Axis have built on the success of their recent work for Codemasters® with another fantastic piece of trailer work for the follow up to the hugely successful game Operation Flashpoint.
Operation Flashpoint 2: Dragon Rising aims to deliver the authentic feeling of conflict scenarios seen in contemporary warfare. The game offers a multitude of military disciplines on land, air and sea creating war on a scale never seen before.
The trailer was directed by Wiek Luijken, who also directed Colin McRae: DiRT TM and Racedriver: GRID TM , the sequence exploits the feeling of scale by taking the viewer from an intimate tactical Special Forces mission all the way through an escalating battle to an overview of the conflict from the point of view of the commanders in the air.
‘Operation Flashpoint has always been known as a title that creates realistic warfare in exceptional detail’ says Luijken.‘And with Operation Flashpoint 2 this has been taken further, giving us the challenge of not only achieving that same visceral feel but also working out a narrative that would show the shear scale of what it means to be involved in a conflict like this’.
The sequence Luijken crafted starts in the bleak landscape of Skira, which is based on Sakhalin a real island north of Japan and east of Russia. The camera follows a US Special Forces team as they take over a radio command post set up in a Church which is under the control of China’s PLA. Once the PLA guard has been taken out the Special Forces team radio to a sniper positioned on a hillside and it is from here that battle start to evolve.
‘I wanted to create a linking sequence of scenarios that would drive the narrative and take us from a ground level tactical strike to the next level up where we see the sniper and this in turn would lead to another scenario and another as we build to the huge battle sequence at the end’ says Luijken.
That action sees our sniper watch as his comrades are caught in a huge Chinese artillery strike on the command post before he calls in reinforcements. It is the arrival of the reinforcements on both sides that escalates the battle and it isn’t long before we are on the ground with the US troops as they pour out of their APC’s and straight into a melee of bullets, artillery, explosions and smoke that are consuming the scene.
‘The entire sequence proved to have a challenge in just about every shot’ said Axis Producer Lucy Teire.‘These are some of the most complex terrains we have created with full volumetric clouds, grass and some of the most realistic characters we have created, lastly there was the large amount of visual effects.’
The Axis team had a great starting point on the characters because the models created for the game are so detailed. The main body of the work was in creating a range of character heads that had the full range of animation required and making sure the skinning was done meticulously because of the range of packs and additional gadgets the troops carry with them.
‘We were lucky enough to use ex-military actors when we did our motion capture shoot with Audiomotion and this really adds to how convincing the characters feel’ says Luijken.
The team at Codemasters were also very specific about the level of realism they wanted to see especially in the visual effects. This meant the Axis effects team had to temper their‘Hollywood’ vision for explosions and weapons fire and spend a lot of time pouring over real footage of artillery strikes to make sure everything looked authentic.
One of the other striking shots in the sequence is when the camera takes on the point of view of a wounded US soldier. He lies on the ground and slowly begins to black out. The shot is given a visual treatment that impresses on the viewer the feeling of how disorienting it must be to feel that level of shock.
‘I really wanted this shot to feel different from the rest of the sequence so we exaggerated the depth of field, blew out the exposure and distorted the contrast’ says Luijken.‘Combine this with the change in sound design and music and it really captures the feeling I was striving for’.
About Axis Animation
Axis is an award winning animation studio, based in Glasgow, Scotland, dedicated to creating the best in animation and visual effects for commercials, broadcast, film and interactive entertainment. Recent credits include BAFTA winning Colin and Cumberland for the BBC, D&AD nominated Codehunters short film for MTV Asia and the Colin McRae DiRT trailer for Codemasters.
+44 (0) 141 572 2802
Contact: Richard Scott
More information on Axis can be found at www.axisanimation.com
Codemasters is a leading developer and publisher of best-selling interactive entertainment products for a global audience across multiple gaming platforms and channels. Established in 1986, the company’s dominant brands include Colin McRae DiRT, Race Driver GRID, Overlord and Operation Flashpoint; the company recently secured the exclusive worldwide video game rights to FORMULA 1. Codemasters is the recipient of the UK Developer of the Year title from the 25th Golden Joystick Awards and, most recently, Codemasters Studios recently won the UK Development Team category in the MCV Industry Excellence Awards 2008. Codemasters’ cross-platform development technology the EGO™ Engine was named Best Technology 2007 in the awards hosted by TIGA, the Independent Game Developers Association. Codemasters is headquartered in Warwickshire UK, with North American operations based in Universal City, Calif. The company also maintains operations in Germany, France, Spain, Benelux and Malaysia.
Codemasters receives over two million visitors to its web site every month, discover why at www.codemasters.com