BlizzCon 2016 Cinematic Liveblog
The Legion In-Game Cinematics panel goes behind-the-scenes for the Broken Shore, Demon Hunter, and Legion Quest cinematics.
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In game Cinematics and How They Work
Cinematics department have doubled in size since the first panel last year. They have gotten a ton of new tools and resources to give you all the awesome cinematics that we brought to you in Legion.
They use the game engines to create cinematic content. This allows cinematics to change story content on the fly.
They use a special in-game client so they can use the game backgrounds, add creatures and characters in the background, etc. This helps the team to avoid creating a bunch of new stuff.
Meat and Potatoes of Legion
Some moments that we create into Cinematics are obvious, for example Broken Shore. Others are developed over time, for example, cinematics that come at climatic point while questing in a zone, to make sure you remember that moment in the story. For example, the cinematics in Val'sharah.
Terran Gregory teared up so much while working on Val'sharah.
This scene had the opportunity to be a cinematic that will be remembered and needed to be shown. You would not have felt the same impact just by reading quest text.
The big question was how to portray the touching moment of the goddess saving Ysera's soul, after the death of such an ancient being.
As Ysera's body fades a patch of grass is left along with the Tears of Elune. The environmental team then added that grassy spot into the game after this scene is witnessed.
First person cinematics were a new thing; something they have never worked on before. "How can we do this we thought" Overwatch!" Blizzard used Overwatch cinematics as a way to get the feel of the first-pereson PoV you saw in the Demon Hunter cinematics.
Cinematics ran into issues with the Demon Hunter weapons being a little too big, so they turned them off to the side, and that worked. Something still felt a bit off, so Blizzard changed them slightly more to make them just right!
The scene of you imprisoned with the in the crystal with Maiev took a bit of work. They needed to have you feel the emotion of hatred from her, but also that she needed your help. So after a few renditions cinematics came up with the crystal interaction, and her scratching the crystal helps portray her very real hatred for you, but how much she knows that despite that, she needs your help.
Suramar's cinematic was a bit of a challenge. It needed to tell not only the story of Thalyssra, but also of the history of the city. We used inspiration from a comic that was being worked on at the time: it was so beautiful, it was essentially a cinematic itself already.
The team's first look at Suramar in game was all grayscaled, but this also helped them a lot to see where and what could later be placed around the city.
For the scene with Thalyssra walking slowly throughout the city, Cinematics actually put her in the ocean floor and had her walk around to see how she should look.
Sylvanas vs. Graymane
This was a great cinematic, because everyone was either rooting for Genn or Sylvanas. Cinematics wanted to make sure that each faction leader had their "HECK YEA" moment. That you wanted to cheer on for your side, and parts of it of "Oh he got her! Yea she got him!" moments.
In the end though Cinematics wanted to make you feel Genn's sorrow that he wished he could have taken that arrow for his son, or Sylvanas' feeling of defeat of the lantern being shattered and the heavy weight of her race dependent her.
The Broken Shore cinematic was a very daunting amount of work.
The amount of characters that needed to be created was massive!
Then we had to make Greymane, who didn't really have a Worgen form but we had an in-game model of his human form plus some amazing concept art! And we made him into an amazing fluffy massive worgen! And this gave us the majestic version we have for Greymane!
From here we had Vol'jin to work on. While Vol'jin has an in-game model, a lot of his armor is part of him, so we had to take a generic troll and then used that to create a super epic Vol'jin. This model was used for when he was fighting and also when he fell at the Broken Shore. Adding a texture of when he was gray and dying, really helped sell the fact that he was poisoned with the fel.
Which brings us to the HARDEST character to create... Mekkatorque! We really didn't have anything for this in World of Warcraft. It started out as a frame from the storyboard, and then had a concept piece which was given to the World of Warcraft team to Wow-ify and pimp out his ride, then to the animation team which gave a lot of awesome insight. A lot of teams gave in feedback for him, from his rotating hand and shiny pieces and in the end he feels like someone you really want to ride into battle with!
For Varian, Cinematics made him a bunch of times in different expansions. And now they had all these new tools and I wanted to make him super awesome and I made him all shiny with hair and armor and...then I read the script...
The Fog of War
The first bit of this cinematic was viewed differently based on your faction, thus the "Fog of War." You had a different perspective based on the side you were on. We wanted to give this a try and it BLEW UP!
The Horde's fight couldn't really be seen from the Alliance fighting below, as well as the fall of Vol'jin and what happened when Sylvanas retreated, doing what she had to do to save the Horde. And we had to find a capper for this story of Vol'jins fall. The fate of the Horde was unclear, vs the clear side on the Alliance as the the son of Varian taking the reins. The choice of Sylvanas for Warchief was not crazy, we had to feel good about it. There wasn't going to be explosions and celebrations. It was simply two people talking, Vol'jin and Sylvanas, and one passing on and handing off the reins. We had to make that feel the way it did, that it wasn't a choice but something that needed to be done.
From Warlords to Legion
In Warlords there were about 5-6 characters or so in Cinematics vs Legion had 21 or more characters!
In Warlords there were about 50 facial contortions. In Legion they doubled that!
Really feel the sense of kicking it up for Legion.
The End of the Broke Shore
This was one of the big ideas for Legion, we knew something along these lines were going happen about a year ago. They told me, Varian will sacrifice himself and its going to be GLORIOUS and HEROIC! So how are we going to do it? ...Go figure it out! This was hard, figuring out how to kill your own king...
We had to figure this out, the other characters wouldn't have let Varian sacrifice himself so easily. That's how the gunship came in. This device helped get all of Varia'ns men into one area of vulnerability and now we can exploit this, and the way we do that is throwing a ten-ton nuclear fel reaver come from the sky and grab hold of the ship.
Now we have a clear situation. We go back to Varian, who has to make a choice, and we can bring in the letter that we had in the previous cinematic. And then he lets go and heroic leaps and falls onto the reaver criting him for 9 billion damage. We had it! This was the heroic sacrifice!
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