Ninja Theory have released a new dev diary for Project: Mara, the ambitious and experimental game that they are developing alongside Senua’s Saga: Hellblade II.
Tameem Antoniades leads us through some of their intentions with the game, detailing how they are pushing forward in an attempt to create truly photo-realistic visuals and recreating the single real-world apartment that the game will take place in. It’s fascinating stuff, showing how they are recreating everything with laser scanning and photogrammetry, and then applying procedural elements to make it feel more real, from water pooling on a kitchen surface, right down to the specks of dusts on the floor.
First teased back in January 2020, Antoniades described it as “a real-world and grounded representation of true mental terror” and that it will be “based heavily on research, interviews, and firsthand accounts to recreate the horrors of the mind as accurately and believably as possible.”
It’s set to be another game where Ninja Theory push the boundaries of what video games can achieve. That goes all the way back to their first game, Heavenly Sword, where they helped pioneer the use of performance capture in video games – partnering with Andy Serkis and Weta Digital at the time – an area where they returned to the cutting edge for the creation of Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice, a game which integrated advanced motion capture technologies, but did so on a small budget and with a small team of developers.
That game also saw Ninja Theory explore mental illness and psychosis, working with experts in the field and charities in order to create a truly praise-worthy depiction of mental illness. That game’s success will be followed up by a bigger budget adventure in Senua’s Sacrifice: Hellblade II for Xbox Series X|S and PC – having been acquired by Microsoft in 2018 – while its spirit is also seen in Project: Mara and this exploration of mental terror.
As with Hellblade, Ninja Theory are charting their journey through occasional developer diaries, this latest one showing off the environment that the game will be set in as well as the lengths to which Ninja Theory are going to capture it in video game form. There’s no word on when the game might be released, and it feels like it will be a way away still, but we’ll be able to follow it throughout.