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Technicolor Games Dials Up the Cinematic Animation and Sound in Sony’s Epic God of War Franchise.

  • Technicolor Games handled much of the complexity and fine detail involved in animating fantasy creatures and conceptual characters in the game’s cinematic sequences.
  • A team of Technicolor Foley artists created dramatic, larger than life sounds for intense action sequences and cinematic atmosphere.
  • To build anticipation, The Mill teamed up on a series of teaser trailers chronicling the development of creatures from initial sketches to finalized concept art.

God of War returns to the PlayStation game world after nearly 10 years since its last new instalment, bringing a decade’s worth of game engine technological advancement mixed with deeper, richer storytelling. An early review called God of War “the most cinematic gaming experience yet” and “entirely reinvented and overhauled gameplay and design.” (THR, March 2018).

Technicolor Games returned to the franchise to work on multiple aspects of the highly-anticipated new chapter in the God of War series. The Technicolor Games & Animation team handled much of the cinematic sequences, including “high-level motion capture (Mo-cap) clean-up/polishing and hand keyed creature animation – plus a hybrid of the two services – and facial animation for a major action sequence,” explained Owen Hurley, Vice President of Creative for Technicolor Animation and Games. The team included Animation Supervisor Selvam Venkatesan and Animation Lead Guru Kochukrishnan among a total of 23 animators over a nine month period.

There were extremely high expectations for realistic performances, as well as naturalistic camera work; this required complex creative decisions to nail precisely what the director wanted and intended. “Movie quality expectations on the character and creatures (such as the monstrous World Serpent) helped challenge us into achieving results that would amaze the gaming community,” said Hurley.

Technicolor also worked on the sound for God of War, a key element that adds to the immersive experience for gamers. The Foley artist team of Dawn Lunsford, Alicia Stevenson, and David Jobe worked in tandem with the sound effects team to ensure the sounds would be as dramatic as the action on the screen. Because video games are animated and there are no production sounds as in film and television projects, it was up to the team to create the full cinematic atmosphere and make each sound effect really pop.

“Making fantasy creatures appear larger than life as they engage in extreme activity requires incredible attention to the smallest details,” said Lunsford. “[That’s why] the team varied their approach to the performance and creation of sounds for different versions of the same action; otherwise they would all sound the same during gameplay.”  

Quieter scenes required a similar focus and attention to detail. “Using textures of wood and bark,” explained Lunsford, “the team created an atmosphere of characters walking through the forest – taking into consideration that each one has a certain rhythm when they walk. As one of the most powerful men in the world, the God of War walks very deliberately, and that in particular had to come across compared to the other characters.”

“What the artists loved so much about this project is the characters, capturing their energy and playing to their personality,” added Stevenson. “Some are younger, more nervous and fidgety, so their armour might move more. This is why armour, helmets, and weaponry sound different from character to character. When you’re playing the game or watching a vignette, these are the details and differences that you can hear, even if it’s on a subliminal level.”

To rally hard core gamers for the release date, Technicolor VFX house The Mill teamed up with DigitasLBI to develop a series of teaser trailers for the PlayStation campaign. Using illustrations chronicling the development of creatures appearing in the game – and the ‘Lost Pages’ of the ancient book of Norse Myth as their foundation – they structured each teaser to show an evolution from initial sketches to finalized concept art (See God of War: Draugr and God of War: The Dead Stone Mason).

Explained Jeff Boddy, Head of Design at The Mill in Chicago: “To build anticipation for the reveal of the final ‘Draugr,’ ‘Troll,’ and ‘Revenant’ spots, we chose to push beyond the book, into a more lush, living environment. The challenge was to create this space while retaining the integrity of the original artwork. Ultimately, the inclusion of each title helped to solidify our final composition prior to the end card animation.”

Begin your epic journey with the story trailer for the new God of War, from publisher SIEA and developer Santa Monica Studio.

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