Rockstar Games' Bully is one of those games that have gone down in history as an instant-classic (although, few titles in Rockstar's library haven't been labeled as instant-classics) and it just received the HD treatment courtesy of the Unreal Engine 4. Check it out below.
As much as it would please me to say that Rockstar is actually working on an eighth-gen rendition of Bully, the reality is that this was all finely crafted by a single individual and rendered in the Unreal Engine 4.
The artistic mind behind this not-so-little project is Wesley Author, a Master's degree graduate taking up his educational residence at Sheffield Hallam University. The music in the video was based on the Bully soundtrack and recreated by James Smith.
Author, a native of the U.K., has a blog featuring his artwork and expertise. As mentioned on the site and in the description of the YouTube video...
“As part of my university project, I have elected to produce an art book; a breakdown of skills and techniques that I have employed in various assets.”
All while watching the video – and before reading the YouTube description – I just kept thinking to myself “Where did he get all those awesome props from?” originally I thought he lifted them from the asset store, something a lot of people do for Unity 3D games. You can utilize middleware like Mixamo and others to grab the necessary models and 3D props for your projects. I originally assumed that's what Author did. However, I noticed the fine details and textures of some of the props, and second-guessed myself because IP-specific props are frowned upon for distribution in the asset stores. So I was left wondering how Author managed to recreate the dorm with such intricate detail... but as explained in the description, he made it all by himself.
I just have to say that creating HD props with appropriate textures is a painstaking task. It can be fun if you know how to sculpt fast and efficiently and know how to clean up models coming out of programs like Zbrush, but otherwise you really need to know how to scale, chisel and sculpt models to get props out in a timely fashion.
Wesley Author shouldn't have too much trouble finding work in the industry as an artist or asset maker. People are always looking for artists and while that job might be somewhat crowded it's also always in demand. I mean, not just anyone can accurately model and texture a mascot's head or uneven, slightly pulled blinds.
I wouldn't be surprised that once Rockstar finishes up pumping out DLC for Grand Theft Auto V they go and scoop this Author fellow up to help out with GTA VI or maybe a new Red Dead Redemption 2. Anyway, the video does a fine job of showcasing the rich, object-dense render capabilities of Unreal Engine 4 without a lot of slowdown and no artifact or object distortion. The lighting looked good and the scene looked like it was ready to be played.
You can check out more of Author's work over on his blog