Saturday, 14 August 2010

Game Cinematics: The New Hollywood?

I've been neglecting this blog again lately, mainly because I'm still in a place where I'd rather be spending time playing games than writing about them, which I think is a good thing. My free time is being taken up at the moment with a return to Warhammer Online on the PC and on the console it's Rock Band 2, complete with a shiny new drum-kit.

But I've not come here today to talk about what I've been playing, I thought I'd do something a little different for a change. I spend a fair bit of time online perusing YouTube when I'm not actively playing a game, and one of my favourite subjects are the increasingly sophisticated trailer videos for upcoming games. Like Hollywood in miniature, these two minute masterpieces deliver massive bang for your buck with all the excitement and action of a summer blockbuster movie, only in 100% CGI. I thought I'd take a few minutes here to share a few of my favourites.

First up is the trailer for a game I've had an on-off relationship with since it launched, Mythic's Warhammer Online:

Like most of these trailers, this is utterly useless if you were hoping to see if the game itself would appeal to you, as there is no actual gameplay footage in it whatsoever. But that's not really the point of these videos. After seeing that, who wouldn't want to have a go at being a Shadow Warrior, (the athletic, dual sword wielding Elf), or a Bright Wizard, (the pyro-maniacal ginger), or an impractically under-dressed Dark Elf Sorceress? It's a pretty epic piece of cinema, even at four and a half minutes.

Next up we'll stick with the Warhammer theme, but this time moving on to the Warhammer 40,000 franchise and the trailer for next years Space Marine:

As things move on, and technology is improving we're starting to see a blurring of the lines between Full-Motion-Video and gameplay footage. It's a little hard to tell, but I think the Space Marine trailer actually contains a fair amount of the latter, and man does it look GOOD! I'm really looking forward to this one.

Finally for this entry I'm going to go with a game I'm not particularly looking forward too, but who's trailers thus far have been absolutely superb, Star Wars: The Old Republic:

That's just a really good cinematic. Well scripted, well acted, well choreographed, jaw-droppingly good looking... why couldn't they have let theses guys do the Star Wars prequels and kept that oaf Lucas out of the way?!

Considering the level of sophistication we are starting to see here, merely to advertise a computer game, I'm starting to wonder why we aren't seeing more in the way of fully CGI movies at the box office. Pixar and the like are doing wonderful things with the CGI equivalent of cartoons, and Cameron had a decent stab at it with Avatar, but even he wasn't bold enough to go all in and make a 100% CGI movie for adults. Why not? That movie proved beyond doubt that CGI characters can carry a film to enormous success. The lucrative teen-to-mid-30's male audience has grown up on computer games, and the recent massive successes of games such as Modern Warfare 2 and GTA IV proves that there is a market for computer generated entertainment. A movie that I'm hoping is going to prove this point, (but it won't because it's too niche), is the forthcoming Ultramarines movie, which makes this post nicely cyclical.

Movies of computer games are notoriously rubbish, maybe it's time we let the guys who make the computer games have a go at making their own movies!

If anyone reads this (unlikely I know) I'd love you to leave a comment on some of your favourite game cinematics. cheers,


  1. I think the original World of Warcraft cinematic was rather good, and possibly was one of the first cinematics that really wowed me, if you'll pardon the pun.

    I did especially enjoy the Star Wars one too, definitely let out a little 'Ooo hoo hoo!' when the Jedi Consular dropped in for the fight.

  2. I'd almost forgotten about the WoW one it's been so long since I've seen it. Despite it's age it's still looking really good, easily stands up against more recent offerings.

  3. I'm a complete cinematic game trailer junkie mate lol. I love em all! Classic Guild Wars , Everquest 2 , all the "Meet The" episodes of the Team Fortress 2 classes.
    I know they are not always the most honest representation of a game but I just sit back and enjoy the heck out of em. Like DCUO's Cinematic it's freakin awsome!