15 February 2024

Unreal Engine 5 Meets Rogue Trooper

An animated force to be reckoned with…

Metahuman animation has come a looooong way since Polar Express (2004) and Beowolf (2007). Groundbreaking at the point of cinematic release, time has not been kind to the Tom Hanks and Ray Winstone-voiced movies when compared to today’s digital offerings. The latest case in point is Rogue Trooper, written and directed by Duncan (Moon & Source Code) Jones, and based on the 2000 AD comic series created by Dave Gibbons and Gerry Finley-Day.

News of any Duncan Jones movie causes waves of anticipation, but the Rogue Trooper project is seismic for an additional major reason – a recently released still revealed the lifelike reality of the animation.


A game engine masterclass

To those of us who’ve seen The Well, it comes as no surprise that Treehouse Digital have their fingerprints all over the imagery, and made full use of Epic’s 3D tool Unreal Engine 5 to blow our minds with the result.

So, what do you get when Unreal Engine 5 meets Rogue Trooper? Well, the stars of the show – Aneurin Barnard, Hayley Atwell and Jack Lowden – will be photo-real from the movement of their hair, to every facial expression they can come up with. But although they’ve just wrapped principal photography at Rebellion Film Studios, we’ve got an agonising wait till 2025 to see it in all its eye-wowing glory. In the meantime, we’re hanging on a string waiting for teaser trailers – c’mon Duncan!

So, what’s Rogue Trooper all about? Well, he’s one of the long-running comic’s frontline characters (not far behind its most famous creation, Judge Dredd), a genetically modified super-soldier on a quest of vengeance. Located on a war torn planet, he’s on a mission to hunt down the traitor who betrayed his platoon.

What Jones and Treehouse Digital do with this premise, promises to push animation boundaries beyond anything we’ve previously seen on screen.


Pushing new animation boundaries

Producer Stuart Fenegan is understandably enthusiastic: “The advancements in Unreal Engine 5 and the inclusion of MetaHuman rigs mean that it is now possible to achieve a very high standard of animation within an indie budget,” he says. “Working with our amazing partners at Rebellion, Epic and Treehouse Digital we are pioneering and developing a new creative pipeline that will enable independent production of CG animated films.”

He’s not alone – fellow producer and Rebellion CEO, Jason Kingsley, had this to add: “We are thrilled to be working with Duncan Jones, who is a fellow British creative visionary and 2000 AD fan with global reach. Rogue Trooper highlights Rebellion’s leading position within the entertainment industries. It has been filmed at our dedicated Oxfordshire film studios and combines beautiful storytelling from our iconic 2000 AD comic book universe with animation and production technology from the video game industry. We cannot wait for everyone to see these incredible stories brought to life on screen.”

All of which makes us wonder what other animated imaginings are in the pipeline for us right now. We’re watching that space!


If you’re an animator with the goods for tomorrow’s projects, then we’ve got the kind of career opportunities that’ll make your head spin. We’re regularly asked to recruit for the best studios and VFX houses in the business, and we have the cream of professionals on our books. Call our brilliant mustard FX team for a chat about exactly what you’re looking for. Our number is 0117 929 6060.

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