[Originally posted on 23 January. Scroll down for updates.]
As someone who loves Bethesda Softworks’ single-player RPGs, but hates MMOs, I feel profoundly conflicted about The Elder Scrolls Online.
After sitting through the game’s new The Alliances cinematic, I still feel profoundly conflicted – but at least with the benefit of having just watched six minutes of lovely Blur Studio-created CGI.
Slow start, expansive finish
The trailer starts off slowly, with a party of adventurers making their way through a dungeon so dark that you wonder if moody lighting is going to be used as a justification for “didn’t have time to work on the detail”.
However, things liven up with a battle against what appear to be undead werewolves (or at least werewolves that have had enough bits knocked off them to suggest that life in Tamriel has got a lot tougher since Skyrim).
And the whole thing then proves to be merely an appetiser for the main course of the trailer: a fully lit outdoor siege sequence with some eye-catchingly acrobatic combat, set against a fog-shrouded winter landscape.
Nice visuals: what will the game be like?
It looks fantastic, but the entire thing – combat, visual aesthetic and even some of the costume design – seems to have been parachuted in from Assassin’s Creed, and bears little resemblance to the actual gameplay.
So… The Elder Scrolls Online: the jury’s still out. The CGI turned out nice again, though.
Updated 14 February: 3D World has posted an interview with Blur’s senior CG supervisor Jerome Denjean including grabs of the studio’s batch compositing process – Denjean notes that Blur now does as much as possible in 3D – and a nice little factoid: the studio turned to Ornatrix 2 to cope with all those elven braids…