Krafton is best-known for games like PUBG and the upcoming Callisto Protocol — but today, it’s showing off something very different. The company is teasing a “virtual human” named Ana, which it says will “help establish” its Web3 ecosystem. The character was built using Unreal Engine — which itself has a tool specifically for realistic digital people — along with what Krafton describes as “hyperrealism, rigging, and deep learning.”
It’s not clear exactly how Ana will fit into the loosely defined vision of a metaverse or Web3, though Krafton has flirted with NFTs and the blockchain in the past. In the meantime, it sounds like its realistic virtual human will instead attempt to become something of a celebrity. “We expect her to attract the interest and popularity of Gen Z around the world,” Josh Seokjin Shin, head of Krafton’s creative center, said in a statement. “Ana will release an original music track and expand her scope of activity as an influencer into various areas across entertainment and esports.”
This type of virtual influencer isn’t a new concept, of course, and these digital characters have previously made their way into everything from music videos to video games to Ikea installations, not to mention social networks like Instagram and TikTok. Krafton, though, seems to be betting that a focus on technology will make its character stand out and avoid the demise of ill-fated virtual beings like the star of Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within.
Krafton says it will release more details on Ana later in the year, including “a unique story arc.” Who knows, maybe she’ll work her way into a sweeping fantasy epic.