Nick Markham is a student at Chapman University , and he recently dropped us a tip about something special that happened there. Chapman University is fairly close to Blizzard's Irvine headquarters, which could be why they were able to take the time to drop by. One of their film classes had a treat when six members of the Blizzard cinematic team came by to give a three hour presentation about what they do, how they do it, and other miscellaneous film-related issues. So what's the news?
The most crushing news is another confirmation that we shouldn't expect to ever see a gnome in an official World of Warcraft cinematic. The quote from Jeff Chamberlain, the director of the cinematic team, is "Not if I can help it!" Apparently, while gnomes are arguably one of the coolest races in WoW, the director doesn't feel that they're "epic" enough. I can see that viewpoint, I guess, but that just means we'll have to rely on Baron Soosdon to brings us the gnome love.
The Wrathgate animation, of course, was a significant topic. According to Nick's report, the cinematic team and Blizzard both consider Wrathgate to be a complete success. We should expect to see a new, similar animated event with each significant content patch, though it's going to take a little bit to get that going.As for machinima, the presenters said they are continually impressed by the work fan machinimators produce. There was even a time when they wanted to publish a tool to help machinima creators, but that was unfortunately unable to come to fruition. The idea had been to build something like a Map Editor, or even an official WoW Model Viewer, but since the project never completed, we may never know.
There were a few hints about the World of Warcraft movie, though not a lot of details since the cinematic team isn't directly involved with it. Metzen's writing it, and the movie will not be about Arthas. However, the panel confirmed that Legendary Pictures will do the CGI and special effects. That's not outside speculation we've seen already, but it's pretty nice to have confirmation.
Finally, apparently there are going to be openings on the cinematic team. What's more, the team will be showing off some kind of new animation at the upcoming BlizzCon. They'll also be there, and might be looking to meet members of the machinima community. Machinima creators might want to shine up their pixels, as it were, if they're looking for an audition with the team.
All in all, it sounds like the presentation was pretty neat. It was definitely worth the time, and it whets my appetite for what we might start hearing about upcoming BlizzCon news.
Edit: Changed "Anaheim" to "Irvine." I guess I'm too excited about BlizzCon!