Machinima, film-making within a realtime virtual 3D environment, has finally grown up. Often relegated to B-grade sci-fi content and groan inducing homage’s, machinima has seen a surge in quality during the past year. This maturation is best exemplified by the XBox 360 Gears of War commercial “Mad World” and the Fallout 3 teaser trailer, released last week.
Mad World, a recent recipient of an AICP (Association of Independent Commercial Producers) 2007 Honor for Visual Effects, is a landmark video game commercial. The visuals by Academy Award winning Digital Domain, were created entirely within the game’s Unreal 3 engine using existing game assets. In the sixty second spot’s opening sequence, a lone, scarred soldier stares at a broken statue’s face set against the somber and diametric, yet appropriate, Gary Jules/Michael Andrews song “Mad World”. It’s a startling divergence from earlier video game commercials that redefines how a video game can be portrayed. Also viewable at Director Joseph Kosinski’s site in quicktime format.
The Ink Spots song, “I Don’t Want to Set the World on Fire” starts a meandering continuous pullback that gradually reveals the eerie consequence of the Cold War’s post-apocalyptic outcome in Fallout 3. Diverse design work supports the gradual reveal with remarkable quality retention at varying scale, an attribute rarely associated with machinima. Visuals were created in the Gamebryo engine by developer, Bethesda Softworks. View a higher quality trailer at the official Bethesda Fallout 3 website.