Platige Image has created an incredible four-minute teaser for the newly announced console release of CD-Projekt’s RED’s cult RPG The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings.
If the mark of a great trailer is that it stands on its own as an animation, this most certainly qualifies.
Given the title of the game, the ending isn’t exactly in doubt, but Platige gets there with considerable style – not to mention the kind of visual polish it previously brought to its own short films, like Paths of Hate and Ark.
The making of the trailer
“We got first [rough] version of the script from CD Projekt a couple years ago, right after the premiere of The Witcher,” said director Tomek Bagi?ski. “But in spite of the vast changes we made, the project went on hold for almost two years until it was brought back to life in Xbox 360 version.”
According to Baginski, the delay helped both companies focus on what was essential in the trailer:
“What was left from the original is the ship and main characters. All the rest has been changed. For example, in the first version, the assassination was made with the hornet’s nest and the ship was supposed to be a very chaotic place, full of people battling away. It would probably have looked like [they had all been electrocuted]. We got rid of ‘the dance’, left the chaos and added a lot of steroids.”
A team of 40 artists worked on the project, which Baginski describes as “one of the most demanding in Platige Image’s history” for two months. In addition the character animation and facial close-ups, key challenges included demanding slow-motion effects and a lot of cloth and particle simulation.
“The ship also became one of the main characters,” said CG supervisor Maciek Jackiewicz. “The particle simulation team went rough with it. They created a vast interaction system covering the whole construction, [then] covered it with ice and millions of ice crystals, and finally smashed the whole thing.”
The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings is due on on Xbox 360 on 17 April. The Windows version is already shipping.
Edited 6 March: Platige Image has now put together a fantastic making-of video for the cinematic, which makes you realise exactly how complex the project was. You can see it in the player above.
You can also read a longer interview with CG supervisor Maciej Jackiewicz on CGSociety.