Epic’s new MetaHuman digital faces are scarily real

Epic’s new MetaHuman digital faces are scarily real
Ninja Theory

Written by 

Tom Chapman


29th Mar 2023 12:05

With the Metaverse, AI technology, and people having sex with the likeness of Keanu Reeves, it's sometimes easy to forget we aren't actually in CD Projekt Red's world of Cyberpunk 2077.  

Unless you're playing The Last of Us Part 1's PC port or Forspoken, graphics are looking pretty great these days. We know that trailers often oversell what's actually viable, but Epic Games' MetaHuman Creator tool has given us a frightening look into the future. 

What is Epic Games' MetaHuman creation tool?

Launched in April 2016, Epic's MetaHuman Creator tool is effectively an RPG character creator that can export ready-to-use character models into Unreal Engine projects. We've been keeping an eye on its development, and by the looks, it's made a big leap forward.

The official site describes it as delivering "high-fidelity digital humans made easy," and while we still don't really understand all its uses, it's changing how video games look. According to TweakTown, Epic showed off the latest developments at the Game Developers Conference (GDC) 2023's State of Unreal keynote.

We see Ninja Theory's Senua's Saga: Hellblade II getting the MetaHuman Creator treatment. When the first title released in 2017, gamers were blown away by its motion capture of Melina Juergens' Senua. That's nothing compared to what Hellblade II looks like it'll deliver.

Others couldn't believe what they saw, and soon flooded the video's comment section. One gobsmacked fan said, "I have never seen better graphics in a video game, this is actually insane," while another added, "This looks more real than the real life camera footage!"

A third concluded, "This game is going to be on another level. The creativity and talent of this studio is ridiculous. Idc if this is a cutscene, CGI, or whatever this is some of the greatest looking facial animation I have ever seen and the acting gave me chills."

Epic Games is at the forefront of video games

Making the most of Epic's pioneering, Ninja Theory is still all-in on Unreal technology. Fortnite recently made the leap into Unreal Engine 5, and there's also a lot of hype for Crystal Dynamics' upcoming Tomb Raider reboot using it. 

UE5 is everywhere right now, with The Coalition confirming the Gears of War series will be using it moving forward. We saw an impressive build of an open-world Superman game using UE5, while The Matrix Awakens demo was pushing systems to their limits. 

As we can see from the MetaHuman Creator tool, faces have come a long way from the angular Natalia of Rare's GoldenEye 007. The question is, when will these realistic-looking creatures take on a mind of their own and overtake us flesh-and-blood humans? Who's to say they haven't already? 

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