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Ninja Theory is making a highly realistic viking psychological thriller called Hellblade. At the center of it is a woman warrior, Senua, who is battling madness. The game studio showed off an amazing demo today at Epic Games’ briefing at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco.

In the demo, actress Melina Juergens played Senua in real time. As the actress’ facial movements, speech, and image was captured in real-time, it showed up on the big screen as Senua, the character in the game. The actress spoke in real time, and the voice was transformed into an echoed voice of Senua. Every time the actress blinked in real life, the character blinked in the animated world onscreen. When she spoke and screamed, the character did, too. And when her eyes watered up with emotion and fear, the same happened to the virtual character. It was highly realistic, and it was transformed from reality into virtual in real time.

Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney said he showed the demo to illustrate just how good 3D graphics has become and how tools allow you to do this kind of digitization of a human so quickly and so flawlessly. The demo used tech from Cubic Motion and 3 Lateral.

“It’s really getting hard to distinguish between computer graphics and reality,” Sweeney said. “You can see this leading to something like the Metaverse in science fiction.”


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He said you can imagine this being used in virtual online worlds and social media.

“There’s no question that what the camera was to the 20th century, the game engine is today,” Sweeney said.

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