Developer Krafton is still hard at work creating new PUBG Battlegrounds content, especially now that the battle royale has gone free-to-play at last, and now it’s also trying to create “virtual humans” – animated NPCs who are “barely distinguishable” from real human actors, using artificial intelligence and the Unreal engine.
Krafton has announced that it is working on building the technology to create CGI actors that are as close as possible to real people, which it dubs “virtual humans”. The developer states that these CGI actors will be “able to convey deeply-expressive and nuanced emotions” with the aim of using “hyper-realism technology to create a digital character barely distinguishable from the real world”.
This technology would be used for “a variety of projects”, which includes PUBG Battlegrounds and presumably will also involve Krafton’s other titles, including the upcoming horror game The Callisto Protocol. The developer specifically notes that it is looking to create “game characters, esports, and virtual influencers/entertainers”, and is even aiming for players to be able to directly speak with these NPCs in the future.
The video below shows the current stage of this “hyper-realism” technology, which is based on the Unreal engine and Krafton’s own technology.
Krafton has recently shown off a preview of this technology in PUBG’s latest cinematic trailer, although it obviously still has a long way to go before it’s “barely distinguishable” from real people.
It’s also probably going to be a while before this is used directly in a game, although with any luck a version of these “virtual humans” will appear in the PUBG developer’s upcoming Witcher-like RPG Project Windless.