Inside Look: Shrapnel’s Cinematic Trailer
The Operator emerges onto a rooftop. Meteorites rains down across the near-future cityscape. He checks the statistics; the bounty is substantial. He dashes down a ramp to a glowing shard of freshly fallen Sigma. He deposits the glowing debris into his canister. Time to get moving. As a building crumbles, he leaps for cover below and into a hail of bullets. The Operator strafes across the railing, returning fire at the attacker. Descending a staircase, another enemy appears. They grapple, locking arms, firing wildly, trying to get a shot. They tumble over the railing, crashing violently to the pavement. Our hero lies stunned and the enemy snatches his canister. The Operator recovers with a leg sweep and both combatants hear the click of empty chambers as they fire uselessly at each other. The Operator lands an uppercut, swipes his empty pistol onto the magazine his enemy was holding, and pops a bullet under the chin. An Autonomous Extraction Vehicle (AEV) flies overhead. No time to lose …
This white-knuckled opening sequence is one any major Hollywood blockbuster would be envious of, injecting the world-building of Shrapnel with high stakes and fast action.
The trailer was created in Unreal Engine 5 in collaboration with Plastic Wax, directed by Jerry O’Flaherty and written by Shrapnel CEO Mark Long. With a score by acclaimed composer Jesper Kyd and sound design by Formosa’s Alan Rankin, Shrapnel has brought together an all-star team that includes an Oscar nomination, a BAFTA award and host of AAA credits including Fortnite, Hitman and John Wick.
The Operator takes out another mercenary. Bullet spray forces him to take cover. Sensing an opportunity, the attacker hurls a frag grenade. In a split second, the Operator deploys an arm shield that expands in the nick of time, umbrella-like. He emerges from the smoke and rushes to take out the attacker, leaping into the drop-ship as it lifts off. Momentarily relieved, he confirms a buyer for the precious Sigma. A missile rises and strikes the AEV, the impact sending it sideways in flames. Operator, ship, and canister tumble back down into the Zone. Mission failed.
The perspective shifts to first-person and “you,” the player, pick up the prize. “Buyer transferred.” You exchange fire and the game loop begins anew. This is your mission now.
SHRAPNEL ???? | ???? TwitchCon on Twitter: "THE WORLD IS YOURS! ⚔️ Play it ???? Build it ???? Discover it Does our hero survive? Watch the full HD version created in @UnrealEngine 5 on our YouTube – ???? in the comments! pic.twitter.com/yAEuu4Uec4 / Twitter"
THE WORLD IS YOURS! ⚔️ Play it ???? Build it ???? Discover it Does our hero survive? Watch the full HD version created in @UnrealEngine 5 on our YouTube – ???? in the comments! pic.twitter.com/yAEuu4Uec4
The response to the trailer from the Shrapnel community has been overwhelmingly positive. In the nearly 600 comments, Shrapnel fans old and new debate their favorite scene. “The Shield” “The reload” and “The FPS reveal” all received high praise for being standout moments.
“This is one of the best game trailers I’ve seen this year. Period. Not mentioning web3, blockchain — period. It looks beautiful…The trailer gives me single-shot Jason Bourne vibes. Really impressive, edge of my seat watching it the whole time. It feels like you legitimately shot a movie trailer.”
“I was given a sneak peak of game play footage and what you guys have shared is incredible…I have to say that what I’ve seen in the early footage is very close to what you’ve shared in the trailer, which is really important to a lot of people”.
This was a prescient comment from someone who had seen the raw gameplay footage. We’ve all found games that have amazing cinematics but when the actual gameplay disappoints, that early excitement can become a letdown. The Shrapnel cinematic trailer establishes an incredibly high bar for the gameplay to live up to.
In a surprising and somewhat diabolical move, Shrapnel CEO Mark Long announced 4 days after the trailer release that the first-person shootout at the end of the trailer is actually multiplayer gameplay footage.
“WEN gameplay?” is the usual refrain. You’ve already seen it.
SHRAPNEL ???? | ???? TwitchCon on Twitter: "Hear from CEO @marklengthy on the decision to show real-time multiplayer in the game trailer!It's about to get real, REAL. Notis on, Shrapnel fam ????#playSHRAPNEL #PlayToOwn #Multiplayer pic.twitter.com/tltXQf3Igx / Twitter"
Hear from CEO @marklengthy on the decision to show real-time multiplayer in the game trailer!It's about to get real, REAL. Notis on, Shrapnel fam ????#playSHRAPNEL #PlayToOwn #Multiplayer pic.twitter.com/tltXQf3Igx
Inside The Making Of
Studio Head Don Norbury:
“It was all done with Unreal Engine. Certainly there is a mo-cap part of it which is where a lot of the animation is coming from, but from the very beginning it was all in Unreal. Even though it all appears as a single shot, you do some editing shenanigans to make it appear that way. The core of that capture was done by Plastic Wax and that feeds the animation data. That gets cleaned up a bit and then we pull all of the final assets into UE5”.
“It was an amazingly flexible process from the beginning. Our team here has done virtual production in the past, “Mandalorian”-style, where you build LED walls behind the stage. There are huge benefits once you get over the technical hurdles of it. It just rapidly accelerates your ability to iterate live, to see what you are actually getting out of it, to make directorial edits on the fly. You end up targeting a quality end-goal quicker.”
In a feature length interview with Hypemoon, CEO Mark Long adds:
“The team at Plastic Wax directed a brilliant pair of stunt actors for mo-cap and the creative director there, Nathan Maddams, brought the script to life in a way I never imagined possible. Alan Rankin has a passion for Foley that produced an authentic sound design that really sells the action. And Jesper Kyd knocked the score out of the park on the first try. There’s an easter-egg with artwork by a Shrapnel community member on a billboard that was fun to slip in. And you’ll notice that the trailer switches to first-person at the end — inviting players to jump in, symbolically. I love everything about this trailer!”
“Fun is found in between the button presses, it’s in between the turning of the pages, it’s in between placing something on the creator canvas, manipulating it and going “aha! that’s it!”
“When we talk about the importance of community and their contribution to the thing that we are making, we mean it in a very real way. Fun is found in watching the trailer and all of the little easter-eggs that we put in for the community. The fact that the canister was created by us but chosen by our community. For us that is where we find the fun as game makers and storytellers. It’s in the crafting of these experiences in collaboration with our community. Seeing our community have fun going on this adventure with us and finding the fun in the Operators transitioning into the comic books and beyond is going to make Shrapnel something really special as an FPS.
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