Opening for E3 is no easy task. Expectations from the gaming community are at their highest as fans anticipate the latest and greatest from the industry.
Our “Jump Ahead” film opened the 2015 Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) with the greatest lineup in Xbox history. As the creative director at Blind, I collaborated with Xbox and Ayzenberg to create these stunning visuals to set the tone of the event.
It’s no secret we at Blind have a special place in our hearts for gaming, so it felt like those countless “Halo team-building exercises” finally paid off when Xbox challenged us to bring their characters to life. With only 4 weeks to build the spot from scratch, Blind was tasked with taking the beautiful key art– developed by Ayzenberg for the “Jump Ahead” campaign– and turn it into a crowd-hyping animated piece that linked all of Xbox’s greatest characters together. We had to flex our creative muscles to figure out a story and visual approach that not looked amazing, but could be produced in such a tight timeframe.
Image: Key Art Developed by Ayzenberg for the “Jump Ahead” Campaign
We built our story around the idea of the characters engaged in a “decisive moment.” My interpretation of the key art was that we see each character in a quiet, and contemplative state; reflecting on everything– past, present, and future– that has brought them to this point. From there we were able to tap into the rich storylines of each character and slowly build up moments that led up to a grand reveal of each hero.
Images: Storyboard Sequence
The entire look of the video had to feel like a natural extension of the key art, which was visually rich and unique to each game. With limited information about the upcoming games and storylines to be announced at E3, the Blind team had to be inventive when creating scenes that felt native to each of the depicted games. We created an aesthetic that was dreamlike and atmospheric, as if it were the memories of each character coming to life. This way we could be loose with some of the details, yet still have distinction between each game.
Images Designed by: Joshua Harvey and Paul Kim
Knowing the time challenges associated with detailed 3d animation, we had to develop a time-economical solution that didn’t compromise on a high-fidelity look. During the design phase, we decided to create each scene in ultra high resolution so we could use them as matte paintings in the final spot. This limited the amount of 3d modeling and animation needed to be created, and got us closer to a final look much quicker.
A legendary roster of video game heroes, the dedicated partners at Ayzenberg and Xbox, the epic music of Hans Zimmer, and the talented team of artists at Blind came together to create this emotionally-captivating experience. Based on the feedback from the audience and those watching online, it's clear we struck a chord both at E3 and with Xbox fans across the world.