Skip to Content

WoW Insider has the latest on the Mists of Pandaria!

Blizzard: Expect more in-game cinematics in the future


World of Warcraft is, first and foremost, a roleplaying game. It's not just a game; not just a story, but a blessed nexus of both that totally immerses you in another world. The quests you undergo set up and advance the story, and -- at least in Wrath -- major storylines are wrapped up with in-game cinematics. Arthas' death, the Wrathgate -- both are epic events in Wrath of the Lich King lore, and both are comprised entirely of in-game assets.

But are we being cheated? After all, the trailer to Cataclysm, in which Deathwing emerges to tear Azeroth asunder, is an epic piece of pre-rendered majesty. Shouldn't Blizzard offer us more pre-rendered video moments instead of what amounts to a well-produced piece of machinima?

On the official Blizzard forums today, in response to a complaint about the extended use of in-game cinematics (like the worgen in-game cinematic above), blue poster Zarhym talked about -- and defended -- Blizzard's approach to cinematics:

Blizzard - Better cinematics, please.
With the advent of in-game cinematics, in the case of Starcraft II, we were able to over triple the amount of cinematic storytelling compared to any previous Blizzard release. As mentioned by another poster, these moments, without in-game assets, would have been character portraits plus voice-over. Instead, they were able to be brought to life with a much more vivid realization by using in-game cinematics to help tell the story.

The full text of Zarhym's post is available just after the cut.

Blizzard - Better cinematics, please.
It took a bit of time for me to get back to this thread, but I wanted to make sure I conferred with our Cinematics team before making the quantum leap.

We acknowledged as a company the positive reaction of the fans to the game's cinematics very early on, and since then we've always made sure to foster a world-class cinematic division to help bring more epic storytelling to our games.

With the advent of in-game cinematics, in the case of Starcraft II, we were able to over triple the amount of cinematic storytelling compared to any previous Blizzard release. As mentioned by another poster, these moments, without in-game assets, would have been character portraits plus voice-over. Instead, they were able to be brought to life with a much more vivid realization by using in-game cinematics to help tell the story.

During the Cataclysm Cinematics panel at BlizzCon, we discussed how each pre-rendered cinematic can take a year or more, with the involvement of dozens of animators, modelers, concept artists, FX artists, programmers and more working to make the picture's vision a reality.

These pre-rendered movies take time and a lot of planning, but with game development being a very dynamic process, the opportunity may arise for a story that deserves to be told cinematically. Logistically though, there may be only a small window of time to make it happen. That is when in-game assets come into play. The unfortunate alternative would be to pass on the moment altogether.

With that said, we are definitely mindful of the desires of the community for cutting edge content, and are putting a lot of effort into pushing the limits of World of Warcraft in-game cinematics to new horizons. If you've had the opportunity to play the Cataclysm beta, the new goblin cut scene should demonstrate some of our new in-game capabilities in action, and we will continue to strive to create the best in-game cinematic content that World of Warcraft has to offer.

It all comes down to pushing the story forward. The real strength of using in-game cinematics is to harness the opportunities for additional cinematic storytelling that, without the in-game option, may never be told. Our belief here is that we'd all prefer to see more stories, regardless of the medium that is chosen.


Indeed, I personally am a big fan of in-game cinematics and cheer their expanded use in the game. Powerful CGI has its place, but it can often take you out of the game's action. Using in-game assets keeps you much more firmly rooted in the action -- you feel more like a participant than a viewer.

For more about Blizzard's approach to cinematics, take a look at Michael Gray's coverage of the BlizzCon 2010 cinematics panel.
World of Warcraft: Cataclysm will destroy Azeroth as we know it; nothing will be the same! In WoW Insider's Guide to Cataclysm, you can find out everything you need to know about WoW's third expansion (available Dec. 7, 2010), from brand new races to revamped quests and zones. Visit our Cataclysm news category for the most recent posts having to do with the Cataclysm expansion.

Filed under: Machinima, Cataclysm

Reader Comments (Page 1 of 5)

Around Azeroth

Around Azeroth

Featured Galleries

It came from the Blog: Occupy Orgrimmar
Midsummer Flamefest 2013
Running of the Orphans 2013
World of Warcraft Tattoos
HearthStone Sample Cards
HearthStone Concept Art
Yaks
It came from the Blog: Lunar Lunacy 2013
Art of Blizzard Gallery Opening

 

Categories

Joystiq

Massively

Engadget