BlizzCon 2018 Liveblog - Battle for Azeroth Cinematics: Expanding the Narrative
02/11/2018 em 17:37
Our liveblog coverage continues with Expanding the Narrative of Battle for Azeroth Cinematics, as members of the Story and Franchise Development team go over the development process, how the story takes shape, and is molded into a high quality cinematic piece.
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Battle for Azeroth
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New Battle for Azeroth Cinematic - Lost Honor
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Voices of War: Horde vs Alliance
Kul Tiran Allied Race Available Classes and Racial Abilities
Zandalari Trolls Can Be Paladins - Available Classes and Racial Ability Effects
World of Warcraft: What's Next Panel
Battle for Azeroth Cinematics: Expanding the Narrative
Tides of Vengeance is Being Released on December 11
New Worgen and Goblin Models Coming in a Future Patch
What's Coming in World of Warcraft Patch 8.1.5
Sylvanas and Xal'atath in Patch 8.2 Rise of Azshara
What's Coming in World of Warcraft Patch 8.2 - Rise of Azshara
New Heritage Armor For Gnomes and Tauren Coming in Patch 8.2 - Rise of Azshara
World of Warcraft: Classic
Classic WoW Info - Subscription Details, Summer 2019 Release Window
Classic WoW Demo Now Playable
Warcraft III: Reforged
Warcraft III: Reforged - What We Know - Pricing, Spoils of War Edition, and More
Warcraft 3: Reforged What's Next Panel Liveblog
Opening Ceremony - All the Announcements Including Warcraft III Remastered and Diablo Immortal
Blizzard Gear Panel
Diablo Immortal: What's Next Panel
Hearthstone Rastakhan's Rumble Expansion: What's Next Panel
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BlizzCon 2018 Community Night Cosplay Gallery
On the panel today is the Story and Franchise development group of more than 400 people - a division of smaller groups which work on every game and property, they work on comic books, statues, concept art, posters, commercials, trailers, apparel, and cinematics.
Mike Kelleher - Digital Effects Producer
Doug Gregory - Cinematic Projects Director, Creative Development
Anna Morgan - Senior Editor II, Blizzard Video
Marc Messenger - Project Director, Creative Development
Christie Golden - Senior Writer II, Creative Development; Best selling Author
Terran Gregory - Cinematic Projects Director, Creative Development
- Getting from Legion to Battle for Azeroth was challenging, and it was up to Terran Gregory's group to tackle that issue. Legion was a great expansion to work on, with a lot of high moments, continually raising the bar, ending on a cosmically high note. Where do we go from here? What's crazier than a dark Titan impaling the planet with a sword!?
- The decision was made to bring it back down to earth - enter Legion epilogue scenes; set up the threads for Battle for Azeroth and the troubles of the modern man.
- Christie Golden joined while those cinematic were underway, while working on Before the Storm - a character driven story. For her first cinematic script, she adapted the azerite discoveries from Before the Storm into the game, reintroducing left behind characters such as Matthais Shaw, and Baine Bloodhoof.
- It was important to show multiple characters points of view - how they think, what makes them tick. Why does Slyvanas jump from the ramparts of Lordereon? Saurfang roars his way back into battle after being wounded, Anduin drops his sword and uses the healing powers of the light.
- If you're not invested in the characters, it's just spectacle. Whether you're building into Lords of War from Warlords of Draenor, the cinematics are a natural medium to develop characters.
- The Story and Franchise development group was made in order to bring together three separate groups, all doing different types of cinematics - such as in game engine, out of game cinematic, and merge them together, rather than working independently. The more writers, producers, editors, directors, the better; allowing different ideas to bounce around from different points of view.
- Research is an important part of the process, not just getting a script and given a direction, but even brainstorming for different ideas and direction; horror was a primary element of the Warbringers: Azshara cinematic. When you hear something in your head and write it, it can sound entirely different than once it's voice acted. Involving that into the process ahead of time, with writers such as Christie Golden acting out the part, helps find the characters voice.
- Alex Afrasiabi came to the Creative Development department and said they had a big character who has fallen to the side, and they needed to grow her before Battle for Azeroth. She needs to go from Jean Grey (X-Men) to the Phoenix, but how do you compress 20 years of history into a three minute short? What makes people feel enough emotion to connect and care about that character? Lord of the Rings provided inspiration for a song (a dirge!), and an idea was born. At some point, Terran Gregory said "beware", which became inspiration for a warning, which became a song. Funny enough, none of them had ever written a song before, but the Hearthstone teams had. Producer Logan Laflotte came up with the tune, but marrying to to the visuals proved another challenge. The idea of her confronting her past became central, starting in the ruins of Theramore and a field of swords reflecting tombstones.
- The Battle for Azeroth introduction cinematic was one of the most ambitious things ever done for World of Warcraft, and often that would be the end of cinematics for the expansion. It was so successful, however, the team wanted more. They "really wanted to do a story about a grey haired Orc, because many of them don't live that long", being a Warrior-race, Saurfang is fairly unique in how long he's been fighting.
- In between, the Burning of Teldrassil was troublesome, because it was critical to the narrative of the game, but they knew it would be divisive, leaving some players very upset. The idea for Saurfang's Old Soldier was a quiet story rather than a bombastic one, but it was inspired by his thoughts on burning Teldrassil, and how that reflects on his idea of warrior-honor.
- The team was
excited over Zekhan/Zappyboi, and had a hard time not spoiling their plans, after seeing how the community embraced the character in the expansion cinematic, having already decided that they were going to reuse him for Old Soldier before the intro cinematic had ever aired. The No-Pauldrons movement was another heartwarming result of community engagement, which the team never would have anticipated.
- Lost Honor was originally going to use an image from Christie Golden's novel Before the Storm, with Anduin going to the iconic cemetary, and then having a flashback with Saurfang. The setting was strong, but disconnected from the narrative. There was a big push for a jail scene instead, and with that decision made, they went back to the World of Warcraft team and asked them to change the early game pacing to accomodate it (the Horde prison scenario at the beginning of Battle for Azeroth).
- Similarly, the Alliance were supposed to see Jaina Proudmoore placed in jail at the beginning of the expansion, with players breaking her out of jail early on, after which she unites Boralis... but that was just a plot, not a story. Without a journey, without detail, there wasn't enough character growth for Jaina. Christie Golden and Terran Gregory instead spent time every day brainstorming on how to take her character differently. Instead, they decided each part of the story, every zone in Kul Tiras, needs to reflect on and refer back to Jaina.
- The realm of Torment, with Kathrine Proudmoore trying to save her daughter was inspired by depression - trying to escape a prison of the mind. Early storyboard concepts were literal ghosts not tormenting Jaina, but Katherine, trying to convince her that Jaina wasn't worth saving. After revisting it, they decided it was better to touch back on
events, starting with Warcraft III and Arthas. As Christie Golden says, "if you ever have a chance to use Arthas, you use Arthas!". After working through her issues with Arthas, the players move on to Jaina's father, which not only taught Katherine what actually happened between the father and daughter, but also told players who weren't familiar with the events of Warcraft III.
- The climax of Jaina's journey was inspired by the song from the song that started it, Daughter of the Sea. The idea of letting Jaina save her people and resolve this chapter of her story without firing a shot, tapping into not her own magic, but the magic of her blood, of her home, Kul Tiras. It was a beautiful, quiet, defining moment, which is now a permanent part of Jaina's story.
- The theme of cinematics is building a moment.
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