Frostbite's hot new hair technology puts Geralt's finger-lickin' locks to shame

Four years ago we marveled at Geralt's lifelike hair in The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, brought to us through a technology called HairWorks. But as sexy as his long, flowing locks are—finger lickin' good, you might say—they've got nothing on the digital 'dos displayed in a new "Frostbite Hair Montage" video released by Electronic Arts that showcases some truly great hair (on some pretty creepy mannequins). 

"Our purpose is to produce a step change in real-time hair and reach results close to movie and offline rendering," EA wrote in a blog post introducing the video. "Starting last year, a small group of frostbite physics and rendering engineers have been working on pushing this technology forward, and, while we still have quite a lot of work ahead of us, we're proud of what we achieved. This wouldn't have been possible without the help of a few amazing Criterion content creators whose assets and constant feedback drove us forward." 

The technology enables "believable natural and artificial coloring," as seen in the video, and "allows content creators to tweak a large number of parameters to achieve a wide range of behaviors." EA said nothing about the technical side of the rendering—what sort of hardware is required to achieve this level of fidelity and that sort of thing—but promised to go deeper into the individual components of the new system in future blog posts. 

With determination and effort, the Frostbite engine is also capable of single-handedly crushing entire triple-A game studios. BioWare's issues are many and varied, but the insistence on using the engine in its RPGs have been causing headaches and hearbreak for years: It pulled the plug on the Dragon Age 2 DLC The Exalted March DLC all the way back in 2011 because of the move to Frostbite, and more recently the engine was also reportedly central to the failures of Mass Effect: Andromeda and Anthem. It even managed to cause a delay in Dragon Age 4 development amidst all that. The hair looks great, but hopefully the drive to deliver it won't detract from efforts to avoid, well, this

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.