition and the Grand Slam® Edition, and will be available for separate purchase for owners of the base game. Terms apply. Certain portions of the game, including online multiplayer and other online features, are not accessible by child accounts. “Child” means players under the age of 13, unless local laws specify differently. 2K Account is required to play the game.