Ninja Theory is bringing more precise expressions and gestures to the characters of its games. The independent game developer gave a live demo of the use of VR on Senua, the Celtic warrior from Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice, at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco.
Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney demonstrated how using the latest 3D modes and the Unreal game engine 4 the cameras could bring real life-like emotions within the character of the virtual world.
"What the camera was to the 20th century, the engine is today. The media world is converging into a digital content industry... where the engine is the thing that links together in an interoperable world," he told ArsTechnica. "The media world is being reinvented around real-time 3D. It [Unreal Game] is much bigger than gaming, but our industry is right at the centre of this."
During the demonstration, he played a scene from the latest trailer of Hellblade. The video on the screen that initially looked like just another trailer was actually a live-streaming of actress Melina Juergens performing the role of the lead protagonist Senua on the stage and emoting the role of the warrior woman suffering from a mental illness. The cameras and the sensors attached to her rendered her speech, motion and facial gestures to the display screen as Senua through the Unreal Engine 4.
The live-streaming video screen captured genuine emotions of the actress real-time, be it cringing forward in pain, or spreading the arms out while screaming out loud, with the exact expression of fear or anxiety in the face. Ninja Theory and Epic Games worked together on this technology from Cubic Motion while 3Lateral built the facial manipulation.
Hellblade revolves around a Celtic Warrior, Senua and her journey against the Vikings while she struggles with her mental illness.