Those of a certain age may remember when the idea of photorealistic games was just a fantasy. Today, that vision has become close to reality, and Project: Mara, the upcoming horror from Hellblade developer Ninja Theory, could be the most realistic-looking title to date.
It’s been almost exactly a year since Microsoft-owned Ninja Theory announced Project Mara, which it describes as a “real-world and grounded representation of true mental terror.” The company wants to recreate the “horrors of the mind as accurately and realistically as possible.”
In the latest developer diary video (top), Ninja Theory’s creative director Tameem Antoniades reveals the incredible attention to detail that went into recreating the game’s spacious city apartment, based on a real-world location.
In its efforts to create an exact digital replica, the team first analyzed and scanned materials from the apartment—a process that took several months. The challenge was then to ensure the dimensions of the in-game version are precise. This was achieved through a firm called Clear Angle Studios, which used LiDAR scanners to create a “point cloud” that allows “some of the best references we’ve ever seen.”
Ninja Theory hasn’t just recreated the obvious elements; it even created procedural tools to generate the floor’s lint and debris. “Artists aren’t there just to create an object, they’re there to create systems that can create an object and infinite variations of that object,” said Antoniades.
Hopefully, all this detail will translate into a good game. No word yet on a release date, but we should hear something soon.