Blizzard - Better cinematics, please.

#0 - Nov. 1, 2010, 10:40 p.m.
Blizzard Post
No, this isn't about the preview cinematics. Those are just fine - the Cataclysm one is ballin' if you ask me.

Major, M-A-J-O-R nerd rage incoming.

I'm talking about the in-game ones, of which there are currently two, that play after certain events (in this case, after completing Return to Angrathar and killing the Lich King/examining the fountain in Dalaran)

They use game models. They use pretty boring, sometimes recycled musical scores with almost no dynamic change. There's some faults in the animations (EG, Arthas' cape moving through the ground). Just compare, say, the Orc Ending to Arthas' death. I feel kinda sad for Arthas, who, despite being a completely fictional character, I think deserves a better death. I watch the Night Elf ending every day and wonder why cinematics were so much better 7 years ago (yeah... yeah I'm pretty lame...).

So why can't this happen in WoW? Does it have something to do with the capability of WoW to play these videos? No. The in-game cinematics in WoW and the in-game cinematics in WC3 were both AVI files.

Not enough manpower? Understandable. But animation isn't really a dying industry (uh is it?) and is it not possible to hire a new team?

Not enough money? Lol.

Not enough time? I heard it takes somewhere around a year to make one of those videos. Yeah, that's rough. But you managed to make epic vids for SC2 and Deathwing (or us) shouldn't be dead/defeated for around a year, if not more (assuming Cata expansion rate is similar to Wrath).

Don't get me wrong; this game is great. Blizzard hasn't lost their potential in animation - while the cinematic previews don't have as much facial animation, they are still epic both musically and visually. This game is top of the line, and using cinematics from in-game models... well to be honest it's degrading to the game and storyline.

Anyways, /end nerdrage. Comments?

#11 - Nov. 2, 2010, 8:20 p.m.
Blizzard Post
Hey Annun,

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.