Unity acquires Spider-Man, Hellblade character design company Ziva Dynamics

Lookin’ good, Unity.

Image via Ninja Theory

It turns out Microsoft buying Activision Blizzard isn’t the only big acquisition happening in video games right now. The Unity engine is the foundation of recent releases like Death’s Door, Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl, and Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl. Now, Unity Technologies, proprietors of the engine, have scooped up Ziva Dynamics, adding its impressive character design tech to its arsenal.

The Unity blog has the full announcement, welcoming Ziva into the fold of other design tech companies like Weta Digital and SpeedTree. Ziva specializes in character faces and models. This is something that “can be a complicated and painful effort” to get right, according to Unity, but Ziva’s work “is solving that problem.” The blog includes an example of this problem solving, with a video of Ziva’s “digital human” Emma making the announcement herself.

You might not know Ziva by name, but you’ve definitely seen its work in action. Suits in Marvel’s Spider-Man on PlayStation 5 use its tech to make the costumes bend and stretch around Spidey’s body as real cloth should. Ziva’s face-building is also on display in Hellblade II: Senua’s Saga, which looked frankly stunning in its announcement trailer and in additional gameplay videos since.

Curiously, this acquisition might even tell us something about the release date for Hellblade II. Developer Ninja Theory has built that game on the Unreal engine, one of Unity’s main competitors — and now Ziva Dynamics is under the ownership of Unity. However, Ziva will still be working with Ninja Theory to some degree in 2022. This new acquisition would imply that Ziva’s contract there is nearly up, and thus, we could hear more about Hellblade II’s currently unannounced release date sometime this year.