RELEASE DATE SEPTEMBER 17th 2013
Glasgow, UK, September 17th – animation studio Axis, director Ben Hibon and ChAIR Entertainment are pleased to announce their collaboration on the Infinity Blade: Origins short film. The film serves as the dramatic opening for Infinity Blade III, the latest in ChAIR’s blockbuster video game series, which launches worldwide on September 18th.
Designed to give newcomers and long standing fans a different perspective on the story of the Infinity Blade franchise, director Ben Hibon distilled the world of Knights, Demons and Immortals into a two minute narrative that is packed with mythology and action. The film starts with the forging of the Infinity Blade and then follows the swords’ story as it wages terror and defeats evil in equal measure.
'When ChAIR approached Ben about the project he was immediately drawn to the games story and the mixture of a medieval world filled with modern technology.' said Axis Executive Producer Richard Scott. 'As we both dove into the story I discussed the project at length with Ben. Once I saw the visuals Ben was developing I knew this was going to be special.'
‘The world and mythos the team at ChAIR has created over the last two games is incredibly rich, layered and complex.’ said Hibon. ‘Our main challenge was to define a clear narrative structure that would present various key events and characters from the Infinity Blade universe - but encapsulate them all into one seamless sequence.’
Hibon developed an illustrated take on the game’s art direction that he envisaged being realized using both 3d and 2d animation. Ben also wanted to challenge the team at ChAIR and proposed that he re-imagine the games main characters in his own unique design style.
‘It became apparent - early on in the development process - that we would need to amend some of the existing game designs to fully realize the original art style we created for this film. The team at ChAIR went one step further and gave us creative license to re-design some of their key characters, and invent some new ones. This gave us incredible freedom to design bespoke silhouettes and lines that would not only serve the narrative, but also create a unique and coherent aesthetic for the film.’ said Hibon.
With the design style fully embraced and approved by ChAIR, the Axis team worked on developing a render style and range of techniques that could deliver Hibon's vision.
'The team built on techniques they had used when working with Ben on previous projects such as Codehunters and Sucker Punch' said Axis Producer Isabel Arjona. 'It was important that we used the right technique in the right place, mixing 3d and 2d animation with digital illustration.'
Working directly from Hibon's designs the Axis team built the stylised 3d characters and used a mixture of texturing and shading to give them their 2d feel. These were then layered up with 3d and 2d hand animated visual effects and environments creating a bold hand crafted feel.
‘It was paramount for the camera to move freely around the 3D sets – but also to keep the artistry and 2D ‘hand-drawn’ details found in the original artwork. The versatile team at Axis delivered a ‘mix technique’ approach that really surpassed the original brief. Some of the VFX – smoke, sparkles, particles, etc - drawn in 2D over the 3D frames helped completing the look and gave the film a very unique quality.’ said Hibon.
'It is always a pleasure for us to work with Ben' said Scott. 'Our artists love the challenges his projects present, as they work together to try and create something that has its own unique visual tone of voice.'
“Ben is a true animation visionary, pushing 2D and 3D animation in ways unlike anyone else. We are excited to see Ben’s signature style and artistry applied to the Infinity Blade world that we love,” said Donald Mustard, creative director, ChAIR. “The work that Ben and Axis have done for Infinity Blade III exceeds everything we’d envisioned. In a short film, they took the complex story of our universe and presented it in new way where every frame is a work of art.”
Axis is a leader in CGI animation for a variety of gaming, film and television based projects. The company is based in the United Kingdom, with a global clientele and boasts one of the largest CGI production staffs in the UK. Some of Axis’ recent projects include the Cannes Lions award winning trailer for Dead Island, Aliens: Colonial Marine, Halo 4: Spartan Ops and Fable Legends. Axis’ commercial clients include Saatchi & Saatchi and TBWA/London among others. The company also works with television production companies BBC, CBBC, MTV, The Disney Channel, and Endemol. www.axisanimation.com Follow us on Twitter @axisanim
Founded in 2005, Salt Lake City-based ChAIR Entertainment is a subsidiary of Epic Games, Inc. In December 2011, ChAIR introduced the award-winning sword-fighting adventure Infinity Blade II for the App Store. Following in the footsteps of the original iOS blockbuster Infinity Blade, introduced in 2010, the acclaimed sequel won more than 25 Game of the Year and Editor’s Choice accolades and remains one of the most popular games released on the App Store. In 2009, ChAIR released the modern and masterful side-scrolling shooter Shadow Complex, published by Microsoft Game Studios exclusively for Xbox LIVE Arcade. The critically-acclaimed Shadow Complex received numerous E3 and Editor’s Choice Awards and was named Game of the Year by more than 40 media outlets. Prior to that, ChAIR debuted the award-winning underwater action-shooter, Undertow for Xbox LIVE Arcade. ChAIR will release Infinity Blade III on September 18. Follow @ChAIRGAMES on Twitter and Instagram and ‘Like’ on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/ChAIRGAMES.
About Infinity Blade
In 2010, Epic Games’ award-winning studio ChAIR Entertainment forever changed the landscape of mobile gaming with the introduction of Infinity Blade for the App Store. Powered by Unreal Engine 3, Infinity Blade and its acclaimed 2011 sequel Infinity Blade II , brought handheld gaming to new heights with gorgeous visuals, adrenaline-fueled battles and advanced character progression in a fully 3D world. With more that 40 million players worldwide, the Infinity Blade games are among the most popular ever launched on the App Store, receiving a combined 50+ Editor’s Choice and Game of the Year accolades, as well as the International Mobile Game Awards “Excellence in Design” Award and the prestigious 2011 Apple Design Award. On September 18, Infinity Blade III , the epic finale to the Infinity Blade series, will be released exclusively on the App Store. Follow @InfinityBlade on Twitter and visit the official site at: www.infinityblade.com.
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