The Creators of Gods of Mars Decided to Cut Out the Middle Man and Produce the Film Entirely in the Unreal Engine

From in-production God of Mars footage.
From in-production God of Mars footage.
Screenshot: YouTube/Screenshot by Julie Muncy

Helmed by Peter Hyoguchi, Gods of Mars is an in-production science fiction film that’s breaking new ground. While companies like Disney have used Epic’s Unreal Engine to aid in production, Hyoguchi’s film is going a step further and just filming the whole damn thing in Unreal.

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Talking to Variety, Hyoguchi explained what makes his film distinct from other films using Unreal, and how that difference is helping to streamline a project that could otherwise be exorbitantly expensive in time and money.

“in the Hollywood landscape, The Mandalorian utilized Unreal Engine to produce ‘Final Pixel’ imagery that was directly photographed in-camera and in most instances, did not require any additional work to go directly into the edit,” Hyoguchi explained.

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This is typical of modern big-budget filmmaking, using tools originally developed for video games like Unreal for pre-visualization or assistive VFX before finishing it with more traditional tech in more traditional VFX programs. Gods of Mars, a sci-fi story about a group of mercenaries fighting a cult leader on futuristic Mars, cuts out the middle man, using Unreal Engine as the primary medium to create the hybrid film, shooting directly into backgrounds and renders created in real-time using the Unreal Engine.

Gods of Mars is the first Hollywood production to use real-time rendering of game engine animation/images as finished Final Pixel shots. This is done by our cross-medium creative team that merges game programmers with traditional matte painters and miniature makers with Hollywood pedigrees. To push Unreal Engine to meet the high-quality standards equal to current VFX/animation software,” Hyoguchi said.

If the video footage released so far is anything to go by, the results are compelling—and not nearly as video game-y as one might imagine. Unreal Engine has progressed wildly in the past few years, from a pure game engine to a tool that can be used for involved mixed media production. And it’s a lot cheaper than standard Hollywood production, too, which is exciting to see. If it’s all it’s cracked up to be, it could make Blockbuster-style filmmaking a lot more accessible to smaller, cheaper teams. (Though it’s worth noting the video the team put out is sponsored by Epic, so we’ll see how this looks when it’s all done.)

Gods of Mars doesn’t have a release date yet.

Correction 11/15 6:02pm: In a former version of this article we referred to the film as God of Mars, when the title is Gods of Mars. It’s been fixed and we regret the error. 

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io9 Weekend Editor. Videogame writer at other places. Queer nerd girl.

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DISCUSSION

watcherzero
Watcherzero

Please less motion blur on the panning shots, I cant make out a thing.