Ninja Theory has offered a new look at Hellblade 2’s facial animation tech

2 months ago 27

Ninja Theory and Epic Games have offered a fresh look at Senua’s Saga: Hellblade 2’s facial animation tech.

During Epic’s State of Unreal presentation at GDC on Wednesday, the companies showed off more of Unreal Engine’s Metahuman tool, which is being used to bring Hellblade protagonist Senua to life in the upcoming sequel.

“This cloud hosted tool allows you to create photorealistic digital humans for your game or experience, with the simplicity of an RPG character creator, yet with a level of realism and customisation that you’ve never seen before,” claimed Epic’s chief technology officer Kim Librerim.

State of Unreal - Senua | GDC 2023

Melina Juergens, performance capture artist at Ninja Theory, then took to the stage to help demonstrate how the technology enables users to quickly create high-fidelity digital humans.

“So here’s one of my favourite lines from Ninja Theory’s upcoming game, Senua’s Saga: Hellblade 2, and I really hope you enjoy it,” Juergens said, introducing the video above.

Ninja Theory and studio owner Microsoft announced Hellblade 2 at The Game Awards in December 2019.

“Hellblade was very special for us and we didn’t want to do a straight sequel, we wanted to do something extra special, and so we’re making our lives as difficult as possible in that pursuit,” Ninja Theory co-founder Tameem Antoniades said in a behind the scenes video released in June 2021.

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“The game is set in ninth century Iceland, so we’ve been sending our art and audio teams out there doing photography, photogrammetry and combining it with satellite data to recreate large swathes of the landscape.

“On the character front, we’re building real costumes, scanning them in. We’re collaborating with Epic Games to bring you next generation digital characters.

“On the combat front, we wanted to be extra real and brutal and so Melina, our main actress, has been training for two years, and all of our animators have undergone combat training.”

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