Animation firm crafts artistic 'living painting' trailer for Heart of Thorns

VIDEO: Axis creates teaser for first Guild Wars 2 expansion

UK CGI animation specialist Axis has created the first teaser footage for Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns, the first expansion to NCsoft’s popular MMORPG.

The trailer, which you can view below, draws its inspiration from the game’s concept art rather than showing in-game footage, creating a ‘living painting’ style that animates previously static images.

Axis director Stephen Donnelly worked closely with the creative team at developer ArenaNet to discuss how his crew could keep the teaser in keeping with the art style, while still adding a third dimension to the teaser.

"What has made the Guild Wars concept art so incredible over time is its ability to capture the fantasy world’s emotion and dynamic action with as few brush strokes as possible," said Donnelly. "This illustrative approach has become synonymous with the Guild Wars brand and I wanted to ensure we created a film that people instantly recognised as the Guild Wars style."

Executive producer Debbie Ross added: "Creating a three-dimensional painted feel is not easy. Stephen felt strongly that the film shouldn’t feel like painted textures projected onto three-dimensional shapes or 2D artwork split up into layers. So the team, led by CG supervisor Drew Robertson, mixed 2D artwork, 2D animation, 3D models, 3D projects and 3D effects to bring Stephen’s vision together. We are very proud of the visually stunning results."

The teaser was first shown during the season two finale of the game’s Living World – the series of updates to Guild Wars 2 – and was subsequently shown at PAX South back in January.

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