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WoW Mountain Dew ad was directed by Tarsem Singh

A number of sites have done a post-mortem on the Mountain Dew WoW Game Fuel ad (featuring two ladies battling it out through their WoW characters in a live-action supermarket), and they've uncovered a really interesting fact: the ad was actually directed by Indian director Tarsem Singh, one of my favorites -- he not only did the visually stunning sci-fi/horror flick The Cell a few years ago, but more recently made The Fall, which is an very well-done kind of mirror-life fairy tale. He's directed a number of commercials before, including some for Nike and Levi's, and teamed up with a company called Zoic Studios (they've done a few other spots for video games already) for this WoW commercial.

The original CGI models for the ad did come from Blizzard (I'd guess that they're the original models from the WoW CGI trailer), though they were spruced up quite a bit by Zoic to add facial expressions and dynamic costumes and hair. They were then connected to motion captures from stunt artists (which were probably also tweaked to seem a little more than human, and then composited all together in the supermarket scene.

Very cool stuff. This isn't the first time WoW characters have been used to sell soda, but hopefully we'll see more fun sequences like this come out of the deals between Blizzard and their partners.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Virtual selves, Odds and ends, Blizzard, NPCs

Breakfast Topic: Warcraft movie casting call


So the Wrath cinematic is out. It's gotten mixed reviews, with players like Mike Schramm generally unimpressed and disappointed there aren't any Gnomes, and other players, like myself, really liking it. In fact, I think it's the best World of Warcraft cinematic trailer to date. Whatever anyone thinks, though -- love it or hate it -- the cinematic has stirred thoughts about the World of Warcraft movie. Some people, impressed with the CGI, have even suggested that the movie should be done as a full-length animation a la Advent Children.

It's almost unsettling not to have any news on the movie, despite Blizzard's modus operandi of keeping everything under wraps until "it's ready". In fact, the last news we heard was how Blizzard laughed off B-movie hack Uwe Boll. While that's certainly good news, it's been quite some time and we're quickly approaching Legendary Pictures' pegged release date of 2009. While I trust Legendary Pictures (behind Superman Returns, 300 and The Dark Knight), let's take matters into our own hands this morning and cast the movie.

Even if it were done as an animation, you'd still need some actors for their voices. WoW player and Blizzard fan Brandon Routh expressed wanting to be in the movie, so why not? He'd make a good... uh... human, I guess. Varian Wrynn, maybe? We'll hear more for sure in the upcoming, sold out BlizzCon, but for now we can play casting directors and imagine who should play who in a Warcraft film. Who would you cast in the Warcraft movie?

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Breakfast Topics

Players respond to the cinematic


Welp, the cinematic is out now for your viewing pleasure, and the response is... mixed. While pretty much everyone praises the technical quality (Blizzard's got that cinematic magic, which makes it all the more surprising that they went with live action for the movie), there is some back and forth on whether this cinematic stands up to the other two. While fans of Arthas definitely got their fill (and it was interesting to hear Terenas' voice echoing from the past, which hearkens back to perhaps the best cutscene Blizzard's ever done), other players were disappointed to see that this cinematic doesn't follow the standard "various classes and races battle it out" formula. And that only shows that this expansion will be very much more about the guy in the Lich King suit than anything else.

We'd point out, too, that this trailer didn't really have a "You are Not Prepared"-style catchphrase (though the word "King" definitely echoes with significance right at the end there). Clearly, Blizzard chose to go a different direction this time around, and whether it worked or not, of course, is up to you.

Unfortunately, Gnomes didn't get their day... or did they? When players cry foul on the forums, Vaneras (in official blue text) answered with the picture above. Can you see the Death Knight Gnome hidden in among the Undead army? I like Schwick's answer even better, though -- there's probably a Gnome Rogue stealthed right behind Arthas. Those little buggers are everywhere.

Update: A few people are suggesting that there is more to the trailer that we haven't seen, but Nethaera has confirmed that that's everything. She commented on the forums that the trailer only showed half the battle, but later confirmed that she meant the story was incomplete (and that we needed to complete it by going to Northrend), and not that there was more of the trailer to show.

Filed under: Gnomes, Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Blizzard, Expansions, Bosses, NPCs, Death Knight, Wrath of the Lich King

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