It's been nearly a year (opens in new tab) since Hellblade developers Ninja Theory (opens in new tab) announced Project: Mara, a psychological horror game set in a single location featuring a single character. Much of that time was spent meticulously and thoroughly creating a physical location as a digital space: One fairly large city apartment. They've taken extreme measures to create it. From ultra-close photography of surfaces to a LIDAR scan of the entire apartment, Ninja Theory's artists have built procedural tools to create the apartment's materials and space in photorealistic detail.
"There's this kind of a shift going on within Ninja Theory in the way we create art," says Chief Creative Tameem Antoniades in a video about the attempt. "Artists are not there to just create an object, they're there to create systems that can create that object and infinite variations of that object."
It's a truly impressive-looking achievement from the video, though how well that achievement translates onto the gaming hardware you and I own remains to be seen. But still:
The resulting level of detail is impressive, all the way down to procedurally scattered lint on the hardwoods. (Seriously y'all, mop your floors.) Ninja Theory is well known as the developer of viking-based psychological horror game Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice (opens in new tab) and the much-anticipated Senua's Saga: Hellblade 2 (opens in new tab). The first game was hailed as a stunning and fascinating depiction of mental illness and grief within a game.
Project: Mara aims to be a more grounded and realistic depiction of the hellscape inside your degenerate head. "Based on real lived experience accounts and in-depth research, our aim is to recreate the horrors of the mind as accurately and realistically as possible," Ninja Theory commercial director Dom Matthews wrote for the Project: Mara reveal. (opens in new tab)